Sumo Haru Basho: Final day results, full bout replays and analysis

All the action from the March sumo tournament in Japan.

By: Tim Bissell | 7 months ago
Sumo Haru Basho: Final day results, full bout replays and analysis
Takakeisho thrusts Onosho. IMAGO / agefotostock

The 2023 Grand Tournament of Sumo rolls on this weekend with the Haru Basho (Spring or March Tournament), taking place from March 12 to March 26 at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka.

Bloody Elbow is your home for all the news, highlights and updates as this year’s field of competitors face off for the first time in an attempt to hold or better their place on the banzuke (rankings document).

You can stream this tournament via NHK World, both live and on demand. This can be done on their website via your web browser or the NHK World app on Apple and Android products. The live shows happen around 4:10 a.m. ET. Highlights are often shown at 12:30 a.m and are then available on demand.

Banzuke (Pre-tournament rankings):

Haru Banzuke

Terunofuji (MON) YOKOZUNA
OZEKI Takakeeisho (JPN)
Wakatakakage (JPN) SEKIWAKE Hoshoryu (MON)
Kiribayama (MON) SEKIWAKE
Wakamotoharu (JPN) KOMUSUBI Kotonowaka (JPN)
Daieisho (JPN) KOMUSUBI Tobizaru (JPN)
Tamawashi (MON) #1 Shodai (JPN)
Abi (JPN) #2 Ryuden (JPN)
Mitakeumi (JPN) #3 Nishikifuji (JPN)
Onosho (JPN) #4 Meisei (JPN)
Kotoshoho (JPN) #5 Midorifuji (JPN)
Endo (JPN) #6 Sadanoumi (JPN)
Hokutofuji (JPN) #7 Takayasu (JPN)
Ichiyamamoto (JPN) #8 Ura (JPN)
Aoiyama (BUL) #9 Hiradoumi (JPN)
Myogiryu (JPN) #10 Nishikigi (JPN)
Azumaryu (MON) #11 Takanosho (JPN)
Kagayaki (JPN) #12 Takarafuji (JPN)
Daishoho (MON) #13 Kotoeko (JPN)
Kinbozan (KAZ) #14 Bushozan (JPN)
Hokuseiho (JPN) #15 Oho (JPN)
Chiyoshoma (MON) #16 Tsurugisho (JPN)
Mitoryu (MON) #17

Note: This article will only cover the results from the Makuuchi division. Results for all divisions can be found here.

Day 1

Full Results

  • Asanoyama (J1, 1-0) def. Mitoryu (M17, 0-1) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Tsurugisho (M16, 1-0) def. Choyoshoma (M16, 0-1) via shitatedashinage (pulling underarm throw)
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 1-0) def. Oho (M15, 0-1) via yorikiri*
  • Kinbozan (M14, 1-0) def. Bushozan (M14, 0-1) via okuridashi (rear push out)
  • Daishoho (M13, 1-0) def. Kotoeko (M13, 0-1) via yorikiri
  • Takarafuji (M12, 1-0) def. Kagayaki (M12, 0-1) via oshidashi (frontal push out)*
  • Takanosho (M11, 1-0) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 1-0) def. Myogiryu (M10, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Aoiyama (M9, 1-0) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 0-1) via kotenage (arm lock throw)
  • Ura (M8, 1-0) def. Ichyamamoto (M8, 0-1) via hatakikomi (slap down)*
  • Takayasu (M7, 1-0) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Endo (M6, 1-0) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Midorifuji (M5, 1-0) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Onosho (M4, 1-0) def. Meisei (M4, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Daieisho (K, 1-0) def. Nishikigi (M3, 0-1) via oshidashi
  • Kotonowaka (K, 1-0) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 0-1) via yorikiri
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 1-0) def. Ryuden (M3, 0-1) via yorikiri
  • Kiribayama (S, 1-0) def. Abi (M2, 0-1) via oshidashi*
  • Shodai (M1, 1-0) def. Hoshoryu (S, 0-1) via oshidashi*
  • Tamawashi (M1, 1-0) def. Wakatakakage (S, 0-1) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)*
  • Tobizaru (K, 1-0) def. Takakeisho (O, 0-1) via hatakikomi*

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

This tournament was all about ozeki Takakeisho and finishes day one with a loss to Tobizaru via slap down. Tobizaru rode out Takakeisho’s thrusting attack and used the ozeki’s momentum against him for the hatakikomi. A shocking start for the man who was hoping this basho would be where he finally earns the rank of yokozuna.

Another upset was Shodai dispatching of Hoshoryu (who might be carrying an injury from January). Hakuho protege Hokuseiho got welcomed to the top division with a stiff arm to the throat from Oho, but he rallied and earned his first win.

Bout of the day for me is Tamawashi’s win over Wakatakakakge. The ageless wonder started off with his patented attacks to the throat, but the athletic sekiwake was able to get around those and almost sent Tamawashi charging out of the ring. However, Tamawashi showed deft footwork to stay in, strength to withstand the ensuing rush and then craftiness to turn Wakatakakakge and send him out, just before he himself fell off the ring.

Day 2

Full Results

  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 1-1) def. Mitoryu (M17, 0-2) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Tsurugisho (M16, 2-0) def. Tohakuryu (J1, 1-1) via yorikiri
  • Kinbozan (M14, 2-0) def. Oho (M15, 0-2) via tsukidashi (frontal thrust out)
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 2-0) def. Bushozan (M14, 0-2) via yorikiri
  • Kotoeko (M13, 1-1) def. Kagayaki (M12, 0-2) via yorikiri*
  • Daishoho (M13, 2-0) def. Takarafuji (M12, 1-1) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Takanosho (M11, 2-0) def. Myogiryu (M10, 0-2) via oshidashi
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 2-0) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-2) via oshidashi
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 1-1) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 0-2) via oshidashi*
  • Ura (M8, 2-0) def. Aoiyama (M9, 1-1) via oshidashi
  • Takayasu (M7, 2-0) def. Endo (M6, 1-1) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Sadanoumi (M6, 1-1) def. Hokutofuji (M4, 1-1) via yorikiri
  • Midorifuji (M5, 2-0) def. Onosho (M4, 1-1) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Meisei (M4, 1-1) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 0-2) via yoritaoshi (frontal crush out)
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 2-0) def. Nishikigi (M3, 0-2) via yorikiri*
  • Tobizaru (K, 2-0) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 0-2) via yorikiri
  • Kotonowaka (K, 2-0) def. Ryuden (M2, 0-2) via katasukashi (under shoulder swing down)
  • Daiesho (K, 2-0) def. Wakatakakage (S, 0-2) via oshidashi
  • Shodai (M1, 2-0) def. Kiribayama (S, 1-1) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)*
  • Abi (M2, 1-1) def. Hoshoryu (S, 0-2) via hikiotoshi
  • Takakeisho (O, 1-1) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-1) via oshidashi

*Must see bouts.

