Kotoyuki: One for the Fans

In an era where sumo commentary frequently makes reference of those rikishi who stay in the sport past their expiration date, some eyebrows were raised this week at the news that Kotoyuki had retired at the age of just 30.

Of course, anyone who’s seen the Sadogatake man on the dohyo over the past few years would find it hard pressed to dispute that perhaps he might struggle to regain the kind of form that would make him competitive even at sumo’s second highest division, never mind return to the top division as a makuuchi regular. Newer fans will need reminding that this was a man who will retire with a san’yaku rank as his career high.

And yet in light of the heroics of Terunofuji, and mid to late 30s comebacks from the likes of Aminishiki, Toyonoshima, Akiseyama and so on… it does feel a bit underwhelming to see the man from Shodoshima take his leave. Maybe this is in no small part owing to his status as somewhat of a non-traditional fan favourite.

If you looked around Kokugikan – back in the days when it would be full of sumo fans – Kotoyuki isn’t a name that you would see flying on cheer towels, at least not in recent years. But here’s a guy who was a fixture in the torikumi. In the beginning, he was notable for his “hoot” and clap, his method of psyching himself up for matches. It marked him out as perhaps someone in a line of sumo eccentrics, somewhere in between Takamisakari’s Robocop antics and Takayasu’s now-retired gorilla grunt in the Audio division (similar lineage of course existing within the Sodium Conference from Mitoizumi through Kitazakura and now Terutsuyoshi). Cheers to YouTube’s “Sumotori” channel for this edit:

Afterwards, he switched to his “helicopter” manoeuvre before matches which, as noted by venerable sumo laureate Kintamayama when we spoke on these pages, never really got the fans going in the same way.

Of course, on the dohyo in these later stages he also became a bit of a figure of fun, his absurdly serious demeanour in the pre-match pageantry giving way to this oversized bowling ball normally taking out several rows of poor civilian onlookers, tanimachi, shimpan and anything else in its way as he usually careened off the dohyo – winning or losing, though in later years more of the latter – at pace.

It’s also worth noting that in terms of his sumo form, Kotoyuki was, in his day, an oshi-zumo force, with an incredible amount of power generated in a pushing/thrusting attack from a body type that while optimal for that type of sumo, of course also perhaps contributed to his career’s early end. But what fun he was when he got going – we laud the technicians and tacticians of sumo on these pages, but he was at his best an all out attacking force.

He retires, per SumoDB, with a career record of 480-430-70. Record wise, his undoubted pinnacle would have been five years ago in Osaka, a tournament where he ran riot over the joi-jin and in an era where his 12-3 performance at Maegashira 1 sadly wasn’t even good enough for the jun-yusho (those were the days!). He snatched his only career kinboshi from the Yokozuna Harumafuji in that tournament:

I probably came around to Kotoyuki when I was last able to attend the Haru basho in Osaka. Keen fans will know that rikishi must pass right through the fans in the hallways of the Edion Arena as they make their way to and from the shitakubeya. I camped out in the dark recesses of the venue, attempting to get any usable photos of rikishi that we could use on this site – most of which were pretty terrible as the sekitori exited the venue with haste after their bouts. Kotoyuki, however, marked himself out as someone with a soft spot and a heart for the fans. He took his time to graciously meet children, sign autographs and speak at length with supporters on his way out of the building. Perhaps Osaka was somewhat of a “home” basho for him, being nearest his shusshin, and I don’t know if he approached fans at other tournaments with the same warmth, but it was notable in a sport that is known for its stoicism that he made time for those who came to support and cheer for him.

All in all, it is not an exaggeration to say that the highest (and sometimes even the lowest) moments of his time in service to the sport were to the great benefit and enjoyment of the fans.

What’s next? For now, he’s taken Okinoumi’s Kimigahama myoseki on loan, one of several hot seats on the kabu market as he settles into oyakata life. Hopefully over the coming months or years, sumo’s youngest elder – and first oyakata born in the 1990s – will find a name to make his own. 

As he enters the first of potentially 34-plus years as an oyakata, we can and should hope that he passes some of that same fun, that ability to entertain, and most of all that same reverence for the fanbase to those who will follow under his tutelage.

