Osaka Day 10 Highlights

Today was the day that the Great Sumo Cat decided to paw the yusho race off of the top shelf and watch it fall. These chaos days happen in sumo, and it took hold earlier in the day when former Ozeki Tochinoshin surrendered his match when his shoulder or pectoral suddenly gave out. He went soft in his match against Oshoma, who had the presence of mind to ease up on Tochinoshin and let him step out. There’s no word on how seriously he is injured, but I expect that if it’s bad enough, this will end his career. Furthermore, it was to his left shoulder, which is essential to his primary weapon, his left hand outside.

Past that, we saw Daieisho lose, Midorifuji win, and end the day 2 ahead of everyone else. It’s still possible for someone to catch Midorifuji, but the odds are longer now that anyone will, as it would require 2 losses for him while someone in the hunt group maintains a winning streak. Possible, but unlikely. Should this come to pass, we will once again see just how flat the competition is in the top division now. Anyone can take the cup, as none of the upper ranks are dominant enough to dominate anyone consistently. Lets call it Makujuryo.

In the headlines of “Should have happened last basho”, Asanoyama is now 9-1 at Juryo 1 East, he will return to the top division in May, and now we are just going to wait and see if he can run up the score and place higher than the bottom rung. Welcome back, sir. Please stay healthy.

Highlight Matches

Mitoryu defeats Tohakuryu – Tohakuryu sent back to the 2nd division with a loss. I thought he stepped out much earlier than the match ran, but I was not on the dohyo. Mitoryu has little fuss in capturing him, turning him to the East and stepping him out to improve to 5-5.

Kagayaki defeats Oho – Oho chooses to open with a hazu-oshi, but can’t maintain the hold as Kagayaki disrupts his upper body and hand placement, sending him off balance. A moment later the hikiotoshi lands an Oho is on the clay. Both end the day 4-6.

Takarafuji defeats Bushozan – Faced with a make-koshi, Takarafuji finds an escape move at the edge to stave off a losing record another day. Bushozan only takes a pair of volleys to break through Takarafuji’s normally solid defense and get him moving. Bushozan pursues, but finds himself on the dohyo the moment he lunges forward to finish off Takarafuji. Takarafuji improves to 3-7.

Tsurugisho defeats Takanosho – Solid sumo from Tsurugisho halts Takanosho’s climb back to the top ranks, at least for today. It was all in Tsurugisho’s left hand grip which he landed early. Three steps later, and he wins by yorikiri, both finish 6-4.

Chiyoshoma defeats Myogiryu – Chiyoshoma launched into the tachiai a bit early, and stayed on his feet when Myogiryu tried to pull him down. The match featured an awkward staring contest that lasted a few seconds in the middle before Chiyoshoma slapped Myogiryu to bring him back to the fight. Myogiryu charged, and Chiyoshoma slapped him down, improving to 7-3.

Daishoho defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji did not have the mass or the power to break Daishoho’s solid defensive stance, Daishoho counter attacked, and launched Nishikifuji out by oshidashi for the win. Both end the day 6-4.

Hiradoumi defeats Kotoeko – Hiradoumi is able to deliver a lot more power than I tend to expect form him. Plus he is on this very unusual pattern of winning on even days, losing on odd days going on right now. As day 10 is even, I guess it was time for him to win. He powers up against Kotoeko and walks him out, improving to 5-5.

Azumaryu defeats Ichiyamamoto – Azumaryu finally gets his first win of the tournament. He still can’t hold ground, but Ichiyamamoto is so helter skelter this March that Azumaryu just needed to stay one step ahead of him, and wait to apply the slap down. He improves to 1-9.

Hokuseiho defeats Ura – Do you ever have a day where you need to get at that box of papers on the top shelf in your closet? But it’s underneath a bunch of other boxes and there is stuff that is threatening to fall on you as you try to work it out of it’s spot without causing a concussion? Now imagine the closet is fighting you back. That is what comes to mind watching Ura fight from his ultra low stance against the vertically generous Hokuseiho. Ura throws the kitchen sink into this match, but Hokuseiho the closet is not giving in, and Ura is not getting that box of papers. Ura pauses for a moment, to think through if he really needs those papers, remembers it’s almost tax time, and goes at it again. This time the closet is done messing around, and it’s over by yorikiri before Ura can file an extension. Hokuseiho now 6-4.

Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – That was more forward power from Aoiyama than I think I have seen the entire basho. He did well to fend off Hokutofuji at first, but in true Aoiyama style, he resorted to a pull after a time. Hokutofuji was prepared, and rushed “Big Dan” for the exit, improving to 6-4. Six straight wins after an 0-4 start.

Kinbozan defeats Takayasu – This match was all down to Takayasu’s lack of balance and connection to earth. He starts with his pointless shoulder blast, only to find that Kinbozan is not really effected. Takayasu attacks with oshi-zumo, but it’s not really effective, so he tries to pull Kinbozan. Sadly, that does not work either a Kinbozan keeps his feed and runs Takayasu out. Every moment that Takayasu had a choice to make today, his choices turned out poorly. He’s eliminated from even theoretical competition for the cup, as both end the day 7-3.

Sadanoumi defeats Nishikigi – Sadanoumi accepts Nishikigi’s invitation to yotsu-zumo, and proceed to call the tune. Nishikigi never can set his feet defensively, and Sadanoumi swings him around and rolls him to the clay by sukuinage. Nishikigi now make-koshi at 2-8 while Sadanoumi improves to 3-7.

Tamawashi defeats Ryuden – We finally get to see some solid forward power from Tamawashi in today’s match. Ryuden is in terrible condition right now, and can’t offer more than token resistance to Tamawashi’s oshi attack, and is out in a hurry by oshidashi, with Tamawashi advancing to 2-8.

Endo defeats Shodai – Endo stays in the hunt in this solid match. We got to see a good opening gambit from Endo, the “Wall of Daikon” from Shodai, and then Endo counters with a well timed sukuinage. That’s a real risk to Shodai’s favorite move, if you can get a hand around that big body, you can swing him down for a win. Endo now 8-2 and kachi-koshi.

Wakamotoharu defeats Meisei – Outstanding defensive effort from Meisei today. He was masterful in his approach to locking out as much of Wakamotoharu’s sumo as he could, preventing Waka from getting much of a grip for most of the fight. But eventually Meisei had to pause. Wakamotoharu consolidated his grip, lifted Meisei and walked him out for a win by yorikiri, he is now 7-3.

Midorifuji defeats Tobizaru – Valiant effort by Tobizaru, but it seems Midorifuji is untouchable right now. He sacrificed his hit and move sumo for a solid right hand inside grip, and proceeded to try and find some way to break Midorifuji down. For just a moment, it looked like Tobizaru had found an advantage, he advanced. But, Midorifuji countered with a seldom seen move – a waridashi, or upper arm force out. That’s 10-0 for Midorifuji. Wow.

Kotonowaka defeats Abi – Abi-zumo seems to have once again run out of gas for now. I am sure he will be back with a variation that will cause all kinds of trouble later this year. But Kotonowaka shuts down his offense, lands a couple of big pushes center mass, and drops Abi on his back. Kotonowaka now kachi-koshi at 8-2.

Kiribayama defeats Mitakeumi – Impressed that Kiribayama was able to get a double hand inside grip and lift the bulky tadpole body of Mitakeumi up and buck him out of the ring. That’s quite a lift for anyone. Kiribayama now 7-3.

Hoshoryu defeats Daieisho – This is the point where the yusho race fell apart. It was a lot of expect of Daieisho to stay on a winning streak against some of the toughest men still fighting in this tournament. Daieisho put all of his chips on a thrust and pull strategy which failed. It was predictable, and likely trained for this morning. He was then gabbed bodily by Hoshoryu, and it was all over except for the kensho at that point. Hoshoryu improves to 7-2.

Kotoshoho defeats Wakatakakage – Ok, what the hell was that? Kotoshoho has been fighting like a top contender in Jonidan for most of this tournament. But he shuts down the one time Ozeki hopeful, discombobulates his sumo utterly, and then shoves the resulting mess out of the ring. Oh, 2020s sumo – never change! Kotoshoho now 2-8.

Hatsu Day 9 Highlights

Some oddities today, with Tsurugisho once again trying to go “au natural” during his match, and Ura finally showing us the kind of finger twiddling spells he casts to win matches. Any guesses what his patronus would be?

The leader board took an absolute beating today, leaving Takakeisho in sole possession of the lead, with just Onosho and Kotoshoho one win behind. With his kachi-koshi in place, it’s time to see if he can run up the score and take home the hardware for the first time in about 2 years. There are rumors of a rope for him if he can take the cup, so I think it’s easy to predict he is going to shoot for 14-1 at this point. While I love Onosho’s sumo, I don’t see him keeping pace with Takakeisho if the Grand Tadpole is in good fighting form for all of week 2.

