New yokozuna Terunofuji maintained his lead of a victory at the fall Grand Sumo tournament on Saturday, while the No. ten maegashira Myogiryu won to ensure that the title race runs until the last day.
Terunofuji (12-2) is set to cap his first tournament as a yokozuna with his fifth career title after fending off a nagging challenge from ozeki Takakeisho (8-6) for Ryogoku Kokugikan on the penultimate day of the 15-day match.
Takakeisho, whose form was in doubt earlier this month after a neck injury suffered in the big July tournament, showed he was back in shape with his powerful loads before getting a deep hold of the belt under the right armpit.
Giving up on his proven pushing assault, however, allowed Terunofuji to grab his favorite grip on the left arm. Once in this position, the yokozuna was relentless, rotating his rival around the raised ring before throwing him to the clay with a blow to his arms.
Born in Mongolia, Terunofuji made an unprecedented career comeback after knee injuries and other health issues knocked him down from second in the ozeki to the Fifth Division.
No. 11 Endo (10-4) was the first of three wrestlers to start the day with three losses to take the dohyō, but fell to a downward thrust of komusubi Ichinojo (8-6), who achieved a winning record with his fifth consecutive victory.
Endo was rocked by a first slap in the face from the Mongolian giant and failed to gain a foothold as Ichinojo quickly pulled away and sent the title contender onto the sandy surface.
No. 6 Onosho (10-4) also fell, with new sekiwake Meisei (7-7) toppled the former komusubi from the initial charge and maintained his hopes of securing a record of third-place victories in the ancient sport.
No. 10 Myogiryu (11-3), however, spoiled any hope Terunofuji might have had of concluding the championship with a day to lose. The veteran maegashira quickly grabbed the front of Shodai’s belt with both hands in a strength win, his second in a row over an ozeki after beating Takakeisho on Friday. Shodai fell to 8-6.
A former sekiwake, Myogiryu has never won the Emperor’s Cup in his career.
Sekiwake Mitakeumi (8-6) missed his chance for 10 tournament wins, losing to No. 8 Okinoumi (10-4), with the maegashira taking a solid victory with a throw on his arms.
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