Kyushu 2021: Jonokuchi Match Day 4

The Jonokuchi yusho race has narrowed this week to three contenders as of tonight’s action. Three bouts between five undefeated wrestlers had the potential to bring it down to two but Goseiryu’s adventures in Jonidan have not presented a challenge as of yet. Today, he made quick work of Asashorei with a bit of a hit-and-shift at the tachiai, leading to a thrust-down to finish.

Chiyoshishi took no chances with Gaia and broke him down immediately after the tachiai. Gaia’s henka was not fast enough to evade Chiyoshishi’s right paw. The nodowa, paired with a firm left hand grip at the back of proved devastating as Gaia had no counter, and was thrust down on his back in mere seconds.

Inoue followed Chiyoshishi’s lead with a right-handed nodowa at the tachiai, but he had no need for the ferocity in order to send Daishojo out of the ring. This likely sets up an exciting Chiyoshishi/Inoue bout on Monday with Goseiryu likely paired, again, with the lowest undefeated Jonidan combatant.

Goseiryu, Chiyoshishi and Inoue were the first three to kachi-koshi and have secured promotion to Jonidan. Gaia may have already seen enough success to put himself through to Jonidan, as well. It’s very possible that the eventual yusho winner may have one loss on his record since a Goseiryu vs Chiyoshishi/Inoue bout will feature later this week – if Goseiryu wins again.

Though the yusho race has narrowed, action obviously continues in the division and I want to bring you a great pairing of wrestlers who are one-win off the pace, Azumayama vs Wakaonehara. Azumayama’s only loss was to Daitenshin but Wakaonehara had the rough first bout against an amped Raiho. These guys bring quality sumo and a lot of effort on a normal day…but today we get a treat. This was the bout of the day in Jonokuchi, so I wanted to share this epic marathon bout.

If you’ve got four minutes to spare, this is worth it. It’s also funny for the interplay with the gyoji, 21-year-old Shikirmori Tomokimi. After such a marathon, he points the right way but loses his hat…then appears to want to give the win to Azumayama for recovering his hat. The look of disappointment and confusion as Azumayama turns to walk away from his loss is just one of those wonderful moments I love down in Jonokuchi, where the yobidashi and gyoji (as well as the wrestlers) are still learning their craft. I have to give Tomokimi-kun credit for getting the right call. I was lost and I’m sure would have caused a mono-ii (judge’s conference) and sashi-chigae (reversal).