Nagoya Day 10 Preview

Behold! The Giant Macaroon of Victory!

Closing The Second Act

My template for any basho is a series of 3 acts, with the second one being focused on trimming the field to a handful of rikishi who will compete for the cup. For Nagoya, we have slim chance of anyone other than Hakuho winning this one. The only credible rikishi is Aoiyama at 8-1, and there is little hope that he could best Hakuho in any kind of head-to-head match should it come to that. Right now it’s Hakuho’s basho to lose.

The strong story of this basho, as we outlined in the weeks leading up to Nagoya, is the strength of the new blood that had entered Makuuchi since the Kyushu basho in November. Up to that point, the upper ranks were largely populated by men who had been Sekitori for more than 4 years, many of whom were getting a bit long in the tooth. It was clear that we would have a cull as soon as a strong class of men were able to fight their way past Juryo, and into position to dethrone the old guard.

Today we see that outcome beginning to manifest itself, with the startling surprise that in spite of injury, surgery, hospitalization and a brutal road to recovery, Hakuho one again sits atop the sumo world. For fans who are new to sumo, or those who cannot recall, with Hakuho Genki, the chances of anyone being able to reach Yokozuna are very close to zero. It’s one thing to win two yusho in a row when you have fierce men holding down the Yokozuna and Ozeki ranks (such as a healthy Terunofuji or Kisenosato), and another matter entirely when you have to overcome Hakuho.

What’s in store for act 3? I suspect the Nagoya basho has a few more tricks up its sleeves, and we are likely to see at least one more crazy day before the winner can claim the coveted giant macaroon of victory.

Nagoya Leader board

Leader – Hakuho
Chaser – Aoiyama
Hunt Group – Takayasu, Onosho, Chiyotairyu, Takarafuji

6 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 10

Takarafuji vs Gagamaru – Takarafuji going for kachi-koshi, while Gagamaru is praying he can stay out of Juryo for another basho. Sad news for Planet G, Takarafuji has won all 6 of the prior bouts.

Nishikigi vs Takekaze – After a strong start, Nishikigi is on a 3 bout losing streak. He has never won against Takekaze, so this could be an inch closer to the edge of make-koshi and an unfortunate return to Juryo. Time to gamberize!

Aoiyama vs Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu pushing for kachi-koshi against the man mountain today. I will be curious to see if Aoiyama will back off the throttle now that he has secured a winning record. He has to know that a trip to the upper Maegashira is now likely, and it brings plenty of pain. Aoiyama leads the series 6-2.

Tokushoryu vs Onosho – Onosho has a shot at kachi-koshi today too, but he needs to overcome the man with biggest overhang in sumo, none other than Tokushoryu. only 3 prior matches, and Tokushoryu has taken 2 of them.

Tochinoshin vs Ichinojo – Big and strong takes on strong and huge. Tochinoshin is back in fighting form, and could be headed for San’yaku if he can get his last 3 wins. Tochinoshin leads their series 8-4.

Kagayaki vs Hokutofuji – Nice match between the fresh rikishi. Both of them have losing records at the moment, but a lot of that is due to their tours through the upper ranks. Kagayaki has never won against Hokutofuji, but today could be his day.

Yoshikaze vs Takakeisho – Yoshikaze completely dismantled Takayasu on day 9, and being a fan of both, it was glorious to watch. As some of our readers have mentioned, Takayasu has gotten a bit one dimensional in the past 3 bouts. Compare his sumo for Aki 2016 to today, and you can see the change. Now, he did what he needed to do in order to reach Ozeki, but he is clearly getting easier to read and counter.

Shodai vs Mitakeumi – I am guessing no henka today. Shodai’s tachiai may be high and sloppy, but he keeps his eyes center-mass of his opponent. I expect he is going to try to get inside on Mitakeumi fast before Mitakeumi can get the tsuppari torrent running. Shodai leads their series 5-3

Kotoshogiku vs Goeido – Kotoshogiku wants to set up for his hip-pump attack, it’s his one thing. Goeido needs to keep this a run-and-gun match, which the Goeido 2.0 software is actually tuned for. These two have met 43 times in the past, but Goeido is the clear winner of their matches.

