EMPEROR'S CUP WINNER: MUSASHIMARU
Outstanding Performance Award: none
Outstanding Technique Award: none
Fighting Spirit Award: Kotomitsuki
In the juryo division, Terao gave thrusts and drove down Oginishiki to win. But to the dismay of fans, the highly popular rikishi announced his retirement after the bout. Finishing with only 5 wins, he would be demoted to a lower division. Terao at the same time ended the sumo record of 110 consecutive tournaments ranked sekitori or high ranking rikishi.
Other highlights of the day, Kotomitsuki in a competitive bout, managed to with his right hand shove Wakanosata out the ring. Kotomitsuki marked his 12th win. Asashoryu hooked his right leg around Musoyama's to topple him. It's the Mongolian's 10th win. Chiyotaikai and Kaio clashed. Kaio got a hold of his opponent and drove Chiyo out. Kaio finished with 12 wins while Chiyo with 10. The 2 yokozuna faced eachother to the delight of fans with both tying for the lead. Musashimaru with head low clashed into Takanohana. Maru did not allow Taka to take his belt. Instead, Maru with his thick arm and big body grapped Taka and drove him down the ring. Maru fell from the ring right after Taka. Musashimaru clinched the Emperor's Cup for the 12th time. During the awarding ceremony, Musashimaru said that this was the happiest victory for him. He indicated that it's no big deal fighting against people lower ranking than him when Takanohana was out for the past year, and so he was waiting for Takanohana's comeback.
Michiyo's Note: Sumo was said to have been losing fans. Fans were especially disappointed the previous tourney with so many top rankers out with injuries. But this time, with Takanohana back and most ozeki giving top performance attracted back fans no doubt. It was one of the best grand tournaments in a long time.
Miyabiyama lost to Takanowaka, and Takanonami to Kotoryu. Both former ozeki marked their majority loss. Kotomitsuki charged forward toward Asashoryu. The two wrestles for eachother's belt for a while. Then Kotomitsuki threw the new ozeki to earn his 11th win. The Mongolian faced his 5th loss. Musoyama was almost driven out, but kept his toes within the ring. He in the end toppled Wakanosato to secure a majority win. Chiyotaikai attacked Musashimaru with thrusts. But they did not threaten the yokozuna. Musashimaru wrapped his arms around the ozeki's and took him out. Kaio attempted a throw a number of times, but Takanohana's lower body was stable. Then Takanohana with his right hand on Kaio's body pushed slightly then pulled to put him down. The 2 yokozunas are tied for the Emperor's Cup and will meet the final day.
Takanonami walked Kyokushuzan out. Both are 6 to 7. And Miyabiyama's record became the same too by defeating Takamisakari to a push out. Asashoryu suffered. He could not get hold of Wakanosato's belt and was taken out. It's the new ozeki's 4th loss. Musoyama attacked Kotomitsuki's throat at the edge of the ring, and it appeared he would win. But Kotomitsuki shifted to the side, and instead pushed down the ozeki. Takanohana made a surprising move as his bout took off. He stepped to the side, and Chiyotaikai went charging near the edge of the ring. He turned back to fight, but Takanohana pulled back fast and thrust him down. Kaio was outstanding. He shoved Musashimaru and hooked his right leg around Maru's to trip the yokozuna down. With the loss Musashimaru's tied with Kaio and Takanohana for the Emperor's Cup.
Two long time rikishi clashed against eachother in the juryo division. Terao gave continous thrusts at Takatoriki. Takatoriki tried to move forward but was driven down. Takatoriki faced his 9th lost and at his ranking of juryo number 11, it's become clear that he'll be demoted to a inferior division. Taking this into account this became his final bout in his pro sumo career. The top makuuchi division is very competitive in the ozeki ranking and above. Kaio powerfully took out Wakanosato. Chiyotaikai banged into Kotomitsuki and thrust his opponent down. Asashoryu attached Musashimaru. At one point Asashoryu seemed to be in an advantage as he shoved the yokozuna to the edge of the ring. But Maru in the end threw the new ozeki. Takanohana with a strong grip of Musoyama's belt drove the ozeki out. Musashimaru leads, followed by Takanohana, Chiyotaikai and Kaio.