Quick analysis

Takakeisho came into day two with a point to prove and made short work of Tamawashi, quickly pushing him to the edge and out of the ring. He evened his record, but other upper ranked wrestlers continued to struggle.

Hoshoryu dropped a bout to Abi, and didn’t look great doing so. Kiribayama was overwhelmed by Shodai (who has looked incredible since his demotion from the upper ranks) and Wakatakakage is still to notch a win after a loss to the surging Daiesho.

Daiesho and the three other komosubi all went to 2-0 today. Kotonowaka has looked especially strong over the first two days. Wakamotoharu had a thrilling match with Nishikigi where both looked close to throwing the other down. My match of the day has to go to Hiradoumi (who I think is a Fighting Spirit contender) vs. Ichiyamamoto. They put on a fierce show with Hiradoumi narrowly avoiding a hatakikomi loss before scoring the fight winning push out.

Day 3

Full results

  • Tsurugisho (M16, 3-0) def. Mitoryu (M17, 0-3) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 2-1) def. Tochinoshin (J2, 0-3) via yorikiri
  • Bushozan (M14, 1-2) def. Oho (M15, 0-3) via oshidashi (frontal push out)*
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 3-0) def. Kinbozan (M14, 2-1) via yorikiri
  • Koteoko (M13, 2-1) def. Takarafuji (M12, 1-2) via yorikiri
  • Daishoho (M13, 3-0) def. Kagayaki (M12, 0-3) via kimedashi (arm barring force out)
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 3-0) def. Takanosho (M11, 2-1) via yoritaoshi (frontal crush out)
  • Myogiryu (M10, 1-2) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-3) via yorikiri
  • Ura (M8, 3-0) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 1-2) via oshidashi*
  • Aoiyama (M9, 2-1) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 0-3) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Takayasu (M7, 3-0) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 1-2) via oshidashi
  • Endo (M6, 2-1) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 0-3) via oshidashi
  • Midorifuji (M5, 3-0) def. Meisei (M4, 1-2) via oshidashi*
  • Onosho (M4, 2-1) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 0-3) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)
  • Mitakeumi (M3, 1-2) def. Wakamotoharu (K, 2-1) via yoritaoshi
  • Tobizaru (K, 3-0) def. Nishikigi (M3, 0-3) via tsukiotoshi*
  • Daiesho (K, 3-0) def Ryuden (M2, 0-3) via oshidashi
  • Hoshoryu (S, 1-2) def. Kotonowaka (K, 2-1) via yorikiri*
  • Abi (M2, 2-1) def. Wakatakakage (S, 0-3) via hatakikomi*
  • Kiribayama (S, 2-1) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-2) via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)
  • Takakeisho (O, 2-1) def. Shodai (M1, 2-1) via oshidashi

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

Takakeisho built upon yesterday’s win on Day 3, with a quick win over the previously impressive looking Shodai. That moves the ozeki up to 2-1. A former ozeki, Takayasu, has looked extremely dominate so far, easily dispatching of Sadanoumi today. Takayasu is ranked maegashira 7 only because an injury-forced absence ruined his record in the last tournament.

It’s clear that he’s a level above who he’s being matched up against in the middle of the banzuke. These kind of bouts might be just what he needs, though, as he creeps back to full fitness before taking on the big names of the division. Joining him at the top of the leader board with a 3-0 record are the recently promoted komusubi Daiesho and Tobizaru.

Hoshoryu, a future yokozuna candidate to some, got his first win today, beating Kotonowaka (who had steam-rolled his first two opponents). Hoshoryu looked to take a more patient approach in this match, compared to his flop against Abi on Day 2.

After getting in on Kotonowaka’s belt he was able to escape a yorikiri attempt and make an angle for a force out of his own (that’s my bout of the day). Kotonowaka’s stable-mate Kotoshoho, who was the championship runner-up and Fighting Spirit away winner in January, is struggling this month. He dropped to 0-3 after being face-planted by Onosho.

Day 4

Full results

  • Hokuseiho (M15, 4-0) def. Mitoryu (M17, 0-4) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Oho (M15, 1-3) def. Chiyonokuni (J2, 0-4) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 3-1) def. Daishoho (M13, 3-1) via yorikiri
  • Kotoeko (M13, 3-1) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 3-1) via yorikiri
  • Kagayaki (M12, 1-3) def. Bushozan (M14, 1-3) via oshidashi
  • Kinbozan (M14, 3-1) def. Takarafuji (M12, 1-3) via oshidashi
  • Takanosho (M11, 3-1) def. Aoiyama (M8, 2-2) via oshidashi
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 2-2) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-4) via yorikiri
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 4-0) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 0-4) via yoritaoshi (frontal crush out)*
  • Myogiryu (M10, 2-2) def. Ura (M8, 3-1) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Takayasu (M7, 4-0) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 0-4) via tsukidashi (thrust down)*
  • Midorifuji (M5, 4-0) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 0-4) via yorikiri
  • Onosho (M4, 3-1) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 1-3) via oshidashi
  • Endo (M6, 3-1) def. Meisei (M4, 1-3) via oshidashi
  • Daiesho (K, 4-0) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 1-3) via tsukidashi
  • Kotonowaka (K, 3-1) def. Nishikigi (M3, 0-4) via katasukashi (under shoulder swing down)*
  • Ryuden (M2, 1-3) def. Tobizaru (K, 3-1) via uwatedashinage (pulling over armthrow)*
  • Kiribayama (S, 3-1) def. Wakamotoharu (K, 2-2) via okuridashi (rear push out)*
  • Hoshoryu (S, 2-2) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-3) via oshidashi*
  • Shodai (M1, 3-1) def. Wakatakakage (S, 0-4) via oshidashi
  • Abi (M2, 3-1) def. Takakeisho (O, 2-2) via hatakikomi*

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

Bad news Takakeisho fans. The ozeki went into his bout with Abi with strapping on his knee and after he was slapped down, he jogged off the dohyo in visible pain. He limped his way back up onto the clay and then backstage. It’s still early in the tournament so a 2-2 record can be turned into an impressive yokozuna earning performance, but that’s unlikely to happen if he’s fighting on one leg. We’ll have to wait and see if he makes it out to face Ryuden tomorrow.

