Let’s just get right to the action, shall we?
Tomokaze (4-2) defeated Kitanowaka (3-3): Both men locked in at the tachiai, Tomokaze with right-hand inside while Kitanowaka was obviously left-hand outside. Each tried to pitch his opponent forward, with the help of their feet tripping each other. I guess both succeeded? Both fell. Gumbai Tomokaze. No mono-ii. Uchigake.
Ichiyamamoto (6-0) defeated Nishikifuji (2-4). The thrusts from Ichiyamamoto’s initial charge drove Nishikifuji back to where his feet were at the bales. Ichiyamamoto then pulled and Nishikifuji launched across the dohyo and off the fighting surface. Hatakikomi.
Roga (2-4) defeated Takarafuji (1-5). Roga threw Takarafuji with an apparent shitatehineri. It looked like Takarafuji’s right leg tripped on his own left. Gunbai to Roga. Mono-ii to check whether Roga had stepped out during the long tussle which preceded the throw.
Roga will face Tomokaze tomorrow and Takarafuji gets Kitanowaka.
Tsurugisho (2-4) defeated Tohakuryu (2-4). Slapfest, thankfully. Tohakuryu focused on tsuppari around Tsurugisho’s shoulders and a couple of pull attempts. But his tsuppari was completely ineffective. Tsurugisho was able to corral Tohakuryu at the edge and pushed Tohakuryu out as he tried to spin around. Oshidashi. Not to dwell on the obvious point that Tsurugisho should go kyujo but it’s more obvious that even going through the sonkyo in the pre-bout routine is difficult.
Churanoumi (5-1) defeated Tamawashi (4-2). Tamawashi used insufficient tsuppari before his pull attempt, which left him with inadequate space for the pull. So, Churanoumi was able to drive him over the bales and out. Yorikiri.
Churanoumi will face Tsurugisho.
Ryuden (4-2) defeated Oho (2-4). The first half of this bout was Oho’s brand of sumo, oshi-/tsuki- with tsuppari, head-butts, and pull-down attempts. Immediately after the initial charge, Oho nearly brought Ryuden down with a hatakikomi attempt but Ryuden recovered. Ryuden chased and was able to stay upright and inbounds long enough to tire Oho. As Oho grew weary, the two locked into a yotsu battle and Ryuden got that first grip, a left-hand inside Oho’s right, and deep at the back of Oho’s belt. He then snaked his right hand up over Oho’s shoulder. Once he got that grip, it was over. This was what Atamifuji had been so afraid of. He pulled up and ushered Oho out.
Oho will face Nishikifuji tomorrow.
Myogiryu (3-3) defeated Kotoeko (2-4). Myogiryu wrapped up Kotoeko and drove forward, forcing him quickly over the bales. Yorikiri.
Myogiryu will face Tamawashi and Kotoeko will face Ryuden.
Hiradoumi (3-3) defeated Mitakeumi (2-4). As Hiradoumi established a belt-grip with both hands, he started pumping with the gabburi-yotsu and forced Mitakeumi out, Yorikiri.
Mitakeumi will face Tohakuryu.
Sadanoumi (3-3) defeated Atamifuji (5-1). It’s always the quiet ones. Sadanoumi established his brand of sumo, the migi-yotsu, which is also Atamifuji’s brand of sumo. But Sadanoumi did it better. Yorikiri.
Sadanoumi will be challenged by the undefeated Ichiyamamoto while Atamifuji will want to do better against Hiradoumi, in two sets of clashing styles.
Kinbozan (3-3) defeated Shonannoumi (4-2). After a short brawl, Shonannoumi got his right-hand inside grip. Kinbozan fought hard to prevent it, and retreated desperately to try to free himself and slap Shonannoumi down. But Shonannoumi stuck with him and even got a morozashi for a moment. But it was Kinbozan who was able to force Shonannoumi to the bales and out. Yorikiri.
Takanosho (3-3) defeated Onosho (2-4). Onosho got his arms inside and drove Takanosho backwards. But Takanosho countered at the edge by dragging Onosho down with an armbar. At the last moment, Takanosho was able to free himself of Onosho’s right arm and with Onosho’s left wrapped up, he twisted down. Kotenage.
Takanosho will face Shonannoumi.
Midorifuji (5-1) defeated Endo (0-6). Midorifuji got both hands inside Endo’s arms and around his trunk at the start. He was able to get deeper, and establish a right hand grip at the back of Endo’s mawashi. Midorifuji got his Yorikiri.
Endo will take on Onosho.
Nishikigi (4-2) defeated Hokuseiho (2-4). Hokuseiho is letting his opponents push him to the edge. I don’t know if he hopes to counter there but Nishikigi established a morozashi and completely lifted Hokuseiho off the dohyo and carried him out…to the fans’ appreciation. Tsuridashi.
