FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho maintained his perfect record on Monday after easing past ozeki Goeido and making it nine out of nine at the 15-day Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Sumo’s most outstanding yokozuna was way ahead of the demotion-threatened ozeki with his movement, swinging him around with a left-handed overarm throw before latching onto the floundering Goeido (5-4) at the edge of the ring to steer him out at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Four wrestlers finished the tournament’s ninth day with 8-1 records.
Yokozuna Harumafuji won to remain one behind compatriot Hakuho, maintaining his strong record against No. 4 maegashira Ikioi (6-3) in the day’s final bout. The yokozuna, however, had to labor to improve to 6-0 in his career against his opponent.
Harumafuji grabbed a belt hold with a firm overarm, but Ikioi held his ground in a long-lasting encounter, and the yokozuna seemed to be heading for his second defeat when Ikioi executed an underarm throw. But Harumafuji leaned into his opponent in a last-gasp effort, and Ikioi crumbled.
Fukuoka-born local favorite ozeki Kotoshogiku (7-2) suffered a shock defeat at the hand of No. 2 maegashira Okinoumi (1-8), who went into the day as the only wrestler in the makuuchi division without a win. Kotoshogiku failed to grab the opponent’s belt and slipped down as he tried to make his trademark torso push.
In an all-ozeki battle, Kisenosato (8-1) didn’t misstep, keeping his calm despite receiving a slap to the face from Terunofuji (4-5). After placing his left hand around the far side of the Terunofuji’s belt, Kisenosato easily forced the Mongolian out.
Yokozuna Kakuryu, who won the last grand tournament in September, suffered his third loss and looks out of the title race after getting lamely pushed out by Tochiozan (5-4) in the day’s penultimate bout.
Two lowly-ranked maegashiras with one loss each also secured winning records for the basho, No. 12 Takayasu twisting down No. 15 Chiyootori (6-3) before No. 10 Shohozan steered out No. 14 Daieisho (2-7) to keep pace with their higher-ranking rivals at 8-1.
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