Chiyotairyu defeats The Glacier with the world’s slowest matador side-step that still manages to confuse Ichinojo as he stumbles on by. Both men finish the tournament with winning records – Chiyotairyu at 9-6, and Ichinojo at 8-7.
Ichinojo moves at a glacial pace, pushing out Daishomaru with the feel of inevitability. Both “The Glacier” and Daishomaru have earned kachikoshi winning records of 8-6.
Props to Ichinojo for hanging in there today and pulling off a nice come-from-behind win. The left-handed underarm grip keeps him in the bout, helping him defend against Tokushoryu’s overarm throw attempts, but it’s an armlock throw from the right side that finishes off Tokushoryu at the edge. Both Ichinojo and Tokushoryu go into the last two days with a 7-6 record.
Takekaze survives the steady plodding attack of Ichinojo for the first half of the match, doing a good job of fighting off the larger wrestler’s arms and keeping him from getting a good grip. Pulling Ichinojo’s arms to the side, Takekaze gets some breathing room for a moment before surprising Ichinojo with a left hand to the face that opens him up for the final charge. Both men finish the day at a disappointing 2-6, but Takekaze should be happy with his performance.
Ichinojo gets a right hand on the belt immediately at the tachiai, but Arawashi uses it against him. Slipping sideways and grabbing Ichinojo’s arm with both hands, Arawashi applies pressure to the elbow. Ichinojo’s hand is stuck on Arawashi’s belt, and he goes out to avoid losing his arm. Winning technique is tottari, or arm bar throw.
Not to take anything away from Ura, ’cause it’s no small feat to stand up to someone 150lbs heavier than you, but this loss is as much due to Ichinojo’s lumbering mediocrity as it is to Ura’s dexterity. Ura opens the bout with less frantic movement than usual, and he does a surprisingly good job of halting the giant Ichinojo in his tracks. From there Ura simply puts one hand under Ichinojo’s right shoulder and the other hand on the back of his head, and Ichinojo plods forward obligingly right where Ura wants him. Winning technique is katasukashi, or under-shoulder swing down.
Ura meets the giant Ichinojo with his top-division future on the line. Going into the final day with a 7-7 record, a loss could see Ura drop back down to the Juryo division next tournament, while a win will send him higher up the Makuuchi ranks. Ura lines up way behind the white shikiri-sen, wanting a few extra milliseconds at the tachiai to form a plan of attack. He sticks and moves, not wanting to get wrapped up by his much larger opponent. Against Ichinojo’s steady forward pressure, Ura finds himself with his heels on the tawara where so many of his bouts end up. He rotates around to his right, using his right arm underneath Ichinojo’s left and contorting his body out of the way to throw Ichinojo as both men fall outside the ring. The referee calls the bout for Ichinojo, but the judges want to talk it over. After what has to be one of the shortest conferences ever, the head judge explains the decision: Ichinojo’s hand touched down before Ura’s body hit, so the referee’s decision is reversed and the win is given to Ura. If you watch the bout again, you’ll see that Ura leaps into the air, pulling his arms up to his body to try and stay airborne as long as possible, while Ichinojo doesn’t make the same sacrifice, putting his hand down to break his fall and losing the match.