Yokozuna Hakuho outlasted ozeki Kotomitsuki in an absorbing encounter Wednesday to preserve his perfect record with four days remaining at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho’s 31st-consecutive victory in regulation kept him tied for the lead with ozeki Harumafuji at 11-0 while yokozuna rival Asashoryu also won handsomely to stay one win behind his fellow Mongolians at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Seeking only his ninth win in 27 meetings between the two, Kotomitsuki (7-4) fought tooth and nail in the day’s finale but Hakuho prevailed in a tussle for control at the center of the ring and shoved the ozeki out to move closer to his second consecutive title.
In contrast, Harumafuji’s 11th win was given a lukewarm reception after the ozeki craftily sidestepped scowling maegashira Kisenosato (9-2) at the charge and sent the fourth-ranked grappler sprawling with a “tottari” arm bar throw.
Kisenosato’s loss left Asashoryu as the only wrestler within touching distance of the frontrunners as the 23-time Emperor’s Cup champion wrapped himself around Kaio (8-3) and ushered the veteran ozeki out.
Elsewhere, Kotooshu (7-4) claimed European-bragging rights against Baruto, the Bulgarian ozeki using a pulling technique to get behind the Estonian sekiwake and march him out to an eighth loss.
Aminishiki (4-7) increased Chiyotaikai’s worries by pulling the ailing ozeki down to a sixth loss. Chiyotaikai (5-6) is attempting to save his rank for a record 13th time but must now win three of his last four bouts to avoid demotion.
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