Japan's ozeki Kotoshogiku blazed his way to another victory and held onto the sole lead at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on May 11, but defending champion Hakuho and ozeki rivals Baruto, Kakuryu and Kisenosato remained in hot pursuit just one loss behind.
Kotoshogiku thrust out komusubi Aminishiki for his sixth win, a key victory considering Aminishiki has been taking out higher-ranking opponents--including Hakuho, Baruto and Kotooshu--with regularity these days. But Kotoshogiku slammed in at the face-off and never gave him a chance to use any of his usual tricks.
In the day's final bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan arena, yokozuna Hakuho manhandled the hefty No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru to the dirt without any problems. Hakuho has been nearly flawless since his opening day upset, and is itching for a chance to get back in the lead as he hunts for his 23rd title.
New ozeki Kakuryu, also 5-1, dropped komusubi Homasho at center ring after a brief thrust-and-slap duel. The Mongolian drove Homasho back all the way and deftly pulled away as Homasho tried to lean forward. With nothing in front of him, Homasho went down to his sixth loss.
Estonian ozeki Baruto went in low with his left and quickly established an advantage on the belt that he used to drive No. 3 maegashira Toyohibiki (3-3) over the rim and keep his losses at one. Although Baruto stumbled on May 9, he is looking strong again and if he can maintain his consistency, he is certainly a man to watch, particularly since Hakuho has also been beaten.
Bouncing back from his unexpected defeat the day before to Myogiryu, ozeki Kisenosato gave sekiwake Goeido no quarter, using his strong arms to push Goeido (3-3) off balance and then thrust him out from the side as he teetered toward the edge.
Harumafuji was the third ozeki to fall to No. 2 maegashira Myogiryu. The up-and-coming wrestler took him out with a fast thrust and moves that the Mongolian couldn't keep up with. Harumafuji tried a last-minute maneuver and twisted to the side, but Myogiryu already had his number by that time and pushed him out for his third win. Harumafuji drops to 3-3.
"I'm doing what I need to do,'' Myogiryu said. "I want to end the tournament without any regrets.''
Bulgaria's Kotooshu pulled up to an even 3-3 by walking top maegashira Aran out of the ring. Kotooshu kept his distance at first, but then got in for a hold on Aran's belt and was able to control the flow of the bout after that.
In another notable bout on May 11, sekiwake Toyonoshima slapped down top maegashira Takayasu for his fourth win and Takayasu's sixth consecutive loss. Takayasu didn't have much of a chance and was once again too light on his feet, which makes him easy prey.
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