Top maegashira Takayasu moved a step closer to winning his first Emperor’s Cup on Saturday, November 26 when he defeated Kagayaki to remain in sole possession of the lead with one day left in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Former ozeki Takayasu was pushed back to the edge by the No. 15 maegashira and looked to be in trouble at several points in the bout but deftly dodged to his side and swatted Kagayaki down to improve to 12-2.
The veteran Tagonoura stable wrestler has been a runner-up five times. He will face Abi on the final day and will take home the silverware with a win.
Kagayaki, a No. 15 maegashira, put up a good fight but dropped to 9-5.
Takakeisho, Abi Improve to 11-3
Takakeisho and Abi are the only other wrestlers still contention, both one win back.
Ozeki Takakeisho kept his title hopes alive when he used his trademark thrusting attack to send No. 13 Oho out and over the straw ridge.
Takakeisho, who has won both of his championships at the Fukuoka meet, improved to 11-3 while Oho fell to 10-4 and out of the running.
For Shodai, it was a case of too little, too late in the day’s final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. The ozeki produced a strong force-out win over sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-8) to improve to 6-8, but he won’t be able to secure the winning record he needs to maintain his ozeki status.
Assuming yokozuna Terunofuji returns from his knee injury, there will be only one grand champion and one ozeki when the New Year tournament gets underway in January.
No. 9 maegashira Abi was pushed back to the edge but used a well-timed hand pulldown to defeat Mongolian Hoshoryu and improve to 11-3. Sekiwake Hoshoryu suffered his third straight loss and dropped out of contention at 10-4.
Meisei Seals Winning Record
Further down the ranks, No. 16 maegashira Hiradoumi, in just his second tournament in the top division, continued to impress when he got both arms around Nishikifuji and drove him out to move to 10-4. No. 5 maegashira Nishikifuji dropped to 8-6.
Terutsuyoshi dropped to 0-14 and is in danger of becoming the fifth makunouchi division wrestler to complete a 15-day tournament without a single win.
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.