Harumafuji’s yokozuna promotion bid hits snag


Harumafuji’s yokozuna bid took a disastrous turn Monday as he was sent to a first defeat at the hands of rank-and-filer Okinoumi on the second day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Harumafuji, who narrowly escaped a loss to Toyonoshima on the first day, was out of sorts from the start of the match and Okinoumi took full advantage to send the Mongolian ozeki tumbling to the dohyo surface at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, brushed aside Homasho (1-1) in the day’s final bout, while Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu was hit with his second straight defeat by little man Toyonoshima (1-1).

Harumafuji, who won the Nagoya meet with a 14-1 mark, made a critical error after unleashing a salvo of thrusts to his opponent’s neck and body by attempting to heave the heavier No. 1 maegashira out of the ring.

Okinoumi, who beat Kotooshu the previous day, slammed the ozeki over the ridge with a thrust-down technique.

“Harumafuji is strong, so I’m glad I won. He came inside and grabbed me and I’m big, so I was able to use my power. Tomorrow I’d like to go full speed at the yokozuna,” said Okinoumi, who faces Hakuho on Tuesday.

In other key bouts, Mongolian Kakuryu saw his bid for ozeki promotion dented when he was sent tumbling into the ringside cushions by Wakanosato, who improved to a 1-1 record.

Kakuryu (1-1) got his hand on the front of Wakanosato’s mawashi after a short exchange of slaps, but his opponent turned the tables when the sekiwake attempted an ill-advised throwing technique and shoved him out from behind.

Kotoshogiku (2-0), the other sekiwake aiming for sumo’s second-highest rank, got an earful of boos from the crowd after he made a tentative start at the face-off but continued his charge, despite Yoshikaze’s (0-2) hesitation out of the crouch.

The referee deemed the match official although it appeared Kotoshogiku was not ready to stand. Kotoshogiku needs at least 12 wins, while Kakuryu will need to post 11 victories to satisfy the Japan Sumo Association’s rough guidelines for promotion.