2017 Haru Basho.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. Swami

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    Four yokozuna vying for title at Spring Basho
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    Created on Saturday, 11 March 2017 11:46
    Written by Kyodo
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    Late bloomer Kisenosato will be hoping to get off on the right foot when he faces rank-and-file wrestler Takekaze in his debut as yokozuna on the first day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

    All four yokozuna — one Japanese and three Mongolian — will be competing in the elite makuuchi division for the first time in 17 years at the March 12-26 meet at Edion Arena Osaka, with stats showing Kisenosato has little to worry about on opening day.

    The 30-year-old Kisenosato, the first Japan-born yokozuna since Wakanohana in 1998, has a 20-5 record against the 37-year-old Takekaze, a top maegashira and two-time winner of the Fighting Spirit Prize.

    The crowd will be expecting nothing less than a repeat of his dominant showing at the New Year Basho in Tokyo in January, when he won with a 14-1 mark and was promoted to become sumo’s 72nd yokozuna.

    Kisenosato has it easy on the second day as well, as he is set to face komusubi Shodai, against whom he has won four of five bouts.

    “I was thinking that I would be matched with opponents (ranked) around there. I will just focus on each bout each day,” Kisenosato said after training Friday following a day off. “My practice went very well.”

    Yokozuna Hakuho, who is looking to secure his first championship in five tournaments and 38th of his career, will take on Shodai in the final bout Sunday.

    Kakuryu, winner of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in November, was handed a tough draw as his first-day opponent will be komusubi Mitakeumi, whom he was defeated by at the New Year meet before he pulled out due to a right leg injury.

    Harumafuji will be greeted by a fierce opponent in his first matchup, facing sekiwake Kotoshogiku, who will be restored to ozeki status at sumo’s second-highest rank with 10 or more wins here in the second of six major sumo tournaments held every year.

    Two ozeki will add to the dramatic tension — Goeido on the prestigious east side and Terunofuji on the west.

    Goeido, who pulled out of the New Year tourney with a right ankle injury, will meet No. 1 maegashira Ikioi, while Terunofuji will start as kadoban for the fourth time, vulnerable to demotion with a losing record, as he faces second-ranked maegashira Sokokurai.

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  2. Swami

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    Haru Day 1: Kisenosato marks yokozuna debut with win over Takekaze
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    Created on Sunday, 12 March 2017 12:20
    Written by Kyodo
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    Kisenosato won his yokozuna debut with ease Sunday, barreling out top-ranked maegashira Takekaze on the opening day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

    Sumo's latest grand champion, the 69th in the sport's history, only needed a few quick shoves to beat Takekaze by oshidashi before a full house at Edion Arena Osaka.

    Kisenosato, who became the first Japan-born yokozuna since Wakanohana in 1998 after capturing the New Year tournament in January, took his career record against Takekaze to 21-5 and will face komusubi Shodai on Monday.

    Since sumo went to 15-day meets in 1949, only three wrestlers have won a tournament in their yokozuna debut -- Taiho, Takanosato and Takanohana.

    Sumo has not had four grand champions competing at one tourney in 17 years, not since Akebono, Takanohana, Wakanohana and Musashimaru fought at the 2000 spring basho.

    The fortunes for the three yokozuna other than Kisenosato -- Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu -- varied Sunday.

    Shodai fired a warning shot at Kisenosato by recording his first career victory over Hakuho, who went down meekly at the hands of his opponent.

    Shodai succeeded in keeping Hakuho off his belt before throwing the Mongolian off balance and thrusting him to the dirt, where Hakuho looked absolutely stunned.

    "I went all out trying to wrestle the only way I know how to wrestle," said Shodai, who defeated Hakuho in his third try. "I didn't let him push me around. I'm really happy with this win."

    Harumafuji also got off on the wrong foot, losing at the hands of sekiwake Kotoshogiku, who improved his lifetime record against the Mongolian to 32-27.

    Kakuryu managed to save face with his third win in four bouts against komusubi Mitakeumi.

    In other notable matchups, the two ozeki in the field both prevailed. After missing the New Year basho due to injury, Goeido marked his return with a victory over top-ranked maegashira Ikioi, while Terunofuji ousted No. 2 Sokokurai.

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  3. Swami

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    Haru Day 2: Kisensato wins again at the Spring tourney
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    Created on Monday, 13 March 2017 20:19
    Written by Kyodo
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    New yokozuna Kisenosato rolled to another victory at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday, beating komusubi Shodai on the second day of the 15-day meet.

    Kisenosato (2-0) got more of a test on this day, however, from Shodai (1-1) than he did from top-ranked maegashira Takekaze (0-2) on Sunday, when Shodai stunned Hakuho (1-1), one of four grand champions competing at this tourney.

