FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho stayed unbeaten at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday to remain on course for a record-extending 40th career championship.
Hakuho (9-0) faced fourth-ranked maegashira Chiyonokuni (1-8) and he wrapped up their second career encounter in a heartbeat at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
The yokozuna held Chiyonokuni’s mawashi belt and pulled him forward before the maegashira had the chance to extend his arms.
Hakuho won the Nagoya tourney in July when he topped the all-time wins list by surpassing former ozeki Kaio’s record of 1,047. However, the yokozuna missed the entire autumn meet in September due to knee pain.
In the day’s final bout, No. 5 maegashira Takarafuji (4-5) sentenced yokozuna Kisenosato (4-5) to his third straight loss when he beat him with an underarm throw.
Three wrestlers — No. 5 maegashira Arawashi, No. 12 Okinoumi, and No. 4 Ichinojo — started the day one win behind Hakuho but they all lost and dropped into a group of six wrestlers with 7-2 records.
Arawashi lost to No. 2 maegashira Tochiozan (1-8) in a redo of their initial bout after the two wrestlers stepped out of the ring at the same time. On their second try, Arawashi seemed to have the advantage when he charged Tochiozan toward the edge, but Tochiozan turned around and slapped him down.
Okinoumi was robbed of his chance of an eighth straight win by No. 14 maegashira Kotoyuki (4-5) when the lower-ranked Kotoyuki held onto his arm and pulled him forward. Ichinojo, who defeated Kisenosato on Sunday, was forced out of the ring by seventh-ranked Daishomaru (3-6).
The two ozeki in the tournament improved their records while fighting sekiwake wrestlers.
Goeido (7-2) almost lost balance and stepped out of the dohyo when Yoshikaze (4-5) charged with force. However, he pulled himself together and pushed the sekiwake from behind to claim back-to-back victories.
Takayasu (6-3), who is fighting as a demotion-threatened “kadoban” ozeki, defeated Mitakeumi (5-4) when he slapped down the fan favorite sekiwake to the dohyo. Takayasu needs two more wins to secure a winning record and his status.
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