Rank-and-file grappler Tobizaru produced the biggest upset so far at the November Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday, handing overnight leader and title favorite Takakeisho his first loss.
The No. 4 maegashira, who became a sensation by contending for the title in his top-division debut in September, showed impressive strength and dexterity to outmaneuver the powerful ozeki in the final bout of Day 9 at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The highest-ranked wrestler left in the field, ozeki Takakeisho opened with his customary pushing and thrusting attack, but Tobizaru held his ground despite a roughly 50-kg weight disadvantage.
With Takakeisho looking to drive him out, Tobizaru (3-6) caught the ozeki off balance and slapped him down.
“I’m so glad that I won over an ozeki. It’s like a dream come true,” Tobizaru said.
With both yokozuna, Hakuho and Kakuryu, as well as ozeki Asanoyama and Shodai, out of the 15-day tournament due to injury, the pressure is on 24-year-old Takakeisho to win his second Emperor’s Cup.
The loss saw him drop into a three-way tie for the lead with Takarafuji and Shimanoumi at 8-1. It also handed a lifeline to the winner of the July tournament, Terunofuji (7-2), who suffered his second straight loss on Monday against fellow komusubi Takayasu after finishing the first week undefeated.
In a fierce battle between former ozeki, Takayasu (5-4) took Terunofuji to the edge before the powerfully built Mongolian fought his way back to the middle. Terunofuji resisted Takayasu’s attempt to slap him down but succumbed to a rear push out after being spun around.
No. 6 Takarafuji secured his first winning record in three meets by thrusting down No. 3 Okinoumi (5-4). The Isegahama stablemate of Terunofuji was nearly forced out before he executed the winning move.
“I was in a very dangerous position but I was able to pull off a throw,” Takarafuji said. “By sparring with the likes of Terunofuji, I’ve been able to get stronger.”
No. 17 Shimanoumi secured a winning record by pushing out No. 12 Yutakayama (2-7).
Sekiwake Mitakeumi lost to No. 5 Myogiryu in an upset that may end his hopes of a championship.
Getting the better of the initial clash, Myogiryu (3-6) forced out Mitakeumi (6-3) with relative ease.
Up-and-coming No. 5 Kotoshoho (5-4) showed strong footwork as he upset new sekiwake Takanosho.
Takanosho (4-5) came inside looking for a hold, but 21-year-old Kotoshoho slipped to the side before thrusting him down.
Wildly popular No. 11 Enho ended a nightmare run of eight consecutive losses to start the tournament by beating big Bulgarian No. 8 Aoiyama and improving to 1-8.
The smallest man in the division received an ovation from the crowd after grabbing Aoiyama (3-6) by the leg and forcing him out.
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