Hakuho remains on course for 24th title


Hakuho spoiled sekiwake Toyonoshima’s aspirations of a second straight yokozuna kill, keeping his undefeated record intact after the ninth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Hakuho, who is in the running for his 24th career title, improved to a 9-0 record with six days remaining at the 15-day meet.

Ozeki Kotoshogiku and rank-and-filer Okinoumi are the closest to reeling in the sole leader at 7-2.

In the day’s penultimate bout, Hakuho was unable to get a grip on the former sekiwake’s mawashi.

But Hakuho throttled the diminutive wrestler by the neck when Toyonoshima tried to duck inside and swatted him to the dirt surface at Bodymaker Colosseum.

Toyonoshima, who upset Harumafuji on Sunday, slipped to 6-3 and 2-23 in career bouts against the yokozuna.

On Sunday, Hakuho surpassed former yokozuna Chiyonofuji for first place on the all-time list for securing a majority of wins in his 26th consecutive tournament.

In the day’s finale, Harumafuji got the better of Estonian Baruto (6-3), when the sekiwake attempted an all-out charge, only to be flung on top of a cameraman sitting at ringside.

Sumo’s 70th yokozuna, who won the New Year Basho with a perfect 15-0 mark, is three behind his yokozuna rival in his bid to win his fourth title in five meets.

Kotoshogiku came through with flying colors, overpowering Kakuryu (5-4) in the first all-ozeki matchup here after putting his opponent in a right-leaning, migi-yotsu grip before sending him packing with a frontal forceout.

Tokitenku (2-7) made two false starts against ozeki Kisenosato (5-4), but Kisenosato kept his cool, sending the No. 3 maegashira retreating with a barrage of shoves to rebound from the previous day’s loss.

Local favorite Goeido was hemmed up by Takayasu (4-5), who bulldozed the sekiwake over the edge to a third defeat in nine matches overall.

In an early bout, Okinoumi toppled Masunoyama (4-5) to keep his slim Spring Basho title hopes alive.