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Sumo

Hoshoryu Gets a Leg Up on Tobizaru to Stay Tied for Lead at Halfway Point of Kyushu Basho

Mongolian grappler Hoshoryu used an impressive arm throw to fend off sumo's Flying Monkey, improving to 7-1 in the year's final tournament.

Hoshoryu (right) overpowers Tobizaru at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka on November 20. (KYODO)

Mongolian Hoshoryu toppled sumo's Flying Monkey Tobiazaru on Sunday, November 20 to stay tied for the lead at the midway point of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

In a highly entertaining bout that had the fans at Fukuoka Kokusai Center on the edge of their seats, both men attempted leg kicks, perhaps inspired by Hoshoryu's winning technique on the previous day.

But sekiwake Hoshoryu eventually got a double-handed grip on the belt before deploying a powerful overarm throw to send komusubi Tobizaru sprawling to the dirt surface.

Hoshoryu, the nephew of former yokozuna Asashoryu, improved to 7-1 and is tied for the lead with Takayasu and rank-and-filers Abi and Oho. Tobizaru stands at 4-4.

Takayasu Outduels Kiribayama

In other major bouts, Takayasu had his hands full with determined komusubi Kiribayama.

After a forearm blast to the head by Takayasu, the two heavyweights exchanged a series of slaps and thrusts to the head and upper body.

Kiribayama (5-3) finally got a grip on the neck of Takayasu before the top maegashira broke free and used a beltless arm throw to send the Mongolian sprawling to the dirt surface.

Takayasu has never won the Emperor's Cup but has come close numerous times. 

Ninth-ranked maegashira Abi overpowered Endo with his trademark arm thrusts to the neck to maintain his share of the lead at 7-1. No. 7 Endo dropped to 2-6.

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No. 13 maegashira Oho improved to 7-1 when he used a series of powerful arm thrusts to send makuuchi division debutante Atamifuji out over the edge. No. 15 maegashira Atamifuji fell to 3-5.

Nishikifuji Notches 200th Career Win

Up-and-coming No. 5 maegashira Nishikifuji stayed right behind the leaders at 6-2 when he used a thrust-down technique to defeat Takanosho. Ninth-ranked Takanosho fell to 3-5.

It was the 200th career victory for Nishikifuji, who came into the November meet having put together two straight tournaments with records of 10-5.

Ozeki Takakeisho is also one win off the pace at 6-2 after he used a series of shoves to send fourth-ranked maegashira Wakamotoharu (4-4) toppling off the raised ring.

Ozeki Shodai, who needs a winning record in the 15-day meet to maintain his ozeki status, dropped to 4-4 after losing to Sadanoumi, who used a pulling overarm throw to improve to 4-4.

"I'm really happy to beat the ozeki," said No. 4 maegashira Sadanoumi. "I just tried to get a good jump at the face-off. Using my speed, I thought my sumo was good. It's great to win in front of so many fans in Kyushu."

Mitakeumi Falls to 4-4

In a bout against Kotonowaka, sekiwake Mitakeumi was dealt a serious blow to his hopes of regaining ozeki status when he lost his third straight bout to fall to 4-4.

Top maegashira Kotonowaka hauled Mitakeumi down seconds after the face-off to pick up his fifth win against three losses.

With seven days left in the tournament, Mitakeumi needs six wins to reach the 10 he needs to regain ozeki status.

Sekiwake Wakatakakage got a double-inside grip on Daieisho before using a frontal force-out to move to 5-3. Komusubi Daieisho fell to 3-5.

Wakatakakage has a habit of not doing that well in the first week of tournaments. At 5-3, he could still find himself in the thick of the title hunt if he goes on a run in the second week.

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Popular wrestler Ura finally chalked up his first win of the tournament when he overcame a 60-kilogram deficit to defeat Mongolian giant Ichinojo with a barrage of arm thrusts.

No. 3 maegashira Ura improved to 1-7 while No. 2 maegashira Ichinojo fell to 2-6.

September champion komusubi Tamawashi has gone from boom to bust and dropped to 1-7 when he was hauled down by No. 2 maegashira Meisei, who improved to 4-4.


Author: Jim Armstrong

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

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