FUKUOKA – Yokozuna Hakuho preserved his one-win advantage on Wednesday despite crashing to a shock first defeat at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Yokozuna debutant Harumafuji slipped to a second loss at the hands of Fukuoka-born ozeki Kotoshogiku, but Hakuho was unable to capitalize in the day’s finale against Kotooshu at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Hakuho, who has not won a championship since March, looked in trouble early against Kotooshu, and the Bulgarian ozeki persevered to force out the Mongolian and get an eighth win that ensured him a place at sumo’s second rank for the next tournament in January.
Hakuho leads with a 10-1 record, while Harumafuji and rank-and-filer Chiyotairyu are 9-2.
Kotoshogiku, like Kotooshu, started the tournament with his ozeki rank on the line and needing eight wins. He scored his seventh with a quickfire victory over Harumafuji, slapping down the Mongolian at the charge.
After suffering back-to-back losses against Harumafuji and Hakuho, Goeido (8-3) was handed a painful third defeat in a row. The sekikwake lost momentum and allowed top-ranked maegashira Tochiozan (8-3) the space to launch a counterattack and send him sprawling to the sandy surface.
In an earlier matchup between two wrestlers starting the day two wins off the pace, 15th-ranked Chiyotairyu smothered Toyonoshima (8-3) with both hands to the face at the charge and hauled the No. 6 maegashira down to score his ninth win.
Mongolian veteran No. 6 maegashira Kyokutenho (8-3), surprise winner of the summer basho in May, moved to seventh alongside Akinoshima on the all-time wins list with 822 after easily taking out 16th-ranked Tamawashi (6-5).
Local favorite Shohozan, a No. 2 maegashira, overpowered Homasho (2-9) to move to 7-4.