Sumo / Basho Reports

Hakuho closes in on title

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho edged one step closer to his first title of the year and a record-extending 41st career championship after beating Tochinoshin on Thursday, the 12th day of the 15-day Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho extended his undefeated run at Ryogoku Kokugikan to 12 straight days, making quick work once again of ozeki Tochinoshin (7-5).

The yokozuna slipped his right arm underneath Tochinoshin’s left armpit and coolly threw the powerful Georgian down to the clay. He now has a two-win lead going into Day 13.

Tochinoshin has beaten Hakuho only once in 27 career matchups. After 25 consecutive losses against the yokozuna, the Georgian defeated Hakuho en route to a 13-2 finish at the May tournament, resulting in his promotion to the sport’s second-highest rank.

Fighting as a demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki, Tochinoshin has just three days left to find the one win he needs to avoid demotion and maintain his status at the next tournament.

Yokozuna Kakuryu (10-2) suffered another upset, this time at the hands of Takayasu (10-2).

The ozeki got an outside grip on Kakuryu’s belt and swung the yokozuna around and down for his second straight loss.

In the day’s final bout, yokozuna Kisenosato (9-3) bounced back after an 11th-day upset with a hard-fought triumph over Mitakeumi (6-6).

Mitakeumi swung Kisenosato around the ring, but the latter kept his equilibrium, wearing out his opponent in the process. Kisenosato eventually gained control over the exhausted sekiwake and muscled him over the straw.

Five straight losses have dashed Mitakeumi’s hopes for a second straight makuuchi division championship and possible ozeki promotion.

Goeido (10-2) defeated No. 4 Abi (6-6) to join Kakuryu and Takayasu as the only wrestlers two wins behind Hakuho. The ozeki struggled to get Abi out of the ring, but capitalized on an opportunity for a slapdown instead.

The two heaviest men in the division, sekiwake Ichinojo (5-7) and top-ranked maegeshira Kaisei (5-7), engaged in a battle of bulk in their attempts to put together a winning record by Day 15.

Ichinojo, heavier by 20 kg, secured a solid belt hold and put his lighter Brazilian opponent on the back foot, then stepped to the side to deploy a winning overarm throw.

Takakeisho thrust out No. 3 Shodai (5-7) to even his record at 6-6, while fellow komusubi Tamawashi (3-9) was quickly pulled down by No. 2 Chiyotairyu (4-8).

No. 5 Myogiryu and No. 15 Yoshikaze each earned winning records with Day 12 victories.

No. 13 Takanoiwa (9-3), the only rank-and-filer to start the day two victories off the pace, ended a seven-match winning streak after losing to No. 7 Shohozan (6-6).

Takanoiwa returned to the top division after claiming his second juryo division championship at the July meet in Nagoya with a 13-2 record.

The Takanohana stable wrestler had been demoted after missing two tournaments due to head injuries sustained in an after-hours assault by Harumafuji last October, prompting the yokozuna’s retirement.