Nagoya Day 13 Highlights

Nagoya Day 13 Banner

So the theory that there was no Takayasu – Mitakeumi rematch due to time gained a bit of traction in my mind with day 13. Headed into the final division, the entire day’s events were about 20 minutes behind schedule, and the rikishi were encouraged to be prompt and shorten up the pre-match routines. As it was the day’s matches went right to the end. Clearly the new head shimpan and the timekeeper are having some problems organizing the basho.

Fans who were worried about Mitakeumi are encouraged to watch today’s match against Goeido in slow motion. Don’t worry, NHK, or Jason and Kintamayama on YouTube can and will supply footage. True champions overcome adversity and setbacks. Even when stupid calls don’t go their way. They show up and they play the game, and if they lose they go back and play again.

Highlight Matches

Meisei defeats Akiseyama – Akiseyama had early control of the match, but lost initiative when he attempted to change his grip and failed. From there it was Meisei’s match and he pushed hard for the win.

Onosho defeats Kotoeko – Onosho reaches kachi-koshi in the blink of an eye. One push against Kotoeko, followed by a slap down and it was all over.

Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama continues to compete hard, even though both legs are massively taped. Hokutofuji again unleashes a sharp tachiai, but bounces off Aoiyama’s massive body. Aoiyama lays on the attack, but Hokutofuji’s upper body endures it, while his lower body keeps moving forward. When Aoiyama attempted to pull, he gave up forward pressure and Hokutofuji surged ahead for the win. We have seen this from Hokotofuji again and again, it’s as if there are two separate processes at work, and more than once it has won the match. Hokotofuji is probably back at mid-Maegashira for Aki, and it’s going to be great to see him challenged.

Nishikigi defeats Sadanoumi – Nishikigi picks up win #6, with a good tachiai and working hard to get inside and then applied maximum force to Sadanoumi’s center mass.

Arawashi defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru picked up his 8th loss, and is now make-koshi. Arawashi took a shallow double hand grip immediately at the tachiai, and pushed forward strongly to win the match.

Yutakayama defeats Tochiozan – Yutakayama goes to double digit wins, but it was an odd match. Yutakayama attacked high, and pressured Tochiozan backward to the bales. Both men lost balance and headed out simultaneously, but in spite of some nice acrobatics, Tochiozan touched down first. Tochiozan is now out of any possible yusho contention.

Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu – Asanoyama joins fellow freshman Yutakayama in double digit wins with his win over Myogiryu. Myogiryu took control early while Asanoyama struggled to find a firm hold. When Myogiryu backed him to the tawara, Asanoyama found the edge and held firm, bringing Myogiryu to his chest, and took control.

Ishiura defeats Kyokutaisei – I am starting to have hope. For the last few matches, Ishiura has been showing us a new level of his sumo. He is more fierce, more focused and more inventive than he has been since his debut tournament in Kyushu of 2016. And it’s giving him wins. Will it be enough to stave off a return to Juryo? I almost think that it might.

Ryuden defeats Daieisho – After a matta / false start Daieisho opened strong, and may have actually pushed out Ryuden’s heel, but no one called it and the match continued. Ryuden rallied strongly, and kept impressively low, bringing the battle back to the center of the dohyo. Daieisho became off balance when he hauled up hard on Ryuden’s loose mawashi, and inadvertently fell forward to lose. Daieisho now make-koshi.

Abi defeats Yoshikaze – The march to the hanyusho continues, and no force in nature seems to be able to stop it. Abi seems to take special care to keep Yoshikaze from falling, just as everyone else has. It seems whatever has robbed him of his sumo is a fairly open secret right now, and everyone gives him a lot of courtesy and protection. It both breaks my heart to know something is wrong, and does me glad to see how every competitor takes care.

Tamawashi defeats Kaisei – Tamawashi foregoes the obligatory kotenage and does a masterful job of disrupting Kaisei’s balance, and keeping him struggling for dependable footing. With repeated glancing collisions, eventually Kaisei falls down and nobody goes to the hospital. Success! Tamawashi picks up kachi-koshi as well.

Chiyotairyu defeats Ichinojo – Chiyotairyu hits his kachi-koshi as well today by keeping Ichinojo adjusting to what kind of sumo will happen next. The match ends with an all too familiar moment where Ichinojo seems to give up.

Takayasu defeats Endo – It was not even a real contest, as Endo was overwhelmed by Takayasu’s freight-train tachiai, and bounced off towards the south-east. Takayasu was happy to help give Endo another shove to ensure his rapid exit and loss.

