FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho defeated Aoiyama on Thursday to extend his unbeaten start to five matches in his comeback from a knee injury at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho improved to 5-0 to stay tied for the lead with ozeki Kotoshogiku and maegashira pair Ikioi and Chiyootori, but yokozuna Kakuryu’s hopes of back-to-back titles took another early hit as the Autumn Basho champion was saddled with a second upset defeat.
Hakuho was all business in the day’s final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, getting a strong left-handed grip on the back of Aoiyama’s belt and deploying a trademark uwatenage overarm throw to send the No. 2 maegashira (0-5) sprawling over the edge of the dohyo.
Much to the relief of the home crowd, ringside judges reversed the referee’s decision and awarded Fukuoka-born Kotoshogiku victory in his match against Toyonoshima (3-2).
After a lengthy discussion in the ring, judges determined that third-ranked Toyonoshima’s heel had touched the dirt outside the ring before Kotoshogiku’s hand as the ozeki came crashing down.
In a matchup between fourth-ranked maegashira, Ikioi scored his fifth win by overpowering fan favorite Endo, who returned to the locker room nursing a fourth defeat.
No. 15 maegashira Chiyootori kept his place among the early pacesetters by shoving out 14th-ranked Daieisho (2-3) in the day’s makuuchi division opener.
Back in the upper ranks, Kakuryu (3-2) got more than he bargained for against Myogiryu (2-3), who came charging forward to send the yokozuna backpedaling out of the dohyo.
But Harumafuji, who missed the last tournament and most of the Nagoya meet in July through injury, scored an impressive fourth win, turning the tables on Okinoumi to floor the winless No. 2 maegashira with a shitatenage underam throw.
Kisenosato (4-1) swung Ichinojo around and used brute strength to force the towering top-ranked Mongolian over the ridge, but fellow ozeki Terunofuji dropped his second bout after he was barged out by Georgian komusubi Tochinoshin (2-3).
It was Tochinoshin’s first win in five meetings against Terunofuji.
“It was good that I kept on getting forward and attacking,” said Tochinoshin, who went 10-5 at the last tournament. “I have to keep trying hard (here too) and go again from tomorrow.”
Goeido wasted no time getting in both arms around Osunaarashi (1-4) and barging the Egyptian No. 1 maegashira out to register the fourth of eight wins he needs to secure his status at sumo’s second rank of ozeki for next tournament in January.
Komusubi Yoshikaze (3-2) returned to winning ways after back-to-back losses, bumping out sekiwake Tochiozan (2-3) from behind following an explosive exchange of slaps and thrusts.
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