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translated from French by Jelena Macan, Yann Hamon and Julien Griffon
proofread by Denis Chaton

Rikishi talk - Natsu Basho 2005

day 1 day 2 day 3 day 4 day 5
day 6 day 7 day 8 day 9 day 10
day 11 day 12 day 13 day 14 day 15

Day 1

Asashoryu: « [On his state of mind in this tournament’s beggining, as his bout lasted almost 15 seconds] Oh, in this kind of situation, you can’t afford any nervousness. [On his bout, when he didn’t really push thoroughly at the very beginning] You know, you have to avoid pushing excessively. Though, I shouldn’t have this kind of self-confidence when I fight. [On Kotomitsuki, a former rival, whom he’s been beating systematically since november 2002, which is a 15-bout winning streak] I’m nostalgic for the time when we proudly stared at each other, just before fighting. [On his obvious lack of practice before the tournament] Even when I was practicing, I didn’t manage to be either satisfied or sick of it. I was practicing without any mental energy. [On his shape and weight] During the interval, I put on weight and I now miserably weigh 148 kg. When I saw my yusho portraits, I thought to myself: « Oh, you got fatter, guy! (laughing) » Mainichi
« [On getting close to the three greatest fighters (Futabayama, Taiho and Chiyonofuji) in the record book] I really wish to be with them, as far as records are concerned. [On his mawashi’s colour] Black gives me a steady style. » Sanspo

Kotomitsuki: « [On his defeat against Asashoryu, his 15th in a row] I intended to catch the front part of my opponent’s mawashi with my left hand, but… when he attacked my face, I skilfully managed to stay alive. I’ve been severely defeated only from a strategical point of view. » Sanspo

Kokonoe Oyakata (Chiyotaikai’s master and former yokozuna Chiyonofuji): « [On being the most recent one to achieve two series of 4 consecutive yusho, and about Asashoryu tying with him if he wins this one] I see nothing which could prevent him from doing so. » Mainichi

Tochiazuma: « [On his quick victory on russian hope Roho] As my opponent was attacking me, it encouraged me to go forward. [On his strategy against Roho] As my opponent is tall, I had to get totally up. Entering the dohyo, it was clear in my mind that I wasn’t going to look for a left outside mawashi grip. [On his tournament’s start] I can practise an offensive sumo, and that makes me really happy. » Mainichi
« [On his clear victory over Roho] As my opponent’s raw strength is impressive, I expected a tough brawl. But I was able to deliver the attack I had planned. [On the yusho, as specialists say he is the only one able to prevent Asashoryu from winning it] During the first five days, there will be many bouts in which I will not be able to do my own sumo, so I prefer not to think about that and keep my concentration for the 15 days. » Sanspo

Takamisakari: « [On his defeat against Jumonji, as he has tears in his eyes] Misfortunes never come alone. I’m hurt, but I don’t know exactly where. [On the violent harite (face slap) given to him by Jumonji] After this kind of face slap, I keep my determination to fight till the end. [On mothers’ day today] I don’t think this place is appropriate to talk about that. » Mainichi

Jumonji: « [On the 9 kensho he won after beating Takamisakari] Incredible! That goes directly to my bank account, guys! (laughing) » Mainichi

Kaio: « [On his injured left shoulder] Compared to Osaka Basho in march, I would say that the pain is quite bearable. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his victory over Tochinonada] When you manage to win your first bout in a tournament, you feel definitely better. (Hakuho lost his first bout in Osaka and then went on with a terrible tournament’s start, before recovering in the end). » Mainichi

Tochinonada: « [On his defeat against Hakuho] Ah, I can’t believe it! During the tachi-ai, I’ve been hit in the face, and unfortunately my body got up. » Mainichi

Ama: « [On his defeat against the older mongolian fighter, Kyokushuzan] It was impossible for me to use my strength. Yet, I wasn’t anxious and I wasn’t shaking. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his victory over fellow mongolian Ama] I didn’t expect to fight with such a quick tempo. It’s crazy how difficult and exhausting it is! » Sanspo

Katayama: « [On his defeat for his first bout in makuuchi] My legs remained stuck in the dohyo, preventing me from moving. It’s obvious, to fight in front of such an audience is really something different. I think I was a bit too nervous. » Mainichi

Wakanosato: « [On his victory over Kyokutenho] I’m glad I won my first bout in this tournament. Besides, I did it the right way, as I always kept on moving forward. » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his kadoban status (he’ll be demoted from his ozeki rank if he doesn’t manage to get a kachi-koshi)] It’s the seventh time it happens to me, so I’m used to it. Let’s say it enables me to remain under a good and healthy pressure. My body moved well during this bout. » Mainichi

Tosanoumi: « [On his defeat against Miyabiyama] As it is the shonichi (first day of a tournament), I had decided to go straight forward at the tachi-ai, giving all I had. But, in front of me, my opponent slipped aside. I should have guessed it, it’s not the first time he’s done that. » Sanspo

Day 2

Kaiho: « [On his defeat against Hakuho, who turned into a Chiyotaikai, sending him a tsuppari storm] He ran into me several times. I can tell you my ears are still echoing. » Mainichi
« [On his performance against Hakuho] I felt I was doing quite good, but the man in front of me really had the upper hand. » Sanspo

Hakuho: « [On his unusual bout against Kaiho, in which he used pushing sumo] I tried to give much power to each of my tsuppari. As I was sending my volleys, the idea of trying to catch his mawashi crossed my mind, but finally I thought it was more logical to keep on beating him like this till the end. [On the lessons he learned from his failure in Osaka] During the previous tournament, I didn’t feel any pressure, but here, in comparison to Osaka, I realize that my state of mind is totally different. » Sanspo

Kumagatani oyakata (Hakuho’s mentor): « [On the advice he gave to Hakuho after his failure in Osaka, where he was aiming for a promotion to the rank of Ozeki] I told him that relying too much on a possible mawashi grip was prejudicial to him. He has to add another string to his bow and to use efficient weapons again, with a pushing sumo. » Mainichi

Oshima oyakata (Kyokushuzan and Kyokutenho’s master): « [On Hakuho, who practiced pushing sumo in his beya, just before the tournament] I told him he shouldn’t use hari-sashi in any situation (this technique consists in attacking your opponent with tsuppari at the tachi-ai, just to make him go back and get your favourite inside mawashi grip). I ordered him to keep going forward when he gives his tsuppari. » Mainichi

Katayama: « [On his first victory in makuuchi, although he was in a very difficult position against Shimotori] I’m really glad I didn’t give up and I didn’t resign. I didn’t manage to do my own sumo, but I’m happy with this victory yet. [On his mother (53 year old) who came the day before at the second floor of the Kokugikan for the mother’s day] She was going back to Shizuoka today. But, even a day late, I dedicate this victory to her as a gift. » Mainichi

Wakanosato: « [On his victory against Tochiazuma, who yet skilfully managed to prevent him from getting any mawashi grip during a bout which lasted almost a minute] From the tachi-ai to the end of the bout, I did nothing but attacking, and I gave absolutely all I had. » Mainichi
« [On his state of mind as he fought the ozeki Tochiazuma] Actually, I put myself in the shoes of a young beginner who has the honour to practice on an elder fighter’s chest. So, I put all my forces in the bout. [a quiet fight, finally] Oh no, it’s exactly the contrary. I was desperate during the whole bout, and I can’t remember any similar adventure. » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his defeat against Wakanosato] The upper part of my body unfortunately went too much ahead. With my nice performance and the kind of sumo I’ve shown today, I assure you that I can hardly believe it. » Mainichi

Kitanoumi rijicho: « [On Tochiazuma’s performance] He is not to be blamed, but his own momentum made him lose. » Yomiuri

Tamanoi oyakata: « [Tochiazuma’s master and father] His left shoulder gets better and better. But yet, I think it’s the reason why he lost. With the kind of sumo he practised, if he had been at 100% of his abilities, the result would have been different. » Nikkan

Asashoryu: « [On his victory over Tochinonada] I payed a particular attention to my opponent’s left hand. Compared to yesterday, I was able to put power in my legs. It’s probably because I’ve eaten suppon yesterday evening (Suppon are little turtles eaten by japanese people, they are supposed to give strength and energy to men). » Mainichi
« [On the advice Chiyonofuji gave him about his 148 kg weight] He told me that with these three more kilos, I would not be able to get an outside right mawashi grip any more. I first thought that was nonsense, but now I realize that what he said is happening (In order to regain his quickness, Asashoryu has decided to go on a diet during the tournament, he’s going to eat much less rice). » Sanspo

Chiyotaikai: « [On his second victory in a row] During the previous tournament, I had two losses at that moment, so I can tell you that from a psychological point of view, it’s night and day. [On today’s bout] Whoever faces me, what really matters is to do my own sumo. That will be the key to my success or failure. » Mainichi

