The race for the Emperor’s Cup at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament was thrown wide open again when Takakeisho lost to ozeki Goeido on Friday and fell into a four-way tie for the lead with two days remaining.
A day after securing promotion back to the sport’s second-highest rank and a one-win lead, Takakeisho (10-3) suffered a quick loss at the hands of Goeido (9-4), who went into the match with a 7-3 career advantage over the sekiwake.
In the final bout of Day 13 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, Goeido absorbed Takakeisho’s intial hit and launched himself over the top of the 175-cm sekiwake, grabbing him by the belt while pushing his head down.
Takakeisho is now tied with fellow sekiwake Mitakeumi and a pair of maegashira wrestlers, No. 8 Okinoumi and makuuchi newcomer, No. 14 Tsurugisho.
Only three of the five wrestlers who started the day one win behind Takakeisho prevailed on Day 13. Goeido, No. 2 maegashira Asanoyama, No. 8 Takarafuji, No. 10 Meisei and No. 16 Yutakayama are all two wins back at 9-4 hoping for a chance.
Mitakeumi evened his career record with No. 6 Myogiryu (6-5-2) in a close contest that brought the judges onto the dohyo for deliberation.
The sekiwake delivered a flying push to send Myogiryu over the straw as he crashed to the clay, but the judges ruled the maegashira’s foot made contact before Mitakeumi fell.
Tsurugisho continued his stunning debut by taking Takarafuji out of title contention, clinching double-digit wins in his first top-division tournament and keeping himself in the race for the Emperor’s Cup.
The 28-year-old rookie drove Takarafuji to the edge after a big hit, but after being taken back himself, changed tactics at the edge and swung the veteran down with an underarm throw.
First-half leader No. 8 Okinoumi also picked up his 10th win by defeating No. 13 Kagayaki (5-8). Okinoumi, who had commanded the lead until taking his first loss on Monday, slapped his opponent down after failing to make headway in a shoving match.
Meisei fell down the leaderboard after suffering his fourth loss in a bout against No. 12 Shohozan (8-6), who secured a winning record. After ramming each other around, Shohozan delivered a powerful slap that threw Meisei off balance and caused him to tumble.
In other bouts, Endo earned his first winning record in the sanyaku ranks, the three below yokozuna, with a hard-fought victory over No. 7 Kotoshogiku (5-8).
The komusubi was able to keep both feet on the ground by clinging to Kotoshogiku’s belt as the former ozeki tried desperately to force him out. Endo, however, maneuvered his way into an overarm throw that ended the bout in his favor.
The laconic fan-favorite Endo said his performance here “isn’t that great but I’m hanging in there” with two days to go.
Komusubi Abi (8-5) also secured a winning record, using his big reach to keep No. 6 Shimanoumi (4-9) at arm’s reach and launch him backwards over the straw.
Tochinoshin (6-7) took out No. 5 Ryuden (6-7) and got a much-needed win in his bid to keep his ozeki rank. The Georgian locked onto the maegashira’s belt and muscled him out in a return to form following a pair of questionable calls earlier in the meet.
Tochinoshin must win his remaining matches here in order to avoid demotion to sekiwake.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5