Tokyo July Basho Senshuraku Highlights

Octagon Presents Terunofuji the Emperor’s Cup

Leonid did a great job of explaining what’s at stake today. One thing that I can’t get over, though, it is August 2nd. The July basho yusho was, oddly enough, decided in August after being fought in Tokyo. One Ozeki on the torikumi for senshuraku and zero Yokozuna confirm we are in a time of flux on the dohyo. But off the dohyo, the whole damn world is in flux. However, the drama of this past fortnight has served as a wonderful distraction.

Terunofuji’s Championship serves to demonstrate that our substantial challenges can be overcome. The next time we get together, we will be confident for the health and safety of all involved and that we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief. The coronavirus reminders have been everywhere and lapse in protocols may end up costing Abi very dearly. The virus robbed Terunofuji’s triumphant return of much of the pomp and celebration he’s due. No parade. No senshuraku parties. Supporters are beyond arms reach, though we are with him in spirit. I hope he gets to party properly after his next title.

Highlight Matches

Sadanoumi (8-7) defeated Nishikigi (6-9): Sadanoumi hot off the line, wrapped up Nishikigi and walked him back and out to pick up his kachi-koshi. Yorikiri.

Tochinoshin (10-5) defeated Kotoshoho (8-7): Tochinoshin got the better of the initial charge, forcing Kotoshoho back a step. Kotoshoho pivoted but Tochinoshin followed and got his big left paw up around the back of Kotoshoho’s neck and pulled down violently. Kotoshoho had no choice but to touch down. Hatakikomi.

Kaisei (6-9) defeated Shimanoumi (5-10): Shimanoumi tried to drive forward into Kaisei but Kaisei’s trunk was well set at the center of the ring. Kaisei shoved Shimanoumi backwards twice, hurling the matching orange mawashi out of the ring. Tsukidashi.

Wakatakakage (10-5) defeated Ishiura (4-11): Ishiura seemed to pull something in his right leg. He was unable to put much weight on his right foot. Wakatakakage blasted the hopping Ishiura off the dohyo. Ishiura limped back up onto the dohyo. Oshidashi.

Kotoeko (10-5) defeated Terutsuyoshi (8-7): Terutsuyoshi’s ashitori worked once but Kotoeko was ready for it. He dodged out of the way and regrouped grabbing for Terutsuyoshi’s belt. Taking a page from Tochinoshin, Kotoeko landed his left on the back of Terutsuyoshi and pulled him down to the floor. Hatakikomi.

Ryuden (7-8) defeated Kotonowaka (4-6-4): Kotonowaka still could not put much weight on his left leg. Ryuden was able to get Kotonowaka sliding backwards to the bales and over. Yorikiri.

Hokutofuji (9-6) defeated Kotoshogiku (8-7): Hokutofuji met Kotoshogiku head on but stepped to the side with his right arm up on Kotoshogiku’s shoulder, forcing Kotoshogiku to the ground. Hatakikomi.

Chiyotairyu (6-9) defeated Aoiyama (5-10): Aoiyama was a bit over-eager, charging forward off balance. Chiyotairyu pulled with his left hand up on Aoiyama’s shoulder applying sufficient pressure to force Aoiyama down. Hikiotoshi.

Ikioi (3-12) defeated Kagayaki (5-10): Ikioi showed some strength and wile for the first time this week. Driven to the bales by Kagayaki he drove forward, forcing Kagayaki back. However, Kagayaki wasn’t going to go over the bales easily, either. Kagayaki grabbed Ikioi by the mawashi, forcing him back but Ikioi deftly slipped to the side and pulled Kagayaki down. Shitatenage.

Halftime

Kiribayama (6-9) defeated Takarafuji (5-10): Takarafuji wiggled and retreated, trying to keep Kiribayama off his belt. But Kiribayama was relentless and able to slip both hands on there. Once he was secure in the morozashi, queue deathspin throw. Uwatenage.

Onosho (2-13) defeated Chiyomaru (4-11): Follow the bouncing Chiyomaru. Onosho got the better of the tachiai but Chiyomaru used his mass to arrest Onosho’s progress and started moving forward. Onosho pivoted several times in retreat to stay away from the edge of the ring but as Chiymaru forced him along it, Onosho executed a throw. Shitatenage.

Takayasu (10-5) defeated Takanosho (8-7): Takayasu’s aggressive tsuppari pushed Takanosho up and back. A well-timed pull sent Takanosho to the clay. Hikiotoshi.

