Kyushu 2023: Senshuraku

The action of the past fortnight comes down to these few matches. It’s been a wild, entertaining ride. We came into the tournament with several storylines but those shifted during the tournament. We end with a strong class of Ozeki, a few contenders, and a crop of impressive young wrestlers beginning to develop.

Atamifuji is quickly becoming a favorite. After a rather timid debut to the division, he is establishing himself in this second go around. But he is not destined for the lower rungs of Makuuchi. He has been a player in the yusho for two consecutive tournaments. Two jun-yusho, and the accompanying special prizes suggest he will find a home in sanyaku. He will have new rivalries, perhaps Kotonowaka, Gonoyama and others.

Meanwhile, the newbies at the Ozeki rank, Kirishima and Hoshoryu, are finally establishing themselves with solid tournaments…Kirishima with potentially his second yusho. We will not have a kadoban Ozeki in the New Year and we have a couple of guys who might be able to start their own Ozeki runs.

But we can talk about that later, for now, let’s get to the action.


Nishikifuji (6-9)defeated Kagayaki (5-10). Kagayaki charged forward sending both to the floor. A mono-ii was called but it was determined the bout was too close to call. In the rematch, Kagayaki quickly secured an overarm grip with his left hand but Nishikifuji dominated with his right hand inside. He was able to press forward and force Kagayaki out. Yorikiri.

Hiradoumi (9-6) defeated Kitanowaka (5-10). Kitanowaka wouldn’t let Hiradoumi inside by using powerful tsuppari. But Hiradoumi caught him pitched too far forward and pulled him down to the ground. Hikiotoshi.

Ryuden (10-5) defeated Tsurugisho (9-6). Ryuden forced Tsurugisho into reverse. Tsurugisho stepped out gingerly. Yorikiri.

Oho (8-7) defeated Mitakeumi (8-7). Oho cornered Mitakeumi resisted forcefully at the bales, resulting in a brief stalemate. Mitakeumi used his left hand to sweep through Oho, likely attempting a twisting throw but this forced both to tumble out. Gunbai Oho. No mono-ii. Oshidashi.

Myogiryu (6-9) defeated Tomokaze (7-8) Tomokaze did not like Myogiryu’s nodowa, so he pulled to escape. Myogiryu pursued and pushed him out. Oshidashi.

Roga (5-10) defeated Endo (5-10). Endo pressed forward and seemed to have good control until he tried to shift his grip to a double-inside. Roga locked up Endo’s right arm in an armbar and pulled, forcing him to the ground. Kotenage.

Ichiyamamoto (11-4) defeated Kinbozan (8-7). Ichiyamamoto gets a Fighting Spirit Prize with the win. And win he did, with a quick slapdown. Remember Kinbozan hurt his arm/shoulder yesterday. He didn’t have much in the way of offense today. Hatakikomi.

Churanoumi (9-6) defeated Midorifuji (9-6). This was a very active bout. Churanoumi’s early plan was a pull and slapdown. But Midorifuji kept his balance and charged forward forcing Churanoumi to backpedal. Churanoumi realized he needed to change up his plan so he pressed forward and secured Midorifuji’s belt with his right hand inside. Midorifuji tried to use a kotenage but Churanoumi countered by wrapping his right foot around Midorifuji and then pressing forward. Oshidashi.

Gonoyama (8-7) defeated Shonannoumi (7-8). Darwin Match. Shonannoumi forced to reset, then Gonoyama jumped early. Finally the combatants leapt in sync. Shonannoumi pulled but Gonoyama’s forward churning sumo won, in the end. Oshidashi.

Sadanoumi (8-7) defeated Tobizaru (7-8). Darwin Match. Sadanoumi tried to end it quickly with a throw but Tobizaru slipped from his grip. Tobizaru could not press Sadanoumi forward so he pulled but Sadanoumi pursued well. Yorikiri.


