March 2017, Day 12, Tochinoshin v Nishikigi

Tochinoshin sits at seven losses and really doesn’t want to get his demotion-ensuring eighth. With his bum right knee he’d rather not get pulled into a protracted battle, so he doesn’t waste time taking care of Nishikigi. A left hand on the back of the head combines nicely with a scooping right-arm sukuinage (beltless arm throw) and Tochinoshin survives another day. He’ll need to win the last three days in a row to prevent a drop in the rankings next tournament.

March 2017, Day 7, Nishikigi v Ishiura

This is the second shitatehineri (twisting underarm throw) for Ishiura this tournament, and while it’s not as pretty as the one he pulled off against Sadanoumi, it gets the job done. This one looks more like a magician yanking a tablecloth from underneath a full set of dishes, and it leaves Nishikigi flat on his stomach wondering why his feet aren’t on the ground anymore.

March 2017, Day 6, Chiyoo v Nishikigi

Two wrestlers at the bottom of the top division meet up in an entertaining bout, with plenty of reversals right up until the very end. Chiyoo, in the darker mawashi, starts out with only a single layer of Nishikigi’s belt with the right hand, but once he solidifies his grip he’s able to get some momentum going with an overarm throw attempt that opens up Nishikigi’s defense and gives Chiyoo the left-side grip as well. Nishikigi, both hands inside and with only a left-handed belt grip,  muscles Chiyoo right up to the edge, where Chiyoo uses the straw bales for leverage to reverse the position yet again. Nishikigi has one last shot at a reversal, but Chiyoo sticks his right foot to the dohyo and Nishikigi steps out first.

January 2017, Day 15, Osunaarashi v Nishikigi

Osunaarashi’s a tough dude, and he powers through the last day of the tournament despite some clear weakness or injury to his lower body. A gutsy performance sees him hit the ground hard after crushing out Nishikigi with a yoritaoshi, and it’s hard to watch him struggle back to his feet and up the dohyo for the final bow. There’s a woman in the front row with visible concern on her face. Hopefully he can take the time he needs to recover before next tournament, as this victory nets him only his fourth win against eleven losses, and he’s sure to drop down to the Juryo division next tournament.

January 2017, Day 12, Takanoiwa v Nishikigi

Takanoiwa hits Nishikigi with a huge right-handed slap at the tachiai, which Nishikigi tries to punish with a tough arm bar on that side. Takanoiwa ignores the pressure on his elbow and yanks his arm free, ducking under a big right-handed swipe by Nishikigi that grazes the top of his head. Nishikigi over-rotates on the swing-and-a-miss, giving Takanoiwa an open shot at his belt. From there it’s easy work for Takanoiwa to walk him over the edge. Takanoiwa stays one loss behind tournament leader Kisenosato.

January 2017, Day 6, Nishikigi v Ishiura

Ishiura picks up his second win with a matador move against Nishikigi. He sets it up nicely with a solid tachiai and good hand-fighting to keep Nishikigi guessing, and when Nishikigi pulls the trigger and charges forward, Ishiura just disappears.

January 2017, Day 5, Sadanoumi v Nishikigi

Sadanoumi freight-trains over Nishikigi to earn his fifth consecutive win, picking up steam as he gets his legs pumping. This is the first time in the two-and-a-half years of his top-division career that he’s won the first five days of a tournament. The last time he started a tournament with this many wins was back in 2010, and he ended up finishing 7-0 and claiming the Makushita Division championship.