NAGOYA – Yokozuna Musashimaru barely escaped being tagged with back-to-back losses at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday while ozeki hopeful Asashoryu had to battle back from certain defeat himself to maintain his perfect record.
The Mongolian sekiwake, however, came back from the edge of the ring at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium to throw down komusubi Tosanoumi for his fifth win and join ozeki Chiyotaikai and rank-and-filers Buyuzan and Takanonami as the undefeated front-runners.
Musashimaru, the winner of the last two tournament championships, was nearly stunned for a second straight loss in the day’s final bout as Takanowaka, a fourth-ranked maegashira, got the Samoa-born grand champion stumbling forward with a right-hand belt throw.
Takanowaka (3-2) yanked the yokozuna forward with his right hand and got him teetering on the bales on his right leg as he tried to muster enough drive to push the yokozuna out.
Musashimaru, showing some poise and technique, however, hooked the maegashira with his left leg to avoid going out and then powered the smaller wrestler over the edge for his fourth win.
Meanwhile, Asashoryu was slammed to the edge of the ring at the face-off by the bulldozing Tosanoumi (3-2) and appeared to be on his way to a first loss for the tourney.
The feisty sekiwake, however, ducked under Tosanoumi’s right arm to sneak around behind the komusubi and then shoved his stunned opponent down for a fifth win.
Chiyotaikai, the only ozeki left in the tournament after Kaio and Tochiazuma withdrew with injuries, wrapped up top-ranked maegashira Tochinonada with a twist-down to keep his record unblemished.
Sixth-ranked maegashira Kotomitsuki handed Tochisakae his first loss of the meet, pounding out the 10th-ranked wrestler and leaving both wrestlers at 4-1.
No. 7 maegashira Takanonami lorded over Hayateumi, bullying out the 13th-ranked wrestler with an arm-wrenching, frontal force-out to retain his perfect record.
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