Basho Reports

Hakuho and Asanoyama remain flawless in two-way tie at July meet

The tournament's lone remaining yokozuna and the first-time ozeki stayed unbeaten as sekiwake Mitakeumi lost his share of the lead with his first defeat.

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho and new ozeki Asanoyama cruised to their eighth straight wins at the July Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday to sit in a two-way tie for the lead after sekiwake Mitakeumi suffered his first defeat.

Hakuho fended off a spirited attack from No. 4 maegashira Kagayaki (3-5) in the final bout of Day 8 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan before slapping the rank-and-filer down to the clay.

Asanoyama collected his eighth win by beating No. 4 Aoiyama (3-5). The Bulgarian initially put up a fight but was quickly subdued after Asanoyama latched onto his belt and calmly drove him out.

Shodai (7-1) prevailed in a sekiwake showdown with Mitakeumi and handed the overnight co-leader his first loss of the tournament. Mitakeumi tried to shove his opponent back with a strong initial charge, but Shodai raised Mitakeumi up by his right arm and then thrust his opponent down when he was off balance.

In other bouts, Takakeisho (5-3) was quickly slapped down by No. 5 Hokutofuji (5-3). The demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki’s initial shove missed the mark as Hokutofuji slipped to the side and smacked him to the ground.

Komusubi Okinoumi (4-4) ended a three-match losing streak by defeating No. 1 Endo (2-6). Okinoumi kept Endo from getting a hold on his belt and shoved him over the straw.

The other komusubi, Daieisho, also improved to 5-3 with a rear push-out victory over No. 2 Onosho (0-8), who faces demotion in September’s grand tournament after falling to a losing record.

Of the four wrestlers who entered Day 8 with a 6-1 record, only Shodai and No. 17 Terunofuji were able to stay one win off the pace. Terunofuji, a former ozeki, muscled out No. 16 Nishikigi (2-6) to kick off the day’s elite-division bouts.

Makuuchi division newcomer, No. 15 Kotoshoho, and No. 10 Myogiryu fell further out of contention after losing to No. 12 Sadanoumi (4-4) and No. 15 Chiyomaru (2-6), respectively.

No. 14 Kotoshogiku (6-2) defeated No. 8 Chiyotairyu (3-5) and earned his 714th top-division win. The former ozeki is now tied for sixth all-time with retired yokozuna Kisenosato.

Earlier on Sunday, the Japan Sumo Association revealed that No. 5 Abi, who was pulled out of the meet on Day 7 after dining out in Tokyo and violating the JSA’s regulations, underwent an antigen test for the novel coronavirus and returned a negative result.

Wrestlers have been ordered to refrain from going out during the 15-day tournament, which was shifted from its traditional Nagoya location to Tokyo to reduce the added risk of infection that comes with travel.

No. 13 Kotonowaka (4-4) also withdrew on Sunday, becoming the third top-tier wrestler to leave the meet after yokozuna Kakuryu pulled out with right elbow pain on Day 2.

Kotonowaka’s stablemaster said the 22-year-old may return to the tournament — his second contested in the sport’s highest division — should he recover from a left knee injury sustained when he was thrust down by No. 10 Kaisei on Day 7.

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