Yutakayama (5-10) defeated Enho (5-10): Enho eager to get things started but Yutakayama. Yutakayama advanced forward, keeping his weight low. His effective tsuppari targeted Enho’s face and shoulders. He attempted two hatakikomi pulls, the second of which was more effective in getting Enho off balance but Enho sprang backwards. Yutakayama pursued and forced Enho out. Oshitaoshi.

Endo (8-7) defeated Tokushoryu (7-8): Our sole Darwin bout? Tokushoryu allowed Endo in to the belt far too easily. Endo bounced Tokushoryu to the edge where Tokushoryu’s foot slipped from the bales. They give Endo the yorikiri.

Sanyaku

Tamawashi (10-5) defeated Okinoumi (9-6): Tamawashi is a bruiser and Okinoumi was ready for a brawl. Okinoumi chased Tamawashi around the ring with effective slaps and thrusts. Tamawashi won on the belt, though, throwing Okinoumi at the edge. Uwatenage.

Daieisho (11-4) defeated Myogiryu (10-5): Daieisho ducked to the side, as Myogiryu was pitched too far forward. A disappointing end to Myogiryu’s fantastic basho. Hikiotoshi.

Terunofuji (13-2) defeated Mitakeumi (11-4): Showtime. Wow. Morozashi from Terunofuji and Mitakeumi was done. Terunofuji advanced, marching Mitakeumi out. Yusho Terunofuji! Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (12-3) defeated Shodai (11-4): Asanoyama bulldozed into Shodai who’s back to a less-than-impressive tachiai. After yesterday’s bout with Terunofuji, I was expecting more fire from the Daikon. However, Asanoyama corralled Shodai effectively, working Shodai back to the edge. Shodai nearly pulled the Ozeki down but Asanoyama recovered. Oshidashi.

Terunofuji has been here before. But I NEVER would have thought he’d storm back in his first makuuchi tournament. The pink macaron! Congratulations, Terunofuji!!!

Aside from the yusho, Terunofuji picked up the Outstanding Performance and Technique Prizes. Daieisho and Mitakeumi also collected Outstanding Performance Prizes. Not to be left out, Shodai was given the Fighting Spirit Prize for actually having a solid tachiai against Kaiju. See what you can do?

Thank you for enjoying this tournament with us. Time to clean up and get ready for September.

Tokyo July Basho Day 14 Highlights

The final weekend is upon us. After months of anticipation we have another yusho race but this one is certainly unexpected. At the start of the week, Hakuho looked to be on cruise control. Having locked up his Yokozuna kachi-koshi, a misstep against Daieisho and then injury against Mitakeumi cost him his title chance.

The young guns are making serious moves for promotion. Mitakeumi and Shodai will want to begin Ozeki runs here. No, I don’t think either are in one at the moment. With absent Yokozunae, Asanoyama will surely be looking for a belt but he needs to start winning tournaments first. And Terunofuji is leading the way from “the behind” again and wants to get back into sanyaku. How is he here? I mean this article pulled up by Herouth is a heart-wrenching AND stomach-churning two-fer.

So, the questions for today are many. Can Terunofuji lock things up today, with a little help? Will the young guns in san’yaku begin their own serious bids for promotion? How many of our fading heroes will fall from makuuchi? Why is Andy’s neighbor’s dog barking at 6am? Read on and we shall see…

Highlight Matches

Takayasu (10-5) defeated Nishikigi (6-8): Takayasu got the jump with a solid tachiai and quickly walked Nishikigi out. At least Nishikigi won’t have to worry about a senshuraku Darwin bout. Yorikiri.

Sadanoumi (7-7) defeated Kotoshogiku (8-6): Sadanoumi, on the other hand, will likely get a Darwin bout tomorrow with this win over Kotoshogiku. He quickly wrapped up the former ozeki and walked him out. Yorikiri.

Shohozan (4-10) defeated Kotoyuki (6-8) vs: Sadly, Kotoyuki is kyujo Shohozan picks up the easy win after his henka of Onosho yesterday. Shohozan got a freebie and Onosho got Ikioi…

Chiyomaru (4-10) defeated Shimanoumi (5-9): Another quick win. This time Chiyomaru chases Shimanoumi out. These early bouts aren’t exactly filled with Kanto-sho contenders, are they? Yorikiri.

