/

Hakuho remains on course for another title

by David Hueston and Dave Hueston

Kyodo News

On the second straight day with a sellout crowd at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hakuho raised the roof with another pyrotechnic performance and moved into the sole lead at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

In the day’s finale, Hakuho made mincemeat of rank-and-filer Tamawashi sending his opponent to the dohyo surface with a series of high-speed slaps for an 8-0 mark. Tamawashi, who slipped to 3-5, never knew what hit him.

Ozeki pair Kotooshu and Baruto trail in a group of five wrestlers, one behind the leader, at 7-1.

Bulgarian Kotooshu overpowered Kisenosato (5-3) in a relentless attack, getting his left hand on the back of the sekiwake’s mawashi and muscling him over the straw bales.

Estonian behemoth Baruto gave Homasho a wallop to the head with an elbow out of the crouch and abruptly sent the No. 4 maegashira over the ridge with a series of hard shoves.

Veteran war horse Kaio, meanwhile, gave his fans a thrill when he grabbed Russian Aran (3-5) on the outside of the mawashi and shoved the No. 3 maegashira over the edge to improve to 5-3.

Yomiuri Giants lifetime honorary manager Shigeo Nagashima was in attendance to view sumo for the first time in about 50 years.

“Watching live sumo matches is exciting. I was impressed,” Nagashima said. “I love sumo and I’ve always watched it on TV, but of course the impact is totally different when you watch it live. . .”