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.

Kyushu 2023: Day 10

Yes, we’re already at Day 10. I can’t believe it, either. Ichiyamamoto will be put to the test against Hiradoumi while the rest of the field tries to keep pace. The Komusubi wrestlers are struggling but the Ozeki are holding their own. Meanwhile the Sekiwake are a mixed bag as Kotonowaka is charging forward, yusho and promotion on his mind. Meanwhile, Wakamotoharu seems out-of-depth. Daieisho is clinging on and seems to want to turn the corner.

And then there is such a massive field of young guns here that every day has several first-time pairings. Which ones have staying power? Hokuseiho is one who has been sticking around, and at times doing well, while not quite inspiring hopes behind the hype. Has Oho topped out? Gonoyama is finding this level more of a challenge while Atamifuji is doing quite well in just his second tournament in the top division.


Roga (3-7) defeated Bushozan (6-4). Bushozan pressed forward but Roga turned the tables at the tawara. The bales offered a chance to brace, and pivot which Roga used to force Bushozan out. Yorikiri.

Oho (6-4) defeated Kitanowaka (4-6). Damn. One big blast from Oho was enough to change the complexion of this entire bout. He twisted and brought his arms up, forcing Kitanowaka to lose his grip and creating the separation he needed. Then he shoved Kitanowaka halfway to the bales, and pursued quickly to push him out. Oshidashi.

Tohakuryu (3-7) defeated Sadanoumi (5-5). Tohakuryu henka. Sadanoumi stayed up but as he drove back forward to Tohakuryu, Tohakuryu slapped him down. Hatakikomi.

Sadanoumi will face Kitanowaka on Day 11 in a first-time matchup. There have been a lot of these this tournament. I will try to dig into the numbers because that might be an important metric for “changing of the guard” times. We don’t have rivalries with Kiseonsato/Kotoshogiku longevity.

Hiradoumi (7-3) defeated Ichiyamamoto (8-2). Hiradoumi was not blasted backward at the tachiai and was unaffected by Ichiyamamoto’s pulldown attempt. Instead, he bulled forward and forced Ichiyamamoto out and over the bales. Once inside range of Ichiyamamoto’s effective range, there were no cannon blasts. Yorikiri.

Ryuden (7-3) defeated Tamawashi (6-4). Ryuden fought this fight on his terms. He forced a grapple rather than a brawl. Then he forced Tamawashi to the bales and continued to bull forward, forcing Tamawashi onto his back. Yoritaoshi.

Nishikifuji (3-7) fusen victory over Kotoeko (2-8).

Mitakeumi (6-4) defeated Churanoumi (7-3). Mitakeumi drove forward, forcing Churanoumi quickly to the bales. Churanoumi reacted by shifting direction. Mitakeumi was not fooled and drove Churanoumi back across the ring and out. Yorikiri.

Mitakeumi will face Roga tomorrow.

Tomokaze (6-4) defeated Endo (2-8). Endo kept seeking that maemitsu to his peril. Tomokaze just kept blasting Endo about the chest and face, forcing him back and over the bales. Oshidashi.

Tomokaze will fight Nishikifuji. Endo will face Tohakuryu. Both are first time matchups.

Tsurugisho (5-5) defeated Hokuseiho (4-6). Hokuseiho yielded a morozashi to Tsurugisho, who immediately lifted Hokuseiho off the dohyo and carried him to the edge and pushed him out. You read that correctly. He didn’t make it all the way over the bales in the air, but was able to drive him quickly over. This should be a wakeup call to Hokuseiho that there’s something massively wrong with his style of sumo. Yorikiri.

Hokuseiho will face Oho tomorrow.

Kinbozan (6-4) defeated Takarafuji (3-7). Kinbozan quickly drove through Takarafuji, and out. He shrugged off Takarafuji’s slapdown, completely unfazed. Oshidashi.

Kinbozan will take on Tamawashi while Takarafuji will face Tsurugisho.


