NAGOYA – Ozeki Chiyotaikai made mincemeat of overnight co-leader sekiwake Asashoryu on Friday to move into pole position at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with two days left in the 15-day meet.
Chiyotaikai, gunning for his second Emperor’s Cup, improved to 12-1 as he moved one win ahead of the fiery Mongolian and two clear of yokozuna Musashimaru, who suffered his second shock defeat in as many days, this time at the hands of eighth-ranked maegashira Shimotori.
In the day’s showcase bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Chiyotaikai shook off ozeki wannabe Asashoryu’s advances as both grappled for control at center ring following the charge.
But it was the class of Chiyotaikai that shone through as the 1999 New Year champion repeatedly outmaneuvered Asashoryu and pummeled the Mongolian to the edge of the ring before ramming him into the ringside seats for his first win in three meetings between the two.
Chiyotaikai, however, will need to keep his wits about him in his next bout Saturday with rank-and-filer Shimotori (9-4), who caused the upset of the day by outfoxing grand champion Musashimaru.
Musashimaru (10-3) appeared to have recovered from his shock defeat to sekiwake Wakanosato on Thursday, only to let victory and his hopes of a third straight title slip from his grasp with a momentary lapse of concentration in the day’s final bout.
The Samoan-born grizzly comfortably weathered Shimotori’s attacks yet after steamrollering Shimotori to the edge of the ring, somehow allowed the Toitsukaze stable wrestler to slip around behind him and score with the simplest of shoves.
Earlier, Mongolian eighth-ranked maegashira Kyokutenho (8-5) secured a winning record with a frontal force-out victory over Daizen (5-8) but there was more disappointment for out-of-form compatriot Kyokushuzan.
The former komusubi, whose only win of the tournament was by default over Tochiazuma, slumped to a 1-12 record after being charged out of the ring by 11th-ranked Akinoshima (6-7).
Kaiho latest casualty
NAGOYA (Kyodo) Fourth-ranked maegashira Kaiho became the latest casualty on an ever-increasing injury list when he withdrew from the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.
Kaiho hurt his right ankle in a loss to komusubi Miyabiyama on Thursday and officials of his Hakkaku stable confirmed he cannot wrestle Friday, the 13th day of the 15-day meet at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, since he cannot walk on his own.
No. 12 maegashira Aogiyama, who injured his right knee in Thursday’s bout has also withdrawn. He was carried off on a stretcher after being thrown out of the ring by fourth-ranked juryo Kasuganishiki on Thursday.
Both wrestlers were told by doctors they will need around two months to fully recover from their injuries. Kaiho, who pulls out of his first meet since the New Year tourney in 1996, forfeits Friday’s bout with 10th-ranked Wakanoyama and drops out with a 5-8 record.
Aogiyama, pulling out for the first time in eight meets, forfeits his match with top-ranked juryo division wrestler Tochinohana and closes on 6-7.
The withdrawals of the two wrestlers increased the total to 16 among the wrestlers in the top two divisions of makuuchi and juryo, the second most in the postwar era behind 19 pullouts from the autumn tournament in 1945.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.