OSAKA – Yokozuna Kakuryu and No. 6 maegashira Kaisei each won on Sunday to remain unbeaten and in the lead on the eighth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
The only yokozuna in the 15-day competition at Edion Arena Osaka following the withdrawals of Hakuho and Kisenosato, Kakuryu failed to bundle out Shohozan with his initial charge but beat the energetic No. 4 maegashira at his own slapping-spinning game.
Looking to wrap up his opponent and go for an easy forceout, the smaller Shohozan (5-3) slipped away and began slapping away at the yokozuna. But Kakuryu moved just as well, and Shohozan slipped to the surface while trying to dart around the grand champion.
Kaisei made it look easy as he cruised to victory against ninth-ranked maegashira Okinoumi, a former sekiwake. The 205-kg Brazilian rushed forward trying to grab the front of Okinoumi’s belt.
Okinoumi managed to do no more than flail his arms as he was forced sliding backward to the straw and then shoved over to his third defeat.
“It’s been a long time since I secured a winning record this early,” said the 31-year-old Kaisei, who suffered an injury here last year that saw him suffer two straight losing records and forced him to fight in the second-tier juryo division last September.
“I’m still not 100 percent, but I’m doing my best.”
Reminded of Tochinoshin’s January championship as a rank-and-file maegashira wrestler, Kaisei laughed.
“Of course I want to win a championship, but that’s pretty difficult,” he said. “But I guess there is some chance, if I don’t get hurt again. So I’ll try everyday to not get hurt — and to wrestle well.”
Only one wrestler, No. 16 maegashira Daiamami, boasts a 7-1 record after he dispatched No. 14 Nishikigi (3-5).
Osaka native and ozeki Goeido (6-2) got the best in a tough match with former ozeki and No. 3 maegashira Kotoshogiku (2-6). Goeido wrapped up his longtime rival’s torso on the opening collision and gradually worked Kotoshogiku out in their 48th career bout.
After barely scraping out wins in each of his previous two bouts, ozeki Takayasu (6-2) easily shoved out No. 3 maegashira Takakeisho (3-5).
Tochinoshin (6-2) won his sekiwake showdown with Mitakeumi (5-3) despite being beaten on the initial charge that saw Mitakeumi take on the Georgian’s charge, pivot to his left and latch on to Tochinoshin’s right arm.
Tochinoshin started to stumble forward, but kept his feet because Mitakeumi was hanging on to him. Quickly regaining his poise, Tochinoshin used his right arm to lock up Mitakeumi’s left and swing him down for the win.
“I was aware he has changed his style, but I’d never seen him move like that,” Tochinoshin said. “I am really glad to have won.”
Komusubi Ichinojo also stayed two wins off the lead, bouncing back from a lackluster loss on Saturday with a clinical forceout of winless No. 2 maegashira Arawashi.
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