Ozeki hopeful exhibits toughness


Kotoshogiku was as impregnable as a tank in a dominant victory over Okinoumi to remain undefeated Saturday, keeping his ozeki promotion bid rolling at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Kotoshogiku stayed in a dead heat with yokozuna Hakuho and rival sekiwake Kisenosato as the only three wrestlers with 7-0 records as the first week of action drew to a close at the 15-day meet.

Okinoumi (3-4) was put on the back foot from the start of the bout as Kotoshogiku got his right hand on the mawashi and his left hand under his opponent’s armpit before crushing him over the straw bales in a relentless onslaught at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Kotoshogiku, who is hoping to fill the shoes of retired ozeki Kaio, has put together 21 wins over the last two basho and 12 more in the autumn meet should be enough for a move up the rankings for the Kyushu basho in November.

In the day’s final bout, Hakuho, who is seeking a career 20th title, slapped down Toyonoshima (1-6) to remain perfect.

Sekiwake Kakuryu, who came into the Tokyo meet also up for promotion, saw his hopes all but dashed with a fourth defeat at the hands of Kisenosato, who blasted the Mongolian wrestler with his right hand to send him flailing over the edge.

Harumafuji, who was making his second bid for promotion to yokozuna before suffering three defeats in the first six days, lost all his marbles with a fourth defeat to Yoshikaze (3-4).

Harumafuji, who made a failed run for sumo’s highest rank at the 2009 Nagoya basho, was sent stumbling forward over the ridge after an overzealous attack.

Ironically, the ozeki, who won the July meet with an impressive 14-1 mark, is now fighting just to register a majority of wins.

Baruto (5-2) got twisted around by little-man Takekaze (1-6) and was almost sent to another defeat before escaping the No. 3 maegashira’s grip and slamming his opponent to the surface. Bulgarian Kotooshu (1-6), who pulled out due to injuries early in the day, lost by default to Tochinoshin (4-3).