Ozeki Terunofuji quickly overpowered sekiwake Takanosho on Saturday to finish the first week of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 7-0 record.
The sole overnight leader remained the only undefeated wrestler through seven days at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, where entry is capped at 5,000 fans per day under the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency.
Gunning for his second consecutive Emperor’s Cup, Terunofuji continued his imposing run at the 15-day meet by dispatching Takanosho (3-4) with a slap down.
The 29-year-old Mongolian maintained his composure and momentum after Takanosho fended off his opening attempt at a belt grip and wrenched the sekiwake to the clay.
Terunofuji has now won 12 straight bouts, since Day 11 of March’s Spring tourney.
One of four ozeki sharing top billing in the absence of injured grand champion Hakuho, Terunofuji has stood head and shoulders above the other wrestlers at sumo’s second-highest rank in the first week of competition.
Winning a fourth top-level championship here would continue a remarkable comeback story for the powerfully built grappler, whose victory in March clinched his promotion back to ozeki.
He previously held the rank in September 2017, before debilitating injuries to both knees saw him plummet as low as the fifth-tier jonidan division.
Ozeki Takakeisho (6-1) stayed one win off the pace and kept up his pursuit of a third Emperor’s Cup by fending off fast-rising No. 5 Hoshoryu (2-5). The pusher-thruster stopped the 21-year-old nephew of Mongolian great Asashoryu in his tracks and slapped him to the clay.
Demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki Shodai (5-2) moved one win closer to the eight victories he needs to keep his rank, manhandling No. 4 Kiribayama (2-5) in the day’s final bout.
Gaining the upper hand from the opening clash, Shodai kept moving forward on his way to victory by force out.
Ozeki Asanoyama (4-3) rebounded from his Day 6 loss to Kiribayama with an impressively executed beltless arm throw against No. 4 Myogiryu (2-5). The win was the most convincing of the meet so far for Asanoyama, who has yet to string together more than two victories in a row.
After starting the day one win behind Terunofuji, sekiwake Takayasu (5-2) dropped off the pace with a loss to No. 1 Hokutofuji (1-6). Former komusubi Hokutofuji avoided finishing the week without a win by slapping down Takayasu near the edge.
Mitakeumi (5-2) easily ousted fellow komusubi Daieisho (3-4) to bounce back from his Day 6 loss to Takayasu. Gaining an inside position from the jump, Mitakeumi wasted no time driving the New Year tournament winner straight out.
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