Myogiryu (10-4) defeated Kotoshoho (8-6): Myogiryu met Kotoshoho with a solid tachiai. Then he absorbed Kotoshoho’s attack, sliding back to the tawara. At the last moment, he pivoted and brought his arm up to help Kotoshoho off the dohyo. A wily, experienced win. Hatakikomi.

Wakatakakage (9-5) defeated Tamawashi (9-5): Tamawashi came to brawl. With a strong tachiai and upper torso attacks, he forced Wakatakakage into reverse. A brutal nodowa at the edge and I thought the smaller man was done. However, Wakatakakage ducked to the side and under Tamawashi’s attack. His counter-attack was able to drive Tamawashi back and out. Oshidashi.

Tochinoshin (9-5) defeated Hokutofuji (8-6): Hokutofuji met Tochinoshin with a solid tachiai, set his head down to drive into the powerful former ozeki. Tochinoshin slipped his left arm to Hokutofuji’s mawashi and pulled his opponent forward for a well-timed throw. Uwatedashinage.

Kagayaki (5-9) defeated Kotonowaka (4-5-5): As Leonid mentioned, Kotonowaka’s presence on the dohyo today was not wise. Kotonowaka’s tachiai took effort. That left knee is not ready. Kagayaki wore the youngster out by letting Kotonowaka charge with his right leg and force their massive combined weight across the ring. Then he took advantage of the fact that Kotonowaka could not put all of his weight on that knee. By pivoting, Kagayaki forced Kotonowaka to the outside and into a position where he couldn’t lead with the left or resist at the bales, either. Yorikiri.

Takarafuji (5-9) defeated Kaisei (5-9): Takarafuji pounced with a quick left-handed grab under Kaisei’s right arm and pull. I realize “quick” is a relative term. Kaisei rolls down the banzuke. Tsukiotoshi.

Kiribayama (5-9) defeated Chiyotairyu (5-9): Kiribayama slipped under Chiyotairyu’s oshi attack, drove him back to the bales and walked him over. I woke up at 3am for this? Gonna get some tea…may put a nip of whisky in there. Yorikiri, btw.

Halftime

Takanosho (8-6) defeated Tokushoryu (7-7): Tokushoryu tried to pull but Takanosho pursued brilliantly, driving into Tokushoryu and forcing him out. Excellent footwork from Takanosho. There aren’t actually many candidates for Darwin bouts so maybe Sadanoumi or Endo tomorrow? There’s no schedule yet. We shall see. Oshidashi.

Onosho (1-13) defeated Ikioi (2-12): Onosho was a bit too genki, drove into Ikioi early. Ikioi scolded him and an apologetic Onosho retreated back to the shikari-sen. However, the real deal was as one-sided as the matta. Onosho drove into Ikioi and through Ikioi. Ikioi had no ability to resist. Oshidashi.

Endo (7-7) defeated Ryuden (6-8): A solid tachiai from Endo and he quickly secured a right-hand grip on Ryuden’s belt. Ryuden tried to pivot and change direction but Endo followed with his left arm under Ryuden’s armpit. From here, Endo was ready to strike and executed a great throw. Endo vs Tokushoryu is set up for bout of the day tomorrow. Amirite? As Leonid mentioned, there aren’t many bouts for kachi-koshi tomorrow. Uwatenage, btw.

Yutakayama (4-10) defeated Ishiura (4-10): Ishiura met Yutakayama head on but shifted. Yutakayama shoved his forearm into Ishiura and kept it there, pushing Ishiura back. Ishiura pivoted and got Yutakayama to the edge but Yutakayama stayed low and used his size advantage to drive Ishiura back. Oshidashi.

Sanyaku

Daieisho (10-4) defeated Enho (5-9): Enho took on Daieisho as if he were six inches taller and 100 kilos heavier. That was not a wise choice as Daieisho stayed low and brawled with the pixie, going for his opponent’s head. Enho retreated but couldn’t find any weakness or point to counter-attack. Instead, he found the clay as Daieisho thrust straight through him, assuring there’d be no Takakeisho-style uncertainty. Tsukitaoshi.

Okinoumi (9-5) defeated Aoiyama (5-9): A great rumble and the Oki Sea rose at the tachiai, and enveloped the man-mountain. This tsunami’s angry torrent swirled around the mountain, lifted it from the very Earth and drove it into the valley below. Tsukiotoshi.

