FUKUOKA - Rank-and-file wrestler Tochiozan beat ozeki Takayasu and earned his fifth straight win Thursday, taking the spotlight at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament following the withdrawal of yokozuna Kisenosato.
With no remaining yokozuna in competition, Tochiozan shares the lead with komusubi Takakeisho one-third of the way through the 15-day tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Both wrestlers are seeking their first top-division title.
Kisenosato forfeited his scheduled Day 5 bout against No. 2 Tamawashi (3-2). The 32-year-old withdrew prior to the day’s bouts citing a knee injury after posting four-straight opening losses, the most by a yokozuna in 87 years.
In the day’s final bout, Tochiozan and Takayasu, who both entered the match undefeated, struggled to gain the upper hand. The ozeki got the first opportunity by driving Tochiozan to the edge, but the maegashira circled out of harm’s way.
Tochiozan retaliated but Takayasu resisted and forced a standoff in the center of the raised ring. With the pressure mounting, Tochiozan mustered his strength and countered with a mighty underarm throw, heaving Takayasu out to his first loss.
The 31-year-old Tochiozan, a former sekiwake, has already beaten both sekiwake, two of the three ozeki and handed Kisenosato his fourth straight loss on Wednesday.
Takakeisho also remains undefeated after beating sekiwake Ichinojo (1-4).
The Mongolian attempted to use his 227-kg frame to deflect the komusubi’s shoves, but was eventually pushed off balance and out.
In their first top division bout, Nishikigi (1-4) beat ozeki Goeido (2-3) to record his first win of the tournament.
Goeido was looking for an easy push-out win and attempted to drive the No. 3 maegashira back toward the straw. But Nishikigi quickly manufactured an underarm lock, spinning at the edge and throwing the ozeki onto his back.
Top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji (3-2) produced another Day 5 upset by beating ozeki Tochinoshin for the first time in their three top-level meetings.
In the day’s first upper rank match, Kaisei (1-2-2) defeated sekiwake Mitakeumi (2-3). The Brazilian komusubi entered the meet on Day 3 due to a minor leg injury.
Kaisei thwarted Mitakeumi’s initial charge and rebounded at the edge of the straw, driving his lighter opponent out at the opposite side to pick up his first win.