OSAKA – Eleventh-ranked Egyptian maegashira Osunaarashi kept pace with the yokozuna duo of Hakuho and Harumafuji with a seventh consecutive win at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.
Osunaarashi, sumo’s first wrestler from Africa, outsmarted 14th-ranked Masunoyama (4-3) after the tachiai and sent him to the dirt to maintain his perfect start as the first week of the 15-day basho wrapped up at Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka.
Osunaarashi, Hakuho and Harumafuji are in a three-way tie for first place at 7-0, followed by ozeki Kakuryu and sekiwake Goeido at 6-1.
Harumafuji, back in action after an injury-enforced absence at the New Year Basho, missed a chance to bump Takayasu (3-4) out after getting control of the back of his belt, but he kept his composure and surged forward to send the third-ranked maegashira flying into the ringside cushions.
Seeking his second consecutive championship and the 29th of his career, Hakuho was all business in the day’s finale, using an uwatedashinage pulling overarm throw to put down Brazilian-born No. 3 maegashira Kaisei (1-6).
Promotion-chasing Kakuryu had his hands full against Tochinowaka (2-5), but prevailed against the No. 2 maegashira.
Kakuryu will likely need to win the championship with at least 13 wins here to join Mongolian compatriots Hakuho and Harumafuji at the top rung of the sumo ladder.
In a match between wrestlers that started the day with 5-1 records, sekiwake Goeido scored an upset win over Kotoshogiku (5-2) when he took out the ozeki with a beltless arm throw.
Elsewhere, Kisenosato rebounded from back-to-back defeats with a routine victory over Toyonoshima (3-4), slamming the komusubi to the dirt with an armlock throw to improve to 5-2.
Kisenosato needs a minimum of eight wins here to save his rank after blowing his latest attempt to reach yokozuna and finishing 7-8 at the New Year Basho. He pulled out on the last day of the meet through injury.
Rising star Endo made it three wins in a row after an 0-4 start, quickly hauling down struggling Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu, who slumped to a sixth defeat.