Ozeki Kisenosato took a big step forward in his second bid at yokozuna promotion with a manhandling of Chiyotairyu to remain one off the pace at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, remained in destruction mode as he dispensed with Okinoumi in the day’s finale to maintain a share of the early lead at 3-0 with sekiwake Goeido and rank-and-filer Shohozan at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Chiyotairyu, who lost to Kisenosato in November but played a big role in ruining the ozeki’s first promotion bid by dumping him to a second defeat at last year’s Nagoya basho, never fazed his opponent as it was Kisenosato from start to finish.
The ozeki calmly thwarted a fierce charge from the winless No. 2 maegashira before getting his favored hidari-yotsu (left hand inside, right hand out) grip in place to heave him over the straw bales. Kisenosato has been given a rough mandate of winning the tournament with no fewer than 13 wins to gain promotion to the highest rank.
Hakuho, who is aiming for his 28th career title and first in two meets, gave Okinoumi (2-1) a sumo clinic as he got his right around before switching his left hand for and under-handed inside grip and grinding the top-ranked maegashira over the ridge.
Demotion-threatened Kotoshogiku was the only one of sumo’s second-highest rank to bite the dust as he was sent toppling to a second defeat at the hands of Toyonoshima, who beat Kisenosato on the opening day of the 15-day meet.
The Sadogatake ozeki must notch eight wins to retain his rank.
Goeido, who is hoping to get his bid at ozeki promotion rekindled, stayed among the front-runners after sending winless Aminishiki packing with a burst of thrusts.
Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu, who needs 10 wins to regain his ozeki status, swatted down countryman Aoiyama (1-2) to pick up a second win when his No. 3 maegashira opponent lunged forward immediately after the tachiai.
Endo, who due to his fiery brand of sumo has become a favorite among fans in his third tournament in the elite makuuchi division, used his upper body as leverage against Chiyootori (1-2) before administering a powerful underarm throw for his second win.
Osunaarashi (2-1), the first Egyptian-born wrestler, won an oxygen-depleting bout against Satoyama (2-1) in the day’s opening match, grappling his opponent down by yoritaoshi after three minutes, 11 seconds.