Aki Day 9 Preview

With 7 days of competition left in this basho, the question is – who can put dirt on the Yokozuna? Short of a challenge being able to take a win over Terunouji, he will take the cup. With zero losses, he is one win ahead of Maegashira 10 Myogiryu, and 2 wins ahead of any credible challenger. The most eligible rikishi is none other than Sekiwake 1E, Mitakeumi. But a quick look across their match history shows just one win for Mitakeumi in 7 attempts during the current Terunofuji era. Shodai does not fare any better, with a 1-4 record since Terunofuji’s return. But Takakeisho, it’s an even 3-3 record. If everything goes according to convention, he should face Takakeisho on day 14. But Takakeisho of Aki 2020 is not operating at full power today, let alone on day 14 or 13. Then there is Takayasu, at 4-2. Yes, a distinct winning record over Terunofuji. This is probably the match with the greatest potential to bring a first loss to the Yokozuna, and put some spice into the yusho race.

Lastly, its time to talk about “The Funnel”. It a pattern that has shown up as of late, given that the broad field of competition in the top division seems to have even less differentiation than usual. At times its like Juryo plus with named ranks thrown in for flavor. In light of that, the crew that make up the torikumi (fight cards) have decided to treat them like they do rikishi in the lower divisions. They try to get as many of them as possible to 7-7 records on day 15, and let them fight it out for kachi-koshi. This is that I call “The Funnel”. Once you are in it, the only way out is to accept make-koshi and demotion. It’s one of the more brutal aspects of sumo, and it’s fascinating to watch.

Aki Leaderboard

Right now, it looks like Terunofuji’s cup.

Leader: Terunofuji
Hunter: Myogiryu
Chasers: Mitakeumi, Onosho, Okinoumi, Endo, Chiyonokuni

7 matches remain

What We Are Watching Day 9

Chiyonokuni vs Tokushoryu – I am going to mark this as a likely Chiyonokuni win. His power and agility tend to overwhelm Tokushoryu. He holds a 9-2 career advantage over Tokushoryu, and Chiyonokuni continues to fight really well.

Kagayaki vs Kaisei – I would say that both of these rikishi are likely to be driven into the funnel starting tomorrow. Kagayaki at 4-4 is right on the make/kachi-koshi line, and a loss today to Kaisei would leave them both at 4-5, which is prime for punishment in the last week.

Chiyonoo vs Tochinoshin – The best that Chiyonoo can hope for right now is to pick up a win today against the diminished Tochinoshin. That would leave him with a 4-5 record, too, and put him at the top of the funnel.

Tsurugisho vs Kotoeko – I don’t know what kind of injury or problem has taken Kotoeko’s sumo and turned it down to little bo peep land, but its brutal to watch. This guy should be knocking heads at this rank. Instead he has a paltry 2 wins, and may be on track for double digit losses once more.

Endo vs Ichiyamamoto – A high interest match next, this is their first time head to head. While Endo has a big advantage, I want to see what kind of sumo Ichiyamamoto is going to try. I am sure he is going to have some defense to the mawashi grip at the tachiai, maybe something creative?

Chiyomaru vs Hidenoumi – If we get a Hidenoumi win today, both of them will enter the top of the funnel on day 10. Their career record is an even 5-6, but Chiyomaru is clearly stronger this September.

Okinoumi vs Tobizaru – I look at Tobizaru’s 4-4 record, and I think about how he needs to win at least 4 of the last 7, and while he has a career lead over Okinoumi at 3-1, Okinoumi has been fighting better this September, and I think comes into today’s match with an edge.

Yutakayama vs Terutsuyoshi – I am hoping we get something along the lines of a tottari from Terutsuyoshi today, his sumo has been rather mild, and he has lost 3 of the last 4. Time to rally sir! You need 5 of the last 7 to get your kachi-koshi.

Shimanoumi vs Aoiyama – Big Dan Aoiyama is fighting well enough, but he is not quite as genki as we recall from a few years ago. This happens, the fade from too many injuries not completely healed. At 4-4 he is a prime funnel candidate, but if Shimanoumi can manage to win, well they both go into the funnel starting tomorrow.

Myogiryu vs Onosho – Its time to see if Myogiryu can be knocked back for a win. He has a 3-8 career record against Onosho, who is having a good tournament. My money is on the tadpole!

Ura vs Chiyotairyu – Both of them are 4-4, both are them are headed for the funnel. Ura lost their only prior match, and his sumo has gotten increasingly odd. He still wins with it, but it’s a style all of its own.

