Aki Basho Endgame & Fallout

goeido-13

With Two Days Left, Here Is How We See It

  • Leader (13-0): Goeido
  • Lone Hunter (11-2): Endo
  • 2 Days Remain

As Andy pointed out, the odds are now overwhelming that Goeido wins the Aki basho. It’s also more than even odds that he will do so with a perfect score of 15-0. This would be a huge come-back from his kadoban status, but not unprecedented. In fact it seems according to sumo database at sumogames.de, it would seem that the last time we had Kadoban to zensho yusho was 1934. So very rare.

The biggest casualty of Aki will likely turn out to be Kisenosato, who went in to this tournament with the expectation that he would challenge for the title, and once again present a solid case for promotion to Yokozuna. Instead his sumo was inconsistent, and as a result he dropped out of serious competition for the title the day he could not defeat Goeido.

That single bout, where Kisenosato faced Goeido, was the point where everything changed in the sumo universe. On Day 11, there was a slim path that required Kisenosato to win, and his stable mate Takayasu to win over Harumafuji. Takayasu was indeed victorious in a glorious display of just how good this up and coming Sekiwake has been this tournament. But Kisenosato could not close the deal.

ichiban

A Kisenosato win on day 11 would have given us

Leaders (10-1): Goeido, Endo
Chasers (9-2): Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Takayasu

This is would have quite possibly resulted in one of the most amazing final quarters of a basho in my memory. But Goeido would not be stopped. Each bout this tournament, he has picked an attack, and committed everything to it’s delivery. If we see this side of Goeido consistently, we may instead be talking about a Yokozuna run for Goeido. In fact the yokozuna promotion rules have special consideration for zehsho wins (perfect score), which might lead to a Goeido “fast track”.

From here we see Goeido face Tamawashi on day 14, and I am guessing Endo on day 15. Endo faces Takayasu day 13, as Takayasu works to rack up his win record for consideration of promotion to Ozeki in the not too distant future. Sadly Terunofuji is now kadoban, and cannot sit out the next basho without being demoted out of Ozeki. Likewise, Shin-Sekiwake Takarafuji is now make-kochi and facing at least 1 step demotion.

It’s Goeido!

After an epic, pre-bout stare down. Goeido threw Harumafuji to likely secure his first yusho. He brought it straight to the yokuzuna, thankfully avoiding the henka temptation, ending it with Harumafuji in a headlock and thrown to the ground to the delight of the spectators – especially the old dude in the third row with the comely Russian companion.

“Olé!” Endo’s misdirection at the edge sent Shohozan charging off the dohyo like a raging bull. The move keeps Endo mathematically in the hunt if the wheels fall completely off Goeido in Okinoumi-like fashion. Enso will surely be recipient of a special prize. Meanwhile, Takayasu’s yusho hopes were dashed at the skillful hands of Mitakeumi. With this great tournament performance, Mitakeumi could very well find himself taking the sekiwake post lost by Takarafuji. He’ll certainly be at least komusubi in November in the wake of the devastation in the K-M4 ranks.

In the other sanyaku bouts, Kakuryu picks up a needed 9th win with his quick takedown of a deflated Kisenosato. Kotoshogiku picks up a cheap kachi-koshi against Terunofuji who should have spent this tournament on a couch with Hakuho and Ichinojo.

Yoshikaze used a great mid-ring throw to beat Takarafuji. I love when a henkaee manages to recover and win like Tochinoshin against Myogiryu. That was pretty cool. What was NOT cool was the way Okinoumi let Aoiyama beat him with very little resistance. He slid to the edge of the dohyo at the tachiai and basically stepped off, into the front row. Extremely disappointing from someone with such an amazing start to the tournament.

Day 14 Schedule Online – Opposite Day?

bizzaro

The schedule for day 14 is online, and it’s a weird one. A few quick highlights:

  • Takayasu fights Endo – Wow, Endo is on a hot streak, but this could be brutal.
  • Mitakeumi fights Kotoshogiku – Good lord! it’s crazy day to be certain!
  • Goeido fights Tamawashi – Well, nothing against Tamawashi, but I am not optimistic he will be able to put a defeat on the board against the Ozeki
  • Harumafuji fights Kisenosato – This certainly looks like a train wreck from here.

As huge sumo fans, Tachiai will be glued to these matches, but this blogger may have his silly hat on.

Aki Day 13 Preview

harumafuji

Can Harumafuji Stop Goeido?

At the end of day 12, Goeido is on a drive that includes a possible zenshō, a perfect tournament record victory. He seems unstoppable, with his nearest competitor 2 wins behind him. There are, mathematically, two possible matches left to prevent this outcome, and it starts with Harumafuji on day 13.

Today, we saw the classic Harumafuji “Spin Cycle” against Kotoshogiku, and it was devastatingly effective. Out of all the fantastic attack strategies Harumafuji employs, sumo fans are dreaming of an epic battle to end the day Friday.

Among the sekitori hunting Goeido, Takayasu has already faced him, and lost.

  • Leader (12-0): Goeido
  • Hunt Group (10-2): Harumafuji, Takayasu, Endo
  • 3 Days Remain

Matches of Note

Harumafuji v Goeido – This one likely determines if Goeido takes the cup. There are two people in sumo you can look to for a fierce battle, the sidelined Hakuho, and the defending cup holder, Harumafuji. I don’t expect Goeido on defense at all, and I expect him to move early to get Harumafuji off balance. His victory in the upper ranks have focused on getting his opponent to react to an unexpected move, and then strike in an instant as they are between moves. Normally Harumafuji could send him sailing into the crowd, but this tournament Goeido is in top form.

Advantage Goeido

Kisenosato v Kakuryu – Both these sanyaku are struggling, both of them are under performing, both of them need to take a recovery break after this basho, get healthy and get their head back in the game. Kakuryu is doing well for an Ozeki, but is not up to Yokozuna levels. Kisenosato had one job to do, and the easiest conditions to accomplish it. He failed.

Takayasu v Mitakeumi – Interesting classroom sessions for Mitakeumi. Both rikishi are well into kachi-koshi, and this is really to see how many wins they can rack up. Takayasu is now banking scalps for a possibly Ozeki bid in Kyushu, and Mitakeumi is looking to test himself.

Okinoumi v Aoiyama – The winner achieves kachi-koshi. Okinoumi faded completely from his outstanding first day performance. It would be unsettling if he could not find a way to get the enormous Aoiyama down.

Shohozan v Endo – Endo is racking up a lot of wins down at the bottom of makuuchi. Shohozan is looking for secure a winning record and a likely promotion higher up the banzuke.