Three wrestlers who are standing out at this stage are Hokuseiho, Takayasu and Daiesho. All are 4-0 and all looked fantastic today. To borrow a western term, though, you have to look at the strength of schedule.

Hokusieho is proving his prodigious talent is better than the lower ranks of the maegashira, Takayasu is showing his is better than the middle of the rankings (which he is forced to compete against only due to an injury last time out), but Daiesho is getting his wins against much tougher opposition.

He was my pick to win this tournament after I saw him win the Fuji TV tournament in February. All those guys will be getting a big test tomorrow, so we’ll see which of them can remain undefeated. Hokuseiho has been dealt former ozeki Ichinojo (who is equally massive and is coming up from juryo for the day).

Takayasu will take on Ura, whose chaotic spontaneity is a challenge for anyone, and Daiesho will meet former ozeki Shodai; who is looking more motivated now than he did in recent tournies.

Bout of the day for me is Hoshoryu defeating Tamawashi with a display of quick feet and then incredible strength to secure the oshidashi.

Day 5

Full results

  • Ichinojo (J3, 5-0) def. Hokuseiho (M15, 4-1) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Mitoryu (M17, 1-4) def. Bushozan (M14, 1-4) via uwatenage (over arm throw)
  • Kinbozan (M14, 4-1) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 3-2) via yorikiri
  • Kotoeko (M13, 4-1) def. Chiyoshoma (M16, 3-2) via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)*
  • Oho (M15, 2-3) def. Daishoho (M13, 3-2) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Takanosho (M11, 4-1) def. Takarafuji (M12, 1-4) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Kagayaki (M12, 2-3) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-5) via oshidashi
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 5-0) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 2-3) via uwatenage
  • Aoiyama (M9, 3-2) def. Myogiryu (M10, 2-3) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)
  • Takayasu (M7, 5-0) def. Ura (M8, 3-2) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)*
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 1-4) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 0-5) via oshidashi
  • Midorifuji (M5, 5-0) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 1-4) via yorikiri*
  • Endo (M6, 4-1) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 0-5) via tsukiotoshi
  • Abi (M2, 4-1) def. Meisei (M4, 1-4) via oshidashi
  • Daiesho (K, 5-0) def. Shodai (M1, 3-2) via oshidashi*
  • Kotonowaka (K, 4-1) def. Tobizaru (K, 3-2) via oshidashi*
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 3-2) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-4) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Mitakeumi (M3, 2-3) def. Wakatakakage (S, 0-5) via tsukihiza (knee touch down)
  • Onosho (M4, 4-1) def. Kiribayama (S, 3-2) via tsukiotoshi
  • Nishikigi (M3, 1-4) def. Hoshoryu (2-3) via kotenage (arm lock throw)
  • Takakeisho (O, 3-2) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-4) via oshidashi

Quick analysis

If Takakeisho is hurting, he didn’t show it today. He blasted through Ryuden to improve his record to 3-2. The pool of undefeated rikishi was reduced to four today, after Hokuseiho took an admirable loss to former ozeki Ichinojo (who out-thought and then out-muscled his much younger opponent).

Your 5-0 wrestlers are Daiesho, Takayasu, Midorifuji and Nishikifuji. Daiesho and Takayasu have looked especially impressive. Today Daiesho smashed Shodai and Takayasu won a very fun bout over Ura. Midorifuji continued to make forcing out much larger men look easy today, wrapping up and then bunny hopping Sadanoumi out of the ring.

Bout of the day for me is Endo vs. Kotoshoho. An aggressive thrusting exchange between the two was halted by a nifty pivot from Endo, which saw Kotoshoho (last tournament’s runner-up sailing head first out of the ring).

I also want to note how many different finishes we had today. It might be a close competition for the Technique Prize this month. I think Kotonowaka might be leading the charge of that one, albeit at this early stage.

Day 6

Full results

  • Mitoryu (M17, 2-4) def. Oho (M15, 2-4) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Shonannoumi (J3, 5-1) def. Bushozan (M14, 1-5) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Daishoho (M13, 4-2) def. Hokusieho (M15, 4-2) via yorikiri
  • Kotoeko (M13, 5-1) def. Kinbozan (M14, 4-2) via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)*
  • Tsurugisho (M16, 4-2) def. Takarafuji (M12, 1-5) via oshidashi
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 4-2) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-6) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Myogiryu (M10, 3-3) def. Kagayaki (M12, 2-4) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)
  • Aoiyama (M9, 4-2) def. Nishikifuji (M10, 5-1) via yorikiri
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 3-3) def. Takanosho (M11, 4-2) via uwatenage (over arm throw)*
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 2-4) def. Ura (M8, 3-3) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Takayasu (M7, 6-0) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 0-6) via shitatenage (under arm throw)*
  • Midorifuji (M5, 6-0) def. Endo (M6, 4-2) via katasukashi (under should swing down)*
  • Meisei (M4, 2-4) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 1-5) via oshidashi
  • Abi (M2, 5-1) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 0-6) via hatakikomi
  • Shodai (M1, 4-2) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-5) via tsukiotoshi
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 4-2) def. Tobizaru (K, 3-3) via hatakikomi
  • Daiesiho (K, 6-0) def. Kotonowaka (K, 4-2) via tsukiotoshi
  • Hoshoryu (S, 3-3) def. Onosho (M4, 4-2) via hatakikomi
  • Wakatakakage (S, 1-5) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-5) via yorikiri
  • Kiribayama (S, 4-2) def. Nishikigi (M3, 1-5) via sotogake (outside leg trip)*
  • Mitakeumi (M3, 3-3) def. Takakeisho (O, 3-3) via oshidashi

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

After a suspected knee injury, this was another day where Takakeisho looked rather ordinary. He looked to be lacking both power and agility thanks to the injury, unable to brace against the charges of Mitakeumi or escape along the edge of the ring before being forced out for his third loss of the basho.

