Hakuho posted a bread-and-butter win over Miyabiyama while Mongolian yokozuna rival Asashoryu also made it back-to-back victories on the second day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Hakuho, who won the Nagoya meet in July with a flawless 15-0 record and is seeking his eighth overall title here, had little trouble in dealing with bumbling Miyabiyama in the day’s penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Miyabiyama (0-2) failed to take his chances and Hakuho bided his time before yanking the top-ranked maegashira around and comfortably sending him out from behind for the win.
In contrast, Asashoryu, who missed most of the Nagoya basho with an elbow injury, had a much tougher time against No. 1 maegashira Kotoshogiku (1-1) but prevailed with a beltless arm throw to stay among the earlier pacesetters.
Hakuho and Asashoryu are hoping to draw the focus back onto the raised ring at the 15-day basho, which has begun under a cloud after a recent alleged drug scandal involving three Russian wrestlers.
Newly appointed Japan Sumo Association Chairman Musashigawa opened the tournament on Sunday by apologizing to fans and promising a strict new regimen for wrestlers.
Wakanoho was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana last month and expelled from sumo while brothers Roho and Hakurozan were fired from the traditional Japanese sport this month after both tested positive to marijuana use in detailed urine examinations.
In Monday’s other key action, ozeki Kotomitsuki showed nifty footwork, forcing Mongolian maegashira Kyokutenho onto his hands on the sandy surface with an inner thigh propping twist down technique for a second win. Kyokutenho dropped to 0-2.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai (2-0) gave sour-faced Kisenosato a sumo lesson, blasting the No. 2 maegashira out to a second loss with a flurry of trademark thrusts, while fellow veteran Kaio rebounded from an opening loss by forcing out winless komusubi Asasekiryu.
In an all-European battle, Estonian man mountain Baruto provided the upset of the day when he got his arms around Bulgarian Kotooshu and shoved the stunned ozeki over the straw bales. Both men have 1-1 marks.
At sumo’s third rank of sekiwake, Ama suffered an early loss as fifth-ranked maegashira Kakuryu floored the ozeki hopeful with an arm lock throw to leave both Mongolians with 1-1 records.
Ama’s sekiwake teammate Toyonoshima also tasted his first defeat when he got thrown down by fourth-ranked Tochinonada (1-1).