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Kotozakura Beats Atamifuji to Bounce Back from Opening-Day Loss at Summer Basho

Yokozuna Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho both withdrew on Day 2 of the Summer Basho. Takerufuji and Asanoyama pulled out before the tourney began.

Ozeki Kotozakura swatted down top maegashira Atamifuji on Monday, May 13, a day in which grand champion Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho pulled out of the Summer Basho.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Kotozakura used an under-shoulder swing-down to defeat Atamifuji immediately after the face-off to give both grapplers a record of 1-1.

Kotozakura, formerly known as Kotonowaka, recovered from his opening-day loss to Daieisho. With some of the big names out of the 15-day basho, Kotozakura is among the favorites to win the championship.

Summer Basho
Abi shoves Hoshoryu to the edge of the raised ring before picking up the win. (©SANKEI)

In other major Summer Grand Sumo Tournament bouts, sekiwake Abi used a right-hand thrust to the neck at the face-off to stun Mongolian Hoshoryu and shove the ozeki out to pick up his first win of the tournament.

Hoshoryu couldn't get any momentum going and dropped to 0-2.

"It was a good performance on my part," Abi said. "I am just concentrating on my style of sumo."

He added, "I am not thinking about the ranking during the tournament and trying to just take it one match at a time."

Relegation-threatened ozeki Kirishima shoved out No 2 maegashira Hiradoumi (1-1) to pick up his first win of the tournament. Kirishima needs at least eight wins in this meet to maintain his ozeki status for the July tourney in Nagoya.

Summer Basho
Takayasu (left) grapples with Onosato in a Summer Basho bout. (©SANKEI)

Former ozeki Takayasu, currently fighting as a No 3 maegashira, got a left hand inside on Onosato and shoved the newly promoted komusubi out to improve to 2-0. 

Onosato, who defeated Terunofuji on the opening day, dropped to 1-1.

Summer Basho
Terunofuji is seen after his Day 1 loss. (©SANKEI)

Big Names Sidelined at the Summer Basho

Earlier Monday, it was announced that lone yokozuna Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho pulled out of the 15-day tournament after opening-day losses.

Terunofuji submitted a medical certificate to the Japan Sumo Association saying he would need around three weeks to recover from damaged rib cartilage and osteoarthritis in his right knee.

The injury-prone 32-year-old Terunofuji won his ninth Emperor's Cup in January 2024. He pulled out of the March tourney with a record of two wins, five losses and eight absences.

The Mongolian-born grand champion has withdrawn from a meet for the 10th time out of 17 tournaments at sumo's highest rank.

Terunofuji, who has had surgery on both knees, looked very limited in his mobility in Sunday's loss to komusubi Onosato.

Takakeisho lost to No 2 maegashira Hiradoumi on the opening day and decided to pull out on Monday.

The withdrawal means the 27-year-old will be a demotion-threatened ozeki for the ninth time at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July unless he is able to return in this basho and posts a winning record.

Takakeisho went 8-6-1 in the Spring tournament after pulling out of the New Year meet on Day 4.

No 2 maegashira Gonoyama improved to 2-0 with a default win over Takakeisho.

Top maegashira Daieisho picked up his second win due to Terunofuji's absence.

The withdrawals of the two grapplers is in addition to the absences of Spring Basho winner Takerufuji and former ozeki Asanoyama, who both pulled out prior to the start of the basho on Sunday.

Tamawashi Reaches 1,600 Consecutive Bouts

No 9 maegashira Tamawashi, competing in his 1,600th consecutive bout, was swatted down by Shonannoumi to fall to 1-1. Shonnanoumi, a No 10 maegashira, improved to 2-0.

The 39-year-old Tamawashi is also competing in his 88th tournament in the elite makuuchi division. Sumo's Ironman has won two championship titles and has said he'd like to win another before retiring.

No 7 maegashira Nishikigi won by a rare Amiuchi, or "Fisherman's throw" technique, when he got a grip of winless Takanosho's arm and tossed the eighth-ranked maegashira out to improve to 1-1. 

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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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Summer Basho Tournament Records

Day Opponent Result