Promotion-chasing Harumafuji barely broke sweat in yanking down Kaisei to make it four wins out of four at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
The ozeki formerly known as Ama, who won the Nagoya title in July with a spotless 15-0 record and is hoping to make it third time lucky in his bid to reach sumo’s ultimate rank of yokozuna, dismantled top-ranked maegashira Kaisei (1-3) at the charge and wasted no time in sending the Brazilian-born grappler to the dirt with a pulling overarm throw to retain his share of the lead.
On a day when Estonian bulldozer Baruto and fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku both dropped out of their fourth-day matches at the 15-day Tokyo basho through injury, Hakuho won handsomely to keep his place among a pacesetting pack of six wrestlers.
The lone yokozuna, seeking his 23rd Emperor’s Cup, was never in danger in the day’s last fight, wrapping up Russian No. 2 maegashira Aran (0-4) at the tachi-ai in a routine “yorikiri” win.
In other bouts in the upper echelons of the makuuchi division, ozeki Kisenosato made short work of winless Tochinoshin, shrugging off a neck thrust to quickly work the Georgian komusubi over the straw ridge and stay perfect.
Kyokutenho, Okinoumi and Takayasu are also won to improve to 4-0.
But Mongolian ozeki Kakuryu was bundled out to a first loss by popular maegashira Homasho, who improved to 3-1, and Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu also bit the dust after being muscled out to a second defeat at the hands of No. 1 maegashira Shohozan (1-3).
Earlier in the day, Baruto and Kotoshogiku withdrew and forfeited their scheduled bouts against Myogiyru and Gagamaru, respectively.
Baruto (1-3) re-injured a right toe in Tuesday’s loss to Gagamaru. It is the first time the former nightclub bouncer has pulled out of a tournament since the 2007 Nagoya basho and is his sixth withdrawal overall. He is expected to be out of action for a month.
“It’s my big toe,” said Baruto, who will be fighting with his ozeki status on the line at the Kyushu basho in November if he fails to rejoin this tournament and posts a losing record. “I hurt it before the start of the tournament. It has not healed at all. I can’t give it my all so I am pulling out.”
Kotoshogiku (2-2) hurt his left knee in Tuesday’s loss to Homasho and is expected to be out of action for a week.
It is the first time either has withdrawn since being promoted to ozeki.