Tokyo November Day 15 Highlights

When in the middle of week one, it was clear that we would have no Yokozuna, and 2 of the three Ozeki were out, I worried that this would be a complete dud of a basho. But the athletes and the crew at the Japan Sumo Association gamberized, and delivered a fun and satisfying tournament. My compliments to everyone, as I know this was a tough one to carry. We close this tournament with an almost perfect ending given the circumstances. The hope for a new Yokozuna in 2021, the return of a potent foe to the upper ranks of sumo, with a strong statement, 13-2!, that he will return to his former rank.

Congratulations to Takakeisho for your second yusho. You broke a long drought of Ozeki yusho (Kisenosato, January 2017), and maybe we might be able to have a new Yokozuna in 2021 to take some of the pressure off of the two guys who are at the end of their competitive careers.

Congratulations to Terunofuji. I expected 10 wins from you, but you really went above and beyond. Your skills are vastly improved, your sumo is frighteningly good, and I have great hope for your future. I just worry every day about those knees.

Highlight Matches

Ichinojo defeats Chiyoshoma – Try as he might, Chiyoshoma could not move the boulder today. There was a brief moment at the start of this lengthy chest to chest match where Ichinojo tried a pull, and Chiyoshoma changed momentum. But let’s face it, Ichinojo was motivated, and there is not a rikishi, pony ride, or ice cream parlor that can endure that. Both end the November basho with 8-7 records.

Sadanoumi defeats Ishiura – Ishiura, back for his second visit from Juryo, can’t find any way to shut down Sadanoumi’s forward motion, and is quickly run off the dohyo. Ishiura was already kachi-koshi, can he return to the top division for Hatsu? Sadanoumi improves to a painful 5-10.

Meisei defeats Shimanoumi – It almost seems as is Shimanoumi’s genki spell was broken in his loss to Terunofuji, as he drops his last 3 matches to finish at 11-4. Don’t get me wrong, thats a great score. I just wish he had been able to keep up the fight. Meisei finishes November 9-6.

Chiyonokuni defeats Kotoeko – Chiyonokuni with double digit wins (10-5) for his return to the top division. A hearty kotenage, and the kanto-sho fighting spirit prize. Quite the way to return from a long absence!

Akua defeats Tokushoryu – These two went into throw postition almost at once, and it was tough to tell if it was Tokushoryu’s throw or Akua’s counter move that took the match. The shimpan called for a monoii, and video showed Tokushoryu’s hand touch the clay a fraction of a second before Akua’s face made impact. 9-6 finish for Akua, a kachi-koshi for his first trip to the top division.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Kaisei – Terutsuyoshi got to the side of Kaisei, and picks up win number 5. Rough tournament for both men, I am going to hope they can rest, recover and regroup.

Aoiyama defeats Chiyotairyu – We finally get to see the V-Twin fire up, but at a fraction of it’s normal power. It was enough to move Chiyotairyu out of his defensive stance, and thrust him out. A 6-9 finish for November for Aoiyama.

Endo defeats Hoshoryu – In spite of the high anticipation a few days ago, there was not a swarm of Darwin matches. Most of the candidates were able to avoid a 7-7 day 14 score, or had already matched against the other 7-7 rikishi. Hoshoryu’s post-tachiai press to move forward me with Endo’s pull, and out Hoshoryu could not keep his balance. Endo finishes with a kachi-koshi, Hoshoryu make-koshi.

Enho defeats Tobizaru – I think Enho rallied everything he had for this final match, and battle-swarmed Tobizaru with great effect. Tobizaru is a high energy, high rate of motion fighter, but when Enho is cranked up and attacking well, he was easily 2-1 move for move. 3-12 finish for Enho, will it save him from a big drop to Juryo?

Hokutofuji defeats Ryuden – Wow, again today we see Hokutofuji engage at close range and dominate a match. That right hand ottsuke did its job and kept Ryuden contained. He finishes with 11-4. From Maegashira 4, that puts him in perfect position for Hatsu. Perfect as in his first week is going to be absolute hell, with 2 iffy Yokozuna, 2 iffy Ozeki, and one Grand Tadpole looking to throw him off the dohyo for much needed wins.

Yutakayama defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki really suffered this basho. The new black mawashi is completely haunted, as discussed in week 1, and no number of visits to shrines or temples will likely cure it. Go back to the gold and all may right itself. A 5-10 finish, losing after having clear advantage for almost the entire match is kind of a good summary for Kagayaki’s November.

