Natsu Day 12 Highlights


The big match is history, and we know that we will have a new Ozeki. The NHK broadcast team did a lot to tease and play up the basho-defining match, and I must admit they did it well. The battle itself did not disappoint. Starting Nagoya we will see three Ozeki in action, and at least one Yokozuna.

Tough day to be seated by the dohyo, as a number of rikishi went flying into the first row of cushions.

Highlight Matches

Ishiura defeats Aminishiki – As if Uncle Sumo did not have enough problems, his knee looked to be working poorly after he took a dive into a ringside fan at the end of his match.

Asanoyama defeats Arawashi – The first match resulted in a monoii, and a rematch. These two were battling to throw each other the first time, and they both succeeded. Second match was much more straightforward, but for a moment it looked like they would both try mirror-image throws yet again.

Daishomaru defeats Nishikigi – Straightforward match, but Daishomaru scores his kachi-kochi.

Yoshikaze defeats Daiamami – Daiamami is now make-koshi, and Yoshikaze picks up an unusual kimarite, okurinage (a rear throw down).

Kagayaki defeats Takekaze – Takekaze is also make-koshi now, and may be on his way back to Juryo depending on how the remaining bouts play out.

Takakeisho defeats Chiyoshoma – Takakeisho picks up his 5th straight win, and is starting to look closer to his prior self. I think he still has some recovery to do, but Nagoya might be labeled “The Tadpoles Strike Back”.

Myogiryu defeats Takarafuji – One of the biggest banzuke gaps on the fight card for day 12, and the lower ranked man wins. The match swung between a grip and pushing match, and a bit of run and gun. Takarafuji kept working to grab a hold of Myogiryu, which he eventually achieved. But some fantastic maneuvering by Myogiryu broke Takarafuji’s grip, and handed the commanding position to Myogiryu for the win.

Shodai defeats Shohozan – These two played bumper cars for a moment, but Shodai mustered a burst of strength and with one mighty shove, gave Shohozan the heave-ho.

Chiyotairyu defeats Mitakeumi – When Chiyotairyu’s cannonball tachiai works, you can almost feel it through the video. The impact of those two bodies probably reverberated through the tunnels of the Edo line for 2 minutes. Chiyotairyu avoids make-koshi, and Mitakeumi avoids kachi-koshi.

Kaisei defeats Endo – Well, not sure why Endo came back. He’s been ineffective and is risking compounding that injury.

Kotoshogiku defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo goes chest to chest early, possibly confident that his ponderous bulk will be too much for Kotoshogiku to maneuver. WRONG. Kotoshogiku is relentless, working to get and then keep Ichinojo off balance and moving. Once The Boulder is in motion, The Kyushu Bulldozer deftly maneuvers his out.

Kakuryu defeats Ikioi – Ikioi gave it everything he could muster, but Kakuryu was all over the place, swapping attack plans in the blink of an eye. Ikioi stayed steady, but Kakuryu’s combat-spam is designed to overwhelm his opponents decision loop, and it was only a matter of time before Ikioi was caught trying to dodge the last move and not the blow that was coming. Kakuryu wants the yusho, but his mind has to be on Tochinoshin Saturday.

Tochinoshin defeats Hakuho – Hakuho decides he will concede the form and go chest to chest with Tochinoshin. I am not sure if it was hubris of wanting to add a touch of the unexpected. But Tochinoshin of Natsu 2018 was ready for this, and responded with power and strength that could not be matched. After a brief struggle, Tochinoshin had complete control over the Yokozuna and took him to the edge, and out.

20 thoughts on “Natsu Day 12 Highlights

  1. That Kotoshogiku has one heck of a belly bump! I couldn’t believe my eyes! No wonder he had Kakyru running scared.

    I’m sorry to see the dai yokozuna lose, but congratulations of course to new ozeki Tochinoshin.

    It is true we haven’t seen varied technique from Tochinoshin, but he has proven today you only need to be master of one.

    • Well – maybe so – but it is hard not to enjoy Tochi’s non-nonsense effective ZERO-henka sumo (unlike some of the other players at the top).

