No. 2 maegashira Midorifuji toppled yokozuna promotion-chasing Kirishima at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday, handing the ozeki his first defeat of the 15-day meet.

Kirishima (3-1) was on the receiving end of an incessant attack from the demunitive Midorifuji (1-3), whose sharp opening drive had the ozeki backpedalling before Kirishima eventually looked to have grabbed hold of the agile rank-and-filer's arms.

No. 2 maegashira Midorifuji (top) topples yokozuna promotion-chasing Kirishima at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Jan. 17, 2024. (Kyodo)

But Midorifuji did not give Kirishima any breathing room, quickly launching a right beltless throw that sent the ozeki teetering to one side before emphatically executing his trademark under-shoulder swing down.

"I was doing things off the cuff but it worked out well," Midorifuji said. "I did well in leaving some gap between us as I was trying not to get my arms barred, and it was great I could show my favorite technique."

Ozeki Hoshoryu (4-0) was tested throughout but salvaged a win against No. 1 Wakamotoharu (2-2) after surviving shoves to his throat by the former sekiwake.

With both feet up on the straw bales, the nephew of Mongolian great Asashoryu spun to escape his tight spot and sent Wakamotoharu to the clay with a rear throw down.

Yokozuna Terunofuji (3-1), who is returning from a prolonged injury absence, did not have the best start against Gonoyama (1-3) but made a quick adjustment. He seized the No. 3's right arm, swung him to one side and floored him with a left overarm throw.

Kotonowaka (4-0) stayed perfect. The composed sekiwake withstood early pressure from Atamifuji (0-4) and floored the No. 1 with an under-shoulder swing down.

Former ozeki Asanoyama (4-0) continued his fine start to the tournament as the No. 7 quickly grappled out 204-centimeter No. 8 Hokuseiho (1-3).

Sekiwake Daieisho (3-1) overcame stubborn resistance from No. 4 Shodai (2-2) as he pushed down the former ozeki at the edge. Ura earned his first win as a komusubi by default after ozeki Takakeisho (2-2) withdrew with a neck issue.

No. 15 Onosato (3-1), who hails from Ishikawa Prefecture, heavily hit by an earthquake on New Year's Day, emphatically bulldozed out fellow makuuchi-division debutant No. 17 Shimazuumi (3-1) to his first defeat.


Related coverage:

Sumo: Ozeki Takakeisho pulls out of New Year meet with neck injury

Sumo: Wakamotoharu earns 2nd elite scalp by beating ozeki Takakeisho

Sumo: Komusubi Takayasu withdraws at New Year meet