Throughout the tournament, Hoshoryu has displayed a variety of winning techniques. The nephew of former yokozuna Asashoryu is not afraid to try anything to win and it's exciting to watch as he's so unpredictable.
On Saturday, the sekiwake got a double inside grip on the belt of Wakamotoharu and then used an outside leg trip to topple the stunned No. 4 maegashira, who dropped to 4-3.
In other major bouts, Takayasu used a powerful thrusting attack to defeat Daieisho and improve to 6-1. Komusubi Daieisho dropped to 3-4.
Former sekiwake Takayasu, who is bidding for his first Emperor's Cup, was in contention for the title until the last day of the September tournament but lost to sumo's ironman Tamawashi.
No. 9 maegashira Abi kept pace with the leaders at 6-1 when he deployed his trademark arm thrusts to the neck to send winless maegashira No. 8 Takarafuji over the edge.
Further down the ranks, No. 13 maegashira Oho maintained a share of the lead when he swatted down juryo wrestler Hidenoumi, who fell to 1-6.
Takakeisho Conquers Midorifuji
In the day's final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Midorifuji (2-5) attempted to step to his side at the face-off but ozeki Takakeisho was having none of it and flung the No. 3 maegashira out to improve to 5-2.
Takakeisho has won both of his Emperor's Cups at the Kyushu Basho and is still very much in contention as the 15-day tournament nears the halfway point.
March tournament winner Wakatakakage came into the Kyushu meet as a potential title contender but will need to pick up the pace in the second week to have any chance.
Myogiryu Extends Win Streak to Four
It was a critical loss for Mitakeumi, who needs 10 wins in this tournament to regain his ozeki status. He lost his second straight and dropped to 4-3.
Up-and-coming grappler Kotonowaka, celebrating his 25th birthday, got a double inside grip before using a frontal push-out to send September tournament winner Tamawashi toppling off the raised ring.
After losing his first three bouts, top maegashira Kotonowaka won his fourth straight and improved to 4-3. The misery continued for Mongolian veteran komusubi Tamawashi, who fell to 1-6.
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.
New Year Basho Tournament Records