Roho: « [On his victory over tamanoshima, the first one in this tournament] I caught the front part of his mawashi with my left hand, and I didn’t lose my grip till the end. Yesterday, against Tochiazuma, my tachi-ai was miserable and I couldn’t do my own sumo. But I understood the lesson, and I came back. » Mainichi

Hokutoriki: « [On the 8 kensho he wins at the expense of Takamisakari] With all these kensho, my motivation to win this bout stepped up. You know, I came to just destroy him. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his victory over veteran Kotonowaka] His mawashi was really loose. It got up, and I had to get it lower, in order to work efficiently on him. In mongolian wrestling, what I did today would be considered as pure routine. » Mainichi
« [On his fight of the day after against Takamisakari, and its set of kensho] Mrs, my heart is already burning from desire. As I’ve got no money left, I really wish to be solvent again. (Kyokushuzan refers to the robbery of his wallet on the 7th of april, right during the jungyo, with 850 000 yens in it!) » Sanspo

Kaio: « [You don’t use your left side anymore, do you?] Yes, I’m aware of what you say. I really have to put more pressure on my opponents when I fight. I haven’t got any safety margin these times. I have to get more involved mentally in my bouts. » Sanspo

Day 3

Hayateumi: « [On his victory over Tokitenku with his speciality, goat's leap at the tachi-ai] As I climbed to the dohyo I had every intention to start straight ahead. And then midway through I gave that up and opted for a flight at the tachi-ai. » Mainichi

Tokitsuumi: « [On his victory thanks to Kotoshogiku's slip-up] I was just about to give up the fight. I was beaten 200%. » Mainichi

Kotoshogiku: « [On this bout which he lost due to his own mess-up, when he was about to crush Tokitsuumi] I can only apologise for today's performance. There is nothing else to be said. (Kotoshogiku cut the interview short by walking away from the journalists) » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On the intense stare he exchanged with Takamisakari before the bout] From his stare I could sense his will to murder me, and I was intrigued by that. You know, that was quite some fun. » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On the killer gaze he directed at Kyokushuzan, it looked as if he thought “this guy’s rubbish”…] Yeah, I thought about it for a second! For this bout, I resurged like a pendulum. You know, it was as if I was going to face the yokozuna. I thirsted for blood and when I pulled him in to fight him, I literally wanted to kill him! » Mainichi
« [On his poor eyesight still allowing him to fiercely stare at Kyokushuzan] My eyes have 0.1 astigmatism but, you know, during preparations for a bout I can distinguish my opponent very clearly. » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his bout against Kaiho] When I think about it, I would say that I was skilfully attacked. Since Kaiho penetrated well in the core of my defence and had me fussing, I own it to myself to do a more proper and precise sumo. » Mainichi

Miyabiyama: « [On his clear defeat against Asashoryu, who threw him like a ball of string] That makes it two tournaments in a row that he made me eat humble pie with his surrealist throws. It's unbearable and even depressing to find yourself like that (i.e. flying horizontally!). » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On his awe-inspiring throw which recalls the famous “Wolf special” so dear to the Wolf, the great yokozuna Chiyonofuji] Having won this bout, I looked at the seat of chief judge (i.e. Kokonoe oyakata, the former yokozuna Chiyonofuji). Just before I came in to fight, I thought of him and what he accomplished in his time. He had a slight frame, but my was he strong. And I am myself also quite pleased with this victory which resembles his, even if I don't consider this technique to be the Wolf special. » Mainichi
« [On the developments of his bout] When I got my right handed grip on the mawashi, it warmed my heart. (Referring to Kokonoe oyakata's predictions, who thought him too fat and no longer quick enough to get a right-handed grip on the mawashi) [On his injured left shoulder] I can take this pain. In any case, my body is getting better and better. » Sanspo

Kokkai: « [On his defeat against Tosanoumi] Whatever I do, I show my lack of form. I find it impossible to put my opponents under pressure. [On his bout against the yokozuna tomorrow] I'll summon all my power. » Mainichi

Katayama: « [On his narrow win over Toyonoshima] I kept an eye constantly on Toyonoshima's feet at the tawara (rice straw bales around the ring). I can tell you this victory is of great importance for the remainder of the tournament.. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his one sided defeat against Iwakiyama's powerful pushes] I would like to turn back the time and fight him again. » Yomiuri
« [On the development of the bout] At the tachi-ai, as I launched my attack my body suddenly straightened. Exposed like that, I received the full brunt of my opponent's pushes, which wasn't my intention at all. You know, I'd like to repeat that bout. » Sanspo

Kumagatani oyakata [Hakuho's mentor]: « [On Hakuho, who was head and shoulders above Iwakiyama in the training] He had fought him with full calm and without a show of difficulty. » Yomiuri

Kotomitsuki: « [On his defeat against Chiyotaikai] When I got the control of my legs back, it's just then that he suddenly pulled me to himself. [You consider this to be a loss by a pull on the head?] That's how I see it. I think I really haven't displayed far-sightedness and aggression in this bout. » Sanspo

Chiyotaikai: « [On his victory over Kotomitsuki] With the means currently at my disposal, it is very hard for me to do an offensive sumo where I move forward. So, taking that into account, I have to encounter bad fortune with resolutely and content myself with this sort of wins. » Mainichi
« [On the proceeding of this bout] I put all I had into my tsuppari. Starting from that, I could not foresee what would happen on the dohyo next. Today it wasn't the real Chiyotaikai, more like a pale copy. [On the fact that he struggles with injuries, which cut short his training regimen] In these difficult times, I can only intensify my power of concentration. If I can do that, it won't be that bad. » Sanspo

Kokonoe oyakata [Chiyotaikai's master]: « [On the tournament of his protégé Chiyotaikai] When one lacks training, I can tell you one will have serious problems to manage until the end of the tournament. » Sanspo

Kotonowaka: « [On his defeat against Kisenosato, the youngest among makuuchi] At the tachi-ai, I launched the tsuppari hoping to get into a yotsu position with my right hand on his mawashi. Today, I really made a young man's error. » Sanspo

Ama: « [On his defeat against Hokutoriki] You know, I had planned to attack him with a tsuppari volley straight to his face. I suppose I was too wound up for this bout to remain lucid. » Sanspo

Tamanoshima: « [On his first victory in the tournament] I was quick and what's more I won, so I am pleased with myself. » Sanspo

Kaio: « [On his victory over Kyokutenho, using his left hand this time] At the moment my body is behaving well and allows me to move well. Thus I am able to do good sumo, proper in every way. » Sanspo

Dewanosato (Juryo): « [On his first victory as a sekitori] After I won, I was unable to think. I was overwhelmed by joy. [On his state of mind during the tournament] On the first day, I was simply glad to be there. But tomorrow, I am going for a win. » Nikkan

Day 4

Chiyotaikai: « [On his fighting sense] I’ve been able to do the tachi-ai I intended to do. Then, I didn’t lose my timing sense. It’s always a good thing to get several wins in a row. I really think my feelings are back. » Mainichi

Kitanoumi rijicho: « [On Chiyotaikai’s unexpected performances] It is only victories. When you are in a winning streak, then you are carried by it. » Mainichi

Miyabiyama: « [On his first victory over Hakuho in six bouts] I’ve been miserable, so there isn’t any reason to be happy at all. [On the 3 kensho he has won] It enables me to retrieve the money I spent drinking yesterday. [On the advice Iwakiyama gave him, after his win over Hakuho the day before] He told me to advance on him and to keep on pushing whatever happens. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his defeat against Miyabiyama] The big toe of my right foot embedded itself in the dohyo. Unfortunately, it happened at the tachi-ai. » Mainichi

Asasekiryu: « [On his defeat against Kyokushuzan, the eldest of the mongolian fighters] I hate fighting against this elder, but I would like to fight him again right now, even if I’m really exhausted and without any strength (laughing). » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his victory over Asasekiryu, confirmed by the judges] My body moves very well these times. [On his bout of the day before against Takamisakari, with an anthological look exchange] You know, I’m glad I took part in an event which pleased the audience. » Sanspo

Asashoryu: « [On his victory over georgian Kokkai] When our chests met, I didn’t try to bring power immediately, and I temporized. In this kind of situation, the most important thing is to avoid panic. [On his fight of tomorrow against Roho, who had been impolite with him before the tournament] You know, our relationship is already back to normal. To tell you everything, I inted to have fun tomorrow, regardless of what’s happening. » Mainichi

Kokkai: « [On his defeat against the yokozuna] I’m very satisfied with the kind of bout I managed to do. I have been able to survive the yokozuna’s first throwing attempt, but my right knee couldn’t hold on with his second attempt. » Mainichi

