FUKUOKA – Kisenosato fell to his fourth straight loss on Wednesday, becoming the first yokozuna to suffer four consecutive losses from the start of a tournament in 87 years.
Kisenosato, the sole yokozuna competing, logged the unwanted record in a loss to rank-and-filer Tochiozan at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
No yokozuna has opened a basho 0-4 since 1931.
The No. 2 maegashira remains one of three undefeated wrestlers in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament after earning his fifth career kinboshi prize for defeating a yokozuna.
Kisenosto put Tochiozan on the defensive from the outset, getting an underarm grip and seesawing him toward the edge of the ring.
But as Kisenosato attempted a final shove, Tochiozan executed a last-ditch underarm throw and sent the yokozuna down on his stomach before stepping out of the ring at nearly the same time. After conferring, however, the referees decided in favor of Tochiozan.
On Day 3, Kisenosato became the first yokozuna in 26 years to start a tournament with an 0-3 record following early losses to komusubi Takakeisho and top-ranked maegashira Myogiryu and Hokutofuji.
Asahifuji was the last yokozuna to post three straight losses at a grand tournament. Following his loss on Day 3 of the 1992 New Year meet, the four-time makuuchi division champion and current Isegahama stablemaster announced his retirement.
The 32-year-old Kisenosato is slated to fight No. 2 Tamawashi on Day 5.
All three ozeki recorded Day 4 victories. In the day’s penultimate bout, Goeido (2-2) ended a two-day losing streak with a win against No. 2 Tamawashi (2-2).
Tamawashi, who has racked up wins against an ozeki and sekiwake so far, lost his balance after the initial charge and provided little challenge for the veteran ozeki.
In their first top division bout, Takayasu earned a quick victory against winless No. 3 Nishikigi. The undefeated ozeki drove Nishikigi back on the initial charge and reeled in the maegashira for a textbook slap-down.
Tochinoshin (3-1) overpowered komusubi Kaisei (0-2-2) to earn his third straight win. The Georgian ozeki immediately got his favored right-handed belt grip and showcased his Herculean strength by lifting the second heaviest man in the division over the straw.
Takakeisho also improved to 4-0 with a convincing win against No. 4 Shodai. The 22-year-old komusubi dug in low and drove his opponent out with a series of inflexible shoves.
The first Chiganoura stable wrestler to attain sanyaku status as a member of one of the three ranks below yokozuna, Takakeisho has posted winning records at the last three tournaments in his quest for a maiden top-division title.
Both sekiwake took losses on Day 4.
Mitakeumi (2-2), still fighting for an ozeki promotion, was defeated by Myogiryu (2-2). Mitakeumi took the No. 1 maegashira to the edge of the straw but Myogiryu recovered, getting hold of the sekiwake’s belt and driving him out for the win.
Ichinojo (1-3) was overpowered by No. 1 Hokutofuji (2-2) despite his 65-kg weight advantage.
The Mongolian sekiwake repelled several charges from his lighter opponent, but was eventually forced out as Hokutofuji delivered a fatal push.
No. 10 Sadanoumi, who entered Day 3 as the only other undefeated rank-and-file wrestler besides Tochiozan, suffered his first loss at the hands of former ozeki and hometown favorite Kotoshogiku (3-1).
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