Nagoya Day 9 Highlights

Day 9 Dohyo Iri

With day 9 in the books, it’s clear that Mitakeumi is headed for double digits as Sekiwake for his first time ever. His sumo is strong, confident, efficient and effective. Right now he is fighting better than any man still in the basho. But as we come to close out act 2 tomorrow, the battleground will change from the dohyo to the mind. Pressure will mount on Mitakeumi, anticipation and expectations will start to cloud his thoughts. He has the mechanics to take it to the yusho, but the question will come down to: “Can he think his way though this”. If he can, we are likely to see Ozeki Mitakeumi by this time next year. Should Mitakeumi succumb to his own demons, the chances that Tochiozan, Endo or Takayasu will be there to capture the prize are a bit shaky, but very real. While Asanoyama is lauded to be sitting with just 1 loss at this point is to be lauded, I expect the schedulers to throw him some problems starting day 11.

Highlight Matches

Asanoyama defeats Ishiura – Asanoyama kachi-koshi, and remains 1 behind Mitakeumi. As an upstanding member of the group I call “The Freshmen”, Asanoyama has shown solid sumo for several tournaments. Do I think he’s a yusho contender? Not really, but I think he’s one to watch for the years to come. Ishiura chose to meet him head on, but bounced off of his broad chest.

Tochiozan defeats Meisei – Meisei came in strong from the tachiai, and had excellent hand and foot placement, going chest to chest with Tochiozan. But the veteran showed his amazingly efficient sumo once more. I marvel at watching how little energy and movement it takes Tochiozan to turn the tables on Meisei and toss him to the clay.

Hokutofuji defeats Onosho – Watch how low Hokutofuji is at the tachiai. He knew Onosho was going to come in low, and in spite of his large body, managed to come in below Onosho. Hokutofuji engages in some highly effective hazu-oshi (armpit attack), scooting Onoshi towards the bales. Onosho rallies for a moment, but Hokutofuji lays in with a nodawa, leading Onosho out by the neck. Ouch!

Chiyomaru defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi bounces off Chiyomaru’s belly at the tachiai, and although Chiyomaru seems to control most of the match, once Okinoumi rallies at the tawara, Chiyomaru is almost immediately in trouble. Chiyomaru does recover enough to execute a kotenage for the win, but it’s clear that Chiyomaru quickly runs out of energy in the heat hauling that much Unadon around.

Nishikigi defeats Daieisho – They went in at 4-4, with a career record of 4 to 4, and I think the match started fairly close to 4:44 in the afternoon. It was fairly straightforward Nishikigi oshidashi.

Kyokutaisei defeats Chiyotairyu – Kyokutaisei might have just saved his Makuuchi posting with his second win of the tournament. It was half hikiotoshi, half slippiotoshi, but he got the job done.

Yutakayama defeats Endo – Endo drops to 2 losses, which reduces the chances he can contend for the yusho. He allowed Yutakayama to dictate the terms and cadence of the match, and from the moment he was reacting rather than attacking, he was done.

Takakeisho defeats Yoshikaze – We saw more “wave action” today against Yoshikaze, and the ailing berserker gave him a good match. But it was really just Takakeisho playing with him until it was time to win.

Chiyonokuni defeats Abi – Points to Abi, he went for a right hand mawashi grip straight into the tachiai. Sadly, he is clearly not very skilled at this kind of fight, and Chiyonokuni put him away easily. Abi – practice that. Look what it did for Mitakeumi. With your reach and body proportions, you could win a lot of matches with a hybrid approach. Is it just me, or does Chiyonokuni seems surprisingly good natured these day? I believe the man is actually enjoying his sumo.

Ikioi defeats Kotoshogiku – Ikioi goes chest to chest with the Kyushu bulldozer at the tachiai. But this match was all Ikioi, as he never allows Kotoshogiku to square his hips. Instead, Ikioi simply overpowers Kotoshogiku and tosses him from the dohyo. Impressive win.

Shohozan defeats Shodai – The match starts with an odd and mis-timed tachiai that could almost have bene a matta if it were not Shodai. Shohozan keeps him reacting and disrupted, and Shodai is easily dispatched.

Mitakeumi defeats Daishomaru – Mitakeumi remains unbeaten, and in excellent form. Daishomaru had not effective offense, although he presented a solid, low tachiai.

Kaisei defeats Ichinojo – A match that unfolded in a languid and turgid manner. Of course it featured Ichinojo giving up and softly going away.

Takayasu defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi gave the Ozeki a bold and vigorous match, and in fact controlled the action right up until Takayasu’s rescue move at the bales. Takayasu is racking the wins up, but his sumo was especially crummy today.

Goeido defeats Kagayaki – Professor Kagayaki did in fact apply is excellent fundamentals against Goeido, and gave him more trouble than a Maegashira 4 should present to an Ozeki. Goeido got an inside grip at the tachiai, and worked hard to finish him before Kagayaki could get set up to attack. It nearly worked, but Kagayaki made a valiant stand at the tawara, and returned pressure to the Ozeki to bring them back to the center, now chest to chest. Kagayaki then attacked, driving Goeido back and rotated for a throw, which failed. Driving forward, Kagayaki tried to disrupt Goeido’s defense with a nodowa, but Goeido deftly realized his opponent was horribly balanced, rotated and applied an uwatenage for the win.

