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Harumafuji rebounds from surprising setback

Kyodo

Harumafuji got his bid for yokozuna promotion back on track after a shock defeat the previous day, overpowering Wakanosato in a comfortable victory on the third day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

After winning on the first day and falling to Okinoumi on the next, the Mongolian ozeki looked his most convincing yet, relying on a textbook forceout maneuver to pick up his second win at the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Harumafuji, who won the Nagoya meet in July with a 14-1 mark and is making his second bid at sumo’s highest rank, quickly got his hands around Wakanosato’s mawashi before plodding the former sekiwake (1-2) over the edge.

Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, had his hands full against ozeki killer Okinoumi (2-1), but dispatched with the No. 1 maegashira with a perfectly timed left-handed overarm throw to improve to 3-0 after failing to get his favored right-handed grip.

The yokozuna, who is seeking his 20th career title, leads a group of six wrestlers with undefeated records in the early going.

The last time Harumafuji attempted a run for yokozuna at the 2009 Nagoya basho, he lost on the second and fifth days, all but dashing his chances to reach sumo’s ultimate rank.

Kotoshogiku, who is looking to replace retired wrestler Kaio as the next Japanese ozeki, plowed down Aran, but promotion-chasing Mongolian Kakuryu got nothing rolling in a lopsided affair against Tochiozan (2-1), falling to a second straight loss. Kotoshogiku kept his ozeki hopes alive, wrapping both arms around winless Aran before waltzing the Russian komusubi over the edge with his trademark belly force-out technique.

It was a day to forget for the other two wrestlers at sumo’s second-highest rank of ozeki.

Baruto was left scratching his head after making a sluggish start at the face-off against Yoshikaze (1-2), who moved rapidly inside for a two-handed belt grip before casting the Estonian goliath over the edge to his second defeat. Kotooshu continued his pitiful display, dropping to his third loss in as many days in a defeat to Homasho (2-1).