Nagoya Day 11 Highlights

Mitakeumi - Nagoya Day 11

Welcome to the first day of act 3! Overnight the brutal Nagoya basho claimed another kyujo – with former Ozeki Kotoshogiku withdrawing from competition due to injuries he suffered day 10 in his match against Tamawashi. Tamawashi used a kotenage arm-bar throw to win the match, and the pressure on Kotoshogiku’s elbow seems to have been enough to injure him. To add to matters, Kotoshogiku took a dive into the crowd, where it was clear that he was in some pain. With his withdraw, another odd metric is added to sumo history surrounding this basho. Not only did we have a single rikishi get two fusensho wins, we have now had two rikishi get two fusensho: Shodai and Chiyonokuni. I think Abi summed up the mood of this basho on day 9: “My stablemaster will probably yell at me back at the lodgings. I want to go back to Tokyo!”

Mitakeumi continues to roll on, defeating his nigate Kaisei for the first time ever to remain undefeated. Its clear now that Mitakeumi has crossed into new territory in his sumo, and may have made the step change we have been watching for. While some would say that “well this is basho-light with all of the big guns kyujo”, they would be correct. This is the natural order of things. Without the Yokozuna and Ozeki genki enough to cull the lower ranks, you will see champions rise and threaten the old order. With Mitakeumi in double digits in San’yaku for the first time, his next stop is a try for the yusho. Many commentators on NHK have discounted him as “not training hard enough”, or “always fades week 2”. Thus is the risk of attempting to predict the future by relying solely on the past – it leaves no room for the path of hard work, improvement and success.

Highlight Matches

Aoiyama defeats Arawashi – Do you want to see a giant Bulgarian man-mountain grab someone by the throat and throw them into the first row? Then this is your match! Wow, Aoiyama launches Arawashi into his make-koshi.

Asanoyama defeats Nishikigi – Asanoyama continues to look solid, and is clearly going to run up the score. Nishikigi was at a disadvantage due to Asanoyama’s longer reach. But Nishikigi’s rally at the edge when he was able to get a double outside grip was impressive, and nearly carried the day.

Yutakayama defeats Sadanoumi – Yutakayama remains in the peloton, and picks up his kachi-koshi. Yutakayama controlled the match from the start, and Sadanoumi was unable to create much offensive pressure.

Hokutofuji defeats Myogiryu – Hokutofuji blasts his way to his kachi-koshi, and remains in the peloton as well. Myogiryu opened strong, but in the split-second Hokutofuji was on defense, he could not seal the deal. I can’t stop watching Hokutofuji’s tachiai, its a brutal work of art right now. I wish NHK would get a dozen cameras and do a “bullet time” version of the thing so sumo hyper-nerds can study it.

Ishiura defeats Chiyoshoma – Hey! Mainoumi style tachiai from Ishiura, and it worked really well. More more more! Chiyoshoma is now make-koshi.

Takarafuji defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko’s initial offensive gambit seemed to do little more than annoy Takarafuji, who tolerated the slap-fest for a bit, then took over and handed Kotoeko his make-koshi.

Tochiozan defeats Chiyotairyu – This match is a sterling example of just how efficient Tochiozan’s sumo is this basho, as it’s easy to compare it to Chiyotairyu’s frantic weaving, pulling and flapping about. Chiyotairyu will have to try again on day 12 for his kachi-koshi.

Kyokutaisei defeats Yoshikaze – Yoshikaze still on track for 0-15. I hate watching this stuff.

Endo defeats Takakeisho – Endo gets high marks in the sumo IQ test today, as he correctly cracks Takakeisho’s “wave action” offense and dodges a Takakeisho wave when Takakeisho opens up too much distance to his mark. Endo kachi-koshi and remains in the peloton.

Kagayaki defeats Abi – I wondered if this one should have had a monoii (it seems so did quite a few in the crowd). Abi opens in his expected form, but Kagayaki simply brute-forces his way inside and disrupt’s Abi’s offense. Now it’s a real battle as each man tries to rain blows on the other. Kagayaki’s intense training and focus on fundamentals of sumo appear to have once again carried the day, though that head-but was likely pure Kagayaki’s improvisation. (Sometimes we called it a “Glasgow kiss”)

Shohozan defeats Chiyonokuni – Shohozan unleashes his strength on day 11, and picks the optimum time to toss Chiyonokuni aside with impressive force. Although Chiyonokuni got a few good blows in, this one was all Shohozan.

Ikioi defeats Tamawashi – The first match ended in a monoii after Ikioi gave Tamawashi a flying lesson. But the judges were unable to decide who touched out first, although the gumbai went to Ikioi. So torinaoshi was ordered. Second time through – Ikioi slams into Tamawashi with a resounding thud that I am sure was heard in Kagoshima. A quick slap down and Ikioi wins without question.

Mitakeumi defeats Kaisei – It’s a new day for Mitakeumi, as he overcomes his 0-4 historical deficit with Kaisei by some really nice sumo. As we expected, Mitakeumi broke out the hazuoshi (armpit attack) again today, and Kaisei was unable to lower his hips to defend. From there, Mitakeumi ordered “all ahead full” and forced out his Brazilian opponent. Mitakeumi remains undefeated and in sole possession of the lead of the Nagoya basho.

