Sumo wrestlers stomp in the New Year

Traditional New Year's Sumo wrestling in Japan
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Sumo wrestlers stomp in the New Year
Mongolian-born sumo grand champion, or 'yokozuna', Hakuho performs a ring-entering ceremony at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on January 7, 2016. Three sumo grand champions Hakuho, Kakuryu and Harumafuji made their New Year pilgrimage to the shrine on January 7, pledging to work hard to make Japan's national sport a success this year. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

Every year, Japan sees top-ranked sumo wrestlers welcome the New Year with a traditional foot-stomping performance at a Tokyo Shrine.

Mongolian-born Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu visited Meiji shrine on Thursday to participate in the ceremony. Hundreds of people applauded to welcome each of the three sumo wrestlers as they entered the shrine accompanied by two lesser-ranked sumo wrestlers from their place of training.

Hakuho is widely regarded as one of the greatest sumo wrestlers of all time, having won 33 top division championships. The previous tournament in November saw Harumafuji, a relative lightweight at 135kg (298 pounds) and 185cm (6ft 1in), reigning champion, winning 13 out of 15 bouts, including a win against Hakuho.

The next tournament will commence on January 15, with all three top-ranked sumo wrestlers competing at the highest level in the "makushita" division.

Sumo Wrestlers Stomp in the New Year

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