FUKUOKA – Kisenosato got his bid for ozeki promotion back on track with a commanding victory over fellow sekiwake Kakuryu at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.
Kakuryu started the day in a three-way tie for the lead but found himself on the wrong end of a backlash from Kisenosato, who came roaring back from his first defeat of the tournament the previous day at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Kisenosato weathered Kakuryu’s “tachi-ai” charge and responded with a couple of neck thrusts to gain control, finishing the job with a flurry of powerful shoves to leave both men at 5-1 in the 15-day meet.
The ozeki rank’s newest recruit Kotoshogiku put on another impressive display for his home fans and preserved his unbeaten record to stay tied for the lead with tournament favorite and lone grand champion Hakuho.
Yet to be seriously tested so far, Hakuho, who won his 20th career championship at the autumn meet in September, outfoxed Aran and kept his slate clean with a comfortable force-out win in the day’s last match.
Kotoshogiku underlined his ozeki pedigree with a classy win over Gagamaru (2-4), working the giant Georgian toward the bales and sending him crashing to the clay surface.
Kotoshogiku is fighting as the first Japanese wrestler to assume the ozeki rank in four years.