Takayasu (10-5) defeated Tamawashi (9-6). Takayasu was a bit slow with his tachiai, and Tamawashi a bit eager, so he false started. When they got the timing right, Takayasu pulled and shifted directions, letting Tamwashi’s momentum carry him off the dohyo.

Meisei (4-11) defeated Tohakuryu (5-10). Tohakuryu pulled, again. Meisei caught him out and pressed forward. Tohakuryu’s pulling brand of sumo will be sent back to Juryo. Oshidashi. Regular readers will be familiar with my disdain for this type of sumo but new readers may wonder, “Takayasu literally just won with pulling sumo but you don’t give him crap. What gives?” Fair enough. But Takayasu can do what Takayasu wants. He’s not defined by his pull. He uses it as a tool…one of many. Tohakuryu is discovering that if the pull is your “brand of sumo,” a Makuuchi opponent will be prepared to let you run yourself off the dohyo. Tohakuryu seemed to be relying on this one tactic far too much to be successful here.

Shodai (6-9) defeated Takarafuji (6-9). Shodai pulled and Takayasu pushed. Gunbai to Takarafuji. Mono-ii. They decided they went out at the same time so they ordered a torinaoshi, rematch. In the rematch, Shodai may have saved himself by switching his grip to a morozashi, double-inside grip. Once he secured that, he countered Takarafuji at the edge and then pressed forward, pushing Takarafuji over the bales. Oshidashi.

Ura (8-7) defeated Hokuseiho (7-8). Darwin Match. Ura slipped from Hokuseiho’s grasp and locked onto Hokuseiho with an arm bar, spun him around and then drove forward pushing him over. Oshitaoshi.

Nishikigi (7-8) defeated Hokutofuji (5-10). Hokutofuji charged forward strongly but a bit blindly as Nishikigi dragged him forward and down. Hatakikomi.

Asanoyama (4-4-7) defeated Abi (6-9). Strong Abi-zumo met stronger Asanoyama. Abi was driving into Asanoyama’s face but Asanoyama got pissed off and reared up, driving into Abi from the side. This redirected Abi’s attack into the void…and let gravity do the rest. Tsukiotoshi.

Wakamotoharu (6-9) defeated Onosho (3-12). Yorikiri. A matta probably should have been called but wasn’t. Wakamotoharu drove Onosho quickly out. This bout will be forgotten since it was relatively meaningless but it’s another case of, “fight until you hear the gyoji.” This only becomes an issue when it happens in a big match and someone thinks they should have had a matta.

Kotonowaka (11-4) defeated Atamifuji (11-4). Atamifuji won a Fighting Spirit prize, unconditionally but Kotonowaka’s is conditional on a win here. Atamifuji’s Outstanding performance prize is conditional on a yusho, so he’d have to win here, have Kirishima lose, AND defeat Kirishima in the subsequent playoff. But in the end, Kotonowaka met Atamifuji head on and then shifted to the right, letting Atamifuji flop to the floor…aided by a gentle push from the left hand. Hikiotoshi.

Hoshoryu (10-5) defeated Daieisho (9-6). Daieisho went through all that cupping for nothing. Hoshoryu got inside Daieisho’s cannons quickly, wrapped him up, and forced him over the edge. Yorikiri.

Kirishima (13-2) defeated Takakeisho (9-6). Kensho applause. Takakeisho slow-rolls his tachiai. Matta. Kirishima met Takakeisho head on at the tachiai but quickly shifted right, and Takakeisho fell forward. Kirishima hits 13 wins and walks away with a fat stack of kensho to fund his yusho party.


Congratulations, Kirishima! And Congratulations Atamifuji and the other Sansho winners!

On the data front, it’s clear that we are in a new era of sumo. The aged, dominant veterans of the past few years have joined their elders in blue jackets (and even a few black hakama). It will take quite a bit of time to build up another set of great rivals. But we have certainly noticed how many “first time bouts” there have been every day this tournament. I’ll try to quantify that a bit better and see if we can trace that metric back through the past twenty years or so. I will not be surprised if this is near a peak for the most “first time bouts”.

