• Kyodo


Yokozuna Hakuho took the sole lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, improving to 6-0, while the three other wrestlers who started the day at 5-0 fell one by one.

Before a full house at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Hakuho maintained his career domination of Toyonoshima (3-3), defeating the No. 3 maegashira for the 30th time in 32 career bouts. Toyonoshima tried to stand up to the Mongolian master’s initial charge, but Hakuho latched onto the back of his belt with both hands and forced him out.

Yokozuna Harumafuji improved to 5-1 by snapping a five-match losing streak against giant-killing komusubi Yoshikaze (3-3). Yoshikaze started the tournament by defeating yokozuna Kakuryu and followed that with the ozeki scalp of Kisenosato.

Harumafuji, however, wrapped up his opponents’ arms on the charge and threw his nemesis down with a kotenage armlock throw.

Kakuryu (4-2) bounced back after suffering his second defeat the day before to beat winless Okinoumi. The No. 2 maegashira created good momentum and push on his charge, but surrendered a belt hold to the yokozuna that proved fatal. Although being forced backward on the defensive, Kakuryu was able to twist Okinoumi down to defeat.

Fukuoka-born ozeki Kotoshogiku suffered his first loss as top-ranked Mongolian maegashira Ichinojo (1-5) took advantage of the ozeki’s weak charge, gained a belt hold and steered him out of the ring.

Kisenosato joined Kotoshogiku at 5-1 by doing what he does best, outlasting opponents and staying patient until they make a mistake. Sekiwake Tochiozan (2-4) repeatedly came after the ozeki, unleashing slaps and shoves before withdrawing. When his opponent was tiring and off balance, Kisenosato went on the attack and shoved him out.

Kadoban ozeki Goeido fell to his second defeat. Goeido used a frowned-upon henka against his opponent, No. 2 maegashira Aoiyama. But the towering, 201-kg Bulgarian showed off surprising agility and footwork to escape. Goeido still had a chance to shove his opponent out, but Aoiyama withstood the ozeki’s lunge, and while perched atop the straw bales managed to pull his opponent down and out of the ring.

“My sumo wasn’t too good today, but I’m really happy I could win,” Aoiyama said of a victory that followed a prolonged deliberation while judges checked the video to see if he had pulled on the ozeki’s hair.

“I don’t know about his hair. I did have my hand on his back, though.”

Ozeki Terunofuji had little trouble improving to 4-2 against top maegashira Osunaarashi. The 159-kg Egyptian got a hold of Terunofuji’s belt and tried to hoist the 179-kg Mongolian out of the ring, but simply wasted time and energy in the attempt and was easily forced out to his fifth defeat.

The maegashira pair of Chiyootori and Ikioi both suffered their first loss to fall out of a tie for the lead.

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