Ozeki Takayasu Withdraws From Nagoya Basho

The Japanese sports media (such as NikkanSports.com) is reporting that injured Ozeki Takayasu has decided to withdraw from the tournament. Takayasu injured his left arm in his day 8 match against Tamawashi, when the Mongolian Sekiwake employed an arm-lock hold that has claimed more than one injury.

Takayasu scored his 8th win to reach kachi-koshi on day 10 against Meisei, and if needed can skip the Aki Basho to devote almost 4 months to recovery, should surgery be needed, without risking his Ozeki rank.

As a result, Yokozuna Hakuho gets a default win, and remains 1 loss behind tournament leader, Yokozuna Kakuryu.

Nagoya Day 11 Preview

Welcome to the start of Act 3, the final act in what has been a grueling and brutal basho. We are down to about half of an Ozeki, and 1¾ Yokozuna.It has been a parade of injuries and misery, with the dohyo getting slick, and the stadium getting hot. But the fans are loving the fantastic sumo.

Act 3 is where we crown a yusho winner, and everyone gets sorted into make and kachi koshi. As lksumo has pointed out so well, the named ranks situation will be complicated by the insertion of Ozekiwake Takakeisho, and everyone else is going to face a shuffle for September.

Starting Act 3, it’s still Kakuryu’s yusho to lose, and we have to wonder who will have the mojo to put dirt on the only fully functioning member of the Ozeki and Yokozuna corps.

Nagoya Leaderboard

Leader: Kakuryu
Chaser: Hakuho
Hunt Group: Takayasu, Myogiryu, Tomokaze, Terutsuyoshi

5 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 11

Enho vs Sadanoumi – Enho needs one more to reach kachi-koshi, and he can do it today with a win over Sadanoumi. They only had one prior match (Natsu) which Enho won. I am ready for more crazy wild sumo from Enho. Lets go!

Yago vs Kagayaki – A loss today and Yago is on the barge back to Juryo with Kaisei. Although I expect him to fight with a palpable sense of urgency, I think whatever injury that has wrecked his balance is going to need time to repair. We will see Yago in the top division again soon, I would think.

Tochiozan vs Toyonoshima – Toyonoshima is not quite ready to join the Juryo barge, but he is getting dangerously close. He faces a relic of Tochiozan, who is a faction of his formerly fearsome self.

Terutsuyoshi vs Nishikigi – Terutsuyoshi tends to be more power and less mobility than Enho, and that might be very good news for a struggling Nishikigi, who is one loss away from make-koshi. I keep reminding myself it was Hatsu (January) that he won a kinboshi.

Chiyomaru vs Takagenji – Identical 4-6 records, and it will come down to who can establish the form of the match first. Takagenji will go for the mawashi, and Chiyomaru will want to stay mobile and pushing.

Onosho vs Kaisei – Its depressing watching Kaisei each day. But I think that Onosho could use the win.

Kotoyuki vs Tomokaze – Kotoyuki continues to surprise me. Today he has a chance to really outdo himself if he can manage to defeat Tomozake. Tomokaze is on a serious hot streak, and I hope he can reach double digits. I expect him to be ranked in the joi-jin for Aki.

Myogiryu vs Okinoumi – One of the over-arching themes of this basho seem to be the fading out of the over 30 crowd. Okinoumi is doing better than some, but he’s not anything close to the sumo he had on offer even 2 years ago. How high Myogiryu will run up the score before Sunday?

Kotoeko vs Shimanoumi – A pair of 6-4 rikishi face off to take a step closer to kachi-koshi. I would expect that whomever loses this match might end up in a “Darwin” match on day 15.

Chiyotairyu vs Daishoho – This first time meeting comes down to the tachiai. Even if Daishoho can get inside, it will be decided by how much yield Chiyotairyu dials into his initial charge.

Shohozan vs Takarafuji – Given the 11-3 history between these two, I am expecting that Shohozan will find his 5th win.

Shodai vs Daieisho – Both come in 5-5, and both are fighting well enough to make it to 8 wins. They have spit their 4 prior matches, so this is about as even as you might hope to see on day 11.

Asanoyama vs Hokutofuji – Yes indeed! The previous yusho winner goes up against the faster than ever Hokutofuji. They have split their 2 prior matches, and both are coming in strong and eager to win. For Hokutofuji, a win would mean kachi-koshi. A win for Asanoyama mean his chances of reaching 8 improve.

Endo vs Ryuden – Ryuden has had a tough time at Komusubi, which is typical for that rank. I jokingly say it’s origin is ancient yayoi for “human punching bag”. Many Komusubi find that even once they are done with the “hard” part of the schedule, they area too shattered to win consistently in the “Easy” part.

Abi vs Aoiyama – I want to see Abi-zumo 2.0 again. Please show us another demo on Aoiyama.

Ichinojo vs Tamawashi – Tamawashi is having a terrible basho. He has only one 1 match (against Asanoyama no less), and today he faces the Boulder. Now Ichinojo has not been consistent this July, so there is no telling which version of the Boulder you will get on day 11.

Mitakeumi vs Meisei – Another rikishi with an abysmal record, Meisei will have to suffer the a fairly frustrated Mitakeumi, who probably wants to get those last 2 wins and safely hold his rank. Mitakeumi won their only prior meeting.

