Ozeki Goeido dodged a bullet on Saturday to rebound from back-to-back defeats and zero in on his second career championship at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Goeido was given a serious run for his money by ninth-ranked maegashira Takanoiwa in the day’s penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan but improved to 11-3, one win ahead of yokozuna Harumafuji.
Goeido, the defending tourney champion, and Harumafuji face off in the final bout of regulation on Sunday, with Harumafuji needing a win to force a championship playoff.
Harumafuji holds a 31-11 career record against Goeido at grand tournaments.
After a pair of false starts, Goeido survived a couple of big scares against plucky Takanoiwa (8-6), but eventually came through unscathed, toppling the maegashira with a watashikomi (thigh-grabbing )pushdown.
Harumafuji (10-4) kept alive his title hopes by forcing out sekiwake Mitakeumi (7-7) in the day’s last bout.
No. 16 maegashira Asanoyama’s hopes of a shock title win in his first tournament in the elite makuuchi division ended after he was sent to a fifth defeat.
Onosho (9-5) grabbed Asanoyama by the throat after the tachiai charge and followed up with a two-handed shove to send him off the raised ring.
Former ozeki Kotoshogiku scored a ninth win, bellying 11th-ranked maegashira Daieisho (8-6) towards the edge of the dohyo and finishing the job with a shove to the midriff.