Sumo / Basho Reports

Hakuho moves ahead of the pack

Kyodo

Hakuho moved into the outright lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, defeating Meisei to improve to 5-1.

In the final bout of Day 6 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, the Mongolian-born yokozuna easily overpowered the No. 2 maegashira, who came into the match tied for the lead.

The fight was over almost as quickly as it began, with Hakuho delivering a heavy slap to the face, then yanking Meisei straight down to the clay as he appeared to lose his footing.

Seven wrestlers started the day tied for the lead, but the pack quickly thinned out as one rank-and-file member after another lost in succession.

The run of poor results by high-ranking wrestlers continued, with all competing ozeki and sekiwake taking losses.

Ozeki Takayasu’s nightmare tournament got worse as he dropped to 2-4 with a loss to No. 2 Myogiryu (3-3).

The maegashira had the stronger position from the opening hit, taking a belt grip and driving out the ozeki for a surprisingly easy victory.

Ozeki Takakeisho also continued his forgettable opening week at the tournament by dropping to 3-3 with a defeat to No. 4 Tamawashi (4-2).

In a battle of pusher-thrusters, Takakeisho started strongly as he traded blows with the wily Mongolian veteran. But it was Tamawashi who succeeded in knocking his opponent off his ground, following through with a succession of shoves to win by pushout.

Moving to within one win of the lead, 34-year-old Tamawashi said he wanted to lift the Emperor’s Cup for the second time in his career.

“It’s the last tournament of the year and I’d like to win it,” said Tamawashi, who will take on Takayasu on Saturday. “It didn’t start out the way I wanted, but as long as I feel confident about my own sumo, anything is possible.”

Sekiwake Mitakeumi dropped to 2-4 with his third straight loss, this time against No. 3 Takarafuji. The winner of the Autumn Basho was barely in the bout, easily succumbing to a force out against the maegashira, who improved to 3-3.

The winner of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, Asanoyama, relinquished his share of the lead with a loss to fellow komusubi Endo.

Asanoyama (4-2) took a right-hand inside grip at the jump, but Endo (2-4) countered with an inside left hand, shifting his opponent off-balance and toppling him with a well-executed throw.

In one of the day’s most anticipated bouts, local favorite No. 8 Shohozan outgunned hugely popular No. 6 Enho to improve to 4-2.

The 35-year-old Fukuoka native opened with a hard charge, but Enho slipped to the side and attempted a force-out. Shohozan held his ground, resisting an attempt by Enho (4-2) to take his legs before pushing the 98-kg dynamo down to the clay from above.

Among the other overnight leaders, No. 8 Sadanoumi, No. 9 Yutakayama and No. 10 Shodai all dropped to 4-2.