FUKUOKA – Ozeki Chiyotaikai was all business in a demolition of sekiwake Asasekiryu to stay in sole possession of the lead after notching his eighth victory at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, bounced back from a defeat to Ama a day earlier, toppling Toyonoshima to stay in a group of five wrestlers trailing Chiyotaikai with 7-2 records as the Kyushu meet enters the final stretch.
Ozeki Kotomitsuki and rank-and-filers Wakanosato, Dejima and Baruto also posted their seventh wins.
Chiyotaikai, who rebounded from a loss to Dejima on Sunday, unleashed a salvo of his trademark thrusts, blasting Asasekiryu over the edge in a matter of seconds at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Asasekiryu fell to a 3-6 record.
In the day’s final, Hakuho got his right hand under his opponent’s arm for leverage before tipping over the No. 4 maegashira from the side. Toyonoshima fell to 6-3.
Hakuho’s sumo, however, has lacked the confident air of a true yokozuna lately. Unlike compatriot Asashoryu, whose intensity seems to only grow when defeated by a lower-ranked wrestler, Hakuho does not show the same bloodthirsty instinct.
But Hakuho won the autumn basho in September and is aiming for a fifth career title in the absence of suspension-hit yokozuna Asashoryu.
Ozeki Kotomitsuki waited for the right moment before moving in for the kill with a standard frontal takeout of Takekaze, who dropped to a sixth defeat, in the penultimate bout.
Veteran ozeki Kaio, fighting for his rank for a record 11th time in front of his hometown fans, fell to his fourth defeat at the hands of Tokitenku.
The battle-weary 35-year-old was held at bay by Tokitenku (6-3), who ushered Kaio over the edge for his third ozeki kill.
Dejima, a No. 2 maegashira, charged ahead like a bull before depositing Kakuryu (1-8) outside the ring.