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Kotozakura Moves into a Four-Way Tie for Summer Basho Lead

By beating Wakamotoharu on Day 12, ozeki Kotozakura heads into the final three days of the Summer Basho tied with Onosato, Shonannoumi and Oshoma for the lead.

Ozeki Kotozakura survived a scare on Thursday, May 23 to defeat Wakamotoharu and move into a four-way tie for the lead with three days remaining in the Summer Basho.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, sekiwake Wakamotoharu appeared to have upset Kotozakura with an arm throw. 

The referee ruled in favor of Kotozakura, who used a beltless arm throw. But the ringside judges needed to huddle to determine that Wakamotoharu touched the dirt surface first with his knee as both men fell at the same time.

Replays showed that Wakamotoharu touched down a split second ahead of Kotozakura and the ozeki was awarded the win to join Onosato, Shonannoumi and makuuchi division debutant Oshoma in the lead at 9-3. 

Summer Basho
Another view of Day 12's compelling final match. (©SANKEI)

Wakamotoharu, who missed three days of the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament due to injury, dropped to three wins, six losses and three absences. 

Hoshoryu, Abi Among Day 12 Winners

In other major bouts, ozeki Hoshoryu got a right-hand grip on the belt of Mitakeumi and bulldozed the seventh-ranked maegashira out in a one-sided bout to give both grapplers a record of 8-4.

Sekiwake Abi used his powerful arm thrusts to dispatch Shonannoumi, knocking the 10th-ranked maegashira out of the sole lead.

Summer Basho
Abi shoves Shonannoumi over the edge of the straw bales to win the match. (©SANKEI)

Abi improved to 8-4, thus securing a winning record for the tournament. Shonannoumi dropped to 9-3.

Komusubi Onosato took advantage of a superior face-off and shoved out Takarafuji in a matter of seconds to improve to 9-3. No 16 maegashira Takarafuji fell to 8-4.

Makuuchi division rookie Oshoma, a No 14 maegashira from Mongolia, continued to impress and stayed in the title race when he swatted down former ozeki Shodai to move to 9-3. Ninth-ranked maegashira Shodai dropped to 5-7.

Summer Basho
Oshoma sends Shodai tumbling to the ring's surface. (©SANKEI)

Fifth-ranked maegashira Meisei made an impressive recovery to shove out top maegashira Daieisho. Both wrestlers now have 8-4 records.

Daieisho pushed Meisei right back to the edge but the No 5 maegashira dodged to his side and then used a frontal thrust-out to defeat Daieisho.

"I wanted to wrap up the winning record today," Meisei said.

He added, "I was able to move well in today's bout and I will just take it one day at a time from here on in."

Summer Basho
Kotoshoho triumphs over Ura on Day 12. (©SANKEI)

Kotoshoho Sends Ura to Sixth Straight Loss

Eighth-ranked maegashira Kotoshoho assured himself of a winning record when he used a well-timed arm throw to send Ura toppling off the raised ring to move to 8-4.

"I was aiming to get a winning record so I am glad I got that goal," Kotoshoho said.

He added, "I made a good start at the face-off and was able to fight my brand of sumo. I will do my best for the remainder of the tournament."

Fan favorite Ura has struggled mightily. Since winning his six bouts, the fourth-ranked maegashira has now dropped six straight and stands at 6-6.

No 3 maegashira Takayasu swatted down Tobizaru to win his fourth straight since returning from injury. The veteran grappler improved to six wins, one loss and five absences. Third-ranked maegashira Tobizaru dropped to 4-8.

It's just a shoe!


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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