My hypothesis is that the “Hakuho era” was not just down to him. He had great rivalries with Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, Kakuryu…guys who faced him, and each other, over and over for more than a decade. The key is, those guys were at the top and consistently defeating the guys who would fly in and out of their lives for the first 10 days of the tournament…before this half-dozen guys would set upon themselves basho-after-basho for years. I think that we will need time to see another class of legends and great rivals establish themselves in the division and we are just seeing the first few sprouts of those new rivalries.

While we fete Kirishima on his yusho, we should also celebrate the successes of these young up-and-comers because they will be carrying the sport for the next decade.

Kyushu 2023: Day 13 – Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving Chanko

We are not big fans of turkey, too be honest. On our own for the holidays for the first time in a long time, the threat of spending hours preparing, and failing, at making a dry bird led us to an unconventional decision. So, this year we opted for a Thanksgiving dinner of chanko and sushi. Give me moist tsukune (chicken meatballs) over ham, turkey or venison, any day. Tuna temaki is just icing on the cake. Then, we also actually had cake in the form of baumkuchen.

I am certainly thankful for, among other things, a great tournament. It is unfortunate that Takakeisho could not follow up on his September yusho and charge forward with a strong title win in Kyushu. Instead, Kirishima, Atamifuji, Ichiyamamoto and Kotonowaka have been the stars of this show. Ozeki performance issues have certainly been quieted for now. And after a spell of short reigns, maybe Kirishima and Hoshoryu will lighten some of Takakeisho’s load. The continued successes of recent tournaments mean Kotonowaka (26) and Atamifuji (21) have designs on their own future promotions. After starting the year with much more uncertainty, it’s nice to have not only a steady current slate of Ozeki but some hopes for the future.


Kitanowaka (5-8) defeated Oshoma (4-9). A bit of a testy slapfest that ended when Oshoma lost his balance and fell forward. Hikiotoshi.

Tohakuryu (5-8) defeated Oho (6-7). Tohakuryu jettisoned his retreating sumo of late for aggressive, forward moving thrusts here against Oho. And what do you know, it worked! Tsukidashi.

Tomokaze (7-6) defeated Hiradoumi (8-5). Hiradoumi tried a slapdown but Tomokaze pressed forward and shoved Hiradoumi over the bales. Oshidashi.

Churanoumi (8-5) defeated Sadanoumi (6-7). Sadanoumi was the aggressor in this bout, nearly ending Churanoumi’s day with an early slapdown attempt. Sadanoumi kept pressing forward and forced his opponent to the edge…where Churanoumi twisted out of the way and threw Sadanoumi forward. Sukuinage.

Mitakeumi (8-5) defeated Tamawashi (8-5). Not much thrusting from Tamawashi today; Mitakeumi forced himself inside the range of Tamawashi’s guns and they settled, head-to-head with Tamawashi’s back to the bales. Mitakeumi gathered his strength and pressed forward, pushing Tamawashi over the edge. Oshidashi.

Roga (4-9) defeated Myogiryu (4-9). Myogiryu charged forward but Roga circled right in retreat, staying in bounds long enough to thrust Myogiryu out. Tsukiotoshi.

Endo (5-8) defeated Nishikifuji (4-9). Endo chased Nishikifuji around the ring for awhile before Nishikigi stepped out. Oshidashi.

Midorifuji (9-4) defeated Ichiyamamoto (9-4). Now, I’m sure we can all agree THAT’s a henka. We can all see the, “YOU BASTARD!” on Ichiyamamoto’s lips. Hikiotoshi.

Tsurugisho (8-5) defeated Nishikigi (6-7). Tsurugisho pulled to start but Nishikigi was wise to it. The two settled into a grapple. Nishikigi tried to make a charge but Tsurugisho pulled up hard and resisted, forcing the two back toward center. Nishikigi gathered up his strength for another charge and this time Tsurugisho couldn’t stop him…but instead he twisted and hefted Nishikigi over the bales with a great throw. Utchari.

