Yokozuna Harumafuji became the first big name to fall at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday, suffering an upset second-day loss to No. 1 maegashira Mitakeumi.
A day after knocking off ozeki Goeido, Mitakeumi got the better of a sloppy bout with Harumafuji (1-1).
“I’m happy to have won,” Mitakeumi said. “I was a little slow on the tachiai, but I managed to maintain my poise throughout. I’ve done well over two days to wrestle the way I’m capable.”
Although Harumafuji paid the price for his carelessness, his fellow Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu both survived scares, while only one of four ozeki wrestlers, Kisenosato, heads into the third day with a perfect record in the 15-day tourney at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Top-ranked maegashira Takarafuji (0-2) managed to push Hakuho to the brink of defeat, but lacking a belt hold could not finish the job before the yokozuna countered and won by forceout.
Kakuryu was declared the winner by ringside judges after he was thrown from the ring by No. 2 maegashira Shohozan (1-1). Although both wrestlers had left their feet, which typically results in a do-over, Shohozan landed outside the ring first.
Shodai, whose path to sumo’s third-highest rank was one of the quickest in the sport’s history, earned his first win as a sekiwake by outlasting No. 2 maegashira Arawashi (0-2).
A day after offering little resistance to Hakuho, the 25-year-old Shodai (1-1) refused to be shoved out despite getting forced back to the straw and eventually levered his opponent out.
The other new sekiwake, Tamawashi, failed to improve on his opening-day win despite an auspicious start against Kisenosato (2-0). Tamawashi’s charge rocked Kisenosato back, but the sekiwake lost control, glanced off the ozeki’s right shoulder and shot past him. Kisenosato turned on a dime and pushed the helpless Tamawashi out to improve to 8-0 in his career against the Mongolian.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku, who won last year’s New Year tourney, looked on his way to a textbook forceout when No. 3 maegashira Okinoumi (1-1) perfectly timed an armlock throw to tip the ozeki over to his first defeat. After a losing record in November, Kotoshogiku needs eight wins here to avoid relegation to sekiwake.
Former sekiwake Takayasu earned his first win, battling ozeki Terunofuji to a standstill on the tachiai before grabbing him by the shoulder and dragging him down to his second defeat.
Ozeki Goeido evened his record at 1-1 by grabbing a left-handed over-arm belt hold against hard-charging Georgian komusubi Tochinoshin and throwing him to his second loss.
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