Grand Sumo Live Blog – Day 15

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To read Josh’s excellent live blog coverage of senshuraku, just click the “more” link below.

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Josh K - Sun 08:57:00

As the NHK Team prepares to sign off, I’m going to call it a night as well. Thanks to everyone who followed along on the site, and stay tuned for more coverage of the results of the basho over the coming hours and days!

Josh K - Sun 08:55:17

So it’s a 13-2 Yusho for Mitakeumi (who continues to receive prizes from around the world and Japan). To recap, he’s now put up 22 wins over 2 tournaments, so he’ll be looking to get 11 in Tokyo in September to seal his Ozeki promotion. The competition will be extremely tough with Yokozuna and Tochinoshin returning – can he do it?

Josh K - Sun 08:46:58

Asanoyama and Yutakayama have picked up the Fighting Spirit Prizes. They’re in the interview room now as Mitakeumi continues to collect prizes such as a giant beer glass from the Czech Republic, which according to John Gunning comes with a year’s supply of beer.

Yutakayama says his aim was to focus on his strengths as a pusher-thruster. Maybe he’s got a few more tools in his locker after what we saw today…

Josh K - Sun 08:43:42

Mitakeumi now giving his yusho interview: “Thank you very much! [The trophy] just felt really heavy. I didn’t think I would get such a loud cheer, so now I’m really really happy!”

On today’s match: “I wanted to end on a good note with a win, but I think I still need to get stronger. I wasn’t able to push my opponent out, so I think I’ll have to go back and practice and train.”

On the basho: “It was hot! I think this was an experience that you rarely get. I’m at a loss of words. Thanks for the cheers. It seems [the tournament] flew past, and it also felt like a long tournament, but it was quite satisfying”

On the pressure: “I just thought I should enjoy it because this is an experience that’s really rare.”

On being Dewanoumi-beya’s first champion in 38 years and Nagano’s first ever champion: “I’m really happy, I’m hoping that this would bring momentum to Dewanoumi-beya. It’s been 4 years since I’ve joined, and here I am. I’m really happy about that, and also for the Nagano Prefecture. I hope that everyone is very excited about this!”

On being champion: “It feels awesome! I’ve never spoken in front of such a big crowd and probably won’t remember what I said here!”

On next basho: “This basho has just ended, I don’t want to think about next basho yet, I will just focus on training and practise so that I can aim higher. I will keep on practicing. Thank you all!”

Josh K - Sun 08:36:28

Sekiwake Mitakeumi has received the Emperor’s Cup and is the July Tournament Champion!

Josh K - Sun 08:34:04

You wouldn’t say the man from Nagano looks a picture of calm, but he is excited as he emerges back into the arena to collect the ultimate prize.

Josh K - Sun 08:32:28

The Emperor’s Cup is on the dohyo and Mitakeumi has emerged from the dressing room…

Josh K - Sun 08:31:02

If you were looking for an epic ozeki showdown on senshuraku, don’t watch this one.

Goeido launches into Takayasu and he doesn’t even get a chance to throw out his shoulder-blast. Goeido is lightning fast off the mark, and gets Takayasu turned around and out in possibly less than 2 seconds. John Gunning calls it “anticlimactic” and the perfect end to what has been a “strange tournament.” Takayasu obviously hasn’t been right, but credit to him for finishing 15 days where so many others have had to pull out. Hopefully he can now rest up.

As for Goeido, it’s 10-5 and ultimately comfortable even if the yusho challenge we expected to materialise didn’t happen. 9-6 Takayasu also ensures like Goeido he’ll at least hold his rank through the end of the year.

Josh K - Sun 08:26:48

Takayasu lets out the last warm up grunt of the tournament and we are into the musubi-no-ichiban, the last bout of the Nagoya 2018 basho…

Josh K - Sun 08:21:41

Slow tachiai, a little this-n-that, and all the sudden Endo, as he’s trying to launch an attack, