NAGOYA – Yokozuna Hakuho swatted away Myogiryu to retain his share of the lead among six undefeated wrestlers on the fifth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.
Each of the six wrestlers at sumo’s second-highest rank of ozeki won, while three in the lower echelon of the elite makuuchi class stayed even with Hakuho and the ozeki duo Harumafuji and Baruto at 5-0 in the 15-day meet.
Hakuho, aiming for his 23rd career title and first in two meets, stunned Myogiryu with a right shoulder to the head at the face-off to send the komusubi off-balance, then smacked his opponent’s head forward for a quick takedown.
Normally preferring a right-sided inside grip, it was the third day in a row the yokozuna deployed a smackdown technique.
Harumafuji, winner of last year’s Nagoya Basho, got his left hand in deep on Okinoumi and thwarted the winless wrestler’s armlock attempt before upending him over the straw bales.
Baruto momentarily appeared in trouble when he was knocked laterally off-balance by technician Aminishiki (1-4), but the Estonian big man recovered nicely to drill the No. 1 maegashira out to remain among the leaders.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku (4-1) condemned summer basho winner Kyokutenho to his fifth straight loss, getting his left hand on the front of the mawashi while hanging his right over his opponent’s shoulder to shove the Mongolian over in a matter of seconds.
Kyokutenho, who became the oldest in the modern sumo era to win his first career Emperor’s Cup, has been beaten by the best, losing to Hakuho and four ozeki wrestlers, thus far.
Ozeki Kisenosato (4-1) rebounded from his loss to Aminishiki the previous day, attempting a left-handed inside grip at the tachiai against Toyonoshima (1-4) before deciding to finish off his man with a series of thrusts.
Wakakoyu (2-3) was a handful for Mongolian ozeki Kakuryu, who used a last-gasp underarm throw with his back to the edge to escape for a narrow victory, improving his mark to 3-2.
In the first top division matchup between Bulgarian wrestlers, underclassman Aoiyama (1-4) didn’t have a prayer against ozeki Kotooshu (4-1), who got his left hand in for an outside grapple before tackling his countryman to the clay surface.
Rank-and-filers Masunoyama, Chiyotairyu and Daido each improved to 5-0 in their respective bouts, against Ikioi (3-2), Sadanofuji (1-4), and Tamawashi (1-4), impressing to stay in a share of the lead.
Winless skinny man Takanoyama had not a chance in hell against the burly Miyabiyama (3-2), who came flying out of the crouch with a relentless thrusting attack that sent the 100-kilogram Czech flailing around the ring before he was dumped over the edge.