Ozeki Kisenosato launched his latest bid for an elusive first championship with a comfortable win against Myogiryu, while Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho came through after an early wobble on Sunday, the opening day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Looking to build on a 13-2 record at the Spring tourney in March, Kisenosato seized control after the charge and had little trouble in shunting the first-ranked maegashira over the bales at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Having come close to the title on several occasions, Kisenosato had been tipped as the man most likely to end a 10-year trophy drought for Japanese wrestlers at the New Year basho in January, only for Kotoshogiku to steal the show and pull off a shock championship win.
Hakuho, who ended an eight-month barren stretch with a record-extending 36th career championship in March was put under pressure at the start of his match against Okinoumi.
But he came roaring back to see off the komusubi with a yoritaoshi frontal crush out to wrap up the day’s action.
Harumafuji dodged a bullet to thrust down newly-promoted sekiwake Ikioi and fellow Mongolian yokozuna Kakuryu followed up by getting a firm left-handed grip on Kaisei’s belt and setting himself up for a yorikiri force-out win against the Brazilian komusubi.
There were no major upsets in the top two ranks as all four ozeki posted opening-day wins.
Kotoshogiku was in total control in his bout against Shodai, getting a low head charge and bellying out the second-ranked maegashira, while Goedio, 12-3 last time out, easily muscled out top-ranked Takarafuji to claim an oshidashi win.
Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji may still be recovering from problems with both knees, but he got off on the right foot by flooring countryman and No. 2 maegashira Ichinojo with a kotenage armlock throw.
It was a bad day all round for newly-promoted wrestlers at the third highest rank of sekiwake as Kotoyuki came a cropper in his bout against Bulgarian-born No. 3 maegashira Aoiyama.
Kotoyuki, 25, defeated one yokozuna and two ozeki en route to an impressive 12-3 record as top-ranked maegashira in March and becomes the first wrestler to reach sekiwake from Kagawa Prefecture in 56 years.