Eighth-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji got a right-hand inside grip on the belt of Endo and drove the No. 6 maegashira out with a frontal force-out to improve to a perfect 8-0 and wrap up a winning record.
“I had seven in a row before but this feels totally different,” Hokutofuji said. “I tried to make sure I advanced forward and was able to do that. My face-off was a little bit slow but I was able to fight my brand of sumo.”
With seven days left in the 15-day tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hokutofuji has a one-win lead over Tamawashi.
Veteran No. 3 maegashira Tamawashi used a powerful arm thrust to the neck of Sadanoumi to drive the fifth-ranked maegashira out in a matter of seconds to improve to 7-1. No. 5 Sadanoumi fell to 4-4.
Takakeisho and Takayasu are among six wrestlers two wins off the pace at 6-2.
Former ozeki Takayasu had Takakeisho on the ropes several times but couldn’t get the job done and dropped a further win off the lead.
Terunofuji Improves to 5-3
In the day’s final bout, lone grand champion Terunofuji used an impressive left-hand overarm throw to dispatch Nishikigi and pick up his fifth win against three losses. No. 4 Nishikigi stands at 4-4.
Tobizaru took advantage of his superior mobility to spin Ichinojo around and picked up his fifth win against three losses. Mongolian Ichinojo was handed his sixth loss against a pair of wins.
Maegashira No. 3 Ura got his hips lower than Hoshoryu and used a powerful thrusting attack to shove the sekiwake out and improve to 5-3.
Mongolian Hoshoryu was 4-1 at one point and looked ready to challenge for the silverware but has lost three straight now and dropped to 4-4.
Patience Pays Off for Wakatakakage
Wakatakakage (5-3) has now won five in a row after losing three straight while Mitakeumi, who needs a winning record to keep his ozeki status, fell to 3-5.
“I was able to do my sumo,” Wakatakakage said. “I’m just trying to attack from the lower part. I haven’t changed anything, I just feel my body is moving better now.”
Shodai (1-7) has lost seven straight and is on the brink of being saddled with a losing record. He would have to win all his remaining bouts to salvage a winning record.
Author: Jim Armstrong
The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for more than 25 years. You can find his articles here.