Akebono overpowers field to take championship

TOKYO, Reuters

American-born ‘yokozuna’ grand champion Akebono swept all before him to claim his 11th Emperor’s Cup on Sunday at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Akebono, 14-1, beat out up and-coming number nine maegashira Kotomitsuki, 13-2, to take the title.

Akebono secured the championship with a victory over fellow yokozuna Musashimaru (11-4), also American-born, on the final day.

Coming out of the tachiai initial charge, both wrestlers exchanged right-hand slaps to the face but Akebono was quicker to get in the first shove.

Akebono drove Musashimaru to the edge of the ring and with both hands on his foe’s belt, muscled him over.

“I have been sick and injured this year and it makes me glad that I fought through it and have this great moment,” Akebono said.