Kaio: « [On his victory over Wakanosato with a brilliant arm throw] I shouldn’t use this kind of sumo too often. I feel good in my body, which moves very well. As for my left shoulder, it’s doing much better than in march. » Mainichi

Kotoshogiku: « [On his first victory since he came back in makuuchi] Katayama is right in an improving phase, even though I’m having hard times. As I was strongly determined to put an end to my agony, I had planed to irritate him with tsuppari from the tachi-ai, in order to get a good mawashi grip later. This victory is really incredible for me. » Mainichi

Kotonowaka: « [On his 4 bouts losing streak] If I had to compare with day one, I would say that my body moves much better but my fighting feelings are not back yet. I think that if I could get my first victory, my mental attitude would enable me to win one after the other. » Mainichi

Tamakasuga: « [On being now the only undefeated maegashira] Ah, you know, with experience, I know taht after a series of victories I sometimes go on with an even more disastrous series of losses. So, at this time, I’m rather worried about my current success. » Mainichi

Iwakiyama: « [On his victory over Kakizoe, whom he has dominated in their last 9 bouts] You know, when we practice it’s the contrary and he crushes me totally. I think my opponent thinks too much when he meets me. » Mainichi

Tosanoumi: « [On his defeat against Kotomitsuki, due to his opponent’s shameful avoidance at the tachi-ai] I did nothing regrettable. When I fight, I always try to do good sumo, and I expect my opponent to do so. My opponent didn’t, and I lost. » Mainichi
« [On the continuation of his tournament] From now on, I’m going to meet the highest ranked rikishi, so I’m going to use my previous victories to get some others against them. » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On the quality of his sumo] When I got up, I was perfectly in harmony with my breathing. When I don’t attack strongly at the tachi-ai, I can’t do my own sumo any more. » Mainichi

Aminishiki: « [On the end of his invincibility] From the beginning of the tournament, I managed to do well with these three victories in a row, but I’m still disappointed by this defeat. I’ve never been able to win 4 in a row, starting from day one of a tournament. (Aminishiki got a 3-0 score six times in his career, but he lost on day 4 each time) » Sanspo

Takamisakari: « [On his close defeat against Dejima] Yet I attacked him well at the tachi-ai… [On the continuation of his tournament] From now on, I absolutely need to persevere with all my strength. During these last three days, my tachi-ai became not bad at all. I still have to improve my technique when I’m at the edge. I absolutely need to include this additional ingredient in my arsenal. » Sanspo

Kanbayashi (Juryo): « [On his first victory as a sekitori] When my opponent tried to change his grip on my mawashi, I took advantage of it and attacked him immediately and relentlessly. That’s the basis of sumo. » Mainichi
« [On the continuation of his tournament in Juryo] The tournament is far from being over, but yet I feel relieved with this victory. » Sanspo

Day 5

Kaio: « [On his new injury] At the end of the bout, I felt something strange. It's different from what I had previously felt during the training when I injured my arm. » Mainichi
« [On the remainder of the tournament] If the pain goes away, I think I will be able to return. This is really a pity, since I felt good and moved quickly. » Sanspo

Tomozuna oyakata [Kaio's master]: « [On the possibility of return for his protégé Kaio] There is a realistic possibility that Kaio will put his mawashi on again. We will rule on his physical state two or three days from now. » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On his opponent Roho] You know, I watched his moves carefully. [On the tension before this bout, following the incident with Roho on soken] Oh, you know, there was nothing special about this bout. I didn't even think on the fact that this was our first encounter in an official tournament. I've encountered him so many times during the training. [On Taiho oyakata (Roho's master), who will retire and who invited him to dinner yesterday, which yokozuna refused since he was to meet Roho the next day] Oh, tonight we will meet and we will certainly go out for a drink. » Mainichi
« [On his state of mind] I intended to try to win by going forward. If I didn't do that, even if I'd still won, I wouldn't be satisfied with the quality of my sumo. [On his first official encounter with Roho] I didn't even think about it since we meet so often in training. [On Taiho oyakata, whose invitation to dinner he had to refuse since he was to meet his pupil Roho the next day] Two us really resemble a master-pupil couple. Mr. Taiho is certainly a special person. » Sanspo

Roho: «[On his strategy against Asashoryu] I pictured myself getting the front of his mawashi with my left hand, but unfortunately when we ended up in yotsu position it was he who had an underarm grip on my mawashi with his left. [On his defeat against the yokozuna] He is really very strong. As expected, right! » Mainichi
« [On his bout against the yokozuna] I think I had a good tachi-ai, but my body ended up being rather sideways. I believe I didn't train enough. » Sanspo

Taiho oyakata: « [On his reasons for inviting Asashoryu to dinner yesterday evening] I wanted to ask him to do me a favour and help Roho develop once I am gone. (The legendary yokozuna Taiho who won 32 yusho will be 65 years old on May 29th and will be officially retired as far as NSK is concerned. He will nevertheless remain the honorary president of the association of yokozuna, which is independent of NSK) » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On his difficult victory against Ama] Even though the umpire declared me the winner, during the judges' deliberation I was still in complete doubt. [On his heavy fall on the dohyo] I think I injured myself, my body is completely stiff. [On the celebrations for his 29th birthday] The tournament still isn't finished, so I didn't go out with my tsukebito yesterday. I bought a cake and ate it all myself. » Mainichi
« [On his fighting strategy against Ama] In general, I always want to go all out. Since I don't consider the defeat to be bad, I would say that my current results come directly from my tachi-ai. [On the uncertain outcome of the bout] When the judges held their deliberation, I was convinced I had lost. My opponent has become really good and smart, my hat off to him. He doesn't let go until the end. I was really heading for a loss when the bout ended. While I was waiting for the decision, I didn't feel good at all. [On his birthday and his 29 years] Eh, there you go, I gave myself the best possible present. If I had lost, I would have spent a dark day on my birthday. (laughs) » Sanspo

Ama: « [On his narrow defeat against Takamisakari, confirmed by the judges] Oh, I really wanted to fight a rematch. » Mainichi
« [On Takamisakari] He practically never does his best in the training, and yet, in the tournament, he becomes super strong. » Sanspo

Tamakasuga: « [On his unbeaten streak after 5 days, which hadn't happened to him in 9 years since his first makuuchi tournament] The series continues while I think about all that. I am truly delighted, and have a feeling this was all a dream. [On his victory over Takekaze] I was convinced that I would be defeated, so getting this victory... Well, now I am starting to get afraid. With such a streak of victories, I'm going to follow it with a losing streak. (By accumulating the victories at the start, the quality of opponents changes for the rest of the tournament) » Mainichi
« [On his surprising success in this tournament] Before the tournament, I couldn't train as much as I wanted to, and I am very surprised by this happening to me. » Sanspo

Kyokushuzan: « [On his bout against Futeno which lasted over two minutes] I can tell you I am utterly dead. Yeah, that will teach me not to train so hard. » Mainichi

Kotomitsuki: « [On his sudden morozashi (two hands on the inside on the mawashi) hold he got against Hakuho] Even I was surprised to get such a position. Once I did, I knew that if I put in energetic effort I couldn't possibly lose the bout. » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his first defeat in this tournament, against Tamanoshima] My opponent attacked me straight on with his right. The more I attacked him with tsuppari, the more I got hit back, and my body kept retreating. » Mainichi

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory over powerful Kokkai] The timing of my attack on tachi-ai was excellent. Afterwards I let myself be carried by my attack. The key point still remains my tachi-ai. » Mainichi

Kaiho: « [On his defeat against Miyabiyama] I remained planted at the tachi-ai. It was really a bout to forget. [On his bout against Hakuho on the second day, which he reviewed on video] I still don't understand what happened to me. I don't see where I was bad. [On his series of defeats] Well, it seems to have started nicely! » Sanspo

Iwakiyama: « [On his defeat against Dejima] I didn't lose the bout at the tachi-ai, but afterwards I got into trouble and I could neither push nor get an underarm grip on the mawashi. » Sanspo

Day 6

Dejima: « [On his victory over Kaiho, which was his 5th in a row] I managed to start well at the tachi-ai, and to move forward into my opponent attacking him the while. This bout was quite good, wasn't it! I think I moved quite quickly. » Mainichi

Wakanosato: « [On his victory over Hakuho, whom he always beats] I can tell you I am truly delighted by my winning streak. That said, my tachi-ai was bad, and as far as my sumo is concerned I was completely defeated. » Mainichi

Tochiazuma: « [On his defeat against Kotomitsuki by a pull-down] My legs had remained planted behind. I think I worried too much at the tachi-ai. (Kotomitsuki executed a monstrous henka on Tochiazuma in Osaka and he hadn't forgotten that). » Mainichi
« [On his defeat against Kotomitsuki] After the tachi-ai a space opened up between my opponent and myself. So I went forward to attack, but my legs didn't keep up with me. I think I wanted it too much, but anyway I intend to fight until the end of the tournament showing the audience the kind of sumo I can do. » Sanspo

