Sumo

Mitakeumi reaches midway point of Nagoya Basho with perfect record

Kyodo

Sekiwake Mitakeumi maintained his perfect record and the sole lead Sunday, the midway point of the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

Mitakeumi (8-0) defeated No. 2 maegashira Chiyonokuni (4-4) in the tournament at Dolphins Arena with all three yokozuna out of action. Chiyonokuni forced the fan-favorite sekiwake toward the edge and tried to slap him down.

However, Mitakeumi, who has never lost to Chiyonokuni, wrapped his arms around him and forced him out.

“I’m relieved, but I was calm during the bout,” Mitakeumi said. “I’m focused on winning each bout rather than concentrating on winning the championship. I think the key is to sleep well and eat a lot.”

The next step in Mitakeumi’s pursuit of a first career championship will be No. 5 Daishomaru (3-5). The two wrestlers have split their two career bouts against each other.

Goeido and Takayasu, the two ozeki remaining following Tochinoshin’s withdrawal, each won on Sunday.

Goeido (5-3), who made his ozeki debut in September 2014, threw down No. 4 Kaisei (5-3). Takayasu (6-2) charged No. 4 Kagayaki (3-5) toward the edge and shoved him by the throat en route to winning their first career matchup.

Three wrestlers — No. 13 maegashira Asanoyama, and both sixth-ranked maegashira, Endo and Chiyotairyu — started the day one win behind Mitakeumi, but only two managed to keep pace.

Asanoyama (7-1) worked Bulgarian No. 11 Aoiyama (3-5) towards the ridge and, with a firm left-handed grip on his belt, calmly sent him out of the dohyo, overcoming his 27-kilogram weight disadvantage.

Fan-favorite Endo (7-1) beat No. 9 Myogiryu (5-3) in a redo after their bout ended with the two wrestlers stepping out of the ring at the same time. Endo was being bulldozed out toward the edge, but resisted and instead forced Myogiryu out.

Chiyotairyu (6-2) fell to No. 9 Yutakayama (5-3). Yutakayama chased the former komusubi around the ring and pushed him out, meeting only minimal resistance.

Sekiwake Ichinojo suffered his fifth loss. The 225-kg Mongolian tried to hold onto No. 3 Takakeisho’s mawashi, but the maegashira blocked and twisted him down. Takakeisho improved to 5-3.