Harumafuji crashes to defeat at Kyushu basho


Newly promoted yokozuna Harumafuji got a painful dose of reality Monday, when he was sent crashing to his first loss at the hands of local boy Okinoumi on just the second day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

Yokozuna Hakuho, meanwhile, made quick work of Tochiozan to move to 2-0, getting revenge after his defeat to the top-ranked maegashira at the autumn meet in September as the yokozuna stayed on track for a resurgence after a three-tournament title drought. A victory in Kyushu would place Hakuho alone in fifth on the all-time list with 23 career titles.

Zabuton cushions went flying toward the raised ring at Fukuoka Kokusai Center when Harumafuji was wrenched over the edge with an armbar maneuver after the Mongolian’s throat grabs proved ineffective against his larger opponent.

Harumafuji, who saw a 32-bout winning streak end after winning the two previous meets with 15-0 marks, never got rolling in his first finale of the day as a yokozuna as Okinoumi (1-1) charged forward, and he was abruptly shown the exit when he tried to switch hand positions near the edge.

Hakuho faced off in the penultimate bout for the first time in three years, and broke little sweat as he gave Tochiozan a smack down with his right hand immediately after the tachiai.

Tochiozan, who had snapped a 14-bout losing streak to the yokozuna last time out, slipped to 1-1.

In another key bout, Baruto (1-1), who is facing demotion from ozeki after pulling out of the autumn meet, saw his hopes of saving his rank reach double jeopardy after he twisted his left knee in a defeat against Shohozan, who beat ozeki Kotooshu on Sunday.

The Estonian giant, who must notch eight wins or face the drop, had to be assisted by one of his handlers back to the dressing room favoring his left leg.