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Sumo: Wakatakakage makes Asanoyama 2nd ozeki victim in row

Wakatakakage, left, crushes out Asanoyama on Day 3 of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on May 11, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Rising talent Wakatakakage upset Asanoyama with an impressive display of athleticism Tuesday to claim his second straight win over an ozeki at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

    No. 1 maegashira Wakatakakage followed his victory over ozeki Shodai by handing Asanoyama back-to-back losses on Day 3 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, where the meet has started behind closed doors amid the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency.

    Having slipped behind Asanoyama (1-2) from the jump, Wakatakakage (2-1) locked up with the ozeki after an unsuccessful attempt to drive him out.

    Burying his head in Asanoyama's chest, Wakatakakage prevented his larger opponent from leveraging his size advantage in a back-and-forth tussle that ended with the maegashira crushing out the ozeki.

    "My body reacted naturally, so I just moved that way," said the 26-year-old Wakatakakage, who appears on track for promotion to the three elite "sanyaku" ranks below yokozuna.

    "I'll just take things day by day, and if it works out, so be it."

    Ozeki Terunofuji (3-0) continued his strong start to the meet by manhandling No. 2 Tobizaru (1-2). The winner of the March tournament unceremoniously dumped the dangerous maegashira onto the clay with an overarm throw.

    The 29-year-old Terunofuji was promoted back to ozeki after winning the Emperor's Cup in March, making him the first wrestler to return to sumo's second-highest rank after falling as low as the fifth-tier jonidan division.

    Shodai (2-1), one of three ozeki to lose on Day 2 along with Asanoyama and Takakeisho, got back on the winning track against komusubi Daieisho (1-2).

    His victory by thrust down was less than convincing, however, with officials taking their time to determine which of the two wrestlers flew out of the ring first.

    Takakeisho (2-1), who fell to komusubi Mitakeumi on Day 2, bounced back by pushing out No. 1 Hokutofuji.

    The ozeki won the opening clash and drove Hokutofuji (0-3) to the edge, but the maegashira stubbornly kept his feet planted inside the straw before eventually succumbing.

    The four ozeki are sharing top billing at the 15-day tournament in the absence of grand champion Hakuho, who is recovering from knee surgery.

    Sekiwake Takayasu improved to 3-0 with a straightforward win against No. 2 Meisei (1-2). After getting the better of the opening collision, former ozeki Takayasu drove the maegashira near the edge and pushed him down to the clay.

    Sekiwake Takanosho (2-1) rebounded from an upset loss to Tobizaru on Day 2 by quickly dispatching No. 4 Kiribayama (0-3) with a front push down.

    Following his win over Takakeisho, Mitakeumi stayed perfect at 3-0 by easily pushing out No. 3 Chiyonokuni (0-3), who appeared to be laboring with an injury as he walked gingerly from the ring.

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