FUKUOKA – Yokozuna Hakuho extended his lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament with a win over Endo on Thursday as new komusubi Asanoyama suffered his third loss and fell two wins off the pace.
Hakuho (11-1) blasted Endo (5-7) with his right forearm and issued a couple of ferocious slaps to bloody the komusubi’s nose and quickly put him down in the final bout of Day 12 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
The Mongolian-born yokozuna, who moved closer capturing his record-extending 43rd makuuchi title, entered the ring with some added confidence after sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-6) delivered some inadvertent aid by pushing out Asanoyama (9-3).
In the highlight bout of the day, Mitakeumi launched himself at Asanoyama and quickly drove May’s champion to the edge while keeping Asanoyama’s arms high and denying him a belt hold.
Asanoyama could do little but struggle from there as the sekiwake inched him over the straw to even his record and earn a much-needed victory.
Hakuho faces komusubi Abi on Day 13, while Asanoyama takes on No. 4 Kotoyuki. The meet’s top grapplers have already clashed, with Hakuho handing Asanoyama his first loss on Day 3.
In other bouts, No. 5 Ryuden (5-7) pulled off an upset with a desperation move against Takakeisho (8-4). The ozeki found himself lunging at air and plunging to the sand as Ryuden promptly dashed to the side.
“I didn’t really have (a plan of attack),” said Ryuden, who beat Takakeisho for the first time in three top-tier matchups. “I just tried to avoid getting hit.”
Takakeisho is the last wrestler remaining at sumo’s second-highest rank at this basho, following the injury withdrawals of Takayasu and Goeido. Yokozuna Kakuryu and sekiwake Tochinoshin have also pulled out of the 15-day meet.
Komusubi Abi improved to 7-5 with a win over No. 4 Tamawashi (6-6). Abi tried to pull down the former sekiwake while circling away, then switched tactics and shoved Tamawashi straight off the dohyo.
Hokutofuji (5-7) avoided a losing record with a reversal against No. 2 Meisei (5-7). The komusubi was nearly pulled out after bouncing back from the edge, but spun out of the maegashira’s clutches and thrust him down to the sand.
Among the other wrestlers who started the day two wins behind Hakuho, No. 10 Shodai (9-3) held his position with a push-out win over No. 15 Daishomaru (4-8), while No. 13 Kagayaki (8-4) was upended by No. 11 Ishiura (7-5) and fell off the leaderboard.
No. 13 Chiyomaru and No. 12 Takanosho picked up victories on to secure winning records in their return to the top division. Chiyomaru pushed out No. 8 Sadanoumi (6-6) and Takanosho slapped down No. 6 Enho (6-6).
No. 7 Kotoeko, No. 10 Shimanoumi and No. 15 Daishomaru each suffered a decisive eighth loss.
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