FUKUOKA – Lone yokozuna Hakuho outlasted fellow Mongolian Ichinojo to maintain his two-win cushion at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
The only grand champion left in the 15-day tournament following Kisenosato’s withdrawal earlier in the day, Hakuho (10-0) broke up a mid-ring stalemate and kicked Ichinojo (7-3) in the knee before flooring the fourth-ranked maegashira with a textbook “uwatenage” overarm throw.
Hakuho, who is seeking a record-extending 40th career championship title, is two wins clear of rank-and-filers Okinoumi and Hokutofuji.
Twelfth-ranked maegashira Okinoumi (8-2) bounced back from defeat to shove out seventh-ranked Daishomaru (3-7) and secure a majority of wins.
No. 3 Hokutofuji (8-2) pulled out a hard-earned eighth win, surviving three vicious attacks from Chiyotairyu (4-6) before barging out the second-ranked grappler.
But Goeido’s (7-3) title hopes took another hit when the ozeki was slapped down to a third defeat at the hands of sekiwake Mitakeumi, who improved to 6-4.
Ozeki Takayasu (7-3) yanked down komusubi Kotoshogiku, sentencing the former ozeki to a losing 2-8 record in the process.
Kisenosato pulled out of the meet due to pain in his left ankle and lower back, his stablemaster Tagonoura said earlier Tuesday.
Kisenosato, 31, suffered a third straight loss Monday that left his record at 4-5 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, equaling Musashimaru’s all-time record by giving up five “kinboshi,” or losses to rank-and-file wrestlers, in a single tournament.
It is the fourth consecutive meet from which the Japan-born yokozuna has withdrawn and fifth time in his career.
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