Mongolian, Bulgarian Tied for Lead in Japanese Sumo

The Japan Times reports after Day 14 of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Bulgarian komusubi Kotooshu dismantled crowd pleaser Takamisakari to up the stakes against joint leader yokozuna Asashoryu on Saturday, winning his 12th bout at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

With just one day remaining, the pair is heading for their second clash of the 15-day meet in a possible playoff for winner takes all on Sunday.

Kotooshu, who stands over 2 meters and is being dubbed sumo’s David Beckham, absorbed a fierce attack from Takamisakari before adroitly spinning on his heels and wrenching down his opponent with his trademark overarm throw at Aichi Prefectural Gym. Takamisakari dropped to 10-4 and fell out of the running for the title.

Kotooshu stunned the yokozuna earlier in the week and will have a second chance at glory, if both wrestlers beat their opponents, Wakanosato and Tochiazuma, respectively, in their final bouts of regulation on the final day.

A victory over the yokozuna would make the Bulgarian the first European wrestler to claim the Emperor’s Cup hardware, but Asashoryu is still the favorite to win his fifth straight title.

UPDATE: Nuts! Asashoryu won his final bout, but Kotooshu didn’t, so there was no playoff. Be sure to check out Kotooshu’s ceremonial apron (kesho-mawashi). During the ring-entering ceremony he’s a walking ad for Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt.

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