Yokozuna promotion-chasing Harumafuji escaped sudden death against Okinoumi by the slimmest of margins Wednesday, but remained the sole undefeated wrestler on the 11th day of action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, rebounded from his previous day’s defeat to Tochiozan with a demolition of Goeido to stay one behind the ozeki at 10-1 along with veteran Kyokutenho. Kisenosato, however, fell to his second defeat at the hands of Aminishiki, leaving him in a trio including rival ozeki Kakuryu at 9-2.
Harumafuji, who won the Nagoya basho in July with a perfect 15-0 mark, took a big step torward locking up his promotion on his third bid for sumo’s highest rank.
In the day’s premier matchup, Harumafuji got his left hand on the outside of Okinoumi’s mawashi, but inadvertently let his opponent move inside with two arms for an advantage before having to think quick to turn the tables at the last second.
Okinoumi charged forward, only for Harumafuji to deploy a death-defying left-handed overarm throw while backpedaling and teetering on the straw bales. The gyoji awarded the gumbai to Harumafuji before ringside judges reviewed video confirming his victory.
Hakuho, aiming for his 23rd career title and first in three meets, quickly got his left hand on the outside of Goeido’s (6-5) mawashi for his favored right-leaning grip and ushered the sekiwake over in a matter of seconds in the day’s final bout.
Kyokutenho produced a spitting image of his playoff win to claim the summer basho title in May, swatting down Homasho (6-5) with his back to the edge to stay one behind Harumafuji.
But Kisenosato lost his way in the woods against Aminishiki (8-3), failing to get a grip on his opponent’s mawashi and was abruptly upended by the No. 4 maegashira to move back in the title race.
Kakuryu got his left hand on the outside of Kaisei’s (5-6) mawashi for a firm belt grip and dumped the Brazilian No. 1 maegashira to the clay surface.