FUKUOKA – 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).