Defending champion Hakuho got a run for his money, but he and all of the top wrestlers except sekiwake Goeido claimed wins on July 8, the second day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho got a surprisingly hard fight out of top maegashira Takayasu, who tenaciously stayed upright despite several attempts by the yokozuna to flip him down. Hakuho was never in trouble, but Takayasu certainly deserves credit for making him work so hard for the win, his 32nd in a row. Hakuho said he is looking to extend that streak to 40, which would put him in the record books.
Harumafuji took top maegashira Takekaze straight on and thrust his way to victory. It was a clean, focused bout for the junior yokozuna, who has a less-than-consistent record at the top.
Kisenosato--going into his bout with a 12-6 advantage--had no trouble at all, sending Mongolian komusubi Tokitenku tumbling to the dirt. The ozeki came out low and used a belt hold to topple his opponent.
Kisenosato (13-2 the last time) is trying to position himself for promotion, though he has been unable to break through the current yokozuna wall. To make the grade, he must have a truly outstanding record right up to the end. Normally, a wrestler must win two consecutive titles to earn the boost. If he can pull it off, he would be the first Japan-born yokozuna since 2003.
Kotoshogiku, the other native Japanese ozeki, was solid and aggressive in his defeat of komusubi Shohozan with a push-out. He hasn't exactly been a standout since he became ozeki, but he has fared pretty well, rising from eight wins in March to 11 wins in May with a fairly conventional, but effective, grappling and thrusting style.
Recovering nicely from a bad start the day before, Mongolian ozeki Kakuryu whipped gargantuan No. 2 maegashira Gagamaru off his feet with a confident and well-timed throw. Kakuryu by all measures was the favorite, and he appeared to use the match to recalibrate and push off anew. Gagamaru, who at 206 kilograms is hefty even by sumo standards, is 0-2.
Bulgaria's embattled ozeki Kotooshu, just narrowly able to retain his rank with eight wins the last time, railroaded No. 2 maegashira Tochiozan out of the ring for his second win. Tochiozan, who upset Kakuryu on the opening day, had no footing and was quickly bidding a retreat as the ozeki rushed forward.
Goeido, who was 7-8 in May, lost badly to No. 3 maegashira Chiyotairyu.
The sekiwake fared poorly at the face-off and it was downhill from there as Chiyotairyu peppered him with shoves and slaps. Sekiwake Myogiryu, however, thrust out No. 3 maegashira Aminishiki, putting both wrestlers at 1-1. Aminishiki, who is at his best when under pressure, defeated Goeido the day before, so it was an important win for Myogiryu.