Read the full story on SportsLook - Takakeisho Off to a Convincing Start at Kyushu Basho
In the day's final bout at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, Takakeisho came bursting out of the face-off and used his trademark arm thrusts to send Hokutofuji out over the straw ridge while barely breaking a sweat.
With a chance to improve his chances for promotion to yokozuna, Takakeisho is highly motivated to get off to a good start in the 15-day Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, the last of 2023. He's had a history of struggling out of the gate and wants to avoid that in the first week.
Takakeisho captured his fourth top-division title by winning a championship playoff with 21-year-old rank-and-filer Atamifuji in the Autumn Basho in September.
In other major bouts, ozeki Kirishima manhandled Ura when he got both arms inside on the top maegashira and used a frontal crush-out at the edge to start with a convincing win.
Mongolian ozeki Hoshoryu went on the attack from the outset and deployed several powerful arm thrusts to defeat former ozeki Shodai in a matter of seconds.
Sekiwake Daieisho, who is bidding for promotion to ozeki, unleashed a barrage of powerful arm thrusts to the head, chest and throat of No 2 maegashira Meisei to pick up a convincing opening-day win.
Atamifuji Outduels Myogiryu on Day 1 of Kyushu Basho
Eighth-ranked maegashira Atamifuji got off to a winning start when he used a perfectly timed arm-lock throw to defeat veteran Myogiryu, a No 9 maegashira.
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Author: Jim Armstrong
The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.