Ozeki Terunofuji got his yokozuna The promotion got off to a winning start on Sunday at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, where returning grand champion Hakuho also claimed a narrow victory.
Terunofuji, who celebrated his return to ozeki in May with his second consecutive Emperor’s Cup, knocked out a delicate opponent in No. 1 maegashira Endo, title contender until the last day of May.
Endo charged low and carefully kept him away from Terunofuji’s long range, but the ozeki was not deterred and used his upper frame to steer him to the edge before forcing the soldier out. at Dolphins Arena, tying his personal best at five apiece. .
Terunofuji is set to earn promotion to yokozuna if the 29-year-old can win two consecutive championships as an ozeki, or post a championship-caliber record in this competition – the first outside of Tokyo since the meeting. Spring Festival of March 2020 held behind closed doors in Osaka.
Terunofuji’s career was nearly wiped out by knee injuries that knocked him down to second in sumo jonidan level in March 2019. The Mongolian won his second career title last July when he returned to the top flight makuuchi division.
Hakuho, back after missing some or all of the last six tournaments, has been tested throughout by the rookie komusubi Meisei but also came out on top.
His stable master Miyagino claimed it all, but a solid performance would push Hakuho, who has a record 44 tournament championships, to the brink of retirement. The victory wasn’t convincing, but was enough for the 36-year-old to pull his fist in celebration.
With his right knee surgically repaired and both feet tied, Hakuho fought Meisei from a standstill after the charge. It boiled down to a throwing battle near the edge, where Hakuho won it with a smooth inner thigh throw.
Ozeki Takakeisho, who beat Terunofuji on the last day of May but lost to him in the championship playoffs, came out on top after trading blows with January champion Daieisho.
Takakeisho was gradually retreating against the No. 1 soldier but had enough room to perform an arm toss without a belt.
Ozeki Shodai was at his best when he broke into No. 2 maegashira Takanosho and forced him out in a complete victory.
Sekiwake Takayasu, who has gone 10-5 in the last two tournaments, is sidelined with lower back pain. Although his stable master Tagonoura has said he could be back in action during the tournament, his chance for re-promotion to ozeki, normally requiring 33 wins from three consecutive tournaments, is all but lost.
The other sekiwake, Mitakeumi, fighter in third place in the sport for the first time in 15 tournaments, succumbed to the giant Ichinojo after the number. 2 suffocated his opponent on the initial charge.
Komusubi Wakatakakage, who got his first promotion in the three sanyaku ranks below yokozuna, created chances to win but fell to No. 1. 3 Hokutofuji.
Newbie Makuuchi and No. 17 Ichiyamamoto marked his promotion to the next level with a victory, thanks to a rare belt throw back against No. 17. 16 Ishiura.
The Aichi Prefecture Grand Tournament is the first away from Tokyo with spectators since the November 2019 Kyushu Tournament in Fukuoka. Attendance in Nagoya is capped at 3,800 – half of the venue’s total capacity – in accordance with government COVID-19 policies.
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