OSAKA – Kotomitsuki exposed the chinks in Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu’s armor Friday, dropping the Mongolian yokozuna to his second straight defeat on the 13th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
While the wear and tear of a two week-long battle has begun to show with Asashoryu, Hakuho took full advantage in the day’s final bout, bouncing back from a second loss the previous day, against ozeki veteran Kaio to place himself in a two-way tie at 11-2 with Asashoryu at the Osaka meet.
In the day’s penultimate bout, Asashoryu immediately attempted a headlock out of the crouch but never gained control in a flustered attack before he was pulled forward onto his hands and knees at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. Kotomitsuki, who snapped a 28-bout losing streak in career matches against Asashoryu, improved to 7-6.
Hakuho had little trouble disposing of the 35-year-old Kaio (8-5), deploying a well-worked frontal assault to finish off the ozeki after a brief standstill.
Asashoryu, who had been on the warpath slicing down his victims with a vengeance, forgot to even show up in a lopsided defeat to rank-and-filer Kotoshogiku on Thursday and again lacked his usual sharpness in the match against Kotomitsuki.
He is seeking his first title win in four meets and looks set to get the chance for revenge over Hakuho as the yokozuna duo remain on a collision course.
Hakuho, who spoiled Asashoryu’s comeback from a two-tournament suspension with victory on the final day of the New Year meet, is aiming to become only the sixth wrestler since the establishment of the six-tournament system in 1958 to win four consecutive titles.