Hatsu Day 10 Preview

Kimura Konosuke – the Legend

It’s time to close out the second act of this basho. For those new to the site, we tend to discuss any 15 day basho as 3 distinct acts, each with their own themes and goals. For act 2, we narrow the field to find out who has what it takes to compete for the yusho, and to start sorting the survivors from the damned. With both Yokozuna out, and with 2 of the 3 Ozeki floundering, it was a wide open brawl for the cup. But who could have ever imagined that would mean Maegashira 17 West (last spot on the banzuke) Tokushoryu and Maegashira 4 West Shodai. Shodai? Yes, Shodai. Long time readers note that I have, in the past, frequently expressed disappointment with Shodai. Its not that he is not a likable figure. I have found his sumo sloppy and inconsistent, and his technique to be chaotic. There is also a whiff that some elements of the NSK tend to give him banzuke luck most of the time.

But in Hatsu 2020, Shodai has earned his slot at the top of the leaderboard. He has fought consistently and strongly across all 9 days to date. If this really is Shodai’s new grade of sumo, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with for some time to come, and I am quite happy about it. His one loss was to Goeido, who used his normal opening gambit to just blast Shodai off the shikiri-sen. Shodai has already fought both Ozeki, and both Sekiwake. You could say the “hard” part of his schedule is behind him. But I would expect someone to put more dirt on Shodai before day 15. But should he hoist the cup on senshuraku, I will be cheering him on.

Hatsu Leaderboard

Leaders: Shodai, Tokushoryu
Chasers: Takakeisho, Yutakayama, Kagayaki
Hunt Group: Asanoyama, Endo, Hokutofuji, Ryuden, Terutsuyoshi, Tochiozan, Kaisei

6 matches remain

What We Are Watching Day 10

Tochiozan vs Shimanoumi – I am really enjoying watching Tochiozan’s minimal sumo. I hope we get to see him simply stand in place today, deflecting Shimanoumi as he charges, and calmly smiling while Shimanoumi stumbles and crashes to the clay.

Tsurugisho vs Kiribayama – We all hope that youngster Kiribayama has received the memo to win gently against the injured hulk of Tsurugisho. The senior rikishi have set the tone, please comply.

Tokushoryu vs Chiyomaru – Tokushoryu faces one of his most constant rivals, the even rounder and more bulky Chiyomaru. He holds an 8-2 career lead over the co-leader for the Hatsu 2020 yusho. That’s going to be a lot of belly meat in motion at the tachiai.

Chiyotairyu vs Ikioi – I want to know just how damaged Chiyotairyu’s left elbow is now from Ryuden’s day 9 “arm breaker” kotenage. Ikioi seems to be on the road to make-koshi and a berth on the Juryo barge of the damned. It’s sad to see a storied veteran struggle, and Ikioi is back to being walking wounded, it seems.

Kotoeko vs Kagayaki – Mr Fundamentals could score his kachi-koshi today with a win, and it would hand Kotoeko his make-koshi at the same moment. Kotoeko still seems to have decent sumo mechanics, but he seems to lack strength this January.

Sadanoumi vs Kotoshogiku – Sadanoumi will bring speed to this match, Kotoshogiku will bring size and mass. If Kotoshogiku had healthy knees, this would be no contest, but with his damaged undercarriage, it’s Sadanoumi’s match to win.

Takanosho vs Kaisei – First time meeting for these two, and with Kaisei fighting well this basho, I am going to say that he has the advantage due to his resemblance to a granite outcropping near Gifu.

Azumaryu vs Yutakayama – A win today would give Yutakayama his kachi-koshi, and would likely see him close in on those top 4 Maegashira ranks where I think he belongs this year. It’s been a slow recovery from injury for Yutakayama, but he is finally starting to look like his prior condition.

Aoiyama vs Terutsuyoshi – Another first time match, I think that Aoiyama is going to be on his balance to keep from having Terutsuyoshi dancing him to the bales and into the lap of a nearby shimpan.

Ishiura vs Ryuden – I want a rarely seen, simultaneous flying henka. I want them both to leap upward like a pair of scalded cats who just encountered a cucumber.

Okinoumi vs Onosho – Onosho dug himself a really generous hole with his act 1 ring rust, but he is slowly climbing his way back toward .500. He has to overcome Okinoumi’s world class balance, stability and lexicon of sumo technique. Onosho will bring speed and sheer power.

