Nagoya 2023: Day 6 Highlights

I’m chuffed. What a great day of action today! I’m not going to get ahead of myself here today. Let me know what you thought of today’s action in the comments. I thought it was absolutely bloody brilliant. That Ura/Hokuseiho bout. Wow. And there’s so much more tomorrow!


Endo (5-1) defeated Mitoryu (J3-3): No stealing Endo’s cash today. Mitoryu was massive compared to Endo, so it was an impressive display of power and skill just to get Mitoryu to the edge. From there, it was difficult for Endo to get a force out or push out victory because of that size. Mitoryu tried to pivot at the edge and Endo pressed into him. Mitoryu tried a kick but Endo pressed his knee into Mitoryu while shoving him in the opposite direction, forcing him to lose his balance and fall into the ring. Kirikaeshi.

Takarafuji (4-2) defeated Aoiyama (2-4): Maybe Takarafuji’s secret is patience. He weathered Aoiyama’s flurry of tsuppari until Aoiyama was apparently too tired to keep throwing hands. As he waited, he used excellent footwork to steadily press Aoiyama closer to the edge. When the V-twin ran out of gas, it was elementary to reach in, grab the belt and force him over the tawara. Yorikiri.

Daishoho (2-4) defeated Bushozan (1-5): That strategy of “Be Big” is enough to win sometimes. And Daishoho used that strategy effectively against Bushozan. He kept Bushozan in front of him and steadily cut off his options to advance, forcing him to the edge and over. Yorikiri.

Hakuoho (4-2) defeated Gonoyama (5-1): The mummy was gone. None of the shoulder tape on Hakuoho. Maybe he blamed it for his loss yesterday? That’s not to say the shoulder injury is gone, obviously, but perhaps it was limiting him when he’d try to extend and reach in to get a belt grip. The slapdown is an effective option when a belt grip is difficult to achieve. Gonoyama’s tsuppari was effective at keeping Hakuoho at arm’s length. But Hakuoho employed a subtle shift and well-timed slapdown while blocking Gonoyama’s right arm. Hatakikomi.

Ryuden (2-4) defeated Kotoshoho (2-4): Ryuden used the same strategy as Takarafuji, just weather Kotoshoho’s attack and move forward. Kotoshoho’s tsuppari was utterly useless against Ryuden as he just shrugged it off and advanced into Kotoshoho, forcing him back and over the edge. Yorikiri.

Chiyoshoma (3-3) defeated Shonannoumi (4-1): An impressive force out win by Chiyoshoma. He did an excellent job corralling Shonannoumi at the edge and getting low, pressing up against the big man to stagger him backwards, and then kicking to move him a bit closer to the tawara. Finally, it was brute force as he shoved Shonannoumi over the edge. Yorikiri.

Takanosho (1-5) defeated Tsurugisho (1-5): The futility derby was lost by Tsurugisho. Takanosho did not need much of an attack to drive Tsurugisho back and over the edge. Tsurugisho had no offensive firepower and offered no resistance. Yorikiri.

Hokutofuji (5-1) defeated Kotoeko (3-3): I always have to give respect when a wrestler abandons their preferred attack to beat their opponent with their own technique. Hokutofuji gave up the tsuppari and let Kotoeko engage in a grapple. Kotoeko was clearly uncomfortable and over-extended with that overarm grip with his left arm. He was stretched pretty far. I think this let Hokutofuji control the pace and move Kotoeko around the ring. At the edge, Kotoeko used his left leg on the tawara and tried to twist, maybe sukuinage attempt. This gave Hokutofuji an even deeper belt grip on the knot of the mawashi and he pressed him down to the ground from behind. Okuritaoshi.

Kinbozan (4-2) defeated Sadanoumi (1-4): When Sadanoumi tried a slapdown, Kinbozan maintained his balance, got low and forced Sadanoumi to the edge. Sadanoumi resisted as much as he could but Kinbozan’s strength and persistence was eventually too much and he drove him over the edge.

Myogiryu (3-3) defeated Nishikifuji (3-3): Quick hatakikomi win by Myogiryu as Nishikifuji tried to advance after the tachiai.


