NAGOYA – Yokozuna Hakuho closed within eight victories of Kaio’s all-time win record of 1,047 after making quick work of top-ranked maegashira Shodai at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
Hakuho remained unbeaten through the third day of the 15-day meet, hammering Shodai (1-2) in a heartbeat. The Mongolian literally rattled his opponent with a hard slap to the face that buckled Shodai’s knees.
After that, Hakuho needed no more than a nudge to send Shodai to the ground. Shodai said he felt his body go after being swatted by Hakuho’s right hand.
Hakuho’s 1,039th career victory left him six back of the late Chiyonofuji, who is second on the all-time list. On Wednesday, Hakuho will face No. 1 maegashira Takakeisho (1-2).
Takakeisho on Tuesday went down at the hands of yokozuna Harumafuji, who won his first bout of the tournament in his first career meeting with Takakeisho.
Hakuho’s yokozuna rivals Kisenosato (1-2) and Kakuryu (2-1), fell to Tochinoshin (2-1) and Hokutofuji (2-1), respectively.
Kisenosato’s injured left arm again cost him, Tochinoshin successfully keeping the yokozuna’s strong hand off his belt. Once Tochinoshin got the inside grip with his right, the Georgian plowed forward with Kisenosato unable to counter on essentially one arm.
Hokutofuji defeated Kakuryu in his first matchup against a yokozuna and was thrilled following his surprising win.
“I can’t believe it. It’s all a blur,” Hokutofuji said. “I can’t control my emotions right now.”
The three ozeki — Takayasu (2-1), Terunofuji (1-2) and Goeido (1-2) — won on the same day for the first time at this tourney.