Kotomitsuki is doing well. He did struggle against Akinoshima but managed to shift himself to put the long time rikishi down. It's his 9th win. Takanonami wrapped his arm over Shimotori's shoulders and took him out. It's the former ozeki's 5th win. Kaio drove out Tamanoshima to mark his 9th victory. Chiyotaikai charged forward with thrusts and drove down Musoyama. The big match of the day was between Takanohana and Asashoryu. The Mongolian attacked the yokozuna's throat, Taka gave him thrusts, then Asashoryu in return slapped him. The pushing and shoving continued until Asashoryu hooked his leg around Taka's. The yokozuna then gave an overarm throw. It's reported that Takanohana behind the scene was greeted by former tennis star Martina Navratilova who was watching the tourney. In the final bout of the day, Musashimaru pushed out Takanowaka. Maru is now the sole leader. Runners up include Takanohana, Chiyotaikai, Asashoruyu, Kaio and Kotomitsuki.
In the higher ranks, Chiyotaikai clashed into Asashoryu. But he pulled back and lost to the Mongolian ozeki's push. Chiyo faced his 2nd loss. Kaio and Musoyama went for eachother's belt. In the end, Kaio with his magnificent right hand through the other ozeki. Kaio secured his majority win and his place as ozeki. He would've been demoted if he finished the tourney with a majority loss. Musashimaru slapped Tamanoshima and thrust him out to win. Takanowaka tried different tricks against Takanohana. But the yokozuna seemed to be in good balance, in the end walking his opponent out. Takanohana clinched his majority win. The leaders now are only Musashimaru and Asashoryu with 9 wins each.
Takanonami managed to move around to get Miyabiyama off balance and thrust him down. Both are 4 to 5. Musoyama took Takanowaka out. 2 ozeki faced eachother. But Kaio got hold of Asashoryu fast and pushed his back out. The Mongolian succumbed to his first loss. Chiyotaikai had his one hand on Wakanosato's top not and threw him to win. Wakanosato fell on his butt. Tohki attacked Takanohana with thrusts. Taka however was not overwhelmed. Rather, he tried to get Tohki's belt and in the end pushed him out. Musashimaru appeared at one point to be out of control, but managed to drive Tosanoumi out the ring. Taking the lead for the Emperor's Cup are Musashimaru, Chiyotaikai and Asashoryu.
New komusubi Takamisakari won his first bout against Takanonami. Tosanoumi got Musoyama off balance and took the ozeki out. It's Tosa's 5th win, and Musoyama's 2nd loss. Kaio drove out Kyokutenho. Chiyotaikai was quick to defeat Shimotori. Asashoryu got Kotoryu's arm between his, and threw him. Asashoryu's the first to secure a majority win. Musashimaru was pressured by Tohki's thrusts to pull back but in the end walked him out. Takanohana struggled against Wakanosato, but close to the end of the bout, he seemed to have recalled his style and did not try to fight back but kept his head low and steady.
Kaio beat Shimotori this time for his 5th win. Chiyotaikai struggled against Takamisakari, but in the end pushed the new komusubi out. The ozeki is 6 to 1. Asashoryu put down Takanowaka to keep his performance clean. Musoyama attacked Kotoryu's throat and pushed him out. Takanohana was again was received on the ring with a huge applause. He tried to get Tochinonada's belt. He couldn't quite get a good grasp. But in the end managed to throw his opponent down. Musashimaru easily drove out Wakanosato. It's the yokozuna's 6th win.
In the juryo division, Terao was back after pulling out for 3 days. And to the delight of sumo fans, he thrust down Harunoyama for his first win this tourney. In the high ranking bouts, Chiyotaikai went forward to push out Tohki. Asashoryu attacked Takamisakari's throat and pushed him out. Musoyama drove out Kyokutenho. Kaio appeared to have been about to take out Takanonami. But he removed his hand from the former ozeki's belt and that ruined everything. Takanonami instead got behind Kaio to drive him out. Kaio faced his 2nd loss. Musashimaru drove out Shimotori. Takanohana tried hard to get hold of Tosanoumi's belt and in the end threw him down to win.
Takanonami tried to throw Wakanosato on the edge of the ring. But his arm slipped, and down he went instead. Wakanosato is 4 to 1 while the former ozeki 2 to 3. Asashoryu beat Tosanoumi to keep his record clean. Musoyama, as he fell forward, pushed down Tohki. Kaio easily defeated Tochinonada. Chiyotaikai aimed at Miyabiyama's throat and in the end pushed him out. Kotoryu gave Takanohana thrusts. The yokozuna hit back. But his feet did not move swiftly enough that he seemed to have lost balance and fell on his hand. It's Taka's 2nd loss. In the final bout, Takamisakari got hold of Musashimaru's belt. But could not pick the heavy man up. Instead Maru with his great big belly drove the new komusubi out.
