Kyushu 2023: Day 13 – Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving Chanko

We are not big fans of turkey, too be honest. On our own for the holidays for the first time in a long time, the threat of spending hours preparing, and failing, at making a dry bird led us to an unconventional decision. So, this year we opted for a Thanksgiving dinner of chanko and sushi. Give me moist tsukune (chicken meatballs) over ham, turkey or venison, any day. Tuna temaki is just icing on the cake. Then, we also actually had cake in the form of baumkuchen.

I am certainly thankful for, among other things, a great tournament. It is unfortunate that Takakeisho could not follow up on his September yusho and charge forward with a strong title win in Kyushu. Instead, Kirishima, Atamifuji, Ichiyamamoto and Kotonowaka have been the stars of this show. Ozeki performance issues have certainly been quieted for now. And after a spell of short reigns, maybe Kirishima and Hoshoryu will lighten some of Takakeisho’s load. The continued successes of recent tournaments mean Kotonowaka (26) and Atamifuji (21) have designs on their own future promotions. After starting the year with much more uncertainty, it’s nice to have not only a steady current slate of Ozeki but some hopes for the future.


Kitanowaka (5-8) defeated Oshoma (4-9). A bit of a testy slapfest that ended when Oshoma lost his balance and fell forward. Hikiotoshi.

Tohakuryu (5-8) defeated Oho (6-7). Tohakuryu jettisoned his retreating sumo of late for aggressive, forward moving thrusts here against Oho. And what do you know, it worked! Tsukidashi.

Tomokaze (7-6) defeated Hiradoumi (8-5). Hiradoumi tried a slapdown but Tomokaze pressed forward and shoved Hiradoumi over the bales. Oshidashi.

Churanoumi (8-5) defeated Sadanoumi (6-7). Sadanoumi was the aggressor in this bout, nearly ending Churanoumi’s day with an early slapdown attempt. Sadanoumi kept pressing forward and forced his opponent to the edge…where Churanoumi twisted out of the way and threw Sadanoumi forward. Sukuinage.

Mitakeumi (8-5) defeated Tamawashi (8-5). Not much thrusting from Tamawashi today; Mitakeumi forced himself inside the range of Tamawashi’s guns and they settled, head-to-head with Tamawashi’s back to the bales. Mitakeumi gathered his strength and pressed forward, pushing Tamawashi over the edge. Oshidashi.

Roga (4-9) defeated Myogiryu (4-9). Myogiryu charged forward but Roga circled right in retreat, staying in bounds long enough to thrust Myogiryu out. Tsukiotoshi.

Endo (5-8) defeated Nishikifuji (4-9). Endo chased Nishikifuji around the ring for awhile before Nishikigi stepped out. Oshidashi.

Midorifuji (9-4) defeated Ichiyamamoto (9-4). Now, I’m sure we can all agree THAT’s a henka. We can all see the, “YOU BASTARD!” on Ichiyamamoto’s lips. Hikiotoshi.

Tsurugisho (8-5) defeated Nishikigi (6-7). Tsurugisho pulled to start but Nishikigi was wise to it. The two settled into a grapple. Nishikigi tried to make a charge but Tsurugisho pulled up hard and resisted, forcing the two back toward center. Nishikigi gathered up his strength for another charge and this time Tsurugisho couldn’t stop him…but instead he twisted and hefted Nishikigi over the bales with a great throw. Utchari.

Tobizaru (6-7) defeated Hokuseiho (6-7). Tobizaru quickly reached in and pulled Hokuseiho forward. He then circled behind and pushed him out. Okuridashi.


Atamifuji (11-2) defeated Takayasu (8-5). The Japanese word, Atama, means “head” and that is all that I can bring to mind as I watch Atamafuji drive his head into Takayasu, forcing a yotsu contest. Takayasu tried to shove that head back but each time, Atamafuji brought his head back to rest under Takayasu’s chin. Atamafuji then grabbed Takayasu by the shoulders to drive him down. Takayasu resisted the slapdown but the pressure forced his back to the bales and Atamifuji pressed forward, pushing him out. Excellent sumo from Atamifuji. Oshidashi.

Takarafuji (5-8) defeated Meisei (3-10). After the tachiai, the two combatants settled into a grapple at the center of the ring. Meisei pulled to the edge but Takarafuji pursued and pressed forward, eventually forcing Meisei over the edge. Yorikiri.

