Day 12 brought us another thrilling day of sumo action. Ishiura stepped up against Aoiyama today. Ishiura obviously knew what was coming. Aoiyama knew what was coming. Everyone in the whole freaking stadium knew what was coming. Henka. Yet Aoiyama still got spun around and pushed out by the speedy little Ishiura. Maaaa…ne… Ishiura needs one more win for katchi-koshi.
Next, Hidenoumi picked on Kotoyuki while everyone wonders why he’s not kyujo. Myogiryu goes makekoshi against Chiyoshoma. The kachiage didn’t seem to connect but there was enough force there to give Chiyoshoma the initiative. When Myogiryu closed in to clinch, Chiyoshoma shoved his head down for the hatakikomi win.
Skipping way up the banzuke, Kotoshogiku picked up his fourth win against Arawashi. Arawashi has one and a half legs, mind you, and he still was able to hold on for some time before the bumpity-bumpity yorikiri. I can’t say it enough, the one trick pony could prolong his career if he picked up another trick. Throws, pulls, purple nurples, come on! Endo beat Kaisei with a pretty easy formula…boom and pull. Booom! Right in the kisser. Pull. Boom (this time in the eye), one last olé and Kaisei steps out. Not pretty but effective.
An impotent Uncle Takara withered under Tamawashi’s thrusting attack. Takarafuji doesn’t seem particularly injured so I hope the drama at Isegahama isn’t weighing on him. He’s a “tweener,” like Ikioi. He has a real rough go against sanyaku and joi wrestlers but he’s solid against lower maegashira. So they yo-yo. Tochinoshin was a bit like this, too. Then…wait for it…wait for it…
Chiyotairyu picked up a third win against Shohozan. He drove Shohozan back and was declared winner despite the fact he may have fallen first. No mono-ii on this should be a signal to pullers that they may be considered “dead” and lose some of these close ones. Again, I’ll bring up Tochinoshin here and his bout yesterday. And Goeido and his 1.0 version bouts. Pull at your own risk. Better to win with the initiative, moving forward.
Shodai fought for this one against Mitakeumi. This was a solid belt bout on both counts. Mitakeumi appeared to have a slight edge for most of the bout with better position, getting Shodai near the edge and almost over a few times. But as they both worked into a throw, Shodai was able to execute first. Mitakeumi’s 7th loss means he needs to win out to get kachi-koshi. He needs to pick up one more win to have any hope at staying in sanyaku. I agree with Leonid, with the loss to Shodai today, I think that door just shut. A good day for Endo became a great day for Endo.
The tachiai between Chiyomaru and Takayasu was something to behold. Both bubble bellies bounding brightly…Chiyomaru somehow comes out on top, moving forward and bringing it to the Ozeki. I think that surprised everyone. After some early thrusting, with Chiyomaru clearly in the driver’s seat, Takayasu momentarily gains the advantage as he grabs Chiyomaru’s arm and tries to put him into orbit. Chiyomaru clings on, dances near the tawara and by gravitational field pulls Takayasu back around and out. Wonderful bouts make me smile. Takayasu on 9 wins, one short of where Ozeki should be, but wow, Chiyomaru at 6-6! Sleeper!
Goeido versus Ichinojo. Goeido 2.0 showed up and the lethargic, gentle giant did, too. Meaning a quick walk out win for the Ozeki while everyone in the stadium hopes Ichinojo’s back issues aren’t coming back.
After Kaisei’s skull-rattling loss to Endo earlier, Kakuryu is in the driver’s seat for this yusho against the winner of the last yusho, Tochinoshin. Surprisingly, at the tachiai, Kakuryu brought it to Tochinoshin, locked in, and tried to win it Tochinoshin’s way. But Tochinoshin has the height and the leverage. He wasn’t going anywhere but forward. A brief pause on the belt while Tochinoshin gathers his strength and Kakuryu silently ponders, “what the f*** did I get myself into?”… Then Tochinoshin strikes and Kakuryu has no choice but to hold on for dear life as the Sekiwake tries to throw him into the upper deck. I’ve got to hand it to Kakuryu, he clung on for a while but with the frustration of the past few days mounting, Tochinoshin was not going to lose. He brought the Ozeki sumo today. I think only Hakuho would have had a chance against him.
So, on tap for tomorrow, we’ve got our leaders, Kakuryu and Kaisei battling after our Ozeki go head-to-head for that symbolic 10th win. I’ve got to run because the snow only afforded us a delay today, and I hope to fill in the blanks later.