Hakuho grabs sole lead with pivotal win over Ichinojo


Yokozuna Hakuho showed his championship pedigree and put upstart Ichinojo in his place to retake the sole lead on the penultimate day of action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

Ichinojo’s debut in the makuuchi division has been nothing short of sensational and the 21-year-old came into the final bout of the day tied with Hakuho at 12-1.

But Hakuho, who lost his first bout of the 15-day meet on Friday against Goeido, oozed class and after a brief lock-up, made his move to send his 10th-ranked opponent down with a textbook pulling overarm throw.

Hakuho faces rival yokozuna Kakuryu on the final day on Sunday, and victory will assure him a third consecutive Emperor’s Cup and move him within one title of the all-time career record of 32 held by legendary yokozuna Taiho.

Ichinojo is bidding to become the first wrestler in a century to win the championship in his first tournament in the top flight.

Kakuryu (11-3) bounced back from Friday’s defeat to Ichinojo and thrust out ozeki Kisenosato (8-6) in a tightly fought bout before Hakuho and Ichinojo took center stage.

In other bouts, Kotoshogiku (9-5) had his hands full against Aminishiki but dug in deep to see off the veteran No. 6 maegashira, who has had an impressive tournament thus far with 10 wins.

Goeido, however, will need to beat sekiwake Takekaze on the final day to avoid a losing mark in his first tournament as ozeki after being thrown off the ring by fourth-ranked Takarafuji (8-6).

Sekiwake Takekaze (7-7) spanked Ikioi (9-5), but Jokoryu was saddled with a 10th defeat on his komusubi debut after being smashed out of the ring by Egyptian maegashira Osunaarashi (6-8)

Top-ranked maegashira Endo was sent crashing to the dirt by eighth-ranked Arawashi (5-9) and looks set for a significant drop down the rankings for the next tournament in Kyushu after slumping to an 11th loss.

  • rossdorn

    Sumo has taken a sad twist towards the absurd, since the firing of Asashoryu. Hakuo is a great Yokosuna, but his 31 victories are unthinkable without Aashoryu’s absence.
    For me the hype about Endo has never been understandable. It can be explained only by his being a japanese national, and the frustration of the sumo board, that their numerous manipulations of Kisenosato’s career during his attempted promotion to Yokosuna have failed embarrassingly.
    Endo clearly lacks class and his fame rests alone on what the commentators call his rock-star-status, which only shows that they never met a real rock-star. THis basho should have anwered all open questions about Endo.

    Ichinojo has real talent, but just counting how he has won too many of his bouts, tells the true story.
    In the next Basho he will receive the answers from those he tricked by regularly jumping aside….
    But he is big and strong and very young.
    He will make it in the end!