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Midorifuji leads as Osaka tournament left without ozeki or yokozuna after Takakeisho’s withdrawal

Rank-and-file grappler Midorifuji stayed unbeaten Saturday to take the outright lead after seven days of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, where the action inside the ring was overshadowed by the injury withdrawal of lone ozeki Takakeisho.

The 15-day tournament at Edion Arena Osaka became the first since the start of Showa Era in 1926 to be contested without a wrestler from sumo’s top two ranks after Takakeisho’s withdrawal, coupled with the absence of lone yokozuna Terunofuji following surgery.

The 26-year-old Takakeisho ended his bid for a second straight championship and yokozuna promotion after pulling out earlier in the day with a left knee injury.

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