Yokozuna Hakuho edged another step closer to his fourth consecutive Emperor’s Cup on Thursday with a routine win over ozeki Kotoshogiku on the 12th day of action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
The Mongolian maestro’s 11th victory at Ryogoku Kokugikan kept him one ahead of ozeki Kisenosato with three days remaining at the 15-day basho. Kisenosato (10-2) wrapped up the day’s action by sending yokozuna Harumafuji to a shock third defeat.
Harumafuji came back from the brink to power Kisenosato towards the edge of the ring, but the ozeki refused to throw in the towel and stayed in the hunt for the title by sending the Mongolian down with a “katasukashi” under-shoulder swing down.
Harumafuji dropped into a tie for third at 9-3 with ozeki Kakuryu and makuuchi division rookie Endo.
In the day’s penultimate match-up, Hakuho soaked up Kotoshogiku’s attack at the tachiai and bided his time before pulling away and yanking down the ozeki by the back of his neck to improve his record in their head-to-heads to 37-3.
Kakuryu had little trouble in dealing with Toyohibiki, getting both hands around the fourth-ranked maegashira’s shoulder and sending him tumbling to a seventh loss.
Kakuryu faces Hakuho on Friday with the odds stacked against him. Hakuho has won 28 of their previous 30 meetings at a grand tournament.
Earlier, Endo continued his impressive start to life in the top flight, forcing out 10th-ranked Tokushoryu (5-7).