Kisenosato kept his cool and reclaimed the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament lead on Tuesday, the 10th day of the 15-day basho.
A day after suffering his first loss, Kisenosato (9-1) was tested again by rival ozeki Terunofuji (4-6), who was strong if not dominant. As the two skirmished, Kisenosato avoided any rash attack that might have left him vulnerable and settled for gradually steering his opponent to the ring’s edge for a force out.
The victory, and a loss by low-ranked maegashira Takanoiwa, left Kisenosato leading by one win over four wrestlers, including yokozuna Hakuho. Despite repeatedly being a candidate for promotion to yokozuna, Kisenosato has yet to win a grand sumo tournament.
In the day’s final bout at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hakuho met No. 3 maegashira Ikioi (7-3) at mid-ring on the tachiai and got the better of a slap battle. When Ikioi made a desperate lunge for the yokozuna’s belt, Hakuho thrust him down.