Sumo

Takayasu on Brink of First Championship after Defeating Kagayaki at Kyushu Basho

Veteran grappler Takayasu, who has been a runner-up five times, can wrap up the title with a win over No. 9 maegashira Abi on the tournament's final day in Fukuoka.

Takayasu (right) clashes with Kagayaki at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka on November 26. (ⒸSANKEI)

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.

Takakeisho will take on sekiwake Wakatakakage (8-6) on the final day. Wakatakakage shoved out fifth-ranked Hokutofuji, who dropped to 6-8.

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

No. 2 maegashira Meisei wrapped up a winning record with a force-out win over top maegashira Kotonowaka to give both men a record of 8-6.

Komusubi Tobizaru unleashed a superb underarm throw to topple the much larger 10th-ranked maegashira Aoiyama to give both men a record of 6-8. 

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.

No. 11 maegashira Onosho used a thrust-down technique to upend Mongolian komusubi Kiribayama and earn his ninth win against five losses. Kiribayama was handed his sixth loss against eight wins.

No. 3 maegashira Ura shoved winless No. 16 maegashira Terutsuyoshi off the raised ring to pick up his fourth win against 10 losses.

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.

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