Kyushu Day 10 Highlights


Fukuoka

Many fans were eager to see the Hakuho-Ichinojo match from day 10. I can tell you now that it was, in fact, a fantastic bout that saw each man give everything they could to win. The look on Hakuho’s face at the end speaks volumes. For people at the top of their profession, be it sports, technology, art or medicine, there is a sad fact that many tasks that some might marvel at can become rote and boring. Many top performers yearn for a proper challenge, a way for them to grow and excel. When a situation brings you an enormous challenge, skillfully overcome, it is quite rewarding. I think we saw a glimpse of that on Hakuho’s face today.

Highlight Matches

Aminishiki defeats Aoiyama – Uncle Sumo wins one by not pulling and against the massive (but injured) Aoiyama. Clearly, the big Bulgarian is having traction problems due to the injury to his right ankle in his bout against Okinoumi.

Nishikigi defeats Kaisei – Nishikigi teeters on the edge of demotion with a make-koshi, and rallies to force out Kaisei. Kaisei is no light fellow, but Nishikigi is clearly motivated in this match.

Okinoumi defeats Daishomaru – The chronically injured Okinoumi picks up his kachi-koshi on day 10, with a convincing win against Daishomaru. Should his performance in Kyushu signal that Okinoumi has overcome his chronic injuries, he makes a very convincing upper Maegashira.

Shodai defeats Ikioi – This match is tough to watch, because everyone wants Shodai to do better, and knows that Ikioi has a bad back. The match is very sloppy, as you might expect with these two, with Ikioi mounting a haphazard and uncoordinated pushing attack, which is countered at the tawara by Shodai.

Chiyoshoma defeats Daieisho – After yesterday’s slap to Hokutofuji, Chiyoshoma has seen his popularity plummet with the crowd in Kokusai Center. Today’s match against Daieisho started with thrusting, but both men went chest to chest early and struggled for grip. Daieisho touted a solid defense and had a strong left hand inside grip. Several times Chiyoshoma rallied, but Daieisho strongly countered. The win came when Chiyoshoma was able to lift Daieisho over the tawara, and the crowd reaction told the story of what they think of this fellow. Hey, Chiyoshoma – don’t feed the “Mongolians are jerks” meme in Japan, please. It’s bad for sumo.

Tochinoshin defeats Takekaze – Takekaze tried a hit and shift at the tachiai, but veteran Tochinoshin was expecting the move, and countered strongly, using his massive strength to slap away Takekaze’s “emergency thrusters”. Tochinoshin continued to swat Takekaze to the edge and then picked him up and shoved Takakaze over the tawara. Takakaze one loss from make-koshi and a likely demotion to Juryo.

Takarafuji defeats Chiyomaru – Takarafuji seems to have been emboldened by his win over Kisenosato. His bout with Chiyomaru was a solid oshi match, and while Chiyomaru was landing the majority of blows, including a lot of nodowa, Takarafuji kept moving forward. Excellent effort from one of the surviving Isegahama rikishi.

Endo defeats Arawashi – Notable in that Endo gave Arawashi no opening at all. Endo charged strongly at the tachiai, put Arawashi on defense and then drove strongly forward. Endo looking very good this basho, and Endo fans hope that he has his body together and working now.

Hokutofuji defeats Chiyotairyu – Kaio’s doppelgänger faced off against sumo-Elvis, and took a pounding. Chiyotairyu at one point had a grip on Hokutofuji’s face and jerked it back and forth. Hokutofuji stayed focused, stayed on his feet and kept moving forward. Chiyotairyu realizes he is not going to be able to pull him down and the real tsuppari attack begins. Hokutofuji’s upper body is clearly on defense, and taking some punishment, but his lower body is on offense and after falling back for a moment, resumes marching forward. For a moment both men rest against each other’s shoulders, clearly, this match is close to a stalemate. In the end, Chiyotairyu may have run out of gas, and Hokutofuji pushed him out. Great oshi bout. Hokutofuji kachi-koshi.

Takakeisho defeats Shohozan – another solid battle between two rikishi swatting each other into submission. When they were fully engaged, it was a blur of fury as Shohozan’s well-muscled arms were punishing Takakeisho’s upper body. But Takakeisho did not give ground and launched a powerful shoving attack against Shohozan’s torso. This seems to be Takakeisho’s go to offense, and once again employed it for victory.

Onosho defeats Tamawashi – The return of the red mawashi seems to have marked a return of Onosho’s sumo prowess. Tamawashi has been a tough contestant this basho, but Onosho gets him face-down on the clay shortly after the tachiai. Onosho needs to win 4 of the next 5 to get his kachi-koshi, but maybe the magic red mawashi has enough power to get him there.

Yoshikaze defeats Tochiozan – So many Yoshikaze fights are freewheeling, running battles, and today was a great example of what happens when rikishi face the Berserker. Tochiozan gave as good as he got for a time, but Yoshikaze seems to think and move faster than nearly anyone else. He can and does spot an opening and then makes his opponent pay. Tochiozan is really not strong this basho, and we hope that his left knee can get healed by Hatsu.

