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Kirishima Makes Winning Return at Nagoya Basho and Terunofuji Withdraws

After pulling out on the first day of the Nagoya Basho, the new ozeki decided he's ready to go and posted a win over Kotonowaka.

New ozeki Kirishima made a winning return to the Nagoya Basho on Wednesday, July 12 with a convincing win over komusubi Kotonowaka.

In the day's final bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Kirishima fought off an arm thrust by Kotonowaka (2-2) and shoved the komusubi out to improve to a record of one win, one loss and two absences.

Kirishima returned to the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament after missing the first three days due to bruised ribs.

The 27-year-old initially withdrew on Sunday, telling the Japan Sumo Association that he would need three weeks to recover. He was handed a loss for his late withdrawal and also has two absences.

But after training at his stable on Tuesday, Kirishima told his stable master Michinoku that he wanted to take part from Day 4. 

Kirishima sealed promotion to the second-highest rank of ozeki after going 11-4 in the Summer Basho in May.

His return to action is a relief to sumo officials given the other ozeki, Takakeisho, withdrew from the tournament before it started due to knee injuries.

Nagoya Basho
Terunofuji (KYODO)

Yokozuna Terunofuji Sustains Injuries

But the tournament took another hit when it was announced that yokozuna Terunofuji withdrew on Wednesday due to a sore back and knee pain.

The 31-year-old Mongolian grand champion won his opening-day match with ease but lost to Nishikigi on Day 2.

On Day 3, he lost to Tobizaru in an epic battle that really seemed to take its toll on the yokozuna. After the loss, he could barely keep his balance and looked wobbly walking off the raised ring.

Terunofuji pulled out of last September's Autumn Basho and had surgery on both knees in October. After missing three straight tournaments, he returned in May to capture his eighth career championship with a 14-1 record.

Terunofuji leaves the tournament with a 1-3 record. Shodai, his Day 4 opponent, improved to 2-2 with the forfeit win.

Nagoya Basho
Nishikigi (left) competes against Daieisho on Day 4. (KYODO)

Nishikigi Conquers Daieisho

In one of the day's biggest bouts, top maegashira Nishikigi stayed in the lead at 4-0 when he dodged to his side and used an arm grabbing force-down to defeat Daieisho.

Nishikigi is tied for the early lead with rank-and-filers Takayasu and Gonoyama.

Sekiwake Daieisho, who is hoping to earn promotion to ozeki with strong results in Nagoya, suffered his first loss and dropped to 3-1.

Ozeki promotion-chasing sekiwake Wakamotoharu slapped down winless No 3 maegashira Midorifuji to bounce back from his loss to Shodai the previous day and move to 3-1.

Sekiwake Hoshoryu got a right-hand grip on the belt of Mitakeumi and drove the winless No 2 maegashira out over the edge to earn his third win.

Fourth-ranked maegashira Asanoyama used a spectacular last-gasp beltless arm throw at the edge to send Onosho toppling off the raised ring and improve to 3-1. No 5 maegashira Onosho fell to 1-3.

It's just a shoe!

Abi Outwrestles Tobizaru

A day after his huge upset win over Terunofuji, top maegashira Tobizaru (1-3) was shoved out by komusubi Abi, who picked up his third win against a lone loss.

Seventh-ranked maegashira Takayasu swatted down winless No 9 Takanosho to stay perfect at 4-0.

Further down the ranks, No 13 maegashira Gonoyama kept his share of the lead at 4-0 when he shoved out winless No 15 Ryuden.

Nagoya Basho
Gonoyama (left) closes in on a victory over Ryuden. (KYODO)

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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