Natsu Day 6 Highlights

The first day of act 2, and the final day before the middle weekend. We had one of the undefeated rikishi pick up their first loss, and we finally got to see Hokuseiho show some energy.

A salute to Tochinoshin, who handed in his retirement papers today with the Sumo Association. He still has the heart of a warrior, but his body has simply had as much as it can take. Fans won’t forget how you blew the doors off your Ozeki run, or the joy of watching you deploy the “Sky-crane” against even the largest and heaviest of men.

On to the matches!

Highlight Matches

Bushozan defeats Ichiyamamoto – Bushozan comes for a visit, and gives Ichiyamamoto the business. Ichiyamamoto gets a volley in, but as soon as Bushozan gets inside and gets a hold, he’s in charge. He drives Ichiyamamoto back and even a last moment grab and pull can’t save him from the oshidashi. Bushozan returns to Juryo 5-1, and may make his way back to the top division in July.

Oho defeats Tsurugisho – Good to see Oho win back to back matches. He caught the tachiai from Tsurugisho well enough, but delivered an immediate tsukiotoshi that sent Tsurugisho tumbling. Both end the day 3-3.

Asanoyama defeats Mitoryu – Mitoryu is much to rubbery and flabby to pose much of a contest to the future Ozeki. Message to all rikishi in the top division that have not fought Asanoyama because he was out. Once that left hand outside grip is engaged, break it at once or eat the loss. Asanoyama improves to 6-0.

Chiyoshoma defeats Kagayaki – We are about to start the middle weekend, and Kagayaki has a single win. Excellent grab-n-tug demonstration from Chiyoshoma today. He breaks Kagayaki’s balance quickly, and shoves what’s left to the clay for his 3rd win, finishing the day 3-3.

Myogiryu defeats Aoiyama – It’s a good day, as we got to see the V-Twin in action from Big Dan Aoiyama. He was not close to his maximum force, but given the state of his left knee, I think it was all he could muster. Myogiryu was in trouble until he was able to dive in and set up a right hand inside body grip. The resulting yotsu battle went surprisingly well, in spite of Aoiyama favoring that left knee as much as he could, and the two battled back and forth for a good while. At a pause, Myogiryu consolidated his grip, which gave him the body position to raise Aoiyama and walk him out for a yorikiri, ending the day at 4-2. Solid effort from both.

Hokuseiho defeats Kotoeko – Have to admire the brass on Kotoeko. He opens with a nodowa against Hokuseiho. Frankly, I was not aware he could reach that high. I think Kotoeko concluded that as well, and focused on body attacks against Hokuseiho. This seemed to finally, for the first time this month, energize young Hokuseiho into vigorous action. Hey, he actually can move around when the situation requires it. This only provoked Kotoeko further, and in a second we had a real battle to watch. As was always the case once Kotoeko got Hokuseiho active, he simply picked up the massive yet still diminutive Kotoeko and lifted him with all of the precision of an improvised hoist rescuing a rhino from a drainage ditch. But it was enough for the yorikiri, and Hokuseiho is now 5-1.

Onosho defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji brought the “defend” but could not sell the “extend” today. The moment he grabs and rotates before his grip is set is the moment he opens the door for Onosho to push him down for his 3rd loss. Both end the day 3-3.

Hiradoumi defeats Daishoho – I have to wonder if Daishoho assumed his much larger size was going to carry him this match. Hiradoumi could care less, and gave Daishoho quite a fight. Both showed some superior yotsu technique in this match, but I was wincing watching Daishoho bandaged right elbow caught in Hiradoumi’s ottsuke. A Daishoho attempt at a kimidashi fell apart, and gave Hiradoumi all he needed for the yorikiri. Nicely done.

Takanosho defeats Ryuden – Impressive to watch Takanosho move Ryuden so effectively while not really having to defend against a lot of forward pressure. That may the key to him winning matches for this basho. Note how he keeps turning Ryuden so he can’t push back. Takanosho improves to 2-4.

Mitakeumi defeats Sadanoumi – It’s glorious to see old-style Mitakeumi sumo. For recent fans of sumo, this is in fact “his brand of sumo”. He never really stands up from this tachiai strike, and you can see both hands inside, his knees forward and he pushes like a truck. Sadanoumi is completely bracketed, and his mobility and speed utterly useless to escape. Solid oshidashi takes Mitakeumi to 4-2.

