Sumo / Basho Reports

Hakuho, Asanoyama cruise to 5-0 in July Basho

KYODO

All-time championship record holder Hakuho and new ozeki Asanoyama stayed unbeaten at the front of the pack Thursday at the July Grand Sumo Tournament.

The top-billed frontrunners share the lead with three other wrestlers after Day 5 of the relocated tournament at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Yokozuna Hakuho, gunning for a record-extending 45th Emperor's Cup, moved to 5-0 by toppling No. 2 maegashira Onosho in the final bout of the day.

Opening with a powerful shoulder-blast, the Mongolian-born yokozuna secured a left-hand outside belt grip that allowed him to easily down Onosho (0-5) with an overarm throw.

With Kakuryu out with an injury, Hakuho is the only yokozuna competing at the 15-day grand tournament, which is the first in four months following the cancellation of the May meet due to the coronavirus crisis.

In one of the day's most entertaining bouts, Asanoyama fought his way out of trouble against an aggressive and determined No. 3 Kiribayama.

From a strong opening jump, Kiribayama (1-4) took a two-handed belt grip to force the ozeki into a defensive position.

But Asanoyama showed patience and tactical awareness as he used his superior size and strength to hold his ground and wait out his opponent, eventually seizing an opening to muscle him to the edge for a force out.

Sekiwake Mitakeumi stayed unbeaten with an overwhelming push-out victory over No. 1 Endo (1-4).

The Nagano Prefecture native, who is aiming for his third top-level championship, flew out of the blocks and drove his opponent straight off the dohyo.

Highly touted top-division debutant, No. 15 Kotoshoho, extended his impressive unbeaten start to 5-0 by downing No. 12 Shohozan (0-5) with an armlock throw.

No. 10 Myogiryu, who beat No. 13 Kotonowaka (3-2), is the other undefeated rikishi.

Demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki Takakeisho improved to 4-1 with an unconvincing win against No. 3 Takarafuji (2-3).

The 23-year-old powerhouse, who has been hampered by an injured left leg, was unable to generate his usual forward momentum and had his hands full before eventually slapping down Takarafuji.

Sekiwake, Shodai, stayed one win off the pace with a composed performance off the back foot against komusubi Okinoumi.

Okinoumi (3-2) drove Shodai (4-1) back with a two-hand inside grip from the jump, but the sekiwake kept his balance while retreating before toppling his opponent near the straw with a beltless arm throw.

Komusubi Daieisho improved to 3-2 after thrusting down No. 1 Yutakayama (0-5). Following a fierce exchange of blows, Daieisho delivered a decisive shove to the back of the winless maegashira, who has fought opponents from the elite ranks in all five of his bouts so far.

The July tournament has been moved from its traditional location in Nagoya to limit travel during the coronavirus pandemic, with the Ryogoku Kokugikan limited to about a quarter of its capacity to prevent the spread of the virus.

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