Kisenosato bounces back; Hakuho continues march


Ozeki Kisenosato got back in the winner’s column a day after suffering his second defeat in his bid at yokozuna promotion, while yokozuna Hakuho continued to steamroll with his sixth win in a row at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.

Hakuho, aiming for his 28th career title and first in two meets, improved to 6-0 after showing would-be challenger Aoiyama who is boss in the day’s finale at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Five wrestlers, including ozeki Kakuryu, are one behind the sole leader in the New Year basho, which is missing yokozuna Harumafuji due to injury.

Hakuho made short work of Aoiyama (3-3) with an overarm pull-down technique to remain in the lead.

On Thursday, Kisenosato appeared to be intimidated by Aoiyama, flinching when he was throttled back and refusing to look his opponent directly in the eye after a false start before he was quickly upended by the larger man.

Friday’s bout was only slightly better after Kisenosato had to dodge a bullet against Ikioi (1-5). The ozeki got his left hand around the mawashi but was nearly brought down near the edge before regaining his balance for a frontal force-out.