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Onosato Stuns Terunofuji on a Day of Upsets at Summer Basho

In his komusubi debut, Onosato kicked off his bid for the Emperor's Cup at the Summer Basho with an impressive win over the Mongolian yokozuna.

Newly promoted komusubi Onosato overwhelmed grand champion Terunofuji on Sunday, May 12 to complete a day of upsets on the opening day of the Summer Basho.

In the day's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Onosato got a right hand in on Terunofuji and used a superb beltless arm throw at the edge to stun his opponent.

"I lost to him in January so I was able to make some adjustments and get some revenge today," Onosato said. "I was able to keep my body low."

Onosato added, "I anticipated he would try to throw me and was able to hold my ground."

Terunofuji pulled out of the previous basho in March with an injury and ended up with a record of two wins, five losses and eight absences.

The Mongolian grappler is currently on nine championship titles and is aiming to win No 10 but didn't get the start he wanted. 

With his wobbly knees, it was clear Terunofuji will have trouble dealing with younger and stronger wrestlers if he is unable to quickly establish his favored technique.

Summer Basho
Atamifuji escorts Hoshoryu out of the dohyo during their opening day bout in the Summer Basho. (©SANKEI)

Summer Basho Disappointment for Ozeki 

It was also a rough day for the ozeki wrestlers in the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Top maegashira Atamifuji got an outside grip on the belt and used an overarm throw to send ozeki Hoshoryu over the straw ridge to open with a win and make it a clean sweep of ozeki on the opening day.

Atamifuji took advantage of his 40-kilogram weight advantage to maneuver Mongolian Hoshoryu to the edge when he unleashed the perfectly timed throw.

Kotozakura was unable to get a grip of the belt of Daieisho. The top maegashira then used his patented arm thrusts to send the ozeki grappler backpedaling off the raised ring.

Ozeki Kotozakura, formerly Kotonowaka, is using the ring name that his grandfather used when he was a yokozuna. But it didn't help him on the opening day when he became the third straight ozeki to lose.

Summer Basho
Hiradoumi (left) clashes with Takakeisho at Ryogoku Kokugikan. (KYODO)

Hiradoumi Manhandles Takakeisho

No 2 maegashira Hiradoumi notched the second straight upset of an ozeki when he came in low after the face-off and overpowered Takakeisho with a frontal push-out to open with a win.

"I tried to go straight at my opponent at the face-off," Hiradoumi said before adding, "I hope to continue my style of sumo. I'm not thinking about moving up the ranks, I just want to do my best."

No 2 maegashira Gonoyama came bursting out of the face-off and used a right-hand thrust to send ozeki Kirishima out in a matter of seconds.

Kirishima had a subpar 5-10 record last time out. He was totally overwhelmed by Gonoyama at the face-off and will need to react faster to improve on his previous record.

"I was able to move forward quickly," said Gonoyama. "I'm just trying to consistently improve my sumo."

Summer Basho
Takayasu (right) vies for victory against Wakamotoharu on Day 1. (KYODO)

Veteran Takayasu, a No 3 maegashira, kicked off his summer campaign with a win when he used a powerful thrust to send sekiwake Wakamotoharu over the straw ridge.

It's just a shoe!

Oshoma Wins Makuuchi Division Debut

In a showdown of two wrestlers making their debut in the elite division, No 14 maegshira Oshoma shoved out 15th-ranked Tokihayate.

"I didn't want to lose to another debutant," said Mongolian Oshoma. "I was confident and relaxed."

Oshoma added, "I got a lot of good practice before the tournament and am aiming for a winning record in this tournament."


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