Daieisho defeats Kotoshoho – Daieisho hits double digits (10-5) on the final day, but it took 2 matches to do it. First match, he completely dominating Kotoshoho from start to finish. When Daieisho can set up his attack and get his opponent to off balance, he is tough to stop. But the finish was deemed too close to call, and a rematch was declared. The second match was a quick dive for the edge of the ring, and another monoii. It was clear from the replay that Daieisho was airborne as Kotoshoho made contact with the dohyo, and he had his 10th win at last.

Onosho defeats Myogiryu – Nice to see Onosho finish with a win. Myogiryu is fighting at a fraction of his potential, he was completely disrupted by Onosho from the start. Onosho finishes November 7-8, Myogiryu 4-11.

Wakatakakage defeats Kotonowaka – These two changed battle plans at least twice per second, with hands and feet shifting to adjust. Kotonowaka eventually was able to wrap up Wakatakakagi with a bear hug to Wakatakakagi’s head. Wakatakakagi charged ahead, willing to sacrifice his own head, driving Kotonowaka from the ring. Both men finish November 7-8.

Okinoumi defeats Kiribayama – Kimarite really needs to regroup. But a make-koshi that big will take him safely away from the abattoir that will be the Hatsu joi-jin. Maybe that is some consolation.

Takayasu defeats Tamawashi – Takayasu gave a great example of why I find the form of sumo he went to as an Ozeki so bothersome. Today he reverts to his Sekiwake style, and completely dominated Tamawashi. Compare today to day 14 for Takayasu. Today his movements were focused, efficient, and no power or energy was wasted flailing around. Much better, and a well deserved kachi-koshi.

Tochinoshin defeats Takanosho – I must remark that I am delighted to see Tochinoshin in somewhat better condition this basho than I had feared. He can still fight, and has found a way to overcome the problems with that right knee. His win today puts him at 9-6, and I guess may be in the joi-jin for Hatsu. Enjoy your Christmas, big stuff. Santa’s got a whole lot of sumo for you to enjoy in January.

Mitakeumi defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji did not quite get his defense in ordered before Mitakeumi took him apart and drove him to the clay. Whatever injuries Mitakeumi have, I hope he’s able to rest and repair starting tonight. A 7-8 finish for Takarafuji, and a strong 9-6 finish for Takarafuji.

Terunofuji defeats Takakeisho – What a finish to a fantastic basho. Both have 13-2 records, Terunofuji picked up 2 special prizes (well earned) and with 13 wins has a strong opening move to return to Ozeki. I marvel that Terunofuji kept his feet during during the two big combos that Takakeisho delivered. But the third was not enough to keep the kaiju back, and his big hands found Takakisho’s mawashi. A twist and press attack threw the Ozeki to the clay. We had a playoff for the cup!

The playoff, well Takakeisho went in calibrated that Terunofuji would be able to overcome his attack after the second wave. So 2 waves was all it took to clear the Terunofuji over the west side of the dohyo. For the world of sumo, this was the best possible ending. We have the story of Terunofuji dominant in the basho, and a strong step on the road to regaining his rank of Ozeki after falling all the way to Jonidan 48! With a Takakeisho win, we have the seeds of possibly the next Yokozuna, which will be put to the test in January, where we may lose one or both of the current Grand Champions.

With that, Tachiai concludes our daily highlghts for this November basho. Thank you, dear readers, for sharing our love of sumo, and spending your time on our site.

Tokyo November Day 14 Highlights

Fans have noticed it, the commentators on the video-casts have noted it, and it’s time to talk about it. The gyoji have picked up some kind of matta fetish this basho for the paid ranks, but most especially for Makuuchi. It’s ruined a few really solid matches, and frankly its gotten quite annoying. Are some rikishi not getting their hands completely down? I do think so. But like any point of human endevour, there is a factor of “close enough”. I say let these guys fight it out, thats what we are all tuned in to see. Not some strict adherence to a rule. Of course, because it’s Japan, there is a fascination with rules and absolute adherence from some folks.

It’s all going to come down to the final match of the final day, as we see Terunofuji face off against Takakeisho. A second Terunofuji yusho this year would be quite the event (he won the cup in July), and there would be quite a bit of talk about how high this rebuild kaiju could go. A Takakeisho yusho would be the start of a rope run for him, and would net him a 14-1 final score.

It’s going to come down to that first step off the shikiri-sen. Takakeisho must keep Terunofuji from getting his hands inside and especially from establishing any sort of grip. Should the kaiju get his fingers on Takakeisho’s belt, I anticipate him bowling at least one frame of shimpan, scoring no worse than a 3-7 split.

Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Ishiura – Ishiura tired a diving attack after a stalemate at the tachiai, and missed Chiyoshoma’s legs. Nice idea, but not today, Ishiura. Chiyoshoma picks up win number 8, and will remain in the top division a while longer.

Yutakayama defeats Sadanoumi – I think all of the frustration of having a really sucky basho boiled over today for Yutakayama. He blasted Sadanoumi off the dohoyo, and there was an air of “Thats more like it”. But already make-koshi (5-9), he’s just working to cushion the fall now.

Chiyotairyu defeats Meisei – Cannonball tachiai followed by some righteous denshamichi, classic Chiyomaru, and it was nice to see. Having perfected a low-velocity tachiai this basho, his opponents no longer can count on him launching at the start of the match, and now his brutal blast off catches people full in the chest again. Chiyotairyu improves to 9-5.

Tokushoryu defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka struggles to shut down a Tokushoryu gaburi-yori, and gets belly bucked around while Tokushoryu gets his hands set up to force him out. Tokushoryu gets his kachi-koshi, and Kotonowaka ends at 7-7, nominating him for a Darwin match tomorrow.

Akua defeats Kotoeko – This probably was going to be a good “throw down” match, but the matta fetish blew both rikishi’s attack plans, and this is what resulted. Congrats to Akua for his 8th win, and condolences to Kotoeko for his 8th loss. I do with the gyoji would just let these guys fight.

Ichinojo defeats Aoiyama – A friend of mine, an Army vet and tank driver, once told me a story about how they would take their 60 ton Abrahams tanks, and put them over jumps at speed. Prior to this match, I could only imagine what that was like. But here we have Ichinojo with a henka against Aoiyama. The Boulder rolls to the side, pasty white Bulgarian breast-meat goes jostling about, and a man in a blue mawashi hits the clay. And the result? Ichinojo gets a day 15 match against Chiyoshoma to decide his make/kachi-koshi. You can see that henka coming from a day away. At least we know the schedulers have a sense of humor.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Enho – This battle of the sad, battered pixies ends with a seldom-seen sotokomata, when Terutsuyoshi picks up Enho’s leg and drops him like a sack of gravel. Both of these guys need to regroup. But at least they are out of the maelstrom that will be the Hatsu joi-jin.

Tochinoshin defeats Kaisei – I have to think that somehow Tochinoshin got some use of that right knee back, or he would never be able to put that much lift underneath Kaisei. The former Ozeki powered up and Kaisei could do little more than go for the ride. Tochinoshin picks up win 8, and kachi-koshi while Kaisei takes loss number 8 for his make-koshi.

Tamawashi defeats Chiyonokuni – Again the matta storm robbed us of a match I had been looking forward to for 2 weeks. These two should have been beating each other to a pulp, but instead Tamawashi ran a discombobulated Chiyonokuni out of the ring for his 8th win. Better luck at Hatsu I suppose?

Myogiryu defeats Hoshoryu – Thank you guys for giving us several long painful seconds of pushing on each other’s faces. I am sure it was brutal. I can only guess that Myogiryu’s face gave up first, as he tried to pull, and Hoshoryu ran him down. Myogiryu is headed for a deep drop down the banzuke, and Hoshoryu is headed for a day 15 Darwin match.

Endo defeats Kagayaki – Endo is easy to anticipate these days, shallow grip attempt at the tachiai. Every single time. Kagayaki did not have much response at first, but rallied at the edge to push ahead, and nearly take the match. But Endo broke contact, circled right and attacked. Endo gets a “stay alive” win to head do a day 15 Darwin match against Hoshoryu.

Hokutofuji defeats Onosho – I don’t know if it’s by plan or by necessity, but we have seen Hokutofuji go chest to chest quite a bit this basho, and his absolutely cleaning up. I would love to see this as the new Hokutofuji sumo style, as it’s powerful, dominant and effective. Hokutofuji improves to 10-4, while Onosho is make-koshi for November.

Daieisho defeats Ryuden – Ryuden’s shiri-zumo / but wiggle seems to have run out of power to mesmerize and distract his opponents. Daieisho runs him out of town like a cop chasing down a hobo. Both end the day at 9-5.

