• Kyodo

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Returning ozeki Terunofuji comfortably earned another win to stay unbeaten after eight days at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday, chased by ozeki Takakeisho who remained a win behind at the midway point.

With his superior physique, Terunofuji was unperturbed by komusubi Daieisho’s (3-5) trademark charge and comfortably pushed out this year’s New Year Basho champion out to his fifth loss, while he remained unbeaten and secured a winning record for the 15-day meet at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

The 29-year-old Mongolian is fighting as an ozeki for the first time since September 2017, with knee injuries forcing him down to the sport’s second-lowest division in March 2019.

Terunofuji returned to the top-tier makuuchi division last July — when he remarkably won his second career grand tournament — and won his third in March to seal his epic comeback with re-promotion to ozeki.

Takakeisho (7-1) stayed close behind after a routine win against No. 4 Myogiryu (2-6), easily knocking off the maegashira to the edge before slapping down the opponent looking to counter.

The other two ozeki were not so fortunate. Demotion-threatened Shodai (5-3) had no answer against komusubi Mitakeumi (6-2), whose low drive killed any momentum from the ozeki in a one-sided push-out win.

Asanoyama (4-4) continued to struggle, allowing No. 5 Hoshoryu (3-5) an easy left overarm belt hold before the Mongolian maegashira pulled off an inside leg trip with his right foot to floor the ozeki on his back.

Sekiwake Takayasu (6-2) bounced back from a damaging defeat a day earlier by dispatching Kiribayama (2-6), although the former ozeki needed over two minutes to beat the No. 4 maegashira.

After planting his foot to halt the rank-and-filer’s opening drives, Takayasu got a left underarm belt hold. After a long standstill, he forced the tiring Kiribayama off balance and pushed him down from the back.

Takanosho (3-5) seemed to have the better of the initial charge against No. 1 Wakatakakage (5-3), but the dynamic maegashira pulled the sekiwake’s right arm while backtracking toward the edge, recovering his position at the same time to shove out his higher-ranked opponent.

There are seven wrestlers with a 6-2 record with No. 5 Onosho, No. 6 Ichinojo, No. 8 Endo, No. 12 Okinoumi and No. 14 Chiyotairyu all winning to join Takayasu and Mitakeumi with six wins.

The summer tourney is the first in two years after last year’s event was canceled following the announcement of a state of emergency.

The first three days this time were held behind closed doors due to the current state of emergency in Japan’s capital, with up to 5,000 fans allowed to enter daily from Wednesday in accordance with government guidelines.

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