Tamawashi (5-1) defeated Hiradoumi (1-5): This is that efficiency I mentioned. No wild brawls. First, a slapdown attempt to pull Hiradoumi in. Then he wrapped up his right arm and pressed forward, forcing Hiradoumi out. Yorikiri.

Onosho (2-4) defeated Takayasu (5-1): Onosho stayed low and drove into Papayasu. But Takayasu’s real mistake was to execute a pull with no room to pull. He was already near the edge and without a good grip, he couldn’t hope for a twisting throw. The hatakikomi failed. Oshidashi.

Asanoyama (4-2) defeated Oho (2-4): Oho tried tsuppari and then a pull but Asanoyama kept his footing and advanced, trapping Oho at the edge for the force out. Yorikiri.

Ura (4-2) defeated Hokuseiho (3-3): EPIC WIN BY URA! I called it. For once, I was right! Ura had to get behind Hokuseiho and press him out. Okuridashi is an effective tool for opponents with a significant mass deficit because if you’re behind your opponent they cannot grab you or shove you. That’s not to say it’s easy. I tried this when I got in the ring last month against Tooyama. There is a lot of weight to move and I have clearly not done enough shiko. But Ura swole.

**Update** I added the video from the sumokyokai Instagram.

Tobizaru (3-3) defeated Mitakeumi (0-6): Mitakeumi’s right hand grip was not powerful enough to drive Tobizaru over the edge. An uninjured Mitakeumi would have won right there. You had him on the ropes! Injured Mitakeumi let Tobizaru off. Then Tobizaru chased Mitakeumi around the ring with slapdown attempts, eventually working his way behind the bigger wrestler. Okuridashi.


Nishikigi (6-0) defeated Abi (3-3): Nishikigi took Takarafuji’s strategy from the early bouts and leveraged it against Abi. Patience. Abi made a big mistake with a pulldown attempt, putting himself on the ropes. Nishikigi obliged and shoved him out. Oshidashi.

Kotonowaka (4-2) defeated Daieisho (4-2): Oh, that was beautiful. Kotonowaka had to endure a lot of abuse but when Daieisho had him at the edge and moved in for the kill, Kotonowaka shifted and forced him down. Tsukiotoshi. Very nearly a hatakikomi if he’d pushed him down from the back of the head/shoulders area but it’s the same idea. Deflect and use Daieisho’s extended attack against him.

Hoshoryu (5-1) defeated Midorifuji (1-5): Hoshoryu wrangled Midorifuji with both arms and slung him to the side. This forced Midorifuji to try to retreat…but Hoshoryu had both of his arms locked up! As Midorifuji was desperately trying to back away, Hoshoryu dragged him into his extended right leg. Sotogake.

Wakamotoharu (4-2) defeated Meisei (2-4) and breathes a sigh of relief. He starts with a nerves induced matta…Wakamotoharu knows his Ozeki-run is already precarious with two losses. He could only afford one more. Meisei engaged at the tachiai but a clever shift and effective slapdown means WMH takes another step toward Ozeki.

Kirishima (2-2-2) defeated Shodai (2-4): Kirishima shoved Shodai hard and when Shodai brought his upper body forward to resist, Kirishima grabbed him with the left and pressed down with the right, forcing Shodai to the floor…hard. Tsukiotoshi.

Today’s Wrap-up

Welp, it’s been great filling in for Bruce. Congratulations on the new addition! There has been so much action this week and a lot of news…not all of it good. I hope Kaiju heals and comes back strong in September. Nishikigi has torn through sanyaku, though it is was a depleted field. Fusen win from Kirishima and no Takakeisho. He will face Kotonowaka tomorrow to round it out before taking on rank-and-filers from nakabi. Takayasu and Gonoyama fell off the pace today, leaving Nishikigi out front alone. All three Ozeki runs are still intact but there’s a lot of action to come and a couple will probably fall short as they cannibalize each other at the end of next week. And then there’s just been a lot of wild bouts and a whole lot of action. Thank you, Ura!

