EMPEROR'S CUP WINNER: MUSOYAMA
Fighting Spirit Award: Takanowaka, Kyokutenho
Outstanding Performance Award: Musoyama, Miyabiyama
Outstanding Technique Award: Musoyama
Kyokushuzan pushed and pulled Takanowaka to win his 8th bout. Takanowaka nevertheless finished the tourney with an excellent record of 10 wins 5 losses. Miyabiyama gave thrusts and took out Tokitsuumi for his 12th win. Takanonami had no choice but to win this bout. Fans cheered with sympathy. He fought carefully against Chiyotenzan. And finally taking the belt with his left hand, forced Chiyotenzan down. Takanonami was in tears after winning his 10th bout. He will fight as ozeki next tourney. Kyokutenho, as he stood up went for Tochiazuma's head and pulled him down. And then came the major bout of the tourney. Musoyama who leads in wins faced mighty man Kaio. Kaio did not try to go forward but moved aside, perhaps hoping that Musoyama would be taken off guards. But Musoyama just went straight at him and thrusted Kaio out for the Emperor's Cup. It's Musoyama's first ever tourney win. For his Musashigawa stable, it's a 6th straight victory. The Japan Sumo Association decided that it would like to see Musoyama perform in the next grand tourney before giving him ozeki ranking. Other bouts of the day--Dejima defeated Chiyotaikai. Both finished with 9 wins 6 losses. Akebono tried to resist Takanohana's shove, but in the end was forced down the dirt packed ring. Takanohana and Miyabiyama finished as runners up with a 12 - 3 record. Akebono who on Friday was accused by a former sumo wrestler for fixing bouts marked 11 wins 4 losses.
Mongolian Kyokushuzan and the tall Kotonowaka struggled against eachother so long. But Kyokushuzan ended by throwing the big guy for his 7th win. Surprisingly, Takanowaka attached Miyabiyama to the edge of the ring and drove him down. The bout cost Miyabiyama his 3rd loss. Takanonami defeated Kaio to accumulate another win. He still has hope to regain the ozeki title. Musoyama successfully pushed out Kyokutenho to keep the lead. Takanohana walked out Dejima. And the final bout was quite something. Chiyotaikai shifted aside and while Akebono lost balance, shoved the yokozuna out. Red cushions flew all over the arena. And following the loss Akebono stood looking pensive. With only one more day left, Musoyama became the sole rikishi with 12 wins. 3 follow him with 3 losses. They are Akebono, Takanohana and Miyabiyama.
Miyabiyama was in great shape again. He took out Mongolian Kyokutenho to win another bout. Takanonami secured a majority win by defeating Shikishima. And he still has a chance to regain the ozeki title if he wins the remaining 2 days. Musoyama banged into and pulled down Chiyotenzan. Chiyotenzan fell flat on the ring. Akebono got hold of Dejima fast. They stroll from one side of the ring to another. And the yokozuna took the ozeki out. Chiyotaikai went quickly toward Takanohana, but the yokozuna got Chiyotaikai's belt and walked him out. Top contenders for the Emperor's Cup are Akebono, Musoyama, and Miyabiyama. By the way, the last two belong to the same sumo stable, and can only face eachother in case of a playoff.
Kotonowaka walks out of the ring as a result of Kyokutenho's confident drive to clinch his 10th win. Chiyotenzan unfortunately looses to Takanowaka to fall behind as contender to the Emperor's Cup. Both rikishi are 9 to 3. Akinoshima appeared to have secured a good position to defeat Miyabiyama. But in the end, Miyabiyama thrusted him down to win again. Musoyama also won by pushing out Kotonishiki. Takanonami was beaten by Chiyotaikai. This is the last loss he can take, otherwise he would not be able to return to ozeki. Takanohana kept his style of sumo to defeat Kaio. Akebono came forward and pushed against Tochinonada. One more powerful push would have done it, but Tochinonada stepped aside. Akebono lost balance and flopped. Cushions were thrown in toward the ring. Now there are 4 competing for the top spot. They are Akebono, Musoyama, Miyabiyama and Kyokutenho.
Chiyotenzan and Kyokutenho both won again to improve their record to 9 wins 2 losses. The up and coming Takanowaka secured a majority win by twirling Shikishima then taking him out. Miyabiyama forced Tochinonada on the floor by pushing his back for his 9th win. Takanonami, at the edge of the ring, from an awkward position tried to hurl Musoyama with a grip of his belt. Musoyama resisted by putting his leg around Takanonami's. The former ozeki went down. This time, both ozeki won, and so did both yokozuna. So Akebono remains on top, followed by Musoyama, Miyabiyama, Chiyotenzan, and Kyokutenho.