Atamifuji (8-2) defeated Shonannoumi (6-4). Atamifuji kept his head down and Shonannoumi centered in front of him and powered Shonannoumi out and over the edge. Shonannoumi tried to shift direction and resist at the bales but Atamifuji was too powerful. Oshidashi.

Atamifuji will fight Churanoumi.

Takanosho (5-5) defeated Myogiryu (3-7). Takanosho’s pressed forward into Myogiryu. Myogiryu pivoted but the change of direction didn’t faze Takanosho, who kept his head down and bulled Myogiryu back and out. I feel like that’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve written that today. If it happens again, I’m just going to say, “it happened again.” It’s like the only defense today is an ineffective shift of direction or a slapdown. Only Tohakuryu’s slapdown has actually worked. Oshidashi.

Midorifuji (7-3) defeated Takayasu (6-4). Unlike those before him, Midorifuji would not go quietly into that good night. He weathered Takayasu’s hailstorm tsuppari. At one point it looked like Midorifuji’s arm was sneaking up behind Takayasu’s shoulder and it freaked Takayasu out (probably thinking katasukashi). Takayasu then changed tack, wrapped up Midorifuji by moving inside and shifting to a belt game. As Midorifuji retreated, he stepped to the side, wrapped up Takayasu’s right arm at the shoulder, and pulled him down. Kotenage.

Midorifuji will face Hiradoumi. Hiradoumi holds a 3-0 lead in their rivalry. Takayasu will fight Shonannoumi.

Tobizaru (4-6) defeated Onosho (2-8). Onosho drove Tobizaru backwards at the initial charge but Tobizaru shifted and pivoted, seeking out that right hand belt grip. This put Onosho up against the bales and Tobizaru used that belt grip to force Onosho out. Yorikiri.

Onosho will fight Myogiryu.

Meisei (3-7) defeated Shodai (5-5). Power sumo from Meisei but Shodai actually put in a considerable amount of defensive effort and shrugged off Meisei’s slapdown attempt. He’s inspired in front of this hometown crowd. Shodai tried a last second sukuinage. But Meisei kept forward pressure on Shodai, following through with his throw, driving both to tumble off the edge. Gunbai Meisei. Mono-ii. Shinpan confirmed that Shodai fell first. Uwatenage.

Ura (4-6) defeated Hokutofuji (2-8) and breaks the Team Nishi’s 9-bout winning streak. Strong tsuppari from Hokutofuji forced Ura backwards. Ura shifted at the bales and grabbed Hokutofuji’s left arm, yanking him forward. Ura then snuck behind and pushed Hokutofuji out from behind. Okuridashi.

Ura will face Tobizaru and Hokutofuji will fight Meisei. These are both very interesting undercard matchups. Meisei will be hoping to stave off makekoshi while Hokutofuji’s already there and hoping not to drop too far.

Kotonowaka (8-2) defeated Gonoyama (4-6). Gonoyama tried to power Kotonowaka out but in seeming retreat, Kotonowaka tugged on Gonoyama’s belt and dragged him down. Uwatenage.

Gonoyama will face Takanosho.

Daieisho (6-4) defeated Asanoyama (1-2-7). Daieisho-zumo was on point today. Asanoyama got tired of being blasted in the face, so he tried to pull but Daieisho just kept the cannon going and blasted Asanoyama out. I guess, “it happened again.” But Daieisho’s blasts are on a different level of those earlier today. Like, I actually feel Asanoyama’s hurt. Oshidashi.

Daieisho will face Ichiyamamoto! Daieisho has won their only previous meeting. They want to put Ichiyamamoto’s run on life support by moving him up to face the Sekiwake.

Hoshoryu (7-3) defeated Wakamotoharu (4-6). More staredown from Hoshoryu. Hoshoryu used his belt grip to yank the Sekiwake around and drag him to the edge. Wakamotoharu resisted at the edge but Hoshoryu just pressed straight forward through him, driving both dangerously over the edge. Yoritaoshi.

