Kyokutaisei, wrestling from the top position of the second-tier Juryo division, finishes the January tounament with an 8-7 record, so it’s likely that we’ll see his debut as a top-division Makuuchi wrestler in March. But then he’ll be facing Makuuchi-level competition every day, and it remains to be seen if he’s ready. Nishikigi needs this win today to keep his top-division rank, so he digs deep and fights back from the edge of the ring to push out Kyokutaisei and finish 8-7 as well.
Nishikigi’s all like, “dude, I just want a hug” and Abi’s all like, “dude, no way, get outta here” and Nishikigi’s like “come on man, I’m gonna hug you if you like it or not” and Abi’s like “bye, Felicia.”
Ishiura drops his first loss of the tournament to Nishikigi, who does a nice job cutting off Ishiura’s escape route with his left arm. Ishiura’s thinking about using that arm for a kainahineri or even an ipponzeioi, but Nishikigi leans into it and shuts that down real quick.
After nearly twelve years in professional sumo, 27-year-old Ryuden makes his top division debut on Day 1 of the January tournament. He looks unfazed by the spotlight, working steadily for the right-handed overarm grip, carefully keeping his arm tight to his body to prevent Nishikigi from using his own left-handed underarm grip on that side. Once Ryuden’s right hand finds a home on Nishikigi’s belt, he wastes no time in cranking hard for the overarm throw. His experience shows. We’ll see how it plays against the best of the best as he works his way up the ranks this week.
Slow clap for Sadanoumi, who gets his first win on Day 13. Kudos to him for not giving up, and bringing the fight to Nishikigi with a strong belt game that keeps him upright when Nishikigi tries to shuck him off. Sadanoumi sits at 1-5-7 (one win, five losses, and seven absences that count as losses). Nishikigi drops his eighth loss, in risk of falling to Juryo next tournament if he loses any more.
Asanoyama continues to dominate the bottom of the division with another fine performance against Nishikigi. Once he clamps down with the left-handed overarm grip and takes a few moments to tighten it, Asanoyama swings Nishikigi around and dumps him with a smooth uwatenage (overarm throw). Just the stronger man today.