Day 13 – And Then There Were Three


Hey, where is everybody? Yesterday we had 10 men chasing after Goeido. But now we have only the Good, the Bad and the Rookie.

10-3 Ozeki Goeido
9-4 Yokozuna Harumafuji Maegashira #16 Asanoyama

Looking at the bouts, it seems like many of the kachi-koshi guys just decided they want nothing to do with the Yusho race or with this basho anymore now that they have secured their places. Only Asanoyama, as usual, climbs up to the dohyo and just tries to win. And finds himself in a theoretical position for a three-way playoff for the Makuuchi title with an Ozeki and a Yokozuna. Ain’t sumo great?

Those with eagle eyes will also notice that the lead has shrank again. The Ozeki who only two days ago looked like nothing can stop him found a worthy foe: himself. They can call this a Hatakikomi, but it was a clear slippiotoshi. In other words – this time the Ozeki sidestepped himself. Both yesterday and today he switched to reverse gear again, but this time, it didn’t work out as it did in the first week.

Now it’s all in the hands of the Yokozuna. The yusho is actually his to lose.


Watching the above bout must have set fire under the Yokozuna’s toes. Today he lunged at Yoshikaze and finished him up before the man in the green mawashi could even blink. Within four seconds, all we were left with was the sight of the Yokozuna’s prettier set of cheeks.

So the old lion (horse by name, lion by nature) is one step away from his “yokozuna kachi-koshi” (reminder: he claims it’s 10 wins), and two to four steps away from lifting the Emperor Cup again. Who set off the improbability drive again?

Other Yusho races

In the lower divisions, where they engage in only 7 bouts, championships were decided today. Well, all but Sandanme, that is.

The champion of Jonokuchi is 23 years old Shoji from Musashigawa, winning 7-0.

The champion of Jonidan is 18 years old Narutaki from Isenoumi beya, also winning 7-0.

The champion of Makushita is the former sekitori, Mongolian Kagamio, also with a 7-0. Still has a long way to go to air out his kesho mawashi, though.

What about Sandanme, you ask? Well, #18 Enho wins a difficult torikumi against Tanabe and goes 7-0, tied with #82 Matsuda. Tanabe has only ever lost two bouts before, both to Enho. Here is the video from One and Only, a bit shakier than usual:

The playoff will take place on Senshuraku.

And in the Juryo division, my favorite uncle, Aminishiki, had a relatively protracted match with Hidenoumi.

He is now in the running for the Juryo yusho. If he wins it, he will be the oldest rikishi to have ever done so, by a margin of over two years of age! However, there are two other Juryo with a 9-4 record at the moment – Kotoyuki and Homarefuji. It could end up with Aminishiki having a playoff with his own stablemate!

So what did we have on yet another wacky day of Aki?

Sadanoumi wins his first bout of this tournament! Congratulations. Unhappy Nishikigi is make-koshi.

Asanoyama is all over Daieisho. At this rate he might even beat Onosho (and deny him the double digits) tomorrow. I really don’t know which of the to root for.

Hapless Yutakayama gets another loss for his birthday. Takekaze may secure his kachi-koshi yet.

Ishiura falls again right off the tachiai. Moti says he has a neck injury. I knew he had something, as he didn’t participate in the summer jungyo, but this solves the question of “why no bandages”. In any case, he didn’t continue the good sumo from yesterday, and I have to wonder why a neck injury would lead him to fall again and again right off the tachiai.

Daishomaru secures his kachi-koshi against Arawashi. Tongues will wiggle at this one, but anyway, Daishomaru got a firm grip at Arawashi’s belt and quickly introduced him to the salty dirt.

Chiyomaru the Ever-Round also secures his kachi-koshi in his usual genki manner. Takanoiwa seemed to be disappointed at dropping from the Yusho race, clenching his fists right there at the end. Endo, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to offer Takarafuji much resistance, possibly preferring to keep his leg safe rather than chase a seemingly futile yusho, and the old Isegahama man finally secures his kachi-koshi. The only sekitori yet to secure it from that heya is Juryo man Terutsuyoshi, who is in the danger zone now.

Chiyoshoma again falls together with his rival, this time Okinoumi, but this time he fell on top of him, so no need for monoii or torinaoshi. Neither of them is in kachi-koshi land yet.

Kaisei’s bout with Ikioi was interesting. Ikioi managed to sidestep him and kaisei sailed to the edge of the dohyo. Ikioi came from behind to give him the final push, and found himself caught and thrown by the Brazilian. Very nice save there.

