NAGOYA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu each clinched a winning record on Sunday and remained the only undefeated wrestlers at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho dodged a bullet against No. 3 maegashira Shodai (4-4) in the final bout on Day 8 of the 15-day meet at Dolphins Arena to remain on track for a record-extending 43rd top-division championship.
Shodai sidestepped Hakuho’s heavy charge and tried to yank him down by the arms, but Hakuho stayed on his feet to rally and pull the maegashira down to the clay.
Kakuryu, seeking a sixth makuuchi-division championship, had an easier time against No. 3 Daieisho (3-5). The yokozuna brushed aside a stiff-arm to the neck from the maegashira and effortlessly slapped him down.
Takayasu, the last ozeki competing in the tournament, pulled ahead in a 25-bout rivalry with struggling sekiwake Tamawashi (1-7) to remain the only wrestler one win off the pace.
After fending off some hard shoves and slaps from his vigilant opponent, Takayasu held his ground and was able to bring Tamawashi down. The win may have come at a cost, however, as immediately afterward he seemed concerned about his left forearm.
The ozeki could be seen icing the arm after his bout but did not discuss any possible injury. An official from his Tagonoura stable said a decision about his wrestling on Monday would be made in the morning.
Goeido (3-5) was scheduled to have his first top-division bout with No. 4 Meisei (2-6), but forfeited the match after pulling out of the tournament with a right shoulder injury, giving the maegashira a much-needed win. Goeido is the third ozeki to pull out, joining Takakeisho and Tochinoshin.
The 33-year-old Goeido had slumped to a 3-4 record after suffering his second straight loss on Saturday. His stablemaster Sakaigawa said Goeido had told him he is “tired and has no strength.”
“His right shoulder has been bad since around the time of the last tournament and has been inflamed for a while now, so he can’t compete” Sakaigawa said.
“He’s had no time to focus on treatment. Even in practice he was putting up with pain and making strange movements. He’s been trying to ignore it but now he’ll concentrate on getting better.”
It is the ninth time Goeido has withdrawn from a grand tournament and first time since last year’s meet in Kyushu.
Mitakeumi got the better of No. 4 Ichinojo (5-3) and improved to 6-2 to stay within reach of the Emperor’s Cup. The sekiwake maneuvered into a solid hold under Ichinojo’s armpits, set him upright and bulldozed the 227-kg Mongolian out of the ring.
The two new komusubi fought it out, with Abi (3-5) taking advantage of a misstep from Ryuden (3-5). Ryuden put Abi on the defensive with a strong initial charge, but Abi backed away to the side while pulling on Ryuden’s arm to get his opponent off balance and send him over the straw.
Three rank-and-file wrestlers also boast 6-2 records after eight days of action: No. 7 Tomokaze, No. 7 Myogiryu and No. 16 Terutsuyoshi.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5