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Rank-and-Filer Nishikigi Emerges as Sole Leader at Nagoya Basho

On the 11th day of the Nagoya Basho, top maegashira Nishikigi overpowered Endo to take a major step toward his first championship.

Top maegashira Nishikigi brushed aside fan favorite Endo on Wednesday, July 19 to move into the sole lead at the Nagoya Basho.

Nishikigi got a left-hand inside position and overpowered No 16 maegashira Endo in a one-sided bout to stay in the lead at 10-1. Endo dropped to 8-3.

A native of Iwate Prefecture, Nishikigi made his debut in the 2006 March tournament and is bidding for his first-ever Emperor's Cup.

Nagoya Basho
Nishikigi (left) made his sumo debut in 2006. (KYODO)

Nishikigi is almost certain to be promoted to the sanyaku ranks for the Autumn Basho in September, likely as a sekiwake or komusubi.

In other major bouts at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, sekiwake Wakamotoharu knocked Hokutofuji out of the lead when he got a double-handed grip on the belt and hoisted the ninth-ranked maegashira out to improve to 8-3 and wrap up a winning record.

Wakamotoharu is chasing promotion to ozeki and could still reach the required 12 wins if he finishes the 15-day basho with four victories.

Nagoya Basho
Wakamotoharu defeats Hokutofuji on Day 11. (ⒸSANKEI)

"I wasn't really thinking about securing a winning record," Wakamotoharu said.

He added, "I made a lot of mistakes earlier in the tournament so I just want to fight well in the final four days."

Hokutofuji, who will face Hoshoryu on Day 12, had won seven bouts in a row but dropped to 9-2 and is still very much in contention for the championship.

Nagoya Basho
Hoshoryu (right) in action against Tamawashi. (ⒸSANKEI)

Hoshoryu Keeps Title Hopes Alive

In an all-Mongolian showdown, Hoshoryu kept his title and ozeki promotion hopes alive when he used several powerful arm thrusts to send veteran Tamawashi over the edge.

Sekiwake Hoshoryu, who lost on the previous day, improved to 9-2 while 38-year-old Tamawashi, a No 7 maegashira, dropped to 6-5.

Hoshoryu needs 12 wins to gain consideration for promotion to ozeki so he needs to win three of his remaining four bouts.

Nagoya Basho
Kirishima (right) vies for a win against Daieisho. (ⒸSANKEI)

In the day's final bout, new ozeki Kirishima swatted down Daieisho to improve to five wins, four losses and two absences.

Kirishima missed the first three days due to injury and can still wrap up a winning record by winning three of his last four bouts. Sekiwake Daieisho, who is also chasing promotion to ozeki, dropped to 8-3.

Further down the ranks, No 17 maegashira Hakuoho wrapped up a winning record when he spun Takayasu (5-6) around and shoved him out from behind to improve to 8-3.

Former ozeki Takayasu, currently a No 7 maegashira, won his first five bouts of the tournament but has now lost six in a row.


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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