FUKUOKA – Ozeki debutant Kotoshogiku made quick work of Kitataiki in a lopsided affair to remain in a dead heat with yokozuna Hakuho at 9-0 at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Lone yokozuna Hakuho had his hands full against rank-and-filer Tochinowaka, but disposed of his opponent with a swift overarm throw after a short tussle in the day’s final at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Fukuoka native Kotoshogiku, meanwhile, had the crowd on his side as he plowed down Kitataiki (3-6) in a frontal forceout, sending the No. 5 maegashira toppling into the ringside seats.
Hakuho is the favorite to win his career 21st title, but Kotoshogiku is making things interesting with a possible showdown with Hakuho as the basho enters the final six days.
Promotion-chasing Kisenosato (7-2) found himself on the losing end against Harumafuji, who scooped out one of the sekiwake’s legs before sending Kisenosato crashing with a body slam. Four wrestlers trail the cofrontrunners with 7-2 marks.
For Kisenosato, who needs at least 11 wins here to be considered for sumo’s second-highest rank, the loss did not make a favorable impression against Harumafuji (5-4), who has lost three of his last five bouts.
Kotooshu, meanwhile, was the lone ozeki to bite the dust, while Harumafuji and Baruto won their second and fifth straight bouts, respectively, at the 15-day meet.
Relegation-threatened Kotooshu appeared confused about his mode of attack against Tochiozan before the tachiai and paid for a sluggish start as the No. 4 maegashira sent him plopping onto his buttocks.
“I couldn’t get the grip I usually do but I maintained my form. I want to keep wrestling like I did today,” said Tochiozan.
Baruto deployed a powerful shove of Kakuryu (6-3), picking up his sixth win, after the pair got locked in a standstill in the middle of the ring.