Kyushu 2023: Day 8

The big story coming into today is that Asanoyama will make his return to the dohyo, coming back from injury. He will face Takakeisho today and certainly not have an easy go of things for Week 2. His goal is probably to slow his fall down the banzuke as much as he can. If he picks up four or even five wins, that would be an excellent tournament for him. With some banzuke luck, he may not even fall but a few ranks. The worst case would be to come back and go on a massive losing streak, aggravate his injuries, and still tumble to the bottom of Makuuchi.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a lot of other action here. Kotonowaka had a great first week, looking for yusho and Ozeki promotion. But then Ura stepped to the plate. After fighting Shodai tonight, he will face the most difficult stretch of his schedule, the Ozeki. Meanwhile, those Ozeki are all trying to stay in this yusho race. Any slip-ups will make it that much more difficult.

Let’s get to the action.


Kitanowaka (4-4) defeated Aoiyama (5-3). Aoiyama makes his brief return to Makuuchi felt with a brutal nodowa. Kitanowaka drove forward through it and Aoiyama backed up with a slow pull, slapdown attempt. Unfortunately for him, he stepped out before Kitanowaka fell. Gunbai Kitanowaka. No mono-ii. Yorikiri.

Churanoumi (6-2) defeated Tomokaze (5-3). Tomokaze did his best blocking sled impression today, allowing Churanoumi to drive him back to the edge. He put his hand up behind Churanoumi’s head for a slapdown but the attempt was ineffective. Churanoumi just pushed him out. Oshidashi.

Ichiyamamoto (7-1) defeated Takarafuji (2-6). Straight-forward Ichi-zumo. Takarafuji’s defense/counter attack was to press forward on Ichiyamamoto’s arms. He pressed Ichiyamamoto to the edge but Ichiyamamoto was able to use the bales to brace and press forward again. Then he thrust down Takarafuji to the side for the win. Tsukiotoshi.

Oho (4-4) defeated Roga (2-6). Oho pulled and pressed down on Roga’s shoulder. Roga stumbled forward to the edge. He collected himself briefly but Oho followed up and pushed him out. Oshidashi

Oho will face Tomokaze on Day 9.

Tamawashi (6-2) defeated Tohakuryu (2-6). Tamawashi blasted Tohakuryu about the head and face. He was able to advance and press Tohakuryu the tawara but unable to drive him over the bales. This is where Tamawashi unleashed his second attack, step inside and wrap up the closest arm (in this case Tohakuryu’s right). He got his arm under the armpit, locked in an armbar and then yanked backward and down.  Kotenage.

All eyes will be on Tamawashi vs Ichiyamamoto. Ichiyamamoto is setting the yusho pace. But Tamawashi is in a group of nine guys, one loss behind. Tohakuryu will face Takarafuji in a first-time matchup.

Sadanoumi (5-3) defeated Nishikifuji (2-6). Sadanoumi attempted to end Nishikifuji’s day with a sotogake, shortly after locking him up at the tachiai. The trip made Nishikifuji lose balance and stumble backward under the sustained yotsu pressure from Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi kept advancing and forced Nishikifuji out and down. Yoritaoshi.

Nishikifuji will be happy to face the Juryo visitor tomorrow, Kotoshoho.

Hiradoumi (5-3) defeated Tsurugisho (3-5). Hiradoumi with a matta. Reset. Bad knee or not, Tsurugisho can still put a lot of force into his tachiai. The evidence is the way Hiradoumi’s head snapped back. Tsurugisho seized upon the advantage and drove forward. When Hiradoumi resisted, he twisted left and right to try to throw him down. But Hiradoumi remained upright. As he drove back into Tsurugisho, eventually he got enough pressure going to force Tsurugisho back and out. Yorikiri.

Hiradoumi will face Roga in their first meeting; Tsurugisho will face Kitanowaka.

