Brutal tachiai by Kotoshogiku today. Pretty sure ‘Giku’s forehead smashing into his chin stunned poor Chiyotairyu, and his knees go out from under him. He’s a little wobbly getting up, but he looks ok after a few steps. Kotoshogiku earns his eighth win, and both men finish the day at 8-4.
Going into today’s bout, Chiyotairyu was the last remaining two-loss wrestler, only one behind tournament leader Goeido. Tamawashi removes him from that relatively lofty position, dragging him back down into the clump of thirteen wrestlers at three and four losses. Chiyotairyu puts up a good fight, but loses steam after the tachiai and lets Tamawashi take over the match. Good hips for Tamawashi at the edge give him a strong base to shove out Chiyotairyu.
Oh, no, Onosho! (Been waiting to use that one.) Onosho finally runs up against someone who can nullify his tachiai, and Chiyotairyu hits hard. A few effective thrusts to the face before Chiyotairyu pulls down on Onosho’s upper arms, and Onosho drops out of the tournament lead with his second loss. Onosho joins Chiyotairyu and two other wrestlers tied one loss behind the leader at 7-2.
Yokozuna Harumafuji ends his frustrating slide of three consecutive losses with a commanding performance today against Chiyotairyu. With the Yokozuna clearly not in top form, and Chiyotairyu with two kinboshi against Harumafuji already (back in 2013, but still), today’s outcome was in no way certain. But Harumafuji gets it together and looks very Yokozuna-like, leading with a Hakuho-esque left hand to the face at the tachiai before efficiently moving Chiyotairyu across the ring and out the other side. Harumafuji pulls even at 3-3, while Chiyotairyu still sits pretty at 4-2.
Goeido meets his opponent head-on for the first time in three days, and almost pays dearly for it. Chiyotairyu comes out like a man possessed, smashing into the Ozeki at the tachiai and furiously pounding Goeido’s upper body with strong thrusts that send him reeling backwards all the way to the edge of the dohyo. But Goeido stays calm and escapes by the narrowest of margins, one sharp left hand into Chiyotairyu’s ribs pushing him down to the dirt and his first loss. Both men finish the day at 4-1, behind only Onosho (should he beat Yokozuna Harumafuji in the final bout of the day).
Chiyotairyu has been yo-yoing up and down the top two divisions for the past four years or so, and every time he gets near the top it seems an injury sends him back down. He even has a couple of kinboshi wins over Yokozunas on his record. Now that he’s back up at M3, fingers crossed he can stay healthy and perform up to his potential. Clearly he belongs, as today’s dominating performance over veteran Komusubi Tochiozan shows. Chiyotairyu has a great tachiai, standing up Tochiozan and sending him backpedaling. Two hands to the throat almost seal the deal, but Tochiozan manages to deflect Chiyotairyu to the side. Chiyotairyu does a nice job keeping his feet under him at least long enough for one last leaping push that launches Tochiozan off the dohyo. Chiyotairyu improves to 3-0, Tochiozan falls to 0-3.
This makes two days in a row that Mitakeumi has been dropped with a pulling technique, letting his torso get way out in front of his legs. I’m sure he’s just overeager, trying to prove himself at his young age and high rank, but his expression after the loss makes me think he’s realized his mistake and he’ll have it fixed tomorrow. Here’s hoping.