Harumafuji kept his eyes firmly fixed on the prize at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, a routine win over Goeido keeping the rugged Mongolian ozeki on course for back-to-back titles and promotion to sumo’s ultimate rank of yokozuna.
Harumafuji, who is making his third attempt at yokozuna after going unbeaten en route to the championship in the Nagoya Basho in July, improved to 12-0 and maintained his slender lead over Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho, who is alone in second place at 11-1 with three days remaining in the 15-day Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Ozeki pair Kisenosato and Kakuryu are a further win back with veteran Kyokutenho and maegashira Takayasu both at 10-2.
Harumafuji, meanwhile, needed to dodge a bullet to keep his run going in Wednesday’s win over Okinoumi, but the wrestler formerly known as Ama was back in total control against Goeido (6-6) at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The Mongolian kept Goeido at bay with three hard slaps to the face and finished the job in style with a two-handed shove to improve to 13-6 against the sekiwake.
Hakuho, seeking his 23rd title, was even more impressive in the day’s last bout and left sekiwake Myogiryu (8-4) seeing stars after flooring him at the tachi-ai with a power-packed shoulder charge.
Elsewhere, Kisenosato had to dig deep into his energy reserves but returned to winning ways after Wednesday’s shock defeat to Aminishiki, the surly ozeki flattening fourth-ranked Toyohibiki (5-7) to move into double digits.
Kakuryu was also at 10-2 after plowing fifth-ranked Tochiozan (7-5) into the front row.
Surprise Summer Basho champion Kyokutenho saw his title hopes dealt a hammer blow after he was condemned to his second defeat, ninth-ranked Takayasu.
Takayasu got a firm right-handed grip on the side of the 38-year-old Mongolian’s belt and drove him over the edge.