Takarafuji vs Kotonowaka – Takarafuji is almost always in the funnel each basho. He straddles the make/kachi-koshi line nearly every time. He has yet to win one over Kotonowaka in 2 tries, and a Kotonowaka win today sends them both into the funnel tomorrow.

Hoshoryu vs Wakatakakage – At this point, Hoshoryu is working to rack enough wins to cushion the fall down the banzuke. The role of M1E is really a tough billet, and I think that he has done well enough. If he can get his body back in good form for November, we could see him do a lot of great sumo.

Takanosho vs Ichinojo – Takanosho needs to try like hell to win this one. He has a decent chance to get out of the funnel, as he has his “easy” week ahead of him. I think 2 wins with 0 losses in the middle would make it happen. Ichinojo is on the wrong side of the funnel, but he too faces an easier schedule than he had week 1.

Tamawashi vs Meisei – Winner gets to join the funnel, loser gets kicked a fair part of the way to make-koshi. I would think that Meisei holds a slight edge today, as Tamawashi is finding himself about 15% down in power from his peak.

Mitakeumi vs Kiribayama – Kiribayama has shown himself to be a real challenger this tournament. He has a slight edge in career record over Mitakeumi, and the original tadpole is going to need to be careful to not let him drag the match on. Stamina is not one of Mitakeumi’s strengths.

Takayasu vs Takakeisho – Career record comes up an ever 7-7 between these two. Both of them are very much hit-or-miss this September. There is nothing more sad than a kadoban Ozeki in the funnel, but I fear that is the best possible case for Takakeisho now.
Career Record (7-7) :

Shodai vs Chiyoshoma – Shodai’s soft tachiai is an excellent defense against a henka, so I don’t think we will see Chiyoshoma unleash one today. He’s going to need to find a way to overcome Shodai’s new “wall of daikon” offense if he wants to score his first ever win against the Ozeki. Nope… don’t think he will.

Daieisho vs Terunofuji – Hey, Daieisho – good luck against the Kaiju. He’s really something else to watch these days, and you will get the best view of all the action. Enjoy.

Aki Day 8 Highlights

With the middle day of Aki 2021 now behind us, its a race to senshuraku, and the yusho. Starting with tonight’s preview, we will be tracking the yusho race as it unfolds. At the start of this process, Yokozuna Terunofuji seems completely unassailable. The only rikishi within striking distance is Maegashira 10W, Myogiryu. They have had 16 prior matches, and Myogiryu has won 4 of them, with the record being 1-3 in the most recent Terunofuji era. Their last match was a Myogiryu win, in May of this year.

Regardless of how the yusho race turns out, Terunofuji made his 8th win on the 8th day. An expected outcome for a Yokozuna. Terunofuji always had a big helping of raw talent on the dohyo, but he has refined that into being an absolutely overwhelming sumo power right now. I think after day 15, the biggest disappointment of Aki will be that we did not get to see the rematch between Hakuho and Terunofuji to end it all. As of right now, that match will be Terunofuji vs Shodai, which (it goes without saying) strongly favors Terunofuji.

Highlight Matches

Chiyomaru defeats Kaisei – Chiyomaru needed to get his attack to done quickly, before Kaisei could set up any defense. His pull attempt was expected, but he converted it to a pull/push attack on Kaisei’s chest and right arm which broke his balance and sent him tumbling to the clay. Chiyomaru improves to 5-3.

Tokushoryu defeats Kagayaki – Excellent work by Kagayaki in keeping Tokushoryu from closing in enough to make the match chest to chest for a good long while. But eventually Tokushoryu captures him, and the match ends shortly after that with Tokushoryu throwing Kagayaki out of the ring. Tokushoryu improves to 3-5.

Tsurugisho defeats Yutakayama – Tsurugisho absorbed Yutakayama’s thrusting attacks, unbalanced him, and thrust him to the claim. Yutakayama had a solid match plan, but got too far forward of his toes. Both end the day 4-4, and are good candidates for the funnel.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Tochinoshin – Ichiyamamoto kept the former Ozeki away from his belt, and that was the critical element of this match. Robbed of his primary offense and defensive weapon, Tochinoshin resorted to some improvised slapping attack that was really not effective. Ichiyamamoto improves to 3-5.

