Kotoshogiku displays strength in victory


Ozeki Kotoshogiku, pursuing a second straight championship and promotion to yokozuna, improved to 3-0 on Tuesday, the third day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Against an opponent he had routinely beaten in the past, Kotoshogiku needed two tries to overcome No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin. But he was never in danger of losing at Edion Arena Osaka, where all three yokozuna finished the day at 2-1 and all four ozeki remained perfect in the 15-day meet.

Kotoshogiku outmaneuvered his opponent on the tachiai and shoved him back to the straw. Tochinoshin dodged one bullet, slipping around the ozeki to mid-ring, but lost his footing when he was nearly thrown. From there, Kotoshogiku seized control and easily levered his man out to improve to 21-4 in their head-to-head matchups.

Yokozuna Hakuho surrendered a belt hold to Takayasu (0-3) but was in no trouble as he improved to 2-1 after an opening-day upset.

Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji could only offer an ineffectual slap against an opponent who outweighs him by 31 kg. Kotoyuki (1-2), a top-ranked maegashira, brushed aside the slap and delivered two blows to the throat before shoving him from the ring.

“I can’t even remember the instant of winning — all I can say is that I was so happy,” said Kotoyuki of his first career kinboshi, a victory by a rank-and-file wrestler over a yokozuna.

Kakuryu, followed Harumafuji to the raised ring and did well to avoid his compatriot’s fate.

It took a grueling 45-second effort, but Kakuryu improved to 2-1 against upset-minded Okinoumi. The No. 2 maegashira fended off numerous attacks, but was worn down at the end and felled by an overarm throw.

Kisenosato remained unbeaten by beating sekiwake Toyonoshima (1-2) for the 30th time in 39 career bouts.

Although the ozeki was unable to get a belt hold, Toyonoshima could make no headway either and was eventually maneuvered over the straw.

Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji overpowered komusubi Tochiozan to earn the third of the eight wins he needs here to retain his status in sumo’s second-highest rank after a losing record in January.

Goeido, the other kadoban ozeki facing demotion at this tournament, had zero trouble in his bout. Rocking sekiwake Yoshikaze (0-3) upward on the initial charge, Goeido, applied downward force and his man fell face first to the sandy surface.