NAGOYA – Ozeki Kisenosato’s bid for yokozuna promotion hit a speed bump and yokozuna Hakuho suffered his first loss in four months on Thursday, the fifth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Kisenosato twice backed top-ranked maegashira Tochiozan to the straw, but was too slow to finish him off the first time and too rash in his second effort. His back to the bales, Tochiozan (3-2) slipped back to the middle of the ring only for Kisenosato to force him back again. After missing the mark once, Kisenosato powered up for another go — but telegraphed his move. Tochiozan dodged out of harm’s way and the ozeki recorded his first defeat.
“He attacked and attacked, and somehow I dug myself out of a hole,” Tochiozan said. “I didn’t wrestle very well, although I was conscious of keeping his left-hand off my belt and managed that.”
Hakuho, facing No. 2 maegashira Takarafuji (4-1), a man he had beaten 11 times in 12 career bouts, lacked caution on his initial charge and was sent out to an easy defeat. It was the yokozuna’s first loss after 33 straight victories stretching back to Day 2 of the March tourney.
“I remember dodging him at the edge of the ring but nothing before,” Takarafuji said.
Harumafuji moved into a tie at 4-1 with his fellow Mongolian yokozuna with a straight-forward win over No. 3 maegashira Myogiryu (1-4).
No. 4 maegashira Shohozan (2-3) forced Terunofuji (4-1) to pivot before seizing the initiative.
“My plan was to stay flexible and keeping him from getting hold of me,” said Shohozan, who improved to 2-3.
Ozeki Goeido improved to 3-2 despite getting beat on the tachiai by Okinoumi (1-4). The No. 2 maegashira lunged forward quicker than was prudent. Goeido walked a tight rope on the straw bales as he dodged his man without stepping out and clinched victory with a slick armlock throw as Okinoumi lost his balance.
Kotoshogiku earned his first win in Nagoya, despite running into a brick wall on his initial charge in the form of top-ranked maegashira Mitakeumi (0-5). Although he stopped the ozeki dead in his tracks, Mitakeumi appeared to have no plan from that point, and Kotoshogiku seized control before shoving his man out.
The day of upsets left No. 7 maegashira Ichinojo the only wrestler at 5-0 following his victory over previously unbeaten No. 5 maegashira Yoshikaze.