FUKUOKA – Ozeki Chiyotaikai made mincemeat of rank-and-filer Kakuryu Saturday to remain undefeated and in sole possession of the lead, while Mongolian grand champion Hakuho stayed hot in pursuit at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
on Saturday in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Chiyotaikai settled the matter with a rapid fire of his trademark thrusts to send the No. 3 maegashira fleeing for cover with a retreat over the edge at Fukuoka Kokusai Center to improve to a 7-0 record. Kakuryu slipped to 1-6.
Hakuho, meanwhile, did not make it an ideal win against countryman Tokitenku, trying unsuccessfully several times to throw the No.3 maegashira before getting the job done with a frontal force-out maneuver to stay one off the pace at 6-1.
The yokozuna won the autumn basho in September and is the top favorite to win a fifth career title in the absence of suspension-hit grand champion Asashoryu.
Asashoryu, banned from competing after he was punished for playing in a charity soccer match in his native Mongolia despite having claimed injuries that allowed him to miss a regional tour, will return for the New Year meet in January.
Back in the ring, struggling veteran ozeki Kaio was made to work against Asasekiryu (3-4), but got his favored left-handed grip on the Mongolian sekiwake after a failed throwing attempt before ushering his opponent over the straw bales.
Kaio (4-3), who is suffering from injuries to both hamstrings and facing relegation for a record 11th time, is getting a confidence boost from his hometown fans in his bid to notch a majority of wins at the 15-day meet.