    Against Shodai, Kisenosato needed more than the couple of shoves he used to dismiss Takekaze. Shodai stayed with the yokozuna from the tachiai, keeping him on his toes in the center of the ring.

    But Kisenosato's class prevailed in the end, forcing out Shodai, who lost his balance, to win by oshidashi. On Tuesday, Kisenosato takes on No. 2 Takanoiwa (0-2).

    After mixed results on opening day, all four yokozuna earned wins on Monday.

    Hakuho bounced back with a measure of authority, ushering Sokokurai (0-2) beyond the straw bales in his first career meeting with the second-ranked maegashira.

    Harumafuji (1-1) also rebounded from his slip-up against sekiwake Kotoshogiku (2-0) a day earlier though barely, just keeping his feet inside the circle while dodging No. 1 Ikioi (0-2), who lunged at him in desperation.

    In the day's final bout, Kakuryu won his second successive match, forcing out Takekaze to a second loss.

    The going will continue to get tough for Takekaze, who faces Hakuho on Tuesday. Takekaze is 1-21 for his career against the Mongolian warhorse.

    In other notable bouts, sekiwake Takayasu (2-0) tripped up ozeki Goeido (1-1), while the other ozeki at the tournament, Terunofuji, improved to 2-0 by beating sekiwake Tamawashi (1-1).

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  4. Swami

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    Haru Day 3: Kisenosato stays perfect, Harumafuji crashes again
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    Created on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 11:27
    Written by Kyodo
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    Kisenosato overpowered plucky Takanoiwa to make it three wins out of three on his debut at grand champion at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Tuesday. Hakuho and Kakuryu also emerged victorious in their bouts, but Harumafuji missed the chance to complete a clean sweep for yokozuna, crashing to a shock second loss at the hands of Chinese-born maegashira Sokokurai.

    Kisenosato was made to work for his victory. He took a couple of thrusts to the neck early on in the day's penultimate bout at Edion Arena, but in the end had too much gumption for No. 2 maegashira Takanoiwa (0-3) and bumped him over the ridge.

    The big upset of the day came in the final match-up, when second-ranked Sokokurai slapped down Harumafuji to pick up his first win of the 15-day meet.

    "I'm really pleased," Sokokurai said in a post-match interview. "I don't really remember much of the bout and it hasn't sunk in yet that I've won."

    Hakuho, sumo's most successful wrestler with 37 championship titles, bided his time to muscle out No. 1 maegashira Takekaze (0-3).

    Kakuryu (3-0) was given an early scare and put on the back foot against Ikioi (0-3), but the yokozuna kept his cool and rallied to get both arms around the top-ranked maegashira and usher him over the bales.

    On a day of contrasting fortunes for ozeki, Goeido (1-2), who pulled out of the New Year tourney with a right ankle injury, suffered his second consecutive defeat after he lost his way against komusubi Shodai (2-1).

    But Mongolian behemoth Terunofuji grappled his way past winless No. 3 maegashira Shohozan to preserve his perfect start.

    Terunofuji is starting as a "kadoban" demotion-threatened ozeki for the fourth time and needs a majority of wins to keep his rank.

    In another key bout, Kotoshogiku (2-1) looked like he had done enough to dig himself out of a hole against Takayasu (3-0), only to get sent sprawling to a first defeat at the hands of his fellow sekiwake.

    Kotoshogiku, who became the first Japanese wrestler in a decade to win the championship title at last year's New Year basho, has dropped down to sumo's third-highest rank of sekwiake after going 5-10 in January.

    He needs to post at least 10 wins at this tournament to earn a move back up to ozeki for the next tournament in May.

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  5. Swami

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    Haru Day 4: Kisenosato still standing tall on day of upsets in Osaka
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    Created on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:51
    Written by Kyodo
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    Yokozuna debutant Kisenosato burst Sokokurai's bubble Wednesday to preserve his unbeaten start on a day when two of his main rivals crashed to upset defeats at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

    Kisenosato improved to 4-0 as the only yokozuna yet to taste defeat at the 15-day meet as Kakuryu was saddled with his first loss before Hakuho dropped to 2-2 in another shock at Edion Arena. Kisenosato shares the early lead with Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji and four other wrestlers.

    Sokokurai pulled off Tuesday's biggest upset by slapping down grand champion Harumafuji, but the Chinese-born No. 2 maegashira was put firmly in his place in his first meeting with Kisenosato.

    Kisenosato worked Sokokurai (1-3) towards the ridge and with a firm right-handed grip on his belt, calmly sent him out of the dohyo.

