Nagoya 2023: Day 3 Highlights

Well, Terunofuji is trending on Twitter. That’s pretty cool. Not for good reasons, though, it’s for chaos reasons. Now, Daieisho leads this tournament with the likes of Nishikigi and Endo. What universe have I fallen into? I jumped in a lake last weekend which must have been a portal to Weirdville. Well, let’s ride it out.


Atamifuji (2-1) defeated Aoiyama (1-2): Atamifuji drove forward, absorbing Aoiyama’s tsuppari, then abruptly spun Aoiyama around and pushed him out and down from behind. Okuritaoshi.

Takarafuji (2-1) defeated Hakuoho (2-1): Takarafuji drove forward from the tachiai. As Hakuoho tried to assert his favorite grip, Takarafuji abruptly pivoted, forcing Hakuoho to the ground. That was…unexpected. Tsukiotoshi.

Bushozan (1-2) defeated Ryuden (0-3): Bushozan drove forward into Ryuden, forcing him back. As the pair neared the edge, Bushozan abruptly pulled, forcing Ryuden to roll across the floor. I am sensing a pattern here. Different kimarite but note that these winners, so far, are pressing forward before executing their switcheroos. Hikiotoshi.

Endo (3-0) defeated Shonannoumi (2-1): Endo switched things up by executing his change of direction at the tachiai. I would call that a henka, though it was on the edge of the “hit-and-shift” henka-non-henka. Missing was an attempt to grab onto Shonannoumi’s belt. Instead, Endo corralled Shonannoumi with his arms extended and drove forward, forcing Shonannoumi out. Endo was dwarfed by Shonannoumi and I think that played into his decision to use a henka. Yorikiri.

Gonoyama (3-0) defeated Daishoho (0-3): Daishoho tried to press forward into Gonoyama but Gonoyama was just stronger and able to press Daishoho at will. Gonoyama pushed Daishoho, drove him backwards and over the edge. Oshidashi.

Chiyoshoma (2-1) defeated Kotoshoho (1-2): Chiyoshoma changed things here by pulling at the tachiai and swinging Kotoshoho around, then pushing him out from behind. Kotoshoho was helpless and seemed unprepared to even attempt a counter. Okuridashi.

Myogiryu (1-2) defeated Tsurugisho (0-3): Day 3 and we finally witness some offense from Tsurugisho. He pulled at the tachai and attempted a slapdown. Myogiryu was able to maintain his balance and then tried his own hatakikomi. Now with his feet at the tawara, that left Myogiryu with no space to maneuver backwards. So Myogiryu then wrapped up Tsurugisho in a bear hug, drove forward and forced Tsurugisho out. Yorikiri.

Kinbozan (2-1) defeated Kotoeko (2-1): Kotoeko shifted at the the edge but his misdirection was caught out by Kinbozan. Kinbozan locked on with a left-hand overarm grip, and swung Kotoeko around, throwing him to the ground and over the tawara. There’s that size advantage. Uwatenage.

Nishikifuji (3-0) defeated Hokutofuji (2-1): Hokutofuji is having problems keeping his feet solidly under him. He’s lucked out so far but Nishikifuji ended that. At the tachiai, Nishikifuji drove forward for a brief second, then pulled, allowing Hokutofuji’s momentum to carry him clear off the dohyo’s surface and into the front row. Hatakikomi.

Sadanoumi (1-2) defeated Takanosho (0-3): Sadanoumi picked up his first win by moving forward. Takanosho mistake was pulling at the tachiai and trying to pivot at the edge but ran out of room. Takanosho stepped out before Sadanoumi tumbled into the front row. Yorikiri?

Halftime. Time to sweep and water the dohyo.

Tamawashi (2-1) defeated Oho (1-2): Tamawashi sumo here. Powerful shoves to entice Oho forward, and then a sudden pull down. And Oho fell for it, literally. The eagle defeated the phoenix. Hatakikomi.

Takayasu (3-0) defeated Hokuseiho (1-2): The saddest henka in history. I see that Hokuseiho was trying to go over and grab the back of Takayasu’s mawashi but not today. You really have to go for it with the henka. Sell it. This was half-hearted. Takayasu caught him out and pushed Hokuseiho to the edge, meeting resistance at the tawara, before shifting and thrusting him back to the ground. Tsukiotoshi.

Ura (1-2) defeated Onosho (1-2): Ura sumo, if there is such a thing. Allow the opponent to drive you to the edge, then pivot at the tawara and let the opponent fly out. It failed at the first attempt, so try it again, right? Ura was able to push from behind, so okuridashi.