Endo (2-6) defeated Kotoeko (2-6). Endo rotated left and twisted Kotoeko to the floor. After such a terrible start, Endo has now caught up with the likes of Takarafuji, Roga, and Nishikifuji with two wins. Uwatehineri.

Endo will take on Churanoumi in another first-time bout.

Ryuden (6-2) defeated Hokuseiho (3-5). Does Hokuseiho know what ottsuke is? He never made any attempt to prevent Ryuden from latching onto his belt or grabbing anywhere. This allowed Ryuden to try all sorts of holds, with and without the belt grip. The successful strategy was for Ryuden to grasp Hokuseiho at the armpits and force Hokuseiho to stand tall, then use his right to whip him forward to the clay. Shitatedashinage.

Hokuseiho will face Kotoeko. This will be a fun one. I do not think Kotoeko will allow for a 4-minute “lean.”

Mitakeumi (4-4) defeated Shonannoumi (5-3). Mitakeumi drove forward and forced Shonannoumi out. Shonannoumi tried to execute his swim move and force Mitakeumi to the side by pressing on his left arm but Mitakeumi kept Shonannoumi centered. Yorikiri.

Atamifuji (6-2) defeated Takanosho (3-5). Atamifuji wrapped up Takanosho’s right arm in an armbar and rolled right, bringing Takanosho down at the edge. Kotenage.

Takanosho will face Ryuden on Day 9.


Kinbozan (4-4) defeated Onosho (2-6). Kinbozan pressed forward to absorb Onosho’s advance, and then pulled and twisted left. Onosho ended up in a heap. Tsukiotoshi.

Kinbozan will have his hands full with Sadanoumi and Onosho will face Atamifuji for the first time.

Midorifuji (6-2) defeated Myogiryu (3-5). Midorifuji wrapped up Myogiryu by holding on, high at the armpits. This is the source of his usual katasukashi. As he pulled on that left shoulder, he rotated, and threw Myogiryu to the ground. This turned his katasukashi into a sukuinage.

Midorifuji will take on Mitakeumi; Myogiryu will face Shonannoumi.

Tobizaru (3-5) defeated Meisei (1-7). Tobizaru pulled on Meisei’s right arm, and thrust him forward and down. Tsukiotoshi.

Takayasu (5-3) defeated Ura (2-6). While Ura drove forward, Takayasu thrust his head up and back. As the pair neared the tawara, Takayasu pulled Ura’s head forward and forced him to the ground before tumbling off the dohyo himself. Gunbai Takayasu, no mono-ii. Hatakikomi. Ura wanted a review but it was a good call. Replay made it clear.

Takayasu will fight Tobizaru tomorrow.

Abi (3-5) defeated Daieisho (5-3). Daieisho slammed forward into Abi. Abi twisted at the bales and let Daieisho fall into the crowd. Gunbai Abi. Hikiotoshi.

Abi will face Ura.

Shodai (4-4) defeated Kotonowaka (6-2). Shodai on the attack is a sight to behold. He braved Kotonowaka’s nodowa. Simple misdirection was not going to draw Kotonowaka out so he advanced into Kotonowaka and grasped his right arm. He then slung Kotonowaka back to the bales and drove Kotonowaka out. Yorikiri.

Gonoyama (4-4) defeated Wakamotoharu (3-5). Gonoyama was all offense today. His nodowa pressed Wakamotoharu back to the edge. Gonoyama followed up with a simple push out. Oshidashi. Wakamotoharu had nothing today and picked up his fifth loss, with the meat of his schedule remaining. His three wins are against Meisei, Ura, and Tobizaru. There aren’t any small guys left. He will not remain at the rank of Sekiwake for long.

Gonoyama will face Meisei. Wakamotoharu will fight Daieisho.

Asanoyama (1-0-7) defeated Takakeisho (5-3). Asanoyama absorbed Takakeisho’s attack. As Takakeisho blasted away, Asanoyama came back, looking for that left-hand grip. Takakeisho fell first. Gunbai Asanoyama. Mono-ii confirmed the call on the field. Shitatenage. They may have been checking for a hairpull, too?

