Tokyo July Basho Nakabi Highlights

The first week of the tournament over and we have quite the entertaining show on our hands. Unfortunately, before today’s action we received word that promising Kotonowaka has withdrawn due to a knee injury. Herouth sussed out the reason and it sure sounds painful. The young man had soreness after his bout with Kaisei yesterday and couldn’t bend his knee this morning. As a result he has pulled out.

Highlight Matches

Terunofuji (7-1) defeated Nishikigi (2-6): Terunofuji succeeded in grabbing Nishikigi’s belt with his left hand just out of the tachiai. His right arm was just under Nishikigi’s left arm pit, forcing Nishikigi’s left arm into an awkward and useless raised position. Even in this awkward position, Nishikigi was able to resist Terunofuji’s first drive to the edge. However, he was unable to improve his position so the second drive to the edge proved decisive. Yorikiri.

Kotoeko (6-2) defeated Takayasu (4-4): As Bruce predicted, Kotoeko focused on Takayasu’s left arm and immobilized it. He continued to drive confidently into Takayasu, fishing for the belt. For a few seconds, Takayasu was able to get Kotoeko off and force an oshi battle but Kotoeko dove time and time again for the belt. Takayasu grimaced after a kotenage attempt on the arm and shortly afterward Kotoeko edecuted a throw. Uwatenage.

Sadanoumi (4-4) defeated Kotoshoho (6-2): After a strong tachiai, Sadanoumi locked up Kotoshoho’s belt with his left hand. Keeping action in the center of the ring, Sadanoumi lulled Kotoshoho to sleep and then executed a wonderful left-handed throw. Uwatenage.

Wakatakakage (4-4) defeated Shohozan (2-6): Shohozan’s intimidation stare down was ineffective. At the tachiai, Wakatakakage drove for the shoulder. The slight shift forced Shohozan into an awkward sideways position and his own thrusts missed. Wakatakakage pushed forward with Shohozan’s left arm up, forcing Shohozan to slide over sideways and out. Oshidashi. *I miss Tochiozan.

Tochinoshin (5-3) defeated Kotonowaka (4-4): Kotonowaka’s sudden kyujo handed Tochinoshin the walk-over win. The reason for the kyujo is listed as an injury, not dinner. It appears his left knee was injured after yesterday’s bout. Fusen.

Kotoyuki (2-6) defeated Kaisei (3-5): Kotoyuki was the aggressor on this bout, forcing an oshi battle. The strong tachiai led to a quick pull attempt, forcing Kaisei off-balance. Kaisei just barely stayed up but Kotoyuki kept up the offensive, forcing Kaisei around the ring. Tsukidashi.

Chiyomaru (2-6) defeated Myogiryu (6-2): Chiyomaru found his sumo and charged out on the offensive. A strong tachai drove Myogiryu back and then a quick pull unsettled Myogiryu. He got a rare vocal response from the crowd with his well-timed decisive shove. Shoving with his left hand into Myogiryu’s right shoulder, Myogiryu landing on the bales. The impressed “Oooo” reminded me of the crowds of old…followed by the applause brought me back to reality. Tsukiotoshi.

Ishiura (3-5) defeated Shimanoumi (2-6): Ishiura gets more “Oooo” reactions from the crowd with a well-timed left foot trip. His left-handed belt grip rotated Shimanoumi into a spin, once he completed a full rotation, he slipped that left foot behind Shimanoumi’s right leg and then rotated backwards. Having successfully fumigated the dohyo, Ishiura seemed to regain his confidence. Susoharai.

Kotoshogiku (6-2) defeated Chiyotairyu (3-5): A quick belt grab and drive, Kotoshogiku bulldozed Chiyotairyu over the edge with little resistance. Perhaps it was the angle that left Chiyotairyu unable to counter? Yorikiri.

Halftime? (I Lost Track)

Terutsuyoshi (4-4) defeated Ikioi (2-6): “ちくしょう.” A slight deflection from Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai but Ikioi was ready. After a short oshi battle, Ikioi reached around Terutsuyoshi to attack from the back but Terutsuyoshi countered with the same attack to Ikioi’s back was able to push Ikioi out awkwardly. Yorikiri.

