Kyushu 2023, Day 4: The Return of the Joi

Sad news that Chiyomaru is kyujo in Juryo. After a full decade as sekitori, his status will be in jeopardy unless he is able to return and claim a few wins later in the tournament. He will probably need 3-4 wins to be safe and it’s not looking good. In Makushita, the eldest Onami brother, Wakatakamoto, is also kyujo. There are a few Makuuchi fellows whom I would like to see go kyujo, though I doubt either of them will. We can probably add shin-Juryo Hitoshi to that list, as well. He looked dreadful on that ankle today.

Well, let’s not dwell on the bad news. We’ve got a raft of heavy hitters who are performing well so far this tournament. It’s a bit of a surprise to see the sanyaku performing well early. Let’s hope they can keep it up!


Kitanowaka (3-1) defeated Tohakuryu (3-1). Tohakuryu attempted a quick pull but it backfired even faster as Kitanowaka kept his wits, pursued and forced him out. Oshidashi.

Churanoumi (3-1) defeated Nishikifuji (1-3). Churanoumi prevailed in a lively slapfest. Both wrestlers had chances and slip-ups but Nishikifuji attempted a pull in a poor location (close to the tawara) and when Churanoumi didn’t fall for it, there was nowhere left for Nishikifuji to go. An easy pushout since Nishikifuji was in retreat mode. Oshidashi.

Ichiyamamoto (4-0) defeated Tomokaze (2-2). Ichiyamamoto had his hands full with Tomokaze.  Tomokaze did a good job of making forward progress, forcing Ichiyamamoto back a step or so toward the tawara. But when he pulled, it played right into Ichiyamamoto’s hands. Ichiyamamoto maintained his balance and sent both men tumbling three rows deep into the crowd. Oshidashi.

Roga (1-3) defeated Tsurugisho (1-3). Roga spoiled Oshidashi-Day and picked up an easy first win of the tournament as the obviously injured Tsurugisho offered little in the way of resistance. I was surprised that Tsurugisho had not joined Chiyomaru on the kyujo list. Yorikiri.

Roga will face Tohakuryu tomorrow while Tsurugisho will face Nishikifuji.

Tamawashi (4-0) defeated Sadanoumi (2-2). Tamawashi is cleaning up here at the bottom of Makuuchi. Any concerns of retirement for the division’s oldest competitor are firmly on hold as he owned Sadanoumi today. Tamawashi quickly, and forcefully, dispatched his Kumamoto-raised rival. Oshidashi.

Tamawashi draws Tomokaze for Day 5.

Hiradoumi (1-3) defeated Takarafuji (1-3). Takarafuji met him solidly at the tachiai but couldn’t make much headway against Hiradoumi’s determined attack. Hiradoumi soon had Takarafuji moving in reverse and scouting soft spots in the front row for landing. Oshidashi.

Takarafuji will have a lot on his plate tomorrow against Churanoumi in the pair’s first meeting.

Kotoeko (2-2) defeated Oho (1-3). Oho forced Kotoeko to play his oshi-tsuki game, but after a brief slapfest, lost his balance in the center of the ring handing Kotoeko the W. Oho is on a three bout losing streak after that initial, impressive win against Hiradoumi. Tsukiotoshi.

Myogiryu (2-2) defeated Mitakeumi (1-3). Mitakeumi nearly won early as Myogiryu circled in retreat after the tachiai. Myogiryu was able to stop his backward momentum in time to avoid bowling over the gyoji, Kimura Motoki. As he pressed forward and reasserted position in the center of the dohyo, he sought out a double inside grip on Mitakeumi’s trunk. With that grip he was able to press forward and force Mitakeumi back, and off the dohyo. Yorikiri.

Myogiryu will face Oho; Mitakeumi will square up against Sadanoumi.

Atamifuji (4-0) defeated Ryuden (3-1). Atamifuji fought hard, especially with his left arm as he tried to free himself of Ryuden’s right hand. Hatakikomi. He circled back, and around the dohyo desperately but Ryuden was always right there, with his head in Atamifuji’s jaw and left hand tantalizingly close to securing the dreaded morozashi. When the pair paused to catch their breath, Ryuden slipped his left hand in and grasped Atamifuji’s belt. Here, Atamifuji knew he had to act. With one last pull and slapdown attempt, he finally forced Ryuden down to the floor. Hatakikomi. It wasn’t until he was lying on the dohyo that Ryuden finally released his right-hand grasp of Atamifuji’s belt.  

On Day 5, Atamifuji will find himself punching down against Kotoeko, though Kotoeko won their only previous head-to-head. Ryuden will strike back against Hiradoumi.

Kinbozan (2-2) defeated Hokuseiho (2-2). Kinbozan had a much easier time of getting that morozashi, slamming into Hokuseiho at the tachiai with a nodowa, and following up by driving forward with both arms wrapped around Hokuseiho. Yorikiri.


Takanosho (2-2) defeated Endo (0-4). Endo brought no strength to this bout. Takanosho arrested his forward movement shortly after the tachiai and wrapped him up, neat and secure, like an expensive Christmas present. That wonderful forward-moving sumo soon gifted Endo to the fans in the front row. Yorikiri.

Midorifuji (3-1) defeated Onosho (1-3). Onosho pounded Midorifuji’s face from the tachiai and got that forward-moving sumo going…but then Midorifuji vanished and Onosho careened down the steps of the dohyo. Tsukiotoshi.

Midorifuji will fight Kinbozan tomorrow. Onosho will fight Hokuseiho.

