FUKUOKA – Ozeki Goeido had a small scare during his bout with Tochiozan on Sunday but got off to a winning start on the opening day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, while yokozuna Hakuho showed a strong comeback after missing the September meet due to injuries.
Goeido, who won the Autumn tourney with a perfect 15-0 record and is looking for promotion to the highest rank of yokozuna, made a strong drive toward Tochiozan and looked like he might lose his balance at one point, when his opponent tried to sidestep the ozeki’s charge, but held on as he pushed the top maegashira out of the ring.
Hakuho thrusted Okinoumi downward by the shoulders, as the nervous sekiwake, who had made two false starts, was helpless against the yokozuna at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Hakuho now has a 17-1 record against Okinoumi.
In the last two matchups, both between a Mongolian yokozuna and a komusubi, Kakuryu chased Mitakeumi around and off the dohyo, while Harumafuji suffered a stunning defeat against Tamawashi and his powerful thrusts.
“I was just thinking about going forward. It was good,” said Tamawashi, who returned to the fourth-highest rank of komusubi for the first time in 10 meets. “I hope to post a winning record here as I’ve always done so at a Kyushu basho.”
Two other ozeki also started the 15-day meet with wins, with Kisenosato edging out top-ranked maegashira Aoiyama and Kotoshogiku needing only seconds to dispose of No. 2 maegashira Kaisei.
But Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji, who may be demoted if he performs poorly here as he finished the last basho in September with a 4-11 record, fell against tiny second-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze.
Yoshikaze, standing 176 cm, grabbed the 192-cm Terunofuji by the mawashi and literally lifted him over the ring’s edge.
Sekiwake Takayasu, who has a chance of promotion to ozeki if he can get 12 wins, defeated No. 3 maegashira Endo with commanding shoves. Takayasu is set to meet Goeido on Monday.
In other bouts, No. 3 maegashira Shodai, who hails from Kyushu main island’s Kumamoto Prefecture, which is recovering after being hit by powerful earthquakes this spring, marched fourth-ranked Kotoyuki out of the ring.