Sumo / Basho Reports

Tamawashi pulls ahead after Hakuho drops third straight


Newly promoted sekiwake Takakeisho handed yokozuna Hakuho his third straight loss on Friday at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho gave up his share of the lead, falling one win behind Tamawashi (11-2) with two days remaining in the 15-day tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

In the day’s final bout, the two wrestlers shoved each other in the chest after their initial clash. Hakuho was trying to reach for Takakeisho’s mawashi belt, but the sekiwake remained calm and pulled the yokozuna down for his first victory in four career tries against the Mongolian.

“I might be showing a little fatigue. I’m not moving well,” said Hakuho, who sat out November’s grand tournament following knee and ankle surgery. “I tried to pull him in, but he was good.”

Takakeisho (10-3), the winner of the November tournament, remains in contention for his second-straight makuuchi division championship.

Hakuho is gunning for his record-extending 42nd championship. He is the only yokozuna standing here following Kakuryu’s withdrawal due to injury and Kisenosato’s retirement.

A day after his first career win over Hakuho, Tamawashi defeated No. 2 Hokutofuji (7-6) to stay on course for his maiden makuuchi championship. Tamawashi bulldozed Hokutofuji to the edge and slapped him down in a bout lasting only 2.9 seconds.

In the day’s penultimate match, Goeido won an all-ozeki clash. He got a hold of Takayasu’s belt and quickly bulldozed him out, leaving both men with 7-6 records.

Komusubi Mitakeumi (8-2-3) received one of the loudest ovations from the sell-out crowd when he pushed 226-kg Ichinojo (6-7) out of the ring. The win over the top-ranked maegashira was Mitakeumi’s third straight after he missed four bouts with a knee injury.

Among the three wrestlers who started the day with three losses, No. 8 Kaisei and No. 9 Endo suffered defeats and slipped further behind.

After receiving shoves from No. 5 Aoiyama (7-6), Endo slipped and fell forward before the Bulgarian thrust the fan favorite down to the clay. Kaisei lost to No. 11 Ikioi (8-5).