Sumo

Mitakeumi takes another step toward title

Kyodo

Sekiwake Mitakeumi earned his 11th straight victory, retaining his two-win lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday.

Mitakeumi claimed a solid win on Day 11 against No. 4 maegashira Kaisei (7-4), who had won all of their four previous match-ups. The undefeated sekiwake was pushed to his opponent’s right on the initial charge but quickly regained the upper hand and forced the Brazilian over the straw.

The 25-year-old Mitakeumi, who regained his former sekiwake status after going 9-6 as a komusubi at May’s Summer tourney, is closing in on his first top division title at the 15-day meet at Dolphins Arena.

In the day’s final bouts, ozeki Goeido (8-3) earned a winning record after three straight losses, beating No. 5 Daishomaru (3-8), while Takayasu (7-4) was unable to overpower 225-kg sekiwake Ichinojo (5-6).

Both Goeido and Takayasu entered the tournament as “kadoban” ozeki, needing eight wins to maintain their rank at the next grand tournament in September. Takayasu faces Mitakeumi on Day 12, and has won nine of their 12 meetings.

Komusubi Tamawashi (6-5) suffered his fifth loss after being pulled down by No. 2 Ikioi (6-5). The pair were forced to fight a rematch after both fell out of the ring at the same time in their first bout.

Shohozan (3-8) got a much-needed win and improved to 7-1 against Chiyonokuni (6-5) when the komusubi got a solid belt grip and threw the No. 2 maegashira to the clay.

But with only four days remaining, Shohozan will likely lose the komusubi rank he regained for the first time since 2014 after going 8-7 at this year’s Summer tournament, where he defeated yokozuna Kakuryu and also earned the Outstanding Performance Award.

Among the rank-and-file maegashira, No. 13s Asanoyama and Tochiozan each secured his ninth win to remain the only wrestlers tied for second place, two wins off the pace.

Asanoyama forced out No. 10 Nishikigi (5-6), and is now one win away from tying his previous best record set in his makuuchi debut last September. Tochiozan, a former sekiwake who has yet to win a top division championship, bested No. 6 Chiyotairyu (7-4).

After two straight losses, fan-favorite Endo (8-3) was able to secure a winning record with a victory over No. 3 Takakeisho (7-4). After being driven to the straw, the No. 6 maegashira side-stepped to avoid a fatal charge from Takakeisho and slapped his opponent down.

No. 9 Yutakayama and No. 16 Hokutofuji also earned winning records.

Prior to the day’s bouts, top-ranked maegashira Kotoshogiku withdrew from the tournament after suffering a tendon injury in his left elbow when he was thrown out of the ring by komusubi Tamawashi in their match on Day 10.

The 34-year-old former ozeki was diagnosed with having damaged a tendon attached to his left triceps and will require up to three weeks of rest and treatment.

His withdrawal, the fifth in the top division following all three grand champions and new ozeki Tochinoshin, has ensured Kotoshogiku a losing record for the tournament and a likely demotion to a lower rank.