Unbeaten ozeki Terunofuji took another stride toward back-to-back championships Tuesday at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a dominant display against rank-and-file opponent Kiribayama.
The powerfully built grappler improved to a perfect 10-0 — two wins ahead of his nearest rivals — by forcing out No. 4 maegashira Kiribayama at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
With a solid left-hand grip from the opening clash, Terunofuji dragged his Mongolian compatriot one way and then the other before shoving him out by the throat. The result ensured Kiribayama (2-8) will finish the 15-day tournament with a losing record.
Terunofuji has not lost since Day 10 of the March tournament, which he won with a 12-3 record to seal promotion back to ozeki, sumo’s second-highest rank, which he last held in September 2017.
Ozeki Takakeisho and No. 8 Endo sit two wins off the pace at 8-2 after winning their respective bouts on Day 10.
Takakeisho blew away No. 5 Onosho (6-4), slamming him backwards at the jump and quickly pushing him out. Endo pushed out No. 11 Kotonowaka (5-5) for his eighth win, all against fellow rank-and-file grapplers.
Sekiwake Takayasu, who gave Terunofuji his toughest challenge of the meet a day earlier, outmuscled demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki Shodai in a one-sided bout.
Takayasu closed in on a winning record at 7-3 by using a shallow left-handed belt grip to wrench Shodai (5-5) off balance and force him out.
“I had a good opening charge today. That (left-hand grip) was my plan,” Takayasu said. “I’ll just concentrate on working right through to the end (of the meet).”
Ozeki Asanoyama (6-4) knocked komusubi Mitakeumi (7-3) off the leaderboard in one of the day’s most entertaining bouts.
After several lackluster outings at the tournament, Asanoyama demonstrated his impressive strength and grappling technique as he neutralized Mitakeumi’s powerful thrusting attacks and maneuvered him over the edge.
Sekiwake Takanosho improved to 4-6 in a close call against No. 2 Meisei. With his sekiwake status in danger, Takanosho just managed to hustle Meisei over the straw before tumbling to the clay.
Komusubi Daieisho dropped to 4-6 after being crushed out by No. 1 Wakatakakage (6-4). The dangerous maegashira has earned five of his six wins here against elite opponents from the three sanyaku ranks below yokozuna.
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