Yokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Kisenosato remained unbeaten and on course for a title showdown at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, while their two closest challengers both fell farther off the pace Monday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Hakuho improved to 9-0 with an devastating example of his raw power, as he literally dropped sekiwake Ikioi (3-6) with a forearm to the jaw on the jumpoff. Ikioi, still winless in nine career bouts with the yokozuna, was sent woozily onto his backside, but later told NHK he was all right.
Kisenosato, aiming for his first career title, took care of one potential rival by shuffling out fellow ozeki Goeido for his ninth win. Goeido fell to 7-2.
In the final bout of the day, yokozuna Harumafuji also fell two wins behind the leaders when he was tossed down by komusubi Okinoumi (3-6).
Yokozuna Kakuryu improved to 7-2 by outlasting ozeki Terunofuji, who was dealt his seventh straight loss.
In today’s pairings, Hakuho takes on Terunofuji, his struggling Mongolian compatriot who has plenty at stake himself. At 2-7, Terunofuji is one loss from assuring kadoban status for the next tournament, meaning he would need a winning record to retain his rank.
Kisenosato will renew his long-running battle with fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku (6-3), who holds a 32-27 career record between the two.