Nishikigi (6-2) defeated Hoshoryu (6-2). Nishikigi allowed Hoshoryu to slam into him and drive him back to the edge. That’s where he launched his counter attack and shifted right and pressed down on the Ozeki. Hoshoryu took a knee. Kotenage.

Nishikigi will fight Takakeisho. Hoshoryu will take on Kotonowaka in the musubi-no-ichiban.

Kirishima (6-2) defeated Hokutofuji (2-6). Yotsu-zumo from Hokutofuji? Interesting. He did well. He wrapped up the Ozeki and drove forward. His mistake was losing his grip of Kirishima while putting the full force of his body into his throw attempt. The follow through allowed Kirishima to get behind him and run him out the other side of the ring.

Kirishima will face Asanoyama and Hokutofuji will face Shodai.

Wrap Up

It is tempting to say that Takakeisho’s rope run ended here but Hoshoryu and Kotonowaka also lost. The bar for this yusho probably went down a peg. Takakeisho is still very much in this and we will probably have another 12-3 yusho or maybe even another 11-win yusho. To prevent that, someone is going to need to win out and I don’t have a name who I think can, or will, do that. Do you?

Ichiyamamoto is alone in front with one loss. But he has been fighting minnows at the bottom of Makuuchi and will have a very tough time against Tamawashi tomorrow. If he remains in front after facing the 39-year-old former champion, the Kyokai could start to move him up to face stiffer competition.

But the fact of the matter is, it is still early and the Kyokai also have the fore-mentioned Tamawashi, as well as Ryuden, Midorifuji, and Atamifuji in this yusho race with two losses. My guess would be the five of the low rankers would start getting matched up. If one of them is 9-2 or 10-2 next week, a quick visit into sanyaku will result in either easy chum for the sharks, or another hiramaku title.

Lots of bouts to look forward to tomorrow as the sanyaku begin to cannibalize themselves. Kotonowaka vs Hoshoryu will drop someone from the yusho race. Asanoyama looked fresh and focused today. He’ll need that focus against a beatable Kirishima.

Given all of this, you get to pick one wrestler as a favorite to win all of their remaining seven matches. Who would you pick? Other than Asanoyama, of course. That would just be hilarious. He comes in on nakabi and still gets kachi-koshi? Forget men on white horses, an Asanoyama kachi-koshi would be a sign of the Apocalypse.

Tachiai Returns to Fukuoka: Live Basho Report

Hi sumo fans, it’s been a minute, but I’m happy to return with an on-the-ground report from the latest basho. If you’re new here, I’ve done quite a few of these over the years (click my name or the tags or something), but not so many recently, because some stuff happened in the world. But now we’re doing them again! Let us rejoice.

This was my first basho since March in Osaka, except for an intai-zumo event in-between, which doesn’t really count. One thing you don’t appreciate from watching this basho in particular on TV is that the Kokusai Center feels so much smaller than even Osaka or Nagoya, nevermind Kokugikan. So, in that sense, the Kyushu basho is the most intimate basho with the best views of the dohyo, although there are other tradeoffs. If you’re a viewing purist who wants the best possible viewing angles to watch sumo, then this is your venue.

As I had to rush in and out of Fukuoka owing to work commitments, I allowed myself the small luxury of a two person box to myself. I’ve been in 4 person boxes in Tokyo which weren’t much bigger. It was nice to relax and stretch out, which isn’t something you normally associate with the sumo experience. One downside of course is constantly having to put your shoes on and off whenever you leave the box, so slip-on shoes are advised.

The sellout banners were down, but how that’s possible I will never know. If you can dream it you can do it for sure, but niceties aren’t quite enough to make me believe that a half-empty arena is actually sold out. There was a huge proportion of empty seats, although judging by how many foreigners – and potentially Tachiai readers? – were in attendance, I’m assuming were responsible for a good percentage of those who were there. I was specifically shocked by how many foreigners were in attendance before noon (and how many that left during the 5pm news break). Anyway, Fukuoka probably has the best selection of seats of any basho: they have a small selection of arena chairs that provide good value for money. This is augmented by the Kokusai Center’s unique “Pairs Seat” which is a box-like seat, but at a bench and with a fixed table.

