Kisenosato remains winless after victory overturned

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The moment of truth for Kisenosato on Day 4 (screenshot)

FUKUOKA, JAPAN – A controversial decision on Wednesday brought one of Japan’s top athletes one step closer to what may be a career-ending moment.

Yokuzuna Kisenosato fell to 0-4, the first time a yokozuna has begun a basho with four straight losses since 1931.

The latest loss was the third straight kinboshi given up by Kisenosato, this time to the undefeated Tochiozan.

In their bout, Tochiozan was pushed back to the edge of the dohyo but managed to avoid the oshidashi and grab Kisenosato’s side for a sukuinage as the two rikishi fell out of the dohyo almost simultaneously.

The gyoji initially awarded the win to Kisenosato, indicating that Tochiozan went out first, but the call was reversed after a mono-ii verified that hit the ground first.

Kisenosato’s loss puts him four losses away from make-koshi, a predicament that generally forces yokozuna into retirement by unwritten custom and tradition.

Tochiozan joins two other rikishi atop the standings with a 4-0 record while five of the 40 rikishi participating in the basho, including Kisenosato, remain winless.