FUKUOKA – Undefeated yokozuna Hakuho tossed aside another would-be challenger in the form of Shohozan on Friday, inching closer to capturing his first title in three meets on the sixth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Sekiwake Goeido, meanwhile, has emerged as a surprise contender, remaining unbeaten in a dead heat with Hakuho after sending ozeki Kisenosato (4-2) to a second loss in a row.
Yokozuna debutant Harumafuji is in a group of eight wrestlers hot in pursuit of the coleaders at 5-1 as the 15-day meet enters the first weekend at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Shohozan (3-3), who has beaten three ozeki here so far, never had a chance as Hakuho rocked him off balance, continuing to apply pressure while circling his opponent from the right before swatting the No. 2 maegashira to the dirt.
Harumafuji won his eighth bout in a row against Tochinoshin (1-5), with a turbo-speed frontal crush out after getting his left hand deep inside on the mawashi.
Hakuho is seeking his 23rd career title and first since this year’s Osaka Basho, while Harumafuji is bidding to win his third straight tournament.
Kotooshu moved within three wins of saving his rank with a triumph over fellow ozeki Kakuryu, getting his left hand in for a firm grip on the mawashi before knocking his opponent (4-2) over the edge with a hard shove.
Kotooshu moved within three wins of saving his rank with a victory over fellow ozeki Kakuryu, getting his left hand in for a firm grip on the mawashi before knocking his opponent (4-2) over the edge with a hard shove.
It was the first time in 12 years that ozeki squared off in a match during the first week of a tournament. Retired wrestlers Kaio and Dejima were the last to do so on the sixth day of the 2000 Kyushu Basho.
Kotoshogiku, who is also facing demotion, came back from the brink of defeat against Aminishiki (1-5) with a counterattack from the edge to also pick up a fifth win.
Toyonoshima was the last of the rank-and-filer wrestlers to fall out of a tie for the lead when he was toppled by Yoshikaze’s (5-1) thigh-grabbing push-down after a heated exchange.