NAGOYA – Ozeki Kisenosato remained in contention for an elusive first title and possible promotion to yokozuna as he wrapped up the first week of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with a resounding win over struggling sekiwake Tochinoshin on Saturday.
A day after dodging a bullet against Myogiryu, the Tagonoura stable star barely broke sweat at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, getting both arms around Tochinoshin (1-6) to work the Georgian towards the bales and off the dohyo for a sixth win.
Looking to end sumo fans’ 18-year wait for a Japanese-born yokozuna, Kisenosato is tied at 6-1 with yokozuna Hakuho and Harumafuji and three other wrestlers.
Hakuho looked to be in trouble in the day’s penultimate bout, but the Mongolian firebrand showed lightning-quick reflexes to turn the tables on third-ranked maegashira Myogiryu (1-6) and send him over the ridge with an underarm throw.
Seeking his third straight championship, Hakuho moved to within seven wins of becoming only the third wrestler in sumo history to reach the milestone of 1,000 career victories.
Harumafuji was far more convincing in his bout against Ikioi (2-5), quickly chasing the fourth-ranked maegashira to keep his piece of first place.
In other key bouts, relegation-haunted Terunofuji (4-3) fought tooth and nail against top-ranked maegashira Tochiozan (5-2) but the Mongolian ozeki’s efforts were in vain as he was muscled out to a third consecutive defeat.
Injury-weary Terunofuji still requires four wins from his last eight bouts to avoid demotion for the Autumn Basho in September.
Ozeki Goeido (5-2) took out top-ranked maegashira Mitakeumi with a pulling overarm throw and sent the former amateur yokozuna limping back to the locker room nursing a sixth defeat.
Brazilian-born sekiwake Kaisei (4-3) won his scheduled bout against Kotoshogiku by default.