Rank-and-filer Shodai suffered his first defeat and relinquished his sole lead at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.
No. 4 maegashira Shodai lost to struggling ozeki Goeido (3-4) in the day’s penultimate bout at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan and fell into a five-way tie at 6-1. The 15-day tournament is missing yokozuna Hakuho and Kakuryu, who withdrew in the opening days of the competition with injuries.
Shodai started out convincingly, pushing the veteran ozeki toward the edge of the ring. Goeido, however, dodged that bullet. As he escaped to his left, Goeido grabbed Shodai by the arm in an attempt to swing him over the straw bales, but the No. 4 maegashira stayed on his feet until the moment of truth came.
With Goeido’s heels against the straw, Shodai attempted to topple him over with an off-balance left-handed shove, but the ozeki leaned back out of the way. Shodai missed, and his momentum carried him past his opponent, facing out of the ring with Goeido behind him. The ozeki then sealed the win with little more than a tap.
Despite his fortunate win, Goeido is still in danger of losing his place in the sport’s second-highest rank. Having withdrawn from the previous meet in November with a left ankle injury, he needs to win eight bouts here to keep his rank at the next tournament in March.
In the day’s final match, ozeki Takakeisho (6-1) easily defeated komusubi Abi (3-4) to earn a share of the lead as he continues his pursuit for his second Emperor’s Cup.
Takakeisho had two straight winning records after skipping the July meet with a right knee injury. He finished the September tournament 12-3, but lost to Mitakeumi in the championship playoff.
Sekiwake Takayasu defeated No. 1 Myogiryu (2-5) for his third win in his campaign to gain re-promotion to ozeki. While the bout started slow, Takayasu soon found an opportunity to seize control.
He grabbed Myogiryu’s belt with both hands and lifted him up before giving a final push. Takayasu needs to win at least seven more bouts to return as ozeki.
Meanwhile, komusubi Daieisho’s struggles continued, falling to his fifth defeat in his first tournament in the three sanyaku ranks below yokozuna. Following a slap fest in the middle of the ring, No. 2 Mitakeumi (4-3) wrapped his arms around the young komusubi before quickly taking him out.
Among the five rank-and-filers who started the day at 5-1, only three managed to win their respective bouts.
Top-ranked maegashira Endo (6-1) had an easy win over No. 3 Tamawashi (2-5), the winner of last year’s New Year meet.
No. 14 Terutsuyoshi and No. 17 Tokushoryu claimed their sixth wins by beating No. 17 Kiribayama (3-4) and No. 13 Kotoeko (2-5), respectively.
In the day’s shortest bout, former ozeki Tochinoshin (3-4) quickly dispatched Takarafuji (2-5) in a bout between the No. 6 wrestlers. At the initial charge, Tochinoshin shifted to the left and slapped down the 168-kg Takarafuji in half a second.
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