EMPEROR'S CUP WINNER: TAKANOHANA
Outstanding Performance Award: Dejima
Technique Award: Dejima, Tochiazuma
Fighting Spirit Award: Tochinonada
Terao who has the 5th most makuuchi appearance and Konishiki with the number 6 record, faced eachother in the top division for the 36th time. They started out with thrusts and Terao's slight movement to the side put Konishiki off. The Dump truck finished the tourney without any wins. Terao marked his 7 wins to 8 losses.
Michiyo's Note: It was reported that after the bout, Konishiki said that no matter what his ranking would be in the next tournament,he is determined to continue fighting. What a relief it is to sumo fans to hear that comment, because it was rumored that he would quit if he drops to the juryo division.
The tourney victory all depended on Musashimaru. He faced fellow ozeki Takanonami. Maru went head on towards him, but Takanonami decided to move out of the way. This action was unexpected, and Maru lost his balance, and was defeated. It was indeed a terrific support by Takanonami, giving his stablemate Takanohana a chance for a playoff with Maru. Takanohana took advantage of it. It wasn't difficult for him to defeat the injured Akebono to an overarm throw. In the playoff, Takanohana did not allow Musashimaru any chance to get to his belt. The yokozuna quickly grapped Maru's frontal part of the belt and pushed him out. Takanohana marked his 18th grand tourney victory.
The top contenders, Takanohana and Musashimaru performed a powerful sumo. The yokozuna tried to avoid Maru from getting hold of his belt, but the ozeki insisted. Both eventually had one hand holding eachother's belt. Then the ozeki shrewdly grapped the yokozuna's belt with his other hand too, and pushed him down out the ring. Musashimaru has become the sole leader. By the way, Akebono, who appeared in the final bout with Takanonami lost easily. His left knee seemed to be in such terrible shape. One shove had him off balance,sweeping the ground with his hand. Another ozeki, Wakanohana had a tough victory over Tamakasuga.
Musashimaru faced slighly elder Hawaiian born Akebono. The 2 big guys got eachother's belts. Maru, however, took a better position. He was in control of the bout, guiding the yokozuna to the edge of the ring. He pushed and pushed. Akebono would not give up, even though his left leg was badly injured from 2 days ago. Musashimaru kept on shoving too, and finally won the bout. He has, along with Takanohana who defeated Tosanoumi to an overarm throw, improved his record to 12 wins 1 loss. Following them with 3 losses each are Wakanohana and Takanonami.
Another high ranker, former schoolteacher Tomonohana withdrew from juryo bouts. He seriously hurt his arm muscle the previous day.There are 9 absent from the top 2 divisions now, for the first time since 1959. The bout of the day, was no doubt, Akebono vs Wakanohana. The yokozuna's legs were struggling to hold up his heavy body when Waka slipped to the side in the beginning, but Akebono straightened himself and attacked the ozeki--thrusting him out. So Waka and Ake are tied with 3 losses, and surprisingly, Takanonami too. Still running ahead are Takanohana and Musashimaru.
2 high ranking wrestlers won their bouts without even having to fight, because their opponents dropped out from the tourney from this day. Asanosho withdrew from the match against new makuuchi rikishi Wakanojo. New sekiwake Tochiazuma marked a majority win by Kaio's default. The total number of high rankers who are out at this moment is 8, the worst record in 33 years. As for the active bouts--2 ozeki were matched up. Musashimaru practically chased Wakanohana out with his persistent shoves. Yokozuna Akebono was pushed out from behind by Takatoriki to whom he lost the previous tourney. Takanohana was challenged by an aggressive Konishiki who almost sent the yokozuna out the ring with a strong grip of his belt. However, the yokozuna's last resort--an overarm throw, toppled the heaviest rikishi. Tying for 1st place now are Takanohana and Musashimaru, followed by Wakanohana with 2 losses.
Konishiki was matched up with Akebono. The yokozuna slapped the older Hawaiian's face as they took off to fight, then immediately grabbed the belt. It was an easy victory for the yokozuna. Konishiki is yet without a win. All in all, none of the ozeki and yokozuna lost their bouts. By the way, Kaio decided to withdraw from this tournament after Takanonami defeated him.
Konishiki is back! The sumo fans applauded him more than anyone else. He was matched up with ozeki Musashimaru. Both got hold of eachother's belts, but it was the younger Hawaiian born that won the bout. The highest ranking man from Hawaii, Akebono took on the young, up-and-coming Dejima. The yokozuna gave such powerful thrusts at Dejima that the gyoji or refree thought the yokozuna won. But when the judges checked the videotape, they saw Akebono falling on the dirt first. It was a major upset. The refree's judgement also disappointed the sumo officials that he took on a 3 day suspension for the next 3 days. Akebono is no longer with the leading group. It now consists of only Takanohana, Musashimaru and Wakanohana.
