OSAKA – Veteran ozeki Kisenosato stayed in pole position for his first career championship by maintaining his perfect record on Friday, the sixth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
Kisenosato, long looked upon as the top Japanese hope to rise to the highest rank of yokozuna, improved to 6-0 with a clinical win over komusubi Tochiozan (1-5) at Edion Arena Osaka. Kisenosato coolly received his opponent’s charge, seized control and steered Tochiozan to the straw, where the komusubi buckled backward under pressure.
The victory kept Kisenosato in a tie for the lead with No. 4 maegashira Ikioi.
Yokozuna Hakuho shoved out sekiwake Toyonoshima (1-5) to stay one win back of the leading duo. The win improved Hakuho’s one-sided career record against his opponent to 31-2.
The second member of the Mongolian yokozuna triumvirate, Harumafuji, suffered his second setback of the Spring Basho, losing to sekiwake Yoshikaze (2-4). The yokozuna had the advantage but lost his balance with the slightest of taps from his opponent and then collapsed when his heavily strapped right knee gave away.
Yokozuna Kakuryu was forced to fight hard to earn his fifth win, but levered No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin to the straw before forcing out the Georgian.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku (5-1) defeated No. 3 maegashira Aoiyama (3-3) for the fifth straight time.
Fellow ozeki Terunofuji fell to his second defeat, well handled and forced out in a skillful display by popular top-ranked maegashira Kotoyuki (3-3).
“It was tough, but I did my best. The most important thing is that I stick to my kind of sumo,” said Kotoyuki, who has also defeated Harumafuji this past week.
Another kadoban ozeki wrestling with his rank on the line in Osaka, Goeido improved to 5-1 with a frowned-upon “henka” maneuver at the tachiai, stepping to the side of Takayasu to gain the advantage before twisting the No. 1 maegashira down to his sixth loss.
Ikioi retained his share of the lead by seeing off komusubi Takarafuji for just the fifth time in their 13 career bouts. Takarafuji, whose only win came against Hakuho on the first day, put up little resistance to Ikioi, who is looking to return to the sport’s upper echelon after wrestling as a komusubi in January.
Mongolian No. 11 maegashira Ichinojo, who began the day in a three-way tie for the lead, fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when he was shoved out by 14th-ranked Daiesho (4-2).