Nagoya 2023: Day 6 Preview

Kirishima lost a heartbreaker last night but Tobizaru lives for such mischief. He can turn it around against the daikon, and he needs to get as many wins as he can this week against Maegashira before he hits the meat of his schedule next week. He cannot afford to drop these bouts.


Endo (4-1) vs Mitoryu (3-2): Mitoryu visits from Juryo tonight to face Endo. Obviously a first time meeting because Mitoryu has not been ranked higher than M15 and Endo is usually around the top half of Makuuchi. I would expect Endo to be challenged but win handily.

Aoiyama (2-3) vs Takarafuji (3-2): Aoiyama had dominated this rivalry but has dropped 5 of their last 6 matches. Maybe Takarafuji has figured something out? Aoiyama’s brand of sumo is rather predictable. I will try to pay close attention to how Takarafuji attempts to disrupt Aoiyama’s tsuppari/hatakikomi combo.

Daishoho (1-4) vs Bushozan (1-4): Daishoho “sprung to life” against Chiyoshoma but he will not have the same size advantage against Bushozan. Being big is not a strategy that gets you far in Makuuchi and that seems to be Daishoho’s main strategy. He and Chiyoshoma are the same height but at 196kg he had a 60kg advantage last night. Chiyoshoma was not going to throw him. Bushozan, though, is shorter but at 171kg he’s a more substantial threat than Chiyoshoma was, and thus leads their rivalry.

Gonoyama (5-0) vs Hakuoho (3-2): That left shoulder is already a big concern for viewers of Hakuoho’s bouts so far. If he’s got to reach with that left arm, he’s uncomfortable and hasn’t figured out an effective alternative in those situations. Let’s see if Gonoyama capitalizes.

Ryuden (1-4) vs Kotoshoho (2-3): Given Ryuden’s injury troubles, this one should be over quickly.

Chiyoshoma (2-3) vs Shonannoumi (4-1): A first-time meeting for the two. Chiyoshoma struggled with big Daishoho. Shonannoumi is big, too, but he’s tall. That might translate into top-heavy and prone to one of Chiyoshoma’s slap down or pulldown attacks. It should be an interesting bout. If Shonannoumi wins, that’s another sign that he could stick around in this division for a while.

Takanosho (0-5) vs Tsurugisho (1-4): The real question here is whether one of these guys goes kyujo.

Kotoeko (3-2) vs Hokutofuji (4-1): Kotoeko has not found a solution for Hokutofuji, yet. I don’t think he’s had some epiphany that would change that. It should be a good bout but it should also be a win for Hokutofuji where Kotoeko is beer-battered like a fillet of cod.

Sadanoumi (1-4) vs Kinbozan (3-2): Sadanoumi needs to crawl out of this hole but Kinbozan will be a challenge. Sadanoumi has won their only previous meeting.

Myogiryu (2-3) vs Nishikifuji (3-2): Myogiryu will not be happy with his record so far while Nishikifuji started by tearing into some underperformers. I think Myogiryu will level their records.

Hiradoumi (1-4) vs Tamawashi (4-1): Lately I’ve been expecting high-energy bouts from Tamawashi, and I get disappointed. This time I will expect a low-energy, high-efficiency (read: boring) slap-down victory.

Takayasu (5-0) vs Onosho (1-4): I can sense the desperation from Onosho. He can certainly play a spoiler role today and block Takayasu’s path.

Asanoyama (3-2) vs Oho (2-3): Asanoyama’s been a mixed bag this tournament: flashes of the big, skilled Ozeki, with some signs of rust. These two have split their 2 previous bouts. I honestly could see this going either way.

Hokuseiho (3-2) vs Ura (3-2): Every time I’m ready to say, “Hokuseiho’s not ready for this level and has lots to learn,” he defeats a guy like Asanoyama, whom I would think should pick him apart. He’s beaten Ura in their only previous meeting but it would be silly to underestimate the little guy. In order to win, Ura needs to get behind Hokuseiho.

Mitakeumi (0-5) vs Tobizaru (2-3): Oh, boy. Tobizaru FTW and Mitakeumi for the kyujo.