Kinbozan defeats Tamawashi – Good combo from Tamawashi to start, but only at a fraction of his normal power. He gets off his balance and Kinbozan pushes him from behind. I think it should have been an okuridashi, but oh whatever. Kinbozan no kachi at 3-3.

Hokutofuji defeats Kotoshoho – It pains me to see Kotoshoho struggle as much as he is this basho. Hokutofuji has no such reservation, dispatching him in a hurry with a quick stand him up / slap him down combo, to advance to 3-3.

Meisei defeats Ura – I had hopes that Ura could be the first man to put dirt on Meisei, but this guy is red hot right now, and I don’t think we will see him take a black star until he faces some tougher opponents. Ura was a bit too low, bounced back at the tachiai, and could never set his feet. Meisei now 6-0.

Midorifuji defeats Endo – The question of “who is the bottom man on the torikumi?” has finally been solved, and sadly its Endo. He had plenty of energy and power for today’s match, but a poor choice of moves put him at the mercy of Midorifuji, and he caught an oshidashi for his troubles. Midorifuji gets his first win and is 1-5.

Shodai defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka has now lost the last 3 in a row, and I think his chances of participating in the yusho race are gone. We got to see some real Shodai sumo, which is always a treat, using his big body to incrementally whittle down the size of the ring that Kotonowaka could employ. Shodai picks up his second win and is now 2-4.

Kiribayama defeats Tobizaru – I recognize that Kiribayama showed us some world class sumo today, but that was really facilitated by Tobizaru’s excellent defensive technique in this match. I wish this guy to put together all of the pieces he shows us on various days, he’s a world beater if he ever can. Kiribayama? He’s on his way up to be certain, he’s now 5-1.

Abi defeats Wakamotoharu – Abi scores first dirt on Wakamotoharu, and frankly Wakamotoharu bought it for full retail. Abi absorbs the tachiai at a deflecting angle, leaving Wakamotoharu unbalanced as Abi grabs and pulls down into a katasukashi. Abi now at 3-3.

Daieisho defeats Hoshoryu – The zero sumo game to determine who might make a bid to become the next Ozeki will be bloody and brutal, as is the way of this sport. Daieisho made contact first in the tachiai, and Hoshoryu never really recovered. Even when they broke contact for a moment and re-engaged, Hoshoryu was clearly off his match plan and was quickly shoved out by a Daieisho mega-thrust. Daieisho improves to 5-1.

Takakeisho defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji’s single minded focus on getting a grip cost him a match he could have won. His sumo was easy to anticipate, and Takakeisho with his stubby arms has been defending against these moves his entire life. Takakeisho pushes the thrashing mess that is Nishikifuji’s sumo today out by oshidashi to advance to 4-2.

Terunofuji defeats Nishikigi – As is traditional with Terunofuji, congratulations on establishing a grip on the Yokozuna, please enjoy the visit to the clay. Terunofuji undefeated at 6-0.

Tochinoshin Retires

Yesterday afternoon rumors started to spread that Tochinoshin had retired. The only news I was finding at that time were a few social media posts and an article out of his native Georgia but nothing seemed to be official, so I wanted to hold off on the report until I got more concrete word. I fell asleep sometime during Jonidan action but when I woke up, I woke up to images of Tochinoshin in a blue kimono in front of the purple and white Sumo Kyokai press-conference backdrop. It’s official. Former Ozeki, Tochinoshin, has retired.

Perhaps it’s fitting that the end of his career comes on the heels of Ichinojo’s retirement because during their heyday, their bouts were always a highlight bout featuring Tochinoshin’s strength versus Ichinojo’s size. That sky-crane strength catapulted Tochinoshin to a top-division title in 2018 which precipitated his successful Ozeki-tori, which was really the pinnacle of his career.

Injuries had hindered his initial, rapid, rise up the banzuke, forcing him to miss several tournaments in 2013 and fall into Makushita. He came back, though, and barnstormed his way to consecutive Makushita titles, then consecutive Juryo titles, on his way back to the top division and eventually, the sport’s second-highest rank. But he, and the sumo world, knew that he was fighting on borrowed time. He had a short reign as Ozeki and his performance declined during the pandemic years as he slid, agonizingly, into Juryo. Winless in Tokyo, and with demotion from sekitori status a greater possibility, he has called it quits.