Chiyonokuni defeats Kotoeko – Chiyonokuni overpowered Kotoeko from the tachiai, and by the second thrusting wave, there was no recovery for Kotoeko. He went dashing back down the hanamichi with the yobidashi watching him leap past. Chiyonokuni improves to 6-2.

Myogiryu defeats Chiyonoo – Myogiryu had this won early until Chiyonoo rallied at the bales. Locked up chest to chest, Chiyonoo waited for Myogiryu to make his move. When it came, Myogiryu deftly lowered his hips, moved forward and picked up his 7th win. He remains the only rikishi within striking distance of Yokozuna Terunofuji with 7-1.

Okinoumi defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu is not effective in yotsu-zumo, so Okinoumi worked hard to bring them chest to chest. Once Chiyotairyu was in a secure hold, it was a matter of wearing him down, and them walking him across the ring. Okinoumi improves to 6-2.

Endo defeats Shimanoumi – I am happy to see Endo get into his sumo into the second act. He’s pretty far down the banzuke for a rikishi of his skill and power. He should be enjoying himself and taking white stars from everyone down here. Point to Shimanoumi for keeping Endo away from his mawashi, but Endo just converted to thrusting, got Shimanoumi turned to the side and ran Shimanoumi out from the rear. Endo improves to 6-2.

Aoiyama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Aoiyama was wisely on guard against any attempt at ashitori from Terutsuyoshi, keeping the smaller man at arms length and hitting him repeatedly. This brought Aoiyama’s size difference into play, and really made Terutsuyoshi little more than ballast for Aoiyama to bat about. Aoiyama improves to 4-4.

Ura defeats Tobizaru – Given these two, there was zero chance it would be straight ahead sumo. The tachiai reminded me of two spiders warily approaching each other, with Tobizaru at least applying some cursory slaps to Ura’s shoulders. After continuing to probe, Ura attempted a pull, and switched to attack mode, quickly driving Tobizaru from the ring. But after he had Tobizaru out, he fell, and it look like he twisted his injured knee. He could walk after that, but it’s always a concern. Both end the day at 4-4.

Onosho defeats Hidenoumi – The match started with a matta-henka, but Konosuke called it back. Second attempt? Nope! The third attempt saw Hidenoumi’s match plans completely discarded, and Onosho applied maximum forward pressure. Hidenoumi was out 3 steps later, and Onosho improved to 6-2.

Wakatakakage defeats Takarafuji – Really crisp execution today by Wakatakakage, he did not give Takarafuji space or balance to take his important step back to plant his feet and set his defense. Instead, Wakatakakage kept him on his heels, and kept moving him back. A quick win for Wakatakakage, and both end the day 4-4.

Takanosho defeats Kiribayama – Takanosho put up a strong and solid defense against Kiribayama’s yotsu attack, and waited for his chance. It came a short time into the match when Kiribayama advanced, but broke contact. Suddenly open to thrust, Takanosho went to work. Three big hits later, Kiribayama was out. Takanosho improves to 4-4.

Chiyoshoma defeats Takayasu – There are days when a flying henka is just what is needed. And who better than Chiyoshoma to deliver the gymnastics. Smooth, fluid, he lept to the side and chucked Takayasu out and down by the mawashi knot. That’s how you do it! He even seems to have dropped gyoji Shotaro in the process somehow. A two-fer! That’s Chiyoshoma’s first win of Aki, though in my book it should count for at least 2.

Hoshoryu defeats Ichinojo – Hoshoryu took some solid head hits in the opening moments of the bout, as Ichinojo performed some sort of post-tonsillitis safety check. Satisfied that Hoshoryu’s was still firmly attached, he discovered that Hoshoryu had a solid right hand mawashi grip. Given Ichinojo’s size, it’s not really usable. The two end up throwing each other down at the same time. A monoii is convened, and a rematch is the verdict. The second match, Ichinojo comes out strong, and drives into offense immediately. He nearly has Hoshoryu beat, but Hoshoryu rallies and uses Ichinojo’s momentum to toss the giant out for a hard fought win. Hoshoryu improves to 2-6.

Mitakeumi defeats Meisei – Mitakeumi wins the Sekiwake derby for Aki 2021. The two trade volleys of combo thrusting attacks, and Mitakeumi peppered his with a pull at the end. It works a treat and Meisei hits the clay for his 5th loss. Mitakeumi improves to 6-2.

