FUKUOKA – Komusubi Takakeisho set himself up to seal his first championship by earning his 12th win on Friday, the 13th day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
The 22-year-old owned most of his bout against 197-kg Bulgarian Aoiyama, seizing the initiative early before winning when the No. 12 maegashira’s heavily taped right knee buckled. With the defeat, the 32-year-old was knocked from championship contention with his fourth loss.
Takakeisho (12-1) can now wrap up the championship with a win over Takayasu on Saturday. The ozeki, who remained one win off the lead by beating Daieisho, holds a 4-2 record against Takakeisho.
A win by Takayasu will see them enter Day 15 with identical 12-2 records.
Takayasu had the No. 9 maegashira off balance from the start with a blow to the throat. Daieisho, who suffered his fourth loss, quickly found the ozeki on his flank. Takayasu twice tried to slap him down, but the maegashira was able to stagger away before finally stumbling backward out of the ring.
Ozeki Tochinoshin (7-6), whose form here has been a shadow of the dominance he showed in the year’s first three tournaments, caught a break when Takanoiwa’s legs gave out. The 150-kg No. 6 maegashira was trying to get leverage underneath the 175-kg Georgian to shove him out, but his feet lost traction and the Mongolian collapsed under Tochinoshin’s bulk. The loss left the 28-year-old Takanoiwa with a 6-7 mark.
Sekiwake Mitakeumi’s progress toward the ozeki rankings suffered a setback with his seventh defeat as he lost a wild skirmish with No. 5 maegashira Chiyotairyu (6-7). The two took turns charging and dodging each other. Chiyotairyu charged and missed but was able to put on the brakes. When Mitakeumi lowered his head to ram Chioytairyu from the ring, the maegashira stepped aside and slapped his out-of-control opponent down.
No. 9 maegashira Kotoshogiku made a great escape to secure his eighth win and all but quash 22-year-old Onosho’s title aspirations with a fourth defeat. Kotoshogiku, a 34-year-old former ozeki, was forced back onto the straw bales, but bounced back. The Fukuoka native pushed the No. 13 Onosho back a step, wrapped up his opponent’s arms, marched him to the straw and rammed him out of the ring with a series of belly thrusts.
No. 11 Okinoumi avoided his fourth loss by overturning No. 7 Shohozan (8-5) with a slick beltless arm throw.
No. 15 maegashira Meisei, competing in the makuuchi division for the second time, earned his first winning record in the top flight with a triumph over fellow 24-year-old No. 7 Abi (6-7). Popular No. 12 Endo secured his first winning record since July by pushing out No. 6 Kagayaki (4-9).
Each No. 2 maegashira earned his eighth win. Tochiozan marked his fourth straight tournament with a winning record by beating No. 5 Asanoyama (5-8), while Tamawashi handed top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji his eighth loss.