    Harumafuji rebounded from his defeat to Sokokurai with a no-nonsense yorikiri force out win against top-ranked maegashira Takekaze, who dropped to 0-4.

    But Kakuryu was no match for Kotoshogiku, who got back on the winning trail by charging the yokozuna up against the straw ridge before flooring him with a textbook beltless arm throw.

    Kotoshogiku has dropped down to sumo's third-highest rank of sekwiake after going 5-10 in January. He needs to post at least 10 wins at this tournament to earn a move back up to ozeki for the summer basho in May.

    Hakuho got muscled out of the ring by top-ranked maegashira Ikioi (1-3) and dropped to 2-2. Although Ikioi's hand touched the dirt first as both went over the edge, Hakuho took the loss by "shinitai," a rare event in sumo.

    Shinitai, literally meaning dead body, is a term used to describe a wrestler who was not first to fall or touch outside the ring, but who had no chance of winning because of his falling position.

    Making his way back after an injury-shortened New Year basho, Goeido crashed to a third consecutive defeat when he was bundled out of the ring by No. 2 maegashira Takanoiwa, who collected his first win.

    But Mongolian bruiser Terunofuji saved face for sumo's second rank of ozeki, shoving fourth-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze (2-2) out from behind to keep a clean slate and edged closer to keeping his rank.

    Terunofuji is starting as a "kadoban" demotion-threatened ozeki for the fourth time and needs a majority of wins to retain his status for the next tournament in May.

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  6. Swami

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    Haru Day 5: Kisenosato keeps winning run going at Spring sumo
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    Created on Thursday, 16 March 2017 16:10
    Written by Kyodo
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    Kisenosato put on a suspense-filled show against Ikioi in earning his fifth win in as many bouts at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday.

    Enthusiasm was peppered with disappointment for the sellout crowd at Edion Arena Osaka with the announcement of yokozuna Hakuho's withdrawal due to a toe and thigh injury in the tourney that initially saw four grand champions for the first time in 17 years.

    But Kisenosato gave the whiners their money's worth as he kept them on the edge of their seats, taking his sweet time to dispose of Ikioi (1-4) and maintain a five-way share of the lead as the sole yokozuna with a perfect record.

    Kisenosato needed a few attempts before he bulldozed Ikioi out of the ring, while the top-ranked maegashira let the tension mount by his display of aggressive sumo, his feet barely inside the dohyo until the final seconds.

    The other two yokozuna -- Harumafuji and Kakuryu -- also posted wins while Hakuho forfeited his scheduled bout against komusubi Mitakeumi (3-2).

    Harumafuji (3-2) showed his champion class with powerful thrusts en route to edging out third-ranked maegashira Shohozan, still winless after five days.

    Kakuryu was no match for second-ranked maegashira Sokokurai (1-4), who was given no chance to counter before he was pushed out of the ring in a blink of an eye in the day's final bout.

    Four more grapplers -- ozeki Terunofuji, sekiwake Takayasu, No. 3 maegashira Takarafuji and 10th-ranked Tochiozan -- are tied with 5-0 records.

    Terunofuji stretched his winning streak after overcoming an initial charge by No. 2 maegashira Takanoiwa (1-4) and eventually grabbing his opponent's belt and lifting him out of the straw bales.

    After a few slaps in the face, Takayasu needed little time to grab Shodai (2-3) by the neck and shove him down hard onto the dirt to maintain his perfect record.

    Takarafuji defeated No. 6 maegashira Chiyonokuni (3-2) and Tochiozan beat seventh-ranked maegashira Chiyoshima (4-1).

    Top maegashira Takekaze picked up his first win of the meet by sending Goeido to his fourth straight loss, taking advantage of the ozeki's loss of balance and executing an under-shoulder swing down.

    Brazilian eighth-ranked maegashira Kaisei, who missed the first five days of the spring tourney due to a right knee injury, will return to action Friday and take on sixth-ranked maegashira Aoiyama of Bulgaria.

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  7. Swami

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    Yokozuna Hakuho pulls out of Spring tourney
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    Created on Thursday, 16 March 2017 16:03
    Written by Kyodo
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    Mongolian grand champion Hakuho on Thursday pulled out of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament due to injuries to his right toe and right thigh.

    Hakuho sustained a big toe sprain and thigh muscle injury that will require three weeks of medical treatment, his stablemaster Miyagino said. His withdrawal comes a day after he crashed to his second loss on the fourth day of the 15-day meet at Edion Arena Osaka.

    The 32-year-old Hakuho, the most successful wrestler in sumo history with 37 career titles, injured his thigh and toe in Wednesday's bout against top-ranked maegashira Ikioi.

