NAGOYA – Despite a marked difference in the way they won, yokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Harumafuji remained tied with 13-0 records on Friday, the 13th day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
Moments after Harumafuji ended his bout in less than three seconds, Hakuho had to overcome a grueling if unimaginative rear-guard action from Baruto to remain on course for a decisive clash on Sunday. Hakuho takes on ozeki Kisenosato on Saturday, while Harumafuji will put his own unbeaten record on the line against fellow ozeki Kotooshu.
Hakuho, who won his 400th bout as a yokozuna on Thursday, quickly found himself in a stalemate with his large Estonian opponent. Hakuho continuously tried to find an edge laterally, while Baruto twice attempted to unlock his opponent’s grip by thrusting his body upward. Eventually, Hakuho regained the initiative with a lateral twisting move and sent Baruto tumbling out of the ring with an overarm throw nearly a minute and a half after their match started.
While the buildup to Harumafuji’s battle was just as intense, the match itself was over in no time as the ozeki unleashed a ferocious onslaught against Brazilian-born Kaisei (9-4). Lodging the palm of his right hand under his opponent’s chin, Harumafuji shoved the 193-cm maegashira onto his heels, grabbed the back of his opponent’s belt with his other hand and expelled him from the ring.
Kakuryu earned his seventh win with a victory over Kotooshu, who fell to his fifth defeat. Kakuryu won at the tachiai when he seized a crucial hold on the Bulgarian’s belt. Kotooshu was able to use his reach to grab his rival’s mawashi as well, but had to overextend himself in the process and was quickly spun out of control.
Kisenosato (10-3) won his ozeki duel with Kotoshogiku (9-4).
In another match of note, Georgian Tochinoshin earned his majority eighth win when the referee’s original judgment was overturned in a win over Goeido (7-6).
Meanwhile, Gagamaru, also from Georgia, improved to 9-4 with a one-sided victory over Wakanosato (7-6).