Shodai (11-3) defeated Terunofuji (12-2): Shodai was unafraid. I’ve not seen a stronger tachiai from Shodai. He drove straight into Terunofuji but Kaiju stood his ground and would not let him get all the way to the bales. Sensing the resistance and Terunofuji’s forward pressure, Shodai pulled Terunofuji back, pivoting on his right foot with a great throw and heaved him to the bales on the other side but Terunofuji stayed on his feet. The separation allowed Shodai to set up a final charge which left Terunfuji in a heap. A FIST PUMP FROM SHODAI! Yorikiri.

Mitakeumi (11-3) defeated Kotoeko (9-5): Kotoeko on the offensive here, forced Mitakeumi back. Mr. Lavender’s been eating his Wheaties. Mitakeumi on the defensive, retreating and turning as Kotoeko chased him around the ring. At the last moment, backed up against the tawara, Mitakeumi pivoted and forced Kotoeko out. Sukuinage.

Terutsuyoshi (8-6) defeated Asanoyama (11-3): Salt rained down on musubi-no-ichiban. Ready for the tachiai….Ashitori!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap!!!! A beautifully timed henka and leg grab from Terunofuji…oops, Terutsuyoshi. He ducked under Asanoyama’s advance, eyes set on Asanoyama’s left knee. Asanoyama advanced as if his eyes were closed, awaiting the impact that never came. Well, it just came later, after Terutsuyoshi picked up the leg and twisted up, forcing Asanoyama to the ground. ASHITORI!!!

It was great to listen to the Abema crew chatting during these sanyaku bouts. The drama built as we watched the bouts and the palpable excitement was refreshing to hear. The top half of the banzuke is living up to its billing. The bottom half…well, Takayasu and Myogiryu had a bit of spirit today. Kotonowaka had plenty of spirit but only one healthy knee. Technically, Terunofuji’s also from the bottom-half of the banzuke, I guess, but he’s sure worked his way back up the to the top of the torikumi.

While there aren’t many answers today, I do have one. Binky’s just crazy.

Tokyo July Basho Day 13 Highlights

Chiyomaru v Tochinoshin. That matchup was cause of some concern for Chiyomaru, and everything went indeed according to the Georgian’s plans.
Tochinoshin endures a few nodowa, resists Chiyomaru’s early forward
driving, and seizes his opponent’s mawashi. No problem for Tochinoshin driving his opponent to the dohyo limits. Simple yorikiri win, and Chiyomaru is heading to juryo.

Shimanoumi v Kotoyuki. Kotoyuki’s trademark thrusts take place after the tachi-ai, but lack power to move his opponent backwards. Shimanoumi seizes the opportunity to surge forward, and eventually sends Kotoyuki to the clay. Shimanoumi’s quest to safety looks successful, whereas it’s looking grim for Kotoyuki, whose knees looked to severely trouble him after the bout.

Wakatakakage v Myogiryu. Wakatakakage shifts to his left at the tachi-ai. He looks successful to drive Myogiryu outside the dohyo, using a nodowa at the edge. But Myogiryu resists, and manages to pull his opponent down before putting a foot outside the dohyo. No mono-ii, and the replays show a clear hatakikomi win.

Kaisei v Nishikigi. Kaisei gets the initiative after the tachi-ai, but
his momentum drives him a bit too far as his right arm is held by
Nishikigi. Kaisei is drived to the edge, but an ultra strong left grip
helps him surviving Nishikigi’s first yorikiri attempt. Incredible
resistance. Nevermind, Nishikigi regains his breath and succeeds with a second yorikiri attempt. He gives himself hope for survival.

Kotoshoho v Chiyotairyu. A decent tachi-ai from Kotoshoho, who tries to repell his opponent with both hands on the chest area. It’s not overly efficient, but it raises Chiyotairyu’s upper body. The Tokyo-born rikishi blindly rushes forward, and Kotoshoho basically does, er… nothing. Chiyotairyu powerfully crashes to the clay. The newbie gets his kashi koshi, Chiyotairyu the undesired make koshi.

Tamawashi v Kotoeko. Kotoeko gets blasted at the tachi-ai, and his
helpless to survive a couple more thrusts from Tamawashi. The Mongolian efficiently targets Kotoeko’s neck to duly push him out of the ring.
Both now share a 9-4 record.

Ishiura v Takayasu. Ishiura goes frontal and tries to incomodate
Takayasu. The left hand on his opponent’s chest, and the right hand taking care of Takayasu’s left arm: the former ozeki had to face that strategy earlier this basho. He is even caught off balance once, but recovers; Ishiura’s attempts globally lack strength. He is himself caught too low, and is pulled down by Takayasu. Hatakikomi win.

