Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho made short work of Okinoumi, but Japanese ozeki pair Kotoshogiku and Kisenosato both tasted defeat at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
The scariest moment of the day, however, was when gyoji (referee) Shozaburo Kimura took a nasty spill in ozeki Baruto’s bout against Wakakoyu and was left unconscious at ringside before he had to be carted out of the auditorium on a stretcher by sumo officials.
After the bizarre accident which left sumo fans with looks of concerned silence, Hakuho remained in a share of the lead at 4-0 with ozeki trio Kotooshu, Baruto and Harumafuji, as well as sekiwake Kakuryu and maegashira Asasekiryu.
Kotoshogiku had one false start against Aminishiki (1-3) and flubbed his lines on the second asking as he was sent backpedaling from the ring to his second loss while Kisenosato never got rolling in his bout with Toyonoshima (2-2), the sekiwake deftly darting about the ring before shoving the ozeki to a first loss at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Hakuho, who is seeking his third straight title and 22nd overall, was business as usual with Okinoumi, dragging the winless No. 2 maegashira to the dirt surface after one strike.
“This has never happened before in sumo. I guess things like this can happen,” said Hakuho, referring to referee Shozaburo, who later was revealed to have suffered a concussion. “I hope he is okay. He is a referee from my stable’s group. I wasn’t influenced by that, though, because I have to perform my best for the fans,” he said.
Baruto came charging out of the crouch and knocked winless Wakakoyu on top of Shozaburo, who appeared to hit his head after falling from the raised ring.
Kotooshu knocked the daylights out of Goeido (0-4), the Bulgarian ozeki using his longer arms effectively in a flurry of thrusts to send his opponent sprawling in seconds.