Yokozuna Kakuryu earned his third straight win on Tuesday and gained some breathing room as all three ozeki were defeated on Day 3 of the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
The yokozuna survived a scare against top-ranked maegashira Kotoshogiku (1-2), when the former ozeki’s elbow touched down first as Kakuryu’s powerful overarm throw flipped both wrestlers onto their topknots.
Among the upper-ranked fighters, only Kakuryu and sekiwake Tochinoshin remain undefeated after three days of action at Ryogoku Kokugikan as upsets overshadowed the stars at sumo’s second highest rank.
In the penultimate bout, No. 1 Hokutofuji (1-2) rallied against the newly promoted Takakeisho, who was handed his first loss of the meet.
Takakeisho attempted his tried-and-true thrusting charge but was intercepted by a revved-up Hokutofuji, who secured his first victory by driving the new ozeki out the opposite side.
Goeido also took his first loss as No. 2 Endo (1-2) picked up some momentum before his bout on Wednesday against Kakuryu. Endo got the better of a slap exchange and took the ozeki to the edge, denying Goeido an effective belt hold as he nudged him over the straw.
Takayasu (1-2) was the first of the three ozeki to fall, leaving the ring in defeat to komusubi Mitakeumi (2-1). The struggling ozeki was thrust off-balance in a strong initial drive from Mitakeumi, and was slapped down as he tried to charge and regain position.
Tamawashi (1-2) earned his first win of the tournament and pulled ahead in his rivalry with Mongolian compatriot Ichinojo, who fell to 1-2. Tamawashi’s diving assault steamrolled the 227-kilogram sekiwake out of the ring after Ichinojo’s slap-down strategy failed.
Sekiwake Tochinoshin picked up his third straight win in his race to regain ozeki status, defeating winless No. 4 Okinoumi in a test of strength.
The sekiwake was forced to dig in against the maegashira after locking onto his belt, then pivoted Okinoumi around to a pushing battle on the straw, with Tochinoshin exerting his power to come out the victor.
Returning komusubi Aoiyama (1-2) was quickly dispatched by No. 2 Daieisho. The big Bulgarian took the brunt of the initial charge and found himself pedaling backward out of the ring as Daieisho improved to 2-1.