Tobizaru (6-7) defeated Hokuseiho (6-7). Tobizaru quickly reached in and pulled Hokuseiho forward. He then circled behind and pushed him out. Okuridashi.


Atamifuji (11-2) defeated Takayasu (8-5). The Japanese word, Atama, means “head” and that is all that I can bring to mind as I watch Atamafuji drive his head into Takayasu, forcing a yotsu contest. Takayasu tried to shove that head back but each time, Atamafuji brought his head back to rest under Takayasu’s chin. Atamafuji then grabbed Takayasu by the shoulders to drive him down. Takayasu resisted the slapdown but the pressure forced his back to the bales and Atamifuji pressed forward, pushing him out. Excellent sumo from Atamifuji. Oshidashi.

Takarafuji (5-8) defeated Meisei (3-10). After the tachiai, the two combatants settled into a grapple at the center of the ring. Meisei pulled to the edge but Takarafuji pursued and pressed forward, eventually forcing Meisei over the edge. Yorikiri.

Kinbozan (8-5) defeated Shodai (5-8). Kinbozan drove forward, hard into Shodai. Just when you wanted New Shodai to resist and force Kinbozan back, Old Shodai scanned behind himself for a place to land and dropped into the crowd. Oshidashi.

Ura (6-7) defeated Onosho (3-10). Ura blasted Onosho backwards and off the ring. Oshidashi.

Gonoyama (7-6) defeated Hokutofuji (4-9). Hokutofuji tried to remove Gonoyama’s face with the right hand and ottsuke with the left. Gonoyama shifted and thrust Hokutofuji’s hand away. Hokutofuji pressed with such force that the momentum thrust himself down in the center of the ring. Tsukiotoshi.

Abi (6-7) defeated Shonannoumi (7-6). The staredown was about 100x longer than the bout as Abi caught Shonannoumi and yanked him down to the ground, almost instantly. Hikiotoshi.

Ryuden (9-4) defeated Kotonowaka (9-4). Ryuden thrust his head into Kotonowaka’s chest and pressed forward. Kotonowaka kept fumbling for a belt grip but it’s much easier when your head is down, like Ryuden’s. Ryuden just kept pressing forward and Kotonowaka could not counter effectively. Any hopes of Ozeki promotion will have to wait for March, or more likely, May. Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (2-4-7) defeated Wakamotoharu (4-9). Powerful tachiai. Asanoyama rotated his body, twisting Wakamotoharu over toward the edge. Wakamotoharu kept his footing along the bales so Asanoyama forced him out. Yorikiri.

Kirishima (11-2) defeated Daieisho (8-5). Standard Daieisho thrusting attack, parried to the side by Kirishima. Hatakikomi.

Takakeisho (9-4) defeated Hoshoryu (8-5). Hoshoryu drove into Takakeisho’s tsuppari a bit too far as Takakeisho switched modes and thrust him down. Tsukiotoshi.


We’re down to a two-man show. It took a while for the Kyokai to finally publish the torikumi (bout listing) for tomorrow. I had thought they might like to actually have all of the Ozeki fight each other, and during normal circumstances, that would probably be their preference.

  • 2敗: Kirishima, Atamifuji
  • 3敗: no one

Instead, Kirishima will fight Atamifuji tomorrow. This means that we are assured of an at-least 12-win yusho. We might have a playoff between these two if the winner of tomorrow’s bout stumbles on senshuraku. Kirishima will undoubtedly be paired up with one of his fellow Ozeki (likely Takakeisho) for the musubi-no-ichiban on senshuraku.

As I’d mentioned, Kotonowaka’s charge is now done. Ichiyamamoto’s role in this drama, sadly, fizzled in front of Midorifuji. But there is certainly a significant crop of new talent, simmering under the surface. And, whatever the outcome of this weekend, Atamifuji is leading their charge into 2024.

Kyushu 2023: Day 12

Fierce competition in the top division this tournament. Let’s get straight to the action and chat afterwards.


