The Japan News In the tournament that nobody seems to want to win, a new star has suddenly emerged.
No. 3 maegashira Onosho remained the only unbeaten wrestler just five days into the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament by handing the lone yokozuna in the field, Harumafuji, his third straight loss on Thursday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Harumafuji (2-3), regarded as the prohibitive favorite when the three other yokozuna withdrew before the tournament, instead finds himself with a high hill to climb to get back into the title chase.
In notching his first career kinboshi — awarded to a maegashira-ranked wrestler for a win over a yokozuna — Onosho weathered the shoves of Harumafuji. In a somewhat surreal ending, Harumafuji got overextended and as Onosho put the pressure on, the yokozuna did a full front flip in the air, landing with a splat on his back and a stunned look on his face.
The four other maegashira-ranked wrestlers who went into the day unbeaten all lost, leaving a total of seven wrestlers with 4-1 records, only one of whom is from among the top four ranks.
Ozeki Goeido, who needs a majority of wins to keep his rank, called on his wits and experience to notch his fourth win while dealing No. 3 maegashira Chiyotairyu his first loss. Blasted back at the jump-off, Goeido kept his calm amid an onslaught of shoves and, using a perfectly timed twist, sent Chiyo- tairyu flopping forward onto his face.
Fellow ozeki Terunofuji, also needing at least eight wins to remain at the second-highest rank, became the latest wrestler to leave the ring gingerly, apparently suffering a left leg injury as he was forced out by No. 4 maegashira Shohozan. Two wrestlers, including ozeki Takayasu, have already joined the yokozuna trio on the sidelines due to injuries.
Meanwhile, No. 1 maegashira Kotoshogiku’s surprising unbeaten run in his first tournament since dropping out of the sanyaku — the three ranks below yokozuna — came to an end with a loss to No. 5 maegashira Shodai, a former sekiwake himself.
Kotoshogiku started the year as an ozeki and had a chance for promotion to yokozuna, but instead went the other direction and plunged down the ranks. Given the thin field, he still has a strong chance at redemption and a second career title.