Apologies for the Day 13 update coming so late. As Leonid mentioned the yusho race is pretty well locked up now heading into the final weekend. Kaisei’s big day against the yokozuna was a bit of a dud as Kakuryu won by backing up. If anyone has a hope of challenging at this point, it’s probably Takayasu if the stars align on Sunday, though he’s probably gunning for a jun-yusho. Today, he went head-to-head with fellow Ozeki Goeido in a lesson on how to pull effectively. When Goeido landed on his belly, accelerated into the ground by Takayasu shoving his head, Takayasu was headed out but clearly still had his left foot in. In fact, he had his hand on Goeido’s head while Goeido was still standing on his side of the dohyo. He wasn’t going to leave this to chance.
Now, let’s go into a bit of a time warp and back up to the bottom of the banzuke. Myogiryu is fighting to stay in Makuuchi and today took out his frustrations on poor Meisei, visiting from Juryo. I think this was the best sumo I’ve seen from Myogiryu this week. Nishikigi, on the other hand, offered token resistance, doing his best blocking sled impression as Kotoyuki walked him out of the ring. Ishiura took a knee, handing Daiamami his kachi-koshi.
Yutakayama surprised Aoiyama and the rest of the stadium with a valiant win. He had Aoiyama on the ropes but the man-mountain came charging back…a wee bit over-zealous? Yutakayama by yorikiri. Ikioi will earn a special prize this tournament and I will not be surprised if he wins 12. He’s got Ishiura tomorrow and hopefully will know well enough to do his best Shodai impression at the tachiai. Today, he took out Chiyonokuni in a brief slugfest. It seemed like at the end Chiyonokuni tried to pull but ran out of room. The fact is, this match was all about hatakikomi. There were about 4 or 5 attempts at different points. However, why try when your feet are ON THE TAWARA? You’ve got nowhere to go! Takayasu’s was still close and he started a full 6-7 feet forward. Pull when you’re on the other guy’s realestate.
If you want to see a beautiful uwatenage, Chiyoshoma’s today versus Daishomaru was a great example. Chiyoshoma got hold of Daishomaru’s belt, spun him like the Tazmanian Devil, and dropped him on his butt. Beautiful. Asanoyama picked up his kachi-koshi in another hard fought bout versus Okinoumi. Great example of shitatenage, the lower arm throw, a cousin of the upper arm throw. The difference is in the position of the arm over or under the opponent’s arm. In this case, Asanoyama’s arm was in tight against Okinoumi, with Okinoumi’s arm outside. Chiyonouma had his arm on the outside of Daishomaru’s arm.
Backing up, Ryuden did his best Kotoshogiku impression, beating Hidenoumi by hug-n-chug. Giku, meanwhile, beat Daieisho by…yorikiri. Tochiozan needs to sit on a couch. Straight back, eased off the dohyo, grimacing, by Takarafuji. Kagayaki staved off make-koshi by drawing injured Arawashi. Yoshikaze got in low against Tamawashi in a show bout where Tamawashi didn’t show.
Endo got his kachi-koshi today against Chiyomaru. He tried to go in for the belt but Maru was having none of it. His tsuppari attack was relentless until Endo dodged and let Chiyomaru fall. Again, Endo did this with tons of space behind him. It was Chiyomaru against the tawara. Obviously, he’d need to get momentum going the other way, so Endo just let him. Belly-flop-otoshi.
To finish things off, Abi picked up the Ishiura bug and henka’d Chiyotairyu. Shohozan used the Ichi-No-Show brand blocking sled for a quick yorikiri. Mitakeumi saved his best sumo for Hokutofuji? OK… He’ll need more of that in the closing weekend to save his sanyaku slot. Tochinoshin will also be under the gun this weekend if he wants promotion to Ozeki. He tried the kachiage against Shodai but stayed way too high and off balance after it failed. Shodai didn’t exactly “go low” more like he kept Tochi “high” and walked him off the dohyo.
I’m looking forward to the final weekend. As Leonid’s post mentioned, there’s a lot of movement and a lot still up in the air, even though the yusho is almost set. Also, I’m eager to see where yo-yo Iki-yoi will finish.