    The yokozuna had had surgery on his right toe to remove bone spurs after skipping the entire Autumn meet last September.

    "He wasn't in good spirits and there was something strange about his sumo since he lost on the first day. He'll just have to start all over again," said Miyagino.

    Hakuho's withdrawal is his first since missing the Autumn tournament last year and fifth overall. He forfeits Thursday's scheduled bout against komusubi Mitakeumi.

    With Kisenosato making his debut at yokozuna, the Spring meet featured four grand champions for the first time in 17 years.

    Kisenosato was the only yokozuna with a flawless 4-0 record going into Thursday's bouts.

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  8. Swami

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    Goeido injures ankle, 3rd to pull out of Spring tourney
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    Created on Friday, 17 March 2017 14:24
    Written by Kyodo
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    Ozeki Goeido, winner of last year's Autumn tourney with a perfect record, became the third wrestler Friday to withdraw from the ongoing Spring Grand Sumo Tournament through injury, after a damaged ankle forced him out of action.

    After winning on the opening day, Goeido, who pulled out citing ligament damage to his right ankle, suffered four straight losses and looked visibly hurt after his bout against top-ranked maegashira Takekaze at Edion Arena Osaka on Thursday.

    Goeido becomes the latest makuuchi division casualty in the 15-day meet following Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho, who pulled out after four days due to toe and thigh injuries, and eighth-ranked Brazilian maegashira Kaisei, who missed the first five days because of a knee injury.

    According to his stablemaster Sakaigawa, Goeido has no intention of returning to compete in his hometown tournament, meaning the 30-year-old will be starting the summer tournament in May in a "kadoban" situation facing possible demotion.

    "It's too bad but his foot isn't in good shape," said Sakaigawa.

    "Obviously it has to do with his lack of preparation too, and I'm sure he's upset. I apologize that things turned out the way they did," he said.

    It is the sixth time in his career that Goeido has withdrawn from a tournament, and second straight since he pulled out of the New Year basho in January with an 8-4 record.

    Goeido's injury will reportedly require five weeks of medical treatment. He forfeits his scheduled bout against sekiwake Tamawashi on Friday.

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  9. Swami

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    Kisenosato stays firm, Kakuryu suffers 2nd loss
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    Created on Friday, 17 March 2017 14:33
    Written by Kyodo
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    Yokozuna Kisenosato made it six out of six and remained one of the three unbeaten wrestlers at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Friday, when Mongolian grand champion Kakuryu suffered his second loss at Edion Arena Osaka.

    Kisenosato continued his solid form as he left no room for Takarafuji to counter, the new yokozuna latching onto the No. 3 maegashira's belt with his right arm with ease and forcing out the tenacious opponent. Both grapplers came into the bout with 5-0 records.

    In the day's final match, Kakuryu (4-2) suffered his first defeat against Shohozan in their 12th bout. The third-ranked maegashira forced the Mongolian to resort to a weak thrust-down attempt after successive strong charges to find Kakuryu struggling near the straw bales and gave another lunge to see him off the ring to pick up his first win.

    Injury-plagued ozeki Terunofuji had a rare fine start to the tourney with five straight wins, but it was Takayasu who kept the unbeaten record in another bout of wrestlers with perfect records after the sekiwake barged the Mongolian out in a one-sided affair.

    No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan also kept his mark unblemished at 6-0 after the former sekiwake pushed down 12th-ranked Sadanoumi (1-5) to the floor.

    Yokozuna Harumafuji salvaged his fourth win, against No. 4 maegashira Yoshikaze (3-3).

    The two wrestlers charged low, and Yoshikaze appeared to have pulled off a decisive pulling arm throw, but despite Harumafuji teetering and then leaning backward almost losing his footing, the rank-and-filer slipped and fell on all fours on the ring.

    Sekiwake Kotoshogiku, who dropped from ozeki but can return to the rank with 10 wins here, claimed his fourth win after holding his ground against komusubi Mitakeumi (3-3) to grapple him out.

    Another sekiwake Tamawashi claimed his fifth win by default against Osaka-born ozeki Goeido, the local favorite pulling out with an injured ankle with just one win in six days.

    Brazilian Kaisei made his first appearance at the tourney after missing the first five days with a right knee injury, but the No. 8 maegashira was beaten by an under-shoulder swing down from sixth-ranked Aoiyama (3-3), the Bulgarian making it 11-5 to his favor in their career record.