Tohakuryu (4-8) defeated Shimazuumi (7-5) with forward-moving sumo! Of course, he tried the retreating, crap-style of sumo first. Hopefully he will learn to ditch that. Oshidashi.

Tamawashi (8-4) defeated Oho(6-6). Oho lasted longer than I thought he would and he tried several different attacks. But he never was able to get out of Tamawashi’s firing range. Eventually, Tamawashi battered him out of the dohyo. Tsukidashi.

Tsurugisho (7-5) defeated Sadanoumi (6-6). Tsurugisho power sumo. Sadanoumi was no easy target and nearly pulled a “Reverse” out at the edge. Yorikiri.

Hirodoumi (8-4) defeated Churanoumi (7-5). Hiradoumi shot off the line like he’d been fired out of a cannon. He stayed low but kept his balance through Churanoumi’s slapdown attempt and blasted Churanoumi out of the ring. Oshidashi.

Takarafuji (4-8) defeated Myogiryu (4-8). 妙義龍元気ないですね。Takarafuji drove forward and handed Myogiryu his make-koshi. Yorikiri.

Endo (4-8) defeated Kitanowaka (4-8). Endo started with oshi-zumo but moved inside and got a good grip of Kitanowaka’s belt and tried a strong uwatenage. Though his opponent didn’t fall, the throw was effective at yanking Kitanowaka around the ring and putting him up against the tawara. From there, Endo kept up the pressure and forced Kitanowaka out. Yorikiri.

Hokuseiho (6-6) defeated Roga (3-9). Roga initiated all of the action, trying multiple throws. At first, Hokuseiho had Roga’s right arm locked up as if he was going to attempt a kotenage which never came. I think that grip helped keep Hokuseiho up. He then switched to that loooong lefthand belt grip. Roga tried a final throw and Hokuseiho reacted by getting his right-hand grip and pressing Roga forward. When Hokuseiho’s right hand went up to Roga’s neck, Roga stepped out. Yorikiri.

Kinbozan (7-5) defeated Mitakeumi (7-5). Kinbozan pressed forward and never allowed Mitakeumi to get any forward churn. Oshidashi.

Shonannoumi (7-5) defeated Tomokaze (6-6). Shonannoumi collected his thoughts and pressed forward, forcing Tomokaze out. He punished Tomokaze’s ineffective makikae by pressing forward when Tomokaze had lost his ability to counter. Yorikiri.

Onosho (3-9) defeated Nishikifuji (4-8). Nishikifuji’s early charge was powerful enough to roll Onosho off the dohyo. Matta, reset. Another early start from Nishikifuji. Onosho got his revenge on the tachiai and steamrolled Nishikifuji over the edge. Yorikiri.


Ichiyamamoto (9-3) defeated Nishikigi (6-6). Early charge from Ichiyamamoto. Maybe nerves. He launched forward early again…but no matta. Ichiyamamoto pressed forward into Nishikigi. As Nishikigi adjusted and changed grips, his right foot stepped out. Yorikiri.

Takayasu (8-4) defeated Ryuden (8-4). As Ryuden reached in for a righthand belt grip, Takayasu pulled him forward to the ground. Katasukashi. It was impressive to see Ryuden weather Takayasu’s powerful tsuppari attack and land a one-handed grip of Takayasu’s mawashi. That grip was enough to spin Takayasu around. But going for the second hand was just greedy and Takayasu made him pay.

Gonoyama (6-6) defeated Tobizaru (5-7). Brutal tsuppari drove Tobizaru back and out. Oshidashi.

Ura (5-7) defeated Shodai (5-7) with a deft shift and throw while dancing along the tawara. Shodai was slow to get up, limped away with yobidashi help. I think Ura landed on Shodai’s leg…which was lying on the tawara. Tottari.

Abi (5-7) defeated Meisei (3-9). Abi laid into Meisei with powerful tsuppari but Meisei bulled forward. When Abi backed to the tawara, he stepped quickly to the side and thrust Meisei forward to the dirt. Tsukiotoshi.

