FUKUOKA – New yokozuna Harumafuji eased to his third win of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament by beating No. 2 maegashira Shohozan on Wednesday.
Harumafuji is quickly making everyone forget about his second-day loss to Okinoumi as the Mongolian stayed perfect in three career bouts against Shohozan (2-2), who tumbled to defeat after a slap-fest in the center of the ring.
Yokozuna Hakuho, seeking his first title since the March tourney in Osaka, was one of six wrestlers at 4-0 in the year’s final basho after outclassing hapless Kaisei, who dropped to 0-4.
Ozeki Kisenosato was among the unbeaten six, sending lead maegashira Tochiozan (1-3) to his third consecutive defeat while sekiwake Goeido also rolled to win No. 4 by thumping komusubi Aminishiki (1-3).
No. 6 Toyonoshima came out ahead in a matchup of the undefeated, scoring a hikiotoshi win against 10th-ranked Ikioi.
On-the-ropes ozeki Kotoshogiku improved to 3-1 with his third straight win, ushering Okinoumi (1-3) out of bounds to beat the top-ranked maegashira for the fifth time in six meetings.
Fellow ozeki Kakuryu and Kotooshu also stood at 3-1 with wins over Homasho (0-4) and Takekaze (2-2), respectively.
Kakuryu was made to work for his third consecutive victory over winless komusubi Homasho, while Kotooshu continued to own No. 3 Takekaze, improving to 15-5 for his career against the Oguruma wrestler as the Bulgarian tries to keep his place at sumo’s second-highest rank with a winning record at this meet.
The basho is taking place without demotion-threatened ozeki Baruto, who withdrew from the tournament Tuesday due to a muscle strain in the inside of his left thigh.
Baruto’s stablemaster Onoe said it is highly unlikely that the 28-year-old Estonian will be able to return to the Kyushu meet, all but ensuring he will be demoted to sekiwake for the New Year tournament in January.
The Onoe stable submitted the medical certificate to the Japan Sumo Association the same day. Baruto will need at least three weeks to treat the injury.