Tamawashi (6-2) defeated Tokushoryu (4-4): A bout of champions. Tamawashi’s right-hand in Tokushoryu’s face forced Tokushoryu high. He then followed with a well-timed pull, Tokushoryu in a heap at the center of the ring. Hatakikomi.

Takarafuji (3-5) defeated Ryuden (3-5): Ryuden pitched too far forward trying to get that left-hand in. Takarafuji twisted and shoved into Ryuden’s right side.  Tsukiotoshi.

Kiribayama (3-5) defeated Enho (4-4): Enho missed with his slap at the tachiai but connected with the belt. Kiribayama’s right hand grip from above and Enho’s left-hand grip from below. Twice Enho pulled and almost got Kiribayama off balance but each time Kiribayama recovered. When it was Kiribayama’s turn to go on the offensive, he did not disappoint, pulling Enho across the ring and into the dirt. Uwatenage.

Takanosho (5-3) defeated Yutakayama (0-8): Onosho kept up solid pressure on Yutakayama after a brief oshi-battle. Yutakayama extended a bit awkwardly with his right and Onosho’s sustained effort forced the mountain out over the bales and to an early make-koshi record. Yorikiri.

Sanyaku

Daieisho (5-3) defeated Onosho (0-8): After the tachiai both rikishi attempted to decapitate each other with matching facial shoves. Onosho tired of the nodowas, turned his head, perhaps searching for the exit. One final shove from Daieisho and Onosho capitulated, joining Yutakayama as make-koshi. Okuridashi.

Okinoumi (4-4) defeated Endo (2-6): Okinoumi’s solid tachiai worked Endo back a step. His height meant his extended body was too long for Endo to secure that right-handed belt grab. As Endo kept reaching, Okinoumi drove forward, forcing an impotent Endo over the edge and into the crowd empty purple mats. Endo left running away from the dohyo, as seems quite common. Yorikiri.

Shodai (7-1) defeated Mitakeumi (7-1): No wild, cartoon nonsense from Shodai today. Solid tachiai. Perhaps the shoulder blast stunned Mitakeumi? Mitakeumi forced Shodai high but couldn’t follow with a real attack and seemed lost. So, he lost. Shodai’s left arm under aite’s right armpit gave him leverage to bring high-flying Mitakeumi back to Earth. Tsukiotoshi.

It’s a two-horse race for now. How will Asanoyama and Hakuho respond?

Hokutofuji (5-3) defeated Takakeisho (5-3): Takakeisho’s scowl vs Hokutofuji’s stomp. Stomp wins quickly with a sudden sidestep. Solid tachiai but Hokutofuji shifted left and brought his right arm down on Takakeisho’s head. Takakeisho could not find a way to pull. Rather, it was Hokutofuji. Hatakikomi.

Asanoyama (8-0) defeated Aoiyama (3-5): Asanoyama did not let Aoiyama’s thrusts dissuade him from latching on to Aoiyama’s belt. Once Asanoyama grabbed that belt, Aoiyama knew it was over and the V-twin went into reverse, stepping out. Yorikiri.

Hakuho (8-0) vs Kagayaki (3-5): Hakuho derives his power from that copper-infused mawashi. A strong tachiai from Kagayaki but the blow to the face really angered the master. Hakuho decided he did not need to mess with a belt grab and instead grabs Kagayaki’s head and shoved it to the clay. Bruce was prescient. Wakanohana wonders, “who can stop Hakuho?” Aoiyama?

Tokyo July Basho Day 6 Highlights

One third of the way through the tournament is really far too early to start comparing this tournament to the performance of the simulation tournament. We’ll do that much later on as we see what it got right versus where there’s need for improvement. What matters to me at this point is that this tournament is contrasted from that one by featuring such strong starts from our leadership.

In the mock basho all sanyaku stumbled out of the gates early to chase a rank-and-filer, in sole ownership of the lead after Day 5. We start Day 6 of this tournament with three sanyaku undefeated. The joi-jin took a bath in the simulation and they’re getting pummeled in real life. But crucially, they’re not picking off as many big wins so early on. They’re definitely getting a few but the meat grinder is in fine form.

