FUKUOKA – Hakuho moved two wins clear at the Kyushu Grand Sumo on Wednesday and increased the pressure on promotion-chasing Kisenosato in the process by condemning his nemesis to a damaging third defeat at the 15-day basho.
Kisenosato famously upset Hakuho here last year to end the Mongolian yokozuna’s winning streak at 63 bouts and shatter his hopes of surpassing yokozuna legend Futabayama’s all-time mark.
But Hakuho, who also lost to Kisenosato at this year’s New Year and autumn meets, watched ozeki debutant Kotoshogiku fall to a second straight loss and took full advantage in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Kisenosato put up a brave fight but Hakuho had too much savvy for the Naruto stable star, shaking off a series of slaps and thrusts to overpower the sekiwake at the ring’s edge and keep his slate clean at 11-0.
Kotoshogiku lost his way as he attempted to rebound from his first defeat on Tuesday against Baruto, the Fukuoka favorite putting both hands on the sandy surface after being slapped down by fourth-ranked Tochinowaka (6-5).
In other bouts of note, Baruto took out third-ranked Gagamaru with a twisting underarm throw to improve to 8-3 along with Bulgarian bruiser Kotooshu, who dug in deep to beat komusubi Homasho (1-10) to claim a majority of wins and thus preserve his ozeki rank.
Sekiwake Kakuryu came out on top of an all-Mongolian battle, upsetting ozeki Harumafuji with an “okuridashi” rear push out technique for a seventh win.
Toyonoshima moved within one victory of a winning record when he slapped struggling Georgian No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin down to his 10th loss.