Kakuryu survives test; Harumafuji gets win


Newly promoted yokozuna Kakuryu used his quick reflexes to dispose of giant-killer Yoshikaze while Harumafuji escaped a second consecutive defeat by the skin of his teeth with a close win over Aoiyama at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Although the nerves were palpable, especially for Harumafuji after a first-day loss to Yoshikaze, the three yokozuna each finished in the winner’s column on Day 2. Kisenosato and Kotoshogiku, the last remaining wrestlers at sumo’s second highest rank of ozeki, made it 2-for-2.

Kakuryu (2-0) almost suffered the same fate as Harumafuji from the previous day in the penultimate bout when he retreated while attempting to slap Yoshikaze (1-1) down at Ryogoku Kokugikan. It was only his motor reflexes that saved him as he darted to his left and flattened the newly promoted komusubi at the last second.

Harumafuji, who is aiming for his seventh career title after Mongolian countryman Kakuryu won his first title at the spring tourney to secure promotion, was all over the ring in his match against Bulgarian Aoiyama (0-2).

The yokozuna had to circle his opponent and was knocked several times off-balance before getting his right hand around the mawashi and tackling the bigger man over the edge.

Veteran yokozuna Hakuho (2-0), who is seeking his 29th career title and first championship in two meets, was the first of sumo’s top rank to go to work in a bout against the squat Takekaze (0-2), who momentarily got a hand around the yokozuna’s mawashi before Hakuho broke free to send his opponent out with a hard shove.

Hakuho improved to 17-1 in career bouts against Takekaze.

Kisenosato, who has made two unsuccessful bids at yokozuna, quickly manhandled Chiyootori (0-2) with a firm shove out, while fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku got a left hand firmly around the back of Takarafuji (0-2) before ushering his opponent over the edge to improve to the same 2-0 mark.

Goeido took a hit in his bid for a future shot at promotion to ozeki when he suffered a first defeat at the hands of technician Aminishiki (2-0), who toppled the sekiwake on the ring’s edge when his opponent was slow at the tachiai.

Tochiozan made it 0-2 for sumo”s third highest rank as he was all upper body against Chiyotairyu (1-1) and was jettisoned out of the ring by the No. 2 maegashira by “tsukidashi.”

Endo (1-1), who has gained in popularity among sumo fans in his fifth appearance in the elite makuuchi division, was completely overwhelmed by a fierce frontal thrusting assault from Shohozan (2-0), whom he had beat at the spring meet in March. Former komusubi Shohozan flew out of the crouch and knocked the dazed No. 4 maegashira into the ringside cushions.

Early on, Toyohibiki (2-0) absorbed a hard-crunching elbow to the head from Osunaarashi (1-1) at the face-off but never lost the script as he powered forward to shove the Egyptian rikishi from the dohyo in a matter of seconds by “oshidashi.”