Aki Day 3 Highlights


Day 3 in bizzaro basho, and the whole Tachiai crew, along with the cat, are wondering if this thing is ever going to settle down and stop pooping it’s diaper.

If you have yet to watch the NHK highlight reel, or Jason or Kintamayama, I strongly recommend a stiff drink before and during. With now 7 rikishi out kyujo – Including the majority of the Yokozuna and Ozeki corps – each day seems a bit more odd and off pace. Yet there is abundant great sumo taking place, and in the absence of the top guys, the up and coming team are really in the spotlight. With rikishi like Takakeisho and Onosho clearly standing out every day, they are getting a great deal of attention, and probably new fans. This is another step down the path of transition that we have been pointing out for the past several tournaments, and it’s not going to reverse.

If you are wondering, many of the Angry Tadpoles are still undefeated at the end of day 3. These guys are a real driving force for the near-term future of sumo.

Rather than call it highlights, for today I am going to call it…

Things That Happened Today

Asanoyama defeats Yutakayama – I have decided I like Asanoyama. He just seems to be having a great time on the dohyo, even when he loses. It’s as if each time he steps up on the clay, he says to himself, “Can you believe they are paying me to have this much fun? Holy crap, what a life!”

Aminishiki defeats Tokushoryu – Yeah, thats right! Uncle Sumo came to Makuuchi for a day and won! His fans in the Kokugikan are legion, and he frequently gets a bigger reaction than 80% of Maegashira. There was a false start, but the second attempt was actually some really good sumo. Tokushoryu was trying to apply overwhelming bulldozery, but Uncle Sumo decided he was fine with that. He offered some token resistance to get Tokushoryu well cranked up, then pulled him down.

Endo defeats Kaisei – Ok, I am starting to allow myself to get optimistic about Endo’s recovery. Sure he is fighting the bottom end of Makuuchi, but I would say his ankle is at best 75% of good. He even had the presence of mind to break Kaisei’s fall. I think with the bloodbath thus far, everyone is worried someone else is going to catch a career impacting injury.

Daieisho defeats Nishikigi – Daieisho is not getting a lot of coverage because he is down at Maegashira 11, but he is looking in solid form right now. Granted Nishikigi is not the strongest opponent, but Daieisho’s sumo was spot on today.

Arawashi defeats Takarafuji – Really nice effort by both Rikishi, Arawashi had a much better tachiai and was able to set up the throw.

Takakeisho defeats Shodai – Everyone sing along… Shodai blew another tachiai. Easy to do when you are tall and looking rather lethargic this basho, and your opponent is an amped-up bowling ball with legs who has chrome side pipes and the low-rider package. I counted 2 tsuppari from Takakeisho for every 1 from Shodai. Frankly Shodai looked surprised that this tadpole was kicking his butt. Takakeisho remains undefeated.

Chiyotairyu defeats Tochiozan – Chiyotairyu continues to deliver above expectations, and is really knocking down some of the better rikishi that are not in the hospital.

Onosho defeats Tamawashi – I am still thinking that Tamawashi did more to his ankle than he cares to admit. Onosho was once again at 11+ on a 1-10 scale, and Tamawashi seems to be lacking his prior ability to transmit power to ground.

Mitakeumi defeats Shohozan – Mitakeumi hopefully is shaking off the cobwebs and the jinx of going on NHK to talk about his sumo. Big Guns Shohozan is sporting some Yoshikaze-style face damage now, so that may be effecting his sumo. Mitakeumi won by a fairly quick slap-down for a convincing victory.

Goeido defeats Yoshikaze – Goeido unleashes a dirty henka, but Yoshikaze bought it. Goeido really needs to clear his kadoban status, so I am sure nobody really is too sore about his deciding not to take the Berserker on head-to-head.

Terunofuji defeats Tochinoshin – Thank you oh Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan. The knee-less wonder won in fairly convincing fashion over Tochinoshin, and maybe there is hope that he’s still got some health left. Tochinoshin gave it his all, and put up a great fight. Terunofuji was relieved, the fans are relieved, and even my cat liked it.

Kotoshogiku “something-something” Harumafuji – I could call it a win, it was recorded as a win, but what the hell was it? It was, in fact, Kotoshogiku’s first kinboshi, but should it have been? Clearly we had a matta, but for whatever reason the gyoji did not call it back. Again, after yesterday’s injury fest, I am sure people like Harumafuji are being extra careful. Should he have ignored the matta and just given The Kyushu Bulldozer (Kotoshogiku) a death spin and a ride in the wheelchair? Either way, it’s in the record books now and Harumafuji has his first loss of the basho. Kotoshogiku… Undefeated?

