Takayasu falls in ozeki debut against maegashira Hokutofuji


Takayasu flopped in his ozeki debut Sunday, going down at the hands of second-ranked maegashira Hokutofuji on the opening day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

On a wild day at the meet that saw all three ozeki and two yokozuna lose, Takayasu, promoted to sumo’s second-highest rank after going 11-4 at the last tourney in May, looked shaky throughout his first career meeting with Hokutofuji.

The sellout crowd at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium was well behind Takayasu, but the Tagonoura stable wrestler allowed Hokutofuji to set the tone, the maegashira getting the inside grip on the belt.

Hokutofuji had his opponent toeing the straw bales before Takayasu went over, unable to offer much resistance. Takayasu will try again for his first win as ozeki on Monday against No. 3 maegashira Ikioi.

“It’s kind of a blur, but I just tried to stay aggressive, keep pushing forward,” Hokutofuji said. “I went for broke. I was running on pure emotion today.”

Takayasu’s stablemate, yokozuna Kisensato, meekly succumbed to his first defeat of the meet as new sekiwake Mitakeumi beat him for the first time in six career bouts.

Kisenosato was forced to withdraw midway through the previous tournament with an injury to his left chest and upper-arm area, and did not appear fully recovered on Sunday.

Mitakeumi kept Kisenosato’s left arm off his mawashi from the tachiai, quickly sending his opponent backpedaling. The yokozuna could not fight back as Mitakeumi plowed him out of the ring with relative ease.

“I’m thrilled, there are no two ways about it,” Mitakeumi said. “The fight went just like I had hoped it would. I didn’t let him use his left-hand grip because if I did, I wouldn’t stand much of a chance.”

Yokozuna Hakuho, the winner of the Summer Basho, picked up where he left off by dominating komusubi Kotoshogiku. Fellow yokozuna Kakuryu also won, defeating No. 1 maegashira Shodai, but the remaining yokozuna, Harumafuji, was dropped by komusubi Yoshikaze, who got two hands on the back of the belt.

The two other ozeki, Goeido and Terunofuji, lost to second-ranked maegashira Tochinoshin and top-ranked Takakeisho, respectively.

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