Former ozeki Takayasu beat current ozeki Takakeisho to move into sole possession of the lead on Friday, March 25, with just two days left in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
After exchanging a series of arms thrusts to the upper body, No 7 maegashira Takayasu got a right-hand grip of the belt of Takakeisho and threw the ozeki down to improve to 12-1. Takakeisho dropped to 8-5.
“I managed to stop Takakeisho,” Takayasu said. “I wanted to make it quick and not waste any time. I just tried to relax and will try to keep the momentum going.”
A native of Ibaraki Prefecture, Takayasu is bidding for his first Emperor’s Cup. He is one win ahead of sekiwake Wakatakakage and will face another ozeki in Shodai on Saturday.
After achieving 34 wins in three tournaments from January to May 2017, Takayasu was promoted to ozeki on May 31, 2017.
He maintained his ozeki rank for a total of 15 tournaments before falling back into the maegashira ranks in March of 2020.
In other major bouts, new ozeki Mitakeumi overpowered Wakatakakage when he came bursting out of the face-off and never gave the new sekiwake a chance.
Wakatakakage got a left-hand grip on the belt of Mitakeumi but couldn’t stop the determined ozeki who improved to 10-3 to keep his title hopes alive.
Wakatakakage, whose only previous loss of the tournament came on Day 4 when he was beaten by Kiribayama, dropped to 11-2.
Fighting at the rank of sekiwake at the New Year tournament in January, Mitakeumi won his third top division “yusho” with a 13-2 record. He defeated yokozuna Terunofuji on the final day to secure the championship.
Kotonowaka shoves Shodai out of the dohyo. (ⒸSANKEI)
Elsewhere, Kotonowaka stayed in the title chase when he forced out ozeki Shodai (7-5) to improve to 10-3.
Kotonowaka, a Sadogatake stable wrestler, has shown great potential in recent tournaments. He went 11-4 in the New Year tournament in January when he won the Fighting Spirit Prize.
He also went 12-3 in last year’s July tournament when he won his first Fighting Spirit Prize.
He is the son of former sekiwake Kotonowaka, who is also his stable master, and the grandson of 53rd yokozuna Kotozakura.
Fourth-ranked Kiribayama used an outside leg trip to topple Tochinoshin and improve to 9-4. No. 15 maegashira Tochinoshin dropped to 8-5.
Mongolian giant Ichinojo, a No. 2 maegashira, used a backward force-down to flatten compatriot Hoshoryu to pick up his ninth win against four losses.
Komusubi Hoshoryu, who somehow survived having a 206-kilogram wrestler land on top of him, dropped to 6-7 and walked off in a daze.
Abi defeats Endo to improve to 7-6 at the Spring Basho. (ⒸSANKEI)
Sekiwake Abi used his trademark thrusting technique to send No. 4 maegashira Endo (7-6) backpedaling over the straw bales.
Abi picked up his seventh win against six losses and can wrap up a winning record in Saturday’s bout against Hokutofuji.
Ninth-ranked maegashira Tobizaru used a beltless arm throw at the edge to defeat No. 14 Kotoshoho and give both wrestlers a record of 7-6.
Follow Jim’s daily reports on the sumo Spring Basho here.
Author: Jim Armstrong
New Year Basho Tournament Records