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Hakuho survives scare on second day of Summer Basho

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho and sumo’s elite remained atop the competition after earning back-to-back wins on Monday, the second day of the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho (2-0), who sat out the Spring tourney with a toe injury, survived a slight scare against Mitakeumi (1-1) and remained on track to add a 41st title his record championship haul.

The recently demoted komusubi had the Mongolian stalwart on the ropes during a vigorous chase around the ring. But Hakuho wrested the crafty komusubi around and shoved his opponent down to a first defeat at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In the day’s penultimate bout, yokozuna Kakuryu (2-0), looking to win back-to-back championships for the first time in his career, quickly dispatched Tamawashi (0-2) after a hard slap knocked the No. 1 maegashira off balance and allowed the yokozuna to twist him down by the arm.

The two Mongolian winners are the only yokozuna competing here after Kisenosato, the first Japan-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank, once again pulled out due to a left chest muscle injury.

In other matches, ozeki Goeido (2-0) needed little time to beat Shohozan (0-2), using his brute force to shove the No. 2 maegashira cleanly from the ring and earn a second win.

Mongolian tank Ichinojo (2-0) defeated top-ranked maegashira Kaisei (0-2) to remain undefeated after locking briefly with the 204-kg Brazilian, who earned the Fighting Spirit Prize for an impressive 12 wins in March.

The sekiwake, one of only three wrestlers to beat Kaisei at the spring tourney, improved to eight wins in 10 career bouts with the Brazilian after breaking the lull and charging him from the ring.

Sekiwake Tochinoshin (2-0) braved a flurry of slaps from Abi (0-2) before lifting the No. 2 maegashira up by his belt and depositing him on the wrong side of the straw. The Georgian is looking to improve on his 10-5 March finish on the heels of his maiden makuuchi division championship in January.

Komusubi Endo (1-1), the only elite-ranked wrestler to lose on the first day, fought back a spirited onslaught from Yutakayama (0-2) to pick up his first win.

The komusubi drove his opponent to the edge of the ring before pulling him down by the arm as the No. 3 maegashira attempted a final shove.