Kisenosato Wins His First Championship
Ozeki Kisenosato has finally accomplished a championship win, as he defeated maegashira Ichinojo, while yokozuna Hakuho was defeated by Takanoiwa, to clinch the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament title.
Ichinojo charged at Kisenosato to start their encounter on Saturday, but that simply allowed the ozeki to toss his opposition out of the ring quickly. And then, in upset fashion, Takanoiwa scored a victory over a yokozuna, Hakuho, to officially give Kisenosato the title.
"I’m happy," Kisenosato told The Japan Times. "I’ll do my work properly until the end. Tomorrow’s important. I have nothing but gratitude to everyone."
Kisenosato has finished close to the top in several tournaments, but this is his first time finishing on top of the standings.
Chinese No. 10 maegashira Sokokurai started the day off with an upset victory of his own, defeating komusubi Takayasu. Meanwhile, top-ranked Mitakeumi scored a win over No. 8 maegashira Hokutofuji.
Two wrestlers — Kotoshogiku and Terunofuji — are set to be demoted from ozeki to sekiwake following this tournament. Both will finish with losing records in back to back tournaments.
Kotoshogiku earned his 10th loss of this tournament on Saturday when he was forced out of the ring and defeated by third-ranked Ikioi, the winner of the 2016 New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. Terunofuji also suffered his 10th loss of the tournament, as he was stopped by sekiwake Shodai.