NAGOYA – Yokozuna Hakuho was all business against Shohozan on the second day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament Monday, edging closer in his bid to become only the third man in history to capture his 30th career championship.
Disaster, however, struck for Kisenosato when he was brought down like a ton of bricks for a first loss by technician Aminishiki, who had to wait for a judges’ ringside conference before being awarded the “gumbai” after it appeared he might have been disqualified for pulling his opponent’s topknot.
Sumo’s two other yokozuna, Harumafuji and Kakuryu, also came through unscathed to improve to 2-0 with dominant displays against Ikioi (0-2) and Aoiyama (0-2), respectively, at the 15-day meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
Hakuho got a bit testy as he wasn’t able to get inside for a grip on the mawashi when Shohozan (0-2) put up a fight in the early going. But he walloped his opponent for his insolence with a series of slaps to the face before wrenching him down with an overarm throw.
Hakuho is seeking his second consecutive title, a feat that would put him in the pantheon with yokozuna great Chiyonofuji, who had 31 before he retired, and the late legendary Taiho, who holds the all-time record with 32.
Back in the ring, Kisenosato (1-1) came lunging forward but his center of gravity was a bit too low as Aminishiki (1-1) grabbed the ozeki by the back of the head and pulled him to the dirt surface while teetering on the edge.
Relegation-threatened Kotoshogiku wasted little sweat on Yoshikaze (1-1), power-driving the No. 2 maegashira over the edge with his oversized belly. The ozeki, who improved to 2-0, must notch eight wins here to retain his rank.
Sekiwake Goeido got in the winner’s column for the first time with a textbook frontal force-out of Kaisei, who slipped to his second defeat.
In the lower echelon, ever-popular Endo was no match for former sekiwake Myogiryu (2-0), who buried his opponent in a maelstrom of slaps before crunching him over the edge to a second straight defeat.
Takekaze (1-1) saw off Osunaarashi, toppling the Egyptian-born rikishi over the straw bales to his first defeat.
No. 3 maegashira Osunaarashi, sumo’s first wrestler to hail from the African continent, will face all three yokozuna and the two ozeki in Nagoya.