For the 4th time this tourney, a full audience turned up. Kotonishiki overwhelmed 36 year-old Tochinowaka by driving him out with just one arm. Kotonishiki's 11 - 4 record was worth the Outstanding Performance Award. The main bout of the day was no doubt the 2nd to the last one between Wakanohana and Musashimaru. Maru took the first action with shoves, but Wakanohana immediately took control of the move and pushed Maru out. Wakanohana clinched the Emperor's Cup for the 5th time. In the final bout, the 2 yokozuna faced eachother. Akebono was quick in getting hold of Takanohana's belt and took Taka out easily. Both finished the tourney with 10 wins 5 losses, an unsatisfactory record for the highest ranking rikishi. By the way, since Wakanohana earned his 2nd straight grand tourney victory, he may be given a promotion--that is, to yokozuna.
Good news for Terao fans. The Typhoon was able to earn a majority win in a fast moving bout against Kotoryu. Dejima and Akinoshima faced eachother. Akinoshima quickly drove the young and up coming wrestler out. Both have 10 wins and 4 losses. Takatohriki no longer has any chance to win the Emperor's Cup with his defeat against Kaio. Takatohriki is down to 9 wins 5 losses. Akebono repeatedly thrusted Wakanohana. In the end, Waka moved away from the thrusts. That shift put Akebono off balance. The other top contestant, Musashimaru was driven out by Takanohana, so Waka is the sole leader with 11 wins 3 losses. There are 6 rikishi with 10 wins 4 losses.
Yokozuna Takanohana fought a disappointing bout. Musoyama shoved the yokozuna, then Taka slipped. Akebono's opponent was fellow Hawaiian born rikishi Musashimaru. Maru gave a number of thrusts, and Akebono, suddenly appeared to have lost his balance and fell. Both yokozuna are down to 4 losses. The top contenders for the Emperor's Cup have been narrowed down to 3. They are Dejima, Wakanohana, and Musashimaru.
The focus of attention was on how many of the 10 rikishi tied for 1st place will be eliminated this day. Kyokushuzan was defeated by Kotoinazuma, Kotonishiki by Chiyotaikai, and Takanonami lost to Akebono's powerful thrusts. 7 have successfully claimed their 9th win. They are Dejima, Takatohriki, Akinoshima, Musashimaru, Wakanohana, Takanohana and Akebono.
The tourney is certainly becoming competitive. Dejima, Mongolian Kyokushuzan and Akinoshima all won to improve their records to 8 wins 3 losses. Kotonishiki was overthrown by Shikishima to tie with the former 3. This tourney's top favorite, Wakanohana practically slipped off from Kaio's arm for his 3rd defeat. The other 2 ozeki were matched up. Musashimaru gave thrusts one after another. Takanonami changed his motion slighly, and with that, Maru was put off, and tumbled down the ring. Both ozeki too are with 3 losses. Takanohana defeated Asahiyutaka and improved his record to 8-3. Takatohriki lost to Akebono's powerful thrusts and succumbed to his 3rd loss. Akebono too marked the same number of wins as those mentioned earlier. There are 10 tied as the top contenders for the Emperor's Cup.
Takatohriki faced his second straight loss driven out by Musashimaru. Takatohriki is still the top contender for the Emperor's Cup. He is, however, tied for the trophy with Kotonishiki, who beat Akinoshima with a fractured right foot--resulted from the incredible bout fought the previous day, and with Wakanohana and Musashimaru. Takanohana was not himself. He could not even reach for Shikishima's belt, and was weakly thrown out of the ring. Shikishima clinched his 2nd straight victory from the yokozuna. Akebono celebrated the birth of a baby girl by taking out Oginishiki. There are 7 rikishi with 3 losses including the 2 yokozuna.
Kotonishiki surprised everyone and more so his opponent Takatohriki. He leaped about a meter as the bout took off. Takatohriki had not expected this and he was easily driven out of the ring. Takatohriki lost a bout for the first time this tourney. Kotonishiki's record is 7 wins and 2 losses. All ozeki won this time, and Akebono too. However, Takanohana was beaten by Minatofuji to a neck throw. Despite the defeat, Takatohriki still leads the pack. There are a number of rikishi tying for second with 2 losses each. They are Takanohana, Kotonishiki, Akinoshima, Dejima, Musashimaru and Wakanohana.
