NAGOYA – The ozeki trio of Chiyotaikai, Kaio and Tochiazuma tasted their third losses and Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu was poised to exit the tourney after suffering a second straight defeat on Monday, the ninth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
After the day’s action, Ozeki Musoyama and four rank-and-file wrestlers — Tosanoumi, Tokitsuumi, Kasuganishiki and Kotomitsuki — share the lead for the tourney title at identical 7-2 records.
Asashoryu, who is nursing a bad right elbow, will sit out the tourney from Tuesday, sumo sources said, after his listless performance against No. 4 maegashira Tamanoshima.
After the jump-off, the Mongolian grand champion opened with a barrage of left-right thrusts to send the maegashira backpedaling.
But Tamanoshima, bleeding from the mouth, showed everything in his arsenal to withstand them, put the yokozuna (5-4) against the rim and sent him out before he himself went down flat on the clay surface.
In the day’s most-touted bout at Nagoya Prefectural Gymnasium, crowd favorite Takamisakari upset Chiyotaikai in a hard-fought battle.
Chiyotaikai charged forward right at the jump-off, sending Takamisakari (6-3) reeling to the edge of the ring.
But the feisty No. 3 maegashira Takamisakari, dubbed the “Robocop” of sumo for his animated pre-fight antics aimed at firing himself up, used a desperate slapping technique before being sent out as the burly ozeki also went down belly first almost simultaneously.
The referee called in favor of Chiyotaikai, but one of the ringside judges questioned the ruling, and after a lengthy mid-ring conference, the judges overturned the referee’s call, saying Chiyotaikai’s right hand hit the dirt a fraction ahead.
In an all-ozeki competition with both wrestlers on 6-2 records, Musoyama came out the winner by sending the rejuvenated Tochiazuma out of the ring without much ado despite the latter’s good initial charge.
Ozeki Kaio dropped to 6-3 when he was driven out from behind by No. 5 maegashira Tosanoumi in a seesaw battle.
The chunky ozeki opened up with his signature pushing technique to put Tosanoumi against the straw edge, but the maegashira wrestler side-stepped to the right and engaged in a fierce battle. Kaio lost his balance frequently and was finally spun out of the ring.
In a match between two 6-2 rank-and-file wrestlers, No. 7 maegashira Tokitsuumi pulled top-ranked Miyabiyama, a former ozeki, down on all fours after a fierce thrusting exchange.
In another battle of 6-2 maegashira wrestlers, No. 12 maegashira Kasuganishiki outmaneuvered Mo. 8 maegashira Kaiho to power him out and share the lead.
Local favorite Kotomitsuki, a former sekiwake, swung down fellow rank-and-file maegashira Tochisakae to remain in the lead.
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