Onosho-Shodai was also a save at the edge. Again Onosho’s overcommitment was his undoing. He got Shodai all the way to the edge and into a rather loose morozashi, but Shodai managed to slip away. Onosho desparately pushed him aside, but Shodai danced on the tawara, and Onosho’s inertia carried him outside, while still looking at Shodai’s feet to see if they are inside or outside. Now to get double digits Onosho needs to win his next two bouts.

Chiyotairyu tried to keep himself in the Yusho race, and tried to drop Hokutofuji to the floor, but somehow Hokutofuji regained his balance, and instead Chiyotairyu overshot and found himself on the floor.

Kotoshogiku also managed to survive Chiyonokuni’s first waza, turned back, but Chiyonokuni grabbed him for an uwatenage. Both fell down together, and Kotoshogiku was still expecting a monoii to be called as he slowly stepped back to the west edge, realized it was not coming, nodded his head and exited, stage right.

Shohozan got Tochinoshin into a strong morozashi. Tochinoshin, with a clear height advantage, lifted Shohozan like 20cm up and tried to get him out. But he was not able to convert. Strong yorikiri there by Shohozan.

Perky kagayaki hands Tochiozan his make-koshi, with determined tsuppari followed by a quick arm lock and an oshi-dashi. Kudos for not giving up despite his own make-koshi.

Strange matta there between Aoiyama and Tamawashi.

Ichinojo seems unable to transform any power through his feet. I’m amazed at how easy he is to push for his weight. He shouldn’t have put back all those kilograms.

Yep, the banzuke looks like a game of Crazy Eights.

9 thoughts on “Day 13 – And Then There Were Three

  1. You are correct! This has been one crazy Basho … it feels like a movie where there is a giant twist in the end. I would actually love it if Asanoyama won, just to give it the ultimate Hollywood ending, but I don’t think it will happen.
    I’m also excited because all 4 of my favourite lower ranked rikishi, Wakaichiro, Musashikuni, Kotorikisen and Shunba, all got winning records!!! 👏🙌
    Also thankyou for posting so quickly! I’m only 1 hour ahead of Japan, and when things get posted I am normally sleep, where all witty insights are swept away.

  2. I like Nimble Kaisei. I like Asanoyama putting together a really nice fight. I like Harumafuji blasting his way to instant-win and I like Takakeisho getting Goeido to the dirt.

    But I love, love, love Chiyonokuni’s insane twisting-save against Kotoshogiku. I don’t know how he doesn’t tear both ACLs with that move. He had him, then he didn’t have him, then he was lost, then he won. My favorite kind of fight. Enough even to cheer me up after Onosho failed to win out of the tachiai against Shodai (???).

  3. I think your interpretation of Takonoiwa’s body language was a little too mild. Substituting “flip” for another four letter word beginning with “f” it looked more like “Oh flipping flip, I can’t believe I lost to that fat flipper. Flip me, that’s the one flipping chance in my whole flipping career I get to flipping yusho and I flipping flip it up”.

  4. This was the day of ludicrous last-second saves. Kaisei pulls off a picture-perfect kotenage after half-recovering from Ikioi’s sidestep, Shodai practically pirouettes out of Onosho’s way, Hokutofuji seems to be completely lost and off-balance when he beats Chiyotairyu by what is on the record books as tsukiotoshi but looked more like just getting out of the way at exactly the right moment, and I have no idea what Chiyonokuni did to Kotoshogiku but I feel sure it should not have worked.

    Takanoiwa looked like he was going to explode. I don’t mean “suffer an outburst of rage”, I mean literally detonate and leave a crater in the dohyo.

    Meanwhile, did it look to anyone else that Aoiyama tried a henka at the start (the real start, I mean, not the matta) of his bout with Tamawashi?

    • A crater in the dohyo would have been an interesting challenge for the yobidashi.

      And yes, I’m pretty sure Chiyonokuni has access to some superdimensional portal, because what he did there wasn’t supposed to be physically possible.

      Yes, Aoiyama did try a henka. He should ask Goeido to explain to him how these are supposed to be done properly. Only, not just now, because in his current mood, Goeido is going to bite those moobs right off of him, and then the Blue Mountain wouldn’t be able to balance anymore and keep falling backwards.

      • Guess it’s good that they don’t teach young rikishi about the “titty twister” when their starting out, or Aoiyama would be in real trouble.

        Also Shoji really looks like a monster compared to his compatriots.


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