Kinbozan (8-5) defeated Shodai (5-8). Kinbozan drove forward, hard into Shodai. Just when you wanted New Shodai to resist and force Kinbozan back, Old Shodai scanned behind himself for a place to land and dropped into the crowd. Oshidashi.

Ura (6-7) defeated Onosho (3-10). Ura blasted Onosho backwards and off the ring. Oshidashi.

Gonoyama (7-6) defeated Hokutofuji (4-9). Hokutofuji tried to remove Gonoyama’s face with the right hand and ottsuke with the left. Gonoyama shifted and thrust Hokutofuji’s hand away. Hokutofuji pressed with such force that the momentum thrust himself down in the center of the ring. Tsukiotoshi.

Abi (6-7) defeated Shonannoumi (7-6). The staredown was about 100x longer than the bout as Abi caught Shonannoumi and yanked him down to the ground, almost instantly. Hikiotoshi.

Ryuden (9-4) defeated Kotonowaka (9-4). Ryuden thrust his head into Kotonowaka’s chest and pressed forward. Kotonowaka kept fumbling for a belt grip but it’s much easier when your head is down, like Ryuden’s. Ryuden just kept pressing forward and Kotonowaka could not counter effectively. Any hopes of Ozeki promotion will have to wait for March, or more likely, May. Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (2-4-7) defeated Wakamotoharu (4-9). Powerful tachiai. Asanoyama rotated his body, twisting Wakamotoharu over toward the edge. Wakamotoharu kept his footing along the bales so Asanoyama forced him out. Yorikiri.

Kirishima (11-2) defeated Daieisho (8-5). Standard Daieisho thrusting attack, parried to the side by Kirishima. Hatakikomi.

Takakeisho (9-4) defeated Hoshoryu (8-5). Hoshoryu drove into Takakeisho’s tsuppari a bit too far as Takakeisho switched modes and thrust him down. Tsukiotoshi.


We’re down to a two-man show. It took a while for the Kyokai to finally publish the torikumi (bout listing) for tomorrow. I had thought they might like to actually have all of the Ozeki fight each other, and during normal circumstances, that would probably be their preference.

  • 2敗: Kirishima, Atamifuji
  • 3敗: no one

Instead, Kirishima will fight Atamifuji tomorrow. This means that we are assured of an at-least 12-win yusho. We might have a playoff between these two if the winner of tomorrow’s bout stumbles on senshuraku. Kirishima will undoubtedly be paired up with one of his fellow Ozeki (likely Takakeisho) for the musubi-no-ichiban on senshuraku.

As I’d mentioned, Kotonowaka’s charge is now done. Ichiyamamoto’s role in this drama, sadly, fizzled in front of Midorifuji. But there is certainly a significant crop of new talent, simmering under the surface. And, whatever the outcome of this weekend, Atamifuji is leading their charge into 2024.

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 7

Today, we close out the first week of sumo in Kyushu. It’s been a great tournament with a lot of great bouts and a compelling set of leaders. We got news that Asanoyama will be back for nakabi. He will need to win out in order to get a kachi-koshi. He doesn’t need any wins in order to stay in Makuuchi, so his determination to return is a bit of a puzzle…but it is what it is.


Tomokaze (5-2) defeated Roga (2-5). Roga tried a pull at the tachiai but Tomokaze showed him how to actually execute a slapdown. Hatakikomi

Tsurugisho (3-4) defeated Churanoumi (5-2). Tsurugisho got a quick grip of Churanoumi’s belt and pivoted on his good leg to throw Churanoumi out of the dohyo. Uwatenage

Churanoumi will face Tomokaze on Day 8. So far, Tomokaze has had Churanoumi’s number taking all three of their head-to-head matches to date.

Takarafuji (2-5) defeated Kitanowaka (3-4). Takarafuji shrugged off Kitanowaka’s initial charge, wrapped him up in a bear hug, and drove Kitanowaka back and over the bales. Yorikiri.

Kitanowaka will face Aoiyama tomorrow in their first meeting. “But Aoiyama’s in Juryo, Andy.” Yes, but Asanoyama will be back so we will get our first Juryo visit. Aoiyama has been getting his job done in the second division, priming himself for a return to Makuuchi in January. We’ll see if he can keep it up in week two. Kitanowaka, on the other hand, has fallen off pace since his strong start. Right that ship!