  2. The interesting thing about Hakuho is that, as much as he sometimes goes for cheap tricks to get easy wins, when he respects an up and comer, he operates by a sense of duty and moral code. When Kisenosato was a yokozuna hopeful, Hakuho did tons of brutal butsukari keiko with him, and in their bouts, intentionally engaged in Kisenosato’s preferred hidari yotsu, as opposed to avoiding it for the more favorable migi yotsu. Hakuho’s reasoning was that he wanted Kisenosato to prove that he could beat Hakuho with Kisenosato’s best weapon. Only then would he be worthy of the horizontal rope. For years, Hakuho beat Kisenosato while playing Kisenosato’s game.

    A similar thing happened last night. Tochinoshin was 0-25 against Hakuho, but was looking like a formidable ozeki. Hakuho gave Tochinoshin a chance to prove his worth by engaging in Tochinshin’s style of sumo. From a pragmatic perspective, Hakuho would have had better odds to win if he kept Tochinoshin away from his mawashi and used Hakuho’s legendary speed and balance to destabilize the Georgian. But he challenged Tochinoshin’s absolute best tools, and Tochinoshin proved his worth by duly beating the great yokozuna for his maiden victory against the man.

    That’s just great sumo by both parties, and the patrons certainly got their money’s worth.

    • That is a very romantic notion, but it also makes the assumption that Hakuho is the ultimate master of the sport who does everything for a reason (for which, I agree, there is a very strong case as being the most successful and possibly the best rikishi of all time). I certainly want to believe that, as it is truly in the spirit of the yokozuna, but I just can’t nudge from my head that he looked a bit nervous before the bout. Whatever might be the case, Tochinoshin certainly proved himself today…I was so happy to see someone engage Hakuho in true straightforward power sumo, and come out on top. A truly wonderful day in the sport.

      • He was nervous…but Tochinoshin had a nasty bout of coughing right before the match. he looked entirely unwell. But he pulled through, clearly!

      • I think Hakuho was distracted, but not nervous. After my father died, it took months before I could muster effective focus at the same intensity. He might still have his fathers spirit talking to him at times.

        • That’s certainly my read on Hakuho’s May basho (and, yes, also from experience — sorry for your loss, Bruce). It takes time to get your bearings again, even if you’re operating on that level — and considering what a tremendous influence the father was on the son’s career and ambitions, no way does it not make a big difference to his mental game. I don’t reckon I take anything away from Tochinoshin’s achievement by noting all this.

        • Aw jeez Bruce – meant to thumbs up the comment but my finger slipped the other way and i can’t undo it. So sorry to hear that.

          • Never to worry! I love all the folks who come by here and take time to enjoy sumo with Team Tachiai. On my dad, yeah – he departed about 15 years ago. I can only imagine what it’s done to Hakuho’s mental processes.

  3. Nishikigi deserves a lot of credit for staying in the top division at this point. He’s been on the demotion line repeatedly and he continues to earn his place. Asanoyama also is quietly doing well and increasing his skill in sumo. We’ll have to see if they become mainstays in the top division or not, but their efforts have been admirable.

  4. I don’t think Ichinojo’s mistake was going chest-to-chest with Kotoshogiku. Rather, he lost when he unsuccessfully attempted a throw, which shifted the momentum to the Bulldozer. If he’d simply been more patient, I believe he would have outlasted Kotoshogiku in a yorikiri battle of attrition.

    • Ichinojo is sloppy and impatient. He let Giku get the morozashi too easily early on. He then panicked unnecessarily and went for a low probability throw. If Ichinojo keeps his elbow tight, he would be in a migi yotsu battle in which he would be heavily favored. Even after the morozashi, Ichinojo could have just leaned on Giku and worn him out. Instead, Ichinojo once again was made to pay for his lack of sumo instincts. He’s got a long way to go.

      • I think you are right, but even though he has a long way to go, I think he is on the path. Can he take himself to the next level? He has to want it.

  5. Fantastic day of sumo. I think Hakuho taking Tochinoshin on chest-to-chest was also partly out of his natural showmanship – he knew that everyone watching wanted to see that kind of bout, and he’s a versatile and dominant enough rikishi to be able to put up a credible fight in that arena. The instant they got joint mawashi grips I was totally beside myself. Highlight bout of the year so far, possibly of all of 2018.

  6. I never thought I’d see Hakuho sweating that much BEFORE the tachiai! He may have seriously realized he could go down; normally he looks far more confident, IMHO.

    • The matta was nerves on his part…but it seemed like Tochinoshin was puking his guts out beforehand.


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