Tobizaru defeats Kiribayama – Tobizaru is make-koshi, which I am sure bruises his ego (you can’t get this far in sumo without really believing in yourself). But I do like how he has focused on agility and rapid combo attacks in week 2. Kiribayama is injured and fighting poorly this basho, and I hope he can heal up and bounce back. for January. Tobizaru improves to 6-8.

Wakatakakage defeats Okinoumi – A big story is just how badly Okinoumi hit some kind of wall on day 9, and has now lost 6 straight. Okinoumi has a chronic pelvic injury that requires surgery and about 6 months to repair. So when it’s calm, he can fight like a champion, and when he’s hurt, we get this. Like Tobizaru, Wakatakakagi seems to be working on consolidating his sumo style, and I think it’s going to help him a lot in 2021.

Terunofuji defeats Shimanoumi – I give a lot of credit to Shimanoumi in making this one competitive. He kept calm, kept his head in the match and worked hard. But I also have to remake just how different this reconstituted Terunofuji is from his original form. He was meticulous, and slowly wore Shimanoumi down until he could get his left hand placed. Now at 12 wins, he is Ozeki material if he can keep his knees together.

Kotoshoho defeats Takayasu – I can’t begin to describe my frustration with Takayasu (I am nominally a fan). Is sumo is inefficent and relies on wild shifts of force and balance. So much so, he can’t keep his feet most of the time. He lets a punter like Kotoshoho shut him down and throw him about. Dear Takayasu – some time around your Ozeki promotion, you went back to your old, bad ways of your pre-Sekiwake era. It’s not working. Kotoshoho gets his kachi-koshi, and Takayasu gets to face Tamawashi for a chance at kachi-koshi.

Takanosho defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji had a moment to set p a marginal defensive stance following the tachiai, but Takanosho’s hand, hips and foot placement was superb. He powered into Takarafuji, and then through his center of gravity. Unable to recover balance, Takarafuji went out fighting to the last. A well earned kachi-koshi for Takanosho. Chiganoura oyakata has to be loving this.

Takakeisho defeats Mitakeumi – There is no way that Mitakeumi is not injured. Normally these two are a raucous smashy-slappy fight of tadpole power. But Takakeisho got locked onto center-mass at the tachiai, and just drove Mitakeumi around like a loaded delivery van. Win 13 for the lone surviving Ozeki, and make-koshi for Mitakeumi.

Tokyo November Day 13 Highlights

Some genuinely sloppy sumo today, but once again Hokutofuji stood out as showing better sumo than what I have seen from him in a while. Before he took a fairly brutal concussion in 2018, he was quite the rising star. That includes and 11-4 jun-yusho 3 years ago in Kyushu. But this November, his sumo, his stamina and his fighting spirit are all working together. He has at least 9 wins at Maegashira 4, and him finishing at least 10-5 is not out of the question. Given what I expect for Hatsu, he could be in for quite a ride near the top of the rank and file. I did, in fact, pick him to once again show off “the most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo” this month, but he has shown my prediction to be way off. Thanks for the surprisingly good sumo, sir!

Highlight Matches

Chiyomaru defeats Akua – The bulbous Chiyomaru visits from from Juryo, and finds his 8th win against Akua. It was an even fight up until the point that Akua decided to try to pull Chiyomaru down. In doing so he gave up any defensive pressure, and found himself pushed out.

Chiyonokuni defeats Yutakayama – The oshi battle between these two was so intense, Chiyonokuni started shedding tape from his bandaged shoulder. He improves to 9-4 while a dejected Yutakayama takes a stroll to burn off momentum.

Chiyoshoma defeats Enho – Where has the fire pixie gone? Well, it’s down to an injury, sadly. I think that Enho’s poor performance and demotion to Juryo for Hatsu may be indications that he should just address his problems now. Chiyoshoma improves to 7-6.

Sadanoumi defeats Kaisei – In spite of one matta, the second try could not get the tachiai quiet right, but the gyoji let them continue. Sadanoumi did not waste energy building up a bit hit against Kaisei, rather focused on getting his arms around Kaisei’s chest and driving forward. Kaisei was unprepared, and quickly left the ring.

Meisei defeats Kotonowaka – Good, solid thrusting combo from Meisei to score his 8th win. He moved forward with power, and apart from one attempt to pull, Kotonowaka had nothing today. Meisei get his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for November.

