The 2020 July Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo came to a history making conclusion on Sunday, August 2nd, after two weeks of action.
Juryo: After regularly scheduled matches, six Juryo wrestlers remained at 10 and 5. Eliminated in the first round were Kyokutaisei, Mitoryu, and Chiyono’o. The Juryo championship was then decided in a three-way playoff between Meisei, Akua, and Hoshoryu, all three from Tatsunami-beya. The winner was Meisei who ended up fighting 4 times on Sunday. He secures a good position on the rankings chart in his Makuuchi return.
Kyujo: After four months off, hopes were high for a healthy, injury free basho. Unfortunately, Yokozuna Kakuryu was the first to pull out after only one bout. Several others followed including Abi who was forced to withdraw due to misconduct off the dohyo.
Former Ozekis: Takayasu and Tochinoshin gave die-hard fans some hope this month, both posting 10 and 5 with solid finishes. Kotoshogiku did alright as well, achieving kachikoshi on day 11, but struggling after that.
Lightweight: Terutsuyoshi had a great moment at Shichigatsu, not only getting eight wins at his highest rank so far, M7, but also playing a key role in stablemate Terunofuji’s success by defeating Ozeki Asanoyama. After a back and forth start for Enho, he was only able to win one more after Nakabi. He finishes up with 5-10, his lowest top division score so far.
Upper Maegashira: M2 West Onosho finally picked up two wins to close out the tournament after his personal worst losing streak of 13. Takanosho got his eighth win on day 14 from his highest rank of Maegashira 2 East.
Sanyaku: All Sekiwake and Komusubi achieved kachikoshi for the first time since Aki 2019.
The Yusho Race: By day 10, some clear cut contenders for the title had emerged. Leading was Yokozuna Hakuho who was looking unstoppable. Trailing by 1 loss apiece were Ozeki Asanoyama, and top division returnee Terunofuji, sneaking into the mix from all the way down at M17. It became a three-way tie for the lead on day 11 when Komusubi Daieisho outmaneuvered the Yokozuna and blasted him out. Hakuho pulled out of the tournament due to a knee injury after his second straight loss, this time to Mitakeumi on day 12.
The remaining leaders were Asanoyama and Terunofuji, still at only one loss each. By day 13, with a win over coleader Asanoyama, Terunofuji had broken away and created a chance for himself to walk away with the title as early as day 14. It was Shodai who finally ended the Isegahama fighter’s eight win streak, leaving it up to Terunofuji’s stablemate Terutsuyoshi to keep him in the lead by defeating Asanoyama. And the lightweight delivered, as promised, with a rare ashitori, single-leg takedown.
Mitakeumi’s day 14 win over Kotoeko meant he and fellow Sekiwake Shodai, along with Asanoyama still had a chance at the title, if only Mitakeumi could take out Terunofuji.
When it came to the possible yusho deciding match, Mitakeumi was forced out for the 5th time by the Mongolian. And with that, Terunofuji won the title! He ends the tournament with 13 wins, 2 losses. This means for the first time ever, a top division champion has fallen below Juryo before coming back to win another. Terunofuji’s yusho drought of 30 tournaments is the second longest in history, the longest being Kotonishiki’s at 43 tournaments back in the 90s.
Runner up: To decide runner up, it was Asanoyama vs. Shodai. Migi-yotsu right off the bat, and the new Ozeki backed Shodai up. Shodai could not shake him off and was taken out. Asanoyama is runner up, 12-3.
Special Prizes: Three Outstanding Performance prizes were awarded to Mitakeumi, Daieisho, and Terunofuji. Terunofuji picked up the Technique prize as well. And the Fighting Spirit prize went to Shodai.
Congratulations to Terunofuji! And we will see you all at Aki Basho!