FUKUOKA - Yokozuna Hakuho extended his spotless record after the eighth day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday, taking down Hokutofuji in a blink.
Hakuho is still on track for a record 40th championship after defeating No. 3 maegashira Hokutofuji (6-2) in the 15-day event at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
The two wrestlers held onto the other’s mawashi belt, but Hakuho’s left-handed grip over Hokutofuji’s arm proved superior. The Mongolian yokozuna then displayed his skill and confidence in nudging his opponent over the straw bales.
Meanwhile, yokozuna Kisenosato (4-4) continued to suffer. He fell to his second consecutive loss when he was forced out of the raised ring by Mongolian No. 4 maegashira Ichinojo (7-1).
Ichinojo, as well as two others — No. 12 maegashira Okinoumi and Mongolian No. 5 maegashira Arawashi — trail Hakuho by one win.
Okinoumi (7-1) was surrendered a belt hold to No. 14 maegashira Daiamami (2-6), but Daiamami, a debutant in the elite makuuchi division, stepped out while being pushed backward by Okinoumi. Arawashi (7-1), meanwhile, took down No. 8 maegashira Chiyomaru (3-5).
Earlier, Aminishiki (6-2) suffered his second loss of the tournament when popular No. 9 maegashira Endo (5-3) charged him toward the edge. The 39-year-old tried to cling on, but the 27-year-old Endo pushed him in the chest to seal the win in seconds.
No. 11 maegashira Aoiyama (2-2-4) returned to the raised ring after withdrawing due to a right-ankle injury sustained on the second day. Aoiyama made a strong comeback when he slapped down No. 7 maegashira Daishomaru (2-6).
Ozeki Takayasu and Goeido, who both started the day at 5-2, experienced different results. Goeido (6-2) beat No. 4 maegashira Chiyonokuni (1-7) with a frontal shove to drop into a tie with five others.
Takayasu (5-3) fell forward on his hands when trying to stop sekiwake Yoshikaze (4-4) from slapping him.