Worth the Wait.
In my humble opinion, thus far the Kyushu tournament has been fairly lackluster. I am not sure if it’s because Hakuho is good but recovering, Harumafuji had gotten boring and repetitive, or the my deeply held belief that the shimpan should have let Goeido and Okinoumi fight it out.
But day nine – it’s as if everyone decided the fans needed some real sumo, and stopped half-assing. Maybe the Sumo Kyokai discussed with the A-List crew that the fans were unhappy, and the recent resurgence in sumo’s popularity was on the line. It does not matter, day 9 was worth the wait.
At the moment Kakuryu remains undefeated, in part because he has perfected running away (which is a valid strategy) until he can figure out an attack. Hakuho finally put it in gear, and Harumfuji decided to try some sumo moves today.
On top of that, Ishiura continues to win decisively, he is dominating the lower Makuuchi ranks. I also offer a my eternal thanks to the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan for bringing Terunofuji back to fighting form. It is such fun to watch him battle.
The story in Juryo was frankly more compelling that Makuuchi has been thus far, we have Osunaarashi tearing up opponents with a single minded drive to return to Makuuchi for January. We have Ura, Seiro and Satoyama continuing to win daily, and with some really good sumo.
- Undefeated: Kakuryu
- Chasers: Harumafuji, Hakuho, Ishiura
- Hunt Group: Kisenosato, Terunofuji, Shodai, Chiyoshoma, Arawashi
6 matches remain
Ichinojo defeats Hidenoumi – The giant sumo robot from the future delivered today. Granted it was against a rikishi with a single win, but both put a lot of effort into their sumo today. Ichinojo now has 4 straight wins after a really weak start to the basho. Ichinojo should be a real contender in 2017, if he can stay healthy.
Ishiura defeats Hokutofuji – Don’t blink or you will miss this one. Ishiura has acres of strength, and his bout against Hokutofuji looked more like Ishiura was late for a train, and Hokutofuji simply got in the way.
Arawashi defeats Chiyotairyu – What I really like about this match, watch Arawashi hook his left hand into Chiyotairyu’s muwashi early. Chiyotairyu continues to try and push Arawashi away, but Arawashi stays close and presses Chiyotairyu out. The ability to think, act and maneuver while under attack – that’s indicators of great sumo
Chiyoshoma defeats Ikioi – Fresh dental work could not save Ikioi from a rapid hatakikomi (pull down). Sadly Ikioi was telegraphing a massive tachiai, and made it easy for Chiyoshoma. I urge fans to study Hakuho or Harumafuji. Those guys always line up in a calm, cool manner and you have no clue what they are about to do.
Tochinoshin defeats Shohozan – Oh yeah, this is more like it! What a battle. Suffice to say both rikishi are massively strong, and neither one of them were willing to give an inch. Tochinoshin. coming from being robbed day 8, clearly had some motivation. These two have faced each other 13 times, and it’s usually a good battle. Thank you both for a fantastic match.
Takarafuji defeats Endo – Endo has been doing quite well this basho, but today Takarafuji brought everything he had to the dohyo, and put up a huge fight. This match was all thrusting to start, with Endo borrowing Harumafuji’s nodawa, with much less effect. While he was trying to get Takarafuji high, Takarafuji was busy controlling the match. Takarafuji then wrapped up Endo, lowered his stance and started moving forward. Endo had expended a lot of stamina on his nodawa attack, and found himself suddenly on defense. Takarafuji finished him in short order. Very well done
Yoshikaze defeats Chiyonokuni – Two rikishi who are almost all offense. It did not take long. Chiyonokuni was off balance shortly after a massive tachiai and Yoshikaze kept pushing forward. Bonus points for the high force “ejector” right at the tawara to give the fans in the front fro a visit from Chiyonokuni.
Terunofuji defeats Kaisei – Really fans, Kaisei is not a bad rikishi. He is having a terrible basho. Kaisei Terunofuji, on the other hand, has somehow overcome significant injuries to perform more like his old self. He handled the much larger Brazilian really well, with a decisive throw to end the match.
Kisenosato defeats Goeido – In the battle of broken dreams, Goeido had the upper hand at the opening, but Kisenosato has an almost superhuman awareness of the geometry of the situation, and the physical forces in play, moment to moment. At the last moment he shifted his weight, while he was starting to fall, and brought Goeido down first.
Kakuryu defeats Takayasu – This was all Takayasu to start, but Kakuryu stayed in there, and waited for a mistake. Sadly Takayasu made one, and like every other match this basho, you can’t give Kakuryu an opening. He never misses them. Takayasu excels at strength sumo, chest to chest, the key to his losses is making sure he can’t lock his opening up and wear them down.
Harumafuji defeats Okinoumi – Even Harumafuji decided to try some sumo moves today. It was really quite excellent as well. I would beg him to put down the non-henka, the nodawa and deliver more bouts like this one, please.
Hakuho defeats Kotoshogiku – The Boss brought fans one hell of a final match today. Clearly he is not yet back to his pre surgery best, but today was a great show of why he is the top man in sumo. Kotoshogiku put forth a massive effort, using all of his favorite moves. Hakuho was able to keep him bottled up for an eternity in sumo terms. Clearly he was keeping pressure down on the knee that had surgery, but even one of the Boss’s legs can be enough, when applied with great skill. Closing move? YEAH – he picked up Kotoshogiku and threw him out of the ring.