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  10. Swami

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    Haru Day 7: Stablemates Kisenosato, Takayasu lead Spring sumo with 7 wins
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    Created on Saturday, 18 March 2017 11:31
    Written by Kyodo
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    Yokozuna Kisenosato and his junior Tagonoura-stablemate, sekiwake Takayasu, secured their seventh wins on Saturday for a share of the lead in the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

    Kisenosato faced up-and-coming komusubi Mitakeumi (3-4), who was the first to drive forward to get the newly promoted grand champion against the straw bales.

    But Kisenosato never lost his calm and killed his opponent's momentum to immediately launch a counter, bulldozing Mitakeumi all the way to the other end of the ring and out to make it 4-0 in their career record.

    Takayasu, meanwhile, claimed his win in an emphatic manner against Sokokurai (2-5). A powerful initial charge had the No. 2 maegashira's right-foot off the ground and Takayasu barged him out of the ring in a flash to keep up the pace with Kisenosato at Edion Arena Osaka.

    No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan was handed his first defeat by Okinoumi (5-2), coming out second best on the initial charge and unable to get on the front foot before the composed No. 8 rank-and-filer.

    Ozeki Terunofuji (6-1) bounced back from his first defeat here a day earlier, the Mongolian firmly grabbing the belt of Takekaze (1-6) with both hands and hoisting the top-ranked maegashira out of the ring.

    In the day's final bout, yokozuna Harumafuji secured his fifth win in dominant manner after giving Shodai (3-4) slaps in the face and crushing him out of the ring, claiming his fifth straight win against the komusubi.

    Kakuryu's unconvincing display continued as the grand champion failed to overpower his Mongolian compatriot Takanoiwa (2-5) and floundered on a pull-down attempt, but a timely slap down of his own was enough to get back on a winning note with a fifth win.

    After being demoted from ozeki, sekiwake Kotoshogiku (5-2) signaled that a swift return to the rank is on the card by beating third-ranked maegashira Shohozan (1-6), showing his trademark grapple using his torso in the process.

    Kotoshogiku, who dropped to sekiwake after two consecutive losing records, can reclaim the ozeki position with 10 wins at this tourney.

    Sekiwake Tamawashi (5-2) pushed out local favorite and No. 1 maegashira Ikioi (1-6).

    No. 7 maegashira Chiyoshoma and third-ranked Takarafuji started the tourney with five wins but have now succumbed to their second straight defeats, going down to fifth-ranked Endo (4-3) and Bulgarian No. 6 maegashira Aoiyama (4-3), respectively.

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  11. Swami

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    Haru Day 8: Tagonoura duo remains top of hill in Osaka at midway point
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    Created on Sunday, 19 March 2017 13:05
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    New yokozuna Kisenosato and his Tagonoura stablemate Takayasu both improved to 8-0 on Sunday, the midpoint of the 15-day Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

    Kisenosato finished the action at Edion Arena in a short but tense battle, handing No. 3 maegashira Shohozan his seventh defeat. The yokozuna's victory kept him even for the tournament lead with Takayasu, one win ahead of Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji and No. 10 Tochiozan, both at 7-1.

    Facing an opponent who had beaten him in 10 of their 12 career bouts, Shohozan was quick and full of energy but short on finish.

    After a frantic defense to avoid being shoved out, he pushed Kisenosato back to the center. But the grand champion grabbed his opponent's arm, wrenched it down and Shohozan followed.

    Takayasu also survived a test that nearly lasted a minute from top-ranked Ikioi (1-7). With a left-handed underarm belt hold, Takayasu forced Ikioi back to the straw, but was unable to lever him out.

    The maegashira spun away from danger and nearly forced the sekiwake out, but by tip-toeing along the straw bales, Takayasu made his escape and quickly turned the tables on Ikoi, who he finished off with an underam throw.

    "That was a hard one," Takayasu said. "Every move had to be careful. I've been having a good run since the last tournament, and everything feels really good."

    Terunofuji followed Takayasu to the ring and quickly shoved out komusubi Mitakeumi (3-5).

    In another match that ended in a heartbeat, yokozuna Harumafuji (6-2) dashed past Mongolian compatriot Takanoiwa (2-6) on his opening charge, grabbed the belt, spun him around and executed an easy overarm throw.

    Yokozuna Kakuryu also won to improve to 6-2, but had to work to earn his spoils against young komusubi Shodai (3-5). Shodai made solid progress at the start, forcing Kakuryu back before being repulsed with a series of slaps and shoves to the throat that sent him backward and out.

    Also at 6-2, sekiwake Kotoshogiku moved within four wins of regaining his elite ozeki rank, taking a cautious approach en route to winning his first career bout with Sokokurai.