For me, this old-school, dominant Hakuho paired with the youth and promise of Asanoyama at the top of the table is a whole mood (as the kids are fond of saying lately). Confidence, patience, strength, authority…it just feeds my optimism for where we are now versus where we were at this point in May. And as we see on Day 6, my optimism has reason to grow by the end of the day.

Highlight Matches

Azumaryu defeated Nishikigi (2-4): Nishikigi wrapped up Azumaryu and started him moving backwards with both arms outside Azumaryu’s arms. However, he wore himself out trying to lift the Juryo visitor, Terunofuji-style, over the bales. Azumaryu took over and pushed Nishikigi out. Yorikiri.

Terunofuji (5-1) defeated Kotoshoho (5-1): Kotoshoho began with a slight advantage of position after the tachiai but Terunofuji’s size and strength reigned this bout. Kotoshoho allowed Terunofuji to get a mirror belt-grip and that was a huge mistake. As Takayasu showed, use all your might to keep him off. From here Terunofuji took over the bout and quickly worked Kotoshoho back and out. Yorikiri.

Takayasu (4-2) defeated Kotoyuki (1-5): Kotoyuki tried a few slaps and a nodowa at the tachiai, and twisted around for a change of direction but all attempts in the opening volley had no effect on Takayasu. With one shove, Takayasu demonstrated who was boss, forcing Kotoyuki out. Oshidashi.

Kotonowaka (4-2) defeated Chiyomaru (0-6): Chartreuse vs Emerald. Chiyomaru gave it his all, but like Kotoyuki before him, all attempts had no impact. Kotonowaka walked Chiyomaru out easily. Oshidashi.

Wakatakakage (3-3) defeated Sadanoumi (2-4): Henka! Sadanoumi fell for it. Wakatakakage pushed down with both hands on Sadanoumi’s back and Sadanoumi fell to the clay. Hatakikomi.

Shohozan (1-5) defeated Kotoeko (4-2): Shohozan landed a weak harite slap that served to piss off Kotoeko. Kotoeko’s slaps and thrusts took over the bout, forcing Shohozan into retreat, circling ‘round and ‘round. Kotoeko was too aggressive, though, as Shohozan needed only one sidestep to push Kotoeko out. Oshi—wha..? Hatakikomi? Huh.

Tochinoshin (4-2) defeated Kotoshogiku (4-2): Kotoshogiku IS keeping his knees straight at what amounts to an awkward tachiai. The first attempt was out of sync, so matta… Ross called the henka at the next tachiai, as Kotoshogiku rolls across the dohyo… but mada matta! Tochinoshin, pissed at the gyoji more than anything, lands his left-hand overarm grip after a solid tachiai, and worked Koshogiku to the edge. Rather than try to power the former ozeki over the edge, Tochinoshin wisely chose to throw him back to the center of the ring. Uwatenage.

Tamawashi (5-1) defeated Myogiryu (5-1): Matta fest today. Tamawashi started things out way early. Once they got going for real, Tamawashi seemed interested to see what Myogiryu would be able to do and let Myogiryu try some thrusts but not enough to move Tamawashi back. Tamawashi decided it was time to act and shoved Myogiryu back. Another shove and Myogiryu was out. Surprise, surprise, Oshidashi.

Shimanoumi (2-4) defeated Ikioi (2-4): Ikioi was determined to keep Shimanoumi at arms length, pushing his opponent’s arms. He tried a pull but a balanced Shimanoumi followed well, stayed upright, pushing Ikioi out Oshi—Yorikiri? Okay.

Ishiura (2-4) defeated Kaisei (2-4): I thought the matta foretold a henka but I was wrong. Ishiura hit Kaisei head on! Both men settled at the center, fighting for belt grips. Ishiura secured a left hand grip and with a little sidestep pulled Kaisei forward. This is the Ishiura of the simulation. Unafraid of bigger guys, getting things done with skill and strength rather than games. Please bring it like this more often. Shitatedashinage.