Shohozan vs Shodai – Yusho race co-leader Shodai will face “Big Guns” Shohozan. You might thing Shohozan’s high mobility, high impact style would give him a distinct edge, but in fact Shodai holds a 10-2 career advantage.

Endo vs Mitakeumi – This match will come down to Endo being able to land a front mawashi grip within the first few seconds. What he must not do is flail around fumbling for a hand hold against Mitakeumi, as Mitakeumi is expert at exploiting such moments of indecision.

Tamawashi vs Myogiryu – A loss today gives Tamawashi a make-koshi. He has really looked low-energy this basho, and I have to wonder if it’s the cumulative injuries of years in the top division, or some new malady that his robbed him of his sumo.

Hokutofuji vs Daieisho – Both rikishi are going to put a lot of fight into this match, but right now it seems Hokutofuji has an edge in any fight. They are 3-3 over the course of their career. They seem to trade hatakikomi and oshidashi wins back and forth since Osaka 2018.

Asanoyama vs Tochinoshin – If Asanoyama can keep this a chest to chest grappling match, he will likely carry the win. I think we are going to see one more sky crane from Tochinoshin this basho, and I am sort of hoping that

Abi vs Takayasu – Part of me thinks Takayasu should just own his injury at this point, go kyujo, get surgery, drop a division or two and come back and knock heads. He’s big enough, he’s strong enough and his sumo is good enough provided he can get his body into working order. But instead we are going to watch Abi shove him around for a few seconds before he takes a dive from the dohyo, possibly compounding that injury.

Takakeisho vs Enho – The Grand Tadpole against the Power Pixie. Its going to come down to Enho grabbing one of Takakeisho’s arms and giving it a solid tug. Is the Ozeki going to change up his sumo? If he can connect even one of those wave-action tsuppari to Enho, he could place Enho in an arcing trajectory toward the distant Aogashima island.

Takarafuji vs Goeido – The Goeido Blitzkrieg will match off against Mr Defend and Extend. If Takarafuji can blunt Goeido’s opening gambits, he will own the match, as Goeido tends to get sloppier the longer any bout goes on. The 14-5 career advantage underscores that Goeido usually can blast through Takarafuji’s opening defense.

Hatsu Day 9 Highlights

It was clear from the first two days that former Ozeki Takayasu would struggle to regain his rank by taking 10 wins. And on day 9 that campaign came to a close as Takayasu lost his 6th match. This marks the second Tagonoura headliner to suffer career destruction thanks to a treatable injury sustained in competition. As a Takayasu fan, I am outraged that his oyakata was not more proactive in seeking medical intervention for his injured elbow as soon as the day the injury took place in July oF last year. Furthermore, he was clearly in no shape to compete in September, yet his oyakata let him start the basho, possibly sealing his fate.

The shocking lack of sports medicine applied in sumo is nothing short of criminal. I get that Americans have fairly unique views of medicine that don’t apply anywhere else on planet earth. But franchise athletes, like Ozeki Takayasu are assets that need to be protected in order to insure not only that the brutal sport of sumo does not ruin his body for the rest of his life, but to protect the future of sumo. Yes, this is a very American attitude. It comes in stark contrast to the apparent approach of the Kyokai that these people are disposable, and that this is part of the natural evolution of sumo. Ok, your sport, your country, you make the rules. But I would urge the Sumo Kyokai to re-examine that concept. It’s not likely to be correct.

Highlight Matches

Kaisei defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi runs into Issac Newton in discovering what happens when a 112 kg of rikishi attacks 190 kg worth of Kaisei. It did not take but a moment.

Ikioi defeats Kotoeko – Ikioi racks a much needed win on the back for completely moribund Kotoeko. Kotoeko attempted a hit and shift, but Ikioi captured him with ease and tossed him about like a bag of rice.

Kiribayama defeats Kotoshogiku – Kiribayama does effect a hit and shift on Kotoshogiku, and gets the former Ozeki’s right arm. Kiribayama spins and Kotoshogiku is out. Kotoshogiku looks quite disappointed at the end, as he falls for his 5th loss.

Tochiozan defeats Chiyomaru – Those that may have wondered about my proclamation on Tochiozan using “high efficiency” sumo, take a look at this match. The guy expends as little energy as possible, and that finishing move is a hallmark of that style. He simply gives Chiyomaru just enough force to start the process and patiently waits for nature to take its course.

