NAGOYA – Yokozuna Kakuryu reclaimed the sole lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday as yokozuna rival Hakuho suffered a shock loss to former ozeki Kotoshogiku with one day remaining at the 15-day tournament.
Kakuryu will go into the final day with a one-win lead over Hakuho at Dolphins Arena. No. 16 maegashira Terutsuyoshi, the only other wrestler in the title hunt, missed his bid for a maiden championship with a loss to No. 1 Hokutofuji.
In the day’s final bout, Hakuho was forced out of the ring by No. 5 Kotoshogiku (7-7). It was Kotoshogiku’s seventh win over Hakuho in 63 bouts.
While the two wrestlers held each other’s belts with one hand, Kotoshogiku denied the yokozuna a second hold with his right hand. The yokozuna seemed preoccupied with gaining that grip, and tried a tactical retreat to improve his situation. But Kotoshogiku maintained the pressure, and Hakuho, a 42-time champion, ran out of room and was forced over the straw bales.
Kakuryu, gunning for his sixth championship, bounced back from his shock loss the previous day. He demonstrated his strength and confidence against sekiwake Mitakeumi (8-6).
The Mongolian seized the initiative off the initial charge. Mitakeumi kept Kakuryu at bay with a left hand to the yokozuna’s throat, the grand champion pressed forward again, seizing the sekiwake’s belt with both hands.
Kakuryu then stood his opponent up and forced him backward, sealing the bout in 5.1 seconds.
In the first career bout between Terutsuyoshi and Hokutofuji (9-5), the top-ranked maegashira twisted his opponent down to the ring just after the initial clash.
Terutsuyoshi could do little as his opponent locked his arm around his neck and drove him face down to the clay.
The komusubi pair had mixed fates. Abi (7-7) beat No. 4 Ichinojo (8-6) for the first time in four career bouts, while Ryuden (4-10) lost to No.3 Daieisho (8-6).