Kotomitsuki: « [On his second straight pull-down victory over Tochiazuma] I didn't intend to pull him down but the opportunity presented itself and I did it in a blink of an eye. » Mainichi

Kyokutenho: « [On his defeat against Asashoryu] As far as the yokozuna is concerned, there is not much to be done against him. » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On the withdrawal of ozeki Kaio] I believe that high ranked wrestlers should push each other to better performances, but what can I do, my hands are already full with taking care of myself. » Mainichi

Tamanoshima: « [On his fight against the yokozuna tomorrow] Yes, I fight him tomorrow, and I can tell you that I really feel I can beat him. I will be a man going for a fight with a desire not to come out of it disappointed. » Mainichi
« [On his victory over Tosanoumi] Today I wore a bandage which ended up greatly bothering me. But well, even fighting in pain I have to admit that victory always remains so good. » Sanspo

Takamisakari: « [On Iwakiyama's look at the end of their bout] I attacked him with pushes from my left, my weak side. I imagine he was surprised and probably very disappointed. » Mainichi

Ama: « [On the strange outcome of his bout against Jumonji, which brought him back to an even score] When I found myself sitting on my opponent, I drew a reprimanding look from an oyakata sitting by the dohyo. » Mainichi
« [On his defeat against Takamisakari yesterday, which he dwelled upon drinking until 5 a.m.] Yesterday I was really too disgusted by that defeat and I needed that. [Will you repeat it this evening to celebrate the victory?] No, it's out of question, I won't drink one drop. » Sanspo

Tamakasuga: « [On his 6 day long winning streak, which is the first time for him in makuuchi] I am simply delighted with this series of victories. It gives me the feeling of youthfulness. [On his victory over Aminishiki] When my opponent was about to fall I too was doing the same. (laughs) [On the fact that he started with his left leg at the tachi-ai] That had basically no effect. When one wins, one wins, and when one loses, one loses. I always wanted to be very lucky, but when that happens I realise that I am not used to it, and I don't know how to master it. During the tournaments I keep on training in the mornings. I am under the impression that my good luck will leave me once I'm not able to do it any more. » Mainichi
« [On his first 6-0 score after 51 tournaments in makuuchi] I never experienced that before, so I really have no idea what could happen from now on. What bothers me the most is the possibility of an extreme reversal with a terrible series of defeats. » Sanspo

Aminishiki: « [On his defeat against Tamakasuga, man in form] Until, say, mid-bout I was quite pleased with the way things were going. Then I exposed my right flank under the armpit, and my opponent took advantage of that admirably. [On Tamakasuga's series of 6 victories] Yeah, that's not bad at all! » Sanspo

Chiyotaikai: « [On his state of spirit] I have no strength left to carry out my offensive sumo. After the past five days, this is the first time I was able to keep cool. When I think that it is only 5 days, that makes me wish to go out with more power. » Mainichi

Kokonoe oyakata [Chiyotaikai's master]: « [On the unexpected success of his protégé] All that is really strange! Today he didn't even try his awful pulling down as is his habit. He drives me crazy with that, and it doesn't get better as time goes on. » Mainichi

Tomozuna oyakata: « [On Kaio's state of health] Even if he can put on the mawashi, he can't even squat down. He is unable to train; it is a problem with muscles, doubtlessly a pulled muscle. He is recovering, and starting from that it is still possible to picture a return. » Sanspo

Oitekaze oyakata [Hayateumi's master]: « [On Hayateumi's injury, which caused him to be carried away after his bout] There is a 90% probability he will withdraw from the tournament. There is possibility of internal bleeding so he will be sent to the hospital for a MRI. (The injury to Hayateumi's left knee is not that serious and the time for recovery is estimated at two weeks) » Sanspo

Day 7

Asashoryu: « [On his cold and the injections of garlic he was given by a physician] It’s unbelievable how much that stuff he gave me stinks. I'm telling you, that the smell is unbearable. Even if I drink huge quantities of water before going to sleep, the smell still remains and does not go away. [On his bout against Tamanoshima] The bout went well and I let myself be carried by the flow of my attacks. I could really do my own sumo. » Sanspo

Tamanoshima: « [On his defeat against Asashoryu] The yokozuna does not leave you the least opportunity for an attack. It is almost disheartening. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On ending his losing streak at 4] I intended to try and move forward, and my body moved really well in this bout. [On his state of health with the changing weather] My nose is completely blocked, and suddenly I have real trouble falling asleep. What’s more, when I get up in the morning my throat is completely dry. » Sanspo

Kyokushuzan: « [On his victory by default due to Hayateumi’s forfeit] You know, I’ve finished my sumo for today before I even thought about it. » Sanspo
« [On his victory by default because of Hayateumi’s injury] Today I didn’t need to put on my mawashi. Hayateumi is from the same ichimon as I am, so I wish him a quick recovery. » Mainichi

Kotomitsuki: « [On the reasons for his victory over Miyabiyama] The upper part of my body remained in a low position during the whole bout. [On his fine tournament] It seems I move better and better on the dohyo. [On the possibility of finishing with 13 victories as in January 2003] I intend to give my best until the end of the tournament. » Mainichi

Ama: « [On his decisive ultra-quick attack against Takanowaka] With this type of sumo you don’t really draw the applause from the crowds. There is nothing that could be shown on the news. » Mainichi

Dejima: « [On his defeat against Futeno, who imposed on him a yotsu battle with his favourite strong grip on the mawashi] When I cannot move, I really lose all my charm and imagination. » Mainichi

Futeno: « [On his 5th victory and the good entry he can write in his blog] That’s certainly right, and I invite you to come and read my blog. » Mainichi

Kotooshu: « [On his series of 3 victories over Takamisakari] I am not afraid of him. When I look my opponent in the eyes, it’s then that I evaluate his power. I don’t worry about his antics before the match. » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On his defeat against Kotooshu, the 2.04 m giant Bulgarian] He has gigantic hands, and when he grabs the mawashi he can keep his distance. It was impossible for me to attack him. » Mainichi

Tamakasuga: « [On his first defeat in this tournament] The quality of my sumo was not bad at all. So I remain calm. That reassures me for the remnant of the tournament. » Mainichi

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory against Tochinonada] Unfortunately, the bout followed my opponent’s plan. My body must move naturally at any cost. [Are you tired?] Until now I didn’t fight in a bout that was long enough to tire me out. Whether I win or lose, my bouts have to remain short. » Mainichi

Gojoro (Juryo): « [On his bout against Kotokasuga, where he was finally declared defeated because he was not able to fight again. This hadn’t happened in 57 years, since the match between Korean Rikidozan and yokozuna Maedayama] Honestly, I thought I had won, but the umpire declared my opponent to be a winner. I didn’t even think there would be a deliberation of the judges to tell us to fight again. It is really difficult to swallow… [On his injured right knee, which forced him to quit the Kokugikan in a wheelchair] I believe I damaged the crossed ligaments in my knee. » Sanspo

Oshiogawa oyakata (chief judge): « [On the strange result of the bout between Gojoro and Kotokasuga] Personally, I would have given Gojoro a draw, but as he was physically unable to fight again we were obliged to award the victory by default to his opponent. This is the first time I see something like that. (Oshiogawa oyakata refers to the debate he had with other judges, on the subject of draw or a more customary torinaoshi) » Sanspo

Day 8

Wakanosato: « [So, the yokozuna sticks close?] Yeah, rather... » Sanspo

Asashoryu: « [On his left shoulder he held after beating Wakanosato] As I was attacking, I heard a sound as if a piece of paper ripped. For a moment, the pain was intense. [On his physical annoyances] Yesterday I was training with one of my assistants the defence against weird tachi-ai, and in the end I hurt my neck. [On his fighting abilities when he's not on top form] When I climb on the dohyo, I forget all my injuries. (Asashoryu had a 3 hour long massage the previous evening to get rid of that pain) » Mainichi
« [On the seriousness of his shoulder injury] No, it's OK. This is not a condition that could prevent me from fighting. I mention the pain now, but later it will be fine. » Sanspo

Takasago oyakata [Asashoryu's master]: « [On Asashoryu's shoulder] Oh, it's probably nothing serious. Concerning his condition, he's very close to the form he had before the spring tournament in Osaka. I am very pleased. It's not the perfection, but he manages to compensate for it playing on his speed. My worry is that he could overdo it and fall from the hurry. » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his 7th victory, against Miyabiyama] There are days like this, there is nothing else to be said. [On his fight tomorrow against Iwakiyama, where he will fight for his kachi-koshi] Every time I meet him, I hear my neck crack. Sometimes I ask myself whether I'll break my neck. (laughs) » Mainichi
« [On the proceeding of his bout against Miyabiyama] My opponent really got into me with his push. In the end, I got him as well as I could. I was unable to control it. » Sanspo