Nishikigi will face Kinbozan. Hokuseiho will face Midorifuji.
Ura (1-5) defeated Meisei (1-5). Meisei forced Ura back quickly to the bales but Ura resisted there and drove back into Meisei. Ura was able to reverse their momentum and drive into Meisei. Meisei tried to use the momentum shift to execute a pull and drive Ura down. Both tumbled out at the same time. Gunbai Ura. Mono-ii. The shimpan wanted to get it right. Meisei was out first. Ura claimed his first win. Oshitaoshi.
Abi (2-4) defeated Wakamotoharu (3-3). Brutal tsuppari to the head from Abi. Forceful nodowa sent Wakamotoharu back but not out. As Wakamotoharu fought to stay upright, Abi pulled back. The change in momentum allowed Wakamotoharu to come forward but as he did, Abi wrapped up his arm and drove him down. Kotenage. An unusual kimarite from an Abi bout but it was definitely Abi-zumo.
Daieisho (4-2) vs Shodai (2-4). Overeager Daieisho fell, literally, to a retreating Shodai. Hatakikomi.
Shodai will face Wakamotoharu tomorrow.
Kotonowaka (6-0) defeated Hokutofuji (2-4). This was a very impressive bout from Kotonowaka, for me. It seemed like he was going to let Hokutofuji do his thing, but he was just shrugging it off. “Sure, you can drive me back to the edge. But I stop here. You can try to push me down. But I stay here.” In the end, Kotonowaka took charge, drove forward and shoved Hokutofuji out. Oshidashi.
Kotonowaka will face Ura; Hokutofuji will have a tough matchup in Daieisho.
Gonoyama (2-4) defeated Kirishima (4-2). Ah, the Ozeki should have done better. Gonoyama threw hands and drove into Kirishima. Kirishima shifted to Gonoyama’s right and Gonoyama drove him down. I think Kirishima planned to let his feet slide a little bit but they sprawled out further than anticipated. This is the flip-side, the danger, of what Kotonowaka was trying in the first bout. If you let the opponent attack and just try to absorb it before launching your counter-attack, sometimes you don’t get to launch that counter-attack. Tsukiotoshi.
Takakeisho (5-1) defeated Tobizaru (2-4). Henkazaru, or Tobihenka? He tried the hatakikomi but Takakiesho didn’t go down. Both followed up with tsuppari but Takakeisho’s was stronger. He forced Tobizaru to the edge so Tobizaru turned around to find a soft landing place and Takakeisho shoved him out. Frankly, this is the overpowering tsuppari I like to see, and I expect to see, from T-Rex. Okuridashi.
Takakeisho will face Gonoyama in the musubi-no-ichiban. Tobizaru will take on Kirishima.
Takayasu (3-3) defeated Hoshoryu (5-1). This was a wild bout that nearly took out the gyoji, started as an oshi-brawl, settled into a grapple, and ended with a spectacular kimarite which I don’t think I have seen before. (There have been far too many of these close calls with gyoji this tournament, in the same place in the dohyo, too.) Both men had belt grips, each trying to topple the other. It was kind of a mirror image of the Tomokaze/Kitanowaka situation from earlier. This time, however, instead of both men landing on their bellies, Takayasu reached down, grabbed Hoshoryu’s right knee, and pulled upwards. Ashitori? No, komatasukui.
Takayasu will have to face Meisei on Day 7; Hoshoryu will try to recover against Abi.
Well, wow. That was a rousing day of action in Makuuchi. The Ozeki have had some trouble but are still putting forward strong performances. Kotonowaka is really impressing me. He exercised complete control over Hokutofuji today, seemingly taunting him by allowing himself to be pressed to the tawara but demonstrating that Hokutofuji did not have the strength or guile to get him over those bales. At least, not today, anyway. Ichiyamamoto has had a great run but with close bouts at this end of the banzuke, I feel he’ll get overwhelmed if he faces higher ranked opponents.
Everyone else seems to show moments of brilliance, like Sadanoumi today. I guess Ryuden is always constantly there, and constantly a threat. I would say the same of Atamifuji but I didn’t see him pose a threat in the Sadanoumi bout. It seemed that he was completely on defense, trying to stay alive. I got from Takakeisho what I wanted to see, overwhelming tsuppari. Can he do the same against Kotonowaka instead of Tobizaru? I’m not so confident there. But we’ll find out next week!
The Daieisho/Hokutofuji bout should be a great one. Kotonowaka can’t allow himself to toy with Ura as he did with Hokutofuji. Ura’s got more tricks up his sleeve. But if Kotonowaka sticks to his fundamentals, that bout will be a lock.