Hakuho still unbeaten


Yokozuna Hakuho won a tough match against Egyptian giant killer Osunaarashi on Sunday to maintain his share of the lead at the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho got all he bargained for from Osunaarashi, who had already defeated both yokozuna opponents he had faced at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Ozeki Kotoshigiku and No. 11 maegashira Takayasu are also unbeaten. Yokozuna Kakuryu was the sole wrestler with just a single loss after eight days.

Although he surrendered the initial advantage, Osunaarashi (4-4), fended off one attack after another from the yokozuna, who had to keep his wits about him to cope with the 22-year-old’s strength and quickness. But experience eventually told in a match that lasted more than a minute. Hakuho easily threw Osunaarashi while the maegashira made a rash, lunging counterattack.

“The yokozuna was so strong, his balance was so solid,” Osunaarashi said. “I need to be more patient.”

Kotoshogiku secured a winning record for the tournament and his elite ozeki ranking for the September tournament by defeating Tamawashi (2-6). The No. 4 maegashira came out hard and shoved Kotoshogiku around the ring before the ozeki regained control and was able to force his opponent out. Kotoshogiku left the ring grimacing after receiving a head butt during his bout.

Takayasu kept his cool against a formidable thrusting and shoving attack from No. 16 maegashira Chiyomaru (6-2). Although he used his 21-kg weight advantage to force his opponent back on the tachiai, Chiyomaru was unable to close it out and fell victim to some quick work by Takayasu.

With his heels against the straw bales, Takayasu attempted a last-ditch throw with his right arm. When Chiyomaru countered by shifting his weight to his left foot, Takayasu changed directions and thrust the 183-kg 23-year-old down and out of the ring.

“I was under pressure but stayed calm,” said Takayasu, who has steadily been slipping down the rankings since he wrestled at komusubi last September.

“I really dropped down the rankings and I feel a need to prove what I can do.”

Kakuryu, whose only loss came to Osunaarashi, appeared to have recovered his confidence with a solid victory over No. 2 maegashira Yoshikaze (4-4) to improve to 7-1.

Ozeki Kisenosato hesitated briefly when stalemated on the tachiai and suffered the consequences as veteran sekiwake Goeido knocked both of the ozeki’s arms downward and easily forced him tumbling out. Both wrestlers finished the day with 6-2 records.

Yokozuna Harumafuji sealed his sixth win by default after sekiwake Tochiozan (2-6) withdrew due to a shoulder injury.