Sumo / Basho Reports

Pack stays on leader's heels

Kyodo

Komusubi Takakeisho took out ozeki Tochinoshin on Monday to remain in sole possession of the lead after nine days of action at the 15-day Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

But despite the quick victory, the Chiganoura stable wrestler doesn’t have much room for error. Because in addition to ozeki Takayasu (7-2), rank-and-file wrestlers No. 9 Daieisho, No. 12 Aoiyama and No. 13 Onosho all earned Day 9 victories to stay within one win of the lead.

In the day’s final bout, Takakeisho (8-1) once again showcased the form that has seen him defeat most of the top-ranked contenders at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

As Tochinoshin (4-5) braced for impact, the 22-year-old komusubi delivered two massive shoves to the powerful Georgian and knocked him straight out of the ring in just over two seconds.

“I feel good. This was a very crucial bout for me. I didn’t want to show any weakness, so it was a big mental battle,” Takakeisho said. “All I can do from now is win one bout at a time.”

Takakeisho’s only loss came against sekiwake Mitakeumi on Day 7. He fights top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji (5-4) on Day 10 in his quest for a maiden makuuchi division title.

Tochinoshin’s colleagues Goeido (6-3) and Takayasu both went ahead in their respective rivalries against No. 5 Chiyotairyu (5-4) and No. 4 Yoshikaze (4-5).

In the penultimate bout lasting less than a second, Goeido immediately shifted and deflected Chiyotairyu’s shove as the maegashira crashed to the clay.

Takayasu, on the other hand, held his ground and issued Yoshikaze a sharp slap before pulling him down.

Meeting in the top division for the first time, Mitakeumi (5-4) was unable to power past No. 3 Ryuden (3-6). After locking up, Mitakeumi attempted to drive his opponent out but Ryuden was able to sidestep around the edge and drive the sekiwake out the other side.

Ichinojo (3-6) faired better and recorded a win against No. 4 Shodai (4-5). The Mongolian sekiwake slapped Shodai’s arms down to get the maegashira off balance, and quickly maneuvered into position to push him backwards over the straw.

Tochiozan (6-3) was beaten by komusubi Kaisei (3-4-2) and suffered his third loss of the tournament. The No. 2 maegashira drove right into the Brazilian’s grip and allowed Kaisei to swing him around and out.

No. 7 Abi missed a chance to stay one off the lead, losing against No. 8 Ikioi (4-5) and falling to 6-3.

Former ozeki and home favorite Kotoshogiku improved to 5-4 with a win against No. 6 Kagayaki. The No. 9 maegashira stumbled after a strong initial charge but recovered his momentum and charged Kagayaki out of the ring.

No. 7 Shohozan, another Fukuoka native, also collected his fifth win by beating No. 10 Sadanoumi (4-5).

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