Good persistence by Okinoumi today against Endo. He grabs onto Endo’s left arm, mostly to defend against Endo’s underarm grip, but also threatening a kotenage (armlock throw). When Endo switches to the right-handed overarm grip, Okinoumi loses his hold on Endo’s left arm for a moment, but clamps down again when Endo regains the underarm grip on that side. Now at the ring’s edge, Okinoumi sets his hips and cranks hard on Endo’s upper arm, twisting him into the clay. Endo falls to 3-3, while Okinoumi has quietly amassed five wins against only one loss.
Last day of the tournament, last day for Okinoumi to get his eighth win and avoid demotion down to the second-tier Juryo division. Good tachiai, gets the left-handed underhand grip against Sadanoumi pretty quickly, and starts reaching for the right. But Sadanoumi shifts his hips and clamps down with his right arm, breaking Okinoumi’s belt grip on that side and starting a push for the edge. Okinoumi takes a couple of steps back before he can finally grab that right-handed overarm grip, and now he can plant his left foot and go for the finish. Sadanoumi goes upside down, the victim of a nice uwatenage (overarm throw). Okinoumi breathes a big sigh of relief, safe at 8-7. Sadanoumi finishes 2-8-5, perhaps a poor enough record to see him drop from the Makuuchi division next tournament. Here’s hoping he heals up and returns to form.
Chiyoshoma slams his right hand home low on the front of Okinoumi’s belt (nice aim, by the way, a little lower and it would have been a disaster) and uses it to attach himself low against Okinoumi’s chest. From there it’s academic as Chiyoshoma ushers Okinoumi out in a hurry, and the two go crashing to the clay. Both men finish the day at 6-7, needing to win out to avoid demotion.
Whooo, that’s a pretty throw from top-division newcomer Asanoyama. He gets the left-handed underarm grip just in time to defend against Okinoumi’s right-handed arm lock throw. As Okinoumi tries to crank on Asanoyama’s arm, his feet get tangled trying to get out of the way – that’s when Asanoyama yanks backwards with his left arm to complete the twisting underarm throw (shitatehineri). Asanoyama improves to 3-2, Okinoumi falls to 2-3.
Azumaryu is a face we don’t see very often – he’s only been ranked up in Makuuchi for two tournaments in his whole career, spending most of his time bouncing up and down between Juryo and the third-tier Makushita division. Ranked at J2 this tournament, he gets an opportunity to perform on the big stage against Okinoumi, who (other than one bright spot in March) has had a terrible year and finds himself ranked near the bottom of the Makuuchi division, fighting for his pride against Juryo opponents like Azumaryu. Today it’s the lower-ranked wrestler who emerges victorious, with Azumaryu somehow, impossibly, hanging on at the edge of the ring, his heels dangling precariously over the soft dirt on the outside of the tawara without ever touching down. He fights back and drops Okinoumi with a nice uwatenage (overarm throw) from the right side, both men finishing the day at 2-2.
Welcome back to the Ryogoku Kokugikan National Gymnasium in Tokyo for the September Basho! Things get started with two wrestlers who’ve had it rough recently. The end of last year saw both Endo and Okinoumi near the top of the division, but a series of losing records sent them both plummeting down to the bottom of the rankings. I expect both to perform well against the weaker competition down here, but someone’s got to lose today. And today it’s Endo. Okinoumi locks up a solid right-handed overarm grip and expeditiously dispatches Endo with an efficient uwatenage (overarm throw).