Hakuho moved a step closer to standing alongside Chiyonofuji in the pantheon of sumo greats with a 50th consecutive win at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
The Mongolian yokozuna (3-0) underlined his title credentials with minimal fuss in the day’s finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan, getting a firm grip on Wakanosato’s belt and calmly ushering the winless No. 1 maegashira over the straw ridge.
Hakuho, who has won the last three tournaments with spotless 15-0 marks, needs only three more wins to equal the 53-bout run achieved by former yokozuna Chiyonofuji.
Four Emperor’s Cups in a row without defeat will leave the 25-year-old only seven straight victories shy of the legendary Futabayama’s all-time leading streak of 69.
Hakuho’s streak began on the penultimate day of the New Year basho.
“I think luck plays a part but luck only shines on people who work hard. I am happy,” said Hakuho.
Asked how he was coping with the pressure of extending his winning run, he told reporters, “I will leave that up to your imagination. I have got the right sense of urgency and I am very focused.”
In other bouts, Bulgarian grappler Kotooshu took down second-ranked maegashira Homasho (0-3) with a thrust-and-pull maneuver to maintain his perfect start to the meet.
Harumafuji (2-1) was on the losing end of the day’s most entertaining bout against Tochinoshin, who forced the Mongolian ozeki out to also stay unbeaten.
Battling to save his ozeki rank for the 13th time, Kaio bit the dust when he was shoved out to his first loss by sekiwake Tochiozan (2-1).
Tokitenku (0-3) felt the full force of a backlash from Baruto, the Estonian ozeki rebounding from Monday’s loss to blast the top-ranked maegashira out.
Aran’s miserable start to his sekiwake debut showed no signs of an upturn as the burly Russian returned to the locker room nursing a third consecutive defeat at the hands of Mongolian komusubi Kakuryu (1-2).
Perennial underachiever Kisenosato built on Monday’s upset of Baruto, the komusubi scoring his second win by huffing and puffing his way past third-ranked Kotoshogiku (2-1).
In the lower ranks, Takamisakari warmed the crowd with his goofy warmup but proved to be all bark and no bite, the No. 5 maegashira getting muscled out by Kyokutenho. Both wrestlers are 2-1.
Demoted Miyabiyama, fighting at the fall meet as a second-tier juryo class wrestler, slapped down makuuchi newcomer Kyokunankai in the day’s opening bout to improve his mark to 2-1.
Kyokunankai, who needed 105 meets to finally reach sumo’s premier league — the second slowest in sumo history — dropped to 1-2.
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