Oho (3-4) defeated Nishikifuji (2-5). Both men traded punishing blows. Oho tried three times to shift and pull Nishikifuji down. It finally worked on the third try. Hatakikomi.

Oho will take on Roga.

Sadanoumi (4-3) defeated Ichiyamamoto (6-1). Sadanoumi caught Ichiyamamoto’s right arm and used it to attempt a throw but Ichiyamamoto kept his balance and kept up his own attack. Sadanoumi just seemed impervious to Ichiyamamoto-zumo and drove Ichiyamamoto to the edge. You knew Ichiyamamoto was in trouble when he abandoned his brand of sumo entirely and tried to wrap up Sadanoumi on the belt. Sadanoumi kept up his forward pressure and forced Ichiyamamoto over the bales. Yorikiri.

Sadanoumi will face Nishikifuji. Ichiyamamoto will face Takarafuji. Takarafuji has owned Ichi so far in their rivalry, taking six of seven. But Ichiyamamoto has been fighting well. Can Ichiyamamoto keep pace and stay in the lead?

Ryuden (5-2) defeated Kotoeko (2-5). Kotoeko came tantalizingly close to a twisting throw of Ryuden, but Ryuden maintained his forward pressure and crushed Kotoeko, forcing him to fall over the bales. Yoritaoshi.

Mitakeumi (3-4) defeated Tohakuryu (2-5). Mitakeumi’s tsuppari was stronger than Tohakuryu’s. Mitakeumi drove forward and forced Tohakuryu back and out. Oshidashi.

Tamawashi (5-2) defeated Myogiryu (3-4). Tamawashi established his brand of sumo with a strong thrust to Myogiryu’s face at the tachiai. Once he got Myogiryu going back, he kept up that pressure and pushed him out. I think I would henka Tamawashi. That would be fun and much more pleasant than his claw on my chin. Oshidashi.

Tamawashi will face Tohakuryu in their first meeting tomorrow.

Hiradoumi (4-3) defeated Atamifuji (5-2). Atamifuji was in retreat mode this entire bout. He tried to counter at the edge but Hiradoumi was able to keep up the pressure and drove Atamifuji out. Gah!, this has been several bouts in a row where Atamifuji is fighting back against someone else’s style of sumo. Some, he’s effective with the counter and wins. But times like this, he loses. I feel he needs to establish his sumo first and blast people away rather than fight from behind. Yorikiri.

Hiradoumi will face a Tsurugisho who has somehow found a way to win a couple of bouts.

Shonannoumi (5-2) defeated Takanosho (3-4). Takanosho was busy trying to get a belt grip, Shonannoumi used a swim move to shrug Takanosho to the side. He then drove him down. Hatakikomi.

Shonannoumi will face Mitakeumi and Takanosho will face Atamifuji.


Hokuseiho (3-4) defeated Midorifuji (5-2). Hokuseiho is known as “tree” for his height. Midorifuji attempted a few kicks and throws while Hokuseiho contemplated the meaning of life and wondered, “what is my brand of sumo, anyway?” With his roots firmly established in Makuuchi, it is a bit late to be trying to figure that out. While Midorifuji kept kicking at the base of the tree the entire stadium seemed to be patiently waiting for Hokuseiho to actually launch an attack…for four full minutes, apparently. Mizu-iri, already? The gyoji paused the bout, marked their feet position with salt, and the two combatants went to get some power water before returning to their marks and re-establishing their grips. Maybe tree sumo is a bit like watching a tree grow. We need a drunk guy in the audience to shout, “つまらないぞ!” Finally, Midorifuji toppled the tree with a shitatenage…but like any lumberjack’s worst nightmare, the tree landed on him. Uwatenage.

Hokuseiho will face Ryuden. Ryuden won’t have the patience for this crap. Hokuseiho better be ready for some action. Midorifuji will face Myogiryu. So far, Myogiryu is winless against Midorifuji.

