A 7-second bout may have decided the fate of yokozuna Kisenosato, who suffered his third straight loss of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday.
In the penultimate bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Kisenosato was quickly dispatched by Tochiozan (1-2) despite going into the match holding a 26-16 record over the top-ranked maegashira.
The 32-year-old yokozuna attempted an overarm throw against his opponent, but instead found himself at the edge of the straw as Tochiozan swung Kisenosato around and nudged him out.
The loss was Kisenosato’s eighth straight since September, not counting his forfeit on Day 5 of November’s Kyushu tourney, making it the worst run for a yokozuna since the 15-day grand tournament format began in the summer of 1949.
If he competes on Wednesday, Kisenosato will face No. 2 Nishikigi for the first time in the top division.
The majority of the sport’s elites were upset on Day 3, including yokozuna Kakuryu, who suffered his second straight loss.
Kakuryu was quickly driven back by Nishikigi (3-0), with the rank-and-filer coming out on top in a judgment as both wrestlers appeared to fall out of the ring at the same time.
Hakuho, however, earned his third straight win with a hard-fought victory against No. 1 Ichinojo (2-1). The yokozuna was taken to the edge by his compatriot after their initial clash, but circled around to the center of the ring to regain his momentum.
The yokozuna tried to muscle his 226-kg opponent over the straw but Ichinojo held fast. With both wrestlers tiring out, Hakuho showed off his trademark technique and steered Ichinojo out.
Ozeki Takayasu (1-2), who had the flu prior to the tournament, got off to a solid start in his bout against Hokutofuji (3-0), but was turned around when he was momentarily yanked down by the No. 2 maegashira.
Giving little room to maneuver, Hokutofuji closed in on the ozeki and forced him out of the ring to keep a spotless record.
Mitakeumi also remains undefeated after taking down Goeido, who is off to an 0-3 start after withdrawing early at the Kyushu Basho in November.
The komusubi, hoping to bounce back after being demoted after going 7-8 in November, put Goeido on the back foot from the outset, and flipped the ozeki onto his side when Goeido tried to mount a counterattack.
Myogiryu got his first win of the meet after defeating ozeki Tochinoshin, who like Goeido suffered his third straight loss. The Georgian looked prime to bounce back from two opening losses, but was stood upright by the komusubi and pushed out.
In Tuesday’s first upper-ranked bout, Takakeisho won a sekiwake clash with Tamawashi (2-1) to remain undefeated and hand the Mongolian his first loss of the tournament.
With both wrestlers competing at the sport’s third-highest rank for the first time in their careers, Takakeisho got the better of the initial charge and drove Tamawashi toward the edge of the ring before his opponent rebounded with a powerful return shove.
Takakeisho dug in and delivered a flurry of low thrusts that sent Tamawashi over the straw.
Four other lower-ranked wrestlers remain undefeated after three days of action, including No. 5 Aoiyama, No. 6 Onosho, No. 8 Kaisei and No. 15 Chiyonokuni.