Nishikigi (5-0) vs Abi (3-2): Everyone’s asking, “is Nishikigi for real?” Abi has really had his number so this will be another big chance to get dirt on Nishikigi. No henka, please. Just volley after volley of tsuppari.

Kotonowaka (3-2) vs Daieisho (4-1): Daieisho is dialed in and eager for promotion. I don’t think Kotonowaka will shutdown those brutal thrusts.

Hoshoryu (4-1) vs Midorifuji (1-4): Midorifuji holds a 6-3 advantage in this rivalry? Maybe that’s the kind of stat to give him confidence and turn this ship around.

Meisei (2-3) vs Wakamotoharu (3-2): Despite his record, Meisei has looked strong and faced a lot of quality. There’s no shame in his losses so far and no shame in taking an L here, either. Regroup and clean up against the maegashira in Week 2.

Shodai (2-3) vs Kirishima (1-2-2): The new Ozeki needs this one.

Nagoya 2023: Day 5 Highlights

Is Nishikigi for real? Takayasu is cleaning up against mid-maegashira. But Nishikigi is tearing up sanyaku. What is this? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Nishikigi is still only half-way to sweeping up sansho prizes, much less talk of yusho. There’s a lot of sumo remaining. But what an impressive start!


Roga (2-3) defeated Bushozan (1-4): Bushozan launched forward at the tachiai but Roga was quickly able to secure a grip on his belt and drive forward, forcing Bushozan over the bales. Yorikiri.

Endo (4-1) defeated Takarafuji (3-2): Endo drove Takarafuji to the edge and then shoved him, forcefully, to send Takarafuji over the edge. Oshidashi.

Ryuden (1-4) defeated Hakuoho (3-2): Hakuoho seemed uncomfortable with a left-hand inside grip and struggled to generate any offense. Ryuden took advantage and worked Hakuoho to the edge and over. Yorikiri.

Shonannoumi (4-1) defeated Aoiyama (2-3): Aoiyama’s tsuppari was not very effective at moving the makuuchi debutant. Shonannoumi shrugged off Aoiyama’s attack, moved inside and secured a belt grip. From there, he quickly walked Aoiyama back and out of the ring. Oshidashi.

Daishoho (1-4) defeated Chiyoshoma (2-3): Useless henka attempt from Daishoho. But Chiyoshoma’s early tsuppari was ineffective and even when Chiyoshoma acquired a belt grip, he was unable to budge Daishoho. Daishoho, on the other hand, was finally able to use his weight and gather up his strength to move forward and he drove Chiyoshoma over the edge. Yorikiri.

Kotoshoho (2-3) defeated Tsurugisho (1-4): Kotoshoho pressed forward and shoved Tsurugisho over the edge. Oshidashi. Tsurugisho immediately cradled his left arm. He had used his upper-body strength yesterday but if that’s sapped with a left arm injury, he may be toast with no offensive options.

Gonoyama (5-0) defeated Kotoeko (3-2): The strength of Gonoyama’s tachiai was enough to stagger Kotoeko, drawing appreciative gasps from the crowd. Kotoeko was not able to corral Gonoyama, who used his tsuppari effectively to chase Kotoeko around the ring before slapping him down. In truth, Kotoeko was over-extended and off-balance as he tried to re-engage, so he slipped to the dohyo easily. I’m not sure whether Gonoyama’s slap down even connected. Hatakikomi.

Myogiryu (2-3) defeated Takanosho (0-5): As Myogiryu pushed forward, Takanosho’s left leg buckled. They called it Tsukiotoshi. The way Takanosho went down, I would have been tempted to call tsukihiza but Myogiryu had been generating a good bit of forward pressure.

Kinbozan (3-2) defeated Nishikifuji (3-2): Simple shift of direction from Kinbozan and a quick slap-down. Textbook hatakikomi.

Hokutofuji (4-1) defeated Sadanoumi (1-4): Hokutofuji’s ottsuke, paired with his effective tsuppari left Sadanoumi struggling to find a way inside. When Hokutofuji got Sadanoumi spun around, it was an easy pushout from behind. Okuridashi.


