Sumo / Basho Reports

Kisenosato improves to 8-2

Kyodo

Yokozuna Kisenosato continued his comeback run at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday, earning his first winning record since March 2017 when he clinched a second-straight top division championship.

Before fellow yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu closed out Day 10 of the 15-day tournament with their 10th consecutive wins, Kisenosato felt the pressure pile up from three false starts against No. 3 maegashira Endo at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

But when the action finally started, Kisenosato (8-2) wasted little time forcing his opponent from the ring. The 32-year-old yokozuna remains two wins off the lead following a pair of upsets and a string of hard-fought victories.

Endo (1-9), a fan favorite who has won four kimboshi prizes for beating a grand champion, had beaten Kisenosato three times in seven previous matchups but has only posted one win here so far.

In the day’s final bout, sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-4) had Kakuryu on the ropes, but yielded position and allowed the yokozuna to steamroll him out of the opposite side of the ring.

Hakuho survived a scare against 227-kg sekiwake Ichinojo (3-7) and bested his fellow Mongolian to also remain undefeated.

Among other upper-ranked wrestlers, rival ozeki Goeido and Takayasu battled to stay in contention, with each wrestler coming into their 29th bout together one win off the lead.

Takayasu got a left-handed belt grab on his opponent after blocking a powerful initial charge, but Goeido lost his footing trying to stretch away from Takayasu and was twisted down the clay.

Takayasu (9-1) improved to 19-10 against his counterpart and remains a win shy of the leaders, while Goeido fell to 8-2. Takayasu will challenge Hakuho on Wednesday.

Ozeki Tochinoshin (6-4) used his brute strength to overpower top-ranked maegashira Kaisei (4-6), the second-heaviest man in the division.

Both wrestlers locked into their favored belt holds, but the Georgian, fighting with a taped right foot, turned on the afterburners and drove the Brazilian out.

Tochinoshin is competing as a demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki and needs at least two more wins to maintain his status at the next grand tournament.

Komusubi duo Takakeisho (4-6) and Tamawashi (2-8) each won their respective bouts against No. 2 Yutakayama (1-7-2) and No. 1 Ikioi (1-9).

It was only Tamawashi’s second match against a rank-and-file wrestler at the tournament. His only other win came on Day 8 in an upset against Kisenosato.

In the lower ranks, No. 13 Ryuden dropped to 8-2 after being toppled by a desperate push from No. 16 Ishiura (3-7), who is in danger of relegation to the second division.

Ryuden had been the only rank-and-filer one win off the pace but is now tied with No. 13 Takanoiwa, who also earned a winning record, along with Kisenosato and Goeido.

Takanoiwa, who suffered a concussion in an after-hours assault by fellow Mongolian Harumafuji last October, prompting the yokozuna’s retirement, returned to the top division after winning his second juryo division championship in a playoff at the July meet in Nagoya.