FUKUOKA – Harumafuji leveled the playing field on Friday, upstaging fellow Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho with a make-or-break leap on his initial charge to leave them both with 12 wins with two days remaining in the 15-day Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho attacked to the left on his charge, and Harumafuji read the attack like a book. Harumafuji leaped to his left and came down hard on Hakuho’s exposed right flank, spinning him around to the straws edge.
Wasting no time, Harumafuji leaned into his storied rival and Hakuho’s legs buckled backward as he crumpled to his first defeat.
The win at Fukuoka Kokusai Center was Harumafuji’s 19th in 50 career bouts against his countryman.
On Saturday, Harumafuji will take on the third member of the yokozuna triumvirate, Kakuryu, while Hakuho will face ozeki Terunofuji.
In the day’s final bout, Kakuryu (8-5) lost his footing soon after the initial charge as Terunofuji improved to 7-6. Kakuryu forced fellow Mongolian upward on the charge and as he lowered his body to take aim at Terunofuji’s midsection, a slip of foot amid a hail of slaps from the ozeki saw the yokozuna crash to the surface.
Goeido (7-6) made quick work of veteran ozeki Kisenosato (8-5), overpowering him on the tachiai and maintaining control until forcing him over the straw bales.
The victory improved Goeido’s career record against Kisenosato to 13-20.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku secured his eighth win at the expense of struggling sekiwake Myogiru, using a kotenage armlock throw to deal his opponent an 11th loss.
Tenth-ranked maegashira Shohozan (11-2) kept his title hopes alive by powering out towering top-ranked maegashira Ichinojo (5-8). The 177-cm Shohozan was off the mark in a flash forcing the 194-cm Mongolian up and back to the straw ridge. Shohozan failed to tip his opponent with an underarm throw, but with Ichinojo’s poise all but gone, a second frontal assault carried the day.
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