The macaron shall be golden!

If you’re someone who values other parts of the sumo fan experience that don’t involve what’s happening on the dohyo, you’ll want to also know that in Fukuoka, merch and food sales are also scaled way down. There aren’t a lot of snacks, for example, so if you are going later in the tournament I would suggest to bring your own. There are a handful of bento options, and they will sell out.

However, Fukuoka’s signature food trucks (aka, literally in Japanese, “kitchen car”) were back at the basho and dishing out various meals. I’m not sure whether you’ll be able to bring those food truck meals inside, almost certainly not the chanko. The food trucks are unquestionably the most unique part of the whole Fukuoka operation, as it means there’s a greater diversity of food in Fukuoka than at any other basho (apart from possibly Kokugikan), although there seemed to be a couple fewer trucks than there used to be before the pandemic. For those keeping score, the chanko on offer went for 700 yen (more than I’ve paid at any other basho), and was of the shio variety.

The Kyokai has made a couple crucial additions to the Kyushu basho experience though: there is a tented area where they host a “talk show” at 1pm (the guests on the day of my visit were former Tenkaiho and former Toyohibiki), as well as carnival games. I’d be curious to see whether these reappear at other tournaments.

If you thought the shooting gallery and ring toss type events would be tailor made for a carnival barker like former Asahisho, then you would be right, as he was running these stalls. I was encouraged by a couple excitable punters/super-fans to give it a go. The shooting gallery consists of a number of curry and chanko gift boxes you have to knock over from about 6 feet with a plastic dart gun. 500 yen gets you five shots, and it’s a good way for the kyokai to offload old merch. Each target hit gives you more prizes, ranging from old programs to toilet paper rolls and tote bags. I knocked down 3 of 5 targets for the bog roll but the real prize was a photo with Kiriyama-san himself.

Atmosphere wise, I would call Kyushu the relaxed basho. The dohyo-iri was good fun, Fukuoka isn’t a particularly raucous crowd but it was good to see beleaguered rikishi like Shodai and Kotoeko get a clap. Not that I’d ever be the guy not to clap a rikishi but the upper division really does have a lot of names worth cheering for these days. Ura’s cherry-blossom-pink-fringed kesho-mawashi (the other rank and filers have mostly white or gold) is really something. It does stink to go to a basho that doesn’t have a Yokozuna dohyo-iri though, you just really miss something special of the sumo experience.

I was a little let down by the torikumi on the day, as there wasn’t a lot of stuff in the undercard that I felt was “must watch.” I think this is a byproduct of many of the recent top prospects reaching the cusp of, if not the top division.

As for the Juryo guys, Shishi looks to have stepped up a bit. I didn’t get the feeling he has the most street smarts in the ring, so I had circled his bout against the wily Chiyoshoma as one to watch, but it ended up being fairly straightforward for the Ukrainian. Onosato, meanwhile, needed a torinaoshi to get past Daishoho. Undoubtedly Onosato will develop but I think that the anticipated monster prospect of mass destruction has not totally materialised. He may go on and zensho and get promoted and make me look foolish, but I think he may have a more gradual ascent even to the top division.

What else? Akua, as usual, provided the most drama televised or otherwise, winning, knocking out a shimpan, causing an opponent to require the big wheelchair and of course his recently developed ritual big salt throw, which I would say is not quite as impressive as Terutsuyoshi’s. Hopefully Hitoshi is ok. His injury made me recall that I’ve been at quite a few matches where a rikishi has been seriously injured (Ura, Takayasu, Hokutofuji, etc.) or pushed into retirement (Kisenosato), so I must be the bringer of doom.

