Grand champion Asashoryu defeated his Mongolian compatriot Tokitenku on Thursday to stay one win off the pace on the fifth day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.
In the day’s finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Asashoryu forced Tokitenku out of the ring with both hands on the second-maegashira’s belt, staying on track.
Asashoryu, who lost to Dejima on Tuesday, improved to 4-1, one win behind rank-and-filer Tamakasuga, who beat Asofuji.
The Mongolian grand champion is bidding for his 20th Emperor’s Cup in the 15-day tourney.
Tokitenku fell to 2-3.
In other major bouts, ozeki Hakuho bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to Kisenosato when he got both arms around Kyokutenho, forcing the Mongolian compatriot out.
Hakuho, considered by many to be Asashoryu’s closest rival, improved to 3-2. Kyokutenho, a third-maegashira, fell to 2-3.
Ozeki Kotooshu improved to 3-2 after he held Roho’s belt with his left hand and placed his head to the neck before throwing the Russian komusubi down. Roho fell to 1-4.
Sekiwake Kotomitsuki notched up his fourth win against one loss when he swatted Tochiazuma down with his right-hand gripping the ozeki’s belt. Tochiazuma dropped to 2-3.
In another upset, Kaio was handed his second loss when top-maegashira Kotoshogiku charged low at the faceoff to send the ozeki out over the straw ridge in a one-sided bout.
Both Kotoshogiku and Kaio stand at 3-2.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai used a barrage of arm thrusts to the upper body to put Aminishiki off balance before pulling him down to the dirt surface. Chiyotaikai improved to 4-1 while Aminishiki, a second-ranked maegashira, fell to 1-4.