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Kakuryu takes Nagoya lead as Hakuho dealt 1st loss

The Yomiuri Shimbun

No. 4 maegashira Ichinojo, left, forces out yokozuna Hakuho on the ninth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday.

The Japan News Yokozuna Kakuryu took over sole lead of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Monday, following fellow yokozuna Hakuho’s first loss of the tournament by beating No. 4 maegashira Meisei to remain undefeated through nine days at Aichi Prefectural Gym.

Kakuryu, aiming for his sixth career Emperor’s Cup, grabbed a two-handed belt hold and, fighting off spirited resistance from Meisei in their first career meeting, steadily worked him over the edge.

In the previous bout, Hakuho, winner of a record 42 titles, was dealt a surprisingly one-sided loss by hefty No. 4 maegashira Ichinojo.

Right from the jump-off, Ichinojo slipped his hands in for a low belt hold while keeping the yokozuna from gaining a belt hold of his own. From there, it was just a matter of using his 227 kilograms to patiently press forward until he had Hakuho over the edge. It was just his third win in 15 career matches between the two Mongolians.

Ozeki Takayasu, who started the day as the only wrestler within one win of the leaders, fell further off the pace when he lost to No. 3 maegashira Shodai as he seemed strongly affected by an elbow injury suffered the previous day.

There was speculation that Takayasu might join the three other ozeki on the sidelines after hurting his left elbow during his victory on Sunday. But with the elbow wrapped in a tight supporter, he bravely fought on, although noticeably not at 100 percent.

Unable to extend his left arm to get a belt hold, Takayasu opted to press forward with his body. That proved effective, but as he forced Shodai to the edge, the maegashira gained a belt hold and twisted to the right, which flung Takayasu to the dirt.

In other action, komusubi Abi gained a much-needed win while dealing sekiwake Mitakeumi’s slim title hopes a blow, twisting him down to improve to 4-5. Mitakeumi fell to 6-3.

Sekiwake Tamawashi, who won the New Year tournament in January, ensured a demotion for the next basho when he was dealt a makekoshi eighth loss by No. 1 maegashira Hokutofuji.

Hokutofuji absorbed Tamawashi’s initial charge, before sliding to the side to allow the sekiwake’s own momentum to send him unceremoniously hurtling out of the ring.

No. 1 maegashira Asanoyama, winner of the previous Summer tournament in May, posted consecutive wins for the first time in this tourney when he forced out komusubi Ryuden (3-6) to improve to 4-5.

In one of the more entertaining early bouts, pint-sized No. 14 maegashira Enho put on a surprising display of power to defeat No. 10 maegashira Takagenji, much to the delight of the crowd.

Enho, who stands 1.68 meters and weighs 99 kilograms, went toe-to-toe with the 1.91-meter, 172-kilogram Takagenji, using a slapping attack to move him to the edge before finishing him off for his sixth win. Speech

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