Kotonowaka defeats Shodai – In their first ever match, Kotonowaka surprises the Ozeki. Shodai tried his “wall of daikon” body attack that has worked well for him this September. But as Kotonowaka nears the tawara, he pivots and throws the Ozeki. Shodai seemed completely unprepared for such a last minute move, and took a trip down to visit tate gyoji Shikimori Inosuke. Kotonowaka improves to 3-5.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Solid opening attack from Takakeisho with an immediate transition to a pull down. Daieisho was in reactive mode the entire time, and had no offense to speak of today. Takakeisho improves to 4-4, and needs to win 4 of the last 7 matches to hold his rank.

Terunofuji defeats Tamawashi – Points to Tamawashi, who knew if he were to do anything, it would need to be at the tachiai, and would need to be quick. He got to the side, and applied a solid nodowa. He nearly had Terunofuji out, but the Yokozuna rallied at the bales, lowered his hips and took 3 steps to place Tamawashi gingerly across the tawara. That’s kachi-koshi for Terunofuji, and he remains undefeated at 8-0.

Aki Day 8 Preview

Welcome to Nakabi! It’s the middle day of the Aki 2021 basho, and the yusho race already strongly favors Terunofuji. It’s possible someone might get an unexpected win against him. But from a sumo score perspective, an 8th win today will give him his kachi-koshi.

From here, we may see the schedulers to once again try to run a “funnel” as we saw in Nagoya. Scheduling middling score rikishi against each other to keep everyone as bunched up as they can around the make/kachi koshi line until the final weekend. Once again, we have a big block of rikishi with either 3 or 4 wins on day 8. 21 to be honest, so about half of the top division. The ultimate goal will be a roster of Darwin matches to end the basho, where two 7-7 rikishi fight on day 15. The winner is promoted, and the loser demoted.

What We Are Watching Day 8

Kaisei vs Chiyomaru – A battle of the super-heavies, there will be around 400 kg of rikishi on the dohyo together. Thats about as much as an average horse. Who will win? Hey, it’s down to belt vs oshi for these two. I am going to guess Chiyomaru opens strong, and it’s hit or miss of Kaisei can grab Chiyomaru’s belt and take control.

Kagayaki vs Tokushoryu – Kagayaki is only ranked Maegashira 13, he is 4-3 which is right on the make / kachi koshi line. But I would guess that he would be doing better ranked this low. He’s got a 3-6 career deficit against 2-5 Tokushoryu, who is looking likely to find himself on the dreaded Juryo barge.

Yutakayama vs Tsurugisho – I am still trying to figure out Tsurugisho’s day 7 loss to Ichiyamamoto. Everything seems to indicate that would have been much harder for Ichiyamamoto. Then we come to Tsurugisho’s day 8 match against Yutakayama, who is not really blowing the doors off of his opponents this basho. He holds a 5-2 career advantage, so maybe a good edge for him in this contest.

Ichiyamamoto vs Tochinoshin – Its the battle of wounded knee! Seriously, at least Tochinoshin has a brace supporting his. It will come down to Tochinoshin getting a grip, if he can, he may win. If not, he’s going to be tossed out at some point. They are both 2-5, and in poor form right now.

Chiyonokuni vs Kotoeko – Chiyonokuni lost a barn burner against Endo on day 7, and I expect him to take out his ample frustration on Kotoeko, who continues his crummy results that were integral to his 2-13 score in Nagoya. He fights vigorously, but just seems to be about 20% down in intensity.

Chiyonoo vs Myogiryu – Myogiryu is the sole chaser on day 8, at 6-1, just one win behind Yokozuna Terunofuji. A veteran, I expect he has the experience to stay focused on his daily matches for at least few more days, and I expect him to dispatch 3-4 Chiyonoo without too much drama.

Okinoumi vs Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu has won the last 4 out of 5 in their 16 match career record. At 5-2, Okinoumi is doing pretty well this basho, and he is typically a solid performer at this rank. In spite of recent scores, I favor Okinoumi to carry today’s match.

Shimanoumi vs Endo – Endo holds a 4-0 career advantage, and I am going to guess he dominates Shimanoumi today.

Aoiyama vs Terutsuyoshi – A classic big vs little man sumo match up, that folks seem to love. Aoiyama struggles to beat Terutsuyoshi, and the smaller Terutsuyoshi holds a 5-2 career advantage over Big Dan. Both come into day 8 with 3-4 records.

Ura vs Tobizaru – Both of sumo’s stunt men on the dohyo at the same time, and this could turn into a neat contest. Tobizaru took their only prior match, and Ura really needs a win to keep hopes of kachi-koshi alive.