We’ve got three undefeated wrestlers now. Daieisho, Midorifuji and Takayasu have separated from the pack at this point and each of them looks like a serious threat to win the championship. Midorifuji and Takayasu will meet on Day 7. Lower down on the leaderboard Kotoeko (who scooped my bout of the day honours and scored his second sukuinage in a row on Day 6), Abi and Aoiyama are also performing well.

Kiribayama went back to his judo days to score an unusual sotogake victory over Nishikigi this day. However, it might have cost him. Nishikigi has a strong underhook on Kiribayam’s arm when he was tripped and it looked as though that might have hyper-extended the Mongolian’s elbow. Kiribayama then hit the clay on that elbow and took some time to get up. Hopefully it’s not too serious and the sekiwake can continue to build on his 4-2 record.

Three wrestlers are now 0-6 and perilusly close to a losing record. Azumaryu has looked as though he has zero energy in his bouts and has been moved around seemingly at will. Ichiyamamoto has been in some all out brawls and been unlucky to lose in a few of them. Kotoshoho has looked nothing like he did in January, where he went 11-4 and finished as runner-up and Fighting Spirit award winner. He’s switched back and forth between hesitance and rashness this month and has had to eat dirt on more than one occasion.

Day 7

Full results

  • Oho (M15, 3-4) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 4-3) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Kinbozan (M14, 5-2) def. Chiyomaru (J4, 0-7) via yorikiri
  • Mitoryu (M17, 3-4) def. Kotoeko (M13, 5-2) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Bushozan (M14, 2-5) def. Daishoho (M13, 4-3) via tottari (arm bar throw)
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 5-2) def. Kagayaki (M12, 2-5) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)
  • Takanosho (M11, 5-2) def. Hokuseiho (M15, 4-3) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Takarafuji (M12, 2-5) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-7) via oshidashi
  • Ura (M8, 4-3) def. Nishikifuji (M10, 5-2) via oshidashi*
  • Ichiyamamoto (M8, 1-6) def. Myogiryu (M10, 3-4) via katasukashi (under shoulder swing down)
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 3-4) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 3-4) via yorikiri
  • Endo (M6, 5-2) def. Aoiyama (M9, 4-3) via oshitaoshi*
  • Midorifuji (M4, 7-0) def. Takayasu (M7, 6-1) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)*
  • Kotoshoho (M5, 1-6) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 1-6) bia hatakikomi*
  • Meisei (M4, 3-4) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 3-4) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Shodai (M1, 5-2) def. Abi (M2, 5-2) via oshidashi
  • Tobizaru (K, 4-3) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-6) via hikiotoshi
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 5-2) def. Daiesho (K, 6-1) via tsukiotoshi
  • Kotonowaka (K, 5-2) def. Kiribayama (S, 4-3) via yorikiri
  • Hoshoryu (S, 4-3) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-6) via katasukashi
  • Wakatakakage (S, 2-5) def. Onosho (M4, 4-3) via yorikiri*
  • Nishikigi (M3, 2-5) def. Takakeisho (O, 3-4) via fusen (default)

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

Well, Takakeisho’s yokozuna run ends here (for now). The ozeki hurt his left knee on Day 3 and tried to tough it out, to mixed success. It’s being reported that he’s suffered a meniscus injury so it feels as though he may be absent for the rest of this tournament and possible a few more to come. An absence forced losing record here, paired with a total no-show in the next tournament, would see him lose his ozeki ranking and could stall his hopes of becoming a yokozuna for years.

The bout of the day was the clash of the undefeated with Takayasu meeting Midorifuji. And it would be the diminuitive Midorifuji who would advanced to 7-0 (becoming the only wrestler to achieve that this tournament after Daiesho fell to Wakamotoharu). Midorifuji got his win despite the much larger Takayasu laying into him with a massive tach-ai.

He withstood the hit, let the former ozeki lean into him and try and force him out and then quickly thrusted his shoulders down, forcing Takayasu’s forward momentum into the ground. Exceptional performance from the 26-year-old who is competing in only his eighth top division tournament.

Day 8

Full results

  • Kinbozan (M14, 6-2) def. Chiyoshoma (M16, 5-3) via tsuridashi (frontal lift out)
  • Daishoho (M13, 5-3) def. Mitoryu (M17, 3-5) via uwatenage (over arm through)
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 5-3) def. Kotoeko (M13, 5-3) via harimanage (backwards belt throw)*
  • Oho (M15, 4-4) def. Takarafuji (M12, 2-6) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Bushozan (M14, 3-5) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-8) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)
  • Tsusugisho (M16, 5-3) def. Myogiryu via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)
  • Kagayaki (M12, 3-5) def. Nishikifuji (M10, 5-3) via oshidashi
  • Ura (M8, 5-3) def. Takanosho (M11, 5-3) via yorikiri (frontal force out)*
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 4-4) def. Takayasu (M7, 6-2) via yorikiri*
  • Ichyamamoto (M8, 2-6) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 1-7) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 4-4) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 1-7) via oshidashi
  • Midorifuji (M5, 8-0) def. Aoiyama (M9, 4-4) via yorikiri
  • Endo (M6, 6-2) def. Onosho (M4, 4-4) via yorikiri
  • Daieisho (K, 7-1) def. Abi (M2, 5-3) via oshidashi
  • Kotonowaka (K, 6-2) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-7) via yoritaoshi (frontal crush out)
  • Shodai (M1, 6-2) def. Wakamotoharu (K, 5-3) via yoritaoshi
  • Wakatakakage (S, 3-5) def. Nishikigi (M3, 2-6) via tsukiotoshi
  • Kiribayama (S, 5-3) def. Tobizaru (K, 4-4) via uwatenage*
  • Hoshoryu (S, 5-3) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 3-5) via yorikiri

*Must see Bouts!

Quick analysis

On a day where we saw nine different finishing techniques (and just a handful of yorikiri and oshidashi) Midorifuji become the first rikishi to secure a kachi-koshi (winning record). He did that by standing his ground against the initial charge of Aoiyama, who outweighs him by about 160 lbs, and then backing down the larger man with aggressive shoves and barges, making the massive Bulgarian wilt at the edge of the ring. Midorifuji then helped his opponent over the straw to earn the yorikiri.

