Yokozuna Hakuho climbs into first place


Kisenosato suffered his second loss of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, bloodied by injury-plagued yokozuna Harumafuji on Thursday to fall to 10-2 as yokozuna Hakuho took over the lead.

A day after Hakuho put the brakes on ozeki Kisenosato’s runaway lead in the 15-day event at Edion Arena Osaka, he did the same for ozeki Goeido’s championship bid.

The yokozuna plowed into his man from the get-go, while Goeido (10-2) looked totally unprepared for the fury that awaited. The ozeki put both arms in front of him in a vain effort to slow the Mongolian master, but was rocked upward and driven back to the straw. As he had the day before against Kisenosato, Hakuho wasted no motion in a straight-forward power display and improved to 11-1.

Against an opponent who had defeated him in 33 of their 55 previous career bouts, Kisenosato was beaten on the tachiai by Harumafuji (8-4), who missed an early chance to drive the ozeki from the ring. But the Mongolian lost his balance in the effort to ram his opponent out and appeared set to crash to defeat. Kisenosato, to his discredit, stood by and watched. But instead of crashing, Harumafuji regained his balance and it was game on.

The ozeki then gave chase, but Harumafuji was able to exploit Kisenosato’s head-long, uncontrolled pursuit and slap him down.

Kakuryu, the third of three Mongolian yokozuna, was careless on the tachiai against ozeki compatriot Terunofuji, who grabbed a belt hold and executed an easy throw. The win left both men at 8-4, with Terunofuji earning the majority of wins needed here to retain his status at sumo’s second-highest rank.

Kotoshogiku grabbed hold of veteran No. 3 maegashira Aminishiki on the tachiai and steered him to the edge for a force out in a routine victory. The ozeki improved to 8-4, while the popular Aminishiki fell to 5-7.