FUKUOKA – Kakuryu claimed yokozuna bragging rights and closed in on the title by defeating fellow Mongolian Hakuho at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.
After an early exchange of slaps and thrusts, Kakuryu seized control and got both arms around Hakuho before bellying him over the straw bales to stay one win clear with two days of the 15-day basho remaining.
Victory was only Kakuryu’s sixth in 45 meetings with Hakuho at grand tournaments. He is one win ahead of yokozuna and compatriot Harumafuji and can clinch the title by beating Goeido on Saturday, provided Harumafuji loses to Hakuho.
Hakuho, who is returning to the raised ring after missing the last tournament in September due to injuries, dropped to 9-4.
Harumafuji got a second crack at Goeido (9-4) after ringside judges ordered a rematch, deciding both had touched down outside the ring at the same time in their initial fight.
And he made no mistake, quickly taking the ozeki down at the charge with an uwatenage overarm throw to stay in the hunt for the tournament hardware.
Ozeki Kisenosato, and maegashira Ishiura and Shodai are two wins off the pace at 10-3.
A day after completing a clean sweep of the Mongolian yokozuna trio, Kisenosato’s hopes of capturing a coveted maiden title suffered a blow as Georgian No. 6 maegashira Tochinoshin (9-4) shrugged off his throat grip and sent him to the dirt with an underarm throw.
In the day’s opening bout in the top flight, surprise package Ishiura suffered a damaging loss, the 15th-ranked makuuchi division debutant getting slapped down by 10th-ranked Arawashi (9-4).
Third-ranked Shodai improved his mark with a yorikiri force out of 12th-ranked Chiyootori (6-7).
In other bouts, Mongolian komusubi Tamawashi upset ozeki Terunofuji (8-5) as he got around the back of the giant compatriot and shoved him out from behind to secure a majority of wins.
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