FUKUOKA – Ozeki debutant Kotoshogiku put Goeido on his backside to make it two wins out of two, while Kisenosato took another step toward ozeki promotion with a convincing win at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Lone yokozuna Hakuho, who won his 20th Emperor’s Cup at the autumn basho in September, also turned on the style to stay perfect with a routine victory over No. 1 maegashira Okinoumi (0-2) at the 15-day meet.
Fighting as the first Japanese wrestler to assume the ozeki rank in four years, Kotoshogiku barely flinched in stopping advancing Goeido (0-2) in his tracks, crushing the top-ranked maegashira to the dirt to the delight of his home fans at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Kotoshogiku is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former ozeki Kaio, who was the last remaining Japanese at sumo’s second rank before retiring at the Nagoya meet in July.
Disgraced former ozeki Kotomitsuki was the last Japanese wrestler to gain promotion to the rank after the 2007 Nagoya basho. He was banned for life from the national sport for betting on pro baseball in an illegal gambling racket in 2010.
Kisenosato was also all business in his meeting with Aran, the surly sekiwake shrugging off the Russian No. 3 maegashira’s attack and sending him over the straw bales with a frontal shove.
Kisenosato is making his run at ozeki while still coming to terms with the death last week of his mentor and stablemaster Naruto.