The first eight days of the tournament were a disaster for Kotoshogiku. He only earned one win against seven losses, meaning he needed to win the remaining seven days in a row to avoid a makekoshi losing record. I don’t think anyone expected him to come as close as he did, losing only once in the second half of the tournament to finish at 7-8. His opponent on the last day is the always tough Ikioi, but Kotoshogiku beats him handily, showing flashes of his former brilliance. Hopefully during the next tournament he can put together more performances like this one.
Ura goes low at the tachiai with a step to the left, and then tries to grab onto Ikioi’s legs. But Ikioi steps back just out of reach and pushes down on Ura’s back. With nothing to hold onto, Ura falls to a record of 10-3 and out of title contention. Ikioi picks up his ninth win.
Both Ishiura and Ura, two of the smaller wrestlers in the top division, have been using katasukashi (under-shoulder swing down) to good effect against taller opponents, pulling them down and forward which either results in the opponent falling down or being off-balance. Ishiura gets really good leverage on Ikioi today, and Ikioi ends up rolling across the dohyo. Ikioi already has his winning record of 8-4, and Ishiura pulls even at 6-6.
Kotoyuki leans in hard at the tachiai and hits Ikioi with a stiff hand to the throat. But Ikioi deflects Kotoyuki’s arms sideways, and follows with a quick charge before Kotoyuki can recover. Ikioi’s pumped at earning his eighth win, while Kotoyuki falls to 4-7.
Ikioi would love to head back up to the sanyaku ranks of Komusubi and Sekiwake, so putting together a solid tournament at his current rank of M6 will help his cause. He takes care of Kagayaki with no trouble today, slapping down his opponent by hatakikomi and catching his heels on the tawara just in time for Kagayaki to eat dirt. Ikioi improves to 7-3, Kagayaki falls to 6-4.
Ikioi gets back on track after his first loss yesterday with a solid showing against Tochiozan. Nothing fancy, just good footwork and a strong finish.
Good blue-collar sumo on Day 1 from Ikioi, who receives a hand on his throat and just muscles through it, shoving Hokutofuji backwards off the dohyo.