Mitakeumi defeats Goeido – I am not going to fault Goeido in this bout, he was strongly committed to his offense. As described, Goeido 2.0 mode leaves no room for his own defense, and I applaud Mitakeumi for taking advantage of that to Goeido’s detriment. To be clear, Mitakeumi’s win shows his excellent ring sense and exquisite timing. Had Mitakeumi missed that one even by a moment, it would have gone the other way.

Takayasu defeats Kotoshogiku – Sadly this marks Kotoshogiku as make-koshi. Kotoshogiku went strongly on offense, and Takayasu gave ground, but Kotoshogiku overcommitted, and Takayasu was able to slap him down at the edge of the ring. By staying airborne for a few moments, Takayasu ensured that Kotoshogiku landed first. Not a strong showing from Takayasu, but a win is a win. He is now one victory from clearing kadoban.

Hakuho defeats Ichinojo – This one lived up to its billing. Ichinojo came ready for some sumo, and everyone loved it. Although being enormous is not a strategy in upper division sumo, Ichinojo used his incredible size for all he could today, and it gave Hakuho a lot of trouble. Do yourself a favor, watch the replay and only look at Ichinojo’s feet. It was clear that he thought that his first task was not to overpower Hakuho, but to maintain a steady defense to prevent the Yokozuna from winning. Time and again Hakuho could not set up leverage enough to drop Ichinojo, and it was clear that Hakuho was really enjoying the challenge. But Hakuho kept moving a bit at a time, working to improve his position and his grip. At one point Ichinojo almost lands a left hand outside grip, and we see Hakuho make an emergency move. Outstanding effort form both rikishi, and I am really impressed with Ichinojo. Great sumo.

29 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 10 Highlights

  1. Bit more detail on the lower-end matches:

    Kotoyuki – Ishiura. The little guy tries to go in low, but Kotoyuki knows it’s coming. He has his right arm held low across his chest to catch under Ishiura’s chin and quickly lever him upright, and from there it’s a simple matter of “big guy bullies small guy out of ring”. We won’t be seeing Ishiura back in Makuuchi if this is the kind of performance he puts on.

    Myogiryu – Kagayaki. The tachi-ai is evenly matched, then Kagayaki breaks free to force an oshi-zumo battle. Myogiryu retreats, tries for the head pull-down, but Kagayaki has his feet squarely under him and isn’t going anywhere. Myogiryu stumbles on the bales while trying to maneuver around, and is pushed out.

    Aoiyama – Aminishiki. The crowd are pretty obviously excited for this one! After a very amicable-looking non-start, Aoiyama has a weak tachiai, presumably fearing the henka. Aminishiki goes in hard, ducks under Aoiyama’s arms, plants his head, and powers forward like an angry tadpole. Thirty-nine year old kneeless man moves notable geographical feature of Bulgaria. Aoiyama make-koshi, not surprising when you get a foot injury on day two.

    Daiamami – Asanoyama. Not a whole lot to say about this one. Daiamami wins the tachiai, gets a solid right inside mawashi grip and pushes his opponent out. Asanoyama doesn’t look particularly happy for once – not a surprise, since this is the first time he’s ever had more losses than wins by this point in a basho. Daiamami is still one loss off make-koshi and will be working hard to stay in Makuuchi.

    Kaisei – Nishikigi. Nishikigi controls Kaisei’s arms very effectively – you can see Kaisei struggling to push through for a left inside mawashi grip and being completely denied. The Brazilian tries for a grip swap, but it goes even worse for him as Nishikigi secures a painful-looking ottsuke and forces him back out.

    Daishomaru – Okinoumi. Okinoumi is denied the mawashi grip he wants, locks on hard with a hand on the underside of Daishomaru’s left bicep, and refuses to let him go. When Daishomaru tries to break free (presumably to get some oshi-zumo going), Okinoumi is able to force him out hard enough that he goes flying and collides with a badly-timed delivery of fresh water and paper. Okinouimi has his kachi-koshi.

    Ikioi – Shodai. The crowd is noisy today. And… what happened there? That didn’t look like a matta to me!

    The actual bout is a bit of an arm-flailing struggle. Ikioi moves forward and low as Shodai retreats – his centre of mass is way too far forward, and Shodai pulls him down while staying on his feet and within the dohyo.

    (Note that the kimarite is hikkake, and not hatakikomi as the commentator said or hikiotoshi as I first thought – Shodai pulled Ikioi down by the arm, not by a slap to the back, and Ikioi touched down outside the bales.)

    Liked by 2 people

      • No problem at all! Since I wrote up a lot of the earlier, non-highlight matches you skipped, I don’t feel anyone wasted effort. I mostly wanted to shine a light on the techniques in a few early bouts that went by in a flash.