Kyokushuzan: « [On his victory against Dejima, whom he managed to defeat only five times in their twenty two encounters] It was really a risky bout. I thought would lose if I attempted to grab his mawashi. [On the yusho race with his 7-1 result] Before anything else, I owe it to myself to aim for my kachi-koshi. » Mainichi

Katayama: « [On his victory over Aminishiki] I had much fun with my sumo today. I seriously intend to encounter the higher ranked rikishi. [On the cheers from the audience when he does his famous stretches with his legs making an angle of 180°] Yes, I appreciate all that. » Mainichi

Kotonowaka: « [On the victory on his 37th birthday] Starting from today, I will be moved by a very young man's heart. You know, I feel as if I was 20. » Mainichi
« [On his victory over Takamisakari] Today I was able to force my yotsu position with my right hand inside grip on his mawashi. [On his 37th birthday today] I am no longer 27, but I always keep that youthfulness inside me. I will persevere with this state of mind. » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory over Kyokutenho] I didn't let myself be carried away by my opponent in any way, and I imposed my mark from the beginning to the end of this bout, which pleases me immensely. Today I restrained myself and my body moved well, which allowed me to do good sumo. » Mainichi

Sawai (Jonidan): « [On his 11th victory without a single defeat from the time he joined the professionals at 18] I wasn't especially nervous before this bout. I told myself I could get my kachi-koshi today if things go well. [On the Jonidan division yusho, after winning the yusho in jonokuchi division] If it's possible to do, that would be great! » » Hochi

Day 9

Kotonowaka: « [On his fantastic bout against Aminishiki, which he won when the two protagonists smashed head-first on the dohyo] Oh, you know, I told myself that if I put down a protective hand on the dohyo, I would be declared the loser. (Note: Kotonowaka refers to his famous bout against Asashoryu, when to his expense the “dead body” rule was not applied). When my head smashed on the dohyo, I thought we really did fall down together. It was all done in a moment. (In fact, it was Aminishiki's mage that touched the dohyo first). [On his head injuries that rendered him unrecognisable] If I had lost, I would have felt the pain strongly. My face is certainly injured, but you know, I am so delighted that I got this victory! » Sanspo
« [On his attitude, letting his head smash into the dohyo] I followed one of the rules thought to me by my master. [On his unrecognisable face] I want to do a sumo of a very young man. So I'd say I had become an overly handsome boy and that had to be changed. [On his state of mind during the fall] I saw nothing but the clay of dohyo. I had lost my breath after the impact. If I'd had to fight again, I doubt I would have been able to. » Mainichi

Aminishiki: « [On his extremely close defeat against Kotonowaka] I though that my opponent fell before I did. Well, even if I lost, you can't say it was that obvious. That said, I am still honoured to have lost a bout because of my hair. » Sanspo
« [On his bout against Kotonowaka] My hair, or rather my mage caused my loss. I was falling behind him, but my hair got loose and my mage was the first to touch the dohyo. Sumo is hard in cases such as this. But well, having a well-dressed hair and a solid mage is all part of the game. [On the fine throw he executed on Kotonowaka, 42 kilos heavier than him] Yeah, I am still fuming because I lost in this bout. » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On Kotonowaka's courage, keeping up his attack in spite of his head rushing onto the dohyo] When he gets a hold, that fellow, he is terrifying. Nothing new, it is in the very nature of sumo, that tenacity. [On his inured left shoulder, which he hurt against Wakanosato yesterday] Ah, it hasn't passed yet, but it should be OK. [On the fact that he hadn't used his his left shoulder at all in defeating Kaiho today] I wasn't restraining myself at all in this bout. I keep my fighting spirit on its maximum and then I persevere the best I can. » Sanspo
« [On his bout against Kaiho] That guy is small, but he is extremely tenacious. So I absolutely had to get a hold on him. » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his kachi-koshi, which makes him the first ozeki to get away from kadoban status 7 times] You know, I didn't calculate and was content just to will my bouts one after the other. But that said, I am quite relieved now. [On the yusho race] Oh, I don't think of such things. » Sanspo

Kokonoe oyakata [Chiyotaikai's master]: « [On his pupil's kachi-koshi] As far as his kadoban status is concerned, I can tell him “well done” for getting away from it. but his sumo remains pitiful. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On getting the kachi-koshi on the 9th day] Until I have managed to secure my kachi-koshi, I would never be in good mood. Even with my series of 7 victories, I knew I could start collecting the defeats and finally end up make-koshi. [On the yusho race with his excellent 8-1 score] I don't think about it, and I don't even want to think about it. » Sanspo

Tamanoshima: « [On the exchange of words he had with Chiyotaikai in the dressing rooms before his bout] The ozeki called me a loser who always comes one day late to get his kachi-koshi, and that pissed me off. » Sanspo

Takekaze: « [On his victory over Katayama] When we were students, he always manhandled me severely, and that kept happening also during the provincial tours. But finally, my day came at last. I waited for it for quite some time. » Mainichi

Katayama: « [On the end of his 4 win streak] You know, this is my very first tournament in makuuchi division, and for me every day is the most important one and I fight with all my might. » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory over Miyabiyama by use of tsuppari] When you fight, I think you should try out everything and that all the weapons are good enough to be used. » Sanspo

Hakuho: « [On his victory against Tosanoumi] The way I grabbed his mawashi with an overarm grip, was really bad. [On his condition] I caught a cold, and my nose is still blocked. I can't sleep any more. » Mainichi

Kotomitsuki: « [On remaining on two defeats and in the yusho race] Oh, that is still very far away. My primary goal remains above all the kachi-koshi. » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On his series of 3 defeats] I don't know what to say, I am sorry. It could be that this what happens to me will tun out to be a good thing in the end. » Mainichi

Tamakasuga: « [On his streak of 3 defeats after his fabulous series of 6 victories] During the time when I was winning, my head was empty of everything but the desire to go all the way. But now, in this bad situation, I am starting to think from time to time. For example I hear very clearly the cheers from the crowd. It's not good at all, because that means I am not focused enough during my bouts. » Mainichi

Gojoro (Juryo): « [On his return to the tournament on the 10th day after withdrawing after the 7th day] I will carry the bandages, come what may. There is a good chance I will lose, but at least I will have tried, and there is nothing else I can do. » Sanspo

Day 10

Chiyotaikai: « [On remaining only one loss away from Asashoryu] From day five, I feel that my body moves very well. I don’t feel the pressure inherent in the yusho race at all, and I have to say I really have fun these times. » Mainichi

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory over Tosanoumi thanks to an avoidance at the tachi-ai] Previously, I’ve been outplayed about fifty times, so my henka at the tachi-ai was deliberate. I felt I would have been ejected by Tosanoumi. This would have been the end of my tournament. » Mainichi

Tosanoumi: « [On his defeat due to Tochiazuma’s henka] My opponent was in a very good shape, so I thought we were going to have a nice punch-up and show a good sumo bout. He has already given you a clear explanation. Then, this is part of the game. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his state of health] My flu doesn’t get better and I have a sore nose. I’m not feverish, but I feel very heavy. As far as sumo is concerned, I feel that the quickness of my movements begins to come back. » Mainichi

Kisenosato: « [On his victory over Katayama, who entered professionnal sumo during the same basho as he did] We’ve been fighting each other for a long while, and even if he is older than me, I hate losing against him. My body didn’t adapt naturally to the henka he did. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his speedy victory over Takekaze, in less than 2 seconds] Since I was born, it’s the first time I achieved such a nice bout. I rushed on him at the tachi-ai with rage, and I aimed at his head with my tsuppari. After that, I had to do something. [On his performance in this tournament, contrasting with his 5-10 score in Osaka] During Tokyo’s tournaments, my family is close to me, and I get much support from them. So, on the dohyo, I’m burning literally. [On the surprising spiral throw he used against Takekaze] Yeah, against this guy, I was able to have fun. » Mainichi
« [On his excellent bout against Takekaze] I’ve been practising sumo for 13 years, and it’s the first time I manage to do such a high-quality sumo. Even for me, it’s a big surprise. [On the nature of his sumo at the end of this tournament] I will not be able to fight always like that, but I would like to repeat at least once the kind or performance I did today. [On his plan of sport newspaper in Mongolia about sumo, among other sports] In Mongolia, there is an incredible craze for sumo, and it would be an interesting way to take advantage of it. (Kyokushuzan already produces since 3 years a weekly newspaper called Zinda, Which was supposed to deal with sport at the beginning, and which finally became more general, dealing notably with politics) » Sanspo

