FUKUOKA – Hakuho disposed of Myogiryu to inch closer to his 28th career title while Harumafuji made mincemeat out of Kyokutenho on the third day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
After three days at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, the two yokozuna lead a pack of seven wrestlers with 3-0 marks.
The ozeki trio of Kisenosato, Kotooshu and Kakuryu, meanwhile, fell like dominoes while Kotoshogiku, who pulled out earlier in the day with a torn right pectoral, completed a miserable day for sumo’s second-highest rank in his loss to Toyonoshima (2-1) by default.
Hakuho, who is four titles shy of tying yokozuna great Chiyonofuji’s mark of 31 and just five from the all-time record held by the late yokozuna Taiho, was economy in motion as he deftly absorbed Myogiryu’s attack in the final bout.
Hakuho stepped back and swatted the No. 6 maegashira after the initial charge before maneuvering his left hand around the mawashi and ushering his winless opponent out without incident.
Harumafuji, who had lost at least once over the first three days in his last four tournaments, is in his best form as of late as he aims to deny rival Hakuho his fifth consecutive championship.
The Mongolian wasted little time on Kyokutenho, power-driving his winless countryman over the edge in a frontal force-out.
Kisenosato drove technician Aminishiki (2-1) to the edge of the ring, only for his opponent to turn the tables at the last second as he grabbed the mawashi, circling around before scooping a leg and toppling him over to a first loss.
Bulgarian Kotooshu (1-2), who pulled out in September with a left-elbow injury and needs eight wins to keep his rank, was bulldozed over by komusubi Shohozan (1-2). A conference by ringside judges was called but replays clearly showed the ozeki’s foot broke the barrier first.
Kotooshu, apparently bothered by his left shoulder, was slow getting up.
Kakuryu, who is also struggling with injury, was the third ozeki to fall in succession, being quickly upended by Goeido, who improved to 3-0.
Endo, appearing in his second tournament in makuuchi after pulling out with an ankle injury in September, remained winless after he was sent off the surface when Ikioi (2-1) deployed an armlock maneuver.
On a brighter note, Osunaarashi, sumo’s first African-born wrestler, was all smiles after tossing juryo rikishi Chiyootori (1-2) for his first win in the elite class in the day’s opening bout. The Egyptian will face maegashira wrestler Tamawashi on Wednesday.
“I still have a long way to go but I’m relieved,” said Osunaarashi, who still relies mainly on raw strength against his opponents. “I was determined to win today no matter what. I was able to wrestle my sumo.”