FUKUOKA – Autumn champion Kakuryu bounced back from a shock opening defeat to take out No. 2 maegashira Aoiyama at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.
On a day of contrasting fortunes for the three Mongolian yokozuna, championship favorite Hakuho also came through with a routine win, but Harumafuji came a cropper and fell to his first loss at the hands of Egyptian bruiser Osunaarashi (1-1).
Stunned by giant-killer Yoshikaze on Sunday, Kakuryu always looked in control and shook off an early smack to the face to send the Bulgarian-born Aoiyama (0-2) sprawling with an underarm throw.
Top-ranked maegashira Osunaarashi upset Harumafuji when he broke up a stalemate and swung him around before finishing the job with a powerful shove at the edge of the dohyo.
Harumafuji missed the entire autumn meet and most of the Nagoya Basho in July due to a right elbow injury.
But Hakuho, returning from a knee injury that forced him to withdraw on the third day of the last basho, was always in control in the final bout and improved to 2-0 after bumping out giant Mongolian No. 1 maegashira Ichinojo (0-2).
In other key bouts, Yoshikaze (2-0) claimed yet another huge scalp when he came from behind to outmuscle ozeki Kisenosato (1-1).
The komusubi looked to be in trouble as Kisenosato knocked him off balance, but he recovered to counter and send the ozeki down with a katasukashi under-shoulder swing-down.
Yoshikaze is back at sumo’s fourth-highest rank of komusubi for the first time in nine tournaments after a highly impressive showing in September.
At the autumn meet he beat both Hakuho and Kakuryu, as well as two ozeki and was awarded both the Outstanding Performance Prize and the Technique Prize, two of the three prizes the JSA gives to makuuchi wrestlers on the final day of a grand tournament.
Relegation-threatened ozeki Goeido charged out third-ranked maegashira Toyonoshima (1-1) to stay perfect and Fukuoka’s favorite son Kotoshogiku (2-0) gave the crowd more to cheer about when he thrust Georgian komusubi Tochinoshin down to his second defeat.
Ozeki Terunofuji, wrestling with a heavily strapped right leg, was saddled with his first loss after being bellied out by sekiwake Tochiozan (1-1).
Sekiwake Myogiryu scored his first win, forcing out winless No. 2 maegashira Okinoumi.
No. 11 maegashira Mitakeumi made it two wins out of two on his debut in the elite makuuchi division, ramming out 12th-ranked Takayasu, who dropped to 1-1.