My bout of the day was the furious battle between sekiwake Kiribayama and komusubi Tobizaru. Tobizaru utilized his chaotic style to try and unsettle the usually poised Kiribayama. Kiribayama was able to hang with Tobizaru’s mobility and level changing attacks before getting snug and going to his judo background for a very pretty throw.

With Takakeisho out, the big storyline heading into this basho is moot. So it will be interesting to see which wrestler/s step out of the ozeki’s shadow to make a name for themselves here. Midorifuji is the front runner in that regards so far, but keep an eye on Daieisho, Kotonowaka and Hoshoryu (who is starting to hit his stride).

Day 9

Full Results

  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 6-3) def. Hokuseiho (M15, 5-4) via uwatedashinage (pulling over arm throw)
  • Bushozan (4-5, M14) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 5-4) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Kotoeko (M13, 6-3) def. Oho (M15, 4-5) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Mitoryu (M17, 4-5) def. Takarafuji (M12, 2-7) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Takanosho (M11, 6-3) def. Kagayaki (M12, 3-6) via oshidashi
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 6-3) def. Kinbozan (M14, 6-3) via uwatedashinage
  • Myogiryu (M10, 4-5) def. Daishoho (M13, 5-4) via oshidashi
  • Takayasu (M7, 7-2) def. Aoiyama (M9, 4-5) via oshidashi*
  • Sadanoumi (M6, 2-7) def. Azumaryu (M11, 0-9) via yorikiri
  • Endo (M6, 7-2) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 4-5) via yorikiri
  • Midorifuji (M5, 9-0) def. Ura (M8, 5-4) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)*
  • Ichiyamamoto (M8, 3-6) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 2-7) via oshitaoshi*
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 5-4) def. Onosho (M4, 4-5) via fusen (default)
  • Mitakeumi (M3, 4-5) def. Nishikigi (M3, 2-7) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Daieisho (K, 8-1) def. Tamawashi (M1, 1-8) via tsukitaoshi (frontal thrust down)
  • Kotonowaka (K, 7-2 ) def. Shodai (M1, 6-3) via oshitaoshi*
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 5-3) def. Abi (M2, 5-3) via yorikiri
  • Hoshoryu (S, 5-3) def. Tobizaru (K, 4-4) via hatakikomi*
  • Wakatakakage (S, 3-5) def. Meisei (M4, 4-4) via oshitaoshi
  • Kiribayama (S, 6-3) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-8) via yorikiri*

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

Another day, another win for Midorifuji. The 9-0 rank-and-filer showed again that he might be the strongest. pound-for-pound, rikishi out there when he blasted through Ura, shoving him into the second row. Bout of the day has to be the marathon grappling session between Kiribayama and Ryuden, which Kiribayama won in gruelling fashion.

Ichiyamamoto’s win over Kotoshoho was a lot of fun, too. Ichiyamamoto was on his skates for this one, also tripping and falling twice, before thrusting the struggling Kotoshoho out.

Hoshoryu vs. Tobizaru was fun, with Tobizaru again forcing an opponent to fight his game (a chaotic one). The Flying Monkey went for a henka to start this one, which the Golden Boy narrowly avoided. Hoshoryu was then able to pivot away from a charing Tobizaru and lead him down and out the ring. The bout ellicited a rare smile from the stoic Hoshoryu and a less rare smile from cheeky Tobizaru.

Onosho was a no-show today after he suffered some sort of knee injury on Day 7.

Day 10

Full Results

  • Mitoryu (M17, 5-5) def. Tohakuryu (J1, 4-6) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Kagayaki (M12, 4-6) def. Oho (M15, 4-6) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Takarafuji (M12, 3-7) def. Bushozan (M14, 4-6) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)
  • Tsurugisho (M16, 6-4) def. Takanosho (M11, 6-4) via yorikiri
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 7-2) def. Myogiryu (M10, 4-6) via hatakikomi (slap down)*
  • Daishoho (M13, 6-4) def. Nishikifuji (M10, 6-4) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 5-5) def. Kotoeko (M13, 6-4) via yorikiri
  • Azumaryu (M11, 1-9) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 3-7) via hatakikomi
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 6-4) def. Ura (M8, 5-5) via yorikiri*
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 6-4) def. Aoiyama (M9, 4-6) via oshidashi
  • Kinbozan (M14, 7-3) def. Takayasu (M7, 7-3) via oshidashi*
  • Sadanoumi (M6, 3-7) def. Nishikigi (M3, 2-8) via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)
  • Tamawashi (M1, 2-8) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-9) via oshidashi
  • Endo (M6, 8-2) def. Shodai (M1, 6-4) via sukiuinage*
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 7-3) def. Meisei (M4, 4-6) via yorikiri
  • Midorifuji (M5, 10-0) def. Tobizaru (K, 4-6) via waridashi (upper arm force out)*
  • Kotonowaka (K, 8-2) def. Abi (M2, 5-5) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)
  • Kiribayama (S, 7-3) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 4-6) via yorikiri
  • Hoshoryu (S, 7-3) def. Daieisho (K, 8-2) via yorikiri
  • Kotoshoho (M5, 2-8) def. Wakatakakage (S, 4-6) via oshidashi

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

It’s time to start hoping for a zensho yusho (undefeated championship win) for Midorifuji. He got one of his stiffest tests this month in the form of Tobizaru, but the young rank-and-filer was able to withstand, nullify and muscle Tobi on route to his tenth win.

Midori won with a rarely seen waridashi. That technique is the seventh diferent kimarite (winning method) across his ten bouts. It’s not going to get easier for him from here, though. He’s matched up with the 7-3 komusubi Wakamotoharu tonight (they are 1-1 against each other).

The bout of the day for me was Hokuseiho versus Ura, because of all the swings back and forth, with Ura doing his best to destabilize the the tall Hakuho student, before Hokuseiho was able to find an opening for the force out. Surprisingly, Hokuseiho’s performances this basho are being overshadowed by the other top rookie, Kinbozan. This day the Kazakh rikishi beat Takayasu by refusing to let the former ozeki get comfortable, or get a grip, before forcing him over the straw.