In Juryo, former Ozeki Asanoyama is 9-0, and it’s time to start wondering if he will be back in the top division for Osaka. That would almost be too much to ask of the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan, but I do hope it can come to pass.

Highlight Matches

Chiyomaru defeats Mitoryu – Chiyomaru avoids make-koshi, and finally finds his second win today. He was able to disrupt Mitoryu early, and kept Mitoryu from setting his feet or setting up any kind of counter attack. Chiyomaru now 2-7.

Tsurugisho defeats Atamifuji – Second day in a row, Tsurugisho tempts fate by mounting the dohyo with a terribly loose mawashi, then initiating a yotsu-match. Look, if you have a strong desire for public exhibition of your naked form, please don’t do it on a world wide broadcast. Someone needs to cinch that guy up before they let him out of the dressing room. Atamifuji seems to share this view, and wastes precious focus trying to change his left hand grip to prevent an imminent wardrobe malfunction, but it costs him the match. Both end the day 3-6.

Kagayaki defeats Azumaryu – That was a better match from Kagayaki than we have seen in a few days. He had a good tachiai, got his hands inside early and put all of his force center-mass. The effect was immediate at Azumaryu was unable to keep his stance, and was quickly moved back and out. Kagayaki now 5-4.

Chiyoshoma defeats Takarafuji – Chiyoshoma employing a henka-like leaping move at the tachiai? Is anyone surprised? Sir, it gets old. But there you have it. He was able to get the oshidashi win against Takarafuji, and is now 3-6.

Hiradoumi defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho looked to be in control in the opening moments of this match, with his strong right hand inside grip. He looked to set up a throw at the exact moment Hiradoumi pivoted to his left, putting him terribly off balance and on one foot. Hiradoumi immediately took advantage and put him on the clay. Excellent reaction from Hiradoumi, and the win knocks Kotoshoho out of the lead. Hiradoumi now 6-3.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Aoiyama – A much anticipated battle of the long arm thrusters went to Ichiyamamoto, as he was able to break Aoiyama’s balance before he could fire up the V-Twin and take control. My compliments to Ichiyamamoto for taking out a tough opponent today, both are now 6-3.

Endo defeats Kotoeko – Endo’s left hand finds Kotoeko’s mawashi early, and is able to grab and hold. When Endo can land his grip at the tachiai, he’s quite likely to control the match. He does so today, immediately setting up a throw and putting Kotoeko down with a shitatedashinage. Endo advances to 5-4.

Myogiryu defeats Takanosho – Takanosho gets in one good combo at the tachiai, before Myogiryu breaks Takanosho’s stance and puts him off balance. Myogiryu wastes no time, and presses his advantage, putting his head down and ramming Takanosho back. Takanosho attempts a last minute pull down at the bales, which connects but he is out before Myogiryu tumbles from the ring. Myogiryu up to 3-6.

Onosho defeats Hokutofuji – Another highly anticipated match, Hokutofuji looks like he thought he could stand firm against Onosho’s second step. It almost worked, but only almost. Onosho had Hokutofuji lined up, his shoulders and hips square, and it was time for some tadpole power. By the time Hokutofuji’s heels hit the bales, it was too late for him to recover, and he was out. Onosho stays one behind the leader at 7-2.

Nishikigi defeats Oho – Oho launches early, should that have been a matta? Simply put, did not matter, as something is really different with Niskhikigi, who turns on the traction motors and drives Oho out in a hurry, handing him his make-koshi, and improving to join the growing crowd at 6-3.

Ura defeats Nishikifuji – In the category of “What the hell was that?”, we have the most unusual match of the basho so far. First off, While Ura and Nishikifuji are wailing away on each other, Konosuke looses a sandal. Not breaking his focus on the match, he calmly fetches it, and puts it back on his right foot. Ura and Nishikifuji are at it hammer and tongs. Nishikifuji tries to a brutal twisting pull on Ura’s head, but instead twists himself, stumbling away. Ura wants to slap him down, but Nishikifuji is already on the clay, and the net effect is Ura performing some sort of arcane spell or voodoo curse on Nishikifuji’s prostrate form. Ura conjures himself up to 6-3.

Midorifuji defeats Abi – Hopefully nobody was sad as Abi was eliminated from the leader group, and thrust into Darwin territory by a henka. Its a crummy excuse for sumo, but Abi employed it in November in a high stakes match, and as we all know, what comes around, would seem to go around. Both end the day 5-4.

