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Hokutofuji Grabs Sole Lead with Two Days Left in the Nagoya Basho

Ninth-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji has a one-win advantage over fellow rank-and-filer Nishikigi and rookie Hakuoho at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Rank-and-filer Hokutofuji overwhelmed Endo on Friday, July 21 to move into the sole lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with just two days left in the 15-day basho.

Hokutofuji, who is bidding for his first Emperor's Cup, recovered from a slow face-off and quickly got a hand on the head of Endo to knock the No 16 maegashira off balance.

After forcing Endo (8-5) to the edge, No 9 maegashira Hokutofuji shoved the fan favorite out to improve to 11-2. Hokutofuji will face up-and-coming grappler Hakuoho on Saturday.

Hokutofuji, a native of Saitama Prefecture, made his makuuchi debut in November of 2016 when he went 9-6 as a No 11 maegashira.

His best record in the makuuchi division so far has been 11-4, which he achieved five times, most recently at the November tournament in 2021.

Hakuoho closes in on a victory over Nishikigi. (ⒸSANKEI)

Chasing Hokutofuji

Top maegashira Nishikigi, who is also bidding for his first championship, dropped out of the lead when he was tripped up by Hakuoho, a result that gave both wrestlers a record of 10-3.

The 19-year-old Hakuoho, a protege of legendary yokozuna Hakuho, has impressed in his makuuchi debut after going 14-1 and 10-5 in his previous two tournaments in the juryo division.

Hoshoryu (right) faces Kirishima on Day 13. (KYODO)

Hoshoryu Collects 10th Win

In the day's final bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, sekiwake Hoshoryu kept his title hopes alive when he drove out fellow Mongolian and ozeki debutante Kirishima to join Hakuoho and Nishikigi at 10-3. 

Kirishima dropped to 6-5 with two absences and can still get a winning record if he wins his final two bouts.

Wakamotoharu ended Daieisho's ozeki promotion bid when he swatted down his fellow sekiwake to improve to 9-4 while handing Daieisho his fifth loss.

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Ryuden Extends Victory Streak

No 15 maegashira Ryuden continued his impressive run, shoving out 10th-ranked Kinbozan (6-7) to win his ninth straight bout and improve to 9-4.

Makuuchi division rookie Shonannoumi, a No 14 maegashira, picked up his ninth win against four losses when he used a series of powerful arm thrusts to send Nishikifuji over the edge. No 8 Nishikifuji fell to 5-8.

Sumo's ironman, veteran Tamawashi, wrapped up a winning record when he hauled down Myogiryu to move to 8-5.

Mongolian Tamawashi, a No 7 maegashira, will turn 39 in November and is showing no sign of slowing down. Tenth-ranked Myogiryu dropped to 6-7.

Asanoyama pushes Shodai over the edge of the dohyo's straw bales. (ⒸSANKEI)

Former ozeki Asanoyama got a left-hand grip on the belt of Shodai and muscled the No 2 maegashira out to pick up his sixth win, meaning he could still finish with a winning record. Shodai fell to 5-8.


Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.

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Spring Grand Sumo Tournament Records: Makuuchi Division

Spring Basho Tournament Records

Makuuchi Division

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