Endo (1-6) defeated Onosho (2-5). Onosho false start. Reset. Endo got in on the henka-action but Onosho caught him out. Onosho then started punishing Endo for his henka with powerful tsuppari. But Endo shrugged off the blows and pressed inside to get his hands on Onosho’s belt. Once he landed that second belt grip, he pulled Onosho forward to the clay. Tsukiotoshi. I thought it would be shitatenage but they know what they’re doing. I’m just happy Endo’s got one in the win column. I’d started to think he was just a massive Radiohead fan and got “Black Star” stuck in his head. (The good thing about getting that joke out now is that I can never use it again.)

Endo will face Kotoeko.

Nishikigi (5-2) defeated Kinbozan (3-4). As Kinbozan tried to pivot and throw Nishikigi, Nishikigi countered by just continuing to press forward. Kinbozan’s knee buckled and he tumbled to the floor. Yoritaoshi. Nishikigi continues his streak of five wins in a row.

Kinbozan will face Onosho.

Takayasu (4-3) defeated Meisei (1-6). Meisei locked in and tried to spin Takayasu down. Takayasu laid into Meisei with powerful tsuppari, forcing Meisei back. When Meisei got to the bales, Takayasu snapped him forward for a hatakikomi.

Ura (2-5) defeated Kotonowaka (6-1). I knew Kotonowaka was in trouble when Ura wasn’t immediately bouncing around the dohyo doing his best Tobizaru impression. Instead, Ura was patient. Why he chose today, I don’t know. The two locked horns and just when you thought we were settling in for “a lean,” Ura grabbed Kotonowaka’s arm and yanked him down. Tottari. Freaking brilliant. THIS is Ura-zumo. Not that hyper-active, sugar-high stuff from earlier in the week.

Ura will fight Takayasu.

Shodai (3-4) defeated Wakamotoharu (3-4). Shodai is actually trying and it’s awesome. He absorbed Wakamotoharu’s tachiai but from there he seized the initiative wrapped up Wakamotoharu and drove him back. WMH countered with his own charge but Shodai twisted at the edge, throwing Waka out. Both tumbled out at nearly the same time but Shodai clearly won this. but the shimpan are in disbelief so they needed a mono-ii to make sure they weren’t hallucinating. Gunbai-dori. Sukuinage.

Shodai will fight Kotonowaka. If Shodai brings it again, Kotonowaka will have his hands full.

Daieisho (5-2) defeated Hokutofuji (2-5). Daieisho sumo. Powerful tsuppari. Hokutofuji tried to counter with two pull attempts but Daieisho was keyed in today. Hokutofuji hit his head when he fell, hard. Oshitaoshi.

Hoshoryu (6-1) defeated Abi (2-5). Hoshoryu seemed in a different world. Is it just me or was Hoshoryu late to get up on the dohyo. He’s probably thinking, “oh, I can scout out Abi from here. Oh, I’m supposed to fight Abi! Crap!” The thing about Abi-zumo is that Abi pitches forward with his arms extended. Hoshoryu shifted left, pulled on Abi’s right arm and got completely behind him at the edge. From there it was a simple push. Okuridashi.

Abi will face Daieisho. This is always an interesting bout since Daieisho-zumo is basically Abi-zumo, coming from down, up and without so many pulls and henkas. Hoshoryu will face the Spoiler King, Nishikigi.

Kirishima (5-2) defeated Tobizaru (2-5). Tobizaru resisted Kirishima’s initial charge but Kirishima followed up with a twisting throw. Sukuinage.

Kirishima will face Hokutofuji. This is sumo so there are no concussion protocols. Otherwise, Hokutofuji would be on the bench. I think he got his bell rung with that landing. Tobizaru will face Meisei in another interesting bout of complimentary styles.

Gonoyama (3-4) defeated Takakeisho (5-2). Pre-bout, there was an appreciative reaction from the crowd at the number of kensho banners. Just when you think the yobidashi are done, they come out with more! Gonoyama just provided everyone with a blueprint for defeating Takakeisho. Takakeisho’s sumo is like this, Step 1: Powerful “wave action” tsuppari. Step 2: Slapdown. Gonoyama hit T-Rex hard at the tachiai, sending him back a step. Takakeisho got the wave action going, pushed Gonoyama back to his shikirisen and moved on to step 2, the pull and slapdown. But Gonoyama had kept his wits about him and kept Takakeisho centered as he pressed forward and forced the Ozeki out. Fortunately for Takakeisho, our leaders lost, as well.

