OSAKA – Kisenosato took another step toward his first career championship, while fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku’s promotion hopes were all but dashed at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
Kisenosato improved to 10-0 with a resilient victory over yokozuna Kakuryu (7-3), remaining as the only unbeaten wrestler two-thirds of the way through the meet.
Yokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Goeido trail at 9-1, with No. 6 and 11 maegashira Myogiryu and Ichinojo, respectively, following at 8-2.
Kotoshogiku slumped to 7-3 at the hands of Goeido.
Kisenosato was stiff-armed by Kakuryu at the tachiai, pedaling back toward the straw bales, but fought back to shove his man out on the other side.
Kisenosato on Wednesday faces Hakuho, who overwhelmed ozeki Terunofuji (6-4) in marching to his ninth consecutive win. Hakuho has dominated Kisenosato over his career, having won 41 of 54 past meetings.
Kotoshogiku’s back was against the wall after losing to Kisenosato a day earlier but could not turn the tide in his 38th career bout versus Goeido, who sent the Sadogatake stable wrestler tumbling in the middle of the ring to a crippling third defeat.
Yokozuna Harumafuji (7-3) went down meekly in the day’s final bout to sekiwake Toyonoshima, who won for just the second time this tournament.