Hoshoryu will face Asanoyama.

Kirishima (8-2) defeated Nishikigi (6-4). Nishikigi false start. Kirishima yanked on Nishikigi’s arm, pulling him forward and nearly down. Nishikigi kept his balance but Kirishima rode him out the other side. Okuridashi. How did Kirishima get behind Nishikigi so quickly? It looks like Kirishima’s tachiai nodowa was fierce. This made Nishikigi stand upright and bring his hands up to Kirishima’s to pull them away. Instead, Kirishima grabbed Nishikigi’s arm and yanked forward, hard. Interesting.

Kirishima will face a struggling Wakamotoharu. Nishikigi will face Ryuden.

Takakeisho (7-3) defeated Abi (3-7). Takakeisho got his tsuppari going. As Abi put his arms up to defend, Takakeisho pulled, and pulled down on Abi’s arms, forcing Abi down to the floor. Hatakikomi.

Takakeisho will face Kotonowaka. Tomorrow’s got some highlight bouts on tap but that’s probably the top bout. Abi will face Shodai in another fun undercard.


Day 10 was important to bring Ichiyamamoto back down to Earth. These Day 11 matchups, though, are nuts. This looks to be a pivotal day in the yusho race. Kirishima or Kotonowaka could win out. If Kirishima does, that will be a statement victory. Our Ozeki have been shaky but doing pretty good here in Kyushu. If Kotonowaka wins out, that would be a stunning way to cap off an Ozeki run. Promotion would not be in doubt. I don’t see Atamifuji or Ichiyamamoto as realistic for 13-2 yusho here. All told, we’re probably looking at another 12-win yusho which brings both of the other Ozeki back into the picture, along with a host of other contenders, from Midorifuji to Churanoumi. Tomorrow will bring this picture more into focus. It’s so wide open right now.

Kyushu 2023: Day 9

We come into today with Ichiyamamoto in the lead and a massive crowd of dudes one loss behind. There’s really too much to talk about in the chase group, so the focus is on whether Tamawashi can best Ichiyamamoto. Let’s get to the action.


Kotoshoho (7-2) defeated Nishikifuji (2-7). Nishikifuji blasted Kotoshoho with a strong intial charge. But Kotoshoho pivoted, turned Nishikifuji around and forced him off the dohyo. Yorikiri

Tsurugisho (4-5) defeated Kitanowaka (4-5). Tsurugisho was almost too fast and powerful with his hatakikomi attack. He seemed to hit himself with Kitanowaka. He recovered, lifted Kitanowaka and drove forward. Yorikiri.

Takarafuji (3-6) defeated Tohakuryu (2-7). Tohakuryu blasted Takarafuji with tsuppari but his tsuppari mainly seemed to annoy rather than transfer force to Takarafuji. Suitably annoyed, Takarafuji pressed forward into Tohakuryu with his own Oshi-attack, pushing Tohakuryu back and over the bales. Oshidashi.

Ichiyamamoto (8-1) defeated Tamawashi (6-3). Ichiyamamoto blasted Tamawashi clear from the dohyo before Tamawashi had much of a chance to do anything. Wow. It took two blasts to the face to force Tamawashi clear from the fighting surface. Ichiyamamoto kachi-koshi. The field has to play catch-up now. Tsukidashi.

Oho (5-4) defeated Tomokaze (5-4). Slapfest. Oho grabbed Tomokaze’s right arm and pulled him forward and thrust him to the ground. Tsukiotoshi.

Hiradoumi (6-3) defeated Roga (2-7). Hiradoumi nearly got an uwatenage win in the center of the ring but somehow Roga kept his balance. Hiradoumi then pressed forward and forced Roga to fall backwards over the tawara. Ouch. Yoritaoshi.

Churanoumi (7-2) defeated Endo (2-7). This was an entertaining oshi-bout, full of slapdown attempts. In the end, Endo was pitched a bit too far forward. Churanoumi grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him forward to the floor. Katasukashi.