Enho (3-3) defeated Chiyotairyu (3-3): A little submarine work from Enho at the tachiai diverted Chiyotairyu to the side. With the larger man off balance, Enho tugged on Chiyotairyu’s belt to bring him to the floor. Whattaya know? The Miyagino beya brings us twin Shitatedashinage.

Halftime

Ryuden (2-4) defeated Abi (3-3): Abi’s slaps and pull attempts forced Ryuden into chase mode. Ryuden kept his balance at the pull so Abi drove forward again, slapping and keeping Ryuden upright but this time the pull never came. Instead Ryuden ducked to the side and Abi fell in a heap on the floor. Tsukiotoshi.

Tokushoryu (3-3) defeated Hokutofuji (4-2): Hokutofuji bulled forward with his head down. Tokushoryu moved to the side to let Hokutofuji pass. With both hands on Hokutofuji’s back, Tokushoryu shoved Hokutofuji down onto the tawara. Hataki— Tsukiotoshi.

Aoiyama (3-3) defeated Terutsuyoshi (2-4): After a solid tachiai and a few exchanges of slaps and shoves, Terutsuyoshi tried a change of direction and Aoiyama almost fell for it. But as the man mountain threw his arms out to maintain his balance, his right arm connected with Terutsuyoshi’s head. Aoiyama kept Terutsuyoshi in front of him and wrangled him out. Tsukidashi.

Kagayaki (3-3) defeated Yutakayama (0-6): Kagayaki was all business today. Solid tachiai. Poise, control, forward movement…Yutakayama had no chance. Oshidashi.

Sanyaku

Takanosho (3-3) defeated Daieisho (3-3): A solid tachiai from both men but Takanosho shifted to the right and pushed Daieisho past. Daieisho lost his balance while trying to turn around to meet Takanosho, landing on his butt. Oshitaoshi.

Shodai (5-1) defeated Endo (1-5): A strong tachiai and some off-balance flailing sumo from Shodai as Endo grabbed the left arm, pulling him forward to the bales. Shodai slipped his left arm in and tried the same tightrope walk throw from yesterday but he was too out of control. Endo tried a trip but missed. As Shodai reclaimed his arm, Endo lost his balance. This gave Shodai an opportunity to wheel back around and pushed Endo out. Oshidashi.

Mitakeumi (6-0) defeated Okinoumi (3-3): A solid tachiai from Okinoumi forced Mitakeumi half-way to the bales but it was not enough. Try as he might, Mitakeumi would not move back and farther. Mitakeumi mustered his strength and drove Okinoumi back to the edge. A final shove back to the center of the ring brought Okinoumi to the dirt. Tsukiotoshi.

Kiribayama (2-4) defeated Takakeisho (4-2): Takakeisho started off with some standard thrusting. The agile Kiribayama lept and got his hands up to the back of Takakeisho’s head, shoving down forcefully. This negated Takakeisho’s advantage as the Ozeki fought to maintain his balance. Kiribayama got his hands into the mawashi and drove Takakeisho backwards and out. Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (6-0) defeated Onosho (0-6): Onosho forced Asanoyama’s head back but it was not enough to get the Ozeki moving backwards. Instead, he quickly secured an left-overarm belt grab, and used his superior footwork to usher Onosho over the edge. Yorikiri.

Hakuho (6-0) defeated Takarafuji (2-4): A straightforward win from the master. Strong tachiai and he drives Takarafuji back. Takarafuji tries to move left along the edge but the master kept him in front and continued the forward pressure until Takarafuji stepped over the bales. Yorikiri.

Tokyo July Basho Day 5 Highlights

We’ve had some nerves and sloppy sumo to start the tournament but we’ve also had some great sumo as four yusho winners lead the pack coming into Day 5. By now at the end of Act One, that rust should be brushed away. Asanoyama has proven to be stainless steel and Hakuho must have been bathing in WD-40 since March because he’s dominant and he’s winning without the tricks, dame-oshi or dirty play that had earned him a bit of derision over the past year. These two are at the top of the heap and the top of their game. Will they close out the first third of the tournament still in the lead? This day is one to stay until the end, that’s for sure.