Tochinoshin does not have a kabu and will likely return to Georgia. His influence there, along with Gagamaru, will hopefully continue to spark interest in the sport and hopefully a new generation of recruits to compete at the highest levels.

Hatsu Day 15 Highlights

Congratulations to Ozeki Takakeisho for a glorious final match. It was not an upset given the long odds that Kotoshoho faced against you, but that was still some red-hot sumo action in the “Brawl to end it all”. With the final win, Takakeisho claims his third yusho, after racking up two jun-yusho in the prior year, the most recent in November. Sumo fans wonder if there is any desire to install Takakeisho as a second Yokozuna following what has been a solid 2-3 years of mostly high performance. It would give them an insurance policy against a lack of Ozeki, by ensuring that both he and Terunofuji could be out with injuries at the same time, and there would be no risk of having to bend the rules around the banzuke needing two men at the top. Silly as it seems, Japan loves its traditions.

With the end of Hatsu, we are once again left wondering who the next Ozeki will be. There was a great deal of talk around a cluster of hopefuls two weeks ago. There were at least three names: Hoshoryu, Wakatakakage, and Takayasu. All of them feel short of their goals. Meanwhile in Juryo, Asanoyama finished 14-1 with the yusho, and I think we will see him in the top division in Osaka. Given the typical need to rack up three double digit wins from san’yaku to be considered for promotion, we have to wonder if Asanoyama really might be the next man to be promoted (in this case re-promoted) to Ozeki. All three of the names above are restarting any Ozeki run in March, and the earliest they might qualify would be following Nagoya, but Kyushu is more likely. Could Asanoyama have 33 wins in san’yaku by the end of November? Not out of the question. Going to be a fun year for sumo.

Highlight Matches

Chiyomaru defeats Daiamami – I am surprised that Daiamami fell for the “stand him up, pull him down” combo, which was all Chiyomaru has been able to run for the past 10 days. But good enough! Chiyomaru finishes Hatsu 4-11, and will return to Juryo.

Oho defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki fails to overcome his Darwin status, and ends Hatsu make-koshi at 7-8. I had figured the chances that this was “gimmie” match to get him to kachi-koshi turned out to be wrong, as Oho rallies for the final day to squeeze out a win, and end at 4-11.

Ura defeats Azumaryu – Ura is able to maintain his super-low position from the tachiai, and once he had contact with Azumaryu, there was no stopping him. For a moment Azumaryu almost had control back, but could not stop Ura from attacking underneath. 7-8 finish for Ura, 9-6 for Azumaryu.

Sadanoumi defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma hits double digit losses with his final day loss to Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi was intent on establishing and then maintaining a left hand inside grip, and it left him open to several solid counter moves from Chiyoshoma. But has been the case this January, Chiyoshoma just lacked enough power to make it work. He finally got his throw in, but he had already stepped out before he could bring Sadanoumi down. Sadanoumi finishes 6-9, Chiyoshoma 5-10.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Nishikifuji – Ichiyamamoto hits double digits for his first time in the top division, with a hatakikomi over faltering Nishikifuji. A volley of double arm thrusts, into a quick pull down, and it was all over. Nishikifuji ends January 4-11, Ichiyamamoto 10-5.

Mitoryu defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji could not overcome the tremendous size difference with Mitoryu. He was able to repel a couple of Mitoryu’s initial attacks, but lunged inside hard to grapple Mitoryu, and Mitoryu slapped him to the clay. Mitoryu gets a final win to finish 7-8, Midorifuji a final loss at 6-9.

Abi defeats Tsurugisho – Our second Darwin match, and it seems that Abi-zumo can still eek out a kachi-koshi this January. There was a moment where Tsurugisho broke Abi’s balance, but could not convert that into anything offensive. Abi ends Hatus 8-7, with Tsurugisho 7-8.

Tamawashi defeats Hiradoumi – First attempt was a matta, second attempt at a tachiai looked just as off tempo as the first, but the fight was on. Hiradoumi did fairly well, but he’s really out-classed against a healthy Tamawashi. Hiradoumi tried to maintain contact as Tamawashi dialed up the forward pressure, but a final shove tossed Hiradoumi down the hanamichi. Hiradoumi finishes 8-7, Tamawashi 9-6.

