FUKUOKA – Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu gave top-ranked maegashira Hokutoriki a sumo clinic Saturday as he maintained the lead with a spotless record for his seventh straight victory at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Bulgarian sekiwake Kotooshu, however, suffered his second shock defeat at the hands of teenager Kisenosato to move a step back in his hopes of promotion to sumo’s second highest rank of ozeki, on a day of upsets at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
In the day’s finale, Asashoryu proved too quick for Hokutoriki, moving in swiftly after the face-off before lifting his opponent out with both hands to move to 7-0. Hokutoriki slipped to an unflattering 1-6.
The Mongolian yokozuna is aiming to win the Emperor’s Cup for an unprecedented seventh straight time and a victory here would also make him the only wrestler to ever win all six meets in a year.
Kotooshu, who lost to Asashoryu in playoff at the Autumn Basho in September but finished with an impressive 13-2 record, showed no signs of resistance as he was promptly shoved onto heels and dumped into the ringside seats to fall to 5-2. Nineteen-year-old Kisenosato improved to 3-4.
Kotooshu had a nightmare start to the 15-day meet with a first-day loss and after a win by default, bounced back to win five straight, but a second defeat has now dented his hopes of becoming the first wrestler from Europe to win a title.
In the day’s other upset, ozeki Kaio, who faces relegation for a record-tying eighth time, was defeated by Mongolian komusubi Hakuho (5-2) in a weak display as he dropped to his third loss. Kaio must post eight wins to keep his rank.
Chiyotaikai, meanwhile, peppered injury-hit Futeno with a salvo of slaps and thrusts to the body before ramming the No. 2 maegashira over the edge to improve to 5-2. Futeno, who returned to the meet after four rest days due to injury, slipped to his third defeat.
In other key bouts, sekiwake Kotomitsuki (6-1) forced out Miyabiyama (4-3).
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