Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho stayed firmly on track for a 28th Emperor’s Cup with a routine defeat of Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu on Wednesday, staying one win clear heading down the stretch at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho has looked invincible at this tournament and delivered another imperious display in the day’s finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan, quickly getting out of his crouch and taking out Kotooshu with a trademark uwatenage throw.
Hakuho improved to 11-0 and put a dent in Kotooshu’s hopes of a swift return to ozeki in the process. Kotooshu (6-5), who was demoted after he pulled out early on in the Kyushu Basho in November, now needs to win all four of his remaining bouts to regain his ozeki rank.
Ozeki Kakuryu kept up the pressure on Hakuho, moving into double-digit wins with a series of powerful neck thrusts to send out fourth-ranked maegashira Takekaze (5-6).
Ozeki Kisenosato (7-4), meanwhile, made it two wins in a row after back-to-back defeats, manhandling Goeido before shoving the sekiwake out to a sixth loss.
Kisenosato is wrestling for pride having squandered his second opportunity to win promotion to sumo’s ultimate rank of yokozuna with a handful of defeats to lower-ranked wrestlers.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku, meanwhile, moved within one win of retaining his rank with a force-out win against No. 5 maegashira Shohozan (8-3).
Popular No. 10 maegashira Endo remained two wins back, scoring an uwatenage overarm throw against 12th-ranked Georgian Gagamaru, who dropped to 6-5.
Egyptian-born Osunaarashi, a No. 16 maegashira, will have to wait another day for his first winning record in the top flight after being overpowered by eighth-ranked Tochinowaka. Both men have 7-4 marks.
Osunaarashi made a losing makuuchi division debut at the Kysuhu Basho in November, going 7-8.