The unbeaten Wakanohana was easily caught off guard. His opponent, Kotonowaka, got a hold of his belt with his left hand and toppled the ozeki. Now the tourney is very competitive. At the end of this day, Wakanohana, along with Musashimaru and the 2 yokozuna are tied for first place. Konoshiki, by the way, has been released from the hospital, and is scheduled to perform again from the next day.
A full crowd turned up this day which it had not been able to attract after the first day of the tourney. Veteran rikishi Tochinowaka dropped out from the runner up pack, defeated by Kotonowaka. The other top contenders all won. Some of them were quite competitive. Musashimaru struggled with new sekiwake, Tochiazuma for a minute and 10 seconds. Takanohana at one point lost balance and could have been easily pushed out, but Aogiyama was as tipsy and was instead taken out.
Takanonami lost again! The ozeki succumbed to Kyokushuzan's overarm throw for his 3rd loss. The other ozeki and yokozuna did all right. So Wakanohana is yet unbeaten, followed by a pack with one loss each. They are Takanohana, Akebono, Musashimaru, and amazingly veteran Tochinowaka who defeated the muscular Terao to an overarm throw.
A high ranking rikishi withdrew from the juryo division. He's Ohikari. The previous day, Daihisho slapped him so hard at his face that the bones around his left eye broke. It's quite a serious injury. As for the bouts in the highest makuuchi division, an upset occurred again. Ozeki Musashimaru who has had a perfect record so far lost to Takatoriki's forceful shove from behind the head. Wakanohana's victory over Mongolian Kyokushuzan as a result, made him the only guy with a clean record. Both yokozuna won this time.
It was unusual that a yokozuna should lose his balance during the prestigious ring entrance ceremony. Akebono did, and the audience groaned with surprise. This performance seemed to be an omen of what was about to occur to him. Tochiazuma took off to a great start against Akebono. The yokozuna failed to show any strength and was driven out of the ring. The spectators threw their cushions toward the ring like freezbies because of the upset. All other ozeki and yokozuna won. However, Takanonami did without fighting. His opponent of the day, the big Konishiki was hospitalized due to severe pain of his infected left leg. He hopes to be back as soon as possible, so as not to be demoted to the juryo division.
Mainoumi marked his first win by overthrowing Higonoumi. Kaio quietly toppled the popular Konishiki for his 2nd win. Konishiki has not won a bout as of this day. In the highest rankings, Takanonami got down on his knee and dropped completely as Tochiazuma used an overarm throw. Akebono didn't need to fight at all, that's because his opponent Musoyama decided to leave the tournament due to his calf injury. The biggest disappointment of the day happened in the end. Dejima, who is unable to wear his hair in a fan shape yet faced Takanohana. Dejima shoved the yokozuna non-stop and Taka attempted to reverse the situation at the very edge of the ring, but failed. It's the first time Dejima defeated a yokozuna.
The biggest and disappointing new this way was probably the fact that the tourney did not have a sell out crowd. Musoyama was no match against Kyokushuzan. It was the Mongolian's one-sided attack. Musoyama injured his calf during the local tour before the tournament, and it has prevented him from practicing. Tochiazuma defeated the always aggressive Takatoriki in a second. Tochinonada pressured Wakanohana to the edge of the ring, but the ozeki demonstrated his quality technique by reversing the situation. All ozeki and yokozuna won their bouts.
The Emperor and Empress visited the sumo arena, and stayed to watch from the beginning of the makuuchi ring entrance ceremony until the very end of the tourney. The Emperor seemed overjoyed just seeing the enormously big Konishiki. The Hawaiian born rikishi and his opponent Takatoriki thrust eachother harshly for a while. Konishiki soon got hold of his arms and was about to drive the rival out. Takatoriki, however, slipped away and got himself safely inside the ring while the Dump truck instead, walked out in total dismay. New sekiwake Tochiazuma faced another up and coming wrestler Tochinonada. Tochiazuma was unable to respond to cheers from fans. He was thrusted forward, falling on the ring. Kaio is back! He had no practice with high rankers before the start of the tourney, but he reacted well to Tosanoumi's start and moved away slighly to get him falling on the ring. Of the champion titled rikishi, ozeki Takanonami was the only one who lost. He was driven out by Dejima. Yokozuna Akebono gained 8 kilos this tourney, or totalling 234 kilos, and defeated Mongolian, Kyokushuzan with his powerful thrust.
Pre Tourney highlights
Tochiazuma has become the 2nd fasted promoted sumo wrestler. He is fighting under the title of sekiwake or the 3rd highest ranking. It took him only 17 tourneys to reach this high. His father took 55 tourneys. The quickest ever to earn the sekiwake ranking is Hawaiian born Konishiki who will be fighting at maegashira number 2. Tochiazuma can certainly be proud of the fact that he's promoted much faster than the Waka and Taka brothers.
Former yokozuna Chiyonofuji is elated to see his first "deshi" or apprentice making it to the highest makuuchi division this tourney. His name is Chiyotaikai. Chiyotaikai is ranked maegashira number 11.
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