Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho cemented his place among the early pacesetters with a routine win over Shodai at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
Spring champion Hakuho, who with 36 career titles is the most successful wrestler in sumo history, shares the lead at 4-0 with fellow Mongolian yokozuna Kakuryu and ozeki pair Kisenosato and Goeido.
Hakuho was never in any danger in the day’s last bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan. The yokozuna dished out a juicy slap at the charge before setting himself up for victory over the winless No. 2 maegashira with a neck thrust.
Yokozuna Harumafuji (3-1) rebounded from his first defeat of the tournament on Tuesday by putting winless top-ranked maegashira Myogiryu on all fours, and Kakuryu followed up by flooring towering No. 2 maegashira Ichinojo (2-2).
Goeido delivered another strong performance to stay perfect, chasing out Bulgarian-born No. 3 maegashira Aoiyama (1-3) after fending off an early attack.
Kisenosato, once again seeking an elusive first championship title, twice came back from the brink of defeat, drawing on his energy reserves to see off the threat of komusubi Okinoumi (1-3).
Kotoshogiku (3-1), who became the first Japan-born wrestler to win the Emperor’s Cup in a decade at the New Year meet, lost his share of the lead after being mugged at the charge by Takarafuji.
Takarafuji used a henka technique to pick up his first win, stepping aside at the tachiai to avoid an attack and catching the ozeki off guard.
“I know it is not good (to use the henka) and I fretted about whether or not to do it right until the last second,” said Takarafuji.
Terunofuji lost his second bout in a row and dropped to 2-2 after getting bundled over the edge by Brazilian-born komusubi Kaisei, who picked up his first win.
Meanwhile, Kotoyuki came out on top of a match-up between two newly promoted sekiwake, bumping out Ikioi (1-3) to post his first win of the tournament.