Gonoyama will face Wakamotoharu in their first meeting. The outcome may hinge on whether Gonoyama blows his kensho partying tonight. As Leonid predicted, Takakeisho will hope to bounce back against Asanoyama, who’s coming off the couch for some crazy reason.

Wrap Up

After we got past the first few snoozer bouts, the action heated up and we got a lot of great sumo. The best of the day, though, was Gonoyama. Somehow, when I saw all of those kensho banners, I got a feeling the extra motivation might trigger an upset. Boy, howdy. Solid sumo from Goeido’s protege. The bummer here is that I think this solid sumo also illustrated all of the reasons that I am not ready for a Takakeisho rope run.

But with our leaders faltering, it’s still clearly a distinct possibility. The fact that Takakeisho now gets first dibs on a questionable Asanoyama, it leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. I just want a Yokozuna to earn their rope when they show their best sumo, consistently. We get glimpses from T-Rex but, like today, he’s not blasting fools like he used to.

Kyushu 2023: Day 2

Yesterday brought the Return of Chikaramizu

Day One had some great action, and some not-so-great action. (Profound. You’re such a wordsmith, Andy. Where do you get this brilliant insight?)

I’m almost relieved to see the matta controversy from yesterday because my mind had started down a different path after I saw Hokutofuji ease off. To be frank, when I was watching the bout live and even when I first saw the replay in the immediate aftermath, I thought it was a fair tachiai. I saw Hokutofuji’s second hand coming down and thought we had a bout. It wasn’t until later, after the matta chatter started, that I could see their point about the matta. And it is a valid point. Hokutofuji’s second hand was coming down but it likely didn’t touch.

In my mind, though, the most valid point is the lesson that Hakuho hopefully learned against Yoshikaze. Even if you think it’s a matta, you need to fight. The fight’s on until you hear the gyoji call it off. Takakeisho was in a four-point stance, ready to go. It was Hokutofuji who’d pinned his hopes, apparently, on drawing T-Rex off. When he was up against an Ozeki, an Ozeki who had clearly already committed to launch, Hokutofuji wanted to do some gamesmanship. He got caught out; so, we move on.

Tonight’s line-up is, again, chock-full of compelling bouts. My big surprise from yesterday was Oho. After Sadanoumi thrashed Kotoeko, I’m keen to see how Oho handles this matchup. I’m also eager to see this Mitakeumi-Atamifuji bout. Initially, I thought it would be a great matchup. Now, I really want to see what condition Mitakeumi is in. I hope Leonid’s correct, that Ryuden just has his number. But yesterday’s bout left me concerned about ongoing injury issues. Today’s bout with Atamifuji will be another big test.


Kitanowaka (2-0) defeated Roga (0-2) Kitanowaka seemed to take the initiative early in this bout, driving the action. He steered Roga around the ring, and with a twisting throw, dropped Roga to the clay. Sukuinage.

Tohakuryu (1-1) defeated Nishikigi (0-2). A quick tachiai and slapdown attempt from Tohakuryu caught Nishikifuji off-guard and put him off-balance. Tohakuryu followed up by getting behind Nishikifuji and he pushed him off the dohyo. Okuridashi.

Nishikifuji will face Roga as both seek out their first win this basho. Nishikifuji has won their only previous meeting.

Ichiyamamoto (2-0) defeated Churanoumi (1-1). Matta from Ichiyamamoto. Churanoumi attempted a pull and slapdown but Ichiyamamoto resisted well and drove forward. This used Churanoumi’s momentum from the pull to blast him out of the ring and onto his butt. Oshitaoshi

Churanoumi will fight the undefeated Kitanowaka on Day 3. Kitanowaka has the edge in their rivalry and he’s looking ready this basho.

Tomokaze (1-1) defeated Takarafuji (0-2): Solid tsuppari and good footwork led Tomokaze to push Takarafuji over the bales. Takarafuji was unable to get inside or get any sort of grip. Oshidashi.

Tomokaze will face Tohakuryu tomorrow.

Tamawashi (2-0) defeated Tsurugisho (1-1). Tsurugisho landed a belt grip, briefly. Tamawashi made him pay for invading his personal space by using strong thrusts to the head to force him back and off-balance. Tamawashi continued his attack until he pushed Tsurugisho from the ring. Oshidashi.