Sadanoumi v Tokushoryu. Both wrestlers go chest to chest after the
tachi-ai. If yotsu zumo is Sadanoumi’s thing, his right arm is useless because of Tokushoryu’s clever left arm position. Tokushoryu’s strength
prevails, and that’s an impressive yorikiri win for him.

Kotoshogiku v Ryuden. Ryuden is faster on the tachi-ai, but only to go
chest to chest with his opponent. Giku can’t get his gaburi sumo going, and a battle on the mawashi takes place. Both have a strong grip with one hand, and Ryuden eventually prevails over the former ozeki. Another yorikiri win.

Terutsuyoshi v Kiribayama. The Isehagama resident has had some bad tachi-ai this basho, losing straight after it. He got this time a decisive advantage right after the collision: he stands low, and catches Kiribayama in a morozashi. Kiribayama is impressively drived backwards, and is powerless to resist. Kiribayama’s basho at his career best turns ugly (4-9).

Shohozan v Onosho. A nervous matta by Onosho. Shohozan does him no favour at the second attempt, though. He produces a henka and the bout is over from the start. Onosho’s terrible run continues, and demotion is now looming: he has to find a way to victory tomorrow or Sunday.

Takanosho v Takarafuji. Takanosho goes to Takarafuji’s neck at the tachi-ai, and efficiently drives him back. Takarafuji shows his opponent
the door, but this is not the last trick: Takanosho survives, and manages to pull Takarafuji down while dancing around the bales. Mono-ii: did Takanosho step out? The gyoji’s verdict stands: Takanosho’s right foot was JUST inside. A close win, which brings Takanosho one win away from his kashi koshi.

Ikioi v Yutakayama. Yutakamaya promptly reacts at the tachi-ai, and gets the upper hand. As Ikioi resists, Yutakayama side-steps and tries to get a hand on the back of his opponent’s mawashi. He eventually seizes his belt, and reinforces his grip, while Ikioi gets himself a grip before it’s too late. The Osaka born wrestler tries a uwatenage, but his attempt is sabotaged by Yutakayama’s leg trip attempt. The latter wins by sotogake.

Endo v Hokutofuji. Endo is driven back at the tachi-ai, by Hokutofuji’s
trademark, powerful oshi zumo. Endo resists quite well, but fails to drive Hokutofuji out of his comfort zone. Endo is sent down to the clay: a straightforward hatakikomi win for Hokutofuji.

Enho v Okinoumi. Another matta on an Enho bout. He goes for Okinoumi’s right leg, at the second attempt. It does not work, and that’s another battle with Enho sitting under his opponent’s chest. Okinoumi shakes his opponent quite efficiently, and manages to raise the Miyagino resident. Enho’s defences are breached, and that’s an oshitaoshi win for Okinoumi, who gets his kashi koshi on day 13!

Daieisho v Aoiyama. As expected, a feisty thrusting battle takes place
between the two. Daieisho survives a pulling attempt. A small break settles, as both rikishi try to grab the other’s hand. Aoiyama sees an opportunity and resumes the fight with a furious thrust. He looks set to win that one, but his uncoordonate attempt makes him lose balance, and the Bulgarian crashes out as Daieisho moves to the side! Aoiyama looks pissed to have lost that one, but that was some fun.

Kagayaki v Mitakeumi. Kagayaki gives Mitakeumi no hope of seizing his mawashi, but he’s rushing forward way too heavily. Mitakeumi releases
the pressure on his opponent’s chest, moves to the side, and that’s quite an easy hikiotoshi win. Mitakeumi has reached double digit wins.

Asanoyama v Terunofuji. THE BOUT OF THE TOURNAMENT. Both men logically go for the mawashi at the tachi-ai. Terunofuji has the required
strength, sure. All eyes on his knees: can he sustain that formidable
challenge? He does, manages to pivot, and drives Asanoyama backwards.
The ozeki is ressourceful, though, and sends all his energy trying to pivot himself to regain the advantage. Terunofuji resists, and is on the highway to drive Asanoyama back a second time. The ozeki has no ressources left to avoid his fate. YORIKIRI WIN FOR TERUNOFUJI!

Hakuho v Shodai. Unsurprinsingly, Hakuho is kyujo. It’s no quality win
for Shodai, but he nevertheless improves to an impressive 10-3 record.