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko (4-1) defeated Tobizaru: The flying monkey visits from Juryo to take on Kotoeko. A bit too nervous and outmatched by Kotoeko, who’s on a hot streak. Kotoeko got under his armpits and looked to drive him back and out. Tobizaru wriggled free from Kotoeko’s grip but Kotoeko was able to use his right arm to execute a throw.  Sukuinage.

Nishikigi (2-3) defeated Chiyomaru (0-5): Winless Chiyomaru got the advantage on the initial charge, thrusting Nishikigi back to the edge. The tawara gave Nishikigi the resistance he needed and Chiyomaru tried a pull but Nishikigi used the change in direction to charge forward and force Chiyomaru out. Oshidashi.

Wakatakakage (2-3) defeated Kotoyuki (1-4): Wakatakakage defeated Kotoyuki at his own game. A strong charge at the outset earned the youngster superior position in the center of the dohyo. He kept up the pressure on Kotoyuki who countered with his own thrusts but Kotoyuki was never able to get enough power in those thrusts to back Wakatakakage out. Instead, Wakatakakage wore out the penguin and pushed him out. Oshidashi.

Takayasu (3-2) defeated Terunofuji (4-1): Yesterday, Takayasu faced Kotoshogiku. Today, the former Ozeki got another former Ozeki in Terunofuji and again came out victorious. At the charge, Terunofuji tried reaching in for that belt but Takayasu fought against it and shoved Terunofuji away. Takayasu re-engaged, securing both hands on Terunofuji’s belt. While Terunofuji tried to get purchase with his left hand, Takayasu began backing him up until he was fully stood against the tawara. Terunofuji recognized that he was done and stepped out. Yorikiri.

Kotoshoho (5-0) defeated Shohozan (0-5): Shohozan baited Kotoshoho into a false start. Shohozan charged fiercely at the tachiai and added a slap for good measure. Kotoshoho was unphased, however. He pivoted and used Shohozan’s hard charging ways against him with a well-executed throw. Kotenage.

Tochinoshin (3-2) defeated Sadanoumi (2-3): Tochinoshin drove forward into Sadanoumi but Sadanoumi stayed composed, got a solid grip and started forcing the Georgian Giant back. Tochinoshin pivoted and brought the action to the edge of the ring where he grabbed Sadanoumi by the butt cheek and forced him over the edge. Tsukiotoshi.

Kotoshogiku (4-1) defeated Shimanoumi (1-4): A strong showing from Kotoshogiku today. A quick blast driving Shimanoumi back and wrapping him up. He attempted a throw which Shimanoumi resisted but some strong gabburi action got Shimanoumi stumbling backwards and out. Yoritaoshi.

Myogiryu (5-0) defeated Kotonowaka (3-2): Myogiryu charged forward, always the aggressor. He kept Kotonowaka at arms length, never allowing access to his mawashi and driving action. Kotonowaka briefly slipped to the side and had a chance but Myogiryu recovered at the edge, turned back around, and drove Kotonowaka back and out. Oshidashi.

Ikioi (2-3) defeated Kaisei (2-3): A slim Ikioi drove forward into Kaisei with both arms under his armpits. Kaisei resisted with his own grip but Ikioi charged again. At the edge it seemed Kaisei’s leg gave but the official call was an underarm throw but I couldn’t see what that right arm was doing. Anyone have the opposite view? Shitatenage.

Tamawashi (4-1) defeated Ishiura (1-4): Ishiura’s predictable henka attempt put him halfway toward the edge of the dohyo and Tamawashi was more than happy to give him a single shove out. Ishiura needs a new schtick. There are plenty of other successful pixies who aren’t afraid to bring the action to their opponent. Oshidashi.

Chiyotairyu (3-2) defeated Terutsuyoshi (2-3): What did I say about successful pixies? Chiyotairyu gave a beautiful demonstration of how the Non-henka is supposed to work. One hand securing the belt, the other hand on the top of aite’s head. A strong pull with that right hand, in this case, and Terutsuyoshi was whipped around and thrown down. Uwatenage.

