Fukuoka – Lone yokozuna Terunofuji was in cruise control Tuesday at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, comfortably handling No. 1 maegashira Wakatakakage to improve to a perfect 3-0.
Having started the meet with two tough contests, the Mongolian-born grand champion barely broke a sweat as he pushed out his rank-and-file opponent in the final bout of Day 3 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
Giving up some 50 kilograms, the speedy and athletic Wakatakakage (1-2) went looking for a belt grip but was quickly bundled out by Terunofuji, sumo’s only active yokozuna since the retirement of Hakuho at the end of September.
Winner of three of the past four Emperor’s Cups, Terunofuji came into the 15-day tournament in Fukuoka without a clear challenger, with both ozeki having struggled recently.
Takakeisho labored through a neck injury to avoid demotion from sumo’s second-highest rank in September, while Shodai has just scraped by with winning records in the past few meets.
Showing no obvious sign of the neck issue, which forced his withdrawal from the July meet, two-time grand tournament winner Takakeisho improved to 3-0 with a routine victory against komusubi Kiribayama (0-3).
Following a powerful opening charge, Takakeisho got a hand on the back of Kiribayama’s belt and thrust him to the clay.
Shodai slapped down No. 2 Onosho for his second straight win after starting the tournament with an upset loss to No. 1 Daieisho.
Onosho (0-3) opened with a strong thrusting attack before being brought to a halt by Shodai (1-2), who dug in his heels and dragged the former komusubi to the sandy surface.
Sekiwake Mitakeumi stayed perfect after winning a high-energy battle against Daieisho.
With the pair exchanging rapid blows, Mitakeumi (3-0) was forced to backpedal before wrenching Daieisho (1-2) sideways and toppling him with a beltless arm throw.
Sekiwake Meisei broke through for his first win of the meet, forcing out a stubborn No. 3 Okinoumi.
Having driven Okinoumi (1-2) to the edge, Meisei (1-2) made multiple attempts to hoist him over before finally succeeding.
Komusubi Ichinojo improved to 2-1 by thrusting down No. 2 Takanosho (1-2) in a battle of former sekiwake.
Fighting as a No. 15, former komusubi Abi stayed unbeaten in his return to the top division by pushing out No. 17 Shohozan (1-2). The 27-year-old Abi climbed his way back through lower divisions after serving a three-tournament ban for breaking coronavirus safety rules.
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