Day 11

Full results

  • Oshoma (J4, 5-6) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 6-5) via shitatenage (under arm throw)
  • Daishoho (M13, 7-4) def. Kinbozan (M14, 7-4) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Kotoeko (M13, 7-4) def. Takanosho (M11, 6-5) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)
  • Mitoryu (M17, 6-5) def. Azumaryu (M11, 1-10) via yorikiri
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 8-3) def. Nishikifuji (M10, 6-5) via yorikiri
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 7-4) def. Myogiryu (M10, 4-7) via yorikiri
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 6-5) def. Bushozan (M14, 4-7) via yorikiri
  • Oho (M15, 5-6) def. Aoiyama (M9, 4-7) via yorikiri*
  • Kagayaski (M12, 5-6) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 3-8) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Takarafuji (M12, 4-7) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 3-8) via kotenage (arm lock throw)*
  • Kotoshoho (M5, 3-8) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-10) via shitatenage*
  • Abi (M2, 6-5) def. Nishikigi (M3, 2-9) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Ura (M8, 6-5) def. Shodai (M1, 6-5) via katasukashi (under shoulder swing down)*
  • Tamawashi (M1, 3-8) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 4-7) via oshidashi
  • Hokutofuji (M7, 7-4) def. Kotonowaka (K, 8-3) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)*
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 8-3) def. Midorifuji (M5, 10-1) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)*
  • Daiesiho (K. 9-2) def. Takayasu (M7, 7-4) via oshidashi
  • Wakatakakage (S, 5-6) def. Tobizaru (K, 4-7) via okuridashi (rear push out)
  • Kiribayama (S, 8-3) def. Meisei (M4, 4-7) via hatakikomi
  • Hoshoryu (S, 8-3) def. Endo (M6, 8-3) via uwatenage (over arm throw)*

*Must see bouts!

Quick analysis

Midorifuji’s run at an undefeated March ends on Day 11, thanks to komusubi Wakamotorharu. In their bout Wakamotoharu was able to stifle the fighter of the tournament thus far with an incredibly strong inside grip on the left side. He maintained that hold and used it to nullify Midori’s attempts to get over one of his shoulders. With that grip he was able to keep his opponent mostly perpendicular and drive him out.

Despite the loss Midorifuji remains in pole position to take the championship, with Daieisho just behind him. Bout of the day for me was Ura in another Urafest, this time against Shodai. This one had all the back and forth’s you’d expect from the popular pink clad rikishi and ended with a nifty under shoulder swing down.

Nifty as that was, move of the day goes to Hoshoryu, who executed the prettiest over arm throw you could hope to see versus Endo. Golden Boy has quietly worked his way back into contention after a stalled start to the tournament.

There’s a few wrestlers who are flying under the radar right now, but might surprise us with a strong finish this month which might earn them a special prize. Kotoeko, Hokutofuji, Chiyoshoma and the rookie Daishoho has all had strong springs.

Day 12 promises to be exciting with Mongolian frenemies Kiribayama and Hoshoryu matched up. Former ozeki Asanoyama gets the call up from juryo (which it looks like he’ll win again) to take on Oho, too. Midorifuji gets a shot at revenge on Day 12. He takes on the brother of the man who just beat him, Wakatakakage.

Day 12

Full results

  • Oho (M15, 6-6) def. Asanoyama (J1, 10-2) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Kinbozan (M14, 8-4) def. Mitoryu (M17, 7-5) via yorikiri
  • Takarafuji (M12, 5-7) def. Hokuseiho (M15, 7-5) via yorikiri
  • Azumaryu (M11, 2-10) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 6-6) via yorikiri
  • Takanosho (M11, 7-5) def. Chiyoshoma (M16, 8-4) via kotenage (arm lock throw)
  • Myogiryu (M10, 4-7) def. Koteoko (M13, 7-4) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Aoiyama (M9, 5-7) def. Kagayaki (M12, 5-7) via hatakikomi (slap down)
  • Daishoho (M13, 8-4) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 6-6) via yorikiri
  • Ichiyamamoto (M8, 4-8) def. Bushozan (M14, 4-8) via uwatenage (over arm throw)
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 7-5) def. Takayasu (M7, 7-5) via oshidashi
  • Kotoshoho (M5, 4-8) def. Ura (M8, 6-6) via kotenage*
  • Abi (M2, 7-5) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 4-8) via uwatenage
  • Sadanomumi (M6, 4-8) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-11) via yorikiri
  • Nishikigi (M3, 3-9) def. Tamawashi (M1, 3-9) via yorikiri
  • Daieisho (K, 10-2) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 7-5) via oshidashi
  • Kotonowaka (K, 9-3) def, Meisei (M4, 4-8) via yorikiri
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 9-3) def. Endo (M6, 8-4) via kotenage*
  • Shodai (M1, 7-5) def. Tobizaru (K 4-8) via yorikiri
  • Wakatakakage (S, 6-6) def. Midorifuji (M5, 10-2) via uwatedashinage (pulling over armthrow)*
  • Kiribayama (K, 9-3) def. Hoshoryu (S, 8-4) via uwatenage*

*Must watch bouts!

Quick analysis

Bout of the day was the fascinating clash between former judo training partners turned upper-ranks rivals Kiribayama and Hoshoryu, both of whom came into this with a 8-3 record. In the build up to this tournament both men admitted they hated losing to the other, which is about as vicious as sumo smack talk can get.

Off the tachi-ai Kiribayama locked in an outside left grip on Hoshoryu’s mawashi. Hoshoryu inched his fingers into an inside grip on the same side, while Kiribayama was able to get the inside grip on the other side. The pair then took a breath to strategize. Hoshoryu went for a trip, but his fellow judoka wasn’t going to fall for that. Hoshoryu then tried to throw Kiribayama, but he didn’t have the right grip.

It served to break Kiribayama’s grip, but the komusubi was able to re-establish that and keep his hips far enough away that Hoshoryu had to overreach to reply in kind. When Hoshoryu did get on the belt, Kiribayama stepped forward, catching his rival upright and was then able to walk him to the edge. When Hoshoryu leaned forward to save himself, Kiribayama let that momemtum come all the way forwards and helped the Golden Boy onto the clay with the uwatenage.

