Hakuho’s run ends six short of record

FUKUOKA (Kyodo News) The end was as sudden as a bolt of lightning.

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho saw his record-chasing streak end at 63 bouts after a stunning defeat to Kisenosato in the second day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Having gone undefeated the past four tournaments, Hakuho was widely expected to match and surpass Futabayama’s record of 69 set from 1936-1939.

But Kisenosato had other ideas in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Hakuho got a slow jump at the faceoff and never really recovered as Kisenosato charged forward in a relentless effort before shoving the yokozuna over the edge as the crowd went into a frenzy.

The normally cool-under-fire Hakuho had obviously lost his composure as he tried in vain to thwart the attack with a throwing technique and inner leg trip before he was sent packing.

The 25-year-old began his remarkable winning run back in January 2010 with a victory over Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu on the penultimate day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho is the only yokozuna in sumo’s elite makuuchi division and has completely dominated the sport since compatriot and former yokozuna Asashoryu retired in February 2010.

He became the first man to win three consecutive titles with undefeated records at the Nagoya meet in July of 2010 and surpassed Chiyonofuji’s 53-bout streak en route to another perfect run at the autumn meet in September.

Futabayama’s record was set at a time when there were only two tournaments per year. The legendary yokozuna went on a tear from the seventh day of the 1936 spring meet until he lost against Akinoumi on to the fourth day of the 1939 spring meet.