The top division needed something to hold the almost half empty arena to life and fortunately Tamawashi provided it with a thunderous eviction of Tsurugisho, care of a vicious nodowa. A couple bouts later, the place took the volume up higher as local favourite Sadanoumi took out Oho in a see-saw battle, before Kotoeko despatched Hiradoumi (and nearly the gyoji) in a spirited Kyushu derby.

I hope Mitakeumi is ok, his knees completely gave out on the edge of the dohyo in losing to Atamifuji and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go kyujo later. That match felt very much like a changing of the guard, it’s very rare to see anyone have a crowd that’s louder than Mitakeumi’s audience but Atamifuji’s burgeoning stardom meant the crowd – including the ladies waving a newly-bought cheer towel in the next box – was very much behind the younger man. Mitakeumi will be 31 next month and just doesn’t appear to have the strength that he used to have.

Endo, meanwhile, still has a very comfortable number of brand partners getting behind his matches, no shortage of kensho, and the crowd was completely behind him against Hokuseiho who – for some reason – doesn’t seem to be able to capture the fans’ imaginations. That may be due to his sumo style (which admittedly is not always enthralling) or other non-sumo matters.

Hokutofuji vs Tobizaru with Konosuke on the call was the kind of fantasy match you’d draw up, although we didn’t get quite the duration of antics I might have hoped for. From there, pretty much all of the top matchups were absolute bangers. I actually found it hard to pick a rikishi to cheer, because in many cases I liked them both.

By the way, Gonoyama is for real! He went all the way, twice, with Daieisho. It looked in the arena without the benefit of TV that he lost twice, but he ran Daieisho really close. To me he looks like a sanyaku regular, and probably will be by this time next year.

I love the bits you’ll never see on TV, like the old man doing shiko at the top of the arena along with his hero as as a local favourite enters the ring. Or how the young lady taking photos calmly for six hours becomes overwhelmed with emotion when her favourite rikishi Shodai inevitably hits the deck. Or the flower arrangement accompanying the poem that has been placed as an art installation (seen above) near the front of the venue.

All of these things go into the culture of sumo, and while you don’t get any slow motion replays, you do get a lot more. Those are the moments that make me come so far and come back again and again and again once again. See you all next time.

Kyushu Day 5 Highlights

Daishomaru defeated Terutsuyoshi. This was a quick one. After a decent tachiai, Terutsuyoshi circled the larger Daishomaru and seemed to lose his ring presence as his left foot landed on the tawara. From there a modest shove from Daishomaru was all that was needed for the win. Oshidashi.

Kagayaki fusen win over Wakatakakage.

Takanosho defeated Daishoho. After the tachiai, Takanosho got in low under Daishoho’s attack, brushed his arm away while securing a morozashi, and drove forward…almost through the gyoji. Yorikiri.

Chiyotairyu defeated Nishikigi. This bout was all Chiyotairyu tsuppari. Nishikigi tried an early shoulder blast to no effect. Chiyotairyu responded with some wave action tsuppari and thrust Nishikigi off the dohyo. Tsukidashi.

Chiyomaru defeated Ishiura. Ishiura’s hit and shift on the tachiai was well snuffed out by the Chiyomaru. Chiyomaru did not over-commit to moving forward so when Ishiura moved to Chiyomaru’s right, Maru drove the Miyagino beya man over the bales, giving no room for Ishiura to get a belt grip or mount an offense. Oshidashi.

Kotoshogiku defeated Shodai. Shodai allowed Kotoshogiku to play his game from the outset. Giku was able to get inside and wrap up the tournament leader and drive forward through Shodai. Yorikiri. Giku didn’t even launch much of his jack-rabbit gabburi attack. With the loss utter capitulation, Shodai ended West’s streak of victories and fell off the top of the leaderboard and into the mix at 4-1 while Kotoshogiku picked up his first win.

Sadanoumi defeated Shimanoumi. Shimanoumi had a stronger tachiai, driving Sadanoumi back. However, Sadanoumi secures a solid left hand belt grip. While Shimanoumi launched his attack, Sadanoumi powered through with that belt grip and picked up his third win. Yorikiri.

