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Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Hakuho almost quit basho after loss

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho admitted Monday he considered pulling out of the just-finished Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament after his remarkable consecutive wins streak ended at 63 early in the meet.

"I thought about withdrawing," Hakuho told a news conference a day after his clinched his 17th title. "I thought my mind and body might not be as one."

Having gone undefeated the previous four tournaments, Hakuho was widely expected to match and surpass yokozuna legend Futabayama's consecutive wins record of 69 set from 1936-1939, but his hopes were shattered with a second-day loss to top-ranked maegashira Kisenosato.

The 25-year-old rebounded to go undefeated the rest of the way, beating rank-and-filer Toyonoshima in a championship playoff after both had finished with 14-1 marks in regulation.

"There was the consecutive wins record issue and then the title race went right the way to the end. It was a really tough tournament," said Hakuho.

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