Halftime

Hokutofuji (4-1) defeated Enho (2-3): Hokutofuji blasted Enho back at the tachiai. Enho seemed puzzled, not knowing how to attack. So Hokutofuji used that left oven mitt to decide for him. “Go back now.” He shoved Enho back to the tawara and down. Oshitaoshi.

Abi (3-2) defeated Tokushoryu (2-3): Classic Abi here. Right hand under the chin of Tokushoryu, forcing his head up and back. This gave Abi the clear advantage and he followed up with a convincing win, shoving Tokushoryu out quickly. Oshidashi.

Aoiyama (2-3) defeated Ryuden (1-4): Aoiyama with the advantage of a stronger tachiai, pushed Ryuden back to the straw bales. Ryuden tried his own shoves putting all of his might and weight into Aoiyama but getting no backward movement until…Aoiyama pulls beautifully and Ryuden rolls across the clay. Someone was asking about pulls after Takakeisho’s loss the other day. The timing is so crucial with a pull and Aoiyama timed it very well today. Hikiotoshi.

Takanosho (2-3) defeated Kagayaki (2-3): Kagayaki had the better force in the initial charge, moving forward strongly. Takanosho’s sidestep combined with Kagayaki’s slow recovery time allowed Takanosho to shift right and help Kagayaki out. Oshidashi.

Sanyaku

Daieisho (3-2) defeated Yutakayama (0-5): This was an entertaining slapfest. Daieisho with the slight advantage but both wrestlers landed several haymakers. Daieisho’s were more effective, keeping Yutakayama on the ropes with slaps to the chin and the throat. Yutakayama pitched forward to counter and Daieisho landed a perfect left on Yutakayama’s shoulder, sending him tumbling across the dohyo. Tsukiotoshi.

Mitakeumi (5-0) defeated Endo (1-4): A great tachiai from both men, a nice blast. Endo tried to shove Mitakeumi back…it almost looked like he was going to try an oshi battle but got confused. While he tried to sort things out, Mitakeumi moved forward through the golden boy. Another Oshidashi. Oshidashi Day here in Tokyo.

Shodai (4-1) defeated Okinoumi (3-2): The best tachiai of the day? A Shodai bout? Na… Shodai slipped that left arm under Okinoumi’s armpit and whatever Okinoumi was trying to do was utterly irrelevant. Shodai continued turning while Okinoumi hopped along, trying to stay up but eventually hopping over the bales. Okinoumi didn’t meet clay but it was a throw. Sukuinage.

Asanoyama (5-0) defeated Kiribayama (1-4): Kiribayama slid to the side and channeled Harumafuji with his continued pressure. He wanted the spin of death to end things quickly but Asanoyama persevered. Twisting and turning, Kiribayama kept up a vigorous attack. Asanoyama was always able to maintain his balance and his composure. He countered by bringing the action back to the center and wearing Kiribayama down. Eventually, Asanoyama struck forcing Kiribayama out. The best sumo from Kiribayama this week. Sadly, not enough against the ozeki. The effort from both men combine for the bout of the day, enthusiastically appreciated by the crowd. Yorikiri.

Takakeisho (4-1) defeated Takarafuji (2-3): Another strong tachiai as skin-on-skin echoes through the Kokugikan. Takakeisho kept up the thrusts as Takarafuji was on the defensive, shifting about. Takakeisho worked Takarafuji back and several times tried the pull down. It wasn’t until the fourth attempt that his right hand found the top of Takarafuji’s head and pulled him down. Hatakikomi.

Hakuho (5-0) defeated Onosho (0-5): Onosho jumped the gun and the two reset. Hakuho got under there with both hands on the belt immediately. As he charged back Onosho got some resistance at the edge. Hakuho wasn’t having any of it and used that belt grip to throw Onosho forward to his doom. Uwatedashinage.

To follow on with Tim’s kimarite of the day, I’d have to go with that forceful yorikiri from Asanoyama. I know, yorikiri is the most common and therefore the dullest choice of kimarite of the day in the 1000-year history of sumo…but here we are. I liked it. He held on in a great battle and won. Boring technique? Not at all. Oshidashi’s the boring one.

