Goeido makes up for yesterday’s henka with a strong showing against Shodai today. He keeps his arms tight inside at the tachiai and is rewarded with a right-handed underarm grip that he uses to spin Shodai around and get the easy win. Goeido improves to 8-3, Shodai falls to 5-6.
Oh, the henka. Touchy subject. The sideways jump that avoids all contact at the tachiai and can lead to an easy win over an unsuspecting opponent, at the cost of some pride at not giving a fair fight. Usually forgiven when executed by smaller wrestlers on occasion, but generally frowned upon by the sumo elders. Definitely frowned upon when used by upper-ranked wrestlers. Absolutely poo-pooed when performed by an Ozeki or Yokozuna. But often highly entertaining, especially in the charged environment of a live arena. Actually hard to precisely define, exactly. But Goeido, today . . . this is a henka. Unabashed. No bueno.
Ishiura puts a hand in Chiyonokuni’s face at the tachiai, hoping to disguise his shift to the left and distract from a left-handed pull on the back of the head. But Chiyonokuni can hang in there with Ishiura’s quickness, and he’s got more than a few pounds advantage over his smaller opponent. Ishiura tries to stay low and reach in for a potential belt grip, but Chiyonokuni shrugs him off and shows good stable footwork to stick to the center of the ring until he can get a hand on Ishiura’s back and shove him out.
Kaisei gets the advantage off the tachiai, moving Shodai backwards towards the edge. But Shodai fights back, moving the action to the center of the ring and Kaisei is forced to defend with a right-side arm lock. Shodai stays upright and Kaisei now switches his right arm inside to block Shodai’s left-handed grip. Shodai circles around trying to use that grip to swing Kaisei out, but eventually he loses the hold on the belt. That’s the beginning of the end for Shodai, as Kaisei finally lands a good shove that turns Shodai around and sends him over the edge. Okuridashi (rear push out) for Kaisei’s fourth straight win.
No luck for either Ozeki today, as Takayasu goes down to a slicker-than-usual Endo. Takayasu starts the bout with a great series of shoves that has Endo backpedaling, but Endo escapes to the side and gets a hand on the back of Takayasu’s belt. Like a matador ushering out a bull, Endo sends Takayasu into the crowd.
Abi catches Kaisei off guard with a sudden move to the belt, when Kaisei is expecting Abi to continue his full-throttle flailing at his head. This lets Abi get behind him, and usher him out for a most excellent ninth win.
After an eight day hiatus, Terunofuji returns to the dohyo only to lose immediately to lil’ Ishiura. Ishiura gets around to the backside, no small feat considering Terunofuji’s considerable circumference. Ishiura (6-5) is two wins away from his kachikoshi, and Terunofuji (0-4-7) can only hope to stem the bleeding in the last few days of the tournament.