The ozeki ranks suffered a blow on Tuesday, the third day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, when the last three ozeki to fight lost one after the other.
The carnage left seven wrestlers with perfect records, including yokozuna Hakuho and three ozeki — Harumafuji, Kisenosato and Kakyryu. Following consecutive defeats by Kotooshu, Baruto and Kotoshogiku, yokozuna Hakuho stopped the rot.
Hakuho, in the hunt for his 23rd career Emperor’s Cup, proved too quick and strong for Kaisei. The Brazilian-born top maegashira held his own on the tachiai, but could not keep up with a lightning-quick underarm throw by the yokozuna.
Harumafuji, who is seeking a second straight title and promotion to the rank of yokozuna, was unable to match top maegashira Shohozan blow for blow in a slapping contest, but used his quickness to seal his third victory.
Stalemated at mid-ring and taking more blows than he was landing, Harumafuji seized the initiative by launching himself at Shohozan, wrapping him up and driving the winless maegashira out of the contest.
Kotooshu was outmaneuvered by sekiwake Goeido to his first defeat. After an inconclusive tachiai, Goeido was able to slip to his left. The ozeki stood taller as he pivoted to his right to face the challenge and Goeido drove in low and pushed the Bulgarian out.
Ozeki Baruto was forced to fight No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru twice and simply lacked the mobility to get the job done a second time.
In their first fight — which was ruled a draw — Gagamaru launched a guileless frontal assault that carried Baruto to the straw’s edge. The ozeki executed a nifty underarm throw that appeared to be a winner until a ringside conference sent them back to square one.
The second time around, Gagamaru was more cautious against Baruto, who was wearing a brace on his left knee. With a better-controlled tachiai, the Georgian contained the hobbled and exhausted ozeki and easily forced him out.
Kotoshogiku became the third straight ozeki to fall as he was outmaneuvered by the 149-kg Homasho and dropped with a pulling overarm throw.
Kakuryu weathered a flurry of slaps from komusubi Tochinoshin to get inside with a belt hold and forced the Georgian out to his third defeat.
Kisenosato won a shoving match with No. 2 maegashira Aran (0-3), whose attempts to pull the ozeki off his feet went nowhere and who carelessly stepped backward out of the ring without being under any serious pressure.
Earlier, Kyokutenho moved into a tie for ninth place in career wins when the Mongolian maegashira improved to 3-0 with a victory over winless Kitataiki. The win was Kyokutenho’s 807th, tying him with Mitoizumi. The all-time leader in wins is Kaio with 1,047.
Maegashiras Takayasu and Okinoumi are the other wrestlers with 3-0 records.