Tokyo July Basho Day 3 Highlights

Is the ring rust off yet? For some, not quite. Several wrestlers still appear to be gathering their bearings but a few are really shining. I love to see the start that Myogiryu has gotten, along with Terunofuji. With the exception of Kotoyuki, who does not seem his sanyaku-self, The Great Wall of Kotos is performing very well. But the story of the tournament so far has to be the shin-Ozeki, Asanoyama, and his excellent performances so far.

Highlight Matches

Meisei defeated Kotoyuki: The visitor from Juryo weathered the barrage of blows, landed a number of his own body blows, and pushed Kotoyuki out quickly. Kotoyuki falls to 0-3. Oshidashi. Meisei is 3-0 and starting to make a good case for promotion.

Terunofuji defeated Chiyomaru: Chiyomaru shoved Terunofuji and attempted a hatakikomi pull but Terunofuji wasn’t falling for it. He went right in for a belt grip and as soon as that left hand found purchase, he pulled Chiyomaru’s card. Uwatenage. Terunofuji is undefeated at 3-0.

Kotoshoho defeated Nishikigi: Kotoshoho dominated Nishikigi from the start, landing solid body blows and completely overwhelming his opponent. Oshidashi. A great 3-0 start. Nishikigi backed straight out to his second loss.

Kotoeko defeated Wakatakakage: Wakatakakage hit strong with his tachiai, forcing Kotoeko back to the tawara. Kotoeko used the tawara to arrest his backwards movement. He then took the opportunity to secure a right-handed belt grip of his own and force Wakatakakage to exit, stage left. Yorikiri. Wakatakakage falls to 0-3, Kotoeko 2-1.

Takayasu defeated Kotoshogiku: Kotoshogiku gets off to a great start, pushing Takayasu back at the tachiai. Takayasu worked his way into Kotoshogiku’s belt and from there owned things. He pushed Kotoshogiku across the dohyo and out. Yorikiri. Kotoshogiku picked up his first loss while Takayasu improved to 2-1.

Kotonowaka defeated Shohozan: Kotonowaka kept his cool after Shohozan’s staredown and then the introductory slap at the tachiai. He pivoted, using Shohozan’s momentum to bring him to the straw barrier. Another quick shove and experience bowed to youth. Oshidashi. Kotonowaka undefeated while Shohozan’s third straight loss has put him into quite the hole at the start of this tournament.

Sadanoumi defeated Shimanoumi: Sadanoumi started with some strong thrusts but Shimanoumi weathered the intial tempest. Sadanoumi abandoned the thrusting attack and reached in for Shimanoumi’s belt. Belt grip nicely secured he quickly worked the orange mawashi back out and over the edge. Yorikiri. Shimanoumi’s still seeking a win while Sadanoumi improved to 2-1.

Myogiryu defeated Tochinoshin: A quick one from Myogiryu. Myogiryu allowed Tochinoshin no time to try anything, immediately securing a left-handed grip, shifting to the side. The force of the tachiai carried Tochinoshin forward and Myogiryu added pressure to keep Tochinoshin moving forward and out. Yorikiri. Myogiryu remains undefeated while Tochinoshin earned his second loss.

Tamawashi defeated Kaisei: Kaisei knew this would be a pushing thrusting bout, getting great movement backwards from Tamawashi. Tamawashi’s own thrusts were ineffective against the bigger Kaisei, so he shifted left and then right, slapping down Kaisei as he tried to give chase. Hatakikomi. Tamawashi 3-0 and Keisei got a hard-fought second loss.

Chiyotairyu defeated Ikioi: Chiyotairyu’s powerful tachiai forced Ikioi to cede ground. More forceful thrusts as Ikioi tried to hang on but Chiyotairyu blasted Ikioi out. Tsukidashi. Chiyotairyu is now 2-1, Ikioi 1-2.

Ishiura defeated Terutsuyoshi: Henka from Ishiura to get a grip but Terutusyoshi snuffed it out and turned around, getting a piece of Ishiura’s belt in return. But Ishiura used the belt to keep up the attack, over powering Terutsuyoshi, and pushing him out over the edge on the other side. Yorikiri. Terutsuyoshi handed his first loss, Ishiura picking up his first win.

