It’s one of those days in sport, when the judges and referees get involved and fans everywhere are going to be unhappy one way or the other. I am referring to the matter of the mono-ii that followed the Terunofuji Myogiryu match, and the somewhat unclear evidence of Terunofuji’s hand pulling Myogiryu’s ochi-mage. I am fine if Terunofuji was derailed from his zensho by poor sumo or being bested on the clay, but to have his win reversed by, what is to my eye, not a clear example of the infraction, is just terrible. I hope that Terunofuji shows real mettle and does not let this turn of events derail him from his good sumo, and his march to the yusho.
Also, Darwin smiles across the large cohort of rikishi who ended the day at 6-5 or 5-6.
Enho defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru makes first contact at the tachiai, but Enho’s speed gives him a broad attack window, and as Chiyomaru is moving forward he steps to the side. Lunging in to apply lateral pressure, he gets Chiyomaru moving, and never lets him recover. It is just barely possible, should Enho “win out” that he could still reach kachi-koshi and return to the top division in July.
Kotonowaka defeats Kaisei – Kotonowaka had his hands inside at the tachiai, and immediately converted Kaisei’s forward momentum into enough energy to power a throw. Kotonowaka improves to 6-5. It was smooth and elegant.
Okinoumi defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi had the opening advantage, pushing Okinoumi back to the bales. Okinoumi had his hands in Tamawashi’s armpits, inputting lift to Tamawashi’s attack. With his heels on the bales, Okinoumi pivoted and pulled, sending Tamawashi to the clay, and picking up his 8th win for kachi-koshi.
Kagayaki defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma attempt at a deep right hand grip at the tachiai missed its mark, and that gave Kagayaki his chance. Although Chiyoshoma continued to attempt to attack, Kagayaki kept his hands forward and inside, and kept Chiyoshoma moving. Kagayaki improves to 5-6.
Shimanoumi defeats Ishiura – Shimanoumi snaps his 3 bout losing streak by keeping up the pressure on Ishiura and not letting him take even a single step forward. Both finish the day at 5-6.
Endo defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu loses his second in a row, missing out on kachi-koshi again today. Chiyotairyu’s sumo was push – pull – pull today, doing the bulk of the work in the match. Endo stayed low, stayed stable and just kept moving forward. Endo improves to 9-2.
Tsurugisho defeats Akua – Tsurugisho displays the danger of someone so massive trying a kimarite like abisetaoshi. Both tumble out of the ring, with Tsurugisho narrowly missing Daiamami but clobbering a shimpan. Both end the day at 4-7
Takarafuji defeats Daiamami – Daiamami went chest to chest at the tachiai, and Takarafuji obliged by immediately stalemating him at the center of the dohyo. Takarafuji locks into his tradition defend and extend mode of sumo, and Daiamami seems a bit puzzled about what to do. Everything Daiamami did from there on out allowed Takarafuji to incrementally improve his position, until he had a right hand outside grip. He did not have to wait too long, and Takarafuji finished him with a sukuinage. Both end the day at 5-6.
Ichinojo defeats Kotoeko – Most sumo fans wanted to see Kotoeko take down the boulder today, but Kotoeko chose a henka, and Ichinojo was ready. Three steps later, Kotoeko was dumped into the salt box and Ichinojo had his kachi-koshi.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Hidenoumi – Hidenoumi’s post tachiai hold went high, and found Terutsuyoshi’s head. This left his body wide open, and Terutsuyoshi attack low, and stayed low. Terutsuyoshi’s left hand frontal grip went to work and two steps later the uwatedashinage hit, sending Hidenoumi to the clay. Terutsuyoshi improves to 5-6.
Kiribayama defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin worked so hard to keep pressure off of that right knee, but Kiribayama’s right hand inside grip meant there was only one way to escape the pressure. Eventually Kiribayama wore him down and threw him across the bales. Tochinoshin’s 8th loss, and both end the day make-koshi at 3-8.
Tobizaru defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama’s return to action this week is looking at lot more questionable, as he pick up his second straight loss. AT the tachiai, Tobizaru steps back and to the side and pulls on Aoiyama’s right arm. Aoiyama loses balance and drops to the dohyo. Tobizaru improves to 2-9.
Wakatakakage defeats Hoshoryu – Both showed excellent form in this match, but Wakatakakage had better foot placement at the tachiai, and his hips were lower. He bundled up Hoshoryu and marched forward to take his 7th win.
Meisei defeats Daieisho – Daieisho took his eyes off of Meisei at the tachiai. This let Meisei get his hands inside, and laid on the attack. Daieisho rallied just for a moment, but it was all Meisei today, and he advanced to join the group at 5-6.
Hokutofuji defeats Mitakeumi – In a battle of the over-sized head bandages, it Hokutofuji who kept his hips lower, and his stance open. Mitakeumi is able to shut him down for a few seconds, but Hokutofuji’s second surge forward breaks through Mitakeumi’s defense, and he rushes forward to improve to 4-7. Mitakeumi’s week 2 fade seems to be coming into full bloom.
Takakeisho defeats Takayasu – Takayasu decides to get into a tsuppari contests with Takakeisho. Even my cat knows how that’s going to turn out. Takakeisho adjust the power setting to “3” and launches Takayasu over the bales. Takakeisho improves to 9-3.
Asanoyama defeats Takanosho – Takanosho was late off of the shikiri-sen, but hit with power. Putting his right hand under Asanoyama’s chin, he drove forward, and looked ready to take the match. But a ring’s edge rescue move from Asanoyama worked, and Takanosho found himself thrown to the clay. Asanoyama improves to 7-4.
Myogiryu defeats Terunofuji – Myogiryu gets both hands inside, and executes a strong opening combo. But Terunofuji defends well, consolidates his position and throws Myogiryu down for what looks like win 11. But a mono-ii is called. The judges want to look at that right hand against the back of Myogiryu’s head. The shimpan declare Terunofuji disqualified because of a hair pull, and the kaiju is handed his first loss. Terunofuji’s hand placement was sloppy, but I personally would not have called it a hair pull. I always hate it when officials reverse performance on the field, and the evidence is not exceedingly clear. But then again, I am just a fan, and I was not there. Myogiryu improves to 5-6, and I am going to guess he will be ripe fodder for Darwin in a few days. Just like that, without anyone actually beating Terunofuji, Endo and Takakeisho are now just 1 win behind.
Shodai defeats Onosho – Shodai absorbs Onosho’s big opening move, and his subsequent attempt to set up his big push goes nowhere, as Shodai already has him moving back. Realizing he is sunk, Onosho tries a pull, but that just feeds his loss, and Shodai pushes him out. Both end the day at 6-5.