Musoyama charged forward showing strength and confidence for his great bouts so far this tourney. But Tochiazuma remained reserve. He stepped aside to drive Musoyama out. Dejima pushed and shoved against Takanonami. Takanonami tried to put his arm around the young ozeki's shoulder but it was done in vain. Dejima hurled him out. Takanonami hoped off the ring for his 3rd loss. It appeared Chiyotaikai was hopeless shoved to the edge of the ring by Akinoshima. But somehow, Chiyo got around to throw him, while he himself slipped down the ring with his face gashing on the side of the ring. Takanohana grabbed Tochinonada and as the yokozuna pushed, Tochinonada fell on his bottom. Akebono pushed and pushed keeping his eyes on Kotonishiki's every move and finally thrusted him down. Akebono is again the front runner by himself followed by Musoyama and lower rankers in the makuuchi division, Chiyotenzan and Kyokutenho.
Takanonami used an overarm throw to defeat Tochinonada. Musoyama was incredible. He pushed out the tall Kotonowaka to secure a majority win. Both ozeki won today, but there were upsets in the highest of high. Akebono pushed forward, but not strong enough that Miyabiyama stopped him, moved aside, to hurl the big yokozuna down. Miyabiyama struck a winning pose. It's the new komusubi's first victory over a yokozuna. And Akebono's succumbed to his first loss. Takanohana tipped forward as Tosanoumi shifted to the side. Tosanoumi said in an interview that he planned the rather sly move because he's not in shape. The top runners are Musoyama and Akebono with a loss each. There are 4 in the runner up group.
The emperor and empress attended the tourney. Kyokutenho successfully thrust down Asanosho for his 7th win. Takanonami hooked his arm over Kotoryu and hurled him down. Dejima and Tochinonada tried to hurl eachother at the edge of the ring. Both tumbled at about the same time so the bout was redone. But the second time round, Dejima was overpowering with his push. He's 5-3. Chiyotaikai made the mistake of pulling back to succumb to his 4th loss while Tochiazuma clinched his 5th. Musoyama lost a grip of Takanohana's belt. But then, he tightly held the yokozuna's arm and pushed him down the ring. Akebono blasted forward to drive Kaio down the ring. Akebono remains on top followed by Musoyama and Kyokutenho with a loss each.
The kokugikan was packed full for the 2nd time this year. Terao showed us a rare but familiar skill. As he got a grip of Hamanoshima's belt with one hand, Terao picked the opponent's leg up with the other and took him out. He used the "sotokomata"-- a technique Kyokushuzan used on him on the 4th day. Takanonami faced Kotonowaka--a man of his size. The start cost him the bout. Kotonowaka took the good position of getting hold of the former ozeki's belt. Takanonami could not do anything but being taken out. Musoyama was in good shape again pushing out Kotoryu after a non-stop fight. Chiyotaikai pushed forward with thrusts to defeat Asanowaka. Dejima easily overcame Kaio. So both ozeki clinched their 4th win. Akebono pushed Tosanoumi into the audience. Takanohana withstood Kotonishiki's various techniques for his 6th win. Akebono still leads followed by Takanohana, Musoyama and Kyokutenho.
It was one of those unusual days without any upsets. Some of the exciting bouts were as follows. Kaio attempted to throw Higonoumi a couple of times. Then Higonoumi slipped and Kaio fell on top of him. Higonoumi had trouble walking afterwards. He was wheelchaired out the arena. Takanonami took out Tochiazuma for this 4th win. Ozeki Dejima and Chiyotaikai won. So did both yokozuna. Akebono still keeps the lead.
Tochinonada who had a perfect record until this day was defeated by surprisingly Terao. Terao clearly was on the defense pulling back and appearing helplessly moving along the rim of the ring. But Tochinonada was put off by that move. Terao moved around and drove Tochinonada out. Tosanoumi burst out with power to push Asanowaka out for his 2nd win. Kaio easily lost to Miyabiyama and both marked 3 wins and 2 losses. Chiyotaikai pushed forward against Tohki to win his 2nd bout at last. Dejima too won by taking out Kotonishiki. The main bout of the day was the match between former ozeki Takanonami and yokozuna Akebono. But the Hawaiian born proved to be invincible thrusting forward, although losing balance somewhat near the edge of the ring, pushed Takanonami out. Takanohana skillfully manipulated his grip of Kotoryu's belt for his 4th win. Akebono has become the only one with a perfect record at the end of the day.
