Juryo wrestler Ryuden (cool name, btw) has been in professional sumo for over ten years, and he has his first bout in the top division today. He doesn’t waste the opportunity, taking on tough-as-nails Kotoyuki and absorbing some punishment before getting both arms around Kotoyuki’s waist and walking him over the edge. Good job staying on track after Kotoyuki’s spin move halfway through, too.
Kotoyuki picks up his first win of the tournament by barely edging out Myogiryu. It’s a good back-and-forth battle of stiff-armed throat attacks until Myogiryu starts to retreat under the pressure. Circling away from the charging Kotoyuki, Myogiryu stops at the edge for a last-gasp deflection, but his ankle catches on the tawara and he hits the ground a split-second before Kotoyuki. Myogiryu drops to his first loss.
Alright, first-day jitters are out of the way and wrestlers are starting to loosen up, smash heads and sling tsuppari. Takekaze demolishes Kotoyuki off the tachiai, getting a right hand underneath Kotoyuki’s left arm and pushing him off balance before toppling him at the edge of the ring. Takekaze gets tangled up in Kotoyuki’s legs and goes overboard himself, and it’s only the wide Fukuoka Arena aisle that prevents a large spectator casualty count when the two men hit the ground. Oshitaoshi (front push down) for Takekaze’s first win.
Alright, let’s kick things off in Kyushu with a blast from the past. Veteran Aminishiki returns to the top division for the first time in over a year, and the 39-year-old will be aiming for his first top-division kachi-koshi since November of 2015. He starts off on the right foot against Kotoyuki, who is also back in Makuuchi after a single tournament down in the Juryo division. Aminishiki isn’t as mobile as he used to be, but he powers through Kotoyuki’s tachiai to grab a solid left-handed overarm grip, shifting his feet around to make a solid base for the uwatenage (overarm throw). Ami-chan is happy with any result that doesn’t put too much stress on his knees.
This bout wins the Prettiest Mawashi Matchup Award for the tournament so far, with Endo in golden yellow and Kotoyuki in gentle lavender. But Kotoyuki’s belt belies the ferocity of his sumo. He stands up Endo at the tachiai before pulling back and letting Endo stumble forward. With Endo off-balance, Kotoyuki charges forward with a few sharp thrusts to end it quickly. Here’s hoping Kotoyuki gets enough wins to see a promotion back up to the top division next tournament.