Props to Ichinojo for hanging in there today and pulling off a nice come-from-behind win. The left-handed underarm grip keeps him in the bout, helping him defend against Tokushoryu’s overarm throw attempts, but it’s an armlock throw from the right side that finishes off Tokushoryu at the edge. Both Ichinojo and Tokushoryu go into the last two days with a 7-6 record.
Yutakayama drops a tough bout to Tokushoryu for his eighth loss of the tournament. He tries in vain to shove Tokushoryu off the direct line to both the right and left sides, but Tokushoryu keeps his balance. And then just at the end Yutakayama slips out to his left, dropping Tokushoryu at the edge of the ring, but Yutakayama is unable to keep his right foot in and steps out before Tokushoryu hits the ground. The eighth loss guarantees a losing record, which means demotion. Which means from his position at the very bottom of the top division, he’ll most likely be dropped back down to the Juryo division next tournament. Which is especially painful because he spent only one tournament in the big leagues. The frustration is evident on his face after the bout – he’ll have to do his best for the remaining six days to keep from falling too far down the ranks, and reset next time around to shoot for the top division again.
Arawashi is driven straight back to the edge of the ring by Tokushoryu, where he plants his left foot and tries a desperate armlock throw (kotenage). But Tokushoryu leans into Arawashi’s body, using his left arm in a counter beltless arm throw (sukuinage), and the two men head for the dirt at nearly the same time. Tokushoryu tucks his right arm up close to his chest while Arawashi reaches for the ground to break his fall, and only one of these is the correct decision. Arawashi touches first, giving Tokushoryu his second win of the tournament. Arawashi falls to 0-3.
Ishiura provides a fantastic size-differential matchup against Tokushoryu, giving up almost 150lbs to the larger man. No tricks today, just puts his head down and keeps the pressure on, switching from the underarm grip on the left side to a frontal attack when Tokushoryu dislodges his arm. A solid base and confident footwork give him the leverage for his arms to be effective.
Tokushoryu fights through both of Sadanoumi’s belt grips, breaking the right with pressure from below, and powering forward to push Sadanoumi off the edge and down to the floor below. Tokushoryu’s momentum carries him off the dohyo as well, and he kind of slithers down on top of poor Sadanoumi. A slight nod of apology takes care of the awkward indiscretion.
There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from literally crushing your opponent beneath you. I mean, I can only imagine. Tokushoryu beats Chiyoshoma for the first time in five meetings, and celebrates with a little pumped-up exhalation on his way back to his side of the dohyo. Winning technique is abisetaoshi, or backwards force down. Both wrestlers finish the day with excellent 7-3 records.
It’s the last day, and Shohozan is 7-7. He needs this eighth win to avoid demotion next tournament, and he jumps the gun on the first tachiai. The referee calls him back, and there are apologies all around from both men. The second try goes off without a hitch, and after getting popped in the face by a right hand from Shohozan, Tokushoryu seems to take control. Shohozan then uses a right-handed arm lock to deflect Tokushoryu’s charge, and from there it’s quick work to finish the bout and pick up the eighth win.