FUKUOKA - Takakeisho improved to 7-1 to take over sole possession of the lead at the midway point of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday in Fukuoka.
The 22-year-old komusubi, who entered the day in a three-way tie for the lead at 6-1, didn’t have time to work up a sweat in an easy win over former sekiwake Myogiryu.
The two other men who shared the lead after seven days at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, No. 9 maegashira Daiesho and No. 13 Onosho each suffered his second defeat.
Onosho was forced out by No. 15 Meisei (5-3), while Daiesho fell to his nemesis, Okinoumi (5-3). The loss was Daiesho’s seventh in 10 career bouts against the No. 11 maegashira.
Takakeisho used a subtle move to beat Myogiryu (4-4) for the fourth time in four career bouts. The 32-year-old veteran moved forward carefully and was met by the 22-year-old Takakeisho at in the middle of the ring.
When Myogiryu tried to wrap up Takakeisho’s upper body, the youngster quickly swatted his opponent’s arms way and stepped back with his right foot to get on the maegashira’s right flank.
Although Myogiryu was not moving forward quickly, the slightest of shoves to his back from Takakeisho sent him stumbling from the ring in 1.2 seconds.
With no yokozuna competing following Kisenosato’s withdrawal on Thursday, the field is wide open for an unexpected finish as the tournament heads into its final week.
At that point a different sort of drama may unfold as Kisenosato’s future will be discussed when the Japan Sumo Association’s advisory panel, the yokozuna council, meets the following day in Fukuoka — instead of in Tokyo as is customary.
Ozeki Takayasu remained one win off the pace at 6-2 in his quest for a first makuuchi division championship. He knocked No. 4 maegashira Shodai backward with his charge and easily shoved him out to his fourth defeat.
No. 2 Tochiozan, who opened the tournament with five straight wins, remained one win back with a victory over No. 2 Tamawashi (4-4).
Takayasu’s ozeki rivals, Goeido and Tochinoshin both won, to improve to 5-3, and 4-4, respectively. Tochinoshin seized the early advantage against No. 3 maegashira Ryuden, but the power he displayed earlier in the year was nowhere to be seen.
The Georgian, who won the year’s first grand tournament and won 37 bouts over this year’s first three tournaments, often hoisting opponents off their feet, was strong enough only to outlast his opponent in the day’s longest bout at 46 seconds.
Mitakeumi (5-3) won his third straight bout, shoving out massive Mongolian and rival sekiwake Ichinojo, who suffered his sixth loss.