Hokutofuji (4-8) defeated Asanoyama (1-4-7). Hokutofuji let Asanoyama play his yotsu-game for a while. But when Asanoyama drove forward, Hokutofuji stayed in the ring. And when Asanoyama pulled, he kept his balance. Hokutofuji then used that momentum to drive Asanoyama back and out over the bales. Oshidashi.

Daieisho (8-4) defeated Midorifuji (8-4). Daieisho power sumo. He drove forward with powerful tsuppari, pushing Midorifuji onto his backside. Oshitaoshi.

Kirishima (10-2) defeated Kotonowaka (9-3). Kirishima’s in the driver’s seat now. Kotonowaka matta. I swear, lots of those today. Strong yotsu-zumo from both but Kirishima was never in danger. Controlled, quality sumo from the Ozeki as he forced Kotonowaka ever closer to the edge and…eventually…over the bales. Yorikiri.

Takakeisho (8-4) defeated Wakamotoharu (4-8). Wakamotoharu drove forward into Takakeisho’s tsuppari. But he was unprepared for Takakeisho’s sidestep and lost his balance. Takakeisho followed with a simple shove to push Wakamotoharu over the bales. Oshidashi.

Atamifuji (10-2) defeated Hoshoryu (8-4)! Hoshoryu drove forward but Atamifuji shifted at the tawara and pulled the Ozeki down. Hoshoryu gave a long, hard stare at that tawara; disbelief that Atamifuji had remained in bounds.


Wow, quite the day! The yusho picture draws into focus with the spotlight on Ozeki Kirishima and the Hiramaku upstart, Atamifuji. Kotonowaka and Ichiyamamoto challenge, one loss back. Eight wrestlers sit just behind the lead pack.

  • 2敗: Kirishima, Atamifuji
  • 3敗: Kotonowaka, Ichiyamamoto

There are several big bouts on tap for tomorrow. Kirishima will face Daieisho; Atamifuji will face Takayasu. Kotonowaka will face Ryuden and Ichiyamamoto will face Midorifuji. Hoshoryu will face Takakeisho in our first Ozeki bout.

Unless weird things happen, Kirishima will then be able to fight each of his fellow Ozeki in turn on Day 14 and 15. Though these bouts are clearly not official, I wouldn’t be surprised if Atamifuji/Kotonowaka on Day 14 and a Takakeisho/Atamifuji revenge match is on tap for Senshuraku if Atamifuji wins tomorrow.

All of our Ozeki are kachi-koshi. Kirishima has his 10 wins and both Takakeisho and Hoshoryu are still in the running to pick up theirs. We end 2023 in a different place than we started it, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, Kotonowaka’s Ozeki run is now on life support. A 12-win yusho will likely still secure promotion, even though it’s shy of the 33-win benchmark, but he’s chasing now.

Day 13 will decide several lower division yusho contests.

Ajigawa-beya’s Aonishiki is the only Jonokuchi wrestler on six wins. If he wins tomorrow, he will seal the first division yusho. He will face Hatachijo, who at 5-1 just beat Ultraman and is now on my list. No worries, Ultraman is kachi-koshi and will sneak back into Jonidan.

Speaking of Jonidan, undefeated Dairinzan will face 5-1 Kototaiga. But the big match will be between the pair of undefeated: Higonoumi and our Yusho-favorite Shiroma. If Dairinzan wins, he will force a senshuraku playoff with the winner of Shiroma/Higonoumi. If Kototaiga wins, the winner of Shiroma/Higonoumi will claim the second division title outright.

In Sandanme, Daishoryu will face Nishida for the yusho. Both are undefeated. Lastly, in Makushita, Kitaharima will face Satorufuji, as Leonid covered yesterday.

Kyushu 2023: Day 11

We open today with four men in the lead and six chasing. Even better news, Kirishima is already kachi-koshi and both Takakeisho and Hoshoryu are one-win away. We’ve been used to having only one Ozeki or kadoban Ozeki for so long, it’s like we can focus on other drama, for once.

