Yokozuna Hakuho survived a scare to take out Egyptian grappler Osunaarashi on Tuesday and preserve his one-win lead heading into the final third of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho (10-0) came perilously close to losing his first bout of the 15-day tournament after fourth-ranked maegashira Osunaarashi (4-6) knocked him off balance and had him hopping around near the edge of the ring at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
But the Mongolian yokozuna countered to thrust Osunaarashi down to the dirt and stay on course to move within one title of the all-time record of 32 held by legendary yokozuna Taiho.
Yokozuna Kakuryu and No. 10 maegashira Ichinojo are tied for second at 9-1.
Kakuryu returned to winning ways following his shock defeat to Yoshikaze on Monday, the Mongolian getting the better of sekiwake Takekaze (5-5) with a well executed pulling overarm throw.
After taking a blow to the face after the charge, Ichinojo took control of his bout and got his right arm around the back of Yoshikaze’s neck to pull the third-ranked maegashira down to a fourth defeat.
Kisenosato’s title hopes, meanwhile, were dealt a savage blow as Takarafuji broke up a mid-ring stalemate and sent the ozeki crashing into the front row of ringside cushions for a third loss. Fourth-ranked Takarafuji leveled his mark at 5-5.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku, however, was determination personified and rammed out Goeido to claim ozeki bragging rights and leave both men with 6-4 records.
In other bouts, Endo’s tournament took another downward turn after he was sent to his ninth defeat by Jokoryu, who has himself had a disappointing showing so far and is 3-7 in his komusubi debut.
It was a bad day all round for sumo’s fourth-highest rank as komusubui Chiyotairyu was condemned to his ninth defeat by second-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima.
Toyonoshima has two wins, five losses and three rest days due to injury. He pulled out of the meet with a knee problem on the second day of the tournament before returning on Friday.
Kicking off the day’s action, Kyokutenho (7-3) moved within one victory of a winning record as the 40-year-old Mongolian maegashira forced out 12th-ranked Sadanoumi (6-4).