Kinbozan (5-4) defeated Sadanoumi (5-4). Kinbozan’s slow-roll tachiai led Sadanoumi to reset. Once we got going, Kinbozan pressed Sadanoumi back to the edge. At the edge Sadanoumi pivoted to put Kinbozan’s back to the edge…but Kinbozan re-pivoted and threw Sadanoumi over the edge. Utchari.

Hokuseiho (4-5) defeated Kotoeko (2-7). It took two attempts but Hokuseiho was able to lift Kotoeko over the bales. Yorikiri.

Takanosho (4-5) defeated Ryuden (6-3) with a very well timed and well-executed pull. Ryuden was off balance and had no choice but to catch himself with his hands. Hikiotoshi.

Shonannoumi (6-3) defeated Myogiryu (3-6). Shonannoumi was drawn offside, matta. Myogiryu had a healthy initial charge. But Shonannoumi was too powerful with that right-hand, over-arm grip. He drove Myogiryu back across the dohyo and gently ushered the Sakaigawa geezer over the edge. Yorikiri.

Halftime: Shimpan swap, Dohyo Refresh

Mitakeumi (5-4) defeated Midorifuji (6-3). Third time was the charm. Quickly, Mitakeumi drove through Midorifuji and forced him to the tawara. But he couldn’t get him to go over, so he pivoted and tried again. Again, Midorifuji resisted at the bales. The two settled back to the center of the ring. Mitakeumi gathered his strength for another charge and this time drove Midorifuji back and over the edge. Yorikiri.

Atamifuji (7-2) defeated Onosho (2-7). Atamifuji drove Onosho back to the edge and then pulled, Onosho falling to the hatakikomi.

Takayasu (6-3) defeated Tobizaru (3-6). The gyoji and Tobizaru both fled from the bear attack. The good news for the gyoji was that the bear only wanted Tobizaru. Takayasu chased Tobizaru around the ring before cornering him and thrusting him clear of the edge. Before leaving Tobizaru swatted Konosuke for good measure; just had to piss everyone off. Takayasu obliged with some dame-oshi. Probably a bout that all would like to forget. Tsukidashi.

Meisei (2-7) defeated Gonoyama (4-5). A powerful tachiai from both wrestlers followed by a great brawl. Meisei hit Gonoyama at an angle, Gonoyama lost his balance and tumbled forward. Tsukiotoshi.

Shodai (5-4) defeated Hokutofuji (2-7). Power sumo from Shodai in front of his home crowd. There were about twenty fans with identical Shodai towels going crazy in the upper deck as he pushed Hokutofuji over the edge. He didn’t crumble from the force of Hokutofuji’s nodowa. This is the Shodai that I want to see. Oshidashi.

Ura (3-6) defeated Abi (3-6). Abi has confused me. Perhaps he’s losing confidence in his tsuppari? He only needs to look at Ichiyamamoto’s success to see that the strategy can work. But he abandoned his regular tsuppari after the first few thrusts as he and Ura settled into grapple at the center of the ring. Ura was the first to act and pulled Abi forward. Tsukiotoshi.

Wakamotoharu (4-5) defeated Daieisho (5-4). Solid tachiai. Wakamotoharu wasn’t going to put up with much of Daieisho’s blasts. Once Daieisho got going, Wakamotoharu stepped to the left and let Daieisho zoom past. Hakakikomi.

Kirishima (7-2) defeated Asanoyama (1-1-7). After a wild tussle that ranged over the entire dohyo surface, Asanoyama flew forward as Kirishima pulled back. Gunbai Kirishima. Mono-ii. Asanoyama’s hand touched before Kirishima’s foot. Gunbai confirmed. Hatakikomi.

Takakeisho (6-3) defeated Nishikigi (6-3). This was a funny bout. Nishikigi weathered Takakeisho’s initial wave of tsuppari. T-Rex’s thrusts weren’t sufficient to force Nishikigi to the edge. I don’t know why Nishikigi didn’t launch an attack at this point. Perhaps he wanted Takakeisho to tire first? So he basically leaned into Takakeisho’s attack and let him churn. But Takakeisho slipped to the right and Nishikigi flopped forward onto his belly. Hikiotoshi.

