Yokozuna Kakuryu and sekiwake Tochinoshin each won on Day 5 of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday to retain their share of the lead.
Kakuryu overcame a spirited but short-lived effort from Bulgarian komusubi Aoiyama in the final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan, whileTochinoshin bested top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji in an earlier bout.
The only other top-division wrestler to remain undefeated after five days of action is No. 8 Asanoyama.
In the absence of fellow yokozuna Hakuho, the 33-year-old Kakuryu remains on target for a sixth title following the withdrawal of up-and-comer Takakeisho (right knee injury) and other troubles among the ozeki-ranked fighters.
Challenging that bid is Tochinoshin, who hit the halfway mark toward regaining his ozeki status after beating top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji (1-4). The Georgian can earn a promotion back to the sport’s second-highest rank if earns at least 10 wins in the 15-day competition.
Tochinoshin did a good job of forcing Hokutofuji to the edge of the ring after their initial clash while grappling for his favored grip. After latching onto Hokutofuji’s belt, Tochinoshin outmuscled Hokutofuji as they labored on the straw.
His sekiwake counterpart Ichinojo (2-3), in contrast, took a third loss after getting pushed out by komusubi Mitakeumi (3-2). The 227-kg Mongolian put up little fight against the former sekiwake and allowed himself to be calmly handled out.
The troubles also continued for Goeido (3-2) as he suffered his second upset of the meet, leaving the ring in frustration after a quick defeat against No. 2 Daieisho (3-2). The ozeki was unable to get a hand in edgewise as he was bulldozed out and fell further behind the leaders.
Takayasu, meanwhile, dodged a bullet against No. 3 Chiyotairyu and improved to 3-2. Chiyotairyu got the better of the initial clash and sent the ozeki back in a flurry of thrusts, but Takayasu slipped to the side and pulled the rank-and-filer to the clay for a textbook slap-down win.
Takakeisho, who pulled out of the tournament on Thursday, forfeited his scheduled bout against No. 3 Tamawashi (2-3) and fell to 3-2.
The 22-year-old, who got injured while defeating komusubi Mitakeumi on Wednesday, will be forced to fight in July’s meet in Nagoya as a demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki should he sit out the entire tournament and fail to post eight wins.
Among the lower-ranked wrestlers, Asanoyama defeated No. 10 Kagayaki (1-4) to remain among the top division’s undefeated. The Takasago stable wrestler drove Kagayaki to the ring’s edge before sending him down to the clay with a beltless arm throw.
No. 4 Abi, No. 7 Shodai, No. 15 Kotoeko, and top-division debutant No. 14 Enho all prevailed on Day 5 to remain one win off the pace.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5