Hoshoryu slammed his hands together after the loss in a rare display of frustration.

The other big match-up of the day saw Midorifuji get pegged back to 10-2 thanks to a relentless attack from Wakatakakage. Midorifuji is now tied for top spot with Daieisho, who won against Hokutofuji.

Watching Ura roll out of bed is probably exciting. The fan favourite was in another fun bout, this time with Kotoshoho. Ura pulled off an incredible escape in this one where everyone, including Kotoshoho, thought he was out. However, Ura was able to spin and rally. Though that fell short with Kotoshoho being able to execute a beautiful arm lock throw.

Day 13

Full results

  • Ichinojo (J3, 12-1) def. Bushozan (M14, 4-9) via uwatenage (over arm throw)
  • Mitoryu (M17, 7-6) def. Takanosho (M11, 7-6) via hatakikomi (slap down)*
  • Azumaryu (M11, 3-10) def. Oho (M15, 6-7) via okuridashi (rear push out)
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 8-5) def. Hokuseiho (M15, 7-6) via sukiunage (beltless arm throw)
  • Takarafuji (M12, 6-7) def. Myogiryu (M10, 5-8) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)
  • Kinbozan (M14, 9-4) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 6-7) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Tsurugisho (M16, 7-6) def. Aoiyama (M9, 5-8) via yorikiri
  • Ura (M8, 7-6) def. Daishoho (M13, 8-5) via oshidashi (frontal push out)*
  • Kotoeko (M13, 8-5) def. Ichyamamoto (M8, 4-9) via yorikiri
  • Takayasu (M7, 8-5) def. Chiyoshoma (M16, 8-5) via yorikiri
  • Nishikigi (M3, 4-9) def. Kagayaki (M12, 5-8) via oshidashi
  • Sadanoumi (M6, 5-8) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 4-9) via tsukiotoshi
  • Shodai (M1, 8-5) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-12) via yorikiri
  • Kotoshoho (M5, 5-8) def. Tamawashi (M1, 3-10) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Abi (M2, 8-5) def. Tobizaru (K, 4-9) via okuridashi
  • Daieisho (K, 11-2) def. Meisei (M4, 4-9) via yorikiri*
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 10-3) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 7-6) via yorikiri*
  • Kiribayama (S, 10-3) def. Endo (M6, 8-5) via okuridashi
  • Hoshoryu (S, 9-4) def. Midorifuji (M5, 10-3) via shitatenage (under arm throw)
  • Wakaktakakage (S, 7-6) def. Kotonowaka (K, 9-4) via oshidashi after torinaoshi (immediate rematch)*

*Must watch bouts!

Quick analysis

Lots of wild bouts on Day 13 to enjoy. Midorifuji vs. Hoshoryu and Wakatakakage vs. Kotonowaka were back and forth with frentic and exciting endings. Hoshoryu was able to use his strength and size to drag Midorifuji to the ground after being stifled in his foot sweep attempts.

Wakatakakage and Kotonwaka went sailing off the doyho together and the judges ruled that both men touched down at the same time. The immediate rematch was won by Wakatakakage, who seemed to have more left in the tank.

The loss for Midorifuji means he drops back to second place in the leaderboard with a 10-3 record. He joins Kiribayama (who is working on another technique prize) and Wakamotoharu (who was in my bout of the day).

The sole leader is now Daieisho, who went 11-2 with a nononsense win over Meisei. The path to the yusho is now wide open for Daieisho and you wouldn’t bet against him to get it. Tomorrow he’ll face Midorifuji for a chance to eliminate at least one challenger. Kiribayama and Wakamotoharu have tough match-ups tomorrow, too.

Kiribayama will be facing Wakatakakage (who will be hoping to eliminate Kiribayama from contention to help out his brother Wakamotoharu). Wakamotoharu faces Hoshoryu (who has an outside shot at getting into a play-off).

Though there were more exciting back and forth bouts this day, Wakamotoharu’s win over Hokutofuji is my bout of the day. That’s because I am so impressed with how the komusubi was able to put the breaks on when the larger Hokutofuji had him on the edge of the ring. Off his back foot, Wakamotoharu was able to reverse the momentum and then push his foe out for the yorikiri. Incredible stuff.

Day 14

Full Results

  • Shonannoumi (J3, 8-6) def. Mitoryu (M17, 7-7) via okuridashi (rear push out)
  • Oho (M15, 7-7) def. Myogiryu (M10, 5-9) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 9-5) def. Tsurugisho (M16, 7-7) via tsukidashi (frontal thrust out)
  • Aoiyama (M9, 6-8) def. Bushozan (M14, 4-10) via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)
  • Hokusieho (M15, 8-6) def. Hiradoumi (M9, 6-8) via sukuinage
  • Takarafuji (M12, 7-7) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 4-10) via oshidashi
  • Ura (M8, 8-6) def. Azumaryu (M11, 3-11) def. oshidashi
  • Chiyoshoma (M16, 9-5) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 7-7) via yoritaoshi (frontal crush out)
  • Takayasu (M7, 9-5) def. Kotoeko (M13, 8-6) via oshidashi
  • Kotoshoho (M5, 6-8) def. Kagayaki (M12, 5-9) via shitatenage (under arm throw)*
  • Takanosho (M11, 8-6) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 4-10) via okuridashi
  • Kinbozan (M14, 10-4) def. Abi (M2, 8-6) via oshidashi*
  • Nishikigi (M3, 5-9) def. Ryuden (M2, 1-13) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Sadanoumi (M6, 6-8) def. Tamawashi (M1, 3-11) via okuridashi*
  • Shodai (M1, 9-5) def. Daishoho (M13, 8-6) via oshidashi
  • Tobizaru (K, 5-9) def. Meisei (M4, 4-10) via kekaeshi (minor inner foot sweep)*
  • Daieisho (K, 12-2) def. Midorifuji (M5, 10-4) via tsukitaoshi (frontal thrust down)*
  • Endo (M6, 9-5) def. Kotonowaka (K, 9-5) via oshidashi
  • Kiribayama (S, 11-3) def. Wakatakakage (S, 7-7) via fusen (default)
  • Hoshoryu (S, 10-4) def. Wakamotoharu (K, 10-4) via uwatenage (over arm throw)*

*Must watch bouts!

