FUKUOKA – It wasn’t classy, but Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho got some payback against Yoshikaze on Wednesday, defeating the komusubi upstart to preserve his share of the lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho used a frowned-upon side-step maneuver at the charge to mug Yoshikaze (2-2) and send him to the dirt in the day’s penultimate bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Hakuho, who lost to Yoshikaze on the second day of the Autumn meet before pulling out the next day with a knee injury, improved to 4-0 and shares the lead with ozeki Kotoshogiku and maegashira duo Ikioi and Chiyotoori.
Yoshikaze beat both Hakuho and yokozuna Kakuryu and two ozeki in September. He kicked off this tournament with wins against Kakuryu and ozeki Kisenosato before losing to Kotoshogiku on Tuesday.
In one of the day’s most entertaining bouts, Autumn champion Kakuryu fended off a strong effort from Egyptian maegashira Osunaarashi (1-3) and knocked him off the raised ring to improve to 3-1.
Yokozuna Harumafuji, who narrowly escaped a second defeat on Tuesday, posted a convincing win to also sit at 3-1, turning the tables on Ichinojo (0-4) at the edge of the ring and sending down the giant Mongolian with a shitatenage underarm throw.
Local favorite Kotoshogiku continued his storming start and made short work of Tochiozan (2-2), the ozeki quickly working the sekiwake over the straw bales to the delight of a partisan home crowd.
Kisenosato had his hands full against Georgian grappler Tochinoshin but huffed and puffed his way past the komusubi to tough out a third win. Tochinoshin dropped to 1-3.
Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji also stayed one win off the pace with a victory over winless Bulgarian bruiser Aoiyama. Aoiyama looked to have the advantage after the charge, but Terunofuji regrouped and floored the second-ranked maegashira with an overarm throw.
Relegation-threatened ozeki Goeido (3-1) survived an attempted pull down by Aminishiki (1-3) and bounced back from his first defeat with a powerful shove.
Sekiwake Myogiryu dropped his second straight and fell to 1-3 after being forced out by No. 3 maegashira Toyonoshima (3-1).
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