Kyushu Day 13 Highlights


Hakuho’s Chasers Keep Up The Pressure.

An impressive number of rikishi are still sitting one win away from kachi-koshi, and it looks like the final weekend will be what I call a “Darwin Torikumi”, with the schedulers pairing up the folks that need just one more win to (as much as possible) put make/kachi koshi on the line. Several of these “Darwin” rikishi had been on losing streaks, rallied and are now pressing to secure a winning record – examples of this are Ikioi and Shodai. Still others waltzed up to the 7 win mark, but can’t seem to make it across into the happy valley of kachi-koshi – an example of this is Uncle Sumo, Aminishiki.

Takayasu re-injured his right thigh on day 12 and is kyujo, which gave a fusen-sho to Goeido, securing his kachi-koshi. I am very happy Goeido won’t, yet again, be kadoban. He has been fighting well this basho but seems to be missing something. Reminder to readers that he recently had his ankle surgically rebuilt, and it’s impossible to know how much that limits his sumo. With Takayasu’s kyujo, that makes 3 Yokozuna and 1 Ozeki out for Kyushu. Clearly, sumo continues to have difficulty fielding its top-line talent. We are only a few months from a probable house-cleaning, in my opinion.

Highlight Matches

Ikioi defeats Aminishiki – Not even a tough bout. Aminishiki has bad knees and tends to win through misdirection and guile. When he faces rikishi who know his tricks, defeating him is a matter of simple sumo mechanics. Both men are one win away from kachi-koshi.

Kaisei defeats Asanoyama – Kaisei picks up his kachi-koshi against sumo’s happiest rikishi, who picked up his make-koshi via the same bout. Kaisei has looked better this basho than he has in about a year, and we are happy to see him back in fighting form. Asanoyama has faded from his stellar performance at Aki, but we think he will be a force in the future.

Shodai defeats Kotoyuki – Shodai blows the tachiai (naturally), and Kotoyuki makes him pay. But before Kotoyuki can take him out, Shodai rallies and turns it into a real match. Kotoyuki again advances, but Shodai pulls a Kotenage at the edge. Sloppy, but still a win. Shodai was on a losing streak but has remembered some of his sumo, and is now one win away from kachi-koshi.

Okinoumi defeats Tochinoshin – Okinoumi defeats the big Georgian to remain one win behind Hakuho. For fans of the man from Shimane-ken, it’s been tough to watch him struggle to overcome a chronic, painful injury. Somehow he has it all wired together this basho and is fighting well. At the tachiai, Okinoumi established a right-hand inside grip early, which he improved to a moro-zashi as Tochinoshin advanced. With the Georgian pushing him to the tawara, Okinoumi used his grip to throw Tochinoshin. Nice win, and Okinoumi goes to 11 wins.

Takakeisho defeats Tochiozan – Traditional Takakeisho yo-yo sumo again today. Tochiozan’s multiple pain points keep him from being a credible threat anywhere in the torikumi, and we hope that he can recover by New Years. Takakeisho keeps up the pressure to take a san’yaku slot for the next basho.

Tamawashi defeats Endo – This was a great test match for Endo: just how recovered are you? The answer is, “Not quite enough to defeat Tamawashi”. We are likely to see Endo in the joi for Hatsu, so this match may have been to help decide if he is ready. The tachiai was a bit mistimed, but the fight continued (see how it’s done Hakuho?). Tamawashi stays even with Takakeisho in the “Make me San’yaku” derby.

Onosho defeats Shohozan – After dropping the majority of his bouts at the start of Kyushu, Onosho reverted to the holy red mawashi of the ancients and began kicking ass. Now up to 6 wins, he is two away from kachi-koshi. Home-town boy Shohozan has not been able to produce wins this basho, but he shows up every day and fights like a madman.

Ichinojo defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi is solidly in the “can’t get to 8” club, and today he was completely outmatched by Ichinojo. Mitakeumi is competing with a painful foot injury, and it limits how much defensive pressure he can apply to anyone’s attack. When your attacker is 400 pounds of Mongolian rikishi, you try to make your dohyo exit safe.