Tokyo had its first snowfall this winter. Musashimaru pulled out due to a sprained left wrist. It's the first time that last year's top winner withdrew from a grand tourney. If he completed this one, he would've marked his 50th tourney in a row in the makuuchi division without a day being missed--a sumo record. But the day went by without him. A unique skill which had not been used for 10 years was witnessed . Kyokushuzan took Terao's belt with his left hand and pushed behind his knee with the other to put the 36-year old on the floor for his first win. The Mongolian told reporters later that it's a skill often used in Mongolian wrestling. Kaio showed his incredible strength by hurling Kotoryu out. Tosanoumi got under Takanonami. But Takanonami fought well by moving sideways and pushing Tosa down. Dejima fought back after Tohki wearing a bright orange belt pushed him till the edge. But Tohki was able to stay inside the ring with one foot up and another just inside it. Chiyotaikai tried to push forward fast, but was not strong enough to defeat Musoyama. Both ozeki marked their 3rd loss. Fortunately, the remaining 2 yokozuna kept their self-esteem. Takanohana took out Miyabiyama, and Akebono quickly defeated Asanowaka.
One of the top gyoji or refrees, Shikimori Inosuke who was penalized for wrongly judging a bout last tourney, reported to the sumo association his desire to withdraw from participating in this tourney due to an illness. Here are some of the main bouts of the day. Kaio immediately thrust down Tosanoumi for his 2nd win. Tosa is down to 2 losses. Takanonami knocked down Miyabiyama while squeezing the new komusubi's arm under his. The former ozeki clinched his 3rd win. Current ozeki Chiyotaikai quickly lost to Kotoryu while Dejima marked his first win of the tourney by pushing out Asanowaka. Takanohana tried to force down the big Kotonowaka with his arms a couple of times, but Koto stood sturdy. Taka was the one to fall off the ring for his first loss. Musashimaru took out Tohki and so did Akebono defeat Musoyama. So it was again a day of upsets.
It was a day of upsets. Kaio and Kotonishiki fought furiously against eachother. Kaio overpowered by throwing Kotonishiki with one hand. Takanonami this time defeated Asanowaka. Musoyama pushed down Tosanoumi following a side by side position and both having a grip of eachother's belt with one hand. Dejima was powerless. Kotonowaka attacked him and pushed him down. Another ozeki lost to Miyabiyama who pushed forward quickly. Musashimaru had a tough long sumo. He basically could not use his left bandaged hand. And Kotoryu after many tries at last walked out the big guy. Akebono like the day before thrust forward. He overwhelmed Tohki who was dressed like his oyakata the former Takamiyama. Takanohana pushed at Tochiazuma and tumbled him down the ring in an overarm throw. So a yokozuna and 2 ozeki lossed.
Takanowaka who attracted new fans last tourney pulled back and then shoved down Tochitsuumi. 36 year-old Terao took off with thrusts and pushed down Aogiyama for his total 600th win in the makuuchi division-- ranking him in the top 7 among modern rikishi. He exceeded the great Kashiwado. Takanonami who's been scraped of his ozeki title fought as sekiwake. He will be reinstated if he earns more than 10 wins this tourney. His commitment to sumo was felt. He came in to the kokugikan as early as 2 pm while normally wrestlers of his rank would come in an hour later. He seated himself by the ring early too to wait for his turn to fight. His opponent was the unpredictable fighter Kotonishiki. Kotonishiki stood up and charged too fast that the bout had to be started again. The second time, Takanonami took an aggressive action. The former ozeki went ahead and shoved Kotonishiki out, while he himself crashed down on the ring. New komusubi Miyabiyama was still without an official fanshaped top knot. He faced Tochiazuma by starting off strong and shoving him that Tochiazuma's hand touched the ring. Chiyotaikai was so quick, Kotonowaka was driven out from behind. Dejima and Tosanoumi got a hold of eachother's belt and shoved back and forth. In the end, Tosanoumi pushed the ozeki out. Akebono was back in shape after missing the whole Kyushu tourney. He went for Kotoryu's throat and won. Takanohana pushed out Tohki. Musashimaru reached for Kaio's belt with his right hand and took him out. All yokozuna fought a satisfactory sumo before a sellout crowd.
Pre Tourney highlights
Wakanohana's withdrawal confirmed
Wakanohana decided to skip the New Year's tourney. He missed the last one in Kyushu too after failing to recover from a leg injury sustained in the autumn tourney last year. His withdrawal was approved by the Japan Sumo Association Jan. 7.
Kyokushuzan ready to wed
It was learned the end of Dec. that Kyokushuzan's girlfriend is carrying his baby. The mother to be is a 21 year-old Mongolian. They are expected to tie the knot soon, and hope to become naturalized Japanese.
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