Asashoryu fluffed his lines and saw his championship hopes take an early hit with a shock defeat to Aminishiki on Tuesday, the third day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
The Mongolian yokozuna failed to launch a decent attack at the charge and simply had no reply as top-ranked maegashira Aminishiki (1-2) plowed forward and sent the veteran yokozuna backpedaling out to a first defeat.
Asashoryu’s compatriot and chief rival Hakuho almost slipped on a banana skin but managed to avoid a similar fate as the yokozuna yanked down No. 1 maegashira Homasho (0-3) at Ryogoku Kokugikan to preserve his unbeaten start.
Hakuho is eyeing consecutive titles after winning the spring meet with a flawless 15-0 record.
Asashoryu is gunning for his first title in two meets and 24th overall.
Elsewhere in the upper echelons of the elite makuuchi division, Harumafuji and Kotooshu were the day’s only winners at sumo’s second-highest rank of ozeki.
Harumajuji preserved his perfect start by bundling out third-ranked Tamanoshima (1-2) after a clash of heads at the charge, and Bulgarian Kotooshu followed up by chasing out winless No. 2 maegashira Takekaze to improve to 2-1.
Injury-hit Chiyotaikai suffered a setback in his latest battle to avoid demotion as komusubi Tochiozan (1-2) weathered a hailstorm of slaps and thrusts to barge the ozeki out to a first loss.
Chiyotaikai is bidding to beat the drop for a record 13th time and the veteran Kokonoe stable wrestler needs to post a majority of wins here to retain his rank.
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