NAGOYA – Bulgarian komusubi Kotooshu stayed on course to become the first-ever European wrestler to win an Emperor’s Cup after disposing of Hokutoriki for his 11th victory at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday.
Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
The baby-faced assassin wriggled free of Hokutoriki’s advances and thrust the maegashira down to the clay surface to preserve his share of the lead with lone grand champion Asashoryu on 11-2, with two days of the 15-day meet remaining at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.
Asashoryu, who was stunned by Kotooshu earlier in the week, remains the favorite to lift his fifth straight Emperor’s Cup after making mincemeat out of local favorite Kotomitsuki.
Doing his best “Terminator” impression, Asashoryu tore out of his crouch and the referee had to be on his toes and quickly get out of the line of fire as the yokozuna sent Kotomistuki (5-8) crashing out of the ring in a matter of seconds.
Asashoryu, who could become the first wrestler in almost two decades to win five titles in a row with victory here, faces Kaio in the penultimate round of bouts Saturday while Kotooshu takes on Takamisakari.
Ozeki Kaio, Wakanosato and sumo’s “Robocop” Takamisakari stayed hot on the heels of the leading duo at 10-3 to boost their own chances of taking home the tourney hardware.
Kaio, who had come in to the tournament battling to save his ozeki rank gave Kokkai (8-5) a sumo lesson when he quickly got hold of the wrestler from the former Soviet republic of Georgia and yanked him down with a pulling overarm throw.
Former sekiwake Wakanosato was equally convincing and upset Tochiazuma (8-5) to keep his title hopes alive, sending the ozeki backpedaling toward the ring’s edge before ushering him out.
Colorful maegashira Takamisakari received an ovation and remained in contention for his first title after he outmuscled Takanowaka (6-7) to move into double digits.
Komusubi Miyabiyama moved within one victory of a winning record of eight wins when he thrust out fourth-ranked Tamanoshima (4-9).
Earlier in the day, Russian Hakurozan (6-7), the brother of Roho, kept alive his hopes of posting a winning record on his makuuchi division debut after taking out Toyonoshima (5-8). Third-ranked maegashira Roho pulled out after aggravating an injury to his right ankle in Tuesday’s match.
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