• Kyodo

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Yokozuna Kakuryu’s awkward win kept him atop the standings with Brazilian maegashira Kaisei on Monday, the ninth day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

The yokozuna was nearly blown out of the ring by a powerful but uncontrolled final charge from No. 4 maegashira Shodai (5-4), but Kakuryu made his escape tip-toeing along the ring’s straw-bale border as Shodai thundered out.

The Mongolian could barely control his smile after snatching victory from defeat. He had opened brightly, but Shodai repulsed his charge and seized the initiative. Everything was going the youngster’s way until his failed attempt to seal the win.

Kakuryu, unbeaten at 9-0, is the lone grand champion at the 15-day competition at Edion Arena Osaka following withdrawals by Hakuho and Kisenosato.

No. 6 Kaisei, the only other unbeaten wrestler here, was offered an easy victory when No. 9 Ryuden leaned in to his left to try and secure an underarm hold on his opponent’s belt, leaving his own exposed to Kaisei’s big right hand.

The Brazilian latched onto his opponent and nearly lifted him off the ground before dragging Ryuden hopping on his right leg over the straw to his sixth defeat.

Boos were heard when ringside judges overruled an apparent win by Osaka native Goeido (6-3), who tapped his toe out while trying to balance atop the straw bales before rotund No. 5 maegashira Chiyomaru (4-5) crashed out.

The other ozeki, Takayasu, however, had no trouble earning his seventh win. As Chiyotairyu (1-8) charged forward low, Takayasu stepped to one side and helped the 197-kg komusubi plow into the sandy surface.

January champion Tochinoshin (7-2) rocked Shohozan (5-4) back with a left forearm to the throat that stopped the quick No. 4 maegashira from pulling any tricks. Shoved back on his heels, Shohozan was defenseless as the Georgian sekiwake wrapped him up with both arms and easily forced him out.

Komusubi Ichinojo remained two wins back of the lead with an easy win when No. 3 maegashira Takakeisho (3-6) limped backward out of the ring.

No. 15 maegashira Daiamami joined the crowd of wrestlers with two losses, after coming off second best on the initial charge with No. 13 Asanoyama (5-4) and getting shoved out.

Popular former ozeki Kotoshogiku (3-6) turned back the clock to beat Mitakeumi after the sekiwake was slow getting off his mark. The 34-year-old Kotoshogiku, currently a No. 3 maegashira, wrapped up his larger opponent’s arms, and shoved Mitakeumi around the ring before twisting him down to a fourth loss.

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