NAGOYA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho on Thursday crashed to shock defeat against relegation-threatened ozeki Terunofuji to surrender his share of the lead heading into the final stretch of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho’s third defeat of the tournament, along with a loss for komusubi Takayasu, leaves promotion-chasing ozeki Kisenosato and Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji tied at the top at 10-2 with three days of the 15-day basho remaining.
Hakuho looked nervous in the day’s final bout and had to take a second crack at Terunofuji after a failed tachiai charge.
But Terunofuji came out on top and bundled out the 37-time Emperor’s Cup winner to claim a huge victory, moving within one win of retaining his ozeki status for the next tournament in September.
Hakuho, winner of the last two tournaments, Takayasu and maegashira pair Takanoiwa and Takarafuji are tied for second at 9-3.
Kisenosato briefly looked in trouble after he had failed to finish off Shodai (8-4) following the charge, but the Tagonoura stable star recovered to send out the fifth-ranked maegashira with a pair of meaty shoves.
Harumafuji put on a clinic in his bout against Brazilian Kaisei (6-6), getting stuck in low at the charge and sending the sekiwake to the dirt with a textbook uwatedashinage pulling overarm throw.
Takayasu dropped out of the leading pack after he was knocked over by Yoshikaze after an explosive exchange of slaps and thrusts.
Fifth-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze was good value for his win and secured a majority of victories for the first time in three tournaments.
In other bouts, ozeki Goeido took advantage of a slow start from Ikioi and had little trouble in barging out the fourth-ranked maegashira out of the ring for a seventh win. Ikioi dropped to 4-8.
Georgian grappler Tochinoshin (3-9), already saddled with a losing record on his debut at sekiwake, looked to be in control against Myogiryu (4-8) but could not maintain the momentum and got shoved off the raised ring by the third-ranked maegashira.