What a day!

Tokyo July Basho Day 12 Highlights

I must apologize for the delay in providing today’s highlight descriptions. Usually I’m writing during the matches and post as soon as they’re over. We’re at such a pivotal moment in this tournament that I felt better descriptions were in order, especially for the early matches. We had some great ones today…not many of the usual quickies.

Hakuho’s loss yesterday brought the contest for the yusho into doubt. He had looked so fierce and dominant early in the tournament. Unflappable. Now he shares the lead with the new Ozeki and a returning one. “The other one” has needed to take the rest of the tournament off. On to the action.

Highlight Matches

Tobizaru defeated Chiyomaru (3-9): Chiyomaru’s tachiai and thrusts shove Tobizaru back half a step. But Tobizaru got a double-handed belt grip and quickly drove Chiyomaru to the edge. Rather than expend a bunch of energy at the bales trying to lift the Chartreuse Zeppelin up and over, Tobizaru ended the bout with a sudden throw. He let go of the belt with his right, sliding his arm under Chiyomaru’s arm pit, and twisted, throwing Chiyomaru to the middle of the ring with the left. Shitatenage.

Wakatakakage (8-4) defeated Nishikigi (5-7): Wakatakakage tried a quick pull. Nishikigi snuffed it out and tried the Aunt Joan attack, which consists of, “Come here boy, I haven’t seen you in ages!” and then taking the opponent’s face in both hands and molding the cheeks like Play-Doh. That’s not much of a sumo strategy, however, and probably just freaked Wakatakakage out a little, so Nishikigi abandoned it in favor of a right handed belt grip. Wakatakakage shrugged him off, though, and drove forward, Nishikigi hanging on for dear life with this feet along the tawara. However, Wakatakakage made one more drive forward and this time Nishikigi could not move laterally to escape. Yorikiri.

Tochinoshin (7-5) defeated Shohozan (2-10): The Sky Crane is not what it once was. After a strong tachiai, both men settled into a grapple with both hands wrapped solidly in each other’s belts. Tochinoshin exerted a lot of force to get Shohozan sliding backwards to the edge. But at the edge, his drive failed so he attempted a throw but Shohozan resisted and countered with his own throw, sending both men tumbling over the dohyo. The gumbai went to Shohozan but a mono-ii judges conference decided a re-do was in order.

On the redo, I think Tochinoshin was suddenly allergic to silk as they both went with a brief oshi battle. Shohozan tried to sneak under and grab the belt but Tochinoshin shifted with a quick pull and forced Shohozan to stop his fall with his hands. Hatakikomi.

Sadanoumi (6-6) defeated Kaisei (5-7): Sadanoumi was all offense today. He drove forward into Kaisei and when that didn’t work, tried to move laterally with a throw. Kaisei hung on for dear life but Sadanoumi continued to pivot, throwing his opponent to the clay. Uwatenage.

Myogiryu (8-4) defeated Kotoshogiku (8-4): Bruce’s hunch about Myogiryu win was bankable today. Kotoshogiku drove forward but Myogiryu stepped to the side and then attacked forcing a lethargic Giku into retreat. The third try’s the charm for Myogiryu’s kachi-koshi. Yorikiri.

Terunofuji (11-1) defeated Tamawashi (8-4): Tamawashi wanted an oshi battle. He was determined to have an oshi battle and got his wish. Or rather, he pissed Terunfuji off with constant face slaps. “You are not getting my belt, son.” Terunofuji responded with slaps of his own, “So that’s how you want to play, huh?” He sent Tamawashi reeling across the ring, Terunofuji in full pursuit drove forward one final time shoving Tamawashi out. Yorikiri.

Takayasu (7-5) defeated Ikioi (2-10): Ikioi charged at Takayasu but Takayasu forced Ikioi back to the bales and then threw him back to the middle. Ikioi’s trajectory is Juryo-bound, either September or November. He’s unable to generate much offense. Uwatenage.

Kotoyuki (6-6) defeated Ishiura (4-8): Surprise, surprise, Ishiura henka. Kotoyuki and everyone else in the building, even the screaming kid, were all prepared. Kotoyuki pursued and forced Ishiura out on his butt, halfway up the hanamachi. Oshidashi. “NEXT!”

