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Free-falling Goeido slumps to third defeat

Kyodo

Ozeki Goeido’s dream of reaching the highest rank of yokozuna fell back to the drawing board after he suffered his third defeat Monday at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, where yokozuna Kakuryu remained perfect.

Goeido (6-3), whose chance was hit severely with his loss a day earlier, saw his hopes completely evaporate after falling to fellow ozeki Kisenosato (7-2). The Osaka native got the better of the initial charge but was unable to keep hold of escaping Kisenosato, and was floored on a thrust-down at the edge of the ring.

Kakuryu had an even opening against sekiwake Takayasu (4-5) as both kept their opponent away with pushes to the throat, but the Mongolian yokozuna’s timely dodge and a pulling throw turned his opponent inside out before a force-out win that improved his record to 9-0 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Two other yokozuna, Harumafuji and Hakuho, as well as newcomer Ishiura all won to stay a win behind Kakuryu, while five wrestlers including ozeki Kisenosato and Terunofuji have 7-2 records.

Harumafuji sent Okinoumi (2-7) packing in a flash after quickly getting a right overarm belt hold before sweeping the sekiwake off the ring.

Fit-again Hakuho had a much tougher test but eventually downed Kotoshogiku (3-6), winning his 49th out of 54 bouts between the pair. Both wrestlers failed to reach for the mawashi belt in an early stalemate, but Hakuho grabbed the left overarm belt hold before throwing the ozeki down at the edge of the ring.

Makuuchi-debutant Ishiura, a No. 15 maegashira, won the battle of top-flight newcomers, displaying his nimble footwork and diving in low off the tachiai to barrel into 11th-ranked Hokutofuji (5-4) before bulldozing him out of the ring in an emphatic bout to keep up the pace.

After starting the tourney with two straight defeats, Terunofuji, who had a losing record in the last basho in September, is now within a win of retaining his ozeki status after sending winless Brazilian No. 2 maegashira Kaisei to the floor with an overarm throw.