FUKUOKA – Yokozuna debutant Harumafuji got back to basics Tuesday, rebounding from his loss the previous day with a quick-fire win against Tochiozan on the third day of action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho, meanwhile, perfectly timed a takeout maneuver of Okinoumi in the day’s final bout to headline a group of eight wrestlers, including ozeki Kisenosato, with the early lead at 3-0 as he bids for his first Emperor’s Cup in three meets.
Harumafuji had a reality check on Monday, falling to his first defeat at sumo’s highest rank at the hands of Okinoumi, and dropping his second in a row was not an option as he aims for his third consecutive title at the 15-day Kyushu Basho.
The Mongolian dynamo hit Tochiozan (1-2) with a swift smack to the face at the tachiai before getting a left hand inside to bulldoze his opponent over the edge.
Harumafuji, who saw his 32-bout winning streak snapped by Okinoumi when he hesitated out of the gate Monday, improved to 7-6 in bouts against Tochiozan.
Yokozuna Hakuho was more tactical as he placed his left hand over Okinoumi’s (1-2) extended right following a short exchange of shoves. He waited to switch hand positions for a firm grapple under the armpits before ushering his opponent out.
In other key ozeki bouts, Kisenosato made quick work of winless Homasho in a frontal force-out, Kakuryu (2-1) sent ozeki-killer Shohozan sprawling over the edge with a rear toppling throw, and Kotooshu (2-1) got his right hand on the top of Tochinoshin’s (1-2) mawashi before escorting his opponent out.
Kotoshogiku (2-1) knocked Brazilian Kaisei (0-3) off balance with a series of powerful shoves before sending him toppling to the clay surface with an overarm throw. Both Kotooshu and Kotoshogiku are facing demotion from sumo’s second-highest rank and must win eight wins to save their ranks.
Estonian Baruto pulled out earlier in the day with a left thigh injury, all but condemning him to a drop to sekiwake for the New Year Basho in January. His opponent for Tuesday, sekiwake Goeido, improved to 3-0.