FUKUOKA – Yokozuna debutant Harumafuji got what proved to be a big break from an errant judge’s call, sending sekiwake Goeido to his first defeat as Hakuho took sole possession of the lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Yokozuna Hakuho improved his unbeaten slate to 9-0 with a blitzkrieg of Myogiryu (2-7), but it was Harumafuji whose bout turned controversial when Minezaki, one of the ringside judges, raised his hand to stop the first altercation after he thought the yokozuna’s foot had breached the barrier.
Replays later confirmed Harumafuji’s foot, although on top of the straw bales, had not stepped out while the pair grappled, and the yokozuna let loose with a salvo of hard thrusts to keep his opponent at bay after judges called for a rematch.
Once his attack had set the ball in motion, Harumafuji, who is seeking his third consecutive title, heaved the sekiwake over in a frontal force-out to move into a tie at 8-1 with Goeido and rank-and filer Toyonoshima, who he faces on Tuesday.
Goeido will have it tough again on the 10th day when he must battle Hakuho, who is aiming to win his first meet since the spring basho in March.
Bulgarian Kotooshu (6-3), who is trying to fight off demotion, moved within two of saving his rank when he sent Homasho (2-7) tumbling with an armlock throw.
The other kadoban ozeki, Kotoshogiku (6-3), came charging like a freight train at the tachiai against Shohozan (5-4), sending his fellow Fukuoka native backpedaling over the edge to also move within two of retaining his rank.
Ozeki Kisenosato picked up his seventh win without having to break a sweat after Bulgarian Aoiyama (6-3) pulled out earlier in the day with an injured knee.