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    • NHK didn’t show Ishiura’s match on the Highlights. I wondered how he did.

      “We won’t be seeing Ishiura back in Makuuchi if this is the kind of performance he puts on.”

      😦

      **sigh** I like him. I can hope he can get back up to Makuuchi.

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      • Based what I’ve seen of him previously, Ishiura has been figured out by a lot of the Makuuchi rikishi. So, he needs to learn some new tricks and vary his sumo techniques more often. Sometimes, though, the bigger guy just overpowers the little guy and that’s what happened here.

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  2. Mitakeumi really showing the right spirit–hurt but battling. It’s one thing to say there are no excuses; it’s another to go out and win the thing. Really impressed.

    Hokutofuji is a beast. I can’t believe he weathered that storm from Chiyotairyu. Fist of the North Star Crashing Down on Mt. Fuji, indeed!

    Hakuho threw Ichinojo. He THREW him. What a fantastic fight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that was impressive. I was more impressed by Ichinojo’s defensive sumo in that bout. I hope everyone in his heya heaps praise on that giant piece of construction equipment for a hell of a bout.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well said. The best example of Ichinojo’s sumo in this bout is how rapidly Hakuho broke his grip on his belt. That was almost a panic move by the Yokozuna and I don’t blame him!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Ichi, you made Hakuho sweat! I like the way Hakuho showed him respect after the bout with that mawashi tug or pat or whatever it was Ichinojo ascended the dohyo. Hakuho does not deign to do that for just anybody!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah it was – that’s the look of the best rikishi to mount the dohyo recognizing that someone finally gave him a worthy challenge this month. I am fairly confident that Ichinojo will get his KK, and I am hopeful he can stay healthy. He’s big and he’s slow, but by god that man has spirit when he’s on his sumo.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I have to say, I was screaming at my computer last night. I really thought he had Hukuho.
        I quite enjoy Ichinojo’s sumo when he is healthy. He brings a style that is so different to everyone else. It really enhances the sport.

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        • Maybe he could get Terutsuyoshi as a special tutor for a day or two. Can you imagine Ichi doing a hip or over the back throw on someone as big as him unexpectedly? Big and slow just needs a bit of guile to keep his opponents fearful.

          I’m with Hakuho in this case, I get a bit tired of the upper level slapfests, especially with the CTE implications.

          Liked by 3 people

    • I think Ichinojo was the first rikishi Hakuho actually showed some respect to in this basho.

      Hakuho has already hinted that he considered only tall yotsu guys worthy of the high ranks. He spoke very enthusiastically about Asanoyama during the Jungyo. I’m sure Hakuho would wish the young boulder to stay on his current path – lay off the ice cream and not give up easily.

      He is running out of Yokozuna to share his duties. In the past, serving as lone yokozuna wasn’t a problem, but he wants to continue to 2020, and he knows he’ll need the occasional kyujo, and will either hurt his health and longeivity if he participates when injured, or his image as a dutiful yokozuna if he goes kyujo when he’s the only one.

      The current Ozeki ranks are not promising, either. Goeido has a bad kadoban habit and he’s also 31 years old already. Takayasu is only as good as Kisenosato is healthy…

      Now, if Takayasu were to train with Ichinojo…

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  4. and while Chiyomaru was landing the majority of blows, including a lot of nodowa, Takarafuji kept moving forward

    Nodowa against Takarafuji? That’s your mistake right there, Chiyomaru.

    I’m really annoyed by Chiyoshoma. If it wasn’t for yesterday, I would have enjoyed his sumo today very much, as he was working very hard. I love good sumo and good effort, but his conduct yesterday blew it for me.

    Hakuho said during the jungyo that Asanoyama will be measured by his ability to rebound when he hits a wall. Now is the time.

    I think Takakeisho has lost a tooth on the dohyo today. He left it with a serious bleed from his mouth. that was a serious tsuppari to the face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A bit of info – I start writing these summaries at about 5:00 AM US Central time. I am going from the NSK official video from the iOS app most times, as Kintamayama and Jason have (typically) yet to post. So there are a number of pre and post bout events that I don’t get to see.

      Takakeisho was bleeding quite a bit today. I hope the fellow is ok.

      I did wonder about the effect of nodowa on a man with no neck…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m proud of you Ichinojo. Keep it up and you’ll get your victory over Hakuho one day. 🙂

    Also glad to see Takayasu get closer to clearing his record. I want the big hairball to stick around much longer, so we get to see lots of burly match-ups down the road.

    My ultimate prize for Day 10 highlight goes to Kaishu for his tasukizori win over Miyanofuji in Sandanme. Even the announcers were amazed that he pulled that off on a much heavier opponent.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tomorrow Ichinojo and Takayasu face each other. So I’ll hope that the big hairball secures his kachi-koshi the next day.

      Tasukizori, you say? Impressive. Here’s the only glimpse I could find:

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