Mitakeumi defeats Takarafuji – This seems like an even match for both of these diminished top division mainstay. Mitakeumi’s ottsuke is able to stop Takarafuji from setting up any offense, and Mitakeumi kept pushing forward. Mitakeumi gets a final win to cushion his fall down the banzuke, his final score is 7-8, Takarafuji 8-7.

Daieisho defeats Aoiyama – Daieisho had the big attack group early, overwhelming Aoiyama, and making him take a step back. At that point, Aoiyama decided he needed a pull, and that ended just about as well as you might imagine. Aoiyama stepped out a moment later giving Daieisho double digit wins for Hatsu at 10-5, Aoiyama finished with a worthy 8-7.

Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – The next Darwin match, Kotoeko starts with a double hand strike to Tobizaru’s shoulders, into an immeidate slap down. It fails and now Kotoeko has Tobizaru at full power, attacking his chest. Kotoeko can’t hold ground, and attempts a pull. In response Tobizaru delivers a strong shove to the chest, pushing Kotoeko out for his kachi-koshi, and an 8-7 final score for Hatsu. Kotoeko make-koshi at 7-8.

Wakamotoharu defeats Endo – A fascinating battle for grip and body position. With both of these rikishi wanting to set up a yotsu-zumo match on their terms, it was always going to be about where the other man’s hands fell. It was Wakamotoharu who got set up first, and he took only two steps to set Endo out by yorikiri. Both end Hatsu with 9-6 scores.

Meisei defeats Takanosho – I do hope that whatever has been causing problems for Takanosho during the past six months can be cleared up. Again today he loses a match he could have and maybe should have won. Meisei did a masterful job of keeping him moving, out of step and off balance until he could run him out by okuridashi. That final win for Meisei puts him at 5-10, Takanosho finishes 6-9.

Kotonowaka defeats Hokutofuji – The last of our Darwin matches, and I must express satisfaction that Kotonowaka was able to help Hokutofuji rack up, yet again, “The most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”. It just does not feel like a Hatsu basho unless Hokutofuji is make-koshi. Kotonowaka 8-7 to end the tournament, Hokutofuji 7-8.

Kiribayama defeats Ryuden – Congratulations to Kiribayama on his second technique prize, some outstanding sumo this entire month. Ryuden gave him a tough fight, featuring awkward endurance postures, circle dancing, and a long stalemate. Kudos to Ryuden for not conceding a single step on the clay, excellent sumo sir. Kiribayama finishes him by yorikiri, and ends Hatsu 11-4, Ryuden with a respectable 9-6.

Myogiryu defeats Shodai – As guessed in the preview, Shodai racks up the exact same score in his “ozekiwake” tournament that Mitakeumi did in November before being flushed down the banzuke to Maegashira 2. Myogiryu had the better tachiai, and a face slap after Shodai shut him down broke open an attack route to switch up his grip. Myogiryu charged ahead and walked Shodai out. Both finish the tournament at 6-9.

Hoshoryu defeats Onosho – Onosho misses out on a win, and a fighting spirit prize when he ends up pulling Hoshoryu’s top knot in the heat of their match. After driving Hoshoryu back, Onosho decides to pull him forward, and gets a hand on Hoshoryu’s mage as he brings him down. A mono-ii confirms it, and Onosho is disqualified, giving Hoshoryu a final day 8th win and kachi-koshi.

Wakatakakage defeats Nishikigi – Absolutely brilliant sumo from Nishikigi, this guy has made a visible step change in his sumo, and is fighting better than I have ever seen him fight before. I expect this quality of sumo from Wakatakakage, as he will be Ozeki before long, but this was quite the surprise from Nishikigi, good show sir. Wakatakakage eventually catches him lunging forward, and finishes Nishikigi by hatakikomi. Both end Hatsu with 9-6 records, and I am quite certain we will see Nishikigi in the joi-jin for March.

Takakeisho defeats Kotoshoho – My compliments to Kotoshoho for making it this far, you far exceeded all expectations and showed the fans what you are capable of. But HOLY CRAP! Who had Takakeisho winning the yusho with a throw in your list of “must see in 2023?”. I think it surprised Kotoshoho too, as Takakeisho opened with a typical thrusting combo, then hooked his left arm around Kotoshoho’s body and let it fly. Wow! Kotoshoho finishes Hatsu with the jun-yusho at 11-4, Takekeisho the cup and a 12-3 final.

