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Onosato Defeats Abi to Claim 1st Title at the Summer Basho

Newly promoted komusubi Onosato, who went 12-3 in the Summer Basho, has contended in every tournament since his January debut in the elite division.

Newly promoted komusubi Onosato overpowered sekiwake Abi on Sunday, May 26 to win an emotional first championship on the final day of the Summer Basho.

Onosato, a native of Ishikawa Prefecture, fought off an arm thrust at the face-off, got a right hand inside on the sekiwake and shoved Abi out quickly to improve to 12-3. Abi dropped to 10-5.

Onosato made his elite division debut in the January 2024 tournament just days after his native prefecture was hit with a deadly earthquake on New Year's Day.

He contended for the title in the New Year's meet with an 11-4 record and followed that up with another 11-4 record in March's Spring Basho.

Onosato
Onosato is interviewed after winning his first Emperor's Cup. (©SANKEI)

"I came close in January and March but could not get the title," Onosato said. "So I'm really happy to get the title this time. It sank in immediately that I won the championship."

A huge throng of fans in Onosato's hometown of Tsubata, Ishikawa Prefecture, erupted in cheers of joy when the 23-year-old thrust out Abi.

Onosato
Residents of Onosato's hometown of Tsubata, Ishikawa Prefecture, react at Tsubata City Hall after his title-clinching victory. (KYODO)

"I've been able to win the title and I think there were a lot of people watching in Ishikawa so I'm really happy," Onosato said. "I'll keep working hard to get promoted higher."

A loss by Onosato would have resulted in a playoff to decide the winner of the Emperor's Cup, but he avoided an extra bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan with the convincing win over Abi.

Onosato
Onosato (right) clashes with Abi in a final-day bout in Tokyo. (KYODO)

Summer Basho Winner Onosato Matches Annenyama's Feat from 1957

Onosato becomes the first newly promoted sanyaku wrestler in 67 years to win the championship.

Annenyama was the last wrestler to achieve the feat when he went 13-2 to win the championship in the 1957 May tournament as a newly promoted komusubi.

Onosato began the tournament with a huge win over grand champion Terunofuji, a win that knocked the yokozuna out of the 15-day basho.

"There were a lot of firsts for me in this tournament," Onosato said. "Today, I just tried to stay calm and keep it business as usual."

Onosato also took home the Outstanding Performance Award and the Technique Prize.

Kotozakura (right) grapples with Hoshoryu on Day 15. (©SANKEI)

Kotozakura, Daieisho Finish with Second-Best Records

In the day's final bout, Kotozakura used an arm-lock throw to dispatch fellow ozeki Hoshoryu (10-5) and finish with an 11-4 record. 

Top maegashira Daieisho remained in the championship race when he hauled down eighth-ranked Kotoshoho (8-7) to move to 11-4. 

Daieisho seizes control against Kotoshoho. (©SANKEI)

The Summer Basho was hit with a series of withdrawals in the first week. Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho pulled out after just one loss. 

Ozeki Kirishima and former ozeki Asanoyama also pulled out due to injury.

March tournament winner Takerufuji withdrew just before the start of the tournament.

Takanosho shoves Atamifuji over the edge of the straw bales. (KYODO)

It's just a shoe!

Takanosho Secures a Winning Record

In other major Summer Grand Sumo Tournament bouts, eighth-ranked maegashira Takanosho shoved out Atamifuji to finish with a winning record of 8-7.

It was a painful loss for top maegashira Atamifuji, who could have been promoted to the sanyaku ranks with a win on the final day. Instead, Atamifuji finished with a losing record of 7-8 and won't be getting a promotion.

No 4 maegashira Ura put a stop to the rot when he snapped an eight-bout losing streak by bulldozing Wakamotoharu out to pick up his seventh win against eight losses.

Sekiwake Wakamotoharu, who briefly withdrew from the tournament, finished with a record of four wins, eight losses and three absences.

Third-ranked maegashira Takayasu deployed a superb overarm throw to send Gonoyama sprawling to the dirt surface while improving to seven wins, three losses and five absences.

Gonoyama, a No 2 maegashira, dropped to 6-9.

Further down the ranks, makuuchi division debutant Oshoma, a No 14 maegashira from Mongolia, shoved out 10th-ranked Kinbozan (8-7) to finish with an impressive 10-5 record.

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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