Tokushoryu defeats Tsurugisho – “Cab Forward” Tokushoryu is kachi-koshi, and remains at the front of the yusho race. Second match in as many days where Tsurugisho’s opponent is remarkably gentle with him.

Kagayaki defeats Shimanoumi – Kagayaki’s school of sumo fundamentals keeps rolling, and he remains 1 off of the yusho pace. Damn amazing if you ask me, and I think he may be looking at double digits for Hatsu. He gets no press, and I think he likes it that way. A true craftsman.

Sadanoumi defeats Azumaryu – They lock up and dance around a bit, but the thing to watch is when Sadanoumi starts his advance. Watch is feet, and watch his speed. His feet barely leave the clay and he just seems to rocket forward. Amazing sumo skill, and this is why nobody wants to let a match with him go any more than a few seconds, as Sadanoumi will uncork this on you once you wear down just a bit.

Ryuden defeats Chiyotairyu – Ryuden with the “Armbreaker” kotenage that seems to take a toll on Chiyotairyu’s left arm. Every time someone pull this out, I get worried. It has shown itself to be a career ender.

Ishiura defeats Aoiyama – Ishiura henka, but to be honest, this is a very sound choice in this match. Aoiyama buys it cash up front, and finds the tawara early.

Yutakayama defeats Onosho – We previewed this as a big fight, and it did not disappoint. Onosho seems to finally be dialed into his sumo, but Yutakayama was not going to lose this one. Excellent defensive stability from both, but Yutakayama had all of the offense, pounded away at Onosho. They briefly went chest to chest so Yutakayama could hold Onosho still enough to force him out. I am quite happy with this match, as we need both of these rikishi to climb the banzuke and assume rank to serve as foils for Takakeisho and Asanoyama. I think that’s coming this year, and we could have some great, durable rivalries in this cohort.

Shohozan defeats Takanosho – Shohozan opened strong, but it was Takanosho who pressed the attack. In fact he pressed a bit too eagerly and fell into Shohozan’s hatakikomi.

Tochinoshin defeats Tamawashi – Hey, straight ahead sumo from Tochinoshin today. He was able to get his left hand outside grip, and produced some solid sumo. Very nice to see, and a much needed win for the former Ozeki.

Mitakeumi defeats Okinoumi – As is traditional in week 2, Mitakeumi looks very rough, but even when though he was over the dohyo, he got the job done today. Two attempts to pull down Okinoumi, and the second one took.

Hokutofuji defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu got the better of the tachiai, and advanced strongly. Hokutofuji was able to deflect him at the tawara with a well timed hand to the back of Myogiryu’s neck. Great recovery from Hokutofuji.

Abi defeats Endo – Endo really got overwhelmed today, which is how it typically works when he faces Abi. If he can’t get a hand on Abi’s belt, Endo goes for a fast ride to the clay, or into the first row (as he did today).

Takarafuji defeats Takayasu – Takarafuji went straight to the defend and extend tactic, and focused his force on Takayasu’s weakened left side. Textbook, methodical and ultimately effective. Not only is any hope for a return to Ozeki gone, there is a real threat of a deep make-koshi now for Takayasu. Its going to be a tough 2020 for him, I fear.

Asanoyama defeats Daieisho – Only the third time in 10 matches that Asanoyama has been able to win against Daieisho, and I think it really underscores improvements to Asanoyama’s sumo. Asanoyama lets Daieisho dictate a thrusting battle at the start of the match, and almost at once he is in trouble. But Asanoyama stayed in the fight, kept fairly calm and worked to get a hold. Once that left hand was inside, he was in control and seconds later took the match with a rolling uwatenage.

Enho defeats Goeido – Brilliant matta by Enho where he communicated an intention to henka left. At the actual tachiai he shifted right, and sent Goeido sailing on by like a Shinkansen headed to Osaka. Goeido is in real danger of make-koshi and being stripped of his Ozeki rank, too.

Shodai defeats Takakeisho – This is worth it just to see how happy Shodai gets after the match. He tries to keep himself stoic on the dohyo as he is handed a mountain of kensho to go with his kachi-koshi. But on the way back to the dressing room, he can’t help but let his joy come to the surface.