That concludes our daily reporting of the 2023 Hatsu basho, a glorious festival of sumo that has been one of the better tournaments in a while. Thank you dear readers for sharing our joy of sumo as we brought you coverage during the past 15 days. We look forward to bringing you the action from Osaka in March.

Hatsu Day 15 Preview

We come to it at last, the final day of one of the better tournaments in a fair piece of time. Sure, there were problems, and it would be fun if we were looking forward to Takakeisho picking up a promotion next week, but the action on the dohyo has been fantastic, and everyone has put in a great effort to get us to this point.

We ended with 8 rikishi having a score of 7-7, and from that we have 3 Darwin matches scheduled. One man will earn kachi-koshi, the other make-koshi and demotion. The Darwin match is the ultimate refinement of sumo in some ways. Honbasho are constructed as zero-sum games, there are a fixed number of white stars that can be earned, and every time you earn one, you take one from the total that will be awarded. Thus, the chances for recovery and redemption grow scarce into the third act, until on the final day, only a handful of them remain. Six rikishi will fight it out for the last one, to see who can hold rank for Osaka 6 weeks away.

Then, in the final match of the tournament, the yusho will be decided. The lone surviving Ozeki, Takakeisho, will face off against a surprising challenger, Maegashira 13 East Kotoshoho. I have had my eye on Kotoshoho for a couple of years, and he started strong in the top division in 2020, and then hit a cold spot that saw him back in Juryo for almost a year. He struggled in 2022 as well after clawing his way back in to the top division a year ago with an 11-4 Juryo yusho. After climbing as hight at Maegashira 9E in May of last year, he racked up 4 consecutive make-koshi results, and is really only still in the top division thanks to some banzuke luck along the way. But he’s got his ticket to the big fight, and win or lose, he is announcing that he is finally healthy and in fighting form.

What We Are Watching Day 15

Daiamami vs Chiyomaru – The final Juryo visitor, Daiamami, comes to have a round with an injured Chiyomaru (3-11), captain of the Juryo barge of the damned. Daiamami is also already make-koshi at 5-9, so I am going to guess he is up here today because it was his turn. Daiamami has a 11-2 career lead, but given the state of Chiyomaru, a Daiamami win today was almost assured.

Kagayaki vs Oho – This is a gift to Kagayaki. He earned at 7-7 Darwin score, and instead of a brutal single elimination match, he gets to fight cream-puff Oho (3-11) for his kachi-koshi. I could shake my fist and yell at clouds as one reader has said, but to be honest someone had to fight Oho, may as well be him.

Azumaryu vs Ura – Whatever ailments plague Ura right now, I am happy he starts his 6 week recovery tomorrow. He’s not be quite up to spec, especially in the second week, where has has lost 5 in a row and is now at a make-koshi 6-8. It would be great if he could beat 9-5 Azumaryu, but if I were Azumaryu (9-5), I would hit double digits today. You broke the barrier, run free sir. Rack up the score as insurance against a pair of make-koshi some time in the future.

Chiyoshoma vs Sadanoumi – Both men start the day at 5-9, and have had a pretty rough time of it this January. Sadanoumi got torn up as a projectile while facing the san’yaku during the middle third of the tournament, and never really has recovered. Chiyoshoma just can’t seem to find the last 10% – 15% of his power, and thus his score is crummy. He does have a 7-4 career lead over Sadanomumi, and has won the last three in a row.

Nishikifuji vs Ichiyamamoto – I guess this one is to give Ichiyamamoto a chance at a double digit kachi-koshi? He’s 9-5 to start the day against 4-10 Nishikifuji, who has lost 6 of the last seven. Maybe they are giving Nishikifuji an early match on the fight card so he can head out and find a bar.

Mitoryu vs Midorifuji – Another pair of make-koshi rikishi, both with 6-8 records to start the day. I wonder if Mitoryu at Maegashira 15W is at risk of demotion, but maybe he will survive thanks to the log jam of people who have losing records and are demotable at the end of the tournament.

Abi vs Tsurugisho – First Darwin match, with both men at 7-7. I would think that this one will go to Abi, who is ranked higher at Maegashira 3 E, and generally outclasses Tsurugisho on most days. But Tsurugisho holds and even 2-2 career record against Abi, and has won his last three in a row to get here.

