Kakuryu still tied for Spring Basho top spot


Kakuryu rose to the challenge to remain in a share of the lead and yokozuna Hakuho rebounded from his defeat to the sekiwake the previous day, discarding of Aminishiki on the 10th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.

Ozeki hopeful Kakuryu, Hakuho, Estonian ozeki Baruto and rank-and-filer Shotenro retained a tie for the lead with 9-1 marks, going into the last five days of the 15-day Osaka meet. Ozeki Harumafuji sits at 8-2.

Kakuryu escaped unscathed, albeit with a wry smile after he let top-ranked maegashira Tochinowaka (3-7) inside momentarily for a belt grip, holding fast to turn the tables for a textbook frontal forceout.

Hakuho’s bout against Aminishiki (4-6) in the day’s finale wasn’t pretty — the yokozuna acting standoffish as he tried to gauge the sekiwake with a series of shoves — but he dumped his opponent with an overarm throw once he latched onto Aminishiki’s mawashi with his left hand.

Baruto, who is making a run at sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna for the first time after winning the New Year meet, allowed Tochiozan (4-6) to wrap both hands around his waist before he deployed an armlock throw near the edge to stay in the four-way heat.

In an all-ozeki affair, Harumafuji got the “gumbai” win in the blink of an eye when he swatted down Kotoshogiku right at the tachiai, improving to a winning record while leaving his rival at 7-3.

Ozeki Kisenosato (6-4) bounced back from his defeat to Kotooshu on Monday, unleashing a salvo of strikes against Myogiryu (3-7), and propelling the No. 1 maegashira into the ringside seats.

But Kotooshu fell hook, line and sinker for Toyonoshima’s (7-3) shoulder-swing technique when the Bulgarian ozeki came too low out of the crouch and was tossed over the edge to an unflattering fourth defeat.