23 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 9 Highlights

  1. I am currently convinced that Ryuuden will ascend the banzuke and stay higher than Abi for awhile because he struggled initially and has learned to improve his sumo against the lower end of the division. Abi is challenged by more skilled opponents at the top of the banzuke where his skill gaps are expoited more expediently as we saw today. I can already see improvements in Ryuuden’s sumo because he’s able to execute his new skills against his opponents and gain confidence. Abi hasn’t had that chance at all. It’s also possible that Onosho’s injury will be beneficial to him in the long run because it not only made him adjust his sumo, but it’s given him more time to practice his new skills against lower ranked opponents.

  2. Myogiryu defeats Takarafuji — Myogiryu drives for a morozashi; Takarafuji “defends” by retreating, and that’s the sort of defense that ends with getting dumped off the dohyo. Takarafuji goes over in a backward somersault and inadvertently kicks Myogiryu in the head, leaving him dazed.

  3. I don’t think Takakeisho was playing with Yoshikaze — I think he was trying to avoid hurting him. A full power attack could well have sent Yoshikaze into the crowd.

      • I have noticed that a lot of the rikishi are being very aware of where the rikishi are on the dohyo and are helping each other out. I believe Mitakeumi’s match yesterday ended with him verifying that his opponent was okay because he received a nod in reply when the match ended. It’s a really good thing to see.

    • I think it’s neither. Takakeisho was simply being cautious. He is at his best when he doesn’t charge forward wildly. Being careful and keeping himself centered over his feet means he is not a candidate for hatakikomi, and he keeps his rival guessing. He tired Yoshikaze until that little vestige of genki the veteran could muster today vanished, and then finished it.

      • I think the same. Noone wants to be the guy to give up the first win. He just took his time knowing that he was in full control, Whatever is plaguing Yoshikaze, without his aggressive sumo he is no match for anyone.

  4. Tamawashi completely dominated Takayasu today and then just released the hold, stopped still, and then stepped out. I’ve watched that match over and over and I can’t see any move from Tak that could have propelled Tam over the bales. I would love to see Takayasu get a yusho, but not like this.

    Mitakeumi all the way! KIng tadpole emerging from the pond and turning into a salamander!

    • King Tadpole can smell victory, and is working so hard to remain calm and focused.

      Control the mind, the emotions, eat, sleep, etc. I think it’s a mental game from here.

    • Takayasu was able to untangle himself unexpectedly. If I lean my weight on someone’s body and they suddenly move out of the way, then I’m going forward whether I want to or not.

      • Takayasu’s move was about as sudden and unexpected as an oil tanker executing a 180 degree turn on choppy seas in the Baltic winter. Tamawashi had him beaten flatter than a hedgehog on a motorway and then mysteriously failed to finish him off.

        • He more or less stepped out by himself, but only because the bout was over. He was standing at the edge facing outwards with Takayasu behind him, no way to recover.
          Don’t know, if you mean that he lost on purpose, but even thought Tamawashi will get automatically promoted to sekiwake with a kachikoshi (unless Endo gets a 13-2 yusho or something), but he was looking for his own Ozeki run not too far back and I doubt he has anything to give away.

    • Takayasu keeps holding his arm after the matches. I wonder if he’ll get his kachikoshi and go kyujo.

  5. Since Takayasu seems unable to produce much good sumo, winning matches in fluky and ridiculous ways is the next best thing.

    I’d rather see my favorite wrestler just dominate like Mitakeumi is doing. But pirouettes at the tawara are the next best thing.

  6. Four days in a row that Hokutofuji has been using nodowa as his main weapon. It’s serving him pretty well. Some evolution in his sumo coming?

    Not a fan of Takakeisho’s style in this fight. Threatening gruesome CTE injuries over and over again…no thanks.

    Love Mitakeumi’s swagger right now. Please don’t fade!

  7. Mitakeumi is never going to have a better chance than this. Think who is standing in his way:
    Yokozuna: kyujo
    Ozeki: the form guy Tochinoshin kyujo, Takayasu possibly nursing an injury, and the other one is, erm, Goeido.
    Sekiwake: Ichinojo who is offering only limited resistance

    Endo looked like the main challenger who would emerge from the rank and file but now even he has two losses

  8. After 2 false starts, (at least that we got to see on NHK World, Abi and Chiyonokuni looked more amused than anything :p Some rikshi just look irritated.

    In theory, Kaisei does have the advantage of being more used to the sort of weather that has been plaguing this basho. The guy grew up in Brazil, for goodness sakes. One of my good friends lives there and he says they have two seasons: “summer and hell.”

    Rooting sooooooooo hard for Mitakeumi!!!

  9. I’m so incredibly disappointed in Ichinojo. He has so much potential and unrecognized power but he just won’t apply himself! I’m beginning to wonder if his weight is becoming a problem and causing him to fatigue to quickly or if he is just starting to hate sumo…it’s so irritating to see one of my favorites just not care..


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