OSAKA – Ozeki Kisenosato maintained his perfect record with a convincing win over No. 2 maegashira Okinoumi on Saturday, staying in the lead alongside No. 4 maegashira Ikioi after the seventh day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
Seeking his first career championship, Kisenosato (7-0) had a solid bout over Okinoumi (1-6) as he charged low off the tachiai, grabbed an underarm belt hold with his left hand and grappled his opponent out, leaving him no room to counter.
Fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku, in the hunt for a second straight championship that could potentially see him promoted to yokozuna, survived a scare to keep that dream alive against boyhood friend Toyonoshima.
Toyonoshima, the only one to beat Kotoshogiku in the January tourney, was close to another win as the sekiwake forced the ozeki back to the straw bales. But Kotoshogiku managed to stay in and made a last-ditch thrust down with his left arm that turned Toyonoshima over.
There were no upsets in the upper echelons as all three Mongolian yokozuna and the two other ozeki came away unscathed. Yokozuna Kakuryu (6-1) was on the back foot against a tricky opponent in sekiwake Yoshikaze (2-5), but calmly slapped down the counterpart, who awkwardly fell forward.
Hakuho (6-1) continued to make easy prey of Tochinoshin (1-6) as he quickly seized a left overarm belt before forcing the No. 2 maegashira out to improve to 22-0 against the Georgian.
The win was the 964th of Hakuho’s career, tying him for third on the all-time list.
Harumafuji (5-2) thrust out both his arms and pushed No. 3 maegashira Aoiyama’s head backward before forcing the Bulgarian (3-4) off the ring.
Ozeki Goeido (6-1) was untroubled against Aminishiki (4-3), pushing the veteran out within a matter of seconds after the No. 3 maegashira failed in a half-hearted attempt to pull the ozeki down.
Terunofuji (5-2) overcame tenacious No. 4 maegashira Sokokurai (1-4-2), eventually forcing out the Chinese as he desperately clung on at the edge of the ring.
Osaka native Ikioi stood his ground against charging Myogiryu (5-2), flooring the No. 6 maegashira with an armlock throw.
No. 11 maegashira Mongolian Ichinojo (6-1) downed seventh-ranked Brazilian Kaisei (4-3) with an underarm throw in a lengthy bout between two giants to stay among the five wrestlers one win back of the leaders.