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Terunofuji beats Myogiryu to finish first week undefeated


Yokozuna Terunofuji easily took care of rank-and-file opponent Myogiryu on Saturday to wrap up the opening week of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament with a flawless 7-0 record.

He shares the lead with ozeki Takakeisho, who was also untroubled in his bout against No. 3 maegashira Okinoumi on Day 7 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

Facing former sekiwake and current No. 3 Myogiryu (2-5) in the final bout of the day, lone grand champion Terunofuji established a virtually unbeatable double arm lock from the initial charge.

From there, the Mongolian-born juggernaut only needed to twist sideways to toss his hapless opponent to the sandy surface.

Terunofuji, who became a Japanese citizen this year, is aiming for his sixth Emperor’s Cup and first as sumo’s sole active yokozuna following the recent retirement of all-time great Hakuho.

Takakeisho was in command from the outset against Okinoumi (2-5), blasting him straight back and out in a matter of seconds.

Having struggled with a neck injury that forced his withdrawal from the July competition, two-time grand tournament winner Takakeisho looks to have regained his trademark explosiveness.

The other joint overnight leader, No. 15 Abi, took his first defeat of the 15-day tournament against No. 12 Hokutofuji (5-2), losing the battle of former komusubi by slap down.

Returning to makuuchi competition in Fukuoka, the 27-year-old Abi made a rapid climb back through the divisions after serving his three-tournament suspension for breaching coronavirus safety rules during the July 2020 meet.

Ozeki Shodai, making another lackluster start to a tournament, improved to 4-3 by forcing out No. 4 Takarafuji (3-4). The pair jockeyed for position before Shodai gained a double inside grip and bundled Takarafuji out.

Sekiwake Mitakeumi stayed one win off the pace at 6-1 with an easy thrust down against floundering komusubi Kiribayama (1-6).

Bidding for a third Emperor’s Cup, Mitakeumi was able to conserve energy after slinging his opponent to the clay in the opening seconds.

No. 6 Tamawashi remained one win back at 6-1 by pushing out No. 5 Takayasu (4-3). The one-time grand tournament winner from Mongolia delivered a strong opening hit and drove his former ozeki opponent straight out.

Sekiwake Meisei continued to struggle in his second tournament at sumo’s third-highest rank, dropping to 3-4 with a slap down loss to No. 2 Onosho (2-5).

The 27-year-old Kagoshima Prefecture native may be feeling a sense of deja vu, having just held onto his rank with a victory on the final day of the September tourney.

Komusubi Ichinojo (3-4) snapped a three-match losing streak by blowing away No. 1 Wakatakakage (2-5). The gigantic komusubi made the most of his roughly 80-kilogram weight advantage, blasting his opponent straight out from the opening.

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