March 2017, Day 11, Chiyonokuni v Tochiozan

Hang onto your hats. Chiyonokuni and Tochiozan quickly find themselves at the edge of the ring, with Chiyonokuni cranking on an armlock throw and Tochiozan pushing with all his might from his right foot. Time stands still as the two men topple over, crashing into the clay on their heads and shoulders. The referee calls it for Chiyonokuni, but the ring judges want to talk about it. During the conference, Chiyonokuni talks to the yobidashi, asking his opinion about who won. According to a book I’m reading by retired Head Yobidashi Hideo, this is a common question. The yobidashi usually won’t commit to an answer unless they really think it’s clear, so the conversation probably goes something like this:

“Who do you think won? Who landed first?”

“I dunno, it was pretty close. Hard to tell. Probably best to do a rematch.”

The head judge announces the decision: Torinaoshi! The two wrestlers hit the ground at the same time, so we have a do-over. On the second go round, Chiyonokuni tries to get a side angle on Tochiozan at the tachiai, but Tochiozan is able to track the movement and keep Chiyonokuni in front of him. It’s an easy yorikiri win for Tochiozan, who stays one loss behind the tournament leader with an outstanding record of 10-1.



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