Yokozuna Kakuryu survived a scare to remain unbeaten and tied for the lead on Saturday, the seventh day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
After a string of comprehensive wins, the Mongolian grand champion was forced back to the straw after a strong initial slapping barrage by No. 3 Takakeisho (3-4). But the maegashira was unable to finish what he started, as Kakuryu escaped and drove him back across the ring and out.
Kakuryu has been dealing with pain in his right hand since the January tournament, where he opened with 10 straight wins before being slowed by injury. The win leaves the yokozuna tied for the lead in the 15-day event at Edion Arena Osaka with No. 6 maegashira Kaisei. Two other wrestlers are a win back at 6-1.
For the second straight day, Kaisei's match was over as soon as it started. Although his charge was a little off balance, the Brazilian was able to wrap up No. 8 maegashira Kagayaki's torso with both arms and drive him from the ring. Kagayaki, who had beaten Kaisei in three of their four previous career bouts, fell to 3-4.
No. 16 maegashira Daiamami remained one win back after taking a serious amount of hard hits from No. 10 Chiyonokuni (5-2), who failed to make any headway before running out of steam. When his opponent's pace slackened, Daiamami exploited his 38-kilogram weight advantage to push Chiyokuni to the edge and topple him with an easy overarm throw. No. 13 Daishomaru also won to improve to 6-1.
Ozeki Goeido made short work of winless No. 2 maegashira Takarafuji to improve to 5-2. The ozeki from Osaka was pushed to the brink of defeat, balancing on one leg at the straw's edge, but was able to escape, turn the tables and throw Takarafuji, beating him for the 12th time in 17 career bouts.
A day after Goeido halted his five-bout win streak, former sekiwake Shohozan suffered his second-straight loss to an ozeki. Takayasu (5-2), in his second marathon match in two days, and Shohozan battered away at each other. The two grappled, shoved, and twisted around and around, with Shohozan hitting the dirt after a failed attempt to break the stalemate.
The 57-second bout was Takayasu's second straight long match. On Friday, he barely scraped out a win in 1 minute, 21 seconds.
"A win is a win, but all I did was give him openings," said Takayasu, who has now won five straight.
Both sekiwake, Tochinoshin and Mitakeumi, improved to 5-2. Tochinoshin dispatched winless No. 2 maegashira Arawashi with a slick overarm throw, while Mitakeumi just barely shoved the foot of komusubi Chiyotairyu (1-6) out before he himself fell.
Komusubi Ichinojo was shoved out by Mongolian compatriot Tamawashi (4-3) to his second loss. After they collided, Tamawashi plowed his left palm into Ichinojo's face. Distracted by Tamawashi's left, the komusubi twisted violently to shake it off. But at that instant, Tamawashi planted both hands on Ichinojo's chest and shoved him across the straw.