Harumafuji falls again; Hakuho alone at top


Harumafuji continued to display cracks in his armor with a third defeat at the hands of veteran Takekaze, while fellow yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu whisked off their respective opponents at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Hakuho, sumo’s premier yokozuna who is gunning for his 30th career title, took the sole lead at 9-0 after dispensing the minimum energy necessary to see off Tamawashi with a textbook “okuridashi” rear shove-out.

Kakuryu stayed one off the pace after beating ozeki Kotoshogiku in the day’s final bout. Kakuryu, Kotoshogiku and rank-and-filer Takayasu are at 8-1, while a group of five, including ozeki Kisenosato and sekiwake Goeido, trail at 7-2 with six days remaining.

Harumafuji went flying into the ringside seats after Takekaze (7-2) dodged to his left side at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

“I knew that the yokozuna would come in low and I just tried to go even lower,” said Takekaze, who became the oldest at 35 years, 2 months, to register a kinboshi (maegashira win over a yokozuna).

The No. 4 maegashira was also the second from the Oguruma stable to topple a yokozuna after Yoshikaze’s win over Harumafuji on the fourth day.

Kisenosato bounced back from the previous day’s loss to Goeido, shrugging off two false starts from Chiyootori (3-6) before pulling down his opponent. In his relentless charge, the ozeki inadvertently toppled the gyoji, who stumbled to his feet and pointed the gumbai to Kisenosato to the amusement of the crowd.

Goeido, who is trying to make another case for a first bid at ozeki promotion, saw off Shohozan (2-7) when his opponent lost the script and came lunging forward to exit the ring in a matter of seconds. Sekiwake Goeido, who faces Kakuryu on Tuesday, won despite his late start at the tachiai.

Popular wrestler Endo overcame giant-killer Osunaarashi, dodging a bullet when his Egyptian-born opponent unleashed a half-baked “kachiage” forearm blow at the tachiai and was tossed to the dirt surface with an overarm throw after Endo gained the leverage in a grappling maneuver. Both men are at 4-5.

Osunaarashi, who had flattened Endo like a pancake with his trademark kachiage in May, defeated both Kakuryu and Harumafuji before falling to veteran yokozuna Hakuho a day earlier.