Okinoumi (R) topples Myogiryu
TOKYO - Okinoumi maintained the sole lead at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, improving to 7-0 with an impressive win over fellow rank-and-file grappler Myogiryu.
The No. 8 maegashira, who became outright leader the previous day, has a one-win buffer over a trio of wrestlers including sekiwake Mitakeumi, who overpowered No. 4 Shodai.
In a shock result, the sole competing yokozuna Kakuryu (4-3) suffered a third straight defeat, getting slapped down by No. 3 Tomokaze in Day 7's final bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Looking for the right hand inside grip from the outset, Kakuryu lacked the momentum to keep Tomokaze from pulling him off balance. The lower-ranked wrestler yanked the yokozuna toward the side of the ring before slamming him to the clay.
After the bout, the emotional maegashira dedicated the win to former stablemate and close friend Yoshikaze, who announced his retirement earlier in the week.
"(Yoshikaze) is a role model for me, and the guy I always looked up to at my (Oguruma) stable," said Tomokaze (4-3). "I was able to do my best sumo, and honor him."
"I was sure (Kakuryu) would come head on, so I wanted to do the style of sumo I know, and go straight at him."
(Tomokaze (L) slaps down Kakuryu)
In his battle with No. 6 Myogiryu, Okinoumi, a former sekiwake, came in high at the jump and locked up his opponent's arms, but he was driven back by the muscular Sakaigawa stable wrestler.
Okinoumi resisted successive force-out attempts, holding his ground with one foot on the straw, before maneuvering Myogiryu (5-2) sideways and toppling him with an arm-lock throw.
Mitakeumi, looking for his second top-level title here, gave a strong showing in his win over Shodai (2-5).
Attacking hard and low from the opening, Mitakeumi stayed on top of his opponent, driving him out backward with powerful thrusts to the body and neck.
Sekiwake Takakeisho, who took his first defeat the previous day after being inadvertently tripped by the referee, dropped to 5-2 with a disappointing loss to No. 5 Chiyotairyu (2-5).
The former ozeki -- who is aiming for promotion straight back to sumo's second-highest rank with 10 or more wins here -- opened with an ill-considered attack, diving headfirst at his opponent, who slipped to the side and easily slapped him down.
Ozeki Tochinoshin (2-5), who needs at least eight wins to avoid demotion to sekiwake, quickly succumbed to a pushing attack from No. 3 Daieisho.
The big Georgian, who has been beset by knee and shoulder problems, clearly lacked power as he failed to hold his ground from the jump against Daieisho (3-4), who upset Kakuryu on Day 6.
Goeido (5-2), who is also fighting as a demotion-threatened "kadoban" ozeki, had an encouraging win over No. 4 Tamawashi (4-3).
Goeido blasted Tamawashi at the jump, hitting him with his shoulder and continuing to drive him backward. Tamawashi tried to evade Goeido's advance, but the ozeki spun him around and kept moving forward for a force-out victory over the Mongolian iron man, who has not missed a bout since his debut in 2004.
Among the other grapplers at 6-1, No. 10 Meisei dispatched No. 13 Kagayaki (3-4) with an underarm throw, while No. 15 Ishiura pushed out No. 16 Yutakayama (3-4).