Sumo / Basho Reports

Four one-loss wrestlers pursue perfect Hakuho

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho earned his ninth straight win on Monday and remained the only undefeated wrestler at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

In the final bout at Edion Arena Osaka, Hakuho took on komusubi Mitakeumi (3-6), who earned his first top-division title last July in Nagoya and beat Hakuho at their last meeting in January.

The Mongolian yokozuna locked Mitakeumi up with a left-handed inside belt grip, pivoted the komusubi towards the edge and then bulldozed him out in relatively anticlimactic fashion following an impressive victory on Day 8.

Hakuho faces Kyushu champion Takakeisho on Tuesday.

Yokozuna Kakuryu, ozeki Takayasu, No. 4 maegashira Ichinojo and No. 7 Aoiyama all clinched winning records on Day 9 of the 15-day meet and remain one win behind Hakuho.

Kakuryu (8-1) wasted little time forcing out struggling No. 4 Tochiozan (1-8). The yokozuna dug into Tochiozan’s armpit to raise his center of gravity, then steamrolled the rank-and-filer over the straw to remain on the heels of his colleague.

Local favorite Goeido (7-2) put on a major league show for his hometown fans, but was eventually upset by former sekiwake Ichinojo (8-1).

Goeido was able to secure his favored right-handed inside grip on the Ichinojo’s belt right away, but found himself in a standstill with the heaviest man in the top division.

After the ozeki tried to swing the 226-kilogram Mongolian to the edge, Ichinojo countered with his own offensive, capturing Goeido with an arm lock and swinging him around and down.

Takayasu (8-1) came out on top against rival Tamawashi (4-5) to take a one-bout lead in 23 career matchups. Tamawashi took the ozeki to the edge, but the Mongolian sekiwake lost some steam as Takayasu rallied and pushed him out.

Tochinoshin (6-3) defeated No. 3 Shodai (0-9) and is now two wins away from ensuring his ozeki status.

The Georgian tried to drive out the winless maegashira but could not get any leverage as both wrestlers held each other upright. With Shodai also unable to make headway, Tochinoshin marshalled his strength and took his opponent out with an overarm throw.

Ozeki hopeful Takakeisho withstood an onslaught of shoves from No. 5 Chiyotairyu (5-4) and improved to 7-2.

Takakeisho was put on the backfoot after a hard initial clash, and was nearly driven to the straw by Chiyotairyu’s strong thrusts.

But as Takakeisho slid back on the sand, the sekiwake used his opponent’s momentum to pull Chiyotairyu down and stay on track for a promotion.

New komusubi Hokutofuji (3-6) ended a three-bout losing streak with a win against Kaisei (1-8). Hokutofuji employed some fancy footwork while denying the top-ranked maegashira a belt hold, then swung Kaisei down when the Brazilian lunged too far outside.

Among the lower-ranked wrestlers, Bulgarian-born Aoiyama (8-1) secured a winning record and remained in contention with a win over No. 9 Ikioi (1-8), who fell to his eighth straight loss.

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