Mongolia's Harumafuji moved one step closer to a promotion to yokozuna on Sept. 19 with a win that keeps him undefeated and in sole possession of the lead with just four days left in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.
Harumafuji, the defending champion, won by such a narrow margin that the judges called a huddle to check the replay.
Though No. 8 maegashira Okinoumi had him rushing back in retreat after a failed throw, the Mongolian recovered and unleashed an attack of his own that sent Okinoumi tumbling. It also brought Harumafuji crashing down, but the final ruling was that Okinoumi's arm hit the dirt first.
One loss back, yokozuna Hakuho bullied sekiwake Goeido (6-5) out of the ring to snap back from his upset defeat the day before. Hakuho's victory was never in doubt, but he is definitely under pressure now as he plays catch-up to his ozeki compatriot.
Ozeki Kisenosato suffered another big loss, this time at the hands of No. 4 maegashira Aminishiki (8-3), who drove him out after a tough barrage of thrusts that kept both wrestlers from getting inside for the belt.
The loss is Kisenosato's second in three days, and comes after he got through the first eight days without a defeat. He will now be very hard-pressed to mount a comeback for the title.
Kakuryu, meanwhile, dominated Brazilian top maegashira Kaisei, rushing in for a belt hold that he capitalized on with an "uwate-nage,'' or overarm throw. The Mongolian ozeki could well finish in the double digits--he also has nine wins already--and that would be his best showing since he assumed the rank three tournaments ago.
Kaisei is 5-6.
Sekiwake Myogiryu launched into No. 5 maegashira Tochiozan with such power that he almost stumbled over the edge as Tochiozan tried to maneuver to the side. Though Myogiryu's left foot hit the raised edge, Tochiozan (7-4) was already off balance and his feet touched out first. The win means Myogiryu can breathe a little easier--he has eight, so he will go home with at least a winning record, which is a good performance for his sekiwake debut.
"I'm happy, but I can't let myself lose focus now," Myogiryu said.
Komusubi Aoiyama came out the victor in his bout against Estonia's No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru. The Bulgarian won with a drive-out, putting both at 3-8 records.
Komusubi Tochinoshin was thrust out by top maegashira Shohozan, an up-and-coming dynamo who is still trying to establish himself but has put in some impressive efforts despite his poor win-loss ratio. Both wrestlers also have 3-8 records.
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