Nagoya 2015, Day 10: TOCHIOZAN WANTS YUSHO (updated)


The Leaders:

Tochiozan continues his winning streak by slapping down Hakuho! Both are now in a crowded group at 9-1 with Kakuryu & Terunofuji. Kagamio stumbled against Amuru to slip back to 8-2. We’ve got ourselves quite a tournament. I figured everyone would be chasing Hakuho for a few days but maybe Tochiozan was inspired by the way that Terunofuji’s lightning promotion. He’s got Goeido tomorrow, the last ozeki on his schedule. From there, his path should get easier just as the other leaders’ schedules get more difficult.

Kakuryu staved off a challenge from Takarafuji to remain at 9-1. The yokozuna will face the ever-desperate Kotoshogiku. Takarafuji is tied with Ikioi (at 1-9) for the futility award. Lastly, Terunofuji outlasted Kaisei to keep it interesting. Tomorrow, the headline match has to be Hakuho vs Terunofuji so at least one man will be 10-1 at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Kagamio lost to Amuru so he’s alone in second place. He moves on to face Yoshikaze tomorrow.

The Rest:

Sokokurai came up from Juryo, basically to send Satoyama back down. He was on the offensive the whole time with a two handed belt grip. Satoyama basically held on as long as he could until Sokokurai’s trip finally worked. Very cool kirikaeshi. Endo (7-3) obliterated Takanoiwa with a very strong tachiai, and just didn’t stop until Takanoiwa was sitting in the shinpan’s lap. Chiyotairyu (7-3) also met Kotoyuki with a strong tachiai but then ducked to the side and let Kotoyuki flop on his belly.

Kyokutenho got a very important third win. He’ll need to win the rest to get kachi-koshi but I imagine he’s just taking it one match at a time, trying to stay in makuuchi. Tokitenku withstood Homarefuji’s slaps and gave a few good nodowa thrusts before pulling the rug out and dropping his opponent. Oosunaarashi kept Yoshikaze at arms length and beat him off the dohyo. Both stand at 7-3. We’ll have a slew of men getting their winning records tomorrow.

Sadanofuji’s one of the few that can hang with Gagamaru in the heavyweight division. Today, he outlasted the Georgian and walked him out for the yorikiri win. I’m very happy Ikioi is not more seriously injured after yesterday’s fall. He seemed fine today but his high-level futility continues. M4 and higher, he can’t buy a win, even against guys he usually beats like Kyokushuho.

I seriously think Japanese athletes and teams need to invest more in sports psychologists. Hakuho is ice when he’s in the ring. He’s cool as a cucumber. With the exception of the 2012 women’s soccer team, it seems Japanese athletes and teams in the spotlight just don’t have the confidence or the mental toughness to advance to their full potential. From Mao-chan to Kisenosato, I just don’t think their head is in the game when it’s all on the line. Ikioi shouldn’t be going down to a hatakikomi today.

Sadanoumi was no match for Aoiyama (5-5). Myogiryu also advances to 5-5 with a dominant win over Okinoumi. Tochinoshin needs to step on the gas if he wants to be in the sanyaku next tournament. It’s good time to meet Ichinojo, then. Ichinojo just hasn’t had much answer against Tochinoshin since his size is easily negated by the Georgian’s power. Kisenosato wants to stay in the hunt. Kotoshogiku came at him with everything but he withstood the charge, got position at the center of the ring and steadily pushed him out. Goeido showed great reaction time as Aminishiki attempted the henka. Goeido recovered while Aminishiki’s own momentum tripped him up.

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