Takatohriki aimed at Wakanojo's throat and took him out for his 8th win. He's the first to secure a majority win. The next bout was between Akinoshima and Tochinonada. Akinoshima overpowered Tochinonada with a tug. In the upper rankings, Oginishiki, who earlier defeated the Taka and Waka brothers, drove Takanonami down in a struggle at the edge of the ring. The other significant defeat was faced by Akebono in his 600th bout in the makuuchi division. Kotonishiki's non-stop attack hindered the yokozuna from taking any drastic action. Akebono is down to 3 losses. Takanohana improved his record walking Tamakasuga out of the ring. He is the runner up with Akinoshima while Takatohriki keeps the lead.
At last, the tourney welcomed a fullhouse. Takatohriki added another win to his perfect record by defeating Dejima in a quick bout. Ozeki Takanonami, Musashimaru and Wakanohana all won as well as both yokozuna. Akebono's victory was a result of a technique he hardly uses. He toppled Musoyama to an overarm throw. Takatohriki remains the leader of the pack while Takanohana and Akinoshima follows him with one loss. By the way, the top 3 runners belong to the Futagoyama stable.
It was an incredible day in the upper rankings. Musashimaru seemed to just walk out of the ring himself, although Kaio did get hold of his arm to make it happen. Wakanohana was driven out by Kotonishiki. Takanonami tried to get his arm over Tochinonada's shoulders. That move worked against him and he was the one to drop to the ring. Yokozuna Takanohana faced his first defeat of the tournament by crashing down the ring with Oginishiki over him. Akebono, at least won, although his legs lacked strength. The makuuchi rikishi with a perfect record is Takatohriki alone. He pushed out Higonoumi.
All ozeki won, improving their records to 4 wins and a loss. Akebono and Chiyotaikai thrusted eachother a couple of times before Chiyotaikai could no longer withstand the blows. Akebono clinched his 3rd win. Kyokushuzan, Takatohriki and Takanohana are the 3 with perfect wins.
There were upsets this day. Ozeki Takanonami was thrusted out by the energetic Chiyotaikai. The most surprising defeat was Wakanohana's. Waka was on the offensive move with Oginishiki. However, Oginishiki walked to the side and Waka dropped. Both ozeki suffered their 1st loss. Akebono kept on losing his balance. Tosanoumi initiated the first step to throw the yokozuna over, but ended up going down first. Akebono is with 2 wins 2 losses.
Both high ranking Mongolians, Kyokutenho and Kyokushuzan won their bouts before their president Natsagiin Bagabandi who attended the tourney. All ozeki overwhemled their opponents. After Takanohana beat Kotonishiki to an overarm throw, the mood was that Akebono would swifly take his bout too. However, this was not so. Tochinonada drove the gigantic yokozuna out the ring. Akebono faced his 2nd defeat of the tourney.
The day did not have many exciting bouts. All those above ozeki ranking won. Takanonami struggled a bit against Kotonishiki who constantly took action. The ozeki in the end took Kotonishiki's arm and got him out. New komusubi Chiyotaikai attacked Takanohana from the beginning, but as if he was out of breath, he suddenly stopped near the edge of the ring and the yokozuna drove him out.
23 of the sekitori or high ranking wrestlers are those who have had college education which is a record high in the world of sumo. 2 such wrestlers who have been newly promoted to the juryo division this time, Dewataira and Iyotsukasa faced eachother. Dewataira won. In the top makuuchi division, Dejima is finally back after fracturing his left leg on the 7th day of the the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament. He celebrated his comeback shoving Kitakachidoki out of the ring. In the ozeki plus ranking, Musashimaru who was the one taking the forward move lost balance when Kotonishiki slid to the side. Maru flopped down the ring. The ozeki is said to have put on 9 kilos from last tourney. Takanohana wore a very serious expression during the purification ceremony before his bout. The yokozuna was able to take out Tochinonada. Akebono was powerless. Akinoshima easily shoved him out. The Hawaiian born yokozuna's defeat is in his bad start. It's the first time since 1970 that an opener in Tokyo failed to attract a fullhouse.
Pre Tourney highlights
Stablemaster Futagoyama supervises Takanohana
Yokozuna Takanohana who dropped out of from the middle of previous two grand tourneys practiced sumo while his father and stablemaster Futagoyama looked on. It's the first time on Apr. 22 that Futagoyama sat in on Takanohana's practice since he was released from the hospital on March 21st. His father's presence had triggered Takanohana to attack hard the opposing low ranking wrestlers. However, his father seemed not to be pleased with his exaggerated movements.
On Apr. 28, Taka resumed real practice. That's against the high rankers. Although Taka showed his usual power in the beginning, after the 5th round, he had difficulty gaining back his breath for more practice bouts.
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