Hakuho tops Homasho; Harumafuji keeps pace


Hakuho and Harumafuji stayed neck and neck for the year’s last championship as the two yokozuna remained perfect through nine days at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

The Mongolians outclassed their opponents, both beating a fourth-ranked maegashira. Hakuho showed Homasho (2-7) out of the ring, while his western counterpart Harumafuji made quick work of Tochinowaka (2-7).

Hakuho’s victory gave him 701 career wins in the top-tier makuuchi division — he is the fastest ever to reach 700, needing just 57 meets — placing him in a tie for sixth with Takanohana on the all-time list.

Fifth-ranked maegashira Aoiyama fell two off the pace after losing to No. 9 Kitataiki (5-4) by yorikiri. Four others were at 7-2, including ozeki Kisenosato and Kakuryu.

Harumafuji wasted little time in winning his ninth straight, barreling into the chest of hapless Tochinowaka at the tachiai to knock his man beyond the straw bales.

Hakuho, chasing his fifth consecutive title here and 28th lifetime, continued his dominance of Homasho, improving to 16-0 against the Shikoroyama wrestler.

Hakuho needed a few more seconds than Harumafuji to get the job done, but Homasho never had a chance against the yokozuna. Hakuho gripped the belt after the start like a snapping turtle, quickly ushering his man to the ropes.

Homasho did well to resist, but in the end was no match for his Miyagino opponent, who sent him over with paralyzing strength.