The ozeki trio of Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku and Baruto claimed victories on May 8 to hold onto their share of the lead at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, while yokozuna Hakuho shoved out his second opponent to hang one loss back.
Hakuho, still trying to make up for his opening-day disaster, closed the action at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan arena with an easy win over top maegashira Takayasu, who has yet to claim a bout.
Kisenosato, meanwhile, took the lead right at the face-off with a potent thrusting attack that komusubi Homasho was unable to withstand. The outcome wasn't a surprise--Homasho is also 0-3 so far--but may add some momentum to Kisenosato as he looks to mount a viable campaign for his first championship.
Keeping his record clean, Kotoshogiku fought hard to drive the 199-kilogram No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru (1-2) out of the ring, working the belt and pushing ahead until the Georgian's knees buckled under the pressure.
Baruto had no problem escorting No. 2 maegashira Myogiryu out of the ring, pounding him with thrusts and never needing to take even a single step back. The big Estonian is hoping to cruise through the first week, and if he can do that he could be the biggest challenger to Hakuho--or whoever is closest to the title--when the going really gets tough.
New ozeki Kakuryu got back on track by slapping sekiwake Goeido (2-1) into retreat and then sending him down at center ring. The match was what Kakuryu looks like when he is at his normal form, and marked a nice recovery from his loss the day before to Myogiryu.
Clearing one important hurdle, Harumafuji showed he still has some great grapple in him by dominating top maegashira Aran, a heavy Russian who isn't easily pushed around but has been faring pretty badly so far. Harumafuji lost on May 7 to Gagamaru.
Already dropping out of the pace one would expect from an ozeki, Kotooshu lost his second bout in a row, this time falling to a throw by No. 3 maegashira Toyohibiki. It was close, and both unleashed throws at the same instant. But the Bulgarian hit the dirt first as he tried to break his fall with his left arm.
"I didn't want to give up until it was all over," Toyohibiki said. "I'm trying to build up my confidence."
Sekiwake Toyonoshima (2-1) flipped komusubi Aminishiki (1-2) to the dirt with a classic "sukui-nage," or beltless arm throw.
Along with Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku and Baruto, seven rank-and-file wrestlers are also undefeated.
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