Takayasu vs Hakuho – Today’s WTF match, we have damaged arms galore on display. Both of these men have their 8, yet they decide they are going to fight on. This is the part of sumo I think is a bit odd. Hopefully no one compounds their injury today.

Kakuryu vs Kotoshogiku – I look past their 29-22 career record, as Kotoshogiku has no power to generate forward pressure. The dohyo is also increasingly slick, and that robs Kotoshogiku of the ability to push forward effectively. Should Kotoshogiku manage to score an upset, it would put the Emperor’s Cup back in play.

Nagoya Storylines, Day 10

The Yusho Race

Undefeated Yokozuna Kakuryu has a one-win lead over fellow Yokozuna Hakuho (9-1). The 8-2 hunt group contains one-armed Ozeki Takayasu and three rank-and-filers: M7e Myogiryu, M7w Tomokaze, and M16w Terutsuyoshi. On Day 11, the leader will face M5e Kotoshogiku (5-5). The two have met on the dohyo a remarkable 50 times, with Kakuryu holding a 29-21 edge.

If Takayasu is reckless enough to show up tomorrow, he will face none other than the Dai-Yokozuna. Schedulers, what are you thinking? It can’t be a good feeling for Hakuho, himself not 100%, to have to try to defeat an obviously seriously injured opponent while attempting to avoid aggravating his condition. The 8-2 maegashira are all fighting typical maegashira opponents tomorrow, but their fight cards might get tougher starting on Day 12.

The Lower San’yaku

Sekiwake Tamawashi, who I’m sure can’t wait to get out of Nagoya, dropped to 1-9 and will be back in the maegashira ranks in September. Fellow Sekiwake Mitakeumi (6-4) has, as is often the case for him, hit the second-week wall, dropping two in a row to lower-ranked opponents. The good news for him is that one more win will keep him in san’yaku, two will save his rank, and he is up against hapless Meisei tomorrow, who only has one victory in the ring (the other coming by default) and who today couldn’t beat a man literally fighting with one arm.

Since my last update, the two Komusubi have gone in opposite direction, with Abi evening his score to 5-5 and Ryuden dropping to 3-7, one loss away from losing his rank. At this point, one open san’yaku slot seems the most likely option after accounting for Takakeisho’s drop to Sekiwake, and M1w Hokutofuji (7-3) has emerged as the clear favorite to fill it.

Demotion Danger

In addition to absent Yoshikaze, M15w Kaisei (1-9) has pretty much punched his ticket to Juryo—he would need to win his last 5 and be on the receiving end of remarkable banzuke luck to survive. M15e Yago (3-7) is in only slightly better shape—he needs 4 wins, or 3 and rare banzuke luck. Others needing more than one victory to stay in the top division are M14e Toyonoshima (4-6), M12e Tochiozan (3-7), M13e Chiyomaru (4-6), and M11w Nishikigi (3-7).

The Juryo promotion queue, in order, consists of Ishiura, Tsurugisho, Azumaryu, Chiyoshoma, Yutakayama, and Takanosho, all of whom still need 3-4 victories in the remaining 5 days to stake a real promotion claim.

Ones To Watch – Nagoya Day 11

What? Ones to watch? I have slacked off on these posts because Herouth covers the action so very well in her daily video round up. It’s some fantastic stuff. At this point, our lower division competitors have had 5 matches, and more than a few of them have hit their 4 wins and are safely kachi-koshi. A few are event at 5-0, and are competing for their division yusho.

But today there are a few matches I wanted to talk about, so let’s get rolling.

Akua vs Tsurubayashi – Yusho elimination match, can Akua leap-frog quite a few higher ranked rikishi to snatch a return to Juryo? It’s a long shot, but if he is the eventual yusho winner, it’s not out of the question.

Hoshoryu vs Nogami – If Hoshoryu prevails, it would mark his 4th win, and quite possibly his debut in September in Juryo. I am looking forward to lksumo discussing the promotion / demotion prospects later this week. I know there is a lot of hype and a lot of buzz around Hoshoryu, and I worry it would be too soon for him to start battling against the “bigs” in Juryo.

Terunofuji vs Roga – This is it. The BIG it. We had hoped there would be a rematch, and it seems the schedulers are finally going to throw the red meat to the fans. These two last met during the Jonidan yusho playoff in Osaka, with Roga taking the playoff match. Since then they have been on an almost parallel track to their current posting at the bottom of Makushita. Both rikishi are greatly improved since that Jonidan meeting. I know every fan wants to see if Terunofuji’s weight loss and muscle tone changed the calculus between these two, or if Terunofuji’s knees are just too far gone for him to present a young hard-charging rikishi a challenge.

Shoji vs Asanojo – Winner takes home kachi-koshi. For Shoji it’s doubtful he can return to Makushita for September, but the top of Sandanme would be a fine mark to hit.

Wakaichiro vs Kotokume – After a strong start, Wakaichiro had a couple of matches he was winning go south, and then his 5th match was against a rather round fellow, who seemed to be immune to Wakaichiro’s thrusting attack. He comes into his day 11 match 2-3, and needing to win his last 2 for kachi-koshi. He has done this before, and we are sure he can do it now