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Abi hands Kakuryu second loss in Nagoya

Kyodo

Up-and-coming youngster Abi caused an upset Thursday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament by handing yokozuna Kakuryu his second loss.

In the final bout on Day 5, the 24-year-old No. 3 maegashira exchanged a barrage of blows with the Mongolian-born yokozuna before forcing him out backward. Abi improved to 2-3.

The victory at Dolphins Arena was Abi’s second over a yokozuna in consecutive meets, having beaten Hakuho at May’s Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

“I got good support from the fans today. I don’t like to lose, so I felt really encouraged as they urged me on,” the Saitama native said.

Ozeki Tochinoshin and sekiwake Mitakeumi both maintained perfect records one-third of the way through the 15-day tournament.

Fighting in his first meet since being promoted to sumo’s second-highest rank, Georgian-born Tochinoshin used his grappling skills to overcome veteran No. 1 maegashira Kotoshogiku (1-4).

After an initial false start, the powerful European battled the former ozeki for position from the jump, eventually gaining a belt hold and forcing him out.

Contesting a ninth-straight meet among the three sanyaku ranks below yokozuna, Mitakeumi continued his impressive form by overcoming tenacious komusubi Shohozan.

Shohozan (1-4) was characteristically quick off the mark as he tried to overcome his opponent’s 26-kg weight advantage with a speedy attack, but Mitakeumi easily repelled his advance and shoved him out of the ring with his left arm.