Yokozuna Kakuryu rebounded from his first loss at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a smooth victory on Monday, while sekiwake Tochinoshin found himself granted a win following a rare second withdrawal by new ozeki Takakeisho.
The two upper-ranked fighters remain tied for the lead with No. 8 maegashira Asanoyama as all three wrestlers secured winning records on Day 9 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
In the final bout of the day, Kakuryu squared off against No. 4 Okinoumi (2-7) and didn’t expect much of a challenge, having amassed a 70 percent win ratio against his challenger.
After Kakuryu pinned down Okinoumi’s left arm on his initial charge, all the Mongolian yokozuna had to do was steer the helpless maegashira out of the ring.
Tochinoshin got some mid-tournament luck and won his scheduled match with Takakeisho (3-4-2) by forfeit after the ozeki pulled out of the meet for a second time due to an aggravated right knee injury.
The Georgian had been facing a potentially tough bout, having only beaten Takakeisho once in seven matches at the top level. The recently demoted sekiwake needs just two more wins over the next six days to regain ozeki status.
With Takakeisho’s stablemaster saying his young grappler will be sidelined until July’s grand tournament at the earliest, Takakeisho will be forced to fight as a kadoban ozeki, needing a winning record in Nagoya to avoid demotion from sumo’s second-highest rank.
Among the other two ozeki, Goeido and Takayasu continued their rebound streaks and improved to 6-3.
Goeido was momentarily pushed back by No. 4 Abi (6-3), but deftly broke the maegashira’s shove and pulled him down to the clay by his arms for a quick win.
Takayasu, on the other hand, was made to work for his third straight win. The ozeki was put into an awkward stance and forced to lock up with No. 5 Myogiryu (3-6) as both wrestlers searched for a hold.
After Myogiryu rallied and fended off Takayasu’s attempt to fling him around, the back-and-forth contest eventually ended in favor of Takayasu as he pounced on a chance to push Myogiryu out.
Asanoyama was the first man in the top division to secure a winning record after he defeated No. 5 Ryuden (6-3).
Asanoyama looked primed for a slap-down win but was forced to mount a second attack after his opponent rallied back. Ryuden tried to circle around for an overarm throw but was forced out as Asanoyama retained his portion of the lead.
In other matches, komusubi Mitakeumi (6-3) wasted little time picking up his win on Day 9, getting in low against rival and top-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji (3-6) and bulldozing him out to a sixth loss.
A day after upsetting Takakeisho, Aoiyama (3-6) earned his second straight win after quickly dispatching No. 1 maegashira Kotoshogiku (3-6). The returning komusubi held his ground against the former ozeki, using his massive arms to thrust Kotoshogiku over the straw.
Among other lower-ranked wrestlers, top-division debutant Enho and No. 15 Kotoeko each improved to 7-2 to stay in contention for the Emperor’s Cup.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5