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Triumphant ozeki provide no surprises

Kyodo

The top wrestlers held sway on the second day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday as the lone yokozuna and all six ozeki all walked off winners.

Yokozuna Hakuho weathered an animated charge from top maegashira Shohozan before flinging him down with an underarm throw at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Although the yokozuna had his back to the ring’s edge, he coolly handed his hyperactive foe a second defeat. Hakuho and five ozeki are currently undefeated. Estonian Baruto, a first-day loser, evened his record at 1-1.

Harumafuji, who is making his third bid for yokozuna promotion, made quick work of Aran, getting the drop on the Russian No. 2 maegashira on the tachiai. The Mongolian ozeki pushed Aran back, stood him up, locked on to the back of his belt with both hands and efficiently hoisted his opponent over the straw bales. Aran fell to 0-2.

Ozeki Kakuryu defeated Goeido, slapping him down to his second loss after chasing the sekiwake around the ring in a high-energy shoving and thrusting melee.

Kotooshu fended off an energetic, if unimaginative, attack from Gagamaru. The ozeki easily seized a belt hold, preventing the Georgian No. 2 maegashira from making inroads with his bulk before twisting his 212-kg opponent down with an underarm throw. Gagamaru fell to 0-2.

Baruto had little trouble with Aoiyama (0-2), who fell to his second loss.

Also Monday, Maegashira Wakanosato earned on his 800th career victory, ranking him second among active wrestlers in Japan’s ancient sport of sumo.

Although the 36-year-old said he was not the least focused on numbers, the idea of joining an elite group had its appeal.

“When I heard that only 10 men in history had reached that figure, I felt like I wanted to be among them,” he said after forcing out Takarafuji on the second day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

“A win is a win, but getting a win from pushing forward gives you a good feeling,” said the Aomori native, who has 565 of his wins in the elite makuuchi division.

The only active wrestler with more wins is Mongolian maegashira Kyokutenho, who has 806.