Ichinojo defeats Takayasu – Takayasu is clearly hurt, clearly struggling and not having a good basho. Thus far this tournament, Ichinojo has largely been soft, vague and unwilling to put together a cogent offense. Sadly for Takayasu, “The Boulder” version of Ichinojo showed up today. Except for a half step back at the tachiai, Ichinojo could not be moved by any strength Takayasu could muster. Instead of fading fast and going soft, Ichinojo powered up, and with a pair of thrusts that could be heard clearly over the crowd, sent Takayasu to his 4th loss.

Goeido defeats Daishomaru – Goeido’s creampuff match was harder for him than it should have been. But he did win, he is kachi-koshi and has cleared kadoban. He is also still in the peloton, though the chances of him having any role in the yusho race are small. Daishomaru make-koshi.

24 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 11 Highlights

  1. Poor Yoshikaze. :(

    It would be nice to see this level of effort from both Ichinojo and Aoiyama every day, but I don’t know if their bodies are up to that task.

    I agree that Goeido struggled a lot more today than he should have. That says he’s either injured or on the downward slope of his career. It also shows that there are no “easy wins” in the top division anymore. I’m really curious to see how all of the rikishi do in the last couple of days. The churn between Juryo and the bottom of Makuuchi is going to be monstrous for awhile. We might not see anyone that is demoted anytime soon, if ever again, in the top division.

    A lot of people keep talking about Endo, but Asanoyama, Chiyonokuni, Myogiryu, and Hokotofuji are all diligently improving their sumo and are getting results. I also think that the struggles that Onosho is currently having will help him improve in the future. The tadpoles and freshman are definitely motivated these days.

      • I think he has had several bad basho. His last good one was the one he lost to Harumafuji – actually handed it to Harumafuji on a plate.

  2. I could find two previous instances of two rikishi each getting two fusen wins, in 1993 and 1999. BTW, the record for fusen wins in a basho is 3, by Kusaganishiki in May of 2002.

          • Yeah, but he has already done both Chiyonokuni and Shodai, so he is not giving anybody his third. It’ll have to be someone outside the san-yaku for Shodai, or Tamawashi tonight (heaven forbid) for Chiyonokuni.

          • Takayasu vs Mitakeumi on Day 12. Smart matchup by the schedulers. Pair with Takayasu while he still has a lot at stake.

            Saves the remaining M# bout for later.

  3. Even if he doesn’t get a shot at the yusho, I’d like to see Asanoyama rack up his score and fly up the banzuke. He’d probably learn a lot more loosing to the big boys than putting away those struggling to stay in the devision. It should do him some good in the long run even if he comes straight back down. Also with the current condition of the top rank guys, who knows, maybe he can claim a scalp or two!

  4. The thing about Mitakeumi at the moment is not just his power, it’s that the power is delivered so quickly. By the time that an opponent has had time to implement a counter he’s over the bales and out of there. It does look like his basho,but if he does melt in the heat (Kevin Keegan voice engaged) I would just LOVE it, if Tochiozan won.

  5. In my unofficial scorebook, I’ve credited Ikioi with two wins for his work on Day 11, since he really did win twice … and did it against a tough opponent.

  6. After watching the replay, I definitely think Abi vs. Kagayaki should have had a monoii, likely followed by a torinaoshi.

    Mitakeumi did exactly what I said he needed to do to change his fortune against Kaisei—deny the big Brazilian a grip on his belt.

  7. Mitakeumi has really shifted gears, not only physically but his head space also – before/after his bout when sitting on the sidelines he was so composed and ‘zen’ – i wonder if he’s brought meditation and breathing techniques to keep his head space calm and focussed ? just a thought because there’s certainly an X factor that has been brought to bear here in Nagoya for him…

    Hokutofuji – after his concussive injury the previous basho i’ve been worried… seems my worries unfounded – very proud of his continued efforts – going gang-busters!

    so glad my nightmare bout is over, we all know how i feel about these two, but i just couldn’t bring myself to feel happy as i normally would for a Kyokutaisei win when Yoshikaze breaking my heart like this – to see him so dejected and yes upset by what’s happening to his humo, he’s like a little boy lost. he claims he’s genki and not carrying a niggling injury, but as we’ve all discussed before father time is catching up with him and the wear and tear on his system coming to focus with the inability it seems to summon his feisty and bounce back. maybe there’s an emotional/personal issue going on behind the scenes that is smothering all else? only Yoshikaze knows. I just want to fly over and give him a big hug ….. sigh…..

  8. It seemed clear enough in the slo-mo reply on Jason’s vid that Tamawashi touched out first. I bet the judges were just reluctant to award the win to Ikioi because he was jumping backwards out of the ring.

  9. If I had any money, I’d bet it we see Kotoeko again, maybe even come November. And yeeeeah boy, Mitakeumi!!! I love Kasei to death, but had to root for his opponent today.

  10. I actually thought Yoshikaze showed some tenacity today. Not saying he was unlucky to lose by any means, but he was looking a bit more of the part of the style of sumo he is noted for. While he didn’t fully execute “his brand of sumo,” he did at least give it a real strong go for one of the first times in this tournament.

  11. Chiyomaru seems extremely vulnerable to shallow grips. He’s got such a big overhang that if you can reach under his belly and get a hold of his mawashi then you can raise his center of mass by lifting his fat directly even if his hips don’t move.

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