NAGOYA – Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji on Friday took a major step toward his eighth career title by seizing sole possession of the lead with two days remaining at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Harumafuji overpowered promotion-chasing ozeki and overnight co-leader Kisenosato in the day’s finale at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium to score his 11th win at the 15-day basho.
Kisenosato, Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho and rank-and-filer Takanoiwa share second at 10-3.
Harumafuji was quick on his feet and got both hands on Kisenosato’s belt after charging in low at the tachiai.
Kisenosato attempted to counter and get his left hand on Harumafuji’s mawashi, but the yokozuna surged forward and charged him over the edge of the ring.
Harumafuji fights ozeki Goeido on Saturday, while Kisenosato faces off against Hakuho. No. 10 maegashira Takanoiwa is up against second-ranked Takarafuji.
Hakuho, who is aiming for a third straight championship win and a record-extending 38th title of his career, bounced back from his third defeat of the tournament by beating Goeido, who collapsed in a heap at the charge and dropped to 7-6.
Takanoiwa kept his title hopes alive thanks to a default win over ninth-ranked Chiyonokuni (8-5).
Chiyonokuni (8-5), who is back in the top makuuchi division for the first time in 13 tournaments, withdrew earlier in the day with a right knee injury.
Komusubi Takayasu lost for the second day in a row when he was shoved out by Bulgarian No. 6 maegashira Aoiyama (7-6) and is among five wrestlers with 9-4 marks.
Takarafuji also suffered his fourth defeat after coming a cropper against Brazilian grappler Kaisei, who moved within one win of a winning record on his debut at sumo’s third-highest rank of sekiwake.
Fifth-ranked Shodai (9-4) overpowered injury-prone Mongolian Terunofuji, who still needs one more win from his last two bouts to retain his ozeki status for the next tournament in September.
Seventh-ranked Mongolian Ichinojo and No. 5 maegashira Yoshikaze also have nine wins.