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.

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March 2018, Day 6, Kotoyuki v Chiyonokuni

Kotoyuki missed the previous two days to injury and rejoins the tournament on Day 6, desperately needing a win to fend off a potentially horrible record. But Chiyonokuni has always given him trouble, and has been performing great so far. Despite a good tachiai, Kotoyuki can’t push Chiyonokuni out, and when Chiyonokuni gets a right hand on Kotoyuki’s belt he spins Kotoyuki around and pounces. Kotoyuki falls to 0-5-1, and Chiyonokuni improves to 5-1.

March 2018, Day 3, Daishomaru v Kotoyuki

Kotoyuki gets a couple of good swipes in at Daishomaru’s face, but his thrusts leave an opening that Daishomaru pounces on. One good right arm underneath Kotoyuki’s left armpit, and Kotoyuki is completely upended and off balance. At the edge of the ring Daishomaru shifts his hands to the center of Kotoyuki’s gravity for extra leverage on a mighty shove that sends Kotoyuki into the pricey seats.

January 2018, Day 15, Kotoyuku v Ishiura

One thing you miss in these quick highlight videos is the pace of live sumo. The ritual, the pageantry, the building tension. The mind games. This slightly longer clip of Kotoyuki and Ishiura facing off before their bout and going through a couple of false starts gives you more of a taste of the real thing. The four or five minutes of build-up that lead to a 2-second bout give so much flavor to the 2 seconds, make it so much more impactful, it’s a vital part of sumo that I love. As for this bout, Kotoyuki drops his eighth loss for a make-koshi, and Ishiura finishes the tournament at 9-6.

January 2018, Day 10, Kotoyuki v Chiyonokuni

Bruising bout for two pusher-thrusters, and Chiyonokuni comes out on top. Each time he bounces off of Kotoyuki he takes another small step forward until Kotoyuki is over the straw. Chiyonokuni has a hard road ahead of him at 3-7, needing to win out in order to avoid demotion. Kotoyuki drops to an even 5-5.

January 2018, Day 6, Shohozan v Kotoyuki

Shohozan goes bowling with Kotoyuki, picking up a strike in the first row as Kotoyuki rolls off the dohyo with a ton of momentum. Kotoyuki falls to 4-2, and Shohozan stays one loss behind the leaders at 5-1.