No. 13 maegashira Oho, who is 22, swatted down sekiwake Hoshoryu in Thursday’s featured bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, giving both wrestlers a 10-2 record.
Hoshoryu, 23, had won eight bouts in a row but was completely overwhelmed by the younger Oho, who dodged to his side after the face-off and, showing the poise of a veteran, calmly swatted his opponent to the dirt surface.
Takayasu, Hoshoryu and Oho are all chasing their first Emperor’s Cup.
Both Hoshoryu and Oho have strong family ties to the sport’s elite.
Mongolian Hoshoryu is the nephew of former yokozuna Asashoryu. Oho is the son of former sekiwake Takatoriki and the grandson of former yokozuna Taiho.
Hoshoryu's Rise in Prominence
The 23-year-old Hoshoryu has shown steady progress since being promoted to the elite makunouchi division in September of 2020.
His breakout tournament was in July of 2021 when he went 10-5 as a No. 5 maegashira and won a Technique Prize for that showing.
He went 11-4 in the New Year tournament in January and was promoted to komusubi for the Spring Basho.
After racking up winning records in three straight tournaments, he was promoted to sekiwake for the September tournament where he went 8-7.
A Look at Oho's Year in Sumo
Oho was promoted to the makunouchi division for the New Year tournament as a No. 18 maegashira.
He got off to a solid start going 7-3 over the first 10 days, but then lost all five of his remaining bouts to finish at 7-8.
His best result in the top flight so far has been an 8-7 record as a No. 15 maegashira in the July meet in Nagoya.
In the previous tournament in September, Oho once again got off to a good start but faltered over the second week, losing his last five bouts to finish at 8-7.
Takayasu Chasing Elusive First Title
Compared to Oho and Hoshoryu, Takayasu, at 28, is a wily veteran. He has come close to winning the title many times, but has always come up short.
Takayasu will face Oho on Friday, while Hoshoryu squares off against ozeki Takakeisho.
Abi improved to 9-3 while Wakatakakage fell to 6-6.
Ozeki Takakeisho is still very much in the hunt after he deployed a barrage of arm thrusts to the upper body to all but eliminate Nishikifuji from contention.
Takakeisho picked up his ninth win in 12 matches. Fifth-ranked maegashira Nishikifuji slipped to 8-4.
Shodai Falls to 5-7
It was a crucial blow to Shodai, who needs a winning record in this tournament to maintain his ozeki status for the next basho. He dropped to 5-7 and now needs to win all three of his remaining bouts. Mongolian Kiribayama improved to 8-4.
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.