Tokushoryu defeated Ryuden: Yushoryu quickly dispatched Ryuden. A left hand grip and he was able to snap Ryuden forward. Losing his balance, Ryuden instinctively put his hands down to catch himself. Hikiotoshi. Both men are 1-2.

Abi defeated Enho: Enho lost his balance at the tachiai with help from Abi’s right forearm to the chin. Enho tumbling out backwards to the front of the dohyo. Oshitaoshi. [Copy/Paste] Both men are 1-2.

Hokutofuji defeated Aoiyama: Aoiyama was off-balance from the beginning. Strong tachiai from Hokutofuji who keeps his head down and the thrusts coming, backs Aoiyama up and out. This bout was about footwork. Hokutofuji moved with a purpose. Controlled steps. Aoiyama’s feet were all over the place and eventually swept over the side as he was trying to keep his balance. Oshidashi. Aoiyama is 1-2. Hokutofuji improved to 2-1.

Kiribayama defeated Kagayaki: Pushing thrusting attack from Kagayaki forced Kiribayama into retreat. Kiribayama weathering the blows as he throws a few, ineffective ones of his own. Kiribayama used his left to deflect Kagayaki high and get back into a belt grip. From there, Kiribayama turned the tables. With Kagayaki’s center of gravity up too high, Kiribayama used the leverage from the belt to push him backwards and out. Yorikiri. Kiribayama 1-2 while Kagayaki picked up his first loss.

Takarafuji defeated Daieisho: Daieisho worked Takarafuji back with a strong tachiai. Powerful thrusts gave Daieisho the advantage but wild, off-balance footwork cost him. One missed thrust which Takarafuji parried successfully turned Daieisho around. Takarafuji seized the moment to push Daieisho out from behind. Okuridashi. Daieisho stumbled to his first loss while Takarafuji is now 1-2.

Mitakeumi defeated Onosho: Onosho had an excellent tachiai, getting in under Mitakeumi, and forcing him back. Mitakeumi knew he was in trouble so as he got forced back he brought his arms up around Onosho’s head. With a sudden twist he threw Onosho down as they both tumbled out. Excellent adaptation from Mitakeumi. Kubinage. Mitakeumi undefeated, Onosho hopes for a first win tomorrow.

Takanosho defeated Shodai: Shoulder blast from Shodai at the initial charge. Shodai put his head down and revved the engines, full steam ahead…but before tying down his cargo. In the tumult, Takanosho got lose to the right and as Shodai passed, Takanosho gave a final shove from behind. Okuridashi. Shodai picked up his first loss and Takanosho earned his first win.

“Kinki is a region, not a way of life.”

Murray Johnson, the Legend

Asanoyama defeated Yutakayama: Through tears of laughter, I composed myself in time for the tachiai. Asanoyama, on the other hand, was composed from the beginning of this bout. Yutakayama’s thrusts were many but fizzled in the bosom of Asanoyama. Asanoyama earned his position at center stage with great power and excellent footwork, forcing Yutakayama to the edge, looking in. While he wasn’t able to land a belt grip, he had control under Yutakayama’s arms and forced the junior Sekitori back and out. Yorikiri. The Ozeki is undefeated. Yutakayama 0-3.

Okinoumi defeated Takakeisho: Takakeisho gained the advantage at the tachiai with a strong blast. Okinoumi staggered back a step but not as far as the tawara. Takakeisho was unable to get much wave action going. An ill-advised pull by Takakeisho was met with a solid blow to the head by Okinoumi. The cumulative effect meant Takakeisho fell down. Oshitaoshi. Both men are 2-1.

Hakuho defeated Endo: A strong shoulder blast from Hakuho. No extracurriculars on the initial charge, just power. Right arm secured under Endo’s left armpit, Hakuho shoved his opponent to the point that Endo’s left leg came up off the ground. The Yokozuna then drove through the rank-and-filer to finish him off. Endo collapsed in a heap while Hakuho took a celebratory lap down the hanamachi. Extraordinary. Oshidashi. Endo falls to 1-2 while Hakuho leads the pack at 3-0.