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Harumafuji bounces back; Hakuho stays perfect

Kyodo

Harumafuji posted a morale-boosting third victory on Thursday to move back into the winning column at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Fellow Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho also won on the fifth day of action at Ryogoku Kokugikan and shares the lead at 5-0 with rank-and-filer Yoshikaze.

Kotooshu was the only major upset of the day and the Bulgarian ozeki dropped into a group of eight wrestlers at 4-1 at the 15-day basho.

Harumafuji’s form since being promoted to yokozuna has been erratic and his pride took a fresh hit on Wednesday when he was sentenced to a second defeat here at the hands of Bulgarian No. 2 maegashira Aoiyama.

But the Mongolian bounced back with a well-worked win, getting around the back of Takayasu (1-4) and bumping the komusubi out from behind.

In the day’s finale, tournament favorite Hakuho stayed on course for his 27th Emperor’s Cup and fourth in a row, denying Aoiyama another upset by flooring him with an under-shoulder swing-down technique.

Kotooshu was unable to capitalize after getting both hands on the back of Goeido’s belt and was forced into the splits on the sandy surface after an overarm throw by the sekiwake. Goeido is also 4-1.

In other bouts in the upper ranks, Kotoshogiku was made to work hard for his fourth victory, the ozeki huffing and puffing his way past winless No. 1 maegashira Ikioi (0-5).

Shohozan was left on all fours as ozeki Kakuryu (4-1) thrust the top-ranked maeagashira to the dirt, and Kisenosato (4-1) methodically worked Takarafuji (0-5) to the edge and finished the job with a powerful shove.

In the lower ranks, No. 8 maegashira Yoshikaze stayed perfect with an oshidashi frontal push-out win over 10th-ranked Shotenro (2-3), but Kyokutenho (4-1) ran out of steam and dropped out of a share of the lead when he was overpowered by fellow Mongolian Tokitenku (3-2).