Tamawashi (4-1) defeated Onosho (1-4): Onosho did a good job driving Tamawashi back to the edge but Tamawashi did a better job of pivoting, grabbing the belt (what?) and forcing Onosho over the edge. Yorikiri. Yes, Tamawashi with a yotsu-style win.

Takayasu (5-0) defeated Hiradoumi (1-4): Takayasu drove forward and when Hiradoumi resisted, pressing forward with all of his weight, Takayasu stepped aside and executed a beautiful, forceful slapdown. Hatakikomi.

Ura (3-2) defeated Oho (2-3): From a master class in how to execute a slapdown, to a master class in how to defeat a slapdown. Oho drove Ura to the tawara and then pulled, trying a slapdown. Ura just moved forward with Oho and accelerated, driving Oho into the third row of VIP seats. Tsukidashi.

Hokuseiho (3-2) defeated Asanoyama (3-2): Hokuseiho executed his sumo well against a very strong opponent. Hokuseiho attempted a throw, and while it didn’t force Asanoyama down, it was successful at forcing Asanoyama to the edge. Hokuseiho tried to shove Asanoyama over but Asanoyama resisted. However, Hokuseiho kept up the pressure and forced Asanoyama to step out. Yorikiri.

Midorifuji (1-4) defeated Mitakeumi (0-5): A lengthy grapple at the center of the ring. Mitakeumi couldn’t get the power needed to drive Midorifuji back. Midorifuji eventually relented, dropped his resistance and pulled and shoved Mitakeumi to the ground. Tsukiotoshi.


Kotonowaka (3-2) defeated Shodai (2-3): Once Kotonowaka got Shodai in a bear hug, Shodai was toast. You don’t need a belt grip to execute yotsu-zumo and this was an excellent example. Kotonowaka held Shodai right under the armpits in a bear hug. Yorikiri.

Hoshoryu (4-1) defeated Abi (3-2): Abi’s henka-slapdown attempt failed. So he followed up with his standard tsuppari driving Hoshoryu to the edge. But it was Hoshoryu who demonstrated the proper way to leverage misdirection. “Henka are so pedestrian, dude. You’re basic.” He shifted so effectively, Abi was shoving nothing but air and crumpled to the ground when Hoshoryu reappeared behind him. Okuritaoshi.

Nishikigi (5-0) defeated Wakamotoharu (3-2): Nishikigi is in the zone. Which one of these guys was on the Ozeki run? He had a significant weight advantage and used it to drive Wakamotoharu over the edge. Yorikiri.

Daieisho (4-1) defeated Meisei (2-3): That was Daiei-zumo. Well done. Oshidashi.

Tobizaru (2-3) defeated Kirishima (1-2-2): Kirishima came out strong but Tobizaru resisted and drove the shin-Ozeki back and into the front row. Yorikiri.

Nagoya 2023: Day 5 Preview

Day 5 is upon us. To this point, Terunofuji has joined Wakatakakage and Takakeisho on the couch while Kirishima is back. Only Nishikigi, Takayasu, and Gonoyama remain undefeated. A few wrestlers appear to be in serious trouble of significant demotions if they can’t turn things around, including Ryuden and Daishoho. Let’s see what’s on tap for tonight.


Roga (1-3) vs Bushozan (1-3): Roga visits from Juryo and faces a Bushozan who’s faced a difficult schedule packed with solid veterans and the Miyagino-phenom, Hakuoho. Unfortunately for Bushozan, his schedule won’t get much easier. There are several solid, grizzled veteran fighters left to face. Roga and Bushozan have faced each other thrice before with Bushozan holding the slight edge. Bushozan will need this win.

Endo (3-1) vs Takarafuji (3-1): These two veterans know each other well but aren’t used to fighting this low on the banzuke. Endo has seemed the healthier of the two so far and comes off a close loss to Aoiyama. If he could learn how not to be a punching bag, I think he’d be Ozeki already. If Takarafuji were smart, he’d come out with guns blazing.