Takekaze: « [On the unusual performance of Kyokushuzan] It’s crazy how he rushed on me. I would never have imagined that from him. » Mainichi
« [On his defeat against Kyokushuzan] Kyokushuzan is really able to achieve anything. [On the tachi-ai] I had a strategy for the tachi-ai, but the reality was different. Hum, honestly, I couldn’t do anything during this bout. » Sanspo

Ooshima Oyakata (Kyokushuzan’s master): « [On the state of mind of Kyokushuzan] He understood that a loss wouldn’t be so serious, as long as he was giving all he had. [On the quality of Kyokushuzan’s sumo] He’s doing good sumo these times. Each time he starts to jump, and to avoid in every direction, it’s not good at all. » Mainichi
« [On the advice he gave to Kyokushuzan] Now that you have your kachi-koshi, fight with every strength you have. » Sanspo

Asashoryu: « [On his victory over Iwakiyama, in which a tsuppari exchange left him bloodstained] It’s been a long while since it last happened to me. Blood flowed from my tongue. [On the technique used by Tokitenku to beat Ama] In mongolian wrestling, this technique is called Hongotof. Actually, I made him taste this technique, and I’m really disgusted with him using it here before me. » Mainichi

Iwakiyama: « [On his bloodstained face] My lips were cut by my front teeth. [On his bout against the Yokozuna] I simply lost and I apologize to the audience. » Mainichi

Kotomitsuki: « [On his victory over Roho, with a both hands inside mawashi grip] With such a high quality grip, I just have to work on strongly to win. [On his master Sadogatake Oyakata, who came shaking his hand after his bout] usually, he never stops shouting on me, so I’m really surprised by this novelty. [On his late maturity] My master became very efficient in the end of his career too. I intend to persevere with all my strength to come up to people’s expectations. » Mainichi

Kotonowaka: « [On his victory with his unrecognizable face] I have strange feelings on my whole body, but well, you know, I console myself with this series of victories. » Sanspo

Tokitenku: « [On his victory over Ama, catching his leg] When I managed to catch his leg, I griped it firmly till the end. [On his strategy against Ama] Ama masters so many different techniques that it’s impossible to guess what he’s going to do. So, I decided to push my concentration to its maximum, watching out for the opportunity. Ah, I really feel good now. » Sanspo

Dewanosato (Juryo): « [On his early make-koshi for his first tournament in the Juryo division] I’m nervous and I got totally stiff. Fighting 15 days in a row, it’s really long. [On his trip among the sekitori, which is going to end after this tournament] Oh, for me, many memories will remain. [On the end of his tournament] I still have some bouts to do, and I want to show my own sumo in these bouts. » Mainichi

Day 11

Chiyotaikai: « [On his victory over Tosanoumi, thanks to an avoidance at the tachi-ai] You know, I play this game too. Tochiazuma went on the left yesterday, and me, I’ve chosen the right side. We often eat together, so what I did isn’t really nice. » Mainichi
« [On his victory over Tosanoumi, which was not exactly glorious] Victory was there, so there’s nothing more to say about the rest. » Sanspo

Tosanoumi: « [On his defeat against Chiyotaikai, due to the Ozeki’s henka] When I rushed, my opponent wasn’t there anymore. I really wished to show some nice sumo bout, but well… » Mainichi
« [Were you too low at the tachi-ai?] Well, it’s rather my opponent who avoided the meeting. » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory over Iwakiyama] My opponent rushed forward with a fantastic strength. He carried his weight brilliantly and returned the pressure on me. But fortunately, I’ve been skilful enough to catch his arm. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his excellent 10-1 score] It’s the first time it happens to me. My body moves perfectly these times. » Mainichi
« [On his brilliant tournament] I would never have imagined I could have 10 victories at this stage. [On the opportunity to win a special prize] Ah, I think it’s possible this time. (Kyokushuzan has never managed to win more than 11 bouts in a makuuchi tournament). » Sanspo

Hakuho: « [On being only one win away from his kachi-koshi] Tomorrow, I want to go get it. » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On his series of 5 losses] Ah, unfortunately I’m make-koshi. Everything I do is bad. There is really not much to say. » Mainichi

Takekaze: « [On his defeat against Ama] He manoeuvered me with his speed. I also got up late at the tachi-ai. » Mainichi

Ama: « [On his victory over Takekaze] Every time I have to fight hand-to-hand, I let my state of form carry myself. It’s a field I constantly go on studying. [On his tournament, in which he already has 7 victories] I still have one to get, or rather three. (Ama has never achieved a double-digit score for the moment). » Mainichi

Ajigawa Oyakata (Ama’s master): « [On Ama’s performance against Takekaze, whom he was meeting for the first time] As his opponent was small but very heavily built, it has been a difficult bout. To be able to catch his opponent’s mawashi, he has had to remain in a very low position. » Mainichi

Kitanoumi rijicho: « [On Asashoryu’s speedy victory over Kotooshu] I’m rather surprised it went on this way. The Yokozuna has been really skilful, rushing like that on his opponent. It is direct sumo. With all of his energy, he rushed straight forward. » Mainichi

Kotooshu: « [talking to a photographer] Hey, you over there, I told you not to take any photo of me! What are you doing there? [after a flashlight, in spite of his admonishments] Yeah, that’s it, you’ve taken a good photo! I hope your boss will be satisfied with you! (Obviously very angry, Kotooshu didn’t answer any question, and doesn’t want to see any photo of him with his left black eye, caused by Asashoryu’s left shoulder at the tachi-ai. On his way to the baths room, Kotooshu printed his fist on a wooden door that was in front of him). » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On his tachi-ai in which, with his left shoulder, he managed to cut the cheekbone under Kotooshu’s left eye] Kotooshu was in a really low position and, you know, I even wondered what he was trying to do this way. [On his injured left elbow] Nothing to report. [On his trip to Las Vegas the previous month, where he has seen a show] You know, in the middle of the show, four mongolian dancers came to do their show. I was literally walking on air. (Five times in the past, Asashoryu has been unbeaten after the eleventh day of a tournament, and each time he managed to win the yusho in the end). » Sanspo

Kotomitsuki: « [On his victory over Tochinonada] I had a plan for this bout, and everything went on another way. But well, the most important thing remains that I’ve been able to produce my own sumo style. Against this opponent, you can’t allow him to express his style and play with you. [On his bout of the following day against Kyokushuzan, the only fighter who is a single win away from Asashoryu] Ah, it’s going to be the great day! » Sanspo

Azumazeki Oyakata: « [On the murder of Daiki in Hawai the day before, as Daiki was one of his former students who had been promoted to Juryo and did 4 tournaments in this division] I’m stunned by this terrible news. After his retirement, he came to see me once, and then we’ve not heard from him anymore. He had a very serious personnality, and he practiced much with Akebono. I don’t know the circumstances of this tragic event, but I’m really sad. I would like to offer him my sincere condolences. » Hochi

Kyokunankai (Makushita): « [On his fifth victory at the rank of West Makushita 2, which gives him a sure promotion to the Juryo division] Everyboby encourages me, calling me « the little late-blossoming flower from the islands ». When I’ll be a sekitori, I’ll offer a bull to my parents. (Kyokunankai comes from the Tokunoshima island in the prefecture of Kagoshima, south of Kyushu, which is known for its bull fights). » Mainichi

Day 12

Kotomitsuki: « [On his victory over Kyukushuzan] As I was meeting an opponent who use unpredictable techniques, I started the bout with the firm intention not to allow him to create the rythm of the fight. [On his chances of winning the yusho] I think there are very few chances yet. » Sanspo
« [On his fight against Kyokushuzan, which he wins after a deliberation of the judges] Kyokushuzan is really in an excellent state of shape at the moment, so I had to build a plan that prevented him from leading the bout. This was a lucky win for me, but as far as sumo is concerned, I’ve been beaten. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his defeat against Kotomitsuki, though he dominated the bout] A defeat is always regrettable, but as I remain very glad with my performance, I’m not sad at all. » Sanspo
« [On his close defeat against Kotomitsuki, with a deliberation of the judges] I’m disapointed. I thought I had won. I did good sumo, in this bout I have nothing to blame me for. But well, I would have enjoy fighting again. » Mainichi

Kotooshu: « [On his state of mind after his 1.6 seconds-long defeat against Asashoryu the day before] Yesterday was yesterday, and today is today. » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his defeat against Kotooshu] As soon as I went up, the bout went on my opponent’s rythm. I can only admire his sumo. [On the yusho race] I don’t talk about the yusho. It’s something so huge I can’t even evoke it. » Sanspo
« [On his two false starts in front of Kotooshu] I had two many thoughts in my head, and it prevented me from rushing with my full strength at the tachi-ai. [On his strategy against Kotooshu] I had planed to push him and then, during the fight, to take advantage of an opportunity to beat him. [On his hindered yusho race] I never thought about something which reaches heights which are too huge for me at the moment. I try to fight one day after the other, giving my best to satisfy the audience as well as I can. » Mainichi

