FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho tipped over ozeki newbie Kotoshogiku to zero in on his 21st Emperor’s Cup on Thursday, while Kisenosato snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to get his promotion campaign back on track at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho silenced a boisterous home crowd rooting for Fukuoka-born Kotoshogiku, weathering a hard charge before countering to send the ozeki sprawling with a perfectly executed armlock throw.
Hakuho (12-0) moved three wins clear and can wrap up the title with two days of the 15-day meet to spare if he beats Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu on Friday at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Wakakoyu also lost and is tied at 9-3 with Kotoshogiku, Kisenosato, Aoiyama and Miyabiyama.
Aiming to bounce back from Wednesday’s defeat to Hakuho, Kisenosato looked to be in trouble as third-ranked Gagamaru (2-10) thrice had the sekiwake teetering on the straw bales.
But Gagamaru failed to complete the job when he botched an attempted throw and crumpled to the floor to hand Kisenosato victory.
In other bouts at the top, Mongolian sekiwake Kakuryu posted a winning record when he dodged Kotooshu (8-4) and sent him over the edge, while Harumafuji claimed ozeki bragging rights against Baruto (8-4), the Mongolian steamrolling the Estonian behemoth out with alarming ease for a seventh victory.
Komusubi Toyonoshima (8-4) stayed on his feet just long enough to beat Mongolian No. 2 maegashira Kyokutenho and post a majority of wins, including three over ozeki wrestlers in the first five days of the meet.