Ozeki Kisenosato came within a hair of losing at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on May 16 but came back in a rematch to stay on top with a two-win buffer and only four days left to go.
Kisenosato had to fight for his life against new ozeki Kakuryu, who appeared absolutely determined not to lose their bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan arena. After a fierce contest, he twisted Kisenosato off his feet and both hit the ground at the same instant, although Kakuryu was deemed the winner by the referee. But the judges overruled that and called a rematch.
The second time around, Kisenosato got a much better face-off and was able to send the Mongolian out with a driving attack that he backed up with a left-handed belt hold. It was Kakuryu's fourth loss in his ozeki debut.
At 10-1, Kisenosato's closest rivals are now ozeki Baruto and Kotoshogiku, and several rank-and-filers, at 8-3.
Estonia's Baruto had a harder time against komusubi Homasho than he probably should have, trading attacks and fumbling for an advantage until he finally got to the belt and used his size and strength to overwhelm the komusubi, who has won only one bout. Baruto could not afford to lose and might have been trying a bit too hard.
Snapping a two-loss streak, Kotoshogiku got his eighth win with an easy victory over Harumafuji. Kotoshogiku bottled the Mongolian up with a fast face-off and just kept plowing forward until he had the win wrapped up.
Harumafuji slides down to 6-5 with the loss, which is not a good pace for him.
Though he is now more of a spoiler than a title contender, yokozuna Hakuho took Kotooshu off his feet to win his seventh bout. The defending champion has a broken finger, but remains a man to watch as the tournament winds up since he can serve up losses to the leaders. On May 17 he fights Kotoshogiku, and he has yet to square off with Kisenosato.
In other bouts on May 16, sekiwake Toyonoshima used a swing down to topple maegashira No. 4 and secure his sixth win. Tochiozan, an early leader, drops to 8-3.
Top maegashira Takayasu (3-8) impaled sekiwake Goeido (6-5) with thrusts to the throat and rammed him out of the ring and onto his back.
Komusubi Aminishiki lost control of his fight early on and was shoved out by No. 2 maegashira Myogiryu, who is having a good tournament and is now even with Aminishiki at 6-4. Both wrestlers have very impressive records against the top competitors--Myogiryu beat four ozeki, and Aminishiki defeated Hakuho and three ozeki.
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