OSAKA – Rising star Endo took a beating from Harumafuji in his first matchup against a yokozuna on the second day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
Both Harumafuji, who missed the entire New Year meet through injury, and Endo were in meditation mode while yokozuna Hakuho prepared to face Tamawashi in the penultimate bout. Once the pair entered the ring at Bodymaker Colosseum the sparks flew as yokozuna showed the youngster who was boss.
Promotion-chasing Kakuryu, meanwhile, pounded would-be challenger Shohozan with a series of beefy thrusts in a dominant display before smacking the komusubi forward to the dohyo surface for his second straight win.
The Mongolian-born ozeki, who was shaky in his opening bout against Endo on Sunday, has been tasked with winning the Osaka meet with at least 13 victories to be considered for sumo’s top rank.
Hakuho, who is gunning for his 29th career championship and second title in a row, was uncharacteristically slow at the tachiai and had to think quick as Tamawashi (0-2) moved in for the kill.
But he dumped the No. 1 maegashira with a hikiotoshi pull-down to move to 2-0.
No. 1 maegashira Endo, who has been promoted to the highest rank of his fledgling career, is being tested right out of the gate in his fourth straight basho in sumo’s top flight; he faced Kakuryu on the opening-day loss before his matchup with Harumafuji and will meet Hakuho for the first time Tuesday.
The 23-year-old is attempting to match former ozeki Musoyama by getting his first kinboshi (maegashira win over a yokozuna) in just his seventh tournament from his debut in March 2013.
Kisenosato, who is nursing an injured right toe, got out of jail free when he was brought to the brink of defeat at the hands of Tochiozan (1-1), dropping the sekiwake on the edge to move to 2-0.
The ozeki, who is facing relegation for the first time, is coming off a 7-8 mark at the New Year basho, where he failed badly in his second bid at yokozuna.
Fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku (1-1), who is struggling with a right shoulder injury, was the lone ozeki casualty as he was sent packing by Toyonoshima (1-1).
Goeido (2-0) got a boisterous cheer from his hometown fans after holding off Brazilian Kaisei (0-2) while teetering on the edge before dumping his bigger opponent with an underarm technique.
Bulgarian Kotooshu (1-1), fighting in his second tournament at sekiwake since his demotion from the second- highest rank following the Nagoya meet last November, was shown a quick exit by Okinoumi (1-1), who improved to 7-3 in career bouts against the former ozeki.
Early on, Egyptian Osunaarashi, sumo’s first African-born rikishi, got a firm grasp on Myogiryu’s (0-2) mawashi before pulling his opponent forward with an overarm throw to pick up a second win.