Osaka – Former ozeki Takayasu maintained his perfect record after six days of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, when lone yokozuna Terunofuji pulled out due to injuries.
Wrestling as a No. 7 maegashira, Takayasu (6-0) brushed aside No. 10 rank-and-filer Shimanoumi (2-4) at Edion Arena Osaka to stay one win clear of three wrestlers at 5-1, including new ozeki Mitakeumi.
Takayasu never had to shift into top gear, easily halting Shimanoumi’s opening charge before pushing the fellow rank-and-filer straight out of the ring.
Earlier in the day, Terunofuji (3-3) exited the meet due to right heel and left knee injuries that will likely sideline him for a month. No. 3 Onosho (3-3) was handed a win by default.
The injury withdrawal is Terunofuji’s first in four tournaments as a yokozuna, having won his first two at the sport’s highest rank.
He hurt his heel during January’s New Year tournament, when he fell short of a third straight championship. In early February, his preparation for the ongoing meet was hindered by a bout with the coronavirus.
Mitakeumi, the January champion, cruised to another win in his debut tourney at the sport’s second-highest rank after a sharp initial charge and his bigger frame left Meisei (1-5) with little room to maneuver.
The No. 3 rank-and-filer briefly grabbed a left overarm belt hold as he looked to make a last-ditch escape, but Mitakeumi still forced him out easily.
New sekiwake Wakatakakage (5-1), who has demonstrated impressive form in his first tourney at sumo’s third highest rank, overcame former sekiwake Takanosho (1-5), displaying good reaction and footwork in a fierce encounter.
The komusubi’s powerful shoves had Wakatakakage nearing the edge, but he recovered to swiftly force his counterpart on the backfoot. Takanosho went on another foray, but Wakatakakage nimbly dodged him and pulled him down.
No. 6 Kotonowaka (5-1) also kept pace with Mitakeumi. The youngster was matched by Chiyoshoma (2-4) but had enough in his tank to outlast the No. 8 maegashira with an overarm throw.
Demotion-threatened ozeki Takakeisho (4-2) had a convincing outing against No. 4 Kiribayama (4-2). The ozeki charged in low to comfortably force the rank-and-filer to the edge, and coped with some late resistance before shoving him out.
It was the third straight win for Takakeisho, who needs eight wins at the 15-day meet to remain an ozeki.
The other demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki, Shodai, had no answer against veteran No. 2 Tamawashi (3-3), who was fresh off beating Terunofuji a day earlier.
Shodai (1-5), who won his first bout of the meet on Thursday, looked to make a strong start, but Tamawashi came up with one of his own, bullishly overpowering the ozeki to end the encounter in seconds.
New komusubi Hoshoryu (3-3) looked doomed against the tourney’s other new sekiwake, Abi (4-2), who came out of the blocks with ferocious thrusts against his smaller opponent.
But with one heel on the straw bales, the nephew of former Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu tenaciously kept himself in the bout and went on the offensive. Abi lost his balance while looking to wrap up the bout in a hurry and could not prevent being pushed out.
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