• SHARE

With all the talk of Hakuko’s one-man wrecking machine, it is easy to forget the lurking presence of two ozeki who are bidding to give the lone yokozuna a run for his money.

Hakuho escaped sudden defeat with a last-gasp throw against Homasho to remain on track for his sixth consecutive title as the only wrestler with an undefeated mark of 9-0 at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Meanwhile, Estonian goliath Baruto shot down fellow ozeki Harumafuji, while Kotooshu outclassed Tokusegawa to stay one behind the yokozuna with 8-1 records.

In the day’s final bout, Hakuho got a belt grip, only to lose his balance as Homasho (4-5) came charging forward to knock him over. But the yokozuna quickly recovered as he sent the No. 4 maegashira tumbling with a thrust-down technique while raised on one leg.

“I feel some fatigue,” said Hakuho, who has a slight cold. “It’s a good thing that I was able to get that win even in a close bout like that. That was a gift from God.”

Kotooshu got a firm belt grip on Tokusegawa’s (5-4) mawashi and went on a runaway express to remove his opponent from the ring in a matter of seconds.

Baruto survived a scare when he bent backward with his toes hugging the straw bales after a series of fierce thrusts from demotion-threatened Harumafuji (6-3), recovering to send his rival onto his back with one hard shove.

In another bout of note, veteran ozeki Kaio sent sekiwake Kotoshogiku (7-2) sprawling.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)