Kakuryu suffered his first loss on Wednesday, while fellow yokozuna Hakuho remained unbeaten at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
In the day’s penultimate bout, No. 2 maegashira Shohozan (1-3) defeated yokozuna Kakuryu (3-1) in the biggest upset of the fourth day at the 15-day meet at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan. Kakuryu slapped his opponent’s face throughout the match, but the maegashira landed a winning shove as the yokozuna lost his footing and crashed down.
“I haven’t been able to wrestle like I wanted to the past three days, so I just did my best to get good contact against my opponent,” Shohozan said. “I was just struggling to push my opponent forward.”
Kakuryu, who missed bouts in four straight meets last year, has demonstrated his confidence since returning to the ring in January. The Izutsu stable wrestler is aiming to win back-to-back championships for the first time in his career.
“The opening charge is everything,” Kakuryu said about being forced back from the get-go. “I hesitated and it was over. I have to do a better job of thrusting my opponent back.”
Meanwhile, Hakuho (4-0) quickly dispatched Kaisei (0-4) for his 11th career win over the top-ranked Brazilian maegashira in as many bouts. The Mongolian joins three other wrestlers, including sekiwake Tochinoshin, at 4-0.
Tochinoshin, January’s champion, has been in winning form in his campaign to earn promotion to the sport’s second highest rank of ozeki.
He grabbed the belt of former sekiwake Mitakeumi (2-2) in their bout and quickly pushed him out without giving his opponent room to breathe.
The 30-year-old Georgian, who was 14-1 in January and 10-5 in March, is five short of attaining 33 wins over three meets, considered a prerequisite for ozeki promotion.
However, stablemaster Onomatsu, who is in charge of recommending promotion, has indicated Tochinoshin will need 10-plus wins to earn promotion.
The other perfect record holders are sekiwake Ichinojo and No. 4 maegashira Shodai. Ichinojo forced No. 3 maegashira Yutakayama (0-4) backwards out of the ring, while Shodai defeated No. 5 Ikioi (3-1).
Ozeki Goeido (2-2) suffered his second straight loss, falling to top-ranked maegashira Tamawashi (1-3).
No. 10 Okinoumi (3-1) was shoved out of the ring by No. 9 Daishomaru (3-1) for his first loss, while No. 12 Asanoyama (3-1) lost to No. 14 Sadanoumi (3-1).