    Neither man gained any advantage from a deliberate opening charge, but Kotoshogiku seized the initiative. Taking advantage of his low center of gravity, good balance and footwork, Kotoshogiku bellied his opponent to the bales and over as the No. 2 fell to his sixth defeat.

    Swami
     
  12. Swami

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    Haru Day 9: Kisenosato and Takayasu remain in lead
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    Created on Monday, 20 March 2017 11:36
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    Yokozuna Kisenosato and sekiwake Takayasu, both wrestlers of the Tagonoura stable, remained in a share of the lead with 9-0 records Monday at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

    Sekiwake Kotoshogiku made a strong charge against Kisenosato, taking little time to bulldoze the new grand champion to the edge of the ring at Edion Arena Osaka, but lost his balance and fell to the ground to his third loss as his opponent sidestepped his shove.

    Kisenosato now has 30 wins against 33 losses to Kotoshigiku in their head-to-head record.

    After clashing in their faceoff, Takekaze gave Takayasu a big shove leftward but the sekiwake stayed calm and used his left hand to slap the top-ranked maegashira down to his sixth defeat. Takayasu improved to 4-10 against Takekaze.

    With six days remaining in the 15-day tourney, Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji and No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan are one pace off the leaders.

    Terunofuji, who would have been demoted with a losing record at this meet, ascertained he will retain his status by edging out No. 1 maegashira Ikioi (1-7) to pick up his eighth win here and second against Ikioi in their ninth meeting.

    Tochiozan slapped down 15th-ranked maegashira Tokushoryu (6-3) to improve to 8-1.

    Two Mongolian wrestlers stand another win back at 7-2 -- yokozuna Kakuryu, who pushed out No. 3 maegashira Takarafuji (5-4) with thrusts to the throat, and seventh-ranked Chiyoshoma, who defeated Bulgarian No. 6 maegashira Aoiyama (4-5).

    Yokozuna Harumafuji (6-3) withstood several underarm throw attempts by Arawashi (2-7) but finally succumbed to the No. 4 maegashira as he stepped outside the edge of the ring backward after being able to maintain his balance.

    No. 5 maegashira Endo edged out eighth-ranked Okinoumi (5-4) for his sixth win, while two 13th-ranked maegashira Daishomaru and Takakeisho also improved to 6-3 after shoving out ninth-ranked Kotoyuki (2-7) and No. 16 maegashira Nishikigi (3-6), respectively.

    Swami
     
  13. Swami

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    Haru Day 10: Kisenosato, Takayasu remain perfect in Osaka
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    Created on Tuesday, 21 March 2017 11:17
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    New yokozuna Kisenosato improved to 10-0 on Tuesday, the 10th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, to retain his share of the lead with Tagonoura stablemate Takayasu.

    With five days left in the 15-day tourney at Edion Arena Osaka, Kisenosato, who won his first grand tournament championship in January, and sekiwake Takayasu, remained one win ahead of rejuvenated ozeki Terunofuji and No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan.

    Kisenosato had an easier than expected victory over sekiwake Tamawashi (5-5). Although he quickly pushed his opponent back to the straw, Kisenosato appeared in no position to exploit his advantage, but Tamawashi inadvertently stepped back out of the ring.

    Takayasu appeared headed to an embarrassing loss when Takanoiwa dodged the sekiwake's charge. But the Mongolian No. 2 maegashira lost his balance in the process and was unable to capitalize on his golden opportunity.

    Given a second chance, Takayasu wasted no time. He pivoted on a dime and quickly slapped Takanoiwa down to his eighth loss.

    Because Kisenosato and Takayasu belong to the same stable, they can only fight each other in a championship playoff if they are tied for the lead on Sunday after 15 bouts.

    Terunofuji got the better of up-and-coming komusubi Shodai in a roller-coaster ride of a bout in which the youngster held the upper hand early on. After leveraging the wriggling and twisting ozeki backward toward the ring's edge, Shodai tried to change his tack for a final forceout.

    The instant Shodai (3-7) shifted his weight, Terunofuji escaped, seized the initiative and eventually finished off his opponent with an overarm throw.

    With a pair of bad knees limiting his mobility for over a year, Terunofuji is showing the kind of power and speed that earned him the championship of the May 2015 grand tournament. Last year, the ozeki managed eight wins just three times, and entered this tourney with his ozeki ranking on the line.

    "He's not the same ozeki I fought last tournament," Shodai said. "It's night and day."

    In the following bout, Kakuryu (7-3) was forced over the straw by No. 4 maegashira Yoshikaze (6-4), who stood his ground against the yokozuna on the opening charge. Despite a flurry of slaps and shoves from Kakuryu, Yoshikaze got in close and rammed the grand champion backward.