34 thoughts on “Aki Day 3 Highlights

  1. Ok, I officially have to make watching this basho into a drinking game. Problem: I watch the videos in the morning when I get to work. Hmm…

    The basement bout between the two mountains Asanoyama and Yutakayama may have been the best-looking, most polished sumo of the day…?

    Three rikishi are bringing incredibly confident sumo and looking awesome doing it: Takakeisho, Onosho, and Chiyotairyu. I’m more confident than ever that at least one of them will be in contention on the final day. It wouldn’t even be that weird if all three were.

    Mitakeumi looked furious out there and I was afraid he was going to actually put some hurt on Shohozan. Crazily despite his bad start he probably still has a relatively easy track to 10 wins if he can get going.

    I didn’t think Terunofuji looked any better out there today and I’m amazed that Tochinoshin didn’t beat him. I didn’t think the lumberjack took the right approach at all, and looked a little lost out there…how do you let the injured guy turn you when your simplest win is to turn him?? Then again, Terunofuji is one of the few guys bigger than him. I don’t know what to think of that fight.

    I have no words for the kinboshi at the end.

    • Yes, like you I am early in the day when I watch sumo in order to write it up. But come tonight with the family, the sake will flow to be certain.

      I think Terunofuji actually looked better today than day 1 or 2, so maybe he’s got some life left. Your 3 guys are all really cranked up and running well, indeed.

      • I’ve been watching the sumo stream mostly live from the west coast, and I seriously thought I had fallen asleep towards the end and dreamed up half of it. That no-matta ending was total BS to my (admittedly noob) sumo eyes. It felt like a football style “yell at the ref to wake the hell up” mistake.

        Oh well, I hope Haruma and Teruno can battle back against Sneaky Henka and Uncle Backbend to win it. But at this rate it might be Onosho taking home the yusho.

        Oddly enough, i’m really enjoying watching the lower rank bouts compared to the makuuchi stuff. If only there was English commentary for it, I feel like they really deserve more foreign fans.

  2. I remain comfortable that Goeido will get his kachi-koshi. Terunofuji less so.

    Chiyotairyu does basically the same thing every bout: Hit like a truck on the tachi-ai, use a couple of tsuppari to open the distance, then either slam in with the chest again or go for a hatakikomi if the opponent is leaning too hard into the slaps. And if he gets them to the tawara and can’t get them over, he grabs hold and backpedals the full length of the dohyo until they faceplant. It’s not as varied as, say, Ura, but it sure seems to work.

    Onosho seems to love sumo too. He always seems to be raring to go. And with his record, I’m not surprised.

    Kotoshogiku? Yes, 3-0 is nice to see, but so far that’s one henka, one great bout, and one massive fuckup. I expect him to turn a kachi-koshi but a yusho is just wishful thinking. I hope to be proven wrong.

    • In other news, Shodai’s tachi-ai today was just “stand up while looking angry”; Mitakeumi has finally found his sumo pants; and Goeido has decided the best response to a henka is to pay it forwards.

  3. Takakeisho is a fiesty butterball of thrusting fury. Most evrythng else has been wutev or disappointment..
    Vegan Jesus

  4. Tournament leaders after day 3: Kotoshogiku, Onosho, Chiyotairyu, Takakeisho, Takanoiwa, Daieisho. Can’t make this up.

  5. In (English) football we are told “play to the whistle”, meaning that you wait for the referee’s decision instead of assuming that what you have just seen was handball/ off-side/ out of play. Harumafuji did not “play to the whistle” which was astonishing considering his experience. He must have been in dozens of matches where a matta should have been called and wasn’t. Apart from anything else he was risking injury which is the last thing anybody needs. Maybe the gyoji should borrow a phrase used by boxing referees and preface each match with “protect yourself at all times”.

    Is this really only day 3? It feels as though we’ve had enough drama for a whole basho already.

  6. I can imagine Isegamaha oyakata calling in his deshi this evening for a refresher on matta.

    I mean… Aminishiki? Matta…
    Terunofuji? Matta…
    Harumafuji? Chotto matta!!! What in the name of Izanagi and Izanami was that? First time I have seen someone lose by overexperience.