Kotonowaka (7-2) defeated Hoshoryu (6-3). Hoshoryu hit Kotonowaka with a strong blast to the face at the tachiai. The two settled into a grapple. After a few moments, Kotonowaka took the initiative, lifted, and drove forward. Hoshoryu fought to stay in at the tawara but Kotonowaka put his weight into it, forcing Hoshoryu to crumple onto the salt basket. Yorita-ouchi.


Well, I guess Ichiyamamoto will be sticking around in the lead for a little while longer. Those howitzers that he fired at Tamawashi today certainly got my attention. Hiradoumi will get his chance to beat the leader tomorrow. Let’s see if chooses to brawl, or try to get inside and neutralize that power-ppari. He’s been having an excellent tournament.

Meanwhile, our Ozeki are just fighting to stay upright. Kirishima is still in the race, joined by Ozeki-wannabe, Kotonowaka, Atamifuji, and…scrolls down…Churanoumi? Kotonowaka took Hoshoryu out in impressive fashion, I must say. Kirishima got a bit lucky. Yesterday, I perked up a bit at Takakeisho’s thrusts, excited to see him pressing Asanoyama back. Today, he couldn’t make any progress against Nishikigi. From the camera angle, you can’t tell if Nishikigi didn’t see the dodge coming or if he had just fallen asleep and flopped forward.

Kyushu 2023: Day 8

The big story coming into today is that Asanoyama will make his return to the dohyo, coming back from injury. He will face Takakeisho today and certainly not have an easy go of things for Week 2. His goal is probably to slow his fall down the banzuke as much as he can. If he picks up four or even five wins, that would be an excellent tournament for him. With some banzuke luck, he may not even fall but a few ranks. The worst case would be to come back and go on a massive losing streak, aggravate his injuries, and still tumble to the bottom of Makuuchi.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a lot of other action here. Kotonowaka had a great first week, looking for yusho and Ozeki promotion. But then Ura stepped to the plate. After fighting Shodai tonight, he will face the most difficult stretch of his schedule, the Ozeki. Meanwhile, those Ozeki are all trying to stay in this yusho race. Any slip-ups will make it that much more difficult.

Let’s get to the action.


Kitanowaka (4-4) defeated Aoiyama (5-3). Aoiyama makes his brief return to Makuuchi felt with a brutal nodowa. Kitanowaka drove forward through it and Aoiyama backed up with a slow pull, slapdown attempt. Unfortunately for him, he stepped out before Kitanowaka fell. Gunbai Kitanowaka. No mono-ii. Yorikiri.

Churanoumi (6-2) defeated Tomokaze (5-3). Tomokaze did his best blocking sled impression today, allowing Churanoumi to drive him back to the edge. He put his hand up behind Churanoumi’s head for a slapdown but the attempt was ineffective. Churanoumi just pushed him out. Oshidashi.

Ichiyamamoto (7-1) defeated Takarafuji (2-6). Straight-forward Ichi-zumo. Takarafuji’s defense/counter attack was to press forward on Ichiyamamoto’s arms. He pressed Ichiyamamoto to the edge but Ichiyamamoto was able to use the bales to brace and press forward again. Then he thrust down Takarafuji to the side for the win. Tsukiotoshi.

Oho (4-4) defeated Roga (2-6). Oho pulled and pressed down on Roga’s shoulder. Roga stumbled forward to the edge. He collected himself briefly but Oho followed up and pushed him out. Oshidashi

Oho will face Tomokaze on Day 9.

Tamawashi (6-2) defeated Tohakuryu (2-6). Tamawashi blasted Tohakuryu about the head and face. He was able to advance and press Tohakuryu the tawara but unable to drive him over the bales. This is where Tamawashi unleashed his second attack, step inside and wrap up the closest arm (in this case Tohakuryu’s right). He got his arm under the armpit, locked in an armbar and then yanked backward and down.  Kotenage.

