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Harumafuji slips to second defeat as Hakuho cruises at autumn basho

Kyodo

One faulty start from an overzealous Harumafuji was all Aoiyama needed to send the yokozuna to his second defeat on the fourth day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

In stark contrast, fellow yokozuna Hakuho, aiming for his 27th career Emperor’s Cup, ripped down another would-be opponent in the form of Okinoumi (2-2) in the day’s penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Hakuho shares the early lead at 4-0 with ozeki Kotooshu and rank-and-filers Yoshikaze and Kyokutenho.

Things went drastically wrong for Harumafuji as he made one false start in the day’s finale against the Bulgarian goliath.

The yokozuna momentarily moved inside once the bout got under way, but the bigger man pressed forward with his sledgehammer arms to propel Harumafuji into the ringside seats.

“I have no words,” said a teary-eyed Aoiyama. “My everyday efforts have paid off. I’m really happy. I don’t remember much (of what happened), but I was able to hit the yokozuna and keep moving.”

Hakuho was poetry in motion as he smoothly switched positions from a left-handed outside grip to get his favored right hand around the mawashi for a sure-fire frontal takeout, improving to 9-0 lifetime against the No. 2 maegashira.

Two ozeki wrestlers fell in succession before Kisenosato beat up youngster Ikioi, and Kotooshu escaped with a win against Myogiryu by the slimmest of margins to stay in tie for the lead.

Goeido (3-1) got the jump on Kotoshogiku with a left-handed grip on his opponent’s mawashi and charged full speed ahead to knock him out of a tie for the lead while improving his career record to 14-10 against the Sadogatake ozeki.

Tochiozan was the quicker man out of the crouch, beating back Kakuryu in a lopsided affair to send the ozeki to his first loss of the 15-day meet while earning his first win. A constant thorn in Kakuryu’s side, the komusubi is now 15-14 in his career against the ozeki.

Kisenosato (3-1) rebounded from the previous day”s loss to Okinoumi, showing winless Ikioi the exit in a textbook frontal force-out maneuver.

Bulgarian Kotooshu got hemmed up on the edge and had to do a balancing act before deploying an overarm throw that sent Myogiryu toppling onto his head. Ringside judges called for a conference, but the gyoji’s initial call was upheld in favor of Kotooshu.

Earlier, 39-year-old veteran Kyokutenho gave another vintage performance as he muscled out Tokushoryu (2-2).