Hakuho victorious in his return

Hakuho, the Mongolian sumo icon, marked his return to competition in style by defeating komusubi Tochinoshin on the first day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament. It was Hakuho’s first match since an injury to his left knee forced him to withdraw from the Autumn basho in September. Hakuho won comfortably, putting Georgian-born Tochinoshin down with a textbook uwatenage overarm throw. Hakuho has won all 20 of his meetings with Tochinoshin.

This is Hakuho’s 50th appearance as yokozuna, moving him into fourth place on the all-time list. 

The biggest result of the opening day came when Kakuryu, who won the Autumn Basho, was upset by Yoshikaze.

Yoshikaze is back at the fourth-highest rank of komusubi for the first time in nine tournaments after a fantastic showing in September, when he played the role of giant killer by beating both Hakuho and Kakuryu, as well as two ozeki.

"I was bit nervous today, which shows I had a strong determination to win," said Yoshikaze, who at the Autumn meet was awarded both the Outstanding Performance Prize and the Technique Prize, two of the three prizes the JSA gives to makuuchi wrestlers on the final day of a grand tournament.

"I didn’t have a game plan as such, but the yokozuna dropped back and I was able to get into him. Hopefully I can get double-digit wins at this tournament," he said.

[Kyodo News]

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