All eyes will be on Tamawashi vs Ichiyamamoto. Ichiyamamoto is setting the yusho pace. But Tamawashi is in a group of nine guys, one loss behind. Tohakuryu will face Takarafuji in a first-time matchup.

Sadanoumi (5-3) defeated Nishikifuji (2-6). Sadanoumi attempted to end Nishikifuji’s day with a sotogake, shortly after locking him up at the tachiai. The trip made Nishikifuji lose balance and stumble backward under the sustained yotsu pressure from Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi kept advancing and forced Nishikifuji out and down. Yoritaoshi.

Nishikifuji will be happy to face the Juryo visitor tomorrow, Kotoshoho.

Hiradoumi (5-3) defeated Tsurugisho (3-5). Hiradoumi with a matta. Reset. Bad knee or not, Tsurugisho can still put a lot of force into his tachiai. The evidence is the way Hiradoumi’s head snapped back. Tsurugisho seized upon the advantage and drove forward. When Hiradoumi resisted, he twisted left and right to try to throw him down. But Hiradoumi remained upright. As he drove back into Tsurugisho, eventually he got enough pressure going to force Tsurugisho back and out. Yorikiri.

Hiradoumi will face Roga in their first meeting; Tsurugisho will face Kitanowaka.

Endo (2-6) defeated Kotoeko (2-6). Endo rotated left and twisted Kotoeko to the floor. After such a terrible start, Endo has now caught up with the likes of Takarafuji, Roga, and Nishikifuji with two wins. Uwatehineri.

Endo will take on Churanoumi in another first-time bout.

Ryuden (6-2) defeated Hokuseiho (3-5). Does Hokuseiho know what ottsuke is? He never made any attempt to prevent Ryuden from latching onto his belt or grabbing anywhere. This allowed Ryuden to try all sorts of holds, with and without the belt grip. The successful strategy was for Ryuden to grasp Hokuseiho at the armpits and force Hokuseiho to stand tall, then use his right to whip him forward to the clay. Shitatedashinage.

Hokuseiho will face Kotoeko. This will be a fun one. I do not think Kotoeko will allow for a 4-minute “lean.”

Mitakeumi (4-4) defeated Shonannoumi (5-3). Mitakeumi drove forward and forced Shonannoumi out. Shonannoumi tried to execute his swim move and force Mitakeumi to the side by pressing on his left arm but Mitakeumi kept Shonannoumi centered. Yorikiri.

Atamifuji (6-2) defeated Takanosho (3-5). Atamifuji wrapped up Takanosho’s right arm in an armbar and rolled right, bringing Takanosho down at the edge. Kotenage.

Takanosho will face Ryuden on Day 9.


Kinbozan (4-4) defeated Onosho (2-6). Kinbozan pressed forward to absorb Onosho’s advance, and then pulled and twisted left. Onosho ended up in a heap. Tsukiotoshi.

Kinbozan will have his hands full with Sadanoumi and Onosho will face Atamifuji for the first time.

Midorifuji (6-2) defeated Myogiryu (3-5). Midorifuji wrapped up Myogiryu by holding on, high at the armpits. This is the source of his usual katasukashi. As he pulled on that left shoulder, he rotated, and threw Myogiryu to the ground. This turned his katasukashi into a sukuinage.

Midorifuji will take on Mitakeumi; Myogiryu will face Shonannoumi.

Tobizaru (3-5) defeated Meisei (1-7). Tobizaru pulled on Meisei’s right arm, and thrust him forward and down. Tsukiotoshi.

Takayasu (5-3) defeated Ura (2-6). While Ura drove forward, Takayasu thrust his head up and back. As the pair neared the tawara, Takayasu pulled Ura’s head forward and forced him to the ground before tumbling off the dohyo himself. Gunbai Takayasu, no mono-ii. Hatakikomi. Ura wanted a review but it was a good call. Replay made it clear.

