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Up-and-Comers Takerufuji and Onosato Take Charge at Spring Basho

Rookie Takerufuji defeated Ryuden to stay in the lead at the 15-day Spring Basho while Onosato is just one win back at the midway point.



Spring Basho
Takerufuji (left) clashes with Ryuden in a Spring Basho bout on March 17, 2024, at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium. (KYODO)

Elite division rookie Takerufuji defeated fellow rank-and-filer Ryuden on Sunday, March 17 to stay in sole possession of the lead at the midway point of the Spring Basho.

No 17 maegashira Takerufuji used a bread-and-butter frontal push-out to overpower 13th-ranked Ryuden and improve to a perfect 8-0 in the 15-day Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

Ryuden dropped to 4-4 and was no match for the rising star who needed only nine tournaments since his professional debut to reach the elite makuuchi division, tying the record for the fastest promotion.

"I'm just trying to focus on each bout one at a time," said Takerufuji, who, at the very least, wrapped up a winning record. "I try to handle things just as I did in the juryo division and will do my best."

Spring Basho
Onosato (front) maintains his balance en route to victory over Tamawashi. (©SANKEI)

No 6 maegashira Onosato, who made his pro debut in May 2023, fought off several arm thrusts to the neck and then shoved out 39-year-old veteran Tamawashi to stay one win off the pace at 7-1.

Seventh-ranked maegashira Tamawashi, who dropped to 2-6, was showing his age against the young hope and had no response after the arm thrusts at the initial charge.

Spring Basho
Ozeki Kotonowaka (left) puts the finishing touches on a win over sekiwake Wakamotoharu. (KYODO)

Other Contenders at the Spring Basho

A large group of wrestlers is two wins off the pace at 6-2. 


Among them is newly promoted ozeki Kotonowaka, who used a barrage of powerful arm thrusts to send sekiwake Wakamotoharu (5-3) tumbling off the raised ring in the day's final bout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

Spring Basho
Hoshoryu (right) grapples with Takanosho. (©SANKEI)

Mongolian ozeki Hoshoryu stayed right in the thick of things when he got a right-hand upper-body grip and shoved Takanosho out to pick up his sixth win against two losses.

Third-ranked maegashira Takanosho pushed Hoshoryu right back to the edge but couldn't finish the job off and fell to 3-5.

Spring Basho
Tobizaru (right) manhandles Kirishima on Day 8. (KYODO)

Tobizaru Conquers Kirishima

Sumo's Flying Monkey Tobizaru pulled off the day's biggest upset when he got a shallow grip on Kirishima and bulldozed the struggling ozeki out to pick up his fifth win against three losses.

"I was able to create my attack from a lower level," Tobizaru said before adding, "I am trying to be able to do my style of sumo every day."

It's been a disastrous Spring Basho for Kirishima, who dropped to an unflattering 2-6. 

Takakeisho Showcases Strength Against Oho

Human cannonball Takakeisho relied on his relentless pushing attack to send No 3 maegashira Oho backpedaling off the raised ring.


Takakeisho improved to 6-2 and is now just two wins away from securing the eight wins he needs to maintain his ozeki status for the next tournament in May.

Oho, who defeated lone yokozuna Terunofuji earlier in the tournament, simply had no response for the ozeki's powerful thrusting attack and dropped to 3-5.

Spring Basho
Abi shoves Ura over the edge of the raised ring for his sixth win in eight Spring Basho matches. (©SANKEI)

Komusubi Abi used a face slap at the face-off and then unleashed a powerful arm thrust to send Osaka native Ura tumbling off the raised ring and into the first row of seats.

Abi improved to 6-2 while top maegashira Ura dropped to 3-5.


Follow sumo coverage throughout the year on SportsLook.

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.


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