Kisenosato came through his toughest test yet with flying colors on Monday, blasting out fellow ozeki Goeido to stay tied for the lead at 9-0 with yokozuna Hakuho at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Goeido (7-2) took the initiative at the tachiai, knocking back Kisenosato with a low head charge at Ryogoku Kokugikan. But Kisenosato weathered that early storm and surged forward to gain control and bump Goeido off the ring from behind.
Kisenosato impressed with a 13-2 showing at the spring meet in March and has looked in strong form here as he takes his latest crack at an elusive first Emperor’s Cup.
Hakuho, who is seeking a record 37th career title and second in a row after victory at the spring meet, produced a quick-fire win over Ikioi. The Mongolian followed up a slap to the face with a crunching forearm blow to hand the newly promoted sekiwake a sixth defeat.
Kisenosato and Hakuho moved two wins ahead of Goeido, yokozuna pair Kakuryu and Harumafuji and eighth-ranked maegashira Mitakeumi.
Kakuryu piled more misery on Mongolian countryman Terunofuji, shunting the ozeki out to a seventh consecutive defeat, but Harumafuji was the day’s main upset victim after getting thrown down by komusubi Okinoumi (3-6) in the final bout.
Elsewhere, ozeki Kotoshogiku, who pulled off a shock championship win at the New Year Basho, remained three wins off the pace after comfortably bellying out Mongolian No. 2 maegashira Ichinojo (3-6).
Sekiwake debutant Kotoyuki, who has beaten both Goeido and Kakuryu here, improved to 4-5 after working top-ranked maegashira Myogiryu (3-6) to the bales and taking him out with a meaty neck thrust.
Kotoyuki improved to 5-0 in his head-to-head meetings at major tournaments with Myogiryu.