Veteran yokozuna Hakuho shut down giant-killer Okinoumi on Nov. 13 to stay unbeaten and a bout ahead of his new peer Harumafuji, as ozeki Baruto pulled out of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament with an injury that almost assures him of a rare demotion from the sport's second-highest rank.
Hakuho got a strong challenge from top maegashira Okinoumi, who absorbed his initial attack and forced the yokozuna to switch into grappling mode. After a fairly even contest at center ring, Hakuho did a quick switch up to get inside Okinoumi's defenses and bulled him out.
Not one to make two big mistakes in a row, new yokozuna Harumafuji blasted through top maegashira Tochiozan (1-2) to get back on the winning track after his first defeat the day before to Okinoumi. That was a painful loss--after two perfect tournaments--and he now has to play catch up if he is going to close the year with another championship.
Kisenosato, meanwhile, kept his attack focused and on-target despite komusubi Homasho's attempt to confuse him by moving from side to side. The ozeki has done consistently well, using both his upper body and his footwork to their best advantage. Of the ozeki in the tournament, he is certainly the most promising and is the only one still undefeated. He went 10-5 in September.
Mongolia's Kakuryu, the most promising ozeki after Kisenosato, sent No. 2 maegashira Shohozan flying out of the ring for his second win. Kakuryu is coming back nicely from his opening-day loss and tends to build up steam as the competition heats up.
In other ozeki action, Estonia's Baruto has become the first of the record three facing demotion to go off the cliff.
He pulled out with an injured thigh muscle that will take a few weeks to heal. He's had a tough run lately. A broken toe forced him out of the last tournament and put him in the predicament he had this time out. Since it is very unlikely he will be able to return this tournament, he faces the reality of starting 2013 off without his ozeki ranking. He would be the first ozeki to be demoted since Chiyotaikai in 2009.
Sekiwake Goeido got the win by default, so he now has a 3-0 record.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku was clumsy and vulnerable, but he managed somehow to topple No. 2 maegashira Kaisei of Brazil for his second win. Kaisei, who fell backward as Kotoshogiku lumbered into him, hasn't won yet.
Kotooshu picked up his second win in a row with a solid belt-hold and pushing strategy that No. 3 maegashira Tochinoshin couldn't withstand. The Bulgarian was another first-day loser, falling prey to Shohozan.
Sekiwake Myogiryu suffered his third-straight loss. Komusubi Aminishiki thrust him down and out in their lopsided pairing, and moves up to 1-2 after losses to Hakuho and Kisenosato.
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