Nagoya 2015, Day 8: Ikioi Gives Kakuryu a Scare


The Leaders:

Hakuho seemed content to let Kaisei wear himself out in a good belt battle. Hakuho demonstrated his patience and his power, able to counter any move Kaisei attempted. When Kaisei appeared to have nothing left in the tank for another go, Hakuho powerfully escorted him and his extra 40 kg out of the ring. Again, to note, rather than let himself get thrown off the dohyo and risk injury, Kaisei let up and stayed upright. Many of the lower ranked guys need to learn this in order to protect themselves.

Ikioi always brings it. No matter who he faces, he always gives it his all. Today, he faced Kakuryu and surprised the entire arena by very nearly throwing the yokozuna to his first loss. When Kakuryu moved for Ikioi’s belt, (or maybe an ill-timed kick?) Ikioi countered and used the leverage to shove the pair over to the edge. However, Kakuryu recovered and promptly threw Ikioi off the dohyo for his 8th win. Ikioi falls to 1-7.

Tochinoshin showed up for a great bout with Terunofuji (7-1). He even controlled the action for a little while as Terunofuji realized he wouldn’t be able to just bull him over. The ozeki eventually wore him down, though, and picked up an impressive yorikiri win to stay one loss behind the Hak & Kak.

Tochiozan stayed on pace with a great, methodical yorikiri win over Ichinojo. He withstood the initial charge and quickly gained control of the bout. With a good tug, I think he scared Ichinojo into thinking he was going for hatakikomi but instead walked the monster out backwards. Kagamio (7-1) wants his kachi-koshi bad. He pulled out a glorious henka on Toyohibiki (4-4). He’s definitely got a chance against Homarefuji tomorrow. Among the bottom ranks of the makuuchi, he’s really only got Satoyama left to face so this week should be more of a challenge.

The Rest:

Seiro (4-4) improved to .500 by overpowering Satoyama (3-5).  Kyokutenho (2-6) picked up his second win of the tournament against Hidenoumi (3-5) with a great throw. Amuru has been doing really well this tournament, improving to 5-3 while facing solid maegashira. What I mean by that are guys in the 8-12 ranks instead of down in the 14-16. He faces Toyohibiki tomorrow. Tokitenku tried a rather feeble slap against Yoshikaze but Yoshikaze controlled the ring and chased the Mongolian out to improve to 6-2.

Provided injuries don’t end their careers too early, the Endo v Oosunaarashi rivalry promises more great sumo. Endo still needs to get Oosunaarashi on the belt. If he lets the Egyptian keep the battle at arms length, like he did today, he’s got little hope of hanging with that aggressive style. Both now stand at 5-3. I think Okinoumi showed how it should be done two days ago. Speaking of Okinoumi, he improved to 6-2 by dominating Gagamaru, who falls to 4-4. He quickly brought the battle to the belt and pushed the Georgian out. Okinoumi faces the solid Yoshikaze tomorrow and Gagamaru takes on Oosunaarashi in a battle to watch.

Takayasu slipped in the tachiai to provide the most anti-climactic bout of the day. Aoiyama happily picked up the win to improve to 4-4. I haven’t wanted to report on Uncle Takarafuji’s impotence this tournament. Let’s just say it continued today. Myogiryu improves to 3-5. Kotoshogiku won the ozeki battle with Goeido both are at .500 with a week to go. Kisenosato dominated Aminishiki, staying two losses off pace – as usual.

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