Takayasu will fight Tobizaru tomorrow.

Abi (3-5) defeated Daieisho (5-3). Daieisho slammed forward into Abi. Abi twisted at the bales and let Daieisho fall into the crowd. Gunbai Abi. Hikiotoshi.

Abi will face Ura.

Shodai (4-4) defeated Kotonowaka (6-2). Shodai on the attack is a sight to behold. He braved Kotonowaka’s nodowa. Simple misdirection was not going to draw Kotonowaka out so he advanced into Kotonowaka and grasped his right arm. He then slung Kotonowaka back to the bales and drove Kotonowaka out. Yorikiri.

Gonoyama (4-4) defeated Wakamotoharu (3-5). Gonoyama was all offense today. His nodowa pressed Wakamotoharu back to the edge. Gonoyama followed up with a simple push out. Oshidashi. Wakamotoharu had nothing today and picked up his fifth loss, with the meat of his schedule remaining. His three wins are against Meisei, Ura, and Tobizaru. There aren’t any small guys left. He will not remain at the rank of Sekiwake for long.

Gonoyama will face Meisei. Wakamotoharu will fight Daieisho.

Asanoyama (1-0-7) defeated Takakeisho (5-3). Asanoyama absorbed Takakeisho’s attack. As Takakeisho blasted away, Asanoyama came back, looking for that left-hand grip. Takakeisho fell first. Gunbai Asanoyama. Mono-ii confirmed the call on the field. Shitatenage. They may have been checking for a hairpull, too?

Nishikigi (6-2) defeated Hoshoryu (6-2). Nishikigi allowed Hoshoryu to slam into him and drive him back to the edge. That’s where he launched his counter attack and shifted right and pressed down on the Ozeki. Hoshoryu took a knee. Kotenage.

Nishikigi will fight Takakeisho. Hoshoryu will take on Kotonowaka in the musubi-no-ichiban.

Kirishima (6-2) defeated Hokutofuji (2-6). Yotsu-zumo from Hokutofuji? Interesting. He did well. He wrapped up the Ozeki and drove forward. His mistake was losing his grip of Kirishima while putting the full force of his body into his throw attempt. The follow through allowed Kirishima to get behind him and run him out the other side of the ring.

Kirishima will face Asanoyama and Hokutofuji will face Shodai.

Wrap Up

It is tempting to say that Takakeisho’s rope run ended here but Hoshoryu and Kotonowaka also lost. The bar for this yusho probably went down a peg. Takakeisho is still very much in this and we will probably have another 12-3 yusho or maybe even another 11-win yusho. To prevent that, someone is going to need to win out and I don’t have a name who I think can, or will, do that. Do you?

Ichiyamamoto is alone in front with one loss. But he has been fighting minnows at the bottom of Makuuchi and will have a very tough time against Tamawashi tomorrow. If he remains in front after facing the 39-year-old former champion, the Kyokai could start to move him up to face stiffer competition.

But the fact of the matter is, it is still early and the Kyokai also have the fore-mentioned Tamawashi, as well as Ryuden, Midorifuji, and Atamifuji in this yusho race with two losses. My guess would be the five of the low rankers would start getting matched up. If one of them is 9-2 or 10-2 next week, a quick visit into sanyaku will result in either easy chum for the sharks, or another hiramaku title.

Lots of bouts to look forward to tomorrow as the sanyaku begin to cannibalize themselves. Kotonowaka vs Hoshoryu will drop someone from the yusho race. Asanoyama looked fresh and focused today. He’ll need that focus against a beatable Kirishima.

Given all of this, you get to pick one wrestler as a favorite to win all of their remaining seven matches. Who would you pick? Other than Asanoyama, of course. That would just be hilarious. He comes in on nakabi and still gets kachi-koshi? Forget men on white horses, an Asanoyama kachi-koshi would be a sign of the Apocalypse.