    In the day's final bout, yokozuna Harumafuji earned his seventh win in a lackluster bout with fifth-ranked maegashira Endo (6-4). Harumafuji was forced back effortlessly on the opening faceoff, before managing to spin his opponent around and slap him to the sandy surface.

    Kotoshogiku, who is wrestling as a sekiwake after two straight losing records saw him demoted from the ozeki rank, needs 10 wins in Osaka to regain his elite rank. He earned his seventh with a surprisingly easy victory over No. 1 maegashira Takekaze (2-8).

    Takekaze entered the match having won half his career bouts with Kotoshogiku, but was forced backward on the opening charge and fell when his knee buckled under him.

    Earlier on, Tochiozan made short work of No. 13 maegashira Daishomaru (6-4).

    Swami
     
  14. Swami

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    Haru Day 11: Takayasu loss leaves stablemate Kisenosato in command
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    Created on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 11:14
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    Yokozuna Kakuryu handed surprising sekiwake Takayasu his first loss on Wednesday, the 11th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, while yokozuna Kisenosato remained unbeaten.

    The newly minted yokozuna survived a scare from No. 4 maegashira Yoshikaze to improve to 11-0 in the 15-day tourney at Edion Arena Osaka. Ozeki Terunofuji and 10th-ranked maegashira Tochiozan also won to join Takayasu at one win back.

    Takayasu entered his match with a 5-11 career mark against Kakuryu (8-3), but looked solid and fully capable of beating the Mongolian, who avoided falling to a second straight defeat.

    The sekiwake appeared headed for victory but was undone by a superb counter by Kakuryu. As Takayasu moved in for the kill, Kakuryu snatched at his belt and executed a perfectly timed pulling overarm throw.

    Kisenosato followed his Tagonoura stablemate to the raised ring and was nearly shoved out by Yoshikaze (6-5). The yokozuna, however, kept his balance and deprived Yoshikaze of another opening.

    When the frustrated maegashira pushed too far, Kisenosato spun Yoshikaze around and easily shoved him out from behind.

    Terunofuji survived a 39-second marathon with No. 4 maegashira Arawashi (3-8) that ebbed and flowed across the ring with both wrestlers defending doggedly.

    Neither man was able to assert himself in the struggle until the Mongolian ozeki exploited his height and strength advantage to hoist Arawashi to the ring's edge, where he dispatched him with an overarm throw.

    Yokozuna Harumafuji (8-3) barely broke a sweat in beating Mitakeumi. Harumafuji charged in under the komusubi's defenses, grabbed a belt hold and steered his opponent out to his sixth defeat.

    Sekiwake Kotoshogiku, needing 10 wins in Osaka to regain promotion to ozeki following his recent demotion, fell to top-ranked maegashira Ikioi (2-9) to see his record fall to 7-4.

    Kotoshogiku tried to grab a left-handed, overarm belt hold on his charge, but it took too long to develop and Ikioi knocked the fumbling former ozeki to the sandy surface.

    Earlier, Tochiozan took advantage of a do-over to defeat No. 6 maegashira Chiyonokuni, who evaded his opponent's charge but jumped too far back to exploit his brief advantage.

    Tochiozan stopped in his tracks and easily forced out the surprised Chiyonokuni, who fell to 7-4. Their first bout was ruled a draw after they were judged to have crashed out of the ring

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  15. Swami

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    Chiyoo withdraws from Spring tourney with foot injury
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    Created on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 11:13
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    Rank-and-file wrestler Chiyoo withdrew from the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday with a fracture in his big right toe.

    The No. 15 maegashira submitted to the Japan Sumo Association a medical certificate that says he is expected to need about a month of rest and treatment.

    The 25-year-old had injured the toe during practice in February and aggravated it during his loss to 12th-ranked maegashira Ura on Tuesday, the 10th day of the 15-day tourney at Edion Arena Osaka.

    Chiyoo, who had a 3-7 record as of Tuesday, will lose to No. 13 Takakeisho by default on Wednesday.

    He is the fourth grappler in the top makuuchi division to miss part of the ongoing Spring meet due to injury, after Brazilian No. 8 maegashira Kaisei, Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho and ozeki Goeido. Kaisei returned to action last Friday after sitting out the first five days.

    Swami
     
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  16. Michelle Stevens
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    Michelle Stevens 'The Lovely Michelle'

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    I picked up on the highlights on NHK and the actual matches on YouTube. I noticed in the Tochiozan vs. Chiyonokuni match that they had to redo the match after both fell out of the ring. How often does that happen? Are draws common in Sumo?

    Good matches!
     
