Ozeki Harumafuji blasted through his 12th victim at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Sept. 20 to maintain an unbeaten lead and add more momentum to his quest to become the next grand champion.
The man currently in that slot--fellow Mongolian Hakuho--is just one loss behind.
Harumafuji demolished Goeido with a powerful face-off and a thrusting attack that sent the sekiwake sprawling onto his backside. The Mongolian only needed three good hits to seal the win and is looking as good as he ever has, including his amazing 15-0 run last time out.
Barring a big meltdown, Harumafuji is in very good position to end Hakuho's two-and-a-half-year dominance of the yokozuna status. This weekend could be a very big one for him and for the sumo status quo.
Hakuho, meanwhile, is clearly fired up for a showdown.
He knocked sekiwake Myogiryu (8-5) senseless with a barrage at the face-off and what appeared to be an unintentional head butt. After the two collided, Myogiryu went down clearly stunned and was unable to get up for a short time as he tried to regain his composure. He had to be steadied by two ringside assistants as Hakuho accepted his winnings.
Kisenosato pulled up his record to 10 wins by carrying No. 4 maegashira Toyohibiki (5-7) down to the dirt with a "yori-taoshi," or frontal crush out, move. The Japanese ozeki could still have a chance--and many of his home country fans are rooting for him. Still, he has never won a title and his two losses add to the pressure.
Mongolian ozeki Kakuryu also moved up to 10-2 by drilling No. 5 maegashira Tochiozan (7-5) into a retreat over the edge. Kakuryu came out dangerously low, but Tochiozan made the mistake of moving straight back and had no serious defense.
Lower down, komusubi Tochinoshin tricked No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru (3-9) at the face-off and then twisted his Georgian compatriot off his feet at the edge to mark his fourth win.
New komusubi Aoiyama, who had been on a comeback after losing all seven of his first-week matches, fell victim to the thrusts of No. 3 maegashira Toyonoshima. The hefty young Bulgarian appeared to be off center almost immediately after the fight began and wasn't able to stop Toyonoshima as he drove forward and pushed in hard with his arms. The loss drops Aoiyama to 3-9, while Toyonoshima is 4-8.
In the rank and file, early co-leaders Kyokutenho and Takayasu paired off and the No. 9 maegashira Takayasu came out victorious over the No. 11 maegashira from Mongolia, who won the championship in a huge surprise in May. Both are 10-2.
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