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Yokozuna Kakuryu maintains top spot at New Year Basho

Kyodo

Yokozuna Kakuryu remained unbeaten and continued to dominate the raised ring with hi 10th straight victory on Tuesday at the 15-day New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

After a rock-solid charge, Kakuryu grabbed No. 5 maegashira Okinoumi (3-7) by the belt and tried to lift him out of the ring, but was suddenly turned toward the edge. The last remaining yokozuna in the tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Kakuryu, overcame the brush with defeat, using Okinoumi’s momentum to turn him around and pushing the off-balance wrestler out from behind.

No. 3 Tochinoshin stayed on Kakuryu’s heels after beating No. 2 Kotoshogiku (4-6) and improving to 9-1. The Georgian proved formidable again after turning around a charging Kotoshogiku, then nearly lifting the 178-kg former ozeki up and forcing him from the ring.

Sekiwake Mitakeumi (7-3), who started the day tied for third place, tried to push out No. 4 Arawashi (5-5) but was instead pulled down by the Mongolian. Meanwhile, No. 13 Daieisho (8-2) took sole control of third after pushing out No. 8 Tochiozan (6-4).

Ozeki Takayasu improved to 7-3 with a victory over sekiwake Tamawashi (3-7) that saw the two wrestlers trading slaps across the ring, with the ozeki eventually forcing the Mongolian out with his 182-kg frame.

Goeido (6-4) endured another defeat when he was beaten by No. 4 Shodai (5-5). The ozeki tried to recover after being pushed to the edge of the ring, but was caught off balance and forced out.

Komosubi Takakeisho (3-7) put up a spirited fight against top-ranked maegashira Ichinojo (6-4) but was ultimately pushed down and out by the massive 215-kg Mongolian.

Komosubi Onosho (4-6), lost his match by default after announcing his withdrawal due to a knee injury suffered when he was thrown out by Ichinojo on Monday. It is the second time the recently promoted komosubi has pulled out of a major tournament, since withdrawing as a juryo division wrestler at the 2015 Kyushu Basho.

“It’s really disappointing,” his stablemaster, Onomatsu, said. “But considering the future, we shouldn’t make it worse.”

Nine wrestlers in the makuuchi and juryo divisions have withdrawn from the tournament so far, including yokozuna Hakuho and Kisenosato, who pulled out his fifth straight meet after four losses.

No. 10 Aminishiki (1-6-3), who re-entered the tournament Tuesday after missing the last three days due to a knee injury, was quickly defeated by No. 7 Chiyoshoma (6-4) in his return.

Terunofuji, who pulled out on Day 3 due to lingering knee pain that has seen the former ozeki plummet in the rankings, will re-enter on Wednesday. The No. 10 maegashira, who lost his first two bouts before defaulting the third, needs to post good results in his remaining matches to avoid demotion to the juryo division.