So far 0-2 Ozeki Asanoyama took on returning champion Terunofuji in an exciting grappling match. They first faced each other last basho, Terunofuji prevailing and going on to win the title. Asanoyama finished runner-up with a respectable Ozeki record of 12-3, but with the pressure of being the highest ranking active wrestler at the moment, Asanoyama is struggling to reproduce convincing results. This would arguably be his toughest match-up so far, especially with Terunofuji seeking his first win as well.
Asanoyama met Terunofuji with a strong tachiai, staying low and driving straight back. He wasted no time getting both arms inside on the Mongolian. Terunofuji braced hard against the dohyo’s edge as he secured a left grip on the belt. This prompted an impatient left sukuinage attempt from the Ozeki, but Terunofuji’s takedown defense was in full effect, and as the two circled around to square up, Terunofuji used his grip to pull Asanoyama into a seemless uwatenage.
After the match Terunofuji took press questions. When asked how he felt beating the Ozeki twice in a row, the last time during a yusho race, “It’s not significant. Yesterday’s sumo is over. It’s one fight per day, and I want to go full steam ahead and do what I can,” he said humbly. Asanoyama had no comments for reporters.