Hidenoumi vs Onosho – Onosho is fighting well enough this September that he should be able to defeat Hidenoumi handily today. Hidenoumi holds a 6-4 career advantage, but is not looking at all genki right now.

Wakatakakage vs Takarafuji – It surprises me to learn that Takarafuji has not won a prior match against Wakatakakage, coming in at 0-2 against the lead Onami brother. This may come down to the fact that Wakatakakage launches fairly unique “high/low” combo attacks. Many rikishi only attack on a single plane, while Wakatakakage puts a lot of vertical change in his sumo. I will be looking to this match to inform that idea.

Kiribayama vs Takanosho – Kiribayama took his second loss on day 7 against Daieisho, but he is still doing quite well. He s 3 wins away from kachi-koshi in the joi-jin, which would be a bid deal for him. He’s coming into today with a 1-7 losing career record against onigiri-kun Takanosho, so a win today might affirm that Kiribayam’s sumo has improved.

Takayasu vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma comes into day eight with a dismal 0-7 record, and a loss today would be make-koshi on day 8, grim.

Hoshoryu vs Ichinojo – Look who is back, its Hoshoryu! Did he get his tonsils treated already? Or did they just give him some aspirin and tell him to rub some dirt in it? He has a 1-6 record upon his return, and will be fighting hard for any win he can muster to cushion the fall. If Ichinojo is in a fighting mood today, it will be tough going for Hoshoryu.

Mitakeumi vs Meisei – Mitakeumi was overpowered by Ichinojo on day 7, but his challenges against Meisei will be balance and reaction time. Meisei is fast, and tends to get Mitakeumi off balance, even in matches where Meisei loses.

Shodai vs Kotonowaka – First time match, with their records being 5-2 for Shodai and 2-5 for Kotonowaka. I give a strong advantage to Shodai, who seems to have found his sumo, no matter how lethargic his tachiai, he brings a lot of power to the second step.

Daieisho vs Takakeisho – A battle between friends off the dohyo, Takakeisho needs to find 5 wins across his last 8 matches to retain his Ozeki rank, and his “hard” week is week 2, so it won’t get easier from here.

Tamawashi vs Terunofuji – Since Terunofuji’s return to the top division, he has beaten Tamawashi each time (4 matches). I don’t see any reason that won’t continue today, and I expect the long Yokozuna to execute as he has each of the prior 7 days. Kachi-koshi today with a win.

Aki Day 7 Highlights

One of the goals of act 2 is to shape the field for the yusho race. But damn, did we have to do it all in one day? The crew of 1 loss rikishi nearly all became 2 loss rikishi today, leaving just Myogiryu at 6-1, within range of Terunofuji. All the way down at Maegashira 10, there is really no chance that Myogiryu would face the Yokozuna in a normal torikumi. This leave Terunofuji with a 2 win lead over any reasonable competitor, and his yusho chances are elevated.

Given just how excellent Terunofuji’s sumo has been over the first 7 days, I am sad we won’t see him face Hakuho on day 15 to to Miyagino being COVID kyujo. Terunofuji’s yokozuna style seems to be overflowing with confidence with the skill and drive to back it up. Calm, focused and determined so far at Aki, and I really like it.

Highlight Matches

Tokushoryu defeats Mitoryu – About as straightforward a match as you might want. Tokushoryu gets his right hand under Mitoryu’s chin, and uses that hand to put him in motion. On big shove at the tawara, and Tokushoryu picks up his second win of Aki, improving to 2-5.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Tsurugisho – I am surprised that Ichiyamamoto’s bum knee had enough strength in it to allow him to push 400kg Tsurugisho back. It helps that Tsurugisho almost immediately attempted to pull, doing a good portion of the set up work for Ichiyamamoto. Ichiyamamoto improves to 2-5.

Chiyomaru defeats Kagayaki – Chiyomaru got his hands inside, past Kagayaki’s defenses, which is not easy to do. From there it was a well known Chiyomaru formula: raise them up then step to the side and slap them down. Both end the day 4-3.

Kaisei defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin got his left hand outside at the tachiai, but given Kaisei’s enormity, it was not going to be easy for him to do much with it. Both of them got some lifting in against the other, with Kaisei calmly working Tochinoshin out. Kaisei improves to 3-4.

Yutakayama defeats Kotoeko – Yutakayama’s thrusting attack landed early, and both evasion attempts I saw from Kotoeko were not able to get out of the line of fire. Yutakayama improves to 4-3.

