Unbeaten Ozeki Kisenosato (8-0) defeated Ikioi (7-1) at Edion Arena in Osaka, on the 8th day of the 15-day Spring tournament.
Kinsenosato entered the day with a tie for the lead with No. 4 maegashira Ikioi. But by defeating Ikioi, he took the sole lead of the tourney. He is seeking his first grand tournament championship.
Ikioi was aggressive, but Kinsenosato stood strong. Kinsenosato turned the tables and pushed his opponent out, walking away confident and victorious.
Now THAT’S a confident strut.
The big story continues to be Ozeki Kotoshogiku (7-1), who won his first career championship in January at the Tokyo tournament. The January championship made him the first Japan-born sumo wrestler to win a championship in 10 years! And if Kotoshogiku manages to win this tournament, or have equivalent wins, then he would be eligible for promotion to Yokozuna–the highest rank in sumo.
Kotoshigiku faced Komusubi Tochiozan (2-6), who charged swiftly at him. Kotshogiku was rocked, but seized control and eventually pushed Tochiozan out. Kotoshigiku is now only one loss away from Kinsenosato.
This means tomorrow’s sumo match between Kotoshogiku and Kinsenosato may determine the winner of the tournament, and whether Japan may see its first Japan-born Yokozuna since Takanohana Koji in 2003. Personally, I’m rooting for Kotoshogiku to win, but Kinsenosato is a worthy opponent.
Yokozuna Harumafuji also defeated No. 4 maegashira Sokokurai, improving to 6-2.
Yokozuna Kakuryu (7-1) defeated No. 3 maegashira Aoiyama (3-5), and drove him out of the ring.
In the final match, Yokozuna Hakuho (7-1) faced a spirited challenge from Sekiwake Yoshikaze (2-6), which turned bloody. In the end, Hakuho was able to forcefully shove Yoshikaze out of the ring, causing his opponent to fly out of the dohyo.
In another interesting match, Ozeki Goeido (7-1) used the “henka move” to defeat No. 2 maegashira Tochinoshin (1-7). This is a move that is looked down upon in the sumo world—it basically consists of the sumo wrestler side-stepping his opponent in the initial charge. Think of it as a bull fighter side-stepping a charging bull.
Goeido needs every win he can get, because he needs at least 8 wins to avoid being demoted to the lower rank of Sekiwake. Still, this is the second time he used the “henka move” in this tournament. I’ll cover the “henka move” and others in another post.
Stay tuned tomorrow for another update on the sumo tournament!
As always, feel free to share with your friends, and comment below.