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Tobizaru Records Another Upset Victory at Nagoya Basho

Top maegashira Tobizaru overpowered ozeki Kirishima on Day 5 of the 15-day Nagoya Basho, earning his second upset win in three days.

Top maegashira Tobizaru claimed his second major upset of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, July 13 when he defeated ozeki debutante Kirishima.

Tobizaru, who beat yokozuna Terunofuji on Day 3 all but ending the Mongolian's Nagoya campaign, shoved out Kirishima in the day's final bout after initially being pushed back to the edge.

"I thought I would lose when I was pushed back but I was able to recover and get the win," said Tobizaru, who improved to 2-3.

Kirishima sat out the first three days of the 15-day Nagoya Basho at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium due to injury and won in his return on Wednesday. But he couldn't finish off his opponent on Day 5 and dropped to one win, two losses and two absences.

Kirishima needs at least eight wins in this tournament to avoid being a relegation-threatened ozeki at the September meet. Coming back on Day 5 was a gamble as he can ill-afford losses with his limited bouts remaining.

Nishikigi (left) in action against Wakamotoharu. (ⒸSANKEI)

Nishikigi, Gonoyama and Takayasu Still Unbeaten

In other major bouts, Nishikigi, also a top maegashira, overpowered sekiwake Wakamotoharu to move into a three-way tie for the lead at 5-0 with fellow rank-and-filers Gonoyama and Takayasu.

It was a painful loss for Wakamotoharu, who is pursuing promotion to ozeki but already has two losses against three wins.

Things worked out better for the tournament's other two sekiwake ― Daieisho and Hoshoryu ― who are also seeking promotion to sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki.

Daieisho used his trademark arm thrusts to the neck to dispatch No 3 maegashira Meisei (2-3) to improve to 4-1.

Hoshoryu defeats Abi on Day 5. (ⒸSANKEI)

Mongolian Hoshoryu also kept pace at 4-1 when he used a rare rear pull-down to defeat komusubi Abi, who dropped to 3-2.

No 13 maegashira Gonoyama deployed his impressive pushing and thrusting attack to send No 11 Kotoeko (3-2) backpedaling over the straw ridge and maintain his share of the lead. 

With grand champion Terunofuji and ozeki Takakeisho out of the tournament due to injury the door is wide open for unheralded grapplers like Gonoyama, and the winner of May's second-tier juryo division is making the most of his chances so far.

Former ozeki Takayasu also remained unbeaten when he overpowered No 5 Hiradoumi (1-4) at the initial face-off and then slapped him down to raise his record to 5-0.

Hokuseiho puts the finishing touches on a victory over Asanoyama. (KYODO)

No 6 maegashira Hokuseiho, a protege of former yokozuna Hakuho, upset former ozeki and current fourth-ranked maegashira Asanoyama to give both grapplers a 3-2 record.


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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