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Onosato Defeats Atamifuji to Move into a Tie for the Summer Basho Lead

In a battle of rising stars, Onosato came out on top and is looking more and more like the man to beat at the 15-day Summer Basho in Tokyo.

Newly promoted komusubi Onosato continued his dominant run on Saturday, May 18 when he defeated rising star Atamifuji to move into a tie for the lead at the Summer Basho.

In the first meeting between the two rising stars, top maegashira Atamifuji took Onosato back to the edge after the initial face-off. 

But Onosato somehow wiggled free and used a superb pulling arm throw to send Atamifuji sprawling to the dirt surface while improving to a record of 6-1. Atamifuji dropped to 2-5.

The bout was a showdown between two of the sport's most promising young grapplers. Atamifuji is just 21 years old. Onosato is 23.

Ozeki Kotozakura bounced back from Friday's loss to Onosato when he thrust down previously undefeated Ura to move to 5-2. With the loss, fourth-ranked maegashira Ura joined four others for the lead at 6-1.

Summer Basho
In a clash of 24-year-old wrestlers, Oho triumphs over Hoshoryu. (©SANKEI)

Oho Outwrestles Hoshoryu

In other major Summer Grand Summer Tournament bouts, fourth-ranked maegashira Oho won his second major bout over an ozeki when he hauled down Mongolian Hoshoryu in the day's final bout at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Oho, who defeated ozeki Kirishima on the previous day, improved to 3-4. Hoshoryu fell to 4-3.

"We are the same age so it was a great moment," the 24-year-old Oho said. "I was able to break his grip on the belt and that was key."

Oho added, "I wasn't thinking about his rank, I was just trying to stay focused."

Top maegashira Daieisho used his trademark thrusts to bulldoze No 2 maegashira Hiradoumi (2-5) out over the edge in a matter of seconds to stay in the pack of leaders at 6-1. 

Summer Basho
Kirishima (KYODO)

Injury Update: Kirishima Pulls Out with a Neck Injury

The tournament was hit with yet another withdrawal of a top wrestler when it was announced that ozeki Kirishima had pulled out on Saturday with a neck injury.

The 28-year-old Mongolian had struggled with a 1-5 record through the first six days of the tournament.

Kirishima, who became an ozeki ahead of the Nagoya meet in July 2023, went 5-10 in March's Spring Basho. He entered the Summer Basho as a kadoban ozeki, meaning he needed a winning record in this tourney to maintain his status.

With his withdrawal, Kirishima will exit the tournament with a 1-6 record with his opponent on Saturday, No 3 maegashira Tobizaru, winning by default and improving to 3-4.

As he is unable to post a winning record of at least eight wins, Kirishima will be demoted for the Nagoya meet.

Other top name wrestlers who have pulled out of this meet included grand champion Terunofuji, ozeki Takakeisho, former ozeki Asanoyama, March basho winner Takerufuji and former ozeki Takayasu.

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Shonannoumi Stays Tied for Summer Basho Lead

Further down the ranks, No 11 maegashira Shonannoumi used an overarm throw to defeat Kinbozan for the first time. As a result, Shonannoumi improved to 6-1. Tenth-ranked Kinbozan fell to 4-3.

Sixteenth-ranked Takarafuji raised his record to 6-1 when fellow rank-and-filer Mitoryu suffered a hip collapse in the center of the ring. Mitoryu dropped to 1-6.

Summer Basho
Takarafuji beats Mitoryu on Day 7. (©SANKEI)

In a showdown of former ozeki wrestlers, ninth-ranked Shodai (3-4) bulldozed No 7 Mitakeumi out with a frontal force-out. After winning his first five bouts, Mitakeumi was handed his second straight loss.

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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