Asanoyama (2-1) defeated Hiradoumi (1-2): Hiradoumi gave it the good college try but Asanoyama prevailed. Hiradoumi was like a big ole marlin, flopping back and forth in desperation, fighting against the hook. Asanoyama was the patient fisherman, and once he had Hiradoumi on the hook, he just needed to wait for him to tire and reel him in. He finally got Hiradoumi to the edge, he walked him out. No catch and release here. Yorikiri.


Abi (2-1) defeated Meisei (2-1): Oh, no, Abi’s big foot might have been out first but the judges didn’t see it. Abi won with ugly, retreating sumo. He danced, dangerously, along the tawara and drove Meisei down. Oh, people gonna be angry at this one. Hatakikomi.

Kotonowaka (2-1) defeated Mitakeumi (0-3): I think Mitakeumi’s still a bit injured with the left thigh. Looks like he’s got a tanline where a big wrap should be. That leg’s not giving him the ability to push forward. Kotonowaka waited him out and drove him over the edge. Yorikiri.

Daieisho (3-0) destroyed Midorifuji (0-3): Jesus. Daieisho’s tachiai nearly forced Midorifuji out. That was an effective use of tsuppari, right at the face. In the end, it took two shoves. Wow. Damn right that was TSUKIdashi, with a capital “TSUKI.” I just realized that a major drawback of the Japanese script is that without capital letters, you can’t yell at people with written words. Or maybe that’s a feature, instead of a drawback, because no more yelling in emails? I digress because it’s 5am.

Nishikigi (3-0) defeated Hoshoryu (2-1): Hoshoryu is the first Ozeki candidate to stumble. Nodowa to force Nishikigi back, then a pull to get him down. But Nishikigi recovered before his momentum carried him out. As Hoshoryu went to re-engage, he met a brick wall named Nishikigi and it forced him down. Hatakikomi.


Shodai (1-2) defeated Wakamotoharu (2-1): He’s still too damn high at the tachiai but solid sumo from Shodai. No gimmickry at the edge. Just straight forward sumo. This is the Shodai that could be great. Another Ozeki candidate down. Oshidashi.

Tobizaru (1-2) defeated Terunofuji (1-2): Nishikigi is still in the Yokozuna’s head. No attempt at kimedashi today. Just belt sumo from the Yokozuna and that was a mistake. Super loose mawashi from Tobizaru kept him alive long enough to challenge the Yokozuna. Tobizaru’s mawashi was up clear over his boobs. Terunofuji’s like, “How can I throw your ass when I pull the mawashi all the way to your armpits?” Tobizaru kicked out and a desperate Terunofuji launched forward but off balance, Tobizaru ushered the Yokozuna out. Terunofuji staggers away, “what the hell?” Yorikiri.

23 thoughts on “Nagoya 2023: Day 3 Highlights

  1. Is it REAL?? its been only 20 minuits since the kinbosh, and you post this highlight?? with so much detail?

    • On Day 1, Terunofuji could barely ease out a squat at the end of his bout. That was worrying. I don’t think he moved well on Day 2.

      On Day 3, his buckling on the dohyo after the bout was frightening to see. A human being’s body shouldn’t be moving like that.

      If Terunofuji comes back from that, I will be shocked.

  2. “Executing their switcheroos” is a great turn of phrase. Nicely done, Andy.

    Hakuoho isn’t used to his opponents knowing what his favorite grip is and how to counter it. Give the white star to the older, experienced rikishi.

    I also wasn’t sure about Endo’s “henka” (I thought it was a “hit and shift” too), but I think we’re going to see more of this as people try to figure out advantages against opponents in the future. The non-grab also probably mentally threw Shonannoumi and making people hesitate usually turns into wins against them.

    I’m not sure what’s up with Daishoho. Either he’s punching above his weight on the banzuke or he just isn’t putting everything together properly.

    I suspect Hokuseiho is in his “My normal sumo isn’t working, so what the heck do I do?!” stage. Kinbozan was there in the last basho or two and it means that Hokuseiho will hopefully start to progress in learning new skills. He might eke out an 8-7, but a make-koshi wouldn’t surprise me either.

    Hiradoumi had the right idea, but poor execution at the bales. Swing your hips and not your shoulders to break a grip! Easier said than done when being manhandled by a bulldozer, though.

