September 2017, Day 14, Chiyonokuni v Kaisei

Way to take it to the big guy! Chiyonokuni uses a barrage of attacks to the neck and chin with excellent accuracy to wear down Kaisei until he can knock him down.

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September 2017, Day 13, Chiyonokuni v Kotoshogiku

Fierce battle between two motivated wrestlers, Kotoshogiku hoping to add to his win total and return to the top sanyaku ranks (komusubi and sekiwake), and Chiyonokuni still hunting his eighth victory. Chiyonokuni shows great mobility and energy, stopping Kotoshogiku with a violent tachiai before jumping sideways to try and get behind his opponent. He charges in with a stiff-arm to the face, getting a right-handed overarm grip in the process that helps him defend against Kotoshogiku’s final charge. Right at the edge, with his foot in the extra space of the toku-dawara, Chiyonokuni spins on a dime and drops Kotoshogiku with that right-side grip. Uwatenage (overarm throw) for the win.

September 2017, Day 9, Chiyonokuni v Takekaze

Fantastic match-up between Chiyonokuni and Takekaze, showing a good mix of full-on tsuppari (open-palm thrusts/slaps), grappling, and belt work. Takekaze uses a knee-buckling outside leg sweep to get his left arm deep around Chiyonokuni’s belt, securing the right-handed belt grip shortly after. His left arm is high underneath Chiyonokuni’s right, keeping it away from his belt, so Chiyonokuni has to stretch his left hand for the overarm belt grip in order to get some kind of leverage. Chiyonokuni pulls hard with the left hand, breaking Takekaze’s left-handed grip and slinging Takekaze around towards the edge of the ring. But Takekaze returns the favor, using the momentum to his advantage and twisting down hard with his right hand to crumple Chiyonokuni to the clay. Official technique is kirikaeshi (twisting backward knee trip), but I didn’t see Takekaze use his knee at all behind Chiyonokuni’s leg. To this amateur’s eye it looked more like a shitatehineri (twisting underarm throw), but I don’t have access to the slow-mo replays or the decades of experience it takes to make the official call.

September 2017, Day 7, Chiyonokuni v Arawashi

Fantastic, furious bout between these guys. Both in constant motion with a mix of thrusts, belt grips, arm reversals, throw attempts, leg maneuvers, and excellent defense. Could have gone either way at any time, but in the end Arawashi gets both arms deep around Chiyonokuni’s midsection and lifts him off the ground. Befitting a match with this much energy, the finale has both wrestlers crashing into the crowd as Arawashi takes Chiyonokuni over the edge for the yorikiri (force out) win.

September 2017, Day 4, Ichinojo v Chiyonokuni

Chiyonokuni: 316 lbs

Ichinojo: 403 lbs

Strategy: Be stronger. Pummel that big dude about the head and shoulders until he goes out.

Result: Why am I sitting in the second row looking up at the big dude?