Kotoshogiku rebounds from opening-day defeat

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Kotoshogiku rebounded from an opening day loss, ozeki debutant Kisenosato steamrolled another would-be opponent, and Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho ruled with an iron fist on the second day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Kotoshogiku, who suffered a shock defeat to Takekaze on Sunday, got a firm grip on Wakakoyu’s (0-2) mawashi and bumped his opponent over the straw bales with his trademark “gaburiyori” belly forceout at Ryogoku Kokugikan to give the Sadagotake ozeki his first win of 2012.

“Yesterday I lost but today my body and mental state were in balance. I know what I did wrong the other day, so I was able to correct my mistake and make a fresh start,” said Kotoshogiku.

“I have a responsibility as ozeki (to be in the title race). I can’t be left behind by the other ozeki who are trying their best. I am working hard as usual, but the most important thing is winning and not just my sumo technique.”

Kisenosato (2-0), promoted to sumo’s No. 2 rank after last year’s Kyushu basho, was the quickest at the face-off against Aminishiki (0-2) and tossed the top-ranked maegashira down with a thrusting technique.

“It probably would’ve been better for me to finish him off quickly,” said Kisenosato, who got his left hand inside at the tachiai. “I kept an eye on him for a second before executing a throw but I was more relaxed than yesterday.”

In the day’s final bout, Hakuho sent Takekaze (1-1) retreating with a series of rapid-fire shoves before circling his opponent to send him sprawling with his right hand for his second straight win.

“I had just the right amount of offense and defense in that bout,” said Hakuho.

Hakuho is gunning for his 22nd career title, which would put him in a tie with former yokozuna Takanohana.