Musoyama twisted down Shimotori for his 3rd win. Kaio too won by taking out Tosanoumi. Chiyotaikai pushed out Takanonami. Asashoryu had a tough bout against another Mongolian Kyokutenho. But the new ozeki in the end won with a dynamic over arm throw. Musashimaru easily walked out Tochinonada. Takanohana hit Miyabiyama back and got his opponent's belt with his left, to take him out.
Terao ranked in the juryo division pulled out from the tourney hurting his back the previous day. In the makuuchi, Miyabiyama pushed and pushed to take out Wakanosato. Both are 2 to 1. Kaio easily drove out Tohki. Chiyotaikai with thrust drove out Kotoryu. Asashoryu pulled Takanonami. Takanonami's arm banged into the new ozeki's head. Both fell, but Takanonami was down first. It's Takanonami's first lost. Musoyama pushed down Takamisakari. Takanohana this time immediately defeated Shimotori with an over arm throw. Musashimaru easily walked out Kyokutenho.
Poor referee. Koichi Kimura was pushed down by Akinonoshima who fell to Kyokushuzan's overarm throw. Kimura is reported to have sustained a deep cut near his eye brow. In the top rankings--Chiyotaikai this time drove out Tochinonada for this first win. Asashoryu was aggressive. The new ozeki fell on top of Miyabiyama to drive him out. Musoyama gave Takanonami thrusts in the throat, but Takanonami stopped his opponent from further aggression, and by stepping aside, pushed him down. Kaio this time easily defeated Takamisakari. Musashimaru appeared to be pushing Kotoryu with his big belly, and he won. Kyokutenho stood up and pressed forward against Takanohana. The Mongolian appeared to lose his balance slightly, and Taka with his right tried to push. But the yokozuna was already taken to the edge of the ring and went down first. No cushions were flown within the sumo arena despite the upset.
The sell out crowd was obviously focused on one bout. It's to see Takanohana fight for the first time in 7 tourneys. He first made his public appearance at the Kokugikan with other high rankers and the chairman of the Japan Sumo Association to mark the beginning of the tourney. But when everyone was leaving the ring, Taka took his time to feel the texture of the dirt. Then he was on the ring again to perform the yokozuna's ceremony. He lifted each of his legs up high with dignity. And in the crucial bout, he was set to fight the up and coming new komusubi, Takamisakari. The bout took off. Taka grabbed Takamisakari's belt with his left. The yokozuna slightly lost balance but grabbed again his opponent's belt with his right, and also got a better posture with his left too. The yokozuna shoved him out. The audience's applause towards Taka was enormous. His father, Futagoyama Stable master was one of the juries sitting by the ring had his head low. Perhaps he was swallowing his tears.
In other bouts--Terao was back fighting in the juryo division He gave thrusts, fell on his hands, losing to Kinkaiyama. In the makunouchi division--new ozeki Asashoryu got Shimotori with his left and pushed him out. Musoyama was back fighting after missing the previous tourney. He pushed out Tochinonada Kaio was too far from Miyabiyama to give him a final blow when he was losing balance. Kaio fought a poorly succumbing to a loss. Chiyotaikai who has a chance to win yokozuna ranking this tourney, gave thrusts at Tosanoumi. Tosanoumi pulled back and the ozeki fell. What an upset! And after Takanohana's bout, the other yokozuna was on. Musashimaru made 2 turns in the fight against Takanonami. In the end Takanonami bashed Maru with his right shoulder to win. The first day was fought in the presence of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako.
Pre Tourney highlights
Takanohana disappoints general practice
On Sept 2, a general practice was held with the participation of the Yokozuna Council at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. Takanohana was present. He did his leg lifting drills, but failed to actually fight. This disappointed the council members. Takanohana also looked to be in a bad mood.
Takanohana to fight this tourney
Takanohana held a press conference on Aug 26, and said that he will take part in the September tourney. He said his right knee is ok. The following day, he for the first time in months summoned a high ranker to fight with him during practice. It's former ozeki Takanonami. His brother, the former Wakanohana looked on.
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