Hatsu Day 9 Preview

While we focus these posts on the top division (to match what most of our readers get to see via NHK World’s daily summary), there is a great story in Juryo. Former Ozeki Terunofuji was eliminated from his rank, and subsequently sat out 4 tournaments trying to overcome multiple problems and nurse his body back to health. He re-entered competition ranked all the way down at Jonidan 48 in March of last year, and has been battling to climb the banzuke. He won the Makushita yusho with a perfect 7-0 score in November, which launched him back into the salaried ranks.

Ranked near the bottom of Juryo, he has been fighting with strength and conviction, and is currently alone in the lead for the Juryo yusho with a perfect 8-0 record. More than just winning matches, he seems to have found a way to execute his sumo while protecting his badly damaged knees. There have a been a couple of glimpses of the old “Kaiju” form along the way, where some great power takes over and Terunofuji delivers overwhelming offense in the blink of an eye. While a yusho (even a perfect one) from Juryo 13 probably won’t bring him to the top division for March, the time is approaching where we may see him return in the top division. Its one of sumo’s great come-back stories, and I am eager to see how far he can take his return.

What We Are Watching Day 9

Terutsuyoshi vs Kaisei – They have only met once before, and that match went to Terutsuyoshi in Nagoya 2019. This January, Terutsuyoshi is fighting very well, and I think he’s going to give Kaisei a lot of trouble.

Ikioi vs Kotoeko – This version of Ikioi is injured and really unable to fight effectively. Kotoeko is in dire need of wins, so today may be most fortunate for him.

Kotoshogiku vs Kiribayama – First time meeting both come into the match with 4-4 records. I would say that Kiribayama needs to find a way to stalemate Kotoshogiku for at least 15 seconds, at which point the veteran may be in trouble with his knees.

Tochiozan vs Chiyomaru – Tochiozan has a good formula for beating Chiyomaru, holding a 5-1 career advantage. The plan will be to stay mobile and keep Chiyomaru from centering Tochiozan in his sights.

Tsurugisho vs Tokushoryu – This should be an easy match for the surprisingly genki Tokushoryu, as Tsurugisho has enough knee damage that he can barely walk, let alone fight. A Tokushoryu win will be a triumphant kachi-koshi for the veteran’s return to the top division.

Shimanoumi vs Kagayaki – Kagayaki continues to quietly go about his sumo, staying low and fighting well. I think in spite of the 1-1 career record, it’s his match to lose tomorrow.

Sadanoumi vs Azumaryu – These two are evenly matched, with a 3-2 career record, but in my opinion Sadanoumi has been fighting better this tournament. If the fight goes more than about 20 seconds, I would expect it to be one sided in favor of Sadanoumi.

Chiyotairyu vs Ryuden – Chiyotairyu’s sumo is focused on overwhelming power delivered at the tachiai, blasting his opponent to defeat at once, or disrupting their offense so much that Chiyotairyu can just mop them up. Ryuden will try to use a matta or two, I would expect, to disrupt Chiyotairyu’s tachiai, and work to either immediately slap down the larger man, or land a mawashi grip for a throw.

Aoiyama vs Ishiura – Aoiyama’s play will be to expect Ishiura to start low, possibly a submarine tachiai, and to swat Ishiura to the clay in the opening moments of the fight. Even if Ishiura can escape that opening gambit, Big Dan is surprisingly mobile right now, and Ishiura will have a lot of work to do.

Yutakayama vs Onosho – A high interest match for me, two nominal pusher-thrusters, with Onosho finally fighting well enough this basho to actually challenge Yutakayama. Onosho holds a 6-3 career advantage. When Yutakayama wins he usually does so by slapping Onosho down at the tachiai. When Onosho’s sumo is working he tends to bash Yutakayama about a bit before bodily throwing him out of the ring.

Shohozan vs Takanosho – The scheduling committee decided – Hey, two 4-4 guys with a 1-1 career record. Sounds like a match for a Monday! Its been a few days since Shohozan has drawn blood, so Takanosho may want to guard his face.

Tamawashi vs Tochinoshin – With his bum knee all but useless, Tochinoshin either deploys a henka or gets railroaded out by a stampeeding Tamawashi.

Okinoumi vs Mitakeumi – Many fans assumed that after his November san’yaku defenstration, that Mitakeumi would be down a few ranks, but would strongly battle his way back up in fine fashion. Well, maybe not. Coming in an 4-4, he has not looked strong at all. He faces Okinoumi today, who holds a 3-1 career advantage over the former Sekiwake.