    Random thoughts:

    An abundance of rikishi without an oicho-mage. There are Asanoyama and Yutakayama, who are so fresh their hair hasn’t grown yet, and then there’s Aminishiki, who is so old that his hair has fallen half off. And I can imagine a time 17 years ago or so, when a young Ama was learning a trick or two from this sempai of his.

    So, is Tottari the new yori-kiri?

    Nishikigi was two centimeters away from a win. The exact two centimeters between Daieisho’s soles and the dirt outside the tawara. Daiesho’s footwork was impeccable.

    Mitakeumi finally shows some sparkles of brilliance. In one hand he pushes his rival who gets into a defensive expecting some tsuppari, but Mitakeumi’s other hand pulls his arm forward and done.

    Goeido: The two Japanese commentators were all “Henka!”, “But a henka!”, eventually getting to the “Yes, there is this word, ‘kadoban'” and sighing.

    Terunofuji was desperately seeking some muscle tissue in his body. For about two seconds he showed his signature move (lifting his opponent and pushing forward), but he couldn’t keep it up. He tried this, he tried that, and eventually planted his head into Tochinoshin’s chest – which also got remarks from the Japanese commentators. This is a move usually used by weaker rikishi when they fight a stronger opponent. Well, it worked, but I’m sure Terunofuji is not happy. Yesterday he said that he doesn’t know what’s wrong. To me, it’s obvious that he has simply gone soft. He needs to vigorously lift weights and work those thighs of his into the two pillars that they used to be. Only, he can’t do that during a basho. And tomorrow he faces Onosho. I predict loss #3 to the Ozeki. Within about 10 seconds.

    Tamawashi, as I predicted, was on the dohyo with heavy bandages. But I don’t think he would have been a match for a much lesser opponent that Onosho, who needs to learn to control himself, by the way. He nearly pushed the guy off the dohyo for a serious injury after already winning. I never like that, and it was too dangerous. Tamawashi wasn’t putting any weight on his busted foot, and you can’t really do Sanyaku sumo on one leg.

    The only ones with a chance at a zensho yusho are maegashira. And I thought Nagoya was supposed to be the craziest basho in the sumo calendar.

      • Um, not sure. It is really all over the place, from matta through mage to a random remark on tottari… Though this is in keeping with this severe-personality-disorder basho.

    • I agree, he should not have been putting his hands on Tamawashi like that at the end. Especially someone injured like that. It’s no small matter for Tamawashi to hop down to the stadium floor if he gets knocked off balance.

  7. The twilight zone continues. At least Onosho continues to look like the future and the present out there. A banged up Tamawashi never really had a chance.

    • Onosho really is showing some great sumo, and has been for the last few basho. I have to hope he can keep his joints intact and continue to excel.

  8. While it must be nice to pick up a free win, I always feel a bit sorry for the fusenshò guys having to put on the mawashi and do their hair just to nod at the Gyoji.

  9. Perhaps Jason or Kintayamayama can insert some semi-truck air horn noises into their videos when Takakeisho performs his tachiai? Great description of him here, Bruce!

  10. As usual I’m a little late to post as I watch the NHK highlights last thing in the evening.

    As Bruce has noted, the tadpole bulldozery continues and whilst it’s a little one-note it’s great to see the young punks showing no respect and blasting out of the tachiai. With the decimation of sanyaku I’m not sure what’s to prevent the young uns heading well into double digits than injuries (jinx) and over aggression.

    Think Mitakeumi is still in with a very good shout. That hand grab was very nice.

    Excellent commentary below the line too.

  11. Forgive me for my comment, but I find this basho uninteresting right now. So may wrestlers are out, and many of those competing are also hurt. So many wrestlers that we love are out of the game.

    Is this the only time in history where so many rikishi are hurt? Something is wrong with the current approach to sumo? I understand injuries can’t be avoided, but we have so much less in the past and so much more right now.

    • Well, nowadays yaocho-type match fixing doesn’t seem to be a thing. And as an American, I think I am particularly sensitive to it because of the mess in the NFL with the CTE issue on top of all the injuries we’re seeing in sumo with ligaments and tears. Pro sports are rough and Hakuho’s career will be unmatched because he has been soooo healthy.

  12. Help me out, please. I’m a rookie. Should it have been a matta because Kotoshogoku wasn’t set, or was it something else? Thanks.

    • The modern rule is “four hands down” and ‘Giku never got either hand down. He pulled the same thing again on Day 4. Someone needs to get on his case about it; at his age not having to get all the way down into his stance is probably a nice blessing…and cheating.


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