Takayasu vs Ura – Over to you Takayasu, can you handle this guy? He seems to command the fabric of the universe at times, if you let him. I am hoping that rather than his ordinary shoulder blast, he goes for a strong left hand inside at the tachiai and brings Ura in close. Ura will not last long trying to support the burly bulk that is Takayasu. This is their first bout.

Hakuho vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma is actually fighting pretty well this basho, and if he did not have to fill in for some kyuju talent at the top end, would likely be in for a nice kachi-koshi. But instead he gets to be cannon fodder for the Yokozuna and Ozeki corps in the final days. Only their second meeting, with Hakuho taking the last match.

Tamawashi vs Harumafuji – Let’s watch them trade choke holds! Bring it on, who can hold their breath longest while man-handling 300+ pounds of rikishi on a slippery clay surface? Yeah, Harumafuji for sure because he has been known to hold his breath for a hour while engaging in Butsukari with Terunofuji.

19 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 10 Preview

  1. I think both Hokutofuji and Takayasu get back on track here. Taka knows how to throttle back on the tachiai, which he will absolutely have to do against Ura. I think Mitakeumi goes straight through Shodai, but I’ve underestimated that guy before…

    • I really think Takayasu has to be careful here. His normal forearm strike at the tachiai may not be what is called for. I hope he can revert to some of this 2016 sumo, which will be more effective against Ura. He Takayasu can get a good inside grip, he will likely be able to control the little wizard.

      • I agree, full steam ahead will get him in big trouble. You could see him lay off on his charge with Chiyoshouma a few days ago, knowing the guy is a henka artist. I think he’ll be measured against Ura and get his grip.

      • Well, if he does the shoulder blast again it will meet thin air, as Ura’s face, let alone shoulder and chest, will be at least 15 centimeters below it. Takayasu will simply have to change gears.

  2. Question as a relative newcomer to sumo/tachiai (started at Hatsu 2017)…what does “gamberize” mean?

    also…while both delicious, that’s a macaron not a macaroon ;D

    • Gamberize is a English language hybridization for a Japanese word that means “to do your best”. Also, until your post, I did not realize there was a distinction in the names of those confections.

    • For what it’s worth, the sumo world can thank the multi-talented Kintamayama for “gambarize”, coined in 2003 or so. (The oldest mention I was able to find a little while ago was from 2004, but he used it so casually there that it must be a bit older.)

  3. New game, guess the following day’s joi-jin Torikumi. For day 11, I have:

    Hakuho vs Tamawashi (!!)
    Harumafuji vs Chiyoshoma
    Goeido vs Ura (!!!)
    Takayasu vs Kagayaki
    Mitakeumi vs Ikioi
    Yoshikaze vs Tochinoshin (!)
    Kotoshogiku vs Shodai
    Takakeisho vs Hokutofuji (!)

    • If you have it, it is likely so. Thanks very much for posting it. That looks like a great line up.

    • Should be Hakuho-Mitakeumi; the #1-ranked guy normally faces all sekiwake and above in ascending order. Takayasu-Tamawashi ought to be the other intra sanyaku matchup.

  4. Apropos the Harumafuji-Terunofuji butsukari thing, I’m thinking that in May, Harumafuji looked pretty damn good, and wondering if his current less-than-brilliant performance is really due to some injury, or if it’s the result of Terunofuji having his surgery and rest, and the Yokozuna having less murderous aite to train with, thus losing his edge.

  5. I have to say, this was another amazing day.
    I think the highlight was actually the Ichinojo/Tochinoshin match. Sitting there, it actually felt like it was going on forever as both of these big men tried to lift each-other out. The whole crowed was behind them both, clapping and cheering when either of them returned from the edge. I don’t think by the end that anyone car d who actually won, it was just a spectacular match to experience.

    The Ura/Takayasu match was a close second. There was just something about watching this live and seeing this small guy throwing his whole body at this big guy. You could hear the impact sounds at the back of the stadium over all of the cheers.

    But I really think the top was one of the makushita matches that actually broke the dohyo!

    • Thanks again for the first hand report. I saw some photos on Twitter of the damaged section of the dohyo. The Nagoya dohyo is always a tough thing, as the weather conspires to degrade it quickly.

    • Tochinoshin vs Ichinojo is always such a great rivalry. Really one of my top matchups in every tournament. It brings out Ichinojo’s best.


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