OSAKA – Yokozuna Harumafuji crashed and burned to a third defeat at the hands of Toyonoshima as the second week of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament kicked off Sunday.
His rival Hakuho, meanwhile, was an indomitable force, stopping local boy Ikioi in his tracks to widen his lead in his bid for his 24th career title with an 8-0 record. Eight rikishi, including ozeki Kotoshogiku, sekiwake duo Baruto and Goeido, and rank-and-filer Toyonoshima are two behind the sole leader at 6-2.
Harumafuji never left the gate in a listless bout against Toyonoshima, who barreled into the yokozuna and upended him into the ringside seats with a hard elbow to the head.
It was an all but fatal loss for Harumafuji, who won the New Year Basho with a perfect 15-0 mark.
“I’m happy,” said Toyonoshima, who got his second career kinboshi. The No. 4 maegashira, a former sekiwake, faces Hakuho on Monday.
“I just tried to attack hard and keep moving forward. I’ll go all out tomorrow, too,” he said.
In the day’s finale, Hakuho got his left hand on the front of Ikioi’s (2-6) mawashi and perfectly timed an overarm throw to dump his opponent to the dirt surface.
Kakuryu (5-3) snapped a two-bout losing skid, punishing Georgian Tochinoshin (3-5) with a left-right alternating throat grab before ousting his opponent into the ringside seats. Kotoshogiku overpowered Tokitenku (2-6) in a frontal forceout.
Osaka native Goeido raised the roof in front of a full house at Bodymaker Colosseum, responding to calls of “Goeido, Goeido!” from a partisan crowd to overpower ozeki Kisenosato, who slipped to an unflattering 4-4 mark.
Kisenosato appeared to have the upper hand when he pushed the sekiwake to the edge, but Goeido held off a feckless charge and got an ironclad grip on the ozeki’s mawashi before countering to muscle him over the straw bales.
Baruto, who had to press the restart button after his failed bid to return to ozeki in January, blasted out Tochiozan (3-5) after getting his right hand around for an outside grip on his opponent’s mawashi.