Hakuho scalped another victim in the form of Miyabiyama on Saturday to remain undefeated one ahead of fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu on the seventh day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu, meanwhile, stayed in a share of the lead with Hakuho after disposing of komusubi Kisenosato as the 15-day meet enters the final week at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
In the day’s penultimate bout, Hakuho and Miyabiyama both jumped the gun before the faceoff, but the yokozuna kept his composure when the match got under way, swatting his opponent to the dohyo surface with a series of slaps. Miyabiyama dropped to 1-6.
Asashoryu took his time discarding of countryman Kakuryu in the day’s final bout, grappling the No. 3 maegashira at the ring’s center before waltzing him over the edge in convincing fashion. Kakuryu fell to a 2-5 mark.
Asashoryu, who beat Hakuho on the final day of the spring meet in March, is aiming for his 23rd Emperor’s Cup, while Hakuho is in the hunt for his seventh career title and first in two basho.
Facing demotion after dropping out of the spring meet with an arm injury, Kotooshu is just one win from saving his ozeki status after a sure-fire shove-out of Kisenosato, who slipped to 5-2.
In other key bouts, ozeki veteran Kaio made mincemeat of Ama, charging forward in a nonstop assault to barge out the diminutive Mongolian sekiwake, leaving both men at 4-3.
But ozeki Kotomitsuki went stumbling out of the ring after a charge against Tokitenku went awry, leaving both wrestlers at 4-3, while Chiyotaikai (3-4) was the second ozeki to bite the dust when he was smacked down by Kotoshogiku (4-3).