  • 2敗: Kirishima, Kotonowaka, Atamifuji, Ichiyamamoto
  • 3敗: Takakeisho, Hoshoryu, Midorifuji, Ryuden, Hiradoumi, Churanoumi

This is still quite an open contest with contenders up-and-down the banzuke. Hopefully today will offer a bit more clarity once the action is complete.


Nishikifuji (4-7) defeated Tomokaze (6-5). Tomokaze was stuck in rewind. Nishikifuji pressed forward easily to pick up the win. Oshidashi.

Tsurugisho (6-5) defeated Takarafuji (3-8). Takarafuji showed the initiative and drove forward but Tsurugisho rotated at the edge. Takarafuji resisted desperately but Tsurugisho increased the pressure, forcing Takarafuji to the floor. Valiant effort from both men. Yoritaoshi.

Sadanoumi (6-5) defeated Kitanowaka (4-7). Kitanowaka spun Sadanoumi around but Sadanoumi stayed in and regained position in the center of the ring. Sadanoumi pulled up and drove forward with all his might, forcing Kitanowaka to the ground over the tawara. Yoritaoshi.

Sadanoumi will face the resurgent Tsurugisho on Day 12. Seriously, how did he get to be 6-5?

Mitakeumi (7-4) defeated Roga (3-8). Roga slapped Mitakeumi at the tachiai. I don’t think that was wise. Enraged, Mitakeumi plowed forward and drove Roga out. Lesson: if you want to be make-koshi, slap a former Ozeki. Yorikiri.

Atamifuji (9-2) defeated Churanoumi (7-4). Locked-in, full steam ahead. Power sumo from Atamifuji. Oshidashi.

Endo (3-8) defeated Tohakuryu (3-8). Endo kept his legs churning forward and Tohakuryu kept his legs churning in reverse. Thankfully, forward-facing sumo won today. Oshidashi.

Endo will face Kitanowaka tomorrow. Tohakuryu will fight the Juryo visitor, Shimazuumi.

Tamawashi (7-4) defeated Kinbozan (6-5). Tamawashi grabbed Kinbozan’s face and wrenched him forward. Now behind his opponent, Tamawashi pushed Kinbozan out from behind. Okuridashi.

Kinbozan will fight Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi is seeking his kachi-koshi but Kinbozan holds a 2-0 edge in this rivalry.

Hokuseiho (5-6) defeated Oho (6-5). Again, Hokuseiho wrapped up his opponent in a double-over arm kimedashi-style grip, granting Oho a double-handed inside morozashi. Oho then used his morozashi and pressed forward. At the edge, though, Hokuseiho pivoted and dragged Oho down by the arm. Slick. Kotenage.

Hokuseiho will fight Roga; Oho will face Tamawashi, which should be interesting.

Midorifuji (8-3) defeated Hiradoumi (7-4). Midorifuji kachi-koshi. Midorifuji wrapped up Hiradoumi with a double-inside grip and pressed forward like Oho. Like Hokuseiho, Hiradoumi pivoted at the edge. But Midorifuji was ready, kept Hiradoumi centered, and pushed him out. Oshidashi.

Hiradoumi will fight Churanoumi with kachi-koshi on the line. He my have dodged a bullet with this loss. Churanoumi vs Daieisho…who would you rather fight?

Myogiryu (4-7) defeated Onosho (2-9). Myogiryu hit Onosho with a nodowa. Onosho raised his hands and slapped Myogiryu and unleashed his own nodowa. But Myogiryu wrenched him forward by pulling on his right arm. Hikiotoshi.

Tomorrow, these guys get a pair of May-December Isegahama stablemates from Aomori. Myogiryu will take on Takarafuji and Onosho will fight Nishikifuji.


