Sumo / Basho Reports

Title chase heats up in Osaka

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho continued his march toward a record-extending 42nd championship at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, improving to a perfect 7-0 by beating Shodai.

After a pair of tougher-than-expected bouts against rank-and-filers, the yokozuna showcased his phenomenal power on Day 7 at Edion Arena Osaka by dispatching the winless No. 3 maegashira in a matter of seconds.

In the final bout of the day, Hakuho sent Shodai backpedaling with a combination of slaps and shoves, then toppled him from the raised ring with a forearm shove.

With seven days of the 15-day tournament completed, he shares the lead with his 226-kg compatriot Ichinojo.

The biggest man in the division, No. 4 Ichinojo continued his impressive run with a thrust-down victory over No. 6 Abi.

Abi (2-5) battered Ichinojo with a flurry of thrusts to the upper body, but he was unable to budge the giant Mongolian, who easily slung the smaller wrestler to the clay.

Five wrestlers are one win behind the leaders at 6-1 — yokozuna Kakuryu, ozeki Takayasu, ozeki Goeido, as well as rank-and-file wrestlers Kotoshogiku and Aoiyama.

Yokozuna Kakuryu reeled off his sixth straight victory, overcoming a spirited effort by No. 3 Nishikigi to win by slap down.

Sekiwake Takakeisho stayed in the hunt for a second championship and improved his chances of promotion to ozeki by blowing away No. 2 Daieisho.
Takakeisho (5-2) opened with his customary thrusting attack and quickly overwhelmed Daieisho (3-4), driving him over the straw.

Ozeki Tochinoshin (4-3) suffered a setback in his bid to avoid demotion with a loss to No. 1 Endo (2-5). The injury-hampered Georgian succumbed to a belt hold after giving Endo a hard slap at the opening.

Endo then maneuvered Tochinoshin, who needs a winning record to keep his ozeki status, to the edge and out.

Mongolian sekiwake Tamawashi, winner of the New Year Basho, climbed to 4-3 by beating Brazilian No. 1 Kaisei (0-7).

Kaisei opened strongly, but Tamawashi drove him back with a thrusting attack to the throat. Kaisei looked for a hold as he backpedaled, but Tamawashi pushed the Brazilian maegashira out before he could gain a grip.

Bulgarian-born No. 7 Aoiyama and veteran No. 8 Kotoshogiku both registered victories on Day 7 to stay one win back from the leaders.