Shimanoumi (4-8) defeated Chiyotairyu (5-7): Chiyotairyu advanced through Shimanoumi. A strong tachiai there drove his opponent back. Chimanoumi tried a trip but Chiyotairyu countered and brought the pair back into a belt-less grapple in the center of the ring. After singing Chiyotairyu to sleep, Shimanoumi slipped to the side and Chiyotairyu fell forward. Zzzzzzzzzukiotoshi.

Terutsuyoshi (6-6) defeated Kotoshoho (7-5): Terutsuyoshi sidestep and leg grab sent Kotoshoho tumbling. Ashitori. Usually those kimarite are fun to watch. Not this one. “NEXT!”

Halftime

Kotoeko (9-3) defeated Tokushoryu (6-6): Tokushoryu absorbed Kotoeko’s tachiai and advanced. Instead of going straight back to the edge, Kotoeko circled. Perhaps seeing the bout from the other day and noticing Tokushoryu tires after about two laps around the ring, Kotoeko waltzed with his partner for a couple of circuits before gently dumping him off outside the ring. Sukuinage.

Takanosho (6-6) defeated Ryuden (5-7): Takanosho met Ryuden’s forceful tachiai head-on. He didn’t stop there, however. He drove forward into Ryuden, holding his opponent’s head high and forcing him back. Ryuden resisted for a while but could not generate a counter-attack. Takanosho’s offense was unwhithering and he powered Ryuden over the bales. Yorikiri.

Aoiyama (5-7) defeated Onosho (0-12): Onosho is lost. Except for yesterday’s bout, Aoiyama’s schtick is hatakikomi. This is known. Aoiyama retreated at the tachiai and forced Onosho down…down to the ground. Hatakikomi.

Endo (6-6) defeated Takarafuji (4-8): Endo’s powerful tachiai forced Takarafuji back. Endo sustained an oshi attack for a bit before Takarafuji drove forward. Endo resisted, however, countering with a yotsu attack. He got Takarafuji moving backwards with some quality footwork and ushered Isegahama’s heyagashira out. I think Terunofuji wants that status back. Yorikiri.

Yutakayama (2-10) defeated Kiribayama (4-8): Kiribayama deflected Yutakayama to the side. He must have said something about Yutaka Mama because Yutakayama was pissed and after a good brawl, charged forward, launching Kiribayama out. Oshidashi.

Sanyaku

Kagayaki (5-7) vs Okinoumi (6-6): Okinoumi met Kagayaki solidly at the tachiai. Okinoumi’s legs churned and churned but he couldn’t get Kagayaki moving backward. So, he sidestepped and Kagayaki rolled along the floor. Tsukiotoshi.

Shodai (9-3) vs Enho (5-7): Shodai has Enho’s number. He let the pixie charge into him and as Enho futilely tried to drive Shodai back, Shodai did his best Kaiju impression. He wrapped up both of Enho’s arms steadily walked forward and bounced Enho into the sixth row, nearly up to the box seats. Kimedashi

Daieisho (8-4) defeated Takakeisho (8-4): Takakeisho’s late but predicable kyujo gifts Daieisho a kachi-koshi. Having cleared his kadoban status, Takakeisho has opted to rest his ailing knee.

Asanoyama (11-1) defeated Hokutofuji (7-5): Everyone tries to separate Asanoyama’s head from his body. It doesn’t come off that easily and usually just serves to irritate the shin-Ozeki. Asanoyama drove forward into Hokutofuji, securing a belt grip despite Hokutofuji’s vigorous defense. Asanoyama was more vigorous in attack and crushed Hokutofuji, burying him in the center of the ring with the squid. Sukuinage.

Mitakeumi (9-3) defeated Hakuho (10-2): No! Harite is a sign that all is not well for the Yokozuna. The confident, dominant master is shaken. However, he drove forward, aggressively into Mitakeumi. Sidestep!!! In a brilliant move, Mitakeumi ducked to the side and the Yokozuna crashed out of the dohyo. Hakuho, visibly limping, needed considerable time to walk back to his post, bow, and head for the exit. I wanted to run out there and give him a hug…but he trudged along the hanamichi, alone. We may be Yokozuna-less heading into the weekend. Tsukiotoshi.

It’s just allergies. I swear! Just allergies…<sniff> now where’s my comfort blanket? Within seconds, we go from having a Champion, leading a newcomer (successor?) and the come-back kid, to…are our champion ranks virtually decapitated? Is the new guy the only one left?

Vincent Price voice: “Tune in tomorrow, kids…if you dare! Ah ha ha ha! Ah ha ha ha!