Kiribayama Wins as Sumo Fields Weakest Lineup in Nearly a Century

In a field bereft of competitors from the top two ranks, Mongolian wrestler Kiribayama won the title in a playoff at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, Sunday. Coming in to the final day one win behind Daieisho, Kiribayama defeated the tournament leader in the last regulation bout of the day, then won the playoff match between the pair to capture his first Emperor's Cup championship.

Having just been promoted to sumo's third highest rank of sekiwake after the January tournament, Kiribayama weathered Daieisho's hard charge in the first match being pushed to the edge of the circle before neatly side stepping and shoving his foe out of the ring. The playoff between the pair was almost a repeat as Daieisho again charged forward looking to push his opponent out but Kiribayama once more sidestepped, this time using a little arm drag to throw Daieisho past him.

Earlier in the tournament, Takakeisho, currently the only wrestler occupying sumo's second-highest rank of ozeki, withdrew with an injury. Terunofuji, the only top-ranked yokozuna, failed to enter as he's recovering from surgery. It marked the first time since 1926 a tournament took place with no wrestlers from sumo's top two ranks competing.

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