NAGOYA – Veteran Takanonami handed faltering grand champion Musashimaru his second straight loss on Wednesday but fellow yokozuna Asashoryu produced a bread-and-butter win over Aminishiki at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Musashimaru, who is back in the ring after missing the last three basho with an injured left wrist, plodded out of his crouch and ultimately paid the price for relying to heavily on his right hand to see him through in the day’s final bout at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
The Samoan-born powerhouse again appeared to avoid using his ailing left hand and third-ranked maegashira Takanonami (2-2) took full advantage as he sidestepped the yokozuna and dragged him down to the dirt.
The defeat was the third shock of the day following defeats for ozeki Musoyama and Tochiazuma and left Musashimaru two wins behind early pacesetters ozeki Chiyotaikai and rank-and-filer Tokitsuumi, the only two wrestlers with perfect 4-0 records.
In the preceding bout it was business as usual for Asashoryu (3-1), who wrapped up Aminishiki (1-3) and with minimal fuss sent the top-ranked maegashira limping out of the ring after an awkward landing on his ankle.
Chiyotaikai never gave newly promoted sekiwake Kyokutenho (2-2) a look in as he locked the Mongolian up in a bear hug and twisted him down to the clay surface to preserve his spotless record.
Kaio, looking for his first Emperor’s Cup since the 2001 Nagoya meet, made it Japan 2, Mongolia 0 a few minutes later by disposing of second-ranked Kyokushuzan, who left the ring nursing a 0-4 record.
But Musoyama and Tochiazuma, who both just managed to scrape together eight wins to keep their rank in May, let the ozeki camp down with embarrassing defeats to Takamisakari and Miyabiyama, respectively.
Grinning like a Cheshire cat and with thunderous applause ringing in his ears, Takamisakari (3-1) strutted back to the dressing room with his chest puffed out after wriggling free of Musoyama and twisting the ozeki out to his first loss of the 15-day tournament.
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