Terunofuji stays perfect, Abi stuns Takakeisho on day 13

Alone yokozuna Terunofuji will head to the final weekend of the Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka with an absolute lead and a perfect 13-0 record after dominating sekiwake Mitakeumi Friday.

He holds a stamp of a victory over No. 15th maegashira Abi, who grabbed second place after stunning ozeki Takakeisho in a decisive battle on Day 13 at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

After winning 11 of their previous 15 top-level fixtures, Terunofuji maintained his superiority over Mitakeumi (9-4) in the 15-day tournament, taking his belt in vault and bulldozing him.

Sumo’s sole yokozuna after Hakuho’s recent retirement, Terunofuji, 29, will continue his bid for a sixth Emperor’s Cup on Saturday against Abi.

Fighting in the Premier League for the first time since serving a three-tournament suspension for breaking Japan Sumo Association’s coronavirus safety rules in July 2020, the former komusubi Abi continued to impress in Fukuoka.

Tied at 11-1 with fellow propellant Takakeisho entering their fight, Abi never took a step back in the highly anticipated battle.

After a false start, he met Takakeisho’s opening drive head-on and gained the upper hand as the pair traded blows. With Takakeisho (11-2) grabbing his arm, Abi (12-1) continued to advance and pushed the ozeki outward.

“I think I was able to execute my style of sumo. I was still focused (after the false start) and was able to have a good opening charge and keep going, ”said Abi.

“I was like, ‘He’s an ozeki and I’m just a lower rank so I should just come in.’ (But) it’s only a victory and I still have a way to go. “

Ozeki Shodai improved to 9-4 by forcing No. 6 Tamawashi (9-4), fending off the former Emperor’s Cup winner straight from the jump.

Sekiwake Meisei (5-8) succumbed to a push against No. 4 Endo (7-6) and is expected to be demoted from third in sumo. After several false starts, former komusubi Endo got out of the blocks and continued to advance as he pushed Meisei.

Komusubi Ichinojo (5-8) will end the tournament with a loss record after winning his eighth loss to No. 7 Ura (10-3), who knocked down the 206-kilogram giant with a swing under the shoulder towards the low.

Komusubi Kiribayama improved to 5-8, throwing No. 4 Takarafuji (4-9) near the edge to end a bout of almost a minute.

No. 9 Hidenoumi (8-5) scored his all-important eighth victory by knocking out No. 5 Takayasu (5-8) and setting the former ozeki to a tournament losing record.

No. 14 Chiyonokuni and No. 16 Akua also set winning records at 8-5 with wins over grassroots opponents.

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