Tamawashi defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru puts up a strong early offense, but once Tamawashi gets his hands against Tobizaru’s chest, he moves Tobizaru back, and tosses him deftly from the ring. Solid Tamawashi brand sumo there, and he’s now 6-3.

Mitakeumi defeats Meisei – I am glad to see that once in a while, Mitakeumi can still summon that level of power for his sumo. He had a right hand inside on Meisei at the tachiai, and Meisei barred that arm, and tried to rotate into a throw. Mitakeumi just rammed forward with all the strength and momentum he could deliver, and bodily forced Meisei from the ring. Nice work to the former Ozeki, Mitakeumi now 4-5.

Kotonowaka defeats Daieisho – Daieisho seemed solidly intent on his hazu-oshi today (armpit attack), even when presented with two opportunities to open up the gap with Kotonowaka and apply his mega-thrust. Kotonowaka broke the hazu, slapped Daieisho on the head and pushed him out as Daieisho struggled to reset his feet. I am certain Kotonowaka was happy for that win, and he is now 4-5.

Wakatakakage defeats Ryuden – A good amount of back and forth with this match, with control changing hands at least once. I was interested to see that Wakatakakage’s well constructed pull down attempt did not finish Ryuden, but left him off balance enough that he was easy to force out. Not sure where the other 10% to 20% of Wakatakakage’s sumo is, but I hope it comes back soon. Both end the day 5-4.

Shodai defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama went into this match looking for an early advantage and maybe a fast win. He was surprised when a stronger, more confident Shodai was not really moving back in the face of a strong tsuppari volley. Kiribayama put too much power to the front, and found himself in front of his toes at the moment that Shodai applied the hikiotoshi, sending him to the clay. Shodai now 3-6.

Wakamotoharu defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu has worked hard for the past few days to avoid this 3rd loss. I am sure only he knows why, but today his luck ran out when Wakamotoharu was able to set up a sukuinage in response to Hoshoryu’s throw attempt, and flattens him into the clay. Worse yet, Hoshoryu seems to have been injured as a result (foot?). Wakamotoharu now 5-4.

Takakeisho defeats Sadanoumi – Perhaps I have been looking at Sadanoumi all wrong. Given what has happened the last 3 days, he may in fact be a human salt seeking projectile. The prior 2 days, it was the east side salt baskets. Today it was nearly the west side one. I am almost certain that “Crap, not again!” Goes through his head at the moment the oshidashi connects. Takakeisho now sole leader at 8-1 as he secures his kachi-koshi for Hatsu.

Bruce Grumbles About The Nagoya Basho

What the hell was that? Never before in my decades as a sumo fan have I had the urge to label and entire basho with such a term. Not even the famous 2017 “Wacky Aki”. I take a few days away from sumo, and this is what happens?

Look, it was bad before I went kyujo for family matters, but good lord did it take a hard left hand turn and head straight for the storm drain. I thank Andy and everyone else who filled in while I attended to dreadful things. But enough of that.

I caught up today, and everyone and their cousin went covid kyujo. They were dropping like flies, with two more right on the final day. It shredded the torikumi, and the schedule, and the ranking, and Aki’s banzuke, and crap, just about everything. The kyokai really painted themselves into a corner with their COVID policy. They never updated it after the initial strain, not once taking into account the kind of things an Omicron variant can do. Let me share something with you. BA5, currently the world wide flavor, more virulent than measles. You get within a few feet of someone with that stuff, guess what, you now have it too. Not that it’s going to do much other than give you the sniffles in most cases, but hey – its still COVID and can hurt you.

So the NSK got hoisted by their own policy. One positive test, whole stable sits it out. Thats all good when it’s one or two, but when you lose a third of your talent, you are reduced to this kind of circus disguised as sumo.

They had to bring a fair portion of Juryo up to fight on senshuraku in the top division, just to fill in the air time. They had to backfill Juryo with Makushita guys just so the folks left in Juryo had an opponent. The wheels feel off this basho in the last 3 days. I think the ultimate example of the train-wreck that was Nagoya 2022 was the Hoshoryu – Midorifuji match. A Komusubi fighting an M11 for the third to last match of the basho. And then they completely blow the call and give the match to Midorifuji when the top of his foot is on the clay while Hoshoryu is still in bounds. Granted, I think Hoshoryu’s attitude needs attenuation, but this is not the way to do it.