Ichinojo defeats Kotoeko – Again today we get the powerful, fighting version of Ichinojo. I would hate to think he only showed up with there was a make-koshi imminent. That’s three losses in a row for Kotoeko, who had a fantastic start to this basho, but is now in genuine risk of a make-koshi. Both end the day 6-7.

Aoiyama defeats Hoshoryu – No V-Twin today from Aoiyama today, but he managed to stay mobile, and kept Hoshoryu moving around until he could time the slap down. Aoiyama improves to 5-8.

Chiyotairyu defeats Endo – Endo sniffed that something was not right, and when the tachiai finally came it was a Chiyotairyu henka. I guess Chiyotairyu wanted to take no chances scoring his 8th win, and Endo bought it. Endo drops to 6-7.

Hokutofuji defeats Tokushoryu – Hokutofuji went chest to chest with Tokushoryu, who can be pretty tough to move. But once Hokutofuji got his feet in the match, he dominated. A rescue throw attempt at the tawara was for naught, and Tokushoryu stepped out. Hokutofuji improves to 9-4.

Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – That’s 5 straight losses for Okinoumi, who started very strong. Okinoumi moved Tochinoshin back at the tachiai, and you could really see Tochinoshin do everything he could to keep pressure away from that right knee. Amazing sumo adaptation on his part. Once Tochinoshin was able to consolidate his grip, he moved forward for the win. 7-6 for Tochinoshin, and Okinoumi’s 8th loss for make-koshi at 5-8.

Tamawashi defeats Kagayaki – Great tachiai defense from Kagayaki, but forward power from Tamawashi was so great, you could see both of Kagayaki’s feet leave the dohyo. With no connection to earth to arrest his slide back, Kagayaki found himself at the edge of the ring in the second moment of the match. He went for a thrust down against Tamawashi, but had already stepped out. 7-6 for Tamawashi, and Kagayaki 8th loss for make-koshi at 5-8.

Takarafuji defeats Daieisho – The missing element from Daieisho’s sumo today? Mobility. He was landing thrusts well, but was not moving. I chalk this up to Takarafuji’s superior defenses, and once Daieisho’s attacks began to wane, Takarafuji took him to his chest and took over the match. Takarafuji improves to 9-4.

Onosho defeats Kotoshoho – Onosho was too far forward today, and in response Kotoshoho tried to pull him down or forward, but that simply powered Onosho’s final attack. Onosho, after opening 2-6, has rallied and may actually pull off a kachi koshi.

Wakatakakage defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu’s opening gambit fell short of taking Wakatakakage out, and he managed to get chest to chest and stop Myogiryu’s advance. After a moment’s pause, Myogiryu rallied into Wakatakakage’s throw for a loss. Wakatakakage improves to 5-8.

Kiribayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Kiribayama manage to shift his grip mid-match, and in doing so changed his fortunes, picking up only his 3rd win of the tournament. Both end the day with a dismal 3-10 record.

Tobizaru defeats Takayasu – As expected, it’s more Takayasu “wild man” sumo. Tobizaru deserves a lot of credit for repeatedly blasting through Takayasu’s defenses and focusing center-mass. The two broke contact and then locked up chest to chest, and stalemated. With Takayasu contained, Tobizaru worked to adjust Takayasu’s balance until he had him shoulders out past his toes, and delivered swift kick to Takayasu’s ankle, dropping him like big hair coconut. Nice combo, Tobizaru!

Terunofuji defeats Ryuden – Ryuden’s butt-sumo brought him no benefit today. But his loose mawashi really blunted Terunofuji’s attack. But the best he could manage was to slow down the inevitable. Terunofuji broke Ryuden’s grip and pushed him away, and over the bales. That’s 11-2 for Terunofuji. Nice start to an Ozeki campaign.

Takanosho defeats Mitakeumi – That’s 5 straight losses for Mitakeumi, and I am going to predict he’s got some kind of lower body mechanical problem. He’s not really able to counter anyone’s forward movement, and seems to be easy to move around the dohyo. Takanosho improves to 7-6.

Takakeisho defeats Shimanoumi – A good example of just how genki Shimanoumi is right now, he was able to absorb and survive Takakeisho’s initial combo, and even rallied to drive the Ozeki back. But it seems that was just “level 1” for Takakeisho, who dialed up the intensity and the speed. A quick step to the side while Shimanoumi was staggering forward ended the match with a win for the Ozeki, who is now the sole leader of the yusho race at 12-1.