FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho came roaring back to gobble up ozeki Kotoshogiku on Thursday and moved two wins clear at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament after yokozuna champion debutant Harumafuji was condemned to another upset defeat.
Stunned by Kotooshu the previous day, Hakuho locked up Kotoshogiku (7-5) after the charge and finished the ozeki off with a textbook underarm throw to move to 11-1 with three days left in the 15-day meet at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Hakuho, seeking his 23rd Emperor’s Cup and first championship since March’s Spring Basho, is two wins clear of fellow Mongolian Harumafuji, ozeki Kisenosato and three others.
Harumafuji, making his debut at sumo’s top rank after winning the last two tournaments with spotless 15-0 records, landed on his arm before Myogiryu came crashing down beside him over the straw ridge. The sekiwake was correctly awarded the win after a “mono-ii,” a discussion held by the ringside judges when the referee’s decision for a bout is called into question.
Kisenosato proved to be an immovable object and registered an upper-arm forceout win over Masunoyama to improve to 9-3. Fourth-ranked Masunoyama dropped to 5-7.
Fifteenth-ranked Chiyotairyu was yanked down to a third defeat by No. 7 maegashira Aran (8-4).
“I’m happy,” said Aran. “Since before the tournament, I have been trying to get forward and attack more and have been trying to use new techniques. I’ll keep giving it my best shot.”
Former ozeki Kotomitsuki, who was expelled in 2007 for betting on baseball games, on Thursday received a settlement offer from the Japan Sumo Association, whom he is suing.
The wrestler, whose real name is Keiji Tamiya, is suing the JSA for unfair dismissal and seeking the restoration of his status as an ozeki, the sport’s second highest rank.
Although the monetary amount of the settlement at Tokyo District Court was not made public, Tamiya’s side said the money was not an issue.
“Their offer was a good one, and the court recognized this,” Tamiya’s attorney said. “However, what Tamiya is seeking is not money but his return to the sumo association.”
Another hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 21.