NAGOYA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho shot down ozeki Kotoshogiku to close in on his 26th Emperor’s Cup at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.
Hakuho improved to 12-0 and can clinch the title Friday with a win, coupled with a defeat for Bulgarian maegashira Aoiyama, who is two wins back at 10-2 with three days remaining at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
On Friday, Hakuho is up against Kotooshu while Aoiyama faces Takayasu.
Hakuho oozed class in the day’s penultimate bout, smothering Kotoshogiku’s (7-5) attempted attacks and setting himself up for victory with a textbook overarm throw.
He extended his consecutive wins streak to 42, having won the last two tournaments with flawless 15-0 marks, but seemed to be in pain as he stepped down from the raised ring.
No. 9 maegashira Aoiyama kept his slim title hopes alive after a slap-down win over third-ranked Chiyotairyu (7-5) moved him into double digits.
Elsewhere, Harumafuji, who has been the target of criticism for his lack of success as yokozuna, had to dig deep to see off fellow Mongolian Kakuryu to post a winning record. Ozeki Kakuryu dropped to 7-5.
Kisenosato, whose hopes for yokozuna promotion were extinguished with three early losses here, secured ozeki bragging rights when he broke out of a mid-ring stalemate and landed on top of Kotooshu in the front row seats following a backward force-down. Both are 9-3.
Twelfth-ranked Brazilian Kaisei was muscled out to his second straight loss by Okinoumi and dropped to 9-3.
Okinoumi secured a majority of wins.