Chapter 1, in which we congratulate Kachi-Koshi winners
Especially this one. Hello Asanoyama! Welcome to Makuuchi! It’s not easy to get your feet planted in this division, especially when you still don’t have your Oichomage. And in this crazy tournament, in which on day 11 only four wrestlers have a kachi-koshi, even more so. But sunny obachan-favorite Asanoyama quietly ascended the dohyo on each day, and delivered. He still has a lot to polish in his sumo, but he definitely has his sea legs. Today Kaisei wasn’t really much of a challenge for Takasago’s sole Sekitori.
Another kachi-koshi winner, joining the Ozeki and Chiyotairyu, is Takanoiwa, beating Daishomaru. Only a few days ago, Daishomaru was in the Yusho race… but he faded completely in the second half.
And another one who faded, with three straight losses, is the mighty Yokozuna slayer, Ozeki queller, Onosho. He will secure his kachi koshi for sure, and I still believe he can win double-digits. But something there has faded. This time it wasn’t even overcommitment. He just pulled a bit after the tachiai, and let Tochiozan take the initiative from there.
Chapter 2, in which we acknowledge the inevitable
Yep. Go-away-do has all but ordered the movers to pick up the Emperor’s Cup for him this Sunday. Chiyotairyu drops one (in case you are wondering, he is the one the title refers to), and the Ozeki now leads by those two infamous henka. If he had shown the same kind of sumo that he showed today throughout the tournament, I’d be cheering for him with all the enthusiasm I have left after the rain of torn tissue and kinboshi this basho has been. But for now, all I can do is sigh and shake my head. Please, young aspiring rikishi, don’t take the Aki 2017 champion as your role model. And yes, Mitakeumi, where is your sumo? Are you saving it up for the Yokozuna?
Chapter 3, in which we dissect our surviving yokozuna
So the Yokozuna faced Ichinojo today, and it was not as easy as some would think. On the one hand, Ichinojo is hard to beat on the mawashi, and on the other, he weighs too much to be moved easily. Eventually Harumafuji gave up on the mawashi grip on one side, sacrificed his pained left elbow, and pulled the 200kg Ichinojo around the dohyo and out. I’m not sure if the grimace at the end of the bout was because of the pain or because he managed a straight bullzeye at Shiranui oyakata – which, I believe, is his second time padding a rikishi’s fall this bout. If the kyokai comes to vote on padding around the dohyo, I’m sure Shiranui will be among the enthusiastic “yea” sayers.
His own Shiranui knot safe for the moment, tomorrow the Yokozuna of Pain gets to meet a rather genki Tamawashi. Rock, paper, or scissors?
Chapter 4, in which we engage in random thoughts and comments
I’ll drop for a second into Sandanme, to inform you that Enho won his 6th bout. Still lossless in his short career, he beat his chief rival, Honda, dealing him his first loss. The Sandanme Yusho race now has only three contenders left with perfect records, and the two others, Matsuda(#82) and Tanabe (#71) are ranked way below Enho. One more bout for Sandanme to complete, and we may expect another Yusho interview from this young one.
I have been musing about Ishiura. Could it be that he is getting a lot less Hakuho love now that the master has a new shiny toy? Both of them are Hakuho’s uchi-deshi (personal disciples, who, if he drops his nationality and takes on a kabu, will leave Miyagino and follow him to his new heya).
Climb up a little, of course I will not skip Aminishiki’s short and sweet hatakikomi:
Aminishiki is one win short of a Kachi-Koshi and return to Makuuchi, where he will depose Takekaze of his position as the eldest of the clan. Gambare, sly old fox!
Tochinoshin managed to grab a second white star off of the poor Kagayaki, and show a little of the stuff that brought him up to the joi this tournament. His stablemate, Aoiyama, tries to do the same as yesterday, stand up and fight, but Yoshikaze is having none of that. Between them, the two Kasugano guys can perhaps form a single, healthy Bulgeorgian rikishi, complete with hairy moobs, who will actually be a challenge at maegashira #1½.
Chiyomaru regains his enthusiasm, not that Sadanoumi is much of a challenge at this stage. In a slow day for the Kokonoe guys, Chiyomaru’s genki is a ray of sunshine. Which brings me to Chiyonokuni, who seemed to have been, out-tachiai’ed by, er, Shodai? How do you do that? Shodai just got up as he is used to, and Chiyonokuni leaped at him, bet somehow Shodai just swept him out of the dohyo like he was a fistful of salt.
To sum up the Kokonoe luckluster day (their two Juryo men also lost), Chiyoshoma does nicely against Takekaze, but they fall together. Monoii. Torinaoshi. And now the Takekazaur pulls Chiyoshoma down. Then there is Chiyotairyu, who starts enthusiastically, but Tamawashi seems unfazed and shows him what Sanyaku is all about.
Which leads me to Kotoshogiku, who is intent on getting back to Sanyaku, now that he has made the most of being a maegashira (hey, you can’t get kinboshi in sanyaku). Only one win to secure his first kachi-koshi in I don’t know how many basho.
Takarafuji seems to have run out of ATP in his romp with Ishiura yesterday. I’ll embed the video here again because some of the crowd that requested it may have missed it:
Courtesy of Kintamayama, blessed be he.
Anyway, Takarafuji was out of breath, and was unable to avenge his yokozuna. His kachi-koshi will have to wait a little more, and I hope that the injury in his elbow will not limit him. He does not deserve a demotion with the sumo he did this basho. He is the only Isegahama sekitori to lose today, with both Homarefuji and Legless Terutsuyoshi grabbing white stars.