The Other Fukuoka Sinkhole
I have made my displeasure with some of the outcomes of day 8 abundantly clear. The rest of the day was kind of a sorry mess as well, with a few nice highlights. But after breakfast and some tea, it’s time to post commentary on the action in Kyushu.
The group with chances of taking the tournament yusho narrowed, with Goeido’s loss pushing him out of reasonable contention. At the same time, Kakuryu’s very sloppy win gives him a secured kachi-koshi. Kakuryu’s win showed a lot of weakness, Hakuho has confirmed (in my eyes) that he is still struggling to regain his former potency. Harumafuji is starting to get boring, and hopefully some of those crazed shimpan will discuss his two-dimensional approach with him. Harumafuji is much better than what he is showing us this tournament.
In Juryo – Osunaarashi, Ura and Sato all won again today, while Yamaguchi. There may be some welcome Makuuchi promotions going into the January basho in Tokyo.
We have one week left in Kyushu
- Undefeated: Kakuryu
- Chasers: Harumafuji, Hakuho, Goeido, Ishiura
- Hunt Group: Goeido, Kisenosato, Terunofuji, Shodai, Ikioi, Chiyoshoma, Arawashi
7 matches remain
Day 8 Notable
Ichinojo defeats Gagamaru – After a slow start, the giant sumo robot from the future seems to be getting his software and hardware back in order.
Ishiura defeats Kyokushuho – Not much of a contest, really. I expect the schedulers are going to give Ishiura some tough matches this coming week.
Ikioi defeats Chiyonokuni – pretty sure Ikioi broke a tooth on that tachiai, when Chiyonokuni’s skull impacted his lower jaw. Ikioi kept pressing the attack, and shortly afterwards Chiyonokuni lost his balance.
Endo defeats Sadanoumi – Endo continues to look good, though today was an easy match for him. Sadanoumi took a fast tour of the salt basket and various west side sumo accessories on his trip over the edge of the dohyo.
Shodai defeats Tochinoshin – Really terrible outcome. First match was a clear Tochinoshin win as Shodai was on the clay while Tochinoshin was in the air. There is an expression in sumo – if you know you are falling, touch last. Many matches see both rikishi on the process of falling at the end, and the one who touches the ground first is the one who loses. This was not even close. The shimpan decided as Tochinoshin’s body was in the air but outside the ring, he lost. Baloney. Monoii was called, in the rematch Shodai won. Really bad show, judges. For a few minutes, this was the worst call in recent sumo. But they applied themselves and went for worse
Tochiozan defeats Takayasu – Takayasu is a mess right now. I am not sure what has him off his sumo, but this guy is really a serious force for the future. Kitamayama declared in a round table prior to the tournament that Takayasu would end up maki-kochi. I assumed he was joking. I fear that could in fact happen. Note about Takayasu and low win scores – he is under consideration for promotion to Ozeki, but he has to rack up 33 wins across 3 tournaments to earn it.
Okinoumi defeats Goeido – Okinoumi is a great sumotori, and although he is struggling this basho, I predict great things for him. I also feel very sorry for him today, as the weight of a bad call must surely rest on his mind. In what is likely to be the most controversial call for some time, the gyoji’s decision was reversed by monoii, and Okinoumi was declared the winner. To be completely fair, Goeido’s sumo was a mess today, worse than any of his prior days this basho, there was little chance he was going to prevail over the Yokozuna next week. The call in question is exactly where Goeido’s heel was on the tawara as Okinoumi hit the dirt. Even Okinoumi thought he lost.
Terunofuji defeats Kotoshogiku – If there was a bright spot in the sanyaku matches, it was Terunofuji masterfully containing Kotoshogiku, and dispatching him from the ring with relative ease. Kotoshogiku was never able to establish a grip or start his bulldozer technique. Wonderful sumo from Terunofuji, in spite of the pain, in spite of the injury. Nicely done.
Harumafuji defeats Yoshikaze – These guys really have a lot of animosity for each other, and it shows. The match featured the Harumafuji nodowa (Darth Vader) move that is really tiresome now, and Yoshikaze moving to pull an inside leg trip. He missed, and was off balance. Game over. Yoshikaze is having a miserable tournament.
Hakuho defeats Mitakeumi – Komusubi is the toughest job in sumo, and Mitakeumi is taking his lumps. As Andy pointed out, it’s where perfectly good sumotori go to get beat up. We saw a bit more mobility out of Hakuho, but it’s clear is is not his normal self. His technique remains outstanding – during his drive against Mitakeumi, his stance was fantastic, his feet very heavy and his hips low the entire time. But the speed and power were clearly not what they were early this year, and after the match, he walked stiffly. To hide it, he has increased his swagger, but it’s plain to see that he’s still nursing lower body injuries. As a bonus, he had a new elbow wrap on today.
Kakuryu defeats Tamawashi – Kakuryu looked really bad – reactive, out of control and moving backwards. In contrast Tamawashi was in control of the match and executing his sumo plan. Tamawashi made a critical mistake by over-extending himself, and Kakuryu moved to finish him. Tamawashi is maintaining a winning record as Komusubi, a difficult thing to do.