NAGOYA – Yokozuna Hakuho manhandled Toyohibiki to improve to a perfect 4-0 record while promotion-chasing ozeki Harumafuji rebounded from the previous day’s loss with a win over Kyokutenho at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
Hakuho, whose sumo appears the sharpest thus far in his bid for an 11th Emperor’s Cup, backpedaled slightly at the face-off but recovered nicely before sending the winless No. 2 maegashira sprawling with an overarm throw at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
The yokozuna shares the early lead with fellow yokozuna Asashoryu and ozeki pair Kotooshu and Kotomitsuki.
Harumafuji, who saw his hopes for promotion to sumo’s ultimate rank nearly dashed with a loss to Kotoshogiku on Tuesday, escaped another near defeat in his match against Mongolian countryman Kyokutenho.
The ozeki made a poor start at the face-off and nearly backpedaled straight out of the ring before regrouping to grapple Kyokutenho (1-3) in a standoff and deploying a precarious underarm throw for his third win.
Harumafuji beat Hakuho for his first title in a playoff at the summer meet in May and nothing short of a title win here will be enough to ensure his promotion to yokozuna.
Asashoryu, meanwhile, made mincemeat of winless Tochiozan, quickly wrenching the No. 2 maegashira forward to the dirt surface with a hand pulling technique.
Kotomitsuki wrapped around winless Russian wrestler Aran, tugging out the No. 1 maegashira with a belt grip in a matter of seconds.
Bulgarian Kotooshu had no trouble disposing of Iwakiyama (1-3), the No. 3 maegashira.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai pummeled Kotoshogiku (1-3) with his trademark thrusting attack to improve his slate to 2-2.