NAGOYA – Normal service was resumed at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday as grand champion Asashoryu bounced back from a controversial loss to tear down fellow Mongolian Kyokutenho and get his Emperor’s Cup campaign back on track.
Meanwhile, all four ozeki emerged victorious but, along with Asashoryu, still trail surprise package Tokitsuumi, the only wrestler with a spotless record six days into the 15-day tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
Still reeling from Thursday’s defeat to nemesis and compatriot Kyokushuzan, Asashoryu (4-2) took out his frustration on Kyokutenho but needed every ounce of strength to yank down the stubborn sekiwake in the day’s finale.
Kyokutenho (2-4) appeared the immovable object as the Mongolian pair locked horns in a prolonged mid-ring tussle but Asashoryu prevailed as he dug deep into his energy reserves to wriggle away and send his opponent sprawling to the dirt with an underarm throw.
On Thursday, Asashoryu suffered the ignominy of being the first yokozuna in the history of sumo to be disqualified after ringside judges determined that he had dragged down Kyokushuzan by his topknot.
The fiery 22-year-old became the sole yokozuna in Nagoya when Musashimaru pulled out after aggravating an injury to his left wrist in a defeat to No. 3 maegashira Takamisakari on Thursday.
Musashimaru, who had made his comeback to the dohyo after missing the last three tournaments because of the wrist injury, forfeited his scheduled bout with No. 4 maegashira Tamanoshima (2-4) and bowed out of the meet with a 2-4 record.
“From the start of the tournament I thought I’d be OK. I thought I’d be able to deal with the pain but it was no good as I couldn’t charge directly (at my opponents), said Musashimaru.
“I feel bad for my fans but I’ll be back in the ring after the wrist gets better,” he added.
In other key bouts, Kaio (5-1) remained in the hunt for his first title since winning this tournament two years ago by lifting out crowd favorite Takamisakari (4-2) while there were also wins for ozeki Tochiazuma, Chiyotaikai and Musoyama.
Defending Nagoya champion Chiyotaikai joined a group of six wrestlers one win off the pace at 5-1 as he recovered from an upset defeat Thursday to send No. 3 maegashira Takanonami (3-3) packing with flurry of trademark arm thrusts.
Yokozuna speaks out
NAGOYA (Kyodo) Yokozuna Asashoryu, who suffered a second straight loss to fellow Mongolian Kyokushuzan in fifth-day action on Thursday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, said he thought he won the bout fair and square.
“I just did not let up on my offense until the last moment. That’s all. Did my fingers go inside his topknot? I thought I had come out the winner. It’s a pity to lose a bout like this,” the Mongolian grand champion said in his dressing room at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
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