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Sumo: Hakuho stays perfect, Asanoyama succumbs to Takayasu on Day 2

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mainichi– Yokozuna Hakuho maintained his perfect record Monday at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament but ozeki Asanoyama took his first loss after being outmaneuvered by komusubi Takayasu.

After a tough battle with komusubi Daieisho to start the 15-day meet at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hakuho cruised through the final bout of Day 2 against No. 1 maegashira Takarafuji with relative ease.

The rank-and-filer tried to take the fight to Hakuho, but after the pair locked up, the all-time championship record-holder sent Takarafuji (0-2) tumbling with an arm-lock throw.

With fellow Mongolian-born grappler Kakuryu once again out hurt, the 36-year-old Hakuho is fighting as the sole grand champion as he tries to overcome his own extended run of absences caused by health concerns, including a positive coronavirus test that sidelined him in January.

Former ozeki Takayasu (1-1) put on an impressive display of grappling to stop Asanoyama in his tracks and eventually topple him with a front crush out.

The pair each took a belt hold as they met in the center, but Takayasu remained in control to deny Asanoyama any momentum before sending him to the clay.

Ozeki Takakeisho overpowered Daieisho, the winner of the New Year tournament, in a hard-fought battle of pusher-thrusters.

The pair, both alumni of sumo powerhouse Saitama Sakae High School, traded heavy blows in the center of the ring before Takakeisho (2-0) shoved Daieisho (0-2) to the clay.

Ozeki Shodai (1-1) bounced back from his opening-day loss to komusubi Mitakeumi with a convincing win by push-out over No. 1 Onosho (0-2).

The maegashira opened with a thrusting attack but made the mistake of trying to pull down Shodai, who wasted no time in barging him off the dohyo.

Sekiwake Terunofuji, who is seeking to regain ozeki status for the first time since September 2017, overpowered No. 2 Wakatakakage (0-2) to move one win closer to the 10-plus he needs for promotion.

The maegashira was quick off the mark, but Terunofuji (2-0) contained his opening attack before slinging him out with an arm-lock throw.

Sekiwake Takanosho (1-1) took his first loss of the meet, losing by slap-down to No. 2 Hokutofuji (1-1).

Despite getting the better of the initial charge, Takanosho was unable to maintain his momentum against the former komusubi, who executed the winning move while pedaling backward.

Komusubi Mitakeumi, bidding to win his third Emperor’s Cup, improved to 2-0 with a routine pushout of No. 3 Meisei (1-1).

The grand tournament, the second to be held during a state of emergency, is missing 28 lower-ranked wrestlers who have been ruled out for coronavirus-related reasons.

Normally held in Osaka, the March tournament has been moved to Tokyo because of difficulties posed by the ongoing pandemic, becoming the fifth straight tourney to be held at Ryogoku Kokugikan.