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Mitakeumi bounces back, moves closer to first title

Kyodo

Sekiwake Mitakeumi beat Goeido at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday to move within one win of his first top-level title.

Mitakeumi (12-1) holds the sole lead after the 13th day of the 15-day meet at Dolphins Arena, with two wrestlers sitting two wins back. The sekiwake will secure his first makuuchi division championship if he wins Saturday’s bout against No. 13 Tochiozan (9-4).

A day after suffering his first defeat of the meet to Takayasu, Mitakeumi avoided consecutive losses to ozeki by pushing out Goeido (9-4) from behind.

“I wrestled well today. My body reacted to (Goeido’s) charge,” Mitakeumi commented. “It’s a competition of course, so there are days we win and days we lose. I think I did a good job shifting from yesterday’s loss.

“It’s a lie if I say I don’t feel pressured, but I want to do my best so I can finish the tournament without regret. I know I can win if I wrestle like I always do.”

In the day’s penultimate bout, Takayasu (9-4) beat Endo (8-5) to split their 14 career bouts against each other. Takayasu, who made his ozeki debut at this tournament last year, held onto Endo’s belt with his right hand and bulldozed the No. 6 maegashira out for a quick victory.

Four wrestlers started the day two wins behind Mitakeumi, but only two — No. 9 Yutakayama and No. 13 Asanoyama — managed to improve to 10-3.

Yutakayama had a difficult bout against No. 13 Tochiozan (9-4). He resisted a last-minute slap while shoving out the maegashira, stepping out of the ring a second after his opponent.

Asanoyama was pushed back on the initial charge by No. 9 Myogiryu (8-5), but quickly regained his strength and forced him out of the straw for his 10th win.

Sekiwake Ichinojo (6-7) needs to prevail in his final two bouts to secure a winning record after losing to No. 6 Chiyotairyu (8-5). The maegashira shoved the 225-kg Mongolian toward the edge of the ring and pushed him out as the sekiwake appeared to give up.

The tournament is being held without the three yokozuna and newly promoted ozeki Tochinoshin, all of whom are missing due to injury.