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Yokozuna Terunofuji won for the 10th straight day to stay perfect and take the sole lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday as ozeki Takakeisho suffered his first defeat.

Mongolian-born Terunofuji, in his first meet as the sole grand champion, faced a tricky opponent in No. 5 maegashira Hoshoryu (4-6) but came up with one of his signature techniques — an arm bar hold — to immobilize the rank-and-filer’s arms at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Hoshoryu, the nephew of former Mongolian great Asashoryu, initially had a left underarm belt hold but was quickly forced to abandon it and had no answer for his larger opponent.

Terunofuji is on course for his sixth Emperor’s Cup and second straight after debuting as yokozuna in September.

Takakeisho, seemingly nearing top form after a neck injury in July, pushed Meisei (5-5) to the edge and managed to stay on his feet following the sekiwake‘s swing-down attempt.

But one strong thrust from Meisei forced Takakeisho to lean backward, and he had no room to counter the follow-up shoves from Meisei before he was pushed out.

No. 15 Abi (9-1) is now level with Takakeisho and hot on Terunofuji’s heels after battling past Tobizaru (5-5), navigating his way through stern resistance by the No. 8 rank-and-filer in a fiery encounter to claim a thrust-out win.

The former komusubi continues to impress on his return to the top makuuchi division after he was handed a three-meet suspension for breaching COVID-19 protocols in July last year.

Sekiwake Mitakeumi (8-2), meanwhile, suffered a damaging defeat at the hands of No. 4 Takarafuji (4-6). The two-time top-division winner gave away a left underarm belt hold to the rank-and-filer and showed no attacking threat before he was grappled out.

The three wrestlers who started the day with two defeats all won to stay close to the leading pack. No. 6 Tamawashi easily thrust out No. 9 Aoiyama (3-7), while No. 12 Hokutofuji slapped down No. 16 Sadanoumi (6-4).

Yet it was No. 7 Ura (8-2) who drew the biggest cheer from the local crowd, with the rotund diminutive trickster finding himself wrapped up by larger No. 11 Kotonowaka (3-7) before he pulled off an under-shoulder swing down while backpedaling to grab the win.

Out of title contention, ozeki Shodai (6-4) was chased around the ring by No. 5 Takayasu (5-5) but eventually managed to get on the front foot and push out the former ozeki.

New komusubi Kiribayama (3-7) is on the verge of a losing record after being thrust down by No. 2 Onosho (4-6), while the other komusubi, Ichinojo (4-6), pushed No. 3 Myogiryu (2-8) from behind.

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