March 2018, Day 15, Kaisei v Ikioi

Kaisei was living the dream for the first half of the tournament, a serious contender until the last few days when Kakuryu knocked him off his pedestal. He should be very pleased with a 12-3 record and a Kanto-sho prize for Fighting Spirit, punctuated with a good uwatenage (overarm throw) victory over Ikioi on the last day. Ikioi also had a great tournament despite an injured leg, finishing at 11-4. Hopefully both men are healthy next time around and continuing to threaten the top ranks.

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March 2018, Day 15, Chiyoshoma v Nishikigi

There’s a collective groan from the crowd when Chiyoshoma goes airborne at the tachiai, launching up and to the side to grab Nishikigi’s belt, pulling Nishikigi into the negative space where Chiyoshoma should have been. A smattering of applause as he pads his record to 9-6, but a general disappointment at the henka. Nishikigi falls to 5-10, arguably in danger of dropping back down to the Juryo division next tournament.

March 2018, Day 14, Ichinojo v Shodai

Ichinojo makes up for two previous lackluster days with a magnificent, mighty throw. He lifts Shodai completely off the ground by the belt and slams him down with authority. Uwatenage (overarm throw) for the dominating win.

March 2018, Day 13, Chiyoshoma v Daishomaru

The resounding slap to the face at the tachiai is not enough for Chiyoshoma. The strong right-handed overarm belt grip will not suffice. He is greedy. He wants more. He seeks to glimpse the divine, and to do so he must become the Center. The stable anchor at the heart of the maelstrom. That little spinny, twirly, cone-shaped area of nothingness in the middle of a whirlpool that recedes into infinite smallness and touches the other side. So he spins. He twists. He twirls. And Daishomaru is unwilling witness to his success. That’s a heckuva uwatenage (overarm throw), and Daishomaru’s face as he gets up says it all. Not even grudging respect. Just plain ol’ respect. My face was more like that lady in the beret in the fifth row. “Hooooooly mooooooly.”

March 2018, Day 10, Kotoshogiku v Takarafuji

Takarafuji spends the first part of the bout trying to get around Kotoshogiku’s left arm and reach the belt with his right hand. When Kotoshogiku gives a heave, Takarafuji finds the angle he needs to secure the grip. Now Takarafuji has some leverage over Kotoshogiku’s center of gravity and moves him to the edge of the ring. And like a mirror image of yesterday, Kotoshogiku is forced to push back hard, giving Takarafuji the perfect opportunity to reverse the momentum and roll Kotoshogiku by uwatenage (overarm throw).

March 2018, Day 9, Takayasu v Chiyotairyu

Big right hand on the belt? Check.

Opponent who isn’t paying attention and blindly charging forward? Check.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

March 2018, Day 8, Abi v Chiyonokuni

A rare throwing technique from the beanpole Abi, who usually launches into his opponent at a 45ยบ angle with his feet way behind his body and either shoves them out or falls down trying. He starts out as usual, both hands landing on Chiyonokuni’s shoulders at the tachiai and standing both men upright, but he transitions quickly into a pulling attack with his left hand on Chiyonokuni’s head and his right hand finding a home on Chiyonokuni’s belt. Chiyonokuni charges forward and falls right into the trap, with Abi using his momentum against him and throwing him down by uwatenage (overarm throw). Abi’s technique is somewhat less than flawless, and he flops down to the clay a split second after Chiyonokuni. He’s not even sure he won, and has to look up to the referee to catch the decision.