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  17. Swami

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    Draws used to be common in the 1950s and 1960s, the last known draw was back in 1974. Rematches are more frequent, if a winner cannot be declared immediately.

    Swami
     
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  18. Swami

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    Haru Day 12: Kisenosato stays perfect at Spring tourney, Terunofuji trails
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    Created on Thursday, 23 March 2017 20:09
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    Kisenosato had to contend with a last-second parry from Arawashi (3-9), but the new yokozuna held his now-familiar composure, leaning in to force the No. 4 Mongolian maegashira down at Edion Arena Osaka.

    Ozeki Terunofuji rode his luck against Endo (6-6), who make a bright start reacting well to a slap from the Mongolian. The fifth-ranked maegashira snatched a double-handed underarm belt hold and had the ozeki teetering on the edge after the early exchanges.

    But the sheer size difference kept Terunofuji in the contest, with the injury-plagued wrestler regaining ground and tripping up Endo with a knee before putting him to the dirt.

    Yokozuna Harumafuji (9-3) might be out of title contention here but was at his best to hand Kisenosato's Tagonoura stablemate Takayasu his second defeat of the meet.

    After charging in low, the Mongolian showed nimble footwork to get on the side of the sekiwake and give his opponent no time to breathe, flooring him after scooping up a thigh.

    No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan (10-2) also took a step back from the Kisenosato-trailing pack after getting grappled out by 14th-ranked Myogiryu (6-6).

    Yokozuna Kakuryu suffered his fourth defeat, unable to evade a powerful push from Tamawashi (6-6) as the sekiwake beat his Mongolian compatriot for the second tourney in a row.

    Sekiwake Kotoshogiku fell to a slap down from No. 3 maegashira Takarafuji (6-6) for his fifth defeat, and will now have to win all his remaining three bouts to secure an immediate return to ozeki rank.

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  19. Swami

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    Haru Day 13: Harumafuji hands Kisenosato 1st defeat at Spring tourney
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    Created on Friday, 24 March 2017 11:55
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    Yokozuna Harumafuji sent Kisenosato tumbling down the ring to his first defeat as yokozuna -- and might have left him with an injury -- on Friday, the 13th day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, where ozeki Terunofuji now shares the lead also with one defeat.

    Harumafuji (10-3) left Kisenosato reeling with a strong low charge and the Mongolian didn't let his opponent maneuver his way out, crushing the debutant yokozuna out and off the ring in the day's last bout.

    Kisenosato, who had notched up 12 consecutive wins, hit the ground with his left half of the body and had a difficult time getting up, looking obviously in pain around his left shoulder area, as packed spectators watched on worryingly at Edion Arena Osaka.

    Harumafuji's win gave a title boost to his countryman Terunofuji, who earlier outlasted yokozuna Kakuryu by using his big frame to his full advantage.

    Kakuryu was on the front foot briefly and grabbed a double-handed underarm belt hold, limiting Terunofuji to loose overarm grips in the process. But Terunofuji did not budge and gradually forced his smaller counterpart toward the edge before hoisting and sending the yokozuna over the straw bales.

    Takayasu is virtually out of the title race now after suffering his third straight defeat.

    Kisenosato's Tagonoura stablemate forced fourth-ranked maegashira Yoshikaze (8-5) on the back foot with strong thrusts to the throat, but the sekiwake never seemed comfortable with his diminutive opponent and was ousted on a swift counter.

    No. 10 maegashira Tochiozan (10-3) also dropped out of the race with his second defeat in as many days after he was shoved out of the ring by fifth-ranked Endo (7-6).

    Sekiwake Kotoshogiku's immediate return to ozeki is still on after he pushed out komusubi Shodai (4-9) for his eighth win. Kotoshogiku, who dropped to sekiwake after two consecutive losing records, can return to ozeki if he wins his two remaining bouts to secure 10 wins.

    Swami
     
  20. Swami

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    No. 4 maegashira Arawashi pulls out of Spring tourney
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    Created on Friday, 24 March 2017 11:54
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    Fourth-ranked maegashira Arawashi has withdrawn from the ongoing 15-day Spring Grand Sumo Tournament due to a left ankle sprain that will require a one-month recovery, sumo officials said Friday.

    The 30-year-old Mongolian from the Minezaki stable injured the ankle in his ninth loss of the Spring tournament at Edion Arena Osaka. He was wrestling yokozuna Kisenosato, who maintained his perfect record after 12 days on Thursday, when the injury occurred.

    Arawashi becomes the sixth injury withdrawal in the top two divisions at the Spring tournament. Seventh-ranked maegashira Ichinojo, his scheduled opponent for Friday, wins by forfeit.

    Swami
     

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