Hokutofuji vs Myogiryu – We have yet another basho where Hokutofuji produces well for the big matches, but seems to not quite have the same intensity for the rest. This is a “bread and butter” match for Hokutofuji, and a strong showing today would do a lot for his ranking in March, as I suspect another log-jam of winning records making promotion tricky to predict.

Abi vs Endo – Endo always struggles in any fight where he can’t predictably get a hand on his opponent’s mawashi. His career record (2-6) against Abi bears this out. Endo will need to try and come in very low, and get that left hand frontal grip that he prefers.

Takarafuji vs Takayasu – Normally this would be a dependable win scenario for Takayasu, but the former Ozeki is so banged up that he is a fair target for Takarafuji. Again, I expect Takayasu’s opponent to focus on his left side, and exploit his injuries for a likely win.

Asanoyama vs Daieisho – Daieisho is quite skilled at defeating Asanoyama, holding a 7-2 advantage, Asanoyama struggled against Shodai, but I am looking for him to focus on going chest to chest with Daieisho, and overpowering him. If the match is mobile exchange of thrusts, its going to be a Daieisho win.

Enho vs Goeido – Goeido loves to deliver overwhelming offensive force in the first few seconds of the match. Even if he needs a second volley, its almost always something huge, powerful and focused to his front. This is not going to be effective against Enho unless he catches Enho off his game. First time match up that is sure to be exciting.

Takakeisho vs Shodai – I am sure everyone in the sumo world wants to know if Hatsu 2020 Shodai is genki enough to take down Takakeisho. He has only beaten him twice in their 9 matches, and right now Takakeisho seems to be in good form. Whomever wins today takes away kachi-koshi.

Hatsu Day 8 Highlights

With the middle day of the Hatsu basho behind us now, we have a clear look at what a post current Yokozuna basho looks like. A wide open, full throttle barnyard brawl of young, strong rikishi up and down the banzuke beating each other to bits every day for the cup. As sumo fans, we have naturally gotten used to a very orderly sumo world. Hakuho takes the cup if he is present, and if not, one of the other Yokozuna. This is what I think of as the “Hakuho Effect”. Fans don’t recognize it yet, but there really has never been a period in sumo where you had a single rikishi dominate so completely for so long. His overwhelming skill and power completely wicked away all possibility of anyone else really making much of a mark, and really shut down this kind of tournament.

As stated a couple of years ago when the transition started, a transition period like the one we are in the beginning stages of are hugely exciting times in sumo. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion and thrill a minute. With “The Boss” frequently in dry dock these days, we get new champions on the rise, and we can enjoy them as they mature and their sumo evolves.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the two relics that are mounting the dohyo each day: Goeido and Takayasu. Both of them have given their lives to sumo, and have been arch competitors. For Takayasu, now at just 3 wins, he needs to take the remaining matches to regain Ozeki. Given his level of injuries, it’s quite unlikely. For Goeido, he needs to win 5 of the next 7 matches to retain Ozeki, also a very tall order. Its kind of heart breaking in some ways, as these are great rikishi who have turned in wonderful tournaments in the past. Everyone would want to see them continue. But sumo is a near perfect zero-sum evolutionary sport. Win to survive.

Highlight Matches

Kaisei defeats Ikioi – Ikioi choses to go chest to chest with Kaisei for some reason, and his one attempt at a throw falls far short of enough torque to move the big Brazilian. The look of pain ok Ikioi’s face at the end of the match tells the story.

Mitoryu defeat Shimanoumi – Mitoryu gets to the tachiai early, and Shimanoumi never really can stage much offense to counter.

Tokushoryu defeats Kotoshogiku – There was little doubt these two would go chest to chest immediately, with Kotoshogiku attempting the hug-n-chug, but finding that Tokushoryu’s bulbous abdomen is a near perfect damper for the force of that attack. Kotoshogiku keeps pressing the attack, but his balance fails at a crucial moment and Tokushoryu swings him to the clay.

Kiribayama defeats Kotoeko – Like so many of his bouts this basho, Kotoeko fights well, with solid technique, but can’t manage a win. He yields morozashi to Kiribayama, and the two mutually try to throw each other at the tawara, but its Kotoeko who lands first.