Ryuden (8-3) defeated Nishikigi (6-5). Ryuden charged forward too early. Matta and reset. After the tachiai Ryuden quickly secured his left-hand inside grip and pressed forward, always seeking a hold with his right arm, as well. Nishikigi resisted for a while but was unable to get relief as Ryuden continued to press forward, forcing Nishikigi out. Yorikiri.

Takanosho (5-6) kyujo. Gonoyama (5-6) fusen win.

Takayasu (7-4) defeated Shonannoumi (6-5). Takayasu locked on with a right-hand outside grip, his left wrapped just inside Shonannoumi’s right armpit. He pivoted and overpowered Shonannoumi, forcing him over the edge. Yorikiri.

Takayasu will face Ryuden. This will be a fun one to watch. Shonannoumi will fight Tomokaze.

Tobizaru (5-6) defeated Ura (4-7). Ura pulled and tried to slap Tobizaru down but Tobizaru drove forward and forced Ura down at the edge. Oshitaoshi.

Tobizaru will face Gonoyama.

Hokutofuji (3-8) defeated Meisei (3-8). Hokutofuji pressed Meisei backwards but Meisei countered by pulling Hokutofuji forward by his arm. Hokutofuji recovered, chased Meisei, wrapped him up and forced him over the bales. Yorikiri.

Abi (4-7) defeated Shodai (5-6). Abi-zumo quickly dispatched Shodai. Oshidashi.

Abi will face Meisei; Shodai will take on Ura.

Daieisho (7-4) defeated Ichiyamamoto (8-3). Ichiyamamoto pressed forward hard into Daieisho. He was pitched a bit too far forward so Daieisho used a slight sidestep to pull him forward and down. Hikiotoshi.

Daieisho is the Kyokai’s clean-up man. After handing Ichiyamamoto a dose of reality, he will be paired with high-flying Midorifuji. Ichiyamamoto will have another tough bout with Nishikigi.

Kotonowaka (9-2) defeated Takakeisho (7-4). Kotonowaka reached behind Takakeisho, stepped to the side, and pulled him forward. From there, he was fully behind T-Rex so, it was a simple push to send Takakeisho packing. Okuridashi. The rope run is dead. Long live the Ozeki Run!

Hoshoryu (8-3) defeated Asanoyama (1-3-7). Asanoyama tried to rotate and throw Hoshoryu with his over-arm right-hand grip (uwatenage) but Hoshoryu countered with his right hand inside, throwing Asanoyama to the ground and landing on top. Shitatenage.

For an early dinner, Hoshoryu is being fed Atamifuji. Or is that the other way ’round? Yusho race implications there. A Hoshoryu win will have both men in the chase group. An Atamifuji win, on the other hand, will mean a two-man lead with the winner of Kirishima/Kotonowaka. Oh, and umm…Asanoyama will take on Hokutofuji. That should be interesting, too. Umm…yeah.

Kirishima (9-2) defeated Wakamotoharu (4-7). Wakamotoharu resisted at the bales for a while but Kirishima did not relent. Yorikiri.

Kirishima will fight Kotonowaka in a bout with not only yusho implications but also Kotonowaka’s promotion hopes hanging in the balance. Wakamotoharu must win out to preserve his sekiwake status. First on that quest, Takakeisho seeking kachi-koshi. Oof.


From a 10-man leaderboard at the start of today’s action, we’re down to 7. There will be more attrition tomorrow with head-to-head action among four of our leaders while the other three are moved up to fight other high-ranked opponents.

  • 2敗: Kirishima, Kotonowaka, Atamifuji
  • 3敗: Hoshoryu, Midorifuji, Ryuden, Ichiyamamoto

Hoshoryu got his kachi-koshi. Two wins in these closing days, and he’ll get 10. Takakeisho still needs one more win in the final four days to be kachi-koshi and still even has an okay chance at ending up with double-digits.

Unfortunately, Takanosho has joined Kotoeko on the couch, watching from home. With five wins, even if he doesn’t return, he’s still positioned to be Maegashira 10 or 11 in January. Kotoeko, on the other hand, is looking at demotion to Juryo.