I worry for the mental health of the banzuke committee. It can’t be anything more than this: 1) Drink a LOT 2) Try your best 3) Pretend it’s the result of hours of cloistered study and some of the best minds in sumo. 4) Conclude by drinking and yakitori till sunrise.

Exit question – what are NSK going to do about their jungyo reboot in a couple of weeks?

Nagoya Day 8 Highlights

You want me to grab his what now? – Image shamelessly stolen from Twitter

What the hell was that? Chief gyoji Shikimori Inosuke has long been on my list of people who are not quite up to the task. Today he made an outrageous choice to stop the match between Terunofuji and Wakamotoharu at a pivotal moment of action because he was concerned that Wakamotoharu’s mawashi was loose. Folks may say that Inosuke should retire, but that would move Kimura Tamajiro up, and he’s even more of a shambles in my book. On the match mechanics, I do think that Terunofuji was honestly enjoying that match with Wakamotoharu, and was giving him a good and balanced battle with the intent of throwing him down once he had finished showing him how it’s done. Herouth goes into more detail in the post below this one, and it’s worth the read.

There is still no leaderboard, as Ichinojo lost today. There are seven rikishi at 6-2, one win outside the top end of funnel, who may in fact compete for the cup in the upcoming week. I think that by the end of act 2 on Tuesday, it should be clear who is going to be in contention heading into the final five days.

On more troubling news, an additional stable is now COVID-kyujo, Naruto. This Omicron variant is quite virulent, and given that we now have 2 stables turning up cases mid-basho may indicate that everyone is going to need to test for the next few days.

Highlight Matches

Onosho defeats Daishoho – A bit of an early start by Onosho, but he gets a couple of big pushes against Daishoho’s chest and moves him directly out. He may have been waiting for a matta on that tachiai, or a monoii on stepping out, but it was official. Onosho improves to 5-3 by oshidashi.

Oho defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru’s over reliance on pulling his opponents costs him matches like these. He had multiple tries, none of them were well placed or timed. Each time he pulled again Oho, he gave up advantage, so he lost this a piece at a time. Oho eventually got workable hand placement with a double inside grip, and marched Chiyomaru out to improve to 5-3 by yorikiri.

Myogiryu defeats Daiamami – Daiamami opens strong into Myogiryu’s hit and shift to the left. For the first few moments, Daiamami is in charge working his way toward a win. But Myogiryu manages to get a right hand inside just before Daiamami can press for the finish, Myogiryu rallies and drives Daiamami out to advance to 5-3 by oshidashi.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Tsurugisho – Ichiyamamoto continues his absolute dominance over Tsurugisho, expanding his career record to 5-0. Tsurugisho had a strong open, but as soon as Ichiyamamoto started to really, Tsurugisho unwisely tried to pull, and Ichiyamamoto surged forward to attack. Ichiyamamoto now 6-2 by oshidashi.

Nishikifuji defeats Chiyoshoma – We have not seen a Chiyoshoma henka in a while, and today’s attempt probably did more harm to his cause than good. With is body not in any sort of sumo position, it was easy for Nishikifuji to get a firm mawashi hold and drive Chiyoshoma out by yorikiri to improve to 6-2.

Takarafuji defeats Yutakayama – Its nice to see Takarafuji fighting well, which he managed to do today. He was able to stop Yutakayama’s attack at the tachiai, then Takarafuji worked to get an armpit hold which he used to move Yutakayama back, and toss him across the bales to improve to 3-5 by oshidashi.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Shimanoumi – Both of these guys started this match at 1-6, and both of them are likely to be make-koshi by the end of the second act in Tuesday. But today we got to see Terutsuyoshi fight in reverse for a block of time, until he could get his hands placed, his feet set and attack. Once Terutsuyoshi started moving forward, it was a quick run to the bales to send Shimanoumi out by yorikiri, improving to 2-6.

Tochinoshin defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji came in strong, grabbing for Tochinoshin’s mawashi at the front. A strong right hand swat to move Midorifuji away sent him tumbling into the front row. That’s some strength! Tochinoshin now 5-3 by hatakikomi.

Nishikigi defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho has all of the offense in this match, save for the final moment. As Kotoshoho is driving forward to move Nishikigi out, Nishikigi manages to pivot and deliver a throw at the moment he falls off the dohyo into the front row. The shimpan want to review it, so a monoii is called. The replay only further refined Nishikigi’s outstanding move at the bales, he improves to 6-2 by kotenage.

