Kakuryu, Hakuho tied for lead in Spring Basho


Sekiwake Kakuryu remained perfect alongside Hakuho through seven days at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, outlasting ozeki Harumafuji on Saturday.

After a lot of huffing and puffing in the middle of the ring, Kakuryu won by “yorikiri,” pushing Harumafuji to his second defeat of the basho in the marquee matchup of the day.

Yokozuna Hakuho went to 7-0 without any issues, toppling third-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho who has yet to win.

“I had to persevere,” Kakuryu said. “I just need to keep this up. I’ll continue to do my best and see where that takes me.”

Ozeki Baruto kept up by scoring his sixth win off sekiwake Aminishiki (3-4).

Baruto, chasing promotion to sumo’s highest rank, let his man get away at the tachiai, but the Herculean Estonian regrouped, grabbing the belt with both hands before ushering Aminishiki over the ropes. Baruto on Sunday faces second-ranked Tokitenku (2-5), who he has never lost to in four past meetings.

Kotooshu was not as fortunate as Baruto, tripping up against No. 2 Yoshikaze (2-5) to lower his record to 5-2. Both of Yoshikaze’s two wins this tournament have come against ozeki, off Kotooshu and Harumafuji on the fifth day.

Kotooshu barreled straight into Yoshikaze from the start, knocking his opponent toward the edge. Yet as Kotooshu attempted to make one final shove, Yoshikaze sidestepped the Bulgarian who had nowhere to go but over the straw bales.

“Whether I won or lost, I didn’t want to embarrass myself out there,” Yoshikaze said. “I obviously didn’t want to be pushed back at the tachiai, but it’s something I was prepared for given his size.”