Under-fire Kisenosato survives scare, bags 2nd win

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Yokozuna Kisenosato, right, slaps down komusubi Takakeisho during Monday’s match in Tokyo.

The Japan News Yokozuna Kisenosato, staking his career on the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, gave an impressive indication of just how determined he is in his mission.

Twice on the verge of defeat at the hands of komusubi Takakeisho, the injury-plagued yokozuna managed to survive the predicaments and snatch his second straight victory on Monday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Takakeisho pushed Kisenosato back to the edge on the jump-off, then when the yokozuna resisted, stepped aside to let Kisenosato’s momentum nearly send him out at the opposite end. But Kisenosato stood his ground, and when an opening came, slapped the komusubi down.

Kisenosato had missed all or part of the last eight tournaments, including sitting out the past three entirely. His victory over No. 1 maegashira Ikioi on Sunday marked his first in 237 days.

Yokozuna Hakuho, who along with fellow yokozuna Kakuryu dropped out of the previous Nagoya tournament, gained a left hand belt hold against Ikioi, then pressed on his head to force him down for his second win.

Kakuryu maintained his dominance of No. 1 maegashira Kaisei, quickly slipping behind him and easily marching him out from behind. It was Kakuryu’s 14th win in 14 career bouts with Kaisei, who defeated ozeki Goeido on Sunday.

Ozeki Tochinoshin, whose Nagoya tournament also came to a premature end due to injury, successfully worked in and secured a belt hold against No. 2 maegashira Yutakayama at the edge, then forced him over the bales to improve to 2-0.

It was a good day overall for the ozeki trio, as Goeido (1-1) and Takayasu (2-0) also came away with victories.

Sekiwake Mitakeumi, who captured the Nagoya tournament title in July in the absence of the three yokozuna and Tochinoshin, took another step forward in his bid for promotion to ozeki by notching his second victory with some slick footwork.

Sent barreling backward on the jump-off by No. 2 maegashira Chiyotairyu, Mitakeumi gained a foothold, slipped to the side and then shoved his opponent out.

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