Chiyotairyu holds his own at the tachiai against Ozeki Goeido, as the two men smash into each other with great vigor. The match is a fine display of tsuppari (slaps/thrusts) and general shoving, with Chiyotairyu using his bulk well to control the more experienced Goeido. Goiedo loses for the first time this tournament, joining a large contingent of 5-1 wrestlers right behind undefeated Yokozuna Hakuho.
Wait, which one’s the Yokozuna again? Takakeisho picks up his second kinboshi (gold star win over a Yokozuna) of the tournament, and the third of his career. He looks really, really strong. Total domination. You can’t make Ozeki predictions based on one bout, but I’m going to go ahead and say it out loud, so sometime in the next two years when he gets promoted I can say I called it.
Tamawashi is supremely motivated today, not wanting to drop his eighth loss and demotion from his elevated Komusubi rank, but young M5 Takakeisho has other plans. Takakeisho hits hard at the tachiai and starts slamming away with sharp tsuppari thrusts, driving Tamawashi back to the tawara in short order. One last mighty shove sends Tamawashi over the edge to a losing record, and Takakeisho’s so in the zone he finishes a few shadow shoves against the air just to wind down. With a record of 9-6 and a kinboshi win over Yokozuna Harumafuji, Takakeisho earns the Shukun-sho, or Outstanding Performance Award.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Aoiyama, dude, that’s totally unnecessary. After Hakuho was chided last year for an extra shove that sent Yoshikaze crashing onto the ring judge (breaking his leg), I’m pretty sure everyone took notice that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated. This late push by Aoiyama is egregious and unacceptable, and I expect he’ll earn a stern rebuke from the elders.
Takarafuji has no answer for Takakeisho today, letting himself get pushed around the ring with only token lateral movement to try and get off the line of the attack. A lackluster performance from the usually stalwart Takarafuji, but Takakeisho stays focused and doesn’t screw it up. Both men finish the day at 7-4, still mathematically (if not realistically) in the title hunt only three losses behind tournament leader Goeido with four days remaining.
This bout wins the Prettiest Mawashi Matchup Award for the tournament so far, with Endo in golden yellow and Kotoyuki in gentle lavender. But Kotoyuki’s belt belies the ferocity of his sumo. He stands up Endo at the tachiai before pulling back and letting Endo stumble forward. With Endo off-balance, Kotoyuki charges forward with a few sharp thrusts to end it quickly. Here’s hoping Kotoyuki gets enough wins to see a promotion back up to the top division next tournament.
Yoshikaze is back up in the rarified air at the top of the division wrestling at Sekiwake, only two ranks below Yokozuna. So he probably had his concentration focused on the tough bouts ahead against the likes of Harumafuji, Goeido, Takayasu, Terunofuji and Mitakeumi, and totally overlooked Chiyotairyu. He shouldn’t have. Chiyotairyu hits Yoshikaze like a truck and completely destroys him with a series of sharp thrusts anchored on good footwork. A tournament full of performances like this and Chiyotairyu could see a promotion back up to the sanyaku ranks, where he hasn’t been since 2014.