FUKUOKA – Mongolian grand champion Hakuho rebounded from a first-day defeat Monday, overpowering Homasho on the second day of action at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
In the day’s final at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Hakuho spun around Homasho once before heaving out the No. 1 maegashira from the left-hand side to improve to a 1-1 record and bounce back from his loss to komusubi Kotoshogiku a day earlier. Homasho slipped to 0-2.
Hakuho won his fourth Emperor’s Cup at the autumn meet in September and is the favorite to take home the honors here, despite making a slow start.
Injury plagued ozeki Kaio, meanwhile, went on a runaway express to push out former ozeki Miyabiyama (0-2) for his first win, quickly moving in for his favorite left-handed grip to usher out the top-ranked maegashira.
Many believe the 35-year-old is on the verge of retirement. He faces relegation from sumo’s second-highest rank for a record 11th time and is fighting for his pride in front of his hometown fans.
The 15-day meet kicked off Sunday under the shadow of a hazing-related death of a junior wrestler while grand champion Asashoryu is serving a two-tournament suspension back in his native Mongolia after he was caught playing hooky.
Asashoryu, the winner of 21 career titles, claimed injuries that allowed him to miss a regional tour, but was filmed playing in a charity soccer match in Mongolia. He will be back in the ring for the New Year meet in January.
In other key matches, ozeki Kotomitsuki, who is nursing a right-ankle injury and suffering from gallstones, got in the winner’s circle with a frontal takeout of Kisenosato, who slipped to the same 1-1 mark.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai (2-0) locked horns with giant-killer Kotoshogiku (1-1) and knocked the komusubi off the raised-ring with several beefy shots to the face.
Aminishiki (1-1) beat Kakuryu (0-2). Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu lost to komusubi Ama (2-0).