This one takes a while to get going, but doesn’t disappoint once the action begins. Several false starts interrupt the pace of the initial charge, so on the third try when they both get their hands down, it seems like neither Arawashi nor Yoshikaze are really ready. But the ref lets it go, and boy do they go. Both men pivot on one foot and crash out of the ring, each trying to pull the other to the ground an instant earlier than himself. The ref calls it for Arawashi, but the ring judges want to talk it over and decide that the wrestlers touched down simultaneously, so we get a re-do. This time the bout starts without a hitch, but Arawashi’s charge is much stronger and he knocks Yoshikaze back a step. Yoshikaze charges in without looking up and falls into a headlock, failing to move his feet forward when Arawashi pulls him down to the dirt. Arawashi finishes the day at 9-5, Yoshikaze at 8-6.
Tochinoshin clearly is not at 100%, but Onosho doesn’t cut him any slack. Staying nice and low, and keeping his opponent in front of him, Onosho pushes hard against Tochinoshin until the perfect time to pull back. Tochinoshin can’t move his feet fast enough to stop his fall, and Onosho improves to 7-1, still tied for the tournament lead.
The list of undefeated wrestlers in this tournament is getting shorter, but Onosho keeps hanging in there with the other four. He continues to show great confidence in his bouts against the best of the division, charging head-on into Terunofuji’s chest and standing up the Ozeki with a hand to the neck, before pulling down hard to drop Terunofuji to the clay. Onosho moves to 4-0 along with M1 Kotoshogiku, M3 Chiyotairyu, M9 Takanoiwa, and M11 Daieisho.
Endo finally gets his shiznit together against a game opponent in Yutakayama. Yutakayama is in his second-ever tournament in Makuuchi after getting bounced down to Juryo last time around, and he’ll have to put together a string of wins to avoid the same fate this September. But back to Endo, he shows good resolve from a precarious position at the edge of the dohyo that usually sees him let off the steam and give up. Nice to see him fight back and get the win. Yutakayama has a great bout up until the very end, when he makes the common mistake of pushing too hard without keeping his feet stable and underneath him. Endo moves to 3-1, Yutakayama 1-3.
See, I told you Mitakeumi would figure it out. Today Mitakeumi keeps his weight centered over his feet to defend against Shohozan’s always-fierce pushing attack. Without overextending himself he uses one mighty shove against the chin to lift Shohozan’s head backwards before pulling down hard on the arms and dropping his opponent to the dirt. With a spate of injuries depleting the ranks of contenders in the top division, Mitakeumi could challenge for the title if he manages to stay focused.
Good ol’ fashioned brawl on Day 1, with Tamawashi trying to knock Shohozan’s head off, and Shohozan trying to survive long enough to get inside on Tamawashi’s belt. Shohozan finally deflects Tamawashi’s arms and gets the double-inside morozashi belt grip, sending Tamawashi backwards to the edge of the ring. When Tamawashi plants his feet to push back against Shohozan’s onslaught, Shohozan pulls down with perfect timing, letting Tamawashi fall to the clay.
Mitakeumi hits Endo at the tachiai with a focus on Endo’s left arm, which he uses to maneuver Endo around and push him to the edge of the ring. But Endo finds the tawara with his right foot and pushes back, working steadily forward until Mitakeumi pulls down on his head, and then you’ll never guess what happens: Endo doesn’t move his feet forward, falling down in slow motion. Oh, wait, you probably actually guessed that without any trouble because ENDO DOESN’T EVER MOVE HIS DANG FEET. Endo falls to a losing record of 5-8, while Mitakeumi has a good shot at a winning record, heading into the last two days with a record of 7-6.