FUKUOKA – Yokozuna Hakuho retained his share of the lead with a bread-and-butter win over Georgian grappler Tochinoshin at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Hakuho was all business in the day’s final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, the Mongolian yokozuna picking his moment to toss Tochinoshin (1-8) down and stay tied with No. 7 maegashira Miyabiyama at 8-1 at the 15-day meet.
Hakuho, who won his eighth career Emperor’s Cup at the autumn meet in September, is the hot favorite to take home the tournament hardware in the absence of injury-hit yokozuna rival Asashoryu.
In an earlier bout, former ozeki Miyabiyama needed a second bite at the cherry but rebounded from Sunday’s defeat to Kyokutenho, overcoming Kokkai in an epic tussle to stay in a share of first place.
Promotion-chasing sekiwake Ama was one of four wrestlers one step behind the front-running duo with 7-2 marks.
Ama needs at least 11 wins here to reach the 33 wins in three straight tournaments necessary to gain promotion to ozeki, and he took another significant step with a convincing victory over Kotooshu (3-6).
Ama got stuck straight in with a meaty attack and worked the struggling Bulgarian ozeki to the edge of the ring before dumping him to the dirt with a perfectly executed overarm throw.
Sekiwake teammate Baruto also stayed among the chasing pack as the Estonian giant lifted out fifth-ranked maegashira Asasekiryu (3-6) to post his seventh straight win after back-to-back losses from opening day.
Elsewhere, Kisenosato outfoxed ozeki Chiyotaikai to also score a seventh win. Chiyotaikai dropped to 6-3 while ozeki Kotomitsuki made short work of komusubi Aminishiki (5-4) to also stand a further win off the pace.