Mongolian ozeki Harumafuji put on a sumo clinic Thursday, showing neat footwork and taking out Tochinoshin in style to stay on track for promotion after five rounds at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Harumafuji, making a third bid for a move up to sumo’s top rank of yokozuna, was all business at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, knocking Tochinoshin off balance at the charge and finishing the winless komusubi from Georgia off with force to cement his place among the leading pack.
Harumafuji, who won the Nagoya title in July with a flawless 15-0 mark, shares the lead with compatriot and lone yokozuna Hakuho, ozeki Kisenosato, and maegashira wrestlers Kyokutenho, Takayasu and Okinoumi.
Gunning for his first title since March, tournament favorite Hakuho needed to do little more than flex his muscles in the day’s final bout, slapping up Bulgarian komusubi Aoiyama and quickly sending him to a fifth consecutive loss.
Kisenosato outpsyched Gagamaru (2-3) at the charge and stopped the Georgian in his tracks before sliding him back over the dirt and out over the bales for a convincing win.
Veteran No. 11 maegashira Kyokutenho, who pulled off a surprise championship win at the Summer Basho in May only to fall apart in Nagoya with a 2-13 mark, stayed perfect a third of the way through the meet thanks to a force-out win over 16th-ranked Czech-born maegashira Takanoyama (1-4).
Ninth-ranked Takayasu took out fellow rank-and-filer Daido (2-3) to also keep his slate clean. Okinoumi forced out Masunoyama (2-3).
In other bouts of note, Mongolian ozeki Kakuryu outlasted Russian maegashira Aran to rebound from his first loss Wednesday, but Kotooshu failed to capitalize on a strong start and crashed to a third straight loss when he was floored by third-ranked Toyonoshima (2-3), hurting his shoulder in the process.
There are only four ozeki wrestlers left fighting in this tournament after Estonian behemoth Baruto and Kotoshogiku withdrew on Wednesday due to injury. That number could be reduced to three as Kotooshu looked to be in some discomfort and was clutching his right arm after his defeat.
His stablemaster Sadogatake said he would decide on Friday whether the Bulgarian bruiser, who went to hospital to have the shoulder looked at, would be fit to fight on, but said the shoulder was not dislocated.
Toyonoshima expressed concern for the ozeki’s condition.
“Is the ozeki OK?” he asked reporters. “I got the feeling he hit the ring pretty hard.”
Goeido was tipped over to a shock defeat by Brazilian magaeshira Kaisei, leaving both men at 2-3, but Myogiru restored pride for sumo’s third-highest rank of sekiwake, slapping down No. 1 maegashira Shohozan (1-4) to stay in touch with the front-running pack at 4-1.