Terunofuji remains the only undefeated ozeki through two days of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament following upset losses Monday by the other three wrestlers at the sport’s second-highest rank.
Asanoyama and Shodai fell to rank-and-file opponents, while Takakeisho lost to komusubi Mitakeumi in the final bout of Day 2 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, where the meet has kicked off behind closed doors due to the coronavirus state of emergency.
Terunofuji overcame No. 1 maegashira Hokutofuji to stay unbeaten since being promoted back to ozeki following his victory at the March tourney.
Hokutofuji (0-2) landed several hard hits before succumbing to a rear pushout by Terunofuji, who became the first-ever wrestler to regain ozeki status after dropping as low as the fifth-tier jonidan division in March 2019.
Two-time Emperor’s Cup winner Mitakeumi (2-0) withstood an early barrage from Takakeisho (1-1) before earning the win by front push down. The rivals now have 10 wins apiece from their 20 top-division meetings.
“I feel good beating an ozeki,” Mitakeumi said. “I kept my head up and was able to move forward. I want to make sure that I keep my mind focused.”
Asanoyama was outmaneuvered by No. 2 Meisei (1-1), who appeared to have done his homework on his opponent. Anticipating Asanoyama’s strong opening hit, he secured an underarm grip that he used to wrench the ozeki off balance at the edge and push him out.
“I was able to respond well. It was mostly a spontaneous reaction,” Meisei said.
Shodai (1-1), who is competing as a demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki, was overpowered by fast-rising No. 1 Wakatakakage (1-1). The maegashira flew out of the blocks and kept Shodai off balance on his way to a force-out victory.
“I feel like my body is moving well. I’ll do my best to keep showing my style of sumo,” Wakatakakage said.
The four ozeki are sharing top billing at the 15-day tournament in the absence of injured yokozuna Hakuho.
Sekiwake Takayasu, who was a frontrunner for the title in March, had to dig deep for his win by front thrust down against No. 3 Chiyonokuni.
Takayasu (2-0) had the early momentum but could not get Chiyonokuni (0-2) over the edge before eventually knocking him to the clay.
Sekiwake Takanosho took his first loss of the meet against No. 2 Tobizaru, who has now won three straight meetings between the pair. After an exchange of blows, Takanosho tried to pull down Tobizaru (1-1), who kept his balance and pushed out the sekiwake.
Komusubi Daieisho (1-1) earned his first win, crushing out No. 4 Kiribayama (0-2).
The current grand tournament is the second to open without spectators following last year’s March meet in Osaka, where it was held entirely behind closed doors due to the virus.
This year’s New Year and March tournaments were also held at Ryogoku Kokugikan under a state of emergency, but with admission capped at 5,000 spectators per day in line with government guidelines.
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