Normal service resumed at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday as yokozuna Hakuho came roaring back to beat ozeki Harumafuji and retain sole possession of the lead heading down the final straight of the 15-day basho.
Unruffled by another stunning defeat to bogeyman Kisenosato on Wednesday, Hakuho (11-1) soaked up Harumafuji’s attack and dished out a few tasty strikes of his own before his fellow Mongolian stumbled to his knees at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Gunning for his sixth straight Emperor’s Cup, Hakuho stands one win clear of rank-and-filer Okinoumi. His title hopes were given a further boost as Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu, his closest real challenger for the title, was condemned to a shock defeat by Mongolian komusubi Kakuryu.
Kakuryu (7-5) read the forward charging Kotooshu like a book and picked just the right moment to turn the tables and send the ozeki sprawling at the edge of the ring for an upset win. Kotooshu was tied at 9-3 with Kotoshogiku and Tochinonada.
Veteran Kaio prevailed in an all-ozeki affair against Baruto, heaving the Estonian giant out to leave both men at 8-4.
Buoyed by Wednesday’s latest giant-killing act, streetwise sekiwake Kisenosato slapped up Tamawashi (5-7) and thrust him to the clay surface to secure a majority of wins at 8-4.
Kotoshogiku sealed a double for the sekiwake when he bundled out second-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze (2-10) for a ninth win.