Kitanoumi rijicho: « [On Kotooshu annihilating Chiyotaikai’s attacks] The height difference has been a major factor. [On the yusho race, in which the yokozuna is increasing the gap between him and the other contestants] The fighters who are able to win the yusho produce their own sumo during the second week. But, whatever happens, the difference in terms of strength between the yokozuna and the other fighters is real, and he’s always able to cope with them. [On the bout between Hakuho and Asashoryu tomorrow] If the yokozuna beats Hakuho, he has 90% chances to get the yusho. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his series of 6 victories, which gives him his kachi-koshi] Yes, I’m really happy. I was motivated as never before, and I put my headache aside for this bout. [On his bout of the day after, against the yokozuna] I already have my kachi-koshi, but I can tell you I’m going to fight with all the strength I have, in order to have fun. » Sanspo

Futeno: « [On his relationships with the press, as he shows a broad smile, with his kachi-koshi in the bag] Ah, you know, every time I’m surrouded by journalists, I lose my bout of the day after. » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On his victory over Tosanoumi] As I’ve already lost twice against him by pulling, I always kept in mind that I shouldn’t find myself in a too low position. You know, in the end, I skilfully introduced my hips on him to produce my decisive throw. [On his state of mind for his bout against Hakuho, tomorrow] Nothing special, I’m simply going to fight as usual. » Mainichi

Tosanoumi: « [On his defeat against the yokozuna] The strength of his initial charge at the tachi-ai is fantastic. There’s really nothing to do against that. » Mainichi

Tochiazuma: « [On the yusho race, with his 10th victory] There are still three days remaining, and I intend to persevere with all my strength. » Mainichi
« [On his victory over Kakizoe] I carefully observed my opponent and then I was able to produce my own tachi-ai. » Sanspo

Takamisakari: « [On a journalist who knocked his jaw, as he got up in the locker room] Yeah, the headbutt you gave me was not bad. » Sanspo

Tamakasuga: « [On his very close defeat against Ama] At the very beginning, I thought I had won, but well, my opponent has been excellent. » Sanspo

Day 13

Asashoryu: « [On Hakuho] He’s like me when I was a beginner and when I wanted to beat the highest-ranked fighters. He comes from mongolia, as I do. [On the unfolding of his bout] At the tachi-ai, he attacked with his elbow, I couldn’t see anything with my left eye. My legs went forward well, and my hands reacted naturally to finish the job. [On his chances to win his 12th yusho] 90%, 70%, percentage doesn’t mean much to me. I still have two bouts to deliver, that’s all. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his defeat against Asashoryu] I started late at the tachi-ai. My legs remain together backwards. Among what I did today, everything is to be banned. » Mainichi
« [On his motivation against the yokozuna] I was really driven by the desire to throw the yokozuna out of the dohyo. [On the yusho race] Considering what happened in the past, I would say that the yokozuna will undoubtedly get the yusho. [On a possible zensho yusho for the yokozuna] Of course! » Sanspo

Kitanoumi rijicho: « [On Asashoryu’s performance against Hakuho] His legs went well in action, and after that his hands came to deal the deathblow. You know, this victory looks like the one he got against him during the january tournament. [On the yusho race] I would like it to be decided at the senshuraku (last day of a tournament). » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his defeat against Tochiazuma] My sumo has been miserable. My elbows hurt, and my tsuppari are getting worth a little girl’s ones. » Mainichi
« [On the unfolding of his bout against Tochiazuma] Ah, I should have attacked much more at the tachi-ai. Today, I had the most fighting spirit I’ve ever had, but this didn’t prevent me from achieving my worst bout! » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his victory over his friend, ozeki Chiyotaikai] The bout didn’t go on the way I expected it to do, but at least, I did good sumo. [On the yusho race, in which he participates] I’ve never thought about it, I insist on it. All I wanted was only to fight with all my strength. [On Hakuho, whom he meets tomorrow and whom he has never managed to beat in their 4 bouts] It’s useless to think about that kind of facts about your opponents. If I manage to produce the same type of sumo as today, everything should go well. » Mainichi

Kotomitsuki: « [On his victory over Hokutoriki] I made false starts, and I have to admit that I thought about doing a henka at the tachi-ai. But I refused to do so, in order not to sully the whole sumo I’ve produced in this tournament. I feel that my self-confidence begins to come back. » Mainichi
« [On his state of mind] Well, the quality of my sumo is not yet what I could expect, but I feel that my self-confidence is starting to come back. » Sanspo

Katayama: « [On his kachi-koshi for his first tournament in the makuuchi division] Today, no matter if I’ve tried throws or hand-to-hand fight, even if I’ve not been able to produce my own sumo, I had to win. I’m really satisfied with my behaviour, as I’ve never given up. » Mainichi

Kyokushuzan: « [On his injured left thumb nail] I’ve put a big bandage on it, but I can tell you it hurts even so. Boy oh boy! [On his outstanding tournament] 12 victories would be an absolute record for me. It’s only the second time that I live such a good tournament, I really intend to give all I have to go get it. » Mainichi
« [On his outstanding tournament] Compared to the tournament in which I got 11 victories, I would say that the nature of my sumo is much better. Now that I’ve managed to go where I am, I really wish to win my two remaining bouts. » Sanspo

Kotoshogiku: « [On his first kachi-koshi in the makuuchi division thanks to a nice series of 6 victories] As far as my series of victories is concerned, I manage to remain firm, in order to do a strict sumo. Toyonoshima, my rival, got 8 victories for his return in the makuuchi division, so I want to finish this tournament with at least 9 wins. » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On his defeat against Toyonoshima, turning his back on him] Turning my back on him this way, nothing good could have happened. Lately, I’ve not been able to produce my own sumo, I have the feeling I don’t know what to do any more. » Mainichi

Kisenosato: « [On his make-koshi] I’m still too kind. I really have to rectify that. » Mainichi

Roho: « [On his make-koshi, as he was at his highest rank in the banzuke] In this tournament, I’ve not been able to practice. I must train harder, otherwise I won’t be able to face the highest-ranked fighters. During the next tournament, I intend to persevere with all my strength. » Mainichi

Kyokutenho: « [On his victory over Kokkai] As I got my make-koshi yesterday, I fought without caring about what was going to happen. You know, as far as I’m concerned, the tournament is already over. » Sanspo

Sawai (Jonidan): « [On his first loss in professionnal sumo, after he had won his first 13 bouts] My tachi-ai was very soft. From now on, I’m going to redouble my efforts in order to produce my own sumo again. » Mainichi
« [On his defeat against a sandanme fighter] Today, I didn’t use all my strength, and I didn’t show my own sumo style. I’m disappointed that I finish my tournament with this false note, but I intend to persevere with all my strength. » Sanspo

Day 14

Kotomitsuki: « [On his victory over Ama thanks to a brilliant tsuridashi (lift out)] As I couldn’t push him out of the ring, I lifted him out. » » Mainichi
« [On the possibility of ending the tournament with 13 victories, his best performance in makuuchi] I’m not really conscious of my series of victories, but I’m quite satisfied with my sumo’s quality during this tournament. » » Sanspo

Tochiazuma: « [On his first victory over Hakuho] He is so supple that attacking him is like touching jelly. I led this bout following my own rhythm. [On his next day’s bout against the yokozuna, who aims at his 4th zensho yusho] I’m going to try and fight sticking to him the best way that I can, like a young wrestler training on an older wrestler’s torso. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On his first defeat against Tochiazuma] You know, I stopped. » Mainichi

Futeno: « [On his 10th victory, his best performance in makuuchi] In this tournament, I managed not to lose a bout against low ranking wrestlers. [On the possibility of his being awarded a prize] Oh yes, can anybody recommend me? (laughs) » Mainichi

Kotonowaka: « [On his 1500th bout] Speaking in terms of tournaments, it must account for around a hundred. I managed to achieve this performance thanks to my master (Sadogatake oyakata, former yokozuna Kotozakura). The great amount of training I did when I was young still enables me to fight now. » Mainichi

Kakizoe: « [On his victory over Kyokushuzan, the man in great form] I believe I performed perfectly my own offensive sumo, going ahead, whatever happens. » Sanspo