Ryuden (0-4) vs Hakuoho (3-1): Ryuden has looked terrible. This is a first time meeting for the pair and Ryuden’s likely desperate for a win, so I would expect whatever tricks he can pull. Mobility is usually Ryuden’s strongpoint but he’s been hampered with injury. This will be a long tournament.

Aoiyama (2-2) vs Shonannoumi (3-1): This is a very interesting first-time match-up. Shonannoumi is a big guy and I’m eager to see how he deals with Aoiyama’s firepower. Will he retreat, attempt to evade and misdirect? Or go at him head-on and attempt to contain and drive forward?

Chiyoshoma (2-2) vs Daishoho (0-4): Desperation must be setting in for Daishoho. He’s still got to face a lot of talented veterans but he will have a reprieve from fighting stablemate Endo.

Kotoshoho (1-3) vs Tsurugisho (1-3): I cannot get over Tsurugisho’s surprise win over Kinbozan last night. It just looked so effortless. The upper-body power might be good enough to pick off several wins, even if his trunk is injured and not as mobile as he should be. Kotoshoho seems puzzled and frustrated. Maybe his sumo is just not working? Both need wins. Who will stay calm and claim it?

Kotoeko (3-1) vs Gonoyama (4-0): Another first-time bout and an exciting one as both men are fighting well. Surely one to circle.

Takanosho (0-4) vs Myogiryu (1-3): Takanosho seems to be due a win or two by now. He doesn’t appear to be in bad shape but his sumo isn’t working and so far his opponents have found ways to shut him down. Other than Sadanoumi, at 1-3 his other opponents are a combined 11-2 and tearing up the division. Struggling Myogiryu might be the confidence boost he needs to turn things around.

Kinbozan (2-2) vs Nishikifuji (3-1): Kinbozan has the distinct size advantage here but hasn’t found a way to beat Nishikifuji yet. Contain, focus on your footwork and control the pace. An opportunity should present itself.

Sadanoumi (1-3) vs Hokutofuji (3-1): Sadanoumi’s frustrated while Hokutofuji’s probably lucked into a couple of wins. If Sadanoumi can get inside and establish his brand of sumo, he’ll win. If he gets battered and slammed down, he’ll be a fish stick.

Tamawashi (3-1) vs Onosho (1-3): Opposite records here but Tamawashi has shown some weakness. I give Onosho the same advice as Kinbozan and Sadanoumi. Be patient and focus on fundamentals.

Hiradoumi (1-3) vs Takayasu (4-0): I don’t need to give any advice to Takayasu. He’s doing just fine. Just keep doing what your doing.

Oho (2-2) vs Ura (2-2): There’s really little containing Ura. Pray he makes a mistake. But both men have had a decent start to the tournament and have no need to panic or take risks.

Asanoyama (3-1) vs Hokuseiho (2-2): These two have split their first two meetings. I think Asanoyama wants it more. That was a great comeback throw last night. Do it again.

Midorifuji (0-4) vs Mitakeumi (0-4): The good news is someone will win this bout. Mitakeumi appears the more hurt while Midorifuji has been getting destroyed by guys who are bigger than him. Mitakeumi is a guy who’s a lot bigger than him. It doesn’t look good.


Kotonowaka (2-2) vs Shodai (2-2): Kotonowaka has a bit of a size advantage here and I think he’ll make good use of it. He’s certainly no fusen freebie.

Hoshoryu (3-1) vs Abi (3-1): Aside from the opener against Terunofuji, Abi has been active and out punching his opponents. Hoshoryu will have his hands full and could drop another one tonight.

Nishikigi (4-0) vs Wakamotoharu (3-1): Nishikigi has a 30kg advantage against Wakamotoharu, and he has momentum and confidence. Just what the doctor ordered for someone to be put in their place.

Meisei (2-2) vs Daieisho (3-1): Daieisho will want vengeance. Sadly, Meisei will satisfy him.

Tobizaru (1-3) vs Kirishima (1-1-2): Tobizaru seemed gassed last night. He’ll be on better form tonight. That’s unfortunate for Kirishima. The jury is still out as to whether he should be back but he did have a strong showing against Kotonowaka.