FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho was all business Sunday as he disposed of Russian Aran to remain in a share of the lead on the eighth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho improved to 7-1 in a tie with ozeki duo Kaio and Baruto and rank-and-filers Kyokutenho and Toyonoshima as the first week of the 15-day meet drew to a close. Five wrestlers are one behind the leading pack at 6-2.
In the day’s final, Hakuho got his right hand on Aran’s (2-6) mawashi immediately out of the crouch and never let the komusubi touch his own as he ushered him over the edge in a straight line at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
The lone yokozuna has gotten back on track after his devastating defeat to Kisenosato on the second day, which snapped his winning streak at 63 bouts, just six shy of yokozuna great Futabayama’s all-time record.
Hakuho is seeking his fifth consecutive title and 17th career Emperor’s Cup here.
Local favorite Kaio pulled another rabbit out of the hat in his bout against Homasho (5-3), showing his Hakata fans that he can still play roughhouse with the big boys.
After Homasho came flying off the charge, the 38-year-old Tomozuna ozeki shoved him back several times before applying a death-grip, double armlock and wrenching the No. 3 maegashira to the dirt surface.
Estonian man-mountain Baruto, meanwhile, nearly found himself on the losing end when he charged forward too quickly against Kitataiki (3-5) and almost stepped over the barrier, regrouping at the last second to send his opponent over with a hard shove.