Kyokushuzan: « [On his defeat against Kakizoe] I drew him towards me. Ah, I should never have done that, rubbish! [On the loss of his left foot’s big toe] This leg can’t support me firmly. During this tournament, I’m having a lot of fun. Even when I’m loosing, I’m performing a really stylish sumo. » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his defeat against Asashoryu] I paid attention not to let him grab my mawashi, but he’s so quick. Before I could even notice it, his left shoulder was facing me and he pushed me out. » Mainichi

Asashoryu: « [On his victory over Chiyotaikai] My legs reacted quickly, and then my body followed the move. I went ahead burning with enthusiasm, without any fear in my mind. [On the praise of Taiho oyakata, who retires at the end of this tournament] No, no, I’m not there yet. (Asashoryu beats a new record, winning his 12th yusho. He has indeed just won his 10th yusho as a yokozuna, and he has only needed 14 tournaments to do so. Yokozuna Taiho, precisely, held the former record, needing 15 tournaments to do the same in the 60’s) » Mainichi
« [On all the records he has just beaten and entering a very exclusive club of yokozuna] I’m very happy. But you know, I don’t believe in all these records. What’s most important to me is being fully concentrated to win the next bout. (Asashoryu becomes the first rikishi to win 4 tournaments in a row before the last day. On top of that, he has just made his second series of 4 yusho in a row. Only yokozuna Futabayama, Taiho and Chiyonofuji did the same. Asashoryu also becomes the most rewarded foreign rikishi ever, in a draw with Musashimaru, at least for now). [On his management of the yusho race] I began to think a little of the yusho race around day 11. Actually, people in the street shout at me to encourage my winning it. [On Tochiazuma, his bête noire, whom he fights against tomorrow] I’ll be ready and motivated as well. Don’t worry. » Sanspo

Taiho oyakata (former yokozuna Taiho, 32 yusho, the record!): « [On Asashoryu’s performance] He has a fighting spirit; he’s not subject to impatience. In my opinion, he is the ideal balance between spirit, body and technique. » Mainichi

Takasago oyakata [Asashoryu’ master]: « [On Asashoryu’s tournament] At the beginning, I was thinking he wasn’t performing well. But after two or three days, he was advancing on his opponents, attacking them with mighty pushes, which he performs best. Thanks to these attacks, he could lead his fights on his terms, controlling their progress. Even at training he seeks new ways to improve. » Sanspo

Kitanoumi oyakata: « [On Asashoryu, alone in the world] Thanks to his confidence, he could win 4 yusho in a row again. Considering present rikishi’s level, I can’t see why it should stop. At my time, I was competing with another yokozuna, but Asashoryu is alone at his rank. So, performing as well as he does, without any rival to motivate you, is really exceptional. I congratulate him. » Sanspo

Day 15

Asashoryu: « [On his victory against Tochiazuma, against whom he had a negative 7-8 score] Today, I produced my best sumo of the tournament. I thought that I if I didn’t finish with a zensho yusho, I would keep bitter regrets from that. [On the Nagoya tournament] During the next tournament, I just intend to fight with all my strength. I want to show a brave sumo there. [On his position in sumo] My only rival is me. » Sanspo
« [On his fight against Tochiazuma] I’ve never been so concentrated during this tournament. Against this ozeki, who is well known for his low position, I wanted a tachi-ai which prevented me from losing. I wanted to show the ozeki my will and my determination, and above all I wanted him to understand that he just won a simple bout against me last time.

Tochiazuma: « [On his defeat against Asashoryu] You know, I think there is already not much left to say. This kind of defeat, for me, it’s a first time. The yokozuna is so powerful that I decided to attack like the clappers, straight forward at the tachi-ai, but I’ll still need to do a bit more. » Sanspo

Kitanoumi rijicho: « [On the fantastic bout between Asashoryu and Tochiazuma] As Asashoryu had lost against Tochiazuma during the previous tournament, I think he was probably highly motivated. But yet, he showed accuracy and mastery when he rushed on his opponent. Nothing more to say, the strength which separates him from the other fighters has become too important. This year, he has to obtain more than 80 victories. (His own record of 82 wins in 1978 is very likely to fall this year!) » Sanspo

Kokonoe Oyakata (former yokozuna Chiyonofuji, 31 yusho): « [On Asashoryu] The gap between him and the other fighters still goes on increasing. (Before the tournament, Asashoryu was weighing 148 kg, his record, and he has been reprimanded by Kokonoe Oyakata, who ordered him to lose at least 3 kg so that he could keep his quickness. Asashoryu has listened to him and lowered his weight to 143 kg during this tournament, he even admitted his mistake). » Sanspo

Kotomitsuki: « [On the attribution of the prestigious technique prize for the sixth time] Today I was anxious as never during this tournament. [On tying with his record of 13 victories] it’s what I called an excellent performance. (laughs) [On a promotion to the rank of ozeki, which he has been trying to obtain for years] Well, I didn’t have that in mind during this tournament, but honestly, I will be really disappointed if I don’t manage to get it one day. » Sanspo
« [On his victory over Wakanosato] he’s an opponent I often practise against. Today was the bout in which I was the most motivated in this tournament. [On his 13 victories in the tournament] I’m glad I’ve been able to keep the will to go always forward during the whole tournament. [On the sixth technique prize he gets] Ah, It’s been a long while. [On the upcoming tournament in Nagoya] I would like to gon on this way, producing my own sumo, in which I go forward to attack. » Mainichi

Oshiogawa oyakata (chief of the judges): « [On Kotomitsuki’s excellent performance in this tournament] He has started to get efficient ground supports. » Sanspo

Kyokushuzan: « [On the attribution of his fighting spirit prize] With this nice reward, I managed to astonish everybody. During this tournament, I stopped attempting throws, and I just caught my opponent’s mawashi to go only forward. That was like an obsession. » Sanspo
« [On his record of 12 victories in makuuchi] I mastered well the unfolding of my bouts. In Nagoya, I want to get my kachi-koshi, to solicit a place among the sanyaku. » Mainichi

Futeno: « [On the attribution of his first fighting spirit prize] It was already an honour for me to be considered as a candidate for a special prize. If you’re trying to get a prize at any cost, your sumo suffers from that, and you don’t deliver your attacks as usual. » Sanspo
« [On his will to win a prize] No, I was disinterested. Simply, if there was a possibility to win one, it was worth trying. I thought I didn’t have any chance to win it, so I’m walking on air. » Mainichi

Hakuho: « [On finishing with 9 victories for his second tournament as a sekiwake] I really feel the difficulty in sumo. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to Mongolia, and I’m going to roam in the steppes in order to recover slowly. » Sanspo « [On his tournament] I’m dead tired. [On the management of an entire tournament] In the future, I would like to keep my coolness during the whole of every tournament. » Mainichi

Kotonowaka: « [On his kachi-koshi, after a disastrous start with a 1-6 score] I’m glad I fought like a mad guy till the end. Ah, today, I’m going to drink some excellent sake. » Sanspo
« [On his 7-1 score during the second week of the tournament] It’s because I’m one year older. (Kotonowaka was born on may 15th, which was the 8th day of the tournament). » Mainichi

Chiyotaikai: « [On his 4 losses in a row] My physical condition is too short, and I think I’ve given all I had during the first week. [On his goal in this tournament] I really wanted to get 8 victories before I had to meet the highest-ranked rikishi. » Sanspo

Miyabiyama: « [On his very close victory over Tamanoshima, enabling him to obtain his kachi-koshi] This is a huge victory. But well, today, if I talk too much, you will not be able to write important articles any more. » Sanspo
« [On the kachi-koshi he snatched on the last day] I’m relieved. Last night, I couldn’t sleep. In the end, I looked at my watch, it was 4 a.m. This victory is important. » Mainichi

Takamisakari: « [On his 10th defeat] Whatever I do, it’s bad. Everything has to be binned. » Mainichi

Tamakasuga: « [On his 8-7 score, after a fantastic 6-0 start] I’ve known both extremes. During the period in which I was losing, I was thinking too much, and good results were not there. » Mainichi

Kotoshogiku: « [On his first double-digit score in makuuchi] Ah, at last this tournament is over. I’m extremely happy. With such a performance, I’m going to get pretty high in the banzuke. I need absolutely to practise more. » Mainichi

Hakurozan (Juryo): « [On his 10th victory, which gives him a certain promotion to the makuuchi division, in which he’ll join his elder brother Roho] I’m going to enter the dohyo at the same time as my brother. I’m in seventh heaven, that was my dream. (Hakurozan talks about the dohyo-iri, as it is forbidden for brothers to fight each other in professionnal sumo, except in case of a play-off). » Mainichi

Onishi (Makushita): « [On his fifth victory, assuring him a promotion to the Juryo division] When I’ll be a Juryo, I intend to produce a powerful sumo in which I keep on rushing forward. (After his promotion among the sekitori, his new shikona becomes Yoshikaze from now on). » Mainichi

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