I’m a bit worried about Tsurugisho’s knee; he fell awkwardly today. He will need all of his mobility to take on Ichiyamamoto tomorrow. It’s not looking good since Ichiyamamoto is undefeated in their rivalry, with 8 wins and 0 losses.

Sadanoumi (2-0) defeated Oho (1-1). Sadanoumi’s Oshi attack forced Oho to the edge but Oho twisted, nearly throwing Sadanoumi with a sukuinage. While Sadanoumi resisted being thrown, Oho regained the positional advantage, pushing Sadanoumi to the outside. The Oshi bout shifted to a yotsu contest as the two tussled to throw each other. Sadanoumi again drove Oho to the tawara and this time forced him over the edge. Solid sumo and excellent footwork from Sadanoumi. Great power sumo from a guy who is often under the radar. Yoritaoshi.

Oho will take on Takarafuji tomorrow. Let’s see if he can bounce back from today’s loss.

Kotoeko (1-1) defeated Hiradoumi (0-2). Hiradoumi had the advantage at the tachiai, as he pushed Kotoeko to the tawara. But he couldn’t follow through. From here, Kotoeko braced his feet and wrapped up Hiradoumi, driving him to the other side and then around the tawara before pushing him out over the edge. Oshidashi.

Ice cold Hiradoumi will face a red hot Tamawashi on Day 3. Tamawashi has won 2 of their 3 bouts.

Ryuden (2-0) defeated Myogiryu (0-2). Myogiryu had a strong tachiai but could not force Ryuden out. Ryuden countered well and established his favorite belt grip, then ushered Myogiryu over the edge. Yorikiri.

Ryuden will face Sadanoumi tomorrow and both men have been in fine form. It’s an interesting contrast of styles, here. I know this bout will go by under most peoples’ radar but it could be a quiet highlight.

Atamifuji (2-0) defeated Mitakeumi (0-2). Atamifuji wrapped up Mitakeumi in a big bear hug, both arms over Mitakeumi’s driving him back to the edge. He conceded a double-inside grip to Mitakeumi, who tried to twist and throw at the tawara. But Atamifuji continued to drive forward and Mitakeumi’s knee crumpled a bit awkwardly as he fell. Yorikiri.

Mitakeumi will face Kotoeko. He’s got the size advantage and has won their previous two bouts. But Kotoeko will come into this in better form.

Hokuseiho (2-0) defeated Endo (0-2). An interesting battle from Hokuseiho as he develops his style. Both men quickly landed a one-handed belt grip, Endo with his left, Hokuseiho deep over Endo’s back with his right. Hokuseiho used his left hand to keep Endo’s right hand back. As Endo fought to free his right and seek out Hokuseiho’s maemitsu, Hokuseiho brought his left hand down on Endo and pulled him forward. The call was uwatenage but it looked like it could have been hatakikomi. The win here came from the overwhelming force from Hokuseiho’s left hand driving into the base of Endo’s neck and shoulders.

Winless Endo will face winless Myogiryu. They’ve split their previous contests with ten wins apiece. Endo has looked more competitive in his bouts so far.


Takanosho (1-1) defeated Kinbozan (1-1). Takanosho hit Kinbozan with a strong blow to the face. As Kinbozan pulled, Takanosho pursued and corralled Kinbozan at the edge, pushing him over the tawara. Solid footwork from Takanosho to keep Kinbozan centered. Oshidashi.

Oof. Kinbozan will face Atamifuji. This should be an interesting contrast with Atamifuji having won their only previous bout.

Shonannoumi (2-0) defeated Onosho (1-1). This was all Shonannoumi. He quickly wrapped up Onosho with a right-hand inside. Onosho may have tried a pull but Shonannoumi was locked in. No one is falling for pulls so far this tournament. It’s great! Everyone keeps their opponent focused and with solid footwork, drives them out. Yorikiri.

Shonannoumi will face Hokuseiho in the battle of the tall guys. Who will establish their brand of sumo? So far Hokuseiho has the 2-0 edge in this rivalry.

Midorifuji (1-1) defeated Nishikigi (0-2). Midorifuji had a solid tachiai and drove into Nishikigi pushing him back to the edge. He twisted his body wriggled his hand inside, landing a moro-zashi double-inside belt grip to force Nishikigi over the bales. Yorikiri.

