Hakuho continued his march towards a 25th Emperor’s Cup with a routine win over Kitataiki on Wednesday, the fourth day of action at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
The Mongolian yokozuna was in imperious form in the day’s second-to-last bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, getting a vice-like right-handed grip on the No. 2 maegashira’s belt and calmly flooring him with a perfectly timed arm-lock throw.
Hakuho, who won the spring meet with a perfect 15-0 mark, features in an eight-way tie for the early lead at 4-0.
Fellow Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji was one win back after wrapping up the day’s action at the 15-day basho with an equally impressive win against Georgian maegashira Tochinoshin (0-4)
Tochinoshin tried to sidestep Harumafuji at the charge, but the grand champion read him like a book and took him out with an underarm throw to improve to 3-1.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku kept his place among the early front-runners, forcing out No. 3 maegashira Takarafuji, who returned to the locker room nursing an 0-4 mark.
Kakuryu was up next. He was quick on his feet and got himself out of a tight spot to see off resilient top-ranked maegashira Myogiryu (1-3).
Kisenosato came back from the brink in a match that finally got going after three false starts, disposing of winless komusubi Tochiozan with a textbook sukuinage beltless arm throw.
In another key matchup in the upper ranks, Bulgarian grappler Kotooshu ensured the ozeki rank scored another clean sweep, huffing and puffing his way past Estonian giant Baruto, who dropped to 2-2 after back-to-back losses.
Kotooshu is now halfway towards the eight wins he needs to stay at sumo’s second rank. He withdrew injured during the spring meet and is fighting relegation for the sixth time in his career.