January 2018, Day 14, Chiyoshoma v Asanoyama

Asanoyama breathes a big sigh of relief, picking up his eighth win after a streak of losses. Chiyoshoma, after picking up his eighth loss, has to pick himself up off the floor below the dohyo.

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January 2018, Day 12, Shohozan v Sokokurai

One goes up, one goes down. Shohozan picks up his eighth win, and Sokokurai his eighth loss, in a bout that highlights all of Shohozan’s strengths. He starts with strong pushes to Sokokurai’s face, which Sokokurai defends by grabbing onto Shohozan’s arms and working inside for a belt grip. But Shohozan adapts well, using his own belt grip to swing Sokokurai around and set up the final push. With an overarm grip and a hand on the side of the head, Shohozan crushes Sokokurai to the clay.

January 2018, Day 9, Yutakayama v Chiyonokuni

Yutakayama takes a beating from Chiyonokuni before finally getting a hand on his face long enough to stop him from running around. Chiyonokuni is trapped at the edge with nowhere to go, and Yutakayama exacts his revenge for the earlier vicious face slap by throwing Chiyonokuni down to the clay with great gusto.

January 2018, Day 9, Sokokurai v Ryuden

Great battle for the belt in this one, with Sokokurai and Ryuden both gaining and losing grips on both sides, trying to be the first to land both hands solidly. It looks like they both lock up at about the same time, but Sokokurai’s grip has all the layers of Ryuden’s belt, while Ryuden’s grip just has the top layer of Sokokurai’s. So Sokokurai’s effort is directly transmitted to Ryuden’s center of gravity, and Ryuden wastes energy moving Sokokurai’s belt around without really affecting his body. This makes all the difference, and Ryuden can’t defend at the edge. Both men crash down to the floor below the dohyo, with Sokokurai landing in the lap of an elderly gentleman in the first row. A gentleman himself, Sokokurai makes sure the man is alright before getting up.

January 2018, Day 4, Goeido v Hokutofuji

Watch out you guys, Goeido’s looking sharp. Good mobility, good balance, good defense, constantly looking for offensive opportunities. Best thing I see is the way he finishes without overextending. That’s been his weakness in the past, leaving his feet behind while his upper body sails forward. Goeido stays perfect at 4-0.

January 2018, Day 4, Ishiura v Nishikigi

Ishiura drops his first loss of the tournament to Nishikigi, who does a nice job cutting off Ishiura’s escape route with his left arm. Ishiura’s thinking about using that arm for a kainahineri or even an ipponzeioi, but Nishikigi leans into it and shuts that down real quick.

January 2018, Day 1, Ishiura v Yutakayama

So glad to see Ishiura back up in the top division. Always nice to have a quick, strong, unpredictable wrestler to throw a little chaos around. Good work today against Yutakayama, running him around the ring before using a strong left-handed underarm belt grip to swing him around and topple him at the edge with gusto. Ishiura ends up in the crowd as well, but they’re happy to have him.