Yutakayama defeated Shohozan. Shohozan tried to move around Yutakayama to get a right-hand grip of green mawashi. The mountain successfully defended, however, and firmly locked onto Shohozan’s right arm, spun him around and then thrust him out of the ring. Tsukidashi. Yutakayama joined Shodai with a share of the lead at 4-1.

Kotoeko defeated Tsurugisho. Kotoeko rose up straight to greet Tsurugisho’s tachiai, and received a hail of tsuppari as punishment for such a weak start. Kotoeko circled under the barrage and Tsurugisho surprisingly couldn’t keep up. He took a knee in the middle of the dohyo under what I thought was a rather light, instinctive deflection from the lavender mawashi. Hatakikomi.

Enho defeated Aoiyama. Enho shifted to his right at the tachiai, hiding on the dark side of Aoiyama. All I could see for a while was a load of Aoiyama haymakers raining down on something on the other side. Thankfully, Enho rotated slightly in time to see that one of Aoiyama’s thrusts nearly shoved Enho down but he recovered and with a subtle shift and pull of his own was able to pull Aoiyama off balance and onto all fours. Hikiotoshi. Enho now holds a share of the lead at 4-1 while Aoiyama picked up his second loss.

Onosho defeated Kotoyuki. Kotoyuki unleashed a torrent of blows to Onosho’s face, forcing his head up and back. He then pulled for a hatakikomi attempt but Onosho was all over it. He knew what was coming, locked on target with a tractor beam and helped Kotoyuki’s own momentum carry him off the playing surface. Oshidashi.

Tamawashi defeated Ryuden. I want to know what aroma therapy Ryuden has in that bright red towel. Hopefully he can change it to something more effective against oshi-zumo, though. Ryuden tried, rather meekly, to get a left-hand grip but Tamawashi’s battering kept him away. Ryuden attempted to launch his own oshi-attack but Tamawashi piled on the pressure, and shoved Ryuden over the bales and into the crowd. Overwhelmed. Oshidashi.

Asanoyama defeated Hokutofuji. Asanoyama quickly wrapped up Hokutofuji at the tachiai. Hokutofuji seemed to want to have a leaning contest but his positioning after the tachiai was nowhere near the middle of the ring. His right foot was nearly on the tawara. If he wanted to have some long, drawn out belt battle, he’d need to work himself back to the center of the ring. From this position, however, Asanoyama was not going to ease off his attack. So while Hokutofuji leaned, Asanoyama applied more pressure, and forced him out. Yorikiri.

Abi defeated Endo. This was Abi’s match from the outset but his over exuberance nearly cost him. He wasn’t down for any of Endo’s head games and stare down, forcing the pair to reset. At the tachiai, he started battering Endo, whose half-hearted attempt to grab the mawashi was met with a hail of slaps. As Endo backed out, Abi stepped forward and nearly over the bales himself.

Daieisho fusen win over Tochinoshin. With Tochinoshin’s ozeki rank lost, there’s already talk of retirement but that’s premature. If he can take this break to recover, there’s no reason for retirement. Yes, he’s lost his ozeki rank but he likely has quite a while he could be effective as sekitori.

Okinoumi defeated Mitakeumi. Okinoumi pressured Mitakeumi after the tachiai with a vicious thrust to the face. Mitakeumi was forced back but worked his right arm around Okinoumi’s neck and into a headlock. He used the headlock to twist and try to throw Okinoumi but Okinoumi’s balance was superior. With the headlock attack, this kept Mitakeumi’s body positioned high. From Okinoumi’s lower center of gravity he was able to then effectively carry Mitakeumi across the ring and out, over the threshold. Yorikiri. Both men are 2-3.