Nishikigi (2-2) defeated Shonannoumi (3-1). Nishikigi with a false start, unhappy at Shonannoumi’s slow roll tachiai. Hidari-yotsu. Shonannoumi leaned in and got that right hand outside grip, and drove into Nishikigi. As he charged forward, though, Nishikigi pivoted at the very edge and threw Shonannoumi. Shonannoumi landed with a thud, a beat before Nishikigi. Shitatenage.

Nishikigi will battle Takanosho and Shonannoumi will bounce back against Endo.

Shodai (1-3) defeated Gonoyama (1-3). Shodai must be happy to be done with the slate of Ozeki. His schedule will get a bit easier from here. And he sure made this win look easy. Gonoyama was far too eager in his charge if he missed a target as large as Shodai shifting to his right. Shodai shoved Gonoyama to the ground as he went past. A wry smile from Shodai as Gonoyama contemplated how things went so wrong. Tsukiotoshi.

Kotonowaka (4-0) defeated Abi (1-3). Abi’s thrusts were unable to slow Kotonowaka’s advance so Abi jumped to the side but threw himself off balance. Kotonowaka turned around and pursued, quickly forcing an out of control Abi over the edge, like a Tesla on autopilot. Oshidashi.

Hokutofuji (1-3) defeated Wakamotoharu (2-2). Powerful, satisfying tachiai from Hokutofuji. Wakamotoharu’s poor Hatakikomi attempt left him nowhere to turn. He was already standing at the tawara when Hokutofuji pushed him over. Oshidashi.

Hokutofuji will face Abi on Day 5.

Daieisho (4-0) defeated Ura (0-4). Daieisho is dialed in. His tsuppari were landing, blow after blow, about Ura’s head, neck, and shoulders. Ura had no other option but to take flight into the crowd to escape the assault. Oshidashi.

Daieisho squares off against fellow undefeated Kotonowaka tomorrow. Ura will seek his first win against Wakamotoharu.

Hoshoryu (4-0) defeated Tobizaru (1-3). Is it just me or are belt battles very rare from Tobizaru? I feel like I just saw a blue super moon. Tobizaru locked in with Hoshoryu for in a grapple. Interestingly, the trip attempts seemed to come from Tobizaru rather than Hoshoryu. Hoshoryu ushered Tobizaru over the bales with a firm right-hand inside grip. Yorikiri.

Hoshoryu will defend his lead against Gonoyama. Tobizaru will fight Shodai.

Takayasu (2-2) defeated Kirishima (3-1). Kirishima is the first Ozeki to fall off the pace thanks to a fierce attack from Papa Bear, focused on the Ozeki’s head and face. He didn’t get attacked or assaulted, he got mauled. Don’t they always tell you to cover your face if a bear is on you? Well, I guess sumo wrestlers don’t have that option. But wow, from the initial charge Takayasu battered Kirishima, and then finished him off with a thrust to his head. Tsukiotoshi.

Meisei (1-3) defeated Takakeisho (3-1). Meisei PAY DAY. Meisei picked up a stack of kensho after giving Takakeisho a taste of his own gravy. No, I don’t know what that means. Takakeisho employed his standard attack: tsuppari and slap-down attempts. He nearly caught Meisei out with a shift in direction but Meisei regained his balance at the edge. Then he followed up with some misdirection of his own. This time Takakeisho was caught backwards. By the time Takakeisho could turn around, Meisei was on him and forced him over the tawara. Yorikiri.

Meisei will fight Kirishima while Takakeisho will be wise to pack his bear spray for Takayasu. Both of these matchups are even Steven. Meisei has taken 6 of 12 bouts from Kirishima. Takakeisho and Takayasu have split their twenty fights, 10 wins apiece.

9 thoughts on “Kyushu 2023, Day 4: The Return of the Joi

  1. Apparently, there are rikishi who don’t read Tachiai. Pulls don’t give you wins! Ay carumba!

    Atamifuji is the real deal. Goodness gracious.

    What’s up with Endo? An invisible injury maybe? He’s done so well recently this is a surprising result for him especially at his current rank.

    The answer for why Kirishima lost is pretty commonly talked about in Takayasu bouts: His feet weren’t planted on the dohyo properly. Good to see The Bear with a solid stance today.

    I’m at the point now where when I’m watching Takakeisho I can call out certain moves he does: “Here’s the push to the side”, “Here comes the slapdown”, etc. Apparently, Meisei has been watching as well as I have. It’s possible that Takakeisho telegraphed the slapdown too much, but I suspect that other rikishi are going to watch this match closely and use similar strategies against Takakeisho in the future.

    • Oh, that Atamifuji/Ryuden bout was impressive on both fronts. Maybe bout of the day. Atamifuji was so desperate to get Ryuden’s hand off his belt.

  2. I enjoyed Hoshoryu’s steady capturing and engulfing of the tricky monkey. It showed a patient and less flashy approach which promises well for the future. Hooray for Meisei. He’s been fighting better than his scoreline shows.
    Loving your work Andy and such fun to hear Josh’s live experience.

    • Hoshoryu to me looks like he’s not having any fun this Basho. All business. Which I’m kind of sorry to see but it’s definitely good for his sumo. I remember Hakuho saying in an interview about his career that he had fun until sekiwake but after that, the stakes were just too high.

  3. Thanks for taking on the daily reports, Andy, and you had some fun with this one!

    I loved Atamifuji today. (And everyday.)

  4. Excellent recap, Andy!

    Wasn’t Hiradoumi a little early at the tachiai today? He certainly outquicked Takarafuji at the jump.

    It’s hard to imagine this version of Tsurugisho picking up another win this basho. That knee is a mess. He needs divine intervention.

    Kirishima was able to club Takayasu to the side, but the bear re-established his offense before Kirishima could follow up.

    Meisei won by sidestepping Takakeisho’s final charge. Good mobility by the bright boy.


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