Asashoryu tastes defeat at New Year basho

Kyodo News

Hakuho stretched his consecutive winning streak to 29 bouts on Thursday but rival yokozuna Asashoryu was sent to a shock first defeat at the hands of upstart Goeido at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho shares the lead at 5-0 with surprise package Kisenosato in the early going at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Hakuho, who won the Kyushu basho in November, got his right hand under his opponent’s armpit while placing Miyabiyama’s (1-4) other hand in an armbar before ushering out the No. 2 maegashira.

The hot favorite here, Hakuho is seeking his 13th career Emperor’s Cup.

Asashoryu went for the kill right away, attempting to drive the No. 2 maegashira over the edge from the start but Goeido (2-3) made a quick spin on his heels on the edge before sending the yokozuna packing with a light pat on the back.

“I don’t believe it. I feel great,” Goeido said. “I can’t remember anything. All I know is I’m glad I could beat him.”

All the ozeki wrestlers, except for the most veteran of the bunch, rebounded from Wednesday’s catastrophe in which all of sumo’s second-highest rank fell to defeats.

Kotomitsuki finally got into the winner’s circle after four straight losses, fighting off a charge from Toyonoshima (1-4) before lifting the No. 1 maegashira out of the ring.

Harumafuji (4-1) dodged a bullet against fellow Mongolian Kakuryu (2-3), who put his opponent on the back foot with a hard blow at the faceoff before the ozeki executed a perfectly timed underarm throw near the ring’s edge.