Meisei defeated Takayasu. Meisei weathered everything Takayasu threw at him. Time and time again, Takayasu’s tsuppari would force Meisei to the edge but the Ozeki could never finish him off. Meisei would slip inside and back to the center of the ring, forcing the Ozeki to launch a new attack. Takayasu even tried a shoulder blast but that ended awkwardly with Takayasu’s back to Meisei. Takayasu then started a new attack and this time Meisei grabbed his left arm, putting his shoulder into a weird position and changing his direction, suddenly. This forced Takayasu to lose his balance, landing in a heap on the tawara. Kainahineri. Meisei joins the leadership pack at 4-1 while Takayasu falls to a disappointing 2-3.

Takarafuji defeated Takakeisho. Takakeisho was about to start some wave action but Slippin’ Jimmy slipped to the side and the T-Rex toppled over. Tsukiotoshi.

Hakuho defeated Myogiryu. Hakuho greeted Myogiryu with a quick shoulder blast and as he tried to tuck his left hand under for a belt grip, Myogiryu slapped his hand and backed away, retreating to the bales. As Hakuho pursued, Myogiryu lost his balance. Tsukiotoshi. Hakuho is back where he belongs, atop the group of leaders at 4-1.

Our thoughts go out to all those in Hong Kong and Chile. Stay safe.

Kyushu Day 4 Highlights

Wakatakakage defeats Terutsuyoshi. It was a quick oshi-battle with Wakatakakage proving strongest, slapping Terutsuyoshi to the edge and ushering him back, off the dohyo, yorikiri. It was a costly win as Wakatakakage was visibly in pain after the win. He had seemed to twist his right ankle. Wakatakakage is undefeated but now uncertain for tomorrow. Terutsuyoshi is 2-2. The next five bouts are a snooze fest, so I’m not bothered if you skip down to Shohozan/Kotoshogiku.

Daishoho defeats Nishikigi. The two locked in immediately on one another’s belt with a strong tachiai. Daishomaru was stronger with his left-hand grip and was able to work Nishikigi out for the yorikiri win, his first of the tournament. Nishikigi fell to 2-2 while Daishoho got his first win of the tournament.

Daishomaru defeats Chiyomaru. Daishomaru executed a subtle sidestep on the tachiai, catching Chiyomaru off-guard. Daishomaru used the considerable combined momentum to keep the pair moving forward until the bright chartreuse mawashi of Chiyomaru was out for the oshidashi win.

Ishiura defeats Takanosho. Ishiura’s quick slap to Takanosho’s face on the tachiai seemed to disorient Takanosho. Ishiura engaged low and effectively leveraged Takanosho out. Yorikiri.

Chiyotairyu defeats Kagayaki. Chiyotairyu got the best of the tachiai, duplicating Ishiura’s tactic of the slap at the tachiai. It seemed to catch Kagayaki half-asleep because Chiyotairyu was just much more active and forceful, guiding the golden Kagayaki out over the bales, stage left. Yorikiri.

Shodai defeats Shimanoumi. Shodai remains undefeated at 4-0. He was the bigger man and played his game. He absorbed Shimanoumi’s tachiai and used his size advantage and solid yotsu grip to push Shimanoumi out. Yorikiri.

Shohozan defeats Kotoshogiku. Shohozan’s half henka disrupted Kotoshogiku’s usual bumpety, bumpety game plan. Kotoshogiku recovered and locked in for a lean-fest. After a few seconds of leaning, Shohozan struck Kotoshogiku with a swift kick with the right foot and then twisted around and threw Kotoshogiku with a beautiful uwatenage in the first actual makuuchi match of the day.

Sadanoumi defeats Yutakayama. After the excitement of the Shohozan/Kotoshogiku battle, Sadanoumi put me back to sleep with a quick, easy win over Yutakayama. Sadanoumi got the better of the tachiai and walked Yutakayama out. What else? Yorikiri.

Tsurugisho defeats Onosho. In the second makuuchi bout of the day, Onosho started in with some tsuppari but Tsurugisho wasn’t having any of it, reached out for Onosho’s head, and shoved him to the clay. Hatakikomi.

