The Japan NewsWhen Kisenosato won the New Year tournament with a 14-1 record, his only blemish came on the ninth day against then fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku.
Now a yokozuna, Kisenosato continued his charge toward a second straight championship by handling his nemesis to stay undefeated on the ninth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on Monday.
Sekiwake Kotoshogiku (6-3), demoted from ozeki for this tournament, came into this match with a 33-29 record against Kisenosato and started as the aggressor, quickly driving the yokozuna to the bales.
But Kisenosato braced with his feet against the bales and reacted calmly to the pressure, pushing down Kotoshogiku when the sekiwake overextended himself.
The confident yokozuna next faces sekiwake Tamawashi.
Kotoshogiku needs to win four of his remaining six bouts to get 10 wins and return to the rank of ozeki.
Meanwhile, sekiwake Takayasu remained the only other unbeaten wrestler, despite being thrown off-balance at the start by No. 1 maegashira Takekaze. Perhaps eager to seize the advantage, Takekaze lunged at Takayasu, only for the sekiwake to push him down as the maegashira’s feet gave way.
Yokozuna Harumafuji lost for the third time when he couldn’t stay inside the ring as No. 4 maegashira Arawashi tried to throw him, his left foot landing outside before his opponent fell to the surface.
Kakuryu (7-2), the final yokozuna in the field, continued to use aggressive attacking tactics to defeat opponents, this time pushing out No. 3 maegashira Takarafuji.
Ozeki Terunofuji continued his strong showing by winning his eighth match, the number he needed to maintain his rank. He immediately got his left hand on No. 1 maegashira Ikioi’s belt to control the bout, eventually pushing out his desperate opponent.
An aggressive Tamawashi (5-4) looked to have had the upper hand early in his bout, but No. 2 maegashira Sokokurai fought off the attack and pulled the sekiwake by his right arm to throw him out.
Further down the rankings, No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan defeated No. 15 maegashira Tokushoryu to remain one behind the leaders at 8-1.