Ichinojo suffers first loss of tourney


Mongolian upstart Ichinojo saw his sensational start at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament come to a crashing halt on Saturday as yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu moved into a two-way lead heading into the second week of the 15-day basho in Tokyo.

Hakuho and Kakuryu both remained perfect at 7-0, while Ichinojo dropped out of the leading Mongolian trio to share second at 6-1 with ozeki Kisenosato and No. 15 maegashira Okinoumi.

Looking a good bet to move within one championship title of the all-time record of 32 held by legendary yokozuna Taiho, Hakuho was brutal in his dismissal of Toyonoshima, choking the second-ranked maegashira with a left-handed throat grip and finishing him off with a couple of powerful shoves. Toyonoshima has no wins, four losses and three rest days due to injury.

Kakuryu was equally imperious in the day’s final bout against Chiyotairyu (1-6), latching onto the front of the komusubi’s belt and quickly charging him out of the ring.

No. 10 maegashira Ichinojo has looked unstoppable so far on his debut in the makuuchi division but Ikioi matched the 192-cm behemoth blow for blow and prevailed despite his nose bleeding all over his opponent’s shoulder.

After a prolonged stalemate, fifth-ranked Ikioi (5-2) made his move and got the better of Ichinojo at the ring’s edge, sending him out with an overarm throw that triggered huge cheers at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

“I am happy because I gave it everything I had today too. I am glad I stayed patient,” said Ikioi.

“My body responded and moved well today and it was a good performance. You have to do what you have to do regardless of who you are fighting against and I am just glad I went all out for it.”

Ichinojo was allowed to start his pro career in the makushita division after a successful amateur showing and his performances so far here indicates he has a very bright future ahead of him.

Seemingly untroubled by an early flurry of slaps and thrusts from Yoshikaze (4-3), Kisenosato, meanwhile, got both arms on the No. 3 maegashira and bumped him out to stay one win off the pace, and Okinoumi made it 6-1 by hauling down 11th-ranked Takanoiwa (2-5).

Ozeki Goeido improved to 5-2 after a sticky start to his debut at sumo’s second rank, yanking down Endo to consign the popular maegashira to his seventh consecutive loss.

But Kotoshogiku slumped to his fourth defeat when he got sent sprawling to the sandy surface by a beltless armthrow from second-ranked Takayasu (3-4).

Earlier, 40-year-old Mongolian maegashira Kyokutenho (5-2) was unable to match seventh-ranked maegashira Chiyootori and got muscled out to a second loss. Chiyootori improved his mark to 3-4.