Midorifuji will take on Takanosho. Surprisingly, it will be their first meeting.

Tobizaru (1-1) defeated Hokutofuji (0-2). Hokutofuji drove forward but could not keep Tobizaru centered. As Tobizaru snuck out to the left, he drove his hand down. But Hokutofuji maintained his balance. The problem was that he kept going forward which allowed Tobizaru to get behind and push Hokutofuji out from the back. Okuridashi.

Daieisho (2-0) blasted Gonoyama (0-2) and started to drive Gonoyama back. But Gonoyama shifted to the side as he tried to stay at the center of the ring and both guys fell at the same time. Gunbai had to go to someone, so it went to Daieisho. Mono-ii, but a quick review determined that we needed a rematch. Again, Daieisho with strong tsuppari. But Gonoyama was determined to whether the storm. As Gonoyama came forward, Daieisho slipped to the right. The slight change in direction was enough to drop Gonoyama to the clay. Hikiotoshi.

Gonoyama will try to bounce back against Onosho. They’ve split their previous two bouts.

Kotonowaka (2-0) defeated Takayasu (1-1). Kotonowaka tried a pull but Takayasu maintained his balance and pushed forward. But Takayasu lost Kotonowaka for a second and Kotonowaka was able to come in from the side and push Takayasu out.

Takayasu has drawn Daieisho for tomorrow. Takayasu has won 11 of their 19 fights but Daieisho has claimed the last three straight. Both have had competitive bouts so this will be a firecracker.

Wakamotoharu (1-1) defeated Meisei (0-2). Epic niramiai here (stare downs). Meisei tried hard to take his sumo right at Wakamotoharu. He drove forward hard but could not budge Wakamotoharu. When Wakamotoharu landed his left-hand inside belt grip, he quickly forced Meisei over the bales. Yorikiri.

Wakamotoharu will fly around with Tobizaru tomorrow. They’re very evenly matched with Wakamotoharu having the slight 8 to 7 edge in this rivalry. Anyone’s guess who will take it? Meanwhile, Meisei will face Kotonowaka. They’ve split their previous meetings, with 5 wins apiece.

Takakeisho (2-0) defeated Shodai (0-2). Some days, Shodai is merely a blip. Others, he brings it all and plays an amazing spoiler. Today was one of those rare third days where Shodai came tantalizingly close to winning but it slipped from his grasp. He let Takakeisho drive him to the edge at the tachiai but he used the leverage to force his way back. Then, he took Takakeisho’s style to the man, himself. He forced Takakeisho to back up. Takakeisho ducked to Shodai’s left and Shodai pursued, hitting Takakeisho again. Shodai lined up to bring it to Takakeisho again but Takakeisho slipped to the side again. This time, Shodai lost his balance and fell to the clay. The Ozeki got the win but loses a bit more of my confidence in his ability to win this basho. Hikiotoshi.

Hoshoryu (2-0) defeated Ura (0-2). The two locked horns in a great back-and-forth tussle. This was really a bit of a stalemate as neither had enough power to overwhelm the other. It devolved into a brief brawl with the Ozeki in pursuit of Ura. When Ura got to the edge, he lept to the side hoping Hoshoryu would fly off balance. But Hoshoryu stayed on the dohyo while Ura landed in the crowd. Oshitaoshi.

Hoshoryu will fight Hokutofuji in the musubi-no-ichiban on Day 3. Hoshoryu has the edge in their rivalry and has the better form this basho. Will Hokutofuji get it together and get an upset? Meanwhile, Ura will be paired off with Takakeisho. T-Rex has been dominating Ura with a 13-3 record. Ura needs to right his ship but it will be a challenge.

Kirishima (2-0) defeated Abi (1-1). Abi could not get his tsuppari going. He landed a solid thrust at the initial charge but Kirishima was all over him from there. Rather than let Abi keep the assault going, Kirishima closed, quickly. As Abi retreated, he tried a slapdown but Kirishima was all over him like white on rice. Oshidashi.

Kirishima will face Shodai. Shodai actually has the edge in their head-to-head with 10 wins to Kirishima’s 7. Abi will get a bit of a break as he fights the winless Nishikigi.