Quick analysis

Wakatakakage is out at the worst possible time. The sekiwake has reportedly suffered numerous leg injuries, including something affecting his ACL, as a result of his bruising encounter with Kotonwaka on the previous day. That bout initially ended with both men slamming hard onto the straw bales. It was too close to call, though, so they went again and Wakaktakakage got the win (which is incredible now knowing how hurt he was).

An ACL tear can put any athlete on the sidelines for a year. If that were to happen here, Wakatakakage’s ranking would plummet to the lower divisions. He was given the automatic loss today, which dropped his record to 7-7. His abense tomorrow will give him a 7-7-1 losing record, which may lead to a demotion to komusubi.

An absolutely horrible turn of events for Wakatakakage, who started slowly this tournament, but lately had shown how special a wrestler he is.

The beneficiary of Wakatakakage’s absence today was Kiribayama. That gave him an 11-3 record, which gives him a shot of winning the championship on the last day.

The only other man who can win the yusho is Daieisho, who blasted through Midorifuji. The loss means Midorifuji, who got off to a 10-0 start this month, is now out of contention for the championship.

On the last day it will be Daieisho vs. Kiribayama. If Daieisho wins the Emperor’s Cup is his. If Kiribayama wins, that will force a play-off (and immediate rematch between him and Daieiesho for the trophy).

Bout of the day for me is Tobizaru’s rare foot sweep win over Meisei. The recently promoted Tobizaru has been rather dissapointing this tournament, but he has been able to score a couple of fun, and tricksy, wins.

Day 15

Full Results

  • Tsurugisho (M16, 8-7) def. Kagayaki (M12, 5-10) via yorikiri (frontal force out)
  • Kinbozan (M14, 11-4) def. Takanosho (M11, 8-7) via sukuinage (beltless arm throw)
  • Azumaryu (M11, 4-11) def. Daishoho (M13, 8-7) via shitatenage (under arm throw)
  • Nishikifuji (M10, 10-5) def. Kotoeko (M13, 8-7) via yorikiri
  • Bushozan (M14, 5-10) def. Myogiryu (M10, 5-10) via oshitaoshi (frontal push down)
  • Hiradoumi (M9, 7-8) def. Oho (M15, 7-8) via yorikiri
  • Mitoryu (M17, 8-7) def. Aoiyama (M9, 6-9) via hikiotoshi (hand pull down)
  • Ura (M8, 9-6) def. Chiyoshoma (M16, 9-6) via yorikiri*
  • Hokuseiho (M15, 9-6) def. Ichiyamamoto (M8, 4-11) via yorikiri
  • Takarafuji (M12, 8-7) def. Hokutofuji (M7, 7-8) via tsukiotoshi (thrust down)*
  • Nishikigi (M3, 6-9) def. Kotoshoho (M5, 6-9) via uwatenage (over arm throw)
  • Ryuden (M2, 2-13) def. Mitakeumi (M3, 4-11) via yorikiri
  • Abi (M2, 9-6) def. Endo (M6, 9-6) via oshitaoshi
  • Shodai (M1, 10-5) def. Midorifuji (M5, 10-5) via kimedashi (arm barring force out)*
  • Meisei (M4, 5-10) def. Tamawashi (M1, 3-12) via oshidashi (frontal push out)
  • Tobizaru (K, 6-9) def. Sadanoumi (M6, 6-9) via uwatenage
  • Wakamotoharu (K, 11-4) def. Kotonowaka (K, 9-6) via utchari (backward pivot throw)*
  • Takayasu (M7, 10-5) def. Hoshoryu (S, 10-5) via uwatenage*
  • Kiribayama (S, 12-3) def. Daieisho (K, 12-3) via tsukiotoshi*
  • Play-off: Kiribayama (S, 12-3) def. Daieisho (K, 12-3) via tsukiotoshi*

*Must watch bouts!

Quick analysis

Kiribayama gets the yusho! And does so with an incredibly gutsy display. The Mongolian sekiwake earned his first ever Makuuchi division championship on the final day with back-to-back wins over the komusubi Daieisho. Kiribayama came into his match with Daieisho knowing he needed to win to force a play-off.

And he did just that, withstanding the punishing rush of Daieisho before pivoting, deftly and usering his opponened over the straw for the tsukiotoshi victory.

Kiribayama has been extremely impressive this tournament in recognizing his opponent’s strengths and game-planning around them, as exhibited here versus Daieisho’s aggressive thrusting game and previously versus Hoshoryu (where he focuses on stifling his rival’s ability to throw and trip before landing a throw of his own).

In the play-off, Daieisho didn’t show any kind of adjustment. He charged forward again looking to thrust, instead of grabbing a belt of doing something less predictable. And, again, Kiribayama was ready to withstand the rush and use Daieisho’s forward momentum to get him out. The play-off was a closer affair, though, needing a mono-ii (judge’s review) to determine whose body touched the outside of the ring first.

The replay showed that Kiribayama was able to hesitate putting his foot down so it landed just before Daieisho’s hand hit the dirt. Kiribayama’s foot actually landed on Daieisho’s hand, if that was an intentional ploy to ensure he was judged last man standing then that’s just genius on the part of the first time champion.

In addition to winning the Emperor’s Cup, Kiribayama also won the Technique Prize (his second in a row and very much deserved). What a tournament from the 26-year-old ozeki candidate.

Daieisho was also awarded a Technique Prize for his strong performance over the course of the tournament. Kinbozan, who was appearing in his first ever top division tournament, earned the Fighting Spirit Prize thanks to to his surprising 11-4 record. Midorifuji could have won the Outstanding Performance Prixe had he defeated Shodai, but the rank and filer fell for the fifth day in a row.

In the Juryo division former ozeki Ichinojo (who is only in the second division because of a suspension for COVID rules breaking and accusations of assault) won the championship in a tournament run that could be described as “man against boys”. Another former ozeki Asanoyama (who is in the lower division because of a COVID based suspension, too) finished runner-up. There was also winning records for wildly popular Miyagino wrestlers Ochiai and Enho, too.

Up next is the Natsu Basho (or Summer Tournament), which starts on May 14 at the legendary Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. The rankings for that tournament will be released on May 1.

Thanks to everyone for following along with this month’s SUMO STOMP! See you in the summer.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at Nice messages will get a response.

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