FUKUOKA – Unbeaten Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho remains the sole leader as the first week of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament wrapped up on Saturday.
The yokozuna twice looked to be heading for his first loss of the tournament as winless No. 2 maegashira Okinoumi put up a brave fight in the day’s penultimate bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
But Hakuho came through right at the death and turned the tables on Okinoumi to squash him at the ring’s edge with a rare yaguranage inner thigh throw technique.
Ringside judges confirmed the win after the referee mistakenly awarded the win to Okinoumi.
Chasing a record 35th Emperor’s Cup, Hakuho improved to 7-0, one win clear of a group of six wrestlers, including fellow yokozuna Harumafuji.
Harumafuji calmly dealt with the threat of komusubi Tochinoshin (3-4), getting both hands on the back of the Georgian grappler’s belt to finally usher him over the bales.
Kotoshogiku rebounded from his first defeat of the tournament to easily thrust down fellow ozeki Goeido to a third defeat and ozeki Kisenosato also won, but Terunofuji was condemned to a shock defeat by Ikioi.
Kisenosato escaped with a sixth win against Bulgarian-born Aoiyama (1-6).
Aoiyama was initially awarded the win but ringside judges correctly overturned the referee’s decision after television replays showed the No. 2 maegashira’s foot had touched the dirt outside the straw ridge.
Terunofuji, clearly struggling with a heavily taped right leg, dropped to 4-3 and was no real match for No. 4 maegashira Ikioi, who stayed in touch with leader Hakuho at 6-1.
“I just tried to make sure I did not allow (Terunofuji) to get control of my mawashi,” said Ikioi. “I’m not thinking about it (my record) and am just going to keep trying my best until the end.”
At sumo’s third-highest rank, Tochiozan (3-4) claimed sekiwake bragging rights with a routine oshidashi win against Myogiryu (2-5).
Komusubi Yoshikaze moved back into the winner’s column at 4-3 after outmuscling Mongolian giant Ichinojo, who fell to 1-6.
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