Yokozuna Hakuho extended his perfect head-to-head record against struggling No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin to 16 wins with another commanding performance at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.
But on a day of upsets in the upper ranks at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Harumafuji’s tournament took another hit with his second defeat of the meet, an embarrassing loss to previously winless komusubi Tochiozan, and fell two wins off the pace.
Hakuho (5-0) barely broke sweat in the day’s last match and cemented his place among a leading quartet a third of the way through the 15-day basho, taking Tochinoshin (0-5) down with a trademark overarm throw.
Hakuho shares the lead with ozeki Kisenosato, Kakuryu and rank-and-filer Aoiyama. A group of eight wrestlers are tied for second at 4-1.
Hakuho, who came into the Summer Basho on the back of a perfect 15-0 showing at the March tournament, is unbeaten in seven meetings with Okinoumi, his next opponent on Friday.
Chief rival and compatriot Harumafuji, however, looked lost against Tochiozan, who felt he should have already picked up a win before facing the yokozuna.
“I have been wrestling OK, but my performances have not led to victories,” said Tochiozan. “It feels good to finally win.”
Relegation-threatened Kotooshu became the first ozeki to taste defeat here in a shock defeat to top-ranked maegashira Myogiryu (2-3).
“I was able to wrestle my brand of sumo. I just went all out for it,” said Myogiryu,” who also upset Harumafuji on Monday.
Kotoshogiku was next to hit the dirt when he was sent onto his belly from a rear throw down by sekiwake Goeido (4-1).
“I pulled back for a moment but my movement was good after that,” said Goeido. “I am doing okay (so far) but not getting ahead of myself. I am just taking each bout as it comes.”
Kakuryu sent second-ranked maegashira Kitataiki flying to stop the rot for the ozeki rank, and Kisenosato followed suit to dispose of No. 1 rank-and-filer Aminishiki (0-5) with minimal fuss.
Estonian sekiwake Baruto pulled Okinoumi around like a rag doll and dumped him to the clay as he bounced back from consecutive losses to move to 3-2. Okinoumi has yet to win on his debut at sumo’s fourth rank of komusubi.
In an earlier bout, Bulgarian No. 4 maegashira Aoiyama kept his unbeaten start in tact in impressive fashion, unleashing a flurry of slaps and thrusts before yanking down third-ranked Takarafuji (0-5).