Hokutofuji defeats Yoshikaze – Also squarely in the busted foot club, Yoshikaze took his turn with the surprisingly genki Hokutofuji, who remains 1 behind Hakuho. As is always the case, there are no easy wins over Yoshikaze, but it was clear the Berserker was only at about 80% today. Chances of Yoshikaze going make-koshi are up quite a bit post foot injury, and that would open a coveted Sekiwake slot for all of the team pressing to launch into San’yaku.

Hakuho defeats Takarafuji – What a fantastic effort from Takarafuji! A perfectly timed move to the left as the Yokozuna leaped to put him off the dohyo sent Hakuho sailing perilously close to the tawara, but he arrested his overshoot and re-engaged. Takarafuji pressed the advantage, but he was no match for the Yokozuna, who was able to slap him down. My compliments to Takarafuji. Please note that Hakuho’s normal tachiai face-slap missed, most likely due to computational errors stemming from his intended target’s lack of neck, which places Takarafuji’s face in an unexpected location.


17 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 13 Highlights

  1. I laughed out loud when I saw this cleverly written piece from Bruce this morning. Thank you! Speaking of takarafuji’s “no neck”, someone tweeted that Kitanofuji called him baldy (ha-ge) at the end. Is this true? I know he mentioned how slow Takarafuji is when it comes to movement. He almost had it, and I truly wish he had won because that match was all him!

  2. Close one for Hakuho. Takarafuji had two chances to win that one, but Hakuho’s reflexes are just too quick for Takrafuji to finish him off.

    Maybe Hakuho is off his game? I was surprised to see him so imperiled, twice.

    Maybe recent events are distracting him. I still want to see him get his 40th yusho.

  3. Aminishiki looks pretty gloomy. I wonder if he won’t decide that makuuchi is a bit too much for his age if he doesn’t get his kachi-koshi. He might decide to hand in his micro-oicho-mage once Harumafuji resigns.

    Myogiryu looked strange as he left the dohyo today. He seemed unable to walk properly. Then recovered and started to move more freely. I wonder if he fell on his tailbone.

    • I put myogiryu’s wobble down to being stunned, personally. It did look like Daiesho’s last thrust hit him in the jaw.

    • I feel bad for the youngsters in the stable if they lose two experienced voices at once. Maybe that means there’s a power vacuum to be filled, but it’s not like the other sekitori are in that good of a place right now. It’s more pressure for Big T to come back too fast again.

      I know we aren’t supposed to wish for match fixing, but come on one of you guys, fall for a henka right now. :P

      • Remember Aminishiki has a kabu. He becomes oyakata when he retires. I think as a maegashira he cannot split into a new heya, only inherit an existing one. There are many oyakata who work as coaches in various heya, and he may well continue at Isegahama until the current incumbent retires (7 years from now) at which point he may be able to take over.

        So it is not necessary that the young Fujis and Terus will lose him. They may actually get more TLC as he doesn’t have to concentrate on his own preparation and health.

        • 10 years in makuuchi to be eligible for a heya branch-out, so Aminishiki qualifies. Fairly safe bet though that he’ll stay and then take over from his uncle in seven years. (Okay, not actually uncle, but first cousin once removed sounds weird in that direction.)

      • That’s why I said it was odd. If he hurt his leg, I’d expect him to keep limping all the way to the shitaku-beya. But about half way through he starts walking normally. That’s why I wondered if he fell on his tailbone. When that happened to me I found it hard to move our every breath for a few minutes.

        • Yeah, I’m going to need to rewatch it when I get home to some WiFi. I’ve had ankle sprains do that, too… Jarring pain for a bit that then just feels warm and weird for a bit (and usable) before the swelling starts.

  4. By my reckoning we have four maegashira who are posting the kind of records that should get them up to komusubi at least. And how many sanyaku slots are available at the moment? Let me see, that would be, ermm, one. If any two from Yohikaze, Mitakeumi and Onosho get to 8 wins there will be major headaches in store for the banzuke-crafters come January. Potential multi-komusubi-madness in the offing!

  5. Onosho has 6 wins, not seven, and still needs to win both of his remaining matches to get his kachi-koshi and stay at Komusubi.


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