Promotion-chasing sekiwake Kotoshogiku raised the nation’s hopes of the birth of a homegrown ozeki with a quick-fire win over Homasho on Thursday, the fifth day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.
Harumafuji’s wafer-thin hopes of reaching yokozuna, however, were shattered with a third loss at Ryogoku Kokugikan, this time at the hands of previously winless No. 3 maegashira Takekaze.
Kotoshogiku, who is aiming to fill the void left by Kaio and move up to sumo’s second highest rank, brought ozeki slayer Homasho back to earth with a routine frontal push down to stay in a tie for the lead with fellow sekiwake Kisenosato and loneyokozuna Hakuho.
Homasho, who has already beaten all three ozeki and whose only other loss so far was against Hakuho, dropped to 3-2.
Hakuho, gunning for a 20th title, wrapped up the day’s action with a slap down win over second-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze (1-4).
Kotoshogiku has put together 21 wins over the last two tournaments and 12 more here should be enough to win promotion for the Kyushu Basho in November.
Harumafuji’s autumn campaign took another turn for the worse when Takekaze grabbed the back of his belt and sent him packing with an overarm throw.
Harumafuji came into the tournament with a second crack at yokozuna after winning the Nagoya basho with a 14-1 record, but he will now be looking to save face after a horrible start.
Ozeki have badly underperformed so far at the 15-day meet and struggling Bulgarian Kotooshu (1-4) bit the dust again when he allowed veteran Wakanosato (2-3) to get both arms around him and floor him with a beltless arm throw.
Estonian man mountain Baruto restored a little ozeki pride in the day’s penultimate bout, scraping together a narrow third win over komusubi Toyonoshima (1-4).
Mongolian Kakuryu, who is also in with a shot of promotion to ozeki here, had to dig in deep again but tipped winless Russian komusubi Aran over the straw ridge to improve to 3-2, and Kisenosato completed another clean sweep for sekiwake by outmuscling top-ranked maegashira Okinoumi (2-3).
In earlier bouts, Takanoyama’s nightmare start to life in sumo’s premier league continued as the Czech-born No. 15 maegashira got shoved out to a fifth loss by 13th-ranked Tamaasuka (2-3).