A loss on the final day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on July 22 could not wipe the smile from the face of newly crowned champion Mitakeumi.
The 25-year-old sekiwake, who clinched his first top-level title the previous day, finished with a 13-2 record after losing to No. 9 maegashira Yutakayama (12-3).
In a gripping bout, Mitakeumi nearly drove out Yutakayama before the maegashira fought his way back toward the middle.
As the pair jostled for advantage, Mitakeumi attempted a throw at the edge of the ring, but Yutakayama’s counter sent both men tumbling over the straw, with the new champion hitting the ground first.
After all three yokozuna and newly promoted ozeki Tochinoshin pulled out of the tournament due to injury, Mitakeumi seized the opportunity to lift his first Emperor’s Cup.
“It seems like (the tournament) almost flew past, but it also felt like a very long tournament,” an elated Mitakeumi said in his champion’s interview from the ring at Dolphins Arena.(Kyodo)