Chiyotairyu defeats Okinoumi – Chiyotairyu managed to gather up enough power to show us one of his cannonball tachiai after a long absence. Nice to see him do it, and he stampedes Okinoumi out in 3 steps, advancing to 5-3.

Meisei defeats Hokutofuji – A fine example of why Hokutofuji has “the strongest make-koshi in all of sumo”. He opens strong, fights like a ranging madman and is relentless. But he gets off balance, he is too far forward, and Meisei drops him with a katasukashi to advance to 5-3.

Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – A great start to this match, Tobizaru attacks with power from the tachiai, and Kotoeko looks to be ready to change his hand placement and counter attack. But it all comes to an end as Tobizaru a delivers a foot sweep, knocking Kotoeko to the clay by kekaeshi. Tobizaru now 6-2.

Ura defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama is so tentative at the tachiai, he’s wide open for Ura to just pick an impact spot and propel “Big Dan” straight out. Aoiyama lost this one before it even started, which is a shame. Both end the day 4-4.

Kotonowaka defeats Ichinojo – The concern following Ichinojo’s first loss on day 7 to Kotonowaka is that it would disrupt his mental state, it might rob him of the “I think I can” that is so important to winning in any human endeavor. Ichinojo, throughout his career, has been especially prone to this, and it seems it may have happened on day 7. Kotonowaka easily gets him standing up, then moves him around with comparative ease given his enormity. This is Ichinojo’s second loss, knocking him out of sole lead of the basho. They both end the day 6-2.

Hoshoryu defeats Kiribayama – I am really grateful for this match. So much of the torikumi is a roster of rikishi doing the best they can through a attenuating shroud of injury. It’s refreshing to see two young, healthy, strong, high-skill rikishi fight with everything they can muster. As is usually the case when these two fight, they end up being “kitchen sink” matches, where both are unleashing multiple attack forms moment by moment in an attempt to overwhelm the other’s defenses. Today it was Hoshoryu who came out on top with a yoritaoshi to hurl Kiribayama into the front row, improving Hoshoryu to 4-4.

Abi defeats Sadanoumi – Traditional Abi-zumo today. Sadanoumi tries to break up the double-arm thrusts, but can’t quite connect at the right tempo, and endures too many broad sides to maintain defensive foot placement. Abi drives him out on the 4th exchange by tsukidashi to end the day 5-3.

Wakatakakage defeats Daieisho – Daieisho opens strong, putting all of his attacks against Wakatakakage’s face. He’s making progress, but Wakatakakage finds an open route to Daieisho’s chest, and returns fire. With a right hand on Daieisho’s mawashi, Wakatakakage dials up the pressure and moves Daieisho first back, and then tumbling out. Wakatakakage takes the win to improve to 5-3 with a hearty oshitaoshi as Daieisho gets a face full of clay.

Takakeisho defeats Endo – Takakeisho played Endo’s desire for a mawashi hold very well. Time and again Endo lunged in to get a hand full of silk, and Takakeisho timed his thrusting to match. By the 4th exchange, Endo was off balance enough that the Ozeki could pull him forward and down. Takakeisho slaps victory number 5 out of Endo, advances to 5-3 by hatakikomi.

Shodai defeats Tamawashi – Great opening combo from Tamawashi. He had Shodai in deep trouble, and maybe that’s what it takes now to get some Shodai sumo. One step short of the tawara, Shodai breaks out the “Wall of Daikon”, and rushes forward to brute Tamawashi back. Where has this been? Stuck in the post from from the stable in Aichi? Did Yutakayama have it under his futon and forgot it was there? Glad to see it back, sir. Please use daily from here on out. Tamawashi gets yorikiri’d out, and Shodai is now 4-4.

Terunofuji defeats Wakamotoharu – Wakamotoharu loves to fight yotsu-zumo style. This is always a tough choice when facing Terunofuji, as he will happily join you in a battle hug, and wear you down. Wakamotoharu has some fine moves, but each time, Terunofuji slows him down, and marches him back to the center of the dohyo. They are fighting well, and I really was impressed by Wakamotoharu’s drive and stamina. After a long lock up, Wakamotoharu tries to drive forward… and WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? Tate gyoji Inosuke jumps in and tries to stop the match? Wakamotoharu kind of sort of won? They rewind the match? Try.. again? Well, on the re-do(?) Terunofuji uses his enormous strength to bodily throw Wakamotoharu down with a shitatenage, advancing to 6-2.