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Sumo: Takakeisho suffers 1st loss but keeps lead on Day 7

Takakeisho relinquished his unbeaten record but kept a share of the lead at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.

The 22-year-old komusubi dropped to 6-1 when he succumbed to a ferocious slap down against sekiwake Mitakeumi on Day 7 of the 15-day tournament at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Mitakuemi (4-3) had the momentum from the opening collision and looked set for a quick push out before Takakeisho slipped to the side and circled behind the sekiwake.

The pair then exchanged a furious series of slaps and pushes at the center of the ring before Mitakeumi slammed Takekeisho to the clay.

Mitakeumi, winner of the Nagoya tournament in July, is aiming to overcome his lackluster start in Fukuoka as he pursues promotion to ozeki. He improved to 5-3 head-to-head against Takakeisho, including victories in their past three meetings.

Rank-and-file wrestlers No. 9 Daieisho and No. 13 Onosho share the lead at 6-1 following wins over No. 7 Abi (5-2) and No. 16 Arawashi (1-6), respectively.

Starting the day one win off the pace, ozeki Takayasu (5-2) was forced out by rank-and-file grappler Ryuden following a 1 minute, 58 second marathon.

In their first top-level meeting, No. 4 Ryuden (2-5) secured a strong right-hand grip at the opening collision, but the heavier Takayasu held his ground.

As the pair battled for position, Ryuden gripped both hands on Takayasu’s belt, then broke a long stalemate at the center of the ring by driving the ozeki out.

Ozeki Tochinoshin suffered an upset against No. 4 Yoshikaze, dropping to 3-4. The powerful Georgian searched for a belt grip at the opening, but Yoshikaze stayed low to evade the hold.

Unable to get a handhold, Tochinoshin tried to initiate a throw but was moved off balance by Yoshikaze (4-3) who reversed the throw and tossed his higher-ranked opponent to the clay.

A Kyushu native, the 36-year-old veteran Yoshikaze received one of the biggest ovations of the day for his victory.

«I’m really thankful…the fans really supported me and it gives me power. I will do my style of sumo and try to impress them in my remaining matches,» Yoshikaze said.

«I don’t really care who my opponent is, whether maegashira or ozeki…I have to be mentally strong no matter who, and today it just happened to be against an ozeki,» he said.

Komusubi Kaisei (2-3-2) picked up his second win by forcing out No. 1 Myogiryu (4-3). Both wrestlers looked for a belt grip at the outset, but it was the big Brazilian who secured a hold and pushed his way to victory.

Kaisei, fighting as a komusubi for the first time since 2016, sat out the first two days of the tournament with a leg injury.

Sekiwake Ichinojo (2-5) picked up his first win since the opening day by pushing out No. 5 Chiyotairyu (5-2).

After starting the tournament with five straight wins, No.2 Tochiozan (5-2) suffered his second loss in as many days, succumbing to a push-out against No. 1 Hokutofuji (4-3).

All three grand champions — Mongolians Hakuho and Kakuryu, as well as Japanese-born Kisenosato — have pulled out of the Kyushu basho, the final meet of the year, due to injury.

All — Kyodo News+

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