FUKUOKA – Hakuho sent out Kyokutenho in clinical fashion and fellow yokozuna Harumafuji also won handsomely as both Mongolian yokozuna improved to 4-0 to remain in a tie for the lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
On a day when Kotooshu became the second ozeki to withdraw from the tournament owing to injury, Hakuho continued to look a strong bet to hoist his 28th Emperor’s Cup, slipping free of Kyokutenho (0-4) and muscling his countryman over the bales for a textbook fourth win.
Harumafuji wrapped up the day’s action with a clever piece of skill, getting down low against Toyonoshima (2-2) and pulling the No. 2 maegashira’s right leg from under him for a “watashikomi” win.
Hakuho and Harumafuji are tied with four other wrestlers for the early lead.
At ozeki, Kakuryu (2-2) emerged victorious from a slugfest against veteran maegashira Aminishiki (2-2), and Kisenosato (3-1) also bounced back from defeat to post a force-out win over Okinoumi (2-2).
Earlier in the day, Kotooshu withdrew with a dislocated left shoulder. He dropped to 3-1 after losing his scheduled match with Myogiryu by default. More worryingly, the Bulgarian looks set to lose his ozeki rank after 47 tournaments at sumo’s second-highest rank.
Failure to rejoin the tournament — unlikely given that he is expected to need four weeks of treatment — and a losing record will result in Kotooshu being demoted to sekiwake for the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in January.
“He (Kotooshu) is determined to keep wrestling (in Kyushu) and if he can get rid of the pain we can discuss that,” said Sadogatake, Kotooshu’s stablemaster.
“Even if he can’t come back and drops to sekiwake, I will make him train hard and try to get 10 wins (and promotion back to ozeki) at the next tournament.”
Kotooshu, who came into the Kyushu Basho needing to post a minimum of eight wins to keep his ozeki rank, injured the shoulder in a defeat against komusubi Shohozan on Tuesday.
He is fighting to save his rank here for the seventh time having pulled out of the last tourney with a hamstring injury.
Fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku pulled out Tuesday with a torn right pectoral muscle.
Back on the raised ring, Endo, appearing in his second tournament in makuuchi after withdrawing with an ankle injury in September, picked up his first win, shoving out Tokitenku to leave both men at 1-3.
Osunaarashi, sumo’s first African-born wrestler, dropped to 1-3 on his debut in the top flight after he was charged out of the ring by 11th-ranked Tamawashi (2-2).
Osunaarashi had posted his first win of the tournament on Tuesday, although it came against juryo rikishi Chiyootori.