Enho defeats Kotoeko. Kotoeko did not want to let Enho submarine him and get a belt grip, forcing the two into an oshi tsuppari battle. This worked to Enho’s advantage as he was much more aggressive and Kotoeko was just trying to react and deflect. When Enho charged, Kotoeko pulled but Enho maintained his balance, kept the lavender mawashi firmly in front. One final shove from the bales sent Kotoeko into the first row of spectators.

Aoiyama defeats Tamawashi. This was a textbook Aoiyama bout. The tachiai was solid with neither man really gaining an advantage. Aoiyama pushed Tamawahi’s head up and then used his reach to grab Tamawashi’s head and pull him down as he pulled back to the tawara. Hatakikomi.

Kotoyuki defeats Ryuden. This was a textbook Kokoyuki bout. He overpowered Ryuden with fierce tsuppari. Ryuden could not figure out a counter attack and the Penguin cast him from the playing surface, into the crowd. Next time, have a game plan, Ryuden. It’s not like Kotoyuki is a puzzle. Everyone knows what tricks he’s got.

Meisei defeats Abi. Meisei shifted right at the tachiai and I thought this was his undoing because Abi read it well and the tactic brought Meisei close to the tawara. But he stayed low and almost coiled. That seemed to give him enough purchase and leverage to work against Abi who was far too high. Meisei struck out from that coil, again and again at Abi’s high stance, forcing the komusubi off the dohyo.

Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu Solid tachiai and Myogiryu immediately went on the attack but he couldn’t generate any effective momentum against the man mountain. Asanoyama practiced patience and fundamentals while Myogiryu feverishly bounced around like Roger Rabbit. Asanoyama stayed composed with his arms wrapped around Myogiryu

Daieisho defeats Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi laid into Daieisho from the tachiai with some forceful tsuppari. But Daieisho weathered the outer bands of the hurricane and countered by stepping forward into the eye of the storm where the battering stopped and he was able to lock in with both hands on Mitakeumi’s mawashi, turning the tables and forcing him out. The first entertaining yorikiri bout of the day.

Tochinoshin defeats Takarafuji. Both guys are belt guys, so after a solid tachiai, the two settled into a grapple at the center of the dohyo. With the sky crane out of service, the Georgian needs a bigger bag of tricks and he sure found an effective one. He reached up behind Takarafuji’s neck (yes, he has one) and executed a great twisting neck throw. Kubihineri. I’m impressed.

Takakeisho defeats Endo. This matchup is a total contrast of styles; Endo’s a solid belt guy while T-Rex can’t reach belts. On the tachiai, Endo tried to reach in to get a belt grip but Takakeisho forced him away in, I think, the best sign that he does still have power in those thrusts. With the bout being fought on Takakeisho’s terms, Endo was at a disadvantage. As he tried again to lean in and get a belt hold, Takakeisho slapped him down for the hatakikomi win.

Hokutofuji defeats Takayasu. All the drama and pre-match staring lasted longer than the fight! Hokutofuji shifted left after a firm tachiai. The shift was perfectly timed as Takayasu had just started to charge forward again. Finding nothing there he grasped out wildly to try to get a hold of something to arrest his momentum. Hokutofuji used that momentum to thrust the ozeki into the crowd. Oshidashi.

Hakuho defeats Okinoumi. This was like an old Hakuho/Harumafuji matchup: a great belt battle. Okinoumi did more than just try to hang on. Twice he tried to initiate an attack, trying to lift the Yokozuna. Hakuho countered by guiding the action to the edge and then pivoting the pair over the edge, with the Boss landing on top of an exhausted Okinoumi.

So, the yusho race is led by Shodai with Wakatakakage limping into tomorrow. What is this world coming to? Let’s face it, there’s not a yusho race, yet. See where we stand at Day 10 and how many wrestlers have their kachi-koshi in the bag then. There will be no zensho and 12 may be enough to take the Cup. The race is open and Kotoshogiku’s just about the only one out of it.