Kisenosato crashed to a second defeat at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament after the yokozuna was upset by top-ranked maegashira Endo on the fourth day of action on Wednesday.
Kisenosato, who is aiming for a third straight title, was made to pay for not finishing Endo off at Ryogoku Kokugikan and dropped two wins off the pace.
Fellow yokozuna Hakuho and Harumafuji both won to share the lead along with sekiwake Takayasu at 4-0 at the 15-day meet, but yokozuna Kakuryu fluffed his lines again and dropped to 1-3.
Kisenosato, who is recovering from left upper arm and chest injuries sustained at the Spring Basho in March, missed a golden opportunity to take Endo down after the maegashira lost his footing at the center of the ring.
Instead of pulling him down by the back of the neck, he allowed Endo (2-2) to surge forward and shunt him over the straw bales.
Endo became the first wrestler to produce a kimboshi over Kisenosato. Kimboshi (or gold star) is the notation used to record a maegashira’s victory over a yokozuna.
“He had not conceded a kimboshi to anyone. I thought I had a chance and wanted to be the first one to do it,” said Endo, who admitted to thinking he messed up after losing his balance.
“I thought I had blown it, but managed to stay on my feet and just thought I had to go forward.”
In the day’s final bout, Hakuho bided his time before resorting to brute strength to bump out second-ranked maegashira Okinoumi (0-4) and stay perfect.
Harumafuji made short work of Chiyonokuni (1-3), the Mongolian easily blasting out the top-ranked maegashira to retain his share of the lead.
But Kakuryu crashed to a third defeat, the retreating yokozuna stepping out of the ring in the face of a strong attack from komusubi Yoshikaze (3-1).
Yoshikaze claimed his second yokozuna upset of the tournament following an opening-day win over Kisenosato.
“I didn’t realize the match had been settled. I thought I had lost but the yokozuna’s foot was outside the ring. I am grateful (for the fans cheering for me) but when I am on the ring I am just focused on wrestling well,” said Yoshikaze.
Takayasu came back from the brink to take down komusubi Mitakeumi (3-1) with a kubinage headlock throw, staying on course for a shot at promotion to ozeki.
Takayasu won a combined 23 bouts over the last two tournaments and needs 10 victories at this meet to be considered for promotion to sumo’s second-highest rank.
Former ozeki Kotoshogiku (1-3) finally chalked up his first win, claiming sekiwake bragging rights by bellying out Tamawashi (2-2).
In other bouts of note, Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji posted his second straight win, flooring second-ranked Chiyoshoma (1-3) with a textbook beltless arm throw to level his mark at 2-2.
Goeido completed a winning day for ozeki, also moving to 2-2 after barging out third-ranked Daieisho (0-4).