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Tochinoshin grabs sole lead as Hakuho takes first loss

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho relinquished his perfect record Friday in a shock loss to second-ranked maegashira Abi on Day 6 of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

With Hakuho apparently looking for a belt hold, the 24-year-old Abi drove his head and shoulder into the all-time championship record-holder’s chest, driving him backward out of the ring in just 2.9 seconds.

“That was good sumo,” Hakuho said of his opponent, who has posted 10-5 records in both of his career makuuchi division tournaments.

The surprise result leaves New Year Grand Tournament winner Tochinoshin as the only unbeaten wrestler in the ongoing 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Sekiwake Tochinoshin himself came within an inch of his first loss before turning the tables against No. 3 Yutakayama. The powerful Georgian struggled to gain his footing from the outset and was driven back by his stocky opponent to the edge of the ring. Tochinoshin planted one foot on the straw, however, before throwing Yutakayama down.

Yokozuna Kakuryu (5-1) quickly slapped down No. 3 maegashira Daeisho, who never looked a threat to cause an upset that would have given him his first win of the meet.

Ozeki Goeido continued his forgettable tournament, dropping to 3-3 with a loss to No. 4 Chiyotairyu. The pair shoved and slapped each other after the opening clash, but it was the lower-ranked wrestler who secured the win by pushdown to improve to 4-2.

Giant sekiwake Ichinojo (4-2) tasted defeat for the second straight day, losing to No. 1 Tamawashi. As the two Mongolians collided, Tamawashi (2-4) gained the stronger leverage to push out his 225-kg opponent.

Second-ranked maegashira Shodai lost his unbeaten record at the hands of No. 1 Kaisei. The pair tried driving each other back after the opening clash, but it was the 204-kg Brazilian who had the momentum, quickly bulldozing former sekiwake Shodai over the straw.

“At the end, he was able to get a belt grip, but I was able to push him out with my belly,” Kaisei said. “It’s a good thing to be big.”

Kaisei, who remained in contention until late at March’s Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, got his first win of the current meet and remained unbeaten in six bouts against Shodai.

In the komusubi clash, Mitakeumi (4-2) prevailed over Endo (3-3) in a brief but entertaining bout. After a flurry of blows in the center of the ring, the former sekiwake got a hand to his opponent’s belt and threw him to the ground.