FUKUOKA – Yokozuna Hakuho improved to 5-0 on Thursday, the fifth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Seeking to extend his record for most career championships with his 40th, Hakuho showed more nerves than usual in dispatching winless No. 2 maegashira Tochiozan. The yokozuna gave the bout a surprise, when he jumped the gun and slammed into his opponent on a false start.
When things got underway for good, the yokozuna looked less poised than usual. He pinned his opponent back with a left hand to the throat before spinning him around and pushing him out. As Tochiozan was teetering at ring’s edge, Hakuho delivered an uncharacteristically vicious shove to punctuate his victory.
The win left the Mongolian master in a three-way tie for first place with ozeki Goeido and No. 13 maegashira Aminishiki.
Goeido and fellow ozeki Takayasu each started the day with a perfect 4-0 record, but while Goeido made a narrow escape, Takayasu suffered an awkward first defeat.
Goeido was driven back to the straw by a ferocious charge from 21-year-old komusubi Onosho (1-4), but the ozeki retreated faster than Onosho could pursue. As Onosho lunged for one final shove to propel the backpedaling Goeido from the ring, he overextended himself and was easily pushed to the surface before the ozeki stepped out of the ring.
Takayasu forced Tamawashi back on the initial charge, slapping him back but failing to get a belt hold. The Mongolian No. 1 maegashira fought back, stopped the ozeki’s progress and began moving forward.
Takayasu attempted to hold his ground but found no traction on the sandy surface. He slid backward and was easily spun around and shoved out. With his win, Tamawashi celebrated his 33rd birthday by improving to 10-6 against the ozeki.
Yokozuna Kisenosato barely earned his third win after being dominated by No. 3 maegashira Shohozan (2-3). The maegashira shoved the ozeki to the ring’s edge three times but was unable to put him away.
On the brink of defeat for the third time, Kisenosato managed to tiptoe backward along the top of the straw bales, while wrapping up his opponent’s torso. Using Shohozan’s momentum to his own advantage, Kisenosato twisted the maegashira out to defeat.
Among the rank-and-file maegashira wrestlers, No. 4 Ichinojo suffered his first loss at the hands of No. 6 Chiyoshoma (3-2). This left Aminishiki with the only other perfect record.
Aminishiki, the oldest wrestler to regain promotion to the top-flight makuuchi division after being demoted, ousted No. 14 maegashira and makuuchi debutant Daiamami (1-4).