    Abi’s in a weird spot at the moment. He’s skilled enough to do well, but he seems either unsure of himself or he’s falling back into bad habits where he panics and gets stuck in reverse. The multiple henkas last basho also potentially indicate a lack of confidence in his sumo (he also might have had a hidden injury, but he had zero problem executing the henkas, so….who knows?). We’ll see how he does over the next couple of days.

    I think you’re right about Mitakeumi, Andy. He’s mostly there, but definitely not at 100%.

    I’m less worried about Tobizaru’s mawashi and more about the obvious grimaces of pain that Terunofuji was making during the bout. You might also be right about his lack of confidence in his “standard sumo”. Just a combination of certain things all working together to give him a loss. Kudos to Tobizaru for hanging in there and getting it done, though.

  3. Tobizaru vs Terunofuji – one of the best fight I have watched.
    TOBIZARU Respect!!!!!!👍
    His never give up attitude, even when he was in the brink of loosing, amazing!!

    • Kicking the knee of an obviously badly injured yokozuna, and winning with a deliberately loose mawashi trick, although a long and hard fight, I don’t consider it the best fight at all.
      Don’t get me wrong, it was a perfectly legal fight from Tobizaru, but for me it was a clever cheap trick win against a soon to be retired yokozuna.

      That’s all and nothing more.

      • I understand your point of view, similar argument was going on, in the youtube comment section.
        There were lots of comments and counter comments.
        One thing is Terunofuji just had the grip of upper layer of Mawashi, if he were able to grasp a proper hold, then there was no question of loose Mawashi.
        And Tobizaru did not kick the knee, it was more of a leg sweep, which Terunofuji had tried just a few seconds before him. And at such a heat of the moment, he cannot contemplate whether to use a trick, which may hurt the other rikishi, especially while fighting against such a dominant Yokozuna.
        It may not be the best, but it was a very good fight.

        • I wonder how many people who talk about “a proper hold” have ever tried to grasp a mawashi. There are multiple layers, sometimes many, and Kisenosato has described being unable to get under Kotoshogiku’s.

          • Right? That salon video on mawashi was super eye opening. I had no idea some went for tying it super tight so the opponent couldn’t grab it.

      • When i first read your post I thought “that’s too bad he won that way,” but you might want to re-watch the match.

        Looks like Terunofuji made the mawashi loose when he grabbed the back knot and clearly pulled it out. Also, Terunofuji was the first one to attempt a kick trip, can’t blame Tobizaru (who uses kick trips more often than most to begin with) for using one as well.

        I feel liek the bout was a credit to Tobizaru and well fought.

        • I don’t blame Tobizaru, but I do feel the gyoji should have stopped the match to rety that belt.

  4. Abi vs Meisei – This basho already many bad decisions.
    Ura vs Onosho – Yes Andy, Ura Sumo is a kind of sumo, a very entertaining sumo.
    Hokuseiho, Henka doesn’t suits you, it requires quick tachiai movements.

    • Abi clearly stayed in, no doubt whatsoever after watching multiple replays. I don’t think that was a henka attempt by Hokuseiho, he just shifted to the side to get his overhand grip.

      • Whatever it was, it looked super clumsy. I hope Hokuseiho earns a nice losing record this basho, so he starts to improve. So far he has gotten away too often with his sumo.

  5. I’m not sure what was left of Terunofuji’s right knee before this bout, but that kick by Tobizaru and the resulting awkwardness may have demolished whatever ligaments and cartilage remained. I hope he can continue…

    • I don’t see Teru recovering from that. He was in agony at the end. I think we may have seen the end…total depression.😭

  6. Torn between two rikishi:
    When I saw the yokozuna walk off the dohyo today, I thought that we might have seen the last fight of a very brave rikishi who fought the limits of his body to regain his ozeki status and then make yokozuna. I am heartbroken. Sumo is a tough sport, injuries have been found to cut short promising careers.
    And then there is the brocade tree, Nishkigi, long may he florish, who comes across as a friendly, likeable chap and who turns out to be a cool dragon slayer.
    So happy for the one, so sad for the other…

      • It would be the end to an era of sumo for me. Which is not bad as there is a lot of new talent but as all sumo fans I am a bit melancholic.
        Not too many of the old guard still in.
        Not counting Tamawashi with his titanium bones and gel muscles. Couple of others as well but in San’yaku for sure. Cheers for the lovely coverage as always tachiai. You guys really opened my eyes back in the day to the world of sumo. I feel like this is such a nice place to be on the internet. All polite with such good humor. Love you all! :)


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