Tamawashi upends Terunofuji again as Takayasu grabs lead at Spring Grand Sumo Tournament

Yokozuna Terunofuji suffered his second loss, while former ozeki Takayasu took over the sole possession of the lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.

The fifth day of the 15-day meet at Edion Arena Osaka saw the sport’s lone yokozuna beaten by 37-year-old Mongolian and No. 2 maegashira Tamawashi for the second straight tournament.

Tamawashi (2-3) threw Terunofuji back on the charge with a salvo of well-placed shoves to the throat. After tipping backward, the yokozuna rocked forward off balance. Tamawashi seized control of the bout and finished off his opponent with a final left hand to the throat that sent the yokozuna backward off the raised ring.

“I was determined not to give him any openings,” Tamawashi said. “I stuck to what works for me.”

Takayasu, currently a No. 7 maegashira, started the day tied for the lead, and continued his run of good results against Takarafuji (1-4). The former ozeki held off the No. 5 to remain perfect for the tourney and improve to 18-6 in career bouts with Takarafuji.

Mitaekumi, newly promoted to ozeki, lost both his first bout and his share of the tournament lead after being foiled by a solid defensive effort from Mongolian No. 4 maegashira Kiribayama (4-1).

Although the ozeki’s strong charge forced his opponent back, Kiribayama was able to secure a left-hand overarm hold, while Mitakeumi came up empty-handed. Kiribayama skillfully used this advantage to work the ozeki back across the ring and force him out.

The award for most relieved wrestler of the day went to ozeki Shodai.

A demotion-threatened kadoban ozeki needing eight wins here to continue fighting at the sport’s second-highest rank, Shodai survived being beaten on the initial charge by Onosho (2-3) to earn his first win and improve to 1-4.

The No. 3 maegashira pressed Shodai back but let the struggling ozeki off the hook when he came up empty with a shove. The maegashira’s follow-through exposed his left side, and Shodai seized the opportunity and floored his opponent with an overarm throw.

Takakeisho, also threatened with demotion from the ozeki ranks, improved to 3-2, holding off a determined attack from No. 3 Meisei (1-4). Determined not to let the ozeki build up a head of steam, Meisei charged hard at his opponent, a master of thrusting and shoving.

Although slightly taken back and briefly off balance, Takakeisho recovered, turned the tables on his antagonist and shoved him from the ring.

Sekiwake Wakatakakage (4-1) won a surprisingly straight-forward battle against komusubi Hoshoryu (2-3). The clash between the smaller, speedy wrestlers ended in a force out, with none of the trickery the pair often use to confound larger opponents.

Sekiwake Abi (4-1) won a solid tactical battle against Takanosho (1-4), rocking the komusubi back with his charge and then yanking him forward and off balance.

The sekiwake has now won four straight after a first-day loss at his new rank, a reward for going 12-3 in two straight tourneys since returning from a three-meet ban for breaking coronavirus rules in 2020.

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