FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho saw his overnight lead trimmed to one win after suffering a shock first defeat at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.
Hakuho got quickly rammed out by sekiwake Yoshikaze in the day’s final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center and in a rare act unfitting of a yokozuna, raised his arm in protest at the referee’s decision.
Hakuho (10-1) took his foot off the pedal after the charge, suggesting he thought Yoshikaze (6-5) had made a matta (false start). He left the ring shaking his head.
“The yokozuna thought it was a matta and eased up but I heard even more clearly than usual the referee say nokotta (you’re still in it),” said Yoshikaze.
“I got the okay so just had to keep charging forward. I will try and wrestle well for the remaining four days.”
Despite the loss, Hakuho, the only yokozuna left in the tournament, is one win ahead of rank-and-filers Hokutofuji and Okinoumi and remains the odds-on favorite to secure what would be the 40th championship title of his career.
Third-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji (9-2) outmuscled ozeki Goeido (7-4) and put him on his backside to keep his title hopes alive, while No. 12 maegashira Okinoumi stayed in contention after forcing out same-ranked Kagayaki (6-5) in the day’s second makuuchi bout.
Ozeki Takayasu (8-3) secured a winning record after comfortably dispatching towering Mongolian No. 4 maegashira Ichinojo (7-4). Sekiwake Mitakeumi improved to 7-4 thanks to an oshidashi frontal push out win against second-ranked Chiyotairu (4-7).
Wrestling for pride after suffering a majority of losses, struggling komusubi Kotoshogiku (3-8) huffed and puffed his way past top-ranked maegashira Takakeisho for a third win. Takakeisho dropped to 7-4.