Tochiozan defeats Tsurugisho – After his day 6 wheelchair match, its clear that Tsurugisho can’t transmit power to ground at all. I do love and respect how gently Tochiozan treats him. It’s like how you would expect him to yorikiri his 2 year old son.

Chiyomaru defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu is single mindedly focused on getting a mawashi hold on Chiyomaru. But the entire time he is fumbling for a hand hold, Chiyomaru is pushing away at his chest, and Azumaryu runs out of room to escape.

Yutakayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Fantastic match from these two, I loved Terutsuyoshi’s submarine-lateral tachiai. Yutakayama is not normally a yotsu fighter, but I am really starting to like him in this mode. As a natural rival for Asanoyama, this expansion of his sumo technique is welcome, and I am going to say may signal his assent to higher rank. Terutsuyoshi throws a lot into this match, with an excellent combination of gambits, but Yutakayama counters all of them and prevails.

Kagayaki defeats Aoiyama – Big Dan misses his first attempt at his favorite hand on the neck pull down attack, and by the time he resets it, not only is Kagayaki chest to chest with him, but Aoiyama is out of real estate to employ it. The School of Fundamentals is still open, and it works again today.

Shohozan defeats Chiyotairyu – A set of matta to throw off the timing of Chiyotairyu’s all important tachiai gives Shohozan control of the match before it even begins.

Onosho defeats Ishiura – Onosho seems to have shed his ring-rust, gotten his balance under control and can now deliver good sumo several days in a row. Ishiura threw quite a bit into this match, but could not quite get Onosho off balance.

Takarafuji defeats Sadanoumi – Takarafuji’s preferred defend and extend tactic was not a good idea against the highly mobile Sadanoumi, so Takarafuji gets to work early and just drives Sadanoumi from the ring.

Takanosho defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin’s really got nothing left on that knee. He is not even making an attempt at face to face sumo really now, as his body just can’t support it. The former Ozeki takes his 5th loss.

Enho defeats Endo – The match that folks around the world were cheering for, master technician Endo faced power pixie Enho for the first time. Endo clearly had one approach only – land a mawashi grip and use his superior size and strength to dispatch Enho. But Enho masterfully focused on making sure Endo never could get his hands secured to his belt. The result was flailing arms and scampering feet, with Endo frustrated time after time. Endo’s is going to need a formula to overcome Enho, but given his work ethic and dedication to the sport, he is going to be working that in the months ahead almost every day.

Myogiryu defeats Mitakeumi – Myogiryu reaches around Mitakeumi’s big belly to find his mawashi, but Mitakeumi can’t return in kind. Although Mitakeumi had a strong opening, he was unable to finish Myogiryu at the bales. Mitakeumi’s road to reclaim a slot in San’yaku is going to be long and ugly indeed.

Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – This match was won at the tachiai, as Daieisho took the inside position and never let Tamawashi counter. A strong advance and it was done.

Shodai defeats Asanoyama – Its rare to see Shodai fight this well, and employ this level of sumo. It’s actually quite refreshing and I hope this is his new “normal”. Asanoyama for some reason allows Shodai’s choice of thrust and shift to be the tone of the match, which plays to his strengths. By the time Asanoyama finally gets a hold of him, he discovers that Shodai’s defensive stance is set for a throw, and Asanoyama rolls to the clay.

Hokutofuji defeats Takayasu – I am saddened by yet another Takayasu loss. Hokutofuji relentlessly attacks the former Ozeki’s injured left arm, with great effect. But there was so much more than that. Hokutofuji consistently kept his hips lower, and kept the pressure on Takayasu. The two times Takayasu managed to drop his hips, he was able to push Hokutofuji back, but Hokutofuji’s defensive sumo was at its peak today. I marvel at how Hokutofuji’s mind can at times seem to be working the upper and lower body independently. No matter what his upper body is doing, winning or losing, his lower body seems to keep moving forward.

Takakeisho defeats Okinoumi – Wait… Takakeisho goes chest to chest with Okinoumi? Then throws him? For the win? Ok, this was unexpected and delightful.

Abi defeats Goeido – Goeido can’t overcome Abi-zumo, as it is an almost perfect foil for Goeido’s massive frontal assault style. There was a monoii to check Abi’s ballet move on the tawara, but slow motion replay only made it look more skillful.