FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu rocked Kisenosato in a lopsided affair to maintain his spotless record at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.
Sumo’s bad boy improved to 5-0 for a share of the lead with yokozuna Hakuho and rank-and-filer Yoshikaze.
Putting the komusubi on his heels with a wallop to the head at the face-off, Asashoryu knocked his opponent upright with another whack before swatting him forward by the head at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Kisenosato slipped to 2-3.
Hakuho, meanwhile, got a firm grip on the belt of Mongolian countryman Tokitenku (1-4) and forced the No. 2 maegashira onto the dohyo surface with an overarm throw.
Asashoryu and Hakuho have both won two tournaments each so far this year and odds are one of them will end up winning the coveted Emperor’s Cup in the final meet of the year.
Asashoryu is seeking his 25th career title after beating Hakuho in a playoff on the final day of the autumn meet. Hakuho can surpass Asashoryu’s record of 84 wins in a year with 14 victories here.
Wrestlers at sumo’s second rank of ozeki had another day of mixed blessings with the first three falling like dominoes before Bulgarian Kotooshu chalked up a win against Hokutoriki.
Kaio could get nothing rolling against Mongolian sekiwake Kakuryu, who bulldozed the hometown favorite over the edge in a matter of seconds to the dismay of the crowd. Both men sit at 2-3.
Harumafuji (2-3) gave another featherweight performance and was knocked over the straw bales like a rag doll by Tochiozan, who picked up his first win of the 15-day meet.