March 2018, Day 15, Kaisei v Ikioi

Kaisei was living the dream for the first half of the tournament, a serious contender until the last few days when Kakuryu knocked him off his pedestal. He should be very pleased with a 12-3 record and a Kanto-sho prize for Fighting Spirit, punctuated with a good uwatenage (overarm throw) victory over Ikioi on the last day. Ikioi also had a great tournament despite an injured leg, finishing at 11-4. Hopefully both men are healthy next time around and continuing to threaten the top ranks.

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March 2018, Day 14, Ishiura v Ikioi

Ikioi must really want that post-bout beer. He improves to 11-3. Ishiura at 7-7 will need a win tomorrow to avoid demotion.

March 2018, Day 13, Ikioi v Chiyonokuni

Wait, Ikioi has ten wins? He’s been quietly having a fantastic tournament, showing good energy and mobility, and churning through the bottom of the division from his M14 rank. Great bout against Chiyonokuni, who requires anyones full attention. The tachiai is strong from both men, and Ikioi immediately attempts a pull-down that Chiyonokuni avoids. Everything after that is a blur of arms until Ikioi has Chiyonokuni at the edge of the ring and tackles him, managing to take Chiyonokuni out before Ikioi falls down himself.

March 2018, Day 10, Ikioi v Yutakayama

Yutakayama hits the ground and before he’s even finished rolling he grabs his hair, which usually means a wrestler is complaining about a hair pull. He looks to the ring judge seated nearby as Ikioi walks away, and Ikioi gives a side-eyed glance at the head judge to see if they’re going to get up. They do, and decide that Ikioi did in fact get a hold of Yutakayama’s hair. Intentional or not, it’s against the rules and an automatic loss for Ikioi.

March 2018, Day 9, Ikioi v Kotoyuki

Poor Kotoyuki, the guy can’t catch a break. He missed a couple of days to injury, came back like a true competitor, and still can’t find a win. He really needs a few victories before the end of the tournament, since a pile of losses like he’s amassing now might lead to a demotion all the way down to the second-tier Juryo division. Anyhoo, Kotoyuki and Ikioi have a good slappy exchange that leads to both men hitting the dirt at the same time. So the judges call for a rematch, and things go less well for Kotoyuki the second time around, as he gets pulled down by the head to his eighth loss against zero wins and one no-show. Ikioi at 7-2 looks well-positioned to climb out of the basement of the top-division back up where he belongs near the upper middle.

March 2018, Day 5, Ikioi v Daiamami

Usually hatakikomi (slap down) is used as a defensive maneuver, when you’re running backwards and hoping to take advantage of your opponent’s over-eager attack. But Daiamami wields it like a weapon, putting both hands on Ikioi’s neck and shoulder right at the tachiai and crushing him to the clay with authority.

March 2018, Day 2, Ikioi v Myogiryu

Good back-and-forth bout between Ikioi and Myogiryu. Myogiryu survives the big shoulder at the tachiai from Ikioi, and Ikioi gets out of a tricky situation by diverting Myogiryu’s face in a different direction. The last shuffling charge from Ikioi sends Myogiryu tumbling from the dohyo for the oshitaoshi (front push down) win.