OSAKA – Ozeki Chiyotaikai overpowered yokozuna debutante Asashoryu on Sunday to win his third Emperor’s Cup with a 12-3 record on the final day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
Overnight leader Chiyotaikai, who came into the 15-day meet with his ozeki status on the line, never allowed Asashoryu to get anywhere near him and quickly set about demolishing the saucy Mongolian in the day’s finale at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
Determined to avoid a defeat that would have given Asashoryu a second bite at the cherry in a championship playoff, Chiyotaikai sent the yokozuna packing with a relentless barrage of slaps and thrusts to secure his first title since last July’s Nagoya meet.
“The Osaka basho is the first tournament of the year for me and was a bit worried about being ‘kadoban’ and didn’t expect to do as well as I have done,” said Chiyotaikai, who needed eight wins here to stay at ozeki after missing the New Year meet due to an arm injury.
“I knew I would have to pull out all the stops against a yokozuna but I just kept on believing in myself,” added the 26-year-old Kokonoe stable wrestler.
Surprise defeats to lesser ranked wrestlers proved costly for Asashoryu, who was aiming for a third straight championship but had to settle for a 10-5 record.
Ozeki Kaio, who ousted Asashoryu on Saturday and was the only other wrestler in contention for the title, also finished at 10-5 after being handed a surprise defeat by sekiwake Kotomitsuki (6-9).
In other bouts, sekiwake returnee Wakanosato lifted komusubi Dejima (8-7) over the straw ridge for a ninth win while Tosanoumi secured a winning record as komusubi by overcoming former ozeki Miyabiyama (9-6).
Popular No. 2 maegashira Takamisakari claimed the technique prize for the second time in his career but saw his five-bout winning streak come to an end after being forced out by fourth-ranked Tamanoshima. Both men finished with winning 8-7 records.
The fighting spirit award went to Mongolian Kyokutenho, who finished the tournament with nine wins after disposing of fellow top-ranked maegashira Takanonami (7-8).