Mitakeumi defeats Goeido – After day 12, fans who were hoping for a Mitakeumi yusho were incensed, with good cause. Even the commentators for NHK really could not line up behind the shimpan’s unexplainable call. Fans worried that Mitakeumi would lose his edge, would begin to doubt his sumo, and his winning streak would end. Well, take a look at what he did to Goeido. It was Goeido who lost his nerve as they went to the shikirisen, and had to reset. Look at Mitakeumi’s body language, his posture as he faces Goeido prior to the match. This guy has put his mental problems in a box, and put the box some place far far away. Goeido did indeed blast out of the tachiai, and he did succeed in knocking Mitakeumi back and lifting him. But look at Mitakeumi’s footwork in the split second following the tachiai. He absorbs the shock and rotates to his right. Goeido is now perilously overcommitted, and Mitakeumi’s left hand already hooking a grip. With his left hand on Goiedo’s mawashi, and his right hand on the back of Goeido’s neck, Mitakeumi has his feet firmly on clay, and swings Goeido towards the bales. Goeido recognizes he has crafted his own defeat, and we get to see the massive power of his legs come to play in an effort to slow his forward motion. But Mitakeumi follows through and forces Goeido out from behind. The home-town crowd goes wild for their favorite son as Goeido steps out. Top notch planning and execution from Mitakeumi. He played Goeido like a shamisen. At the end of the match as they go to bow. THAT LOOK! Goeido has found a new appreciation for his opponent.

11 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 13 Highlights

  1. I checked the replay for Takayasu’s tachiai – it wasn’t his usual kachiage. He started with a harizashi. I think that might have caught Endo by surprise.

    • Great point. For once Takayasu managed to stay low and perform quality fundamental sumo, rather than becoming upright and resorting to miracle twirls at the tawara for wins. I still think he’s injured, and it looks to me like it’s a lower back issue, but today’s tachiai and what followed was much better than what he’s shown in a while.

    • Pretty incisive of me yesterday to tell Takayasu that he should withdraw from this basho after Day 12. I, obviously, know nothing about this sport and these wrestlers. Absolutely nothing.

      • As far as his health is concerned, he should have withdrawn. And it’s something he has already done in the past. But I’m pretty sure at the moment there is a lot of pressure on him to stay – of the entire Yokozuna/Ozeki ranks there are only two left. And Takayasu is apparently one of the rikishi who draws the most kensho flags. So he gambarizes on.

  2. Rikishi 1: Undoubtedly talented and powerful off the tachiai, but panics easily once something goes wrong, and engages in a comical arms-waiving-over-head-while randomly-hopping-sideways routine anytime he is forced to go to a Plan B. Known to resort to henkas when things get tight.

    Rikishi 2: Similarly skilled at charging low from the tachiai, but also shows the calmness and skill to improvise once he is forced off of his initial plan. Can win matches by dominantly charging forward AND by using the opponent’s momentum against him, deploying advanced oshi and yotsu technique.

    One of the two is a 32 year old Ozeki and former champion. The other is a 25 year old Sekiwake who has been on the banzuke for only 21 tournaments. You tell me which is which.

    • Mitakeumi delivered so much thinking-man’s sumo it took up two heads — his own and, judging by the jittes at the shikirisen, Goeido’s as well.

  3. The summary of Mitakeumi’s win is great! I want to add to it a closer examination of the way the rikishi were using their hands. Straight out of the tachiai Goeido gets a left hand shallow grip while fending off Mitakeumi’s left hand with his right. Goeido then reaches down with his right hand for the maemitsu; while he is doing so, Mitakeumi executes a perfect defense: he reaches around Goeido’s shoulder for the deep left hand grip and then knocks Goeido’s left hand off his belt with his own right hand while simultaneously shifting to Goeido’s right. Goeido travels past Mitakeumi as Mitakeumi brings his right hand over Goeido’s head and down on his neck.

    • I was almost stunned by how well Mitakeumi’s match reveled details and more details in slow motion. I almost wish they could record these things from multiple angles and let the sumo nerds piece them together at will.

  4. I have no doubt that the Nagoya crowd loves Mitakeumi, but he is still from Nagano-ken. Only a short train ride though ;-) Really glad he got this victory today. Kinda played out exactly like I expected, but I was worried a bit about some henka shenanigans bei Goeido ;)

  5. For this basho, Mitakeumi has been like a batter who has no ‘holes’ in his swing. It’s hard to conceive of a strategy which might be effective against him. He’s been able to bond an aggressive attack with Kakuryu’s reactive style.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.