FUKUOKA – Hakuho scored a clinical win against Toyohibiki to preserve his spotless record, while fellow Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji came roaring back from consecutive defeats at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.
Seeking his fourth consecutive Emperor’s Cup, Hakuho stayed perfect to remain tied in the lead at 5-0 with Kakuryu. The yokozuna duo leads a group of 10 wrestlers with 4-1 records.
Hakuho was all business against Toyohibiki (1-4), quickly gaining control of the belt and taking the second-ranked maegashira down with a perfectly executed “uwatenage” overarm throw.
Kakuryu needed a little more time to see off second-ranked Takarafuji (2-3) in the day’s final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center but never looked in serious danger en route to a yorikiri victory.
Harumafuji looked back to his best and made short work of Ikioi (1-4), sending the komusubi sprawling with an uwatenage throw to improve to 3-2.
On a day of mixed fortunes for ozeki wrestlers, Goeido moved into the winners’ column but there were defeats for Kisenosato and local favorite Kotoshogiku.
Goeido, looking to prove his worth as an ozeki after a pedestrian 8-7 showing on his debut at sumo’s second-highest rank in September, improved to 3-2 with a textbook slap-down win against No. 1 maegashira Tochiozan (1-4).
Fukuoka-born Kotoshogiku crashed to his third defeat in a row, ringside judges drawing a collective sigh of disappointment from the home crowd after determining that his hand had touched the dirt just before his opponent Aminishiki stepped outside the ring.
Aminishiki, a veteran top-ranked maegashira, also has a 2-3 record.
Kisenosato bit the dust to surrender his share of the overnight lead, the ozeki getting blasted off the ring by Bulgarian sekiwake Aoiyama (3-2).
Newly promoted sekiwake Ichinojo (3-2) got back on the winning trail after defeat to Goeido on Wednesday, the 21-year-old Mongolian giant slapping down komusubi Takekaze, who dropped to 1-4.
Earlier, evergreen maegashira Kyokutenho dropped out of a tie for the lead after the 40-year-old Mongolian was heaved out to his first loss by Chinese-born No. 14 maegashira Sokokurai (4-1).
Tochinoshin, back in the makuuchi division after a 15-0 sweep in second-tier juryo last time out, is also one win back, the No. 8 maegashira scoring a hatakikomi victory over 10th-ranked Shohozan (1-4).
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5