Defending champion Harumafuji sailed to yet another win and yokozuna Hakuho demolished his fourth opponent to hold on to his share of the lead at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sept. 12 in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Marking an easy win, Harumafuji drove top maegashira Kaisei into the dirt to collect his fourth victory. The Mongolian pounded into Kaisei's chest, knocking him off balance, and then pulled back and twisted to the side as the lumbering Brazilian, who is 1-3, fell forward.
Hakuho was even more convincing. He blasted into No. 2 maegashira Aran, of Russia, and never looked back, railroading Aran into retreat and out of the ring. He even added a throw after Aran was effectively disposed of, just for good measure.
On the attack all the way, ozeki Kisenosato took Georgian komusubi Tochinoshin (0-4) over the edge for his fourth straight win. Kisenosato is looking good and certainly has the skills and the strength he needs to be a formidable contender. In his fifth outing as an ozeki, he is also probably getting pretty hungry for his first championship.
Sept. 12 was dismal for the other ozeki wrestlers--for those still competing, that is.
Ozeki Kotooshu paid the price for getting too shallow a grip on top maegashira Shohozan's belt. As he yanked, the belt simply loosened up, giving Shohozan an opportunity to fight back by turning the momentum around and thrusting Kotooshu out. With two losses, Kotooshu is once again showing his frailties early in the race. Smart money is not on him to make a stunning comeback.
Mongolia's other ozeki, Kakuryu, meanwhile, dropped out of the leading tier and into the spectator seats when No. 3 maegashira Homasho unleashed a brutal thrusting barrage against him. Kakuryu had a good start but couldn't hold his ground and was caught flat-footed by the onslaught.
"He put the pressure on, but I got around him,'' Homasho said. Homasho is also 3-1.
Ozekis Baruto and Kotoshogiku have pulled out with injuries, so sekiwake Myogiryu (3-1) and No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru (2-2) won no-contests. Baruto injured the big toe on his right foot before the competition began, and was not in fighting form, although he probably fell victim to a bad call--not his opponent's skills--in his opening-day loss on Sept. 9.
Kotoshogiku hurt his knee in his bout on Sept. 11 against Homasho.
Sekiwake Goeido (2-2) capitalized on a bad face-off by komusubi Aoiyama, who stood up and let Goeido charge in for a double-armed belthold. The winless Bulgarian attempted to get back in the match with an armlock, but by that time Goeido was already in position to heave him down.
No. 11 maegashira Kyokutenho, No. 8 maegashira Okinoumi and No. 9 maegashira Takayasu also made it through their bouts on Sept. 12 undefeated.
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