Endo defeats Chiyonokuni – I had guessed this might be the highlight match of the day, and they did not disappoint. Endo could not set up any offense, as his capture attempts kept missing. Chiyonokuni was eager to pound Endo mercilessly as Endo worked to stay in the match, with Endo absorbing quite a bit of punishment to his shoulders and his head. But his sacrifice paid off with first a left hand hold, followed by a right. Then Endo was in business, and Chiyonokuni lost his ability to hit and move. But he fought on, with the blows continuing until Endo put him over the bales, Awesome match, both end the day 5-2.

Hidenoumi defeats Chiyonoo – Yotsu-zumo match from the start, it was all Hidenoumi after the tachiai. Both are now 3-4.

Chiyotairyu defeats Terutsuyoshi – I like that Chiyotairyu was locked in on Terutsuyoshi, and when the obligatory hit and shift came at the tachiai, Chiyotairyu followed. Terutsuyoshi was off balance and too low for him to be effective, and Chiyotairyu crumpled him to the clay for a quick win. Chiyotairyu now 4-3.

Myogiryu defeats Shimanoumi – Myogiryu quickly got Shimanoumi contained and pushed out, with Shimanoumi only rallying for a brief moment after his heels touched the tawara. Myogiryu at 6-1, and could reach kachi-koshi as early as day 9.

Aoiyama defeats Onosho – Aoiyama proved big enough and stable enough to absorb everything Onosho could produce today, and deftly swung him to the clay. Another 5-1 rikishi takes a loss, as Aoiyama improves to 3-4.

Okinoumi defeats Ura – What a great move by Okinoumi to shut down Ura’s back bend throw. Few if any can escape that once he gets that far into the lift, but Okinoumi seems to have worked with the heya-mates to overcome that, crushing Ura in mid-throw and sending him down. Okinoumi improves to 5-2.

Takarafuji defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru yet again finds Takarafuji’s defend and extend sumo to be his kryptonite. I do love watching this one, Tobizaru trying anything to get his hands inside, Takarafuji calmly standing strong and deflecting every move. When Tobizaru starts to look tired, Takarafuji executes a few probing attacks, and Tobizaru rallies. Fine, back in stalemate for a while until you are tired out, says Takarafuji. On and on and on it went! Tobizaru tired first, and could no longer match Takarafuji’s efforts. Amazing endurance match.

Daieisho defeats Kiribayama – After not seeing Daieisho produce much power on the clay for several tournaments, its almost surprising to see it back and in full effect, taking Kiribayama down with a hikiotoshi that saw hikiotoshi spinning in the air before landing on his back. Another 1 loss rikishi down as both end the day 5-2.

Takayasu defeats Takanosho – Takayasu big start groaning tachiai pays off today, blasting whatever match plan Takanosho had completely out of his head, and crumpling him to the clay 4 steps later. Happy to see some effective offense from Takayasu today, and he improves to 3-4.

Meisei defeats Chiyoshoma – Its really making me sad to see Chiyoshoma unable to win a single match in the first half of the basho. I am going to guess a combination of over-ranked and some injury. Meisei improves to 3-4 and keeps hope of a kachi-koshi alive a bit longer.

Ichinojo defeats Mitakeumi – The genki Ichinojo showed up today, and another one-loss rikishi goes down to defeat. Given his size and innate strength, once Ichinojo gets a solid hold, he can do just about whatever he wants to most opponents. Ichinojo improves to 3-4.

Takakeisho defeats Wakatakakage – Takakeisho was in danger of losing for a brief moment when he was too far forward against a Wakatakakage side step, but he just re-engaged and hit all the harder. A final mighty double hand shove sent Wakatakakage down and gyoji Tamajiro leaping for safety. Takakeisho improves to 3-4 after a much needed win.

Shodai defeats Tamawashi – Well, it was “good” Shodai today. A big hit at the tachiai from Tamawashi, into an arm lock, but by that time Shodai was rampaging ahead and Tamawashi was out of clay. Shodai improves to 5-2.

Terunofuji defeats Kotonowaka – What strikes me about these Terunofuji matches this basho is his absolute confidence. So far, no matter what his opponent does, he moves as if it’s an absolute certainty that he will overcome and win. I think it may rattle some or all of his opponents. I see other sumo fans describing it as patience and “calm”, and that’s not wrong. But to me it’s just total dominance of the match. Yokozuna style through and through. Terunofuji undefeated at 7-0.