Hiradoumi vs Tamawashi – First ever match, both start the day with 8-6 kachi-koshi, and one of them will finish Hatsu with 9 wins. I would generally favor Tamawashi for this one, but I think Hiradoumi has an advantage if he can get the match to last more than 20 seconds.

Mitakeumi vs Takarafuji – We have defenestrated former Ozeki Mitakeumi with a 6-8 make-koshi against injured stalwart Takarafuji, blessedly kachi-koshi at 8-6. Mitakeumi has a 10-4 advantage in their 14 match career history, with only one match in the last year, which went to then sekiwake Mitakeumi during Hatsu day 14. Mitakeumi would go on to win a 13-2 yusho, and earn a short-lived promotion to Ozeki.

Aoiyama vs Daieisho – Both are make-koshi, with Aoiyama at 8-6, and Daieisho at 9-5. This is mostly just to figure out rank for the March banzuke, but with both of them being high impact tsuki/oshi fighters, there could be a lot of hard hits in this match. Their last fight was March 2022, and went to Daieisho.

Tobizaru vs Kotoeko – Second Darwin match, and it’s a good’un. We have a highly mobile flying monkey in Tobizaru, up against compact power house Kotoeko. Kotoeko makes excellent use of his highly muscled lower body, and brings a high degree of balance and stablity to his sumo. This makes Tobizaru, who uses a strike-and-move disruptive sumo, work harder to win. Tobizaru has won the last 4 matches between them.

Endo vs Wakamotoharu – Another fine match, both prefer a yotsu style of sumo, tend to go for a grip early, and like to attack from underneath. Well, only one of them can be the lowest attacker, sir, so lets see who can do it. 9-5 Endo, or 8-6 Wakamotoharu? It is a bit of a surprise that out of their three prior matches, only one of them has been won by yorikiri.

Meisei vs Takanosho – A battle of the make-koshi, it’s 4-10 Meisei vs 6-8 Takanosho. Meisei has taken a beating at komusubi, as is frequently the case. Takanosho? I wish we knew what was plaguing him. Whatever it is, I hope it’s gone by March. Meisei has won 8 of their 12 career matches.

Hokutofuji vs Kotonowaka – The next Darwin match, and we get a chance to see Hokutofuji achieve “The most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”! Yes that is like jumbo shrimp, or sterile dirt. Even when you see it, you marvel that it might exits. Both of these guys have struggled, but not too much, and I think I like Kotonowaka’s chances here today. He’s on a bit of a hot streak, winning 3 of the last 4 matches.

Kiribayama vs Ryuden – Both are kachi-koshi, with Kiribayama at 10-4, and Ryuden at 9-5. I think it would be great to see Ryuden hit double digits, and I would not be surprised if he did not have a special prize contingent on a win today. Kiribayama won their last match, which was day 11 of Kyushu 2022.

Myogiryu vs Shodai – There are some similarities between Shodai’s fall from Ozeki and Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi’s “ozekiwake” tournament was Kyushu, where he finished 6-9. Should Shodai lose today to Myogiryu (5-9), he will likewise finish at 6-9. They are evenly matched, splitting their 16 career matches 8-8.

Onosho vs Hoshoryu – Ah, Onosho. You did very well this tournament. You showed the power, strength and endurance you have been building piece by piece for the last 5 years. You were in the race for the cup up until the last weekend. I hope they give you a special prize, and I hope we can see you this genki again in March. In the mean time, you can take your 10-4 record and hit Darwin candidate 7-7 Hoshoryu with it as hard as you like.

Wakatakakage vs Nishikigi – I continue to marvel at Nishikigi. I know he has quietly been building his body up over the last 6 months, and he just keeps getting a bit stronger each time. He’s at 9-5, on the cusp of a double digit winning record at Maegashira 5. He’s against one time Ozeki hopeful Wakatakakage at 8-6, who is in dire need of a tune up and upgrade session soon.

Kotoshoho vs Takakeisho – The brawl to end it all, the match deluxe. Kotoshoho has never won against Takakeisho, and has 2 prior attempts. This version of Kotoshoho is more focused and aggressive, and I do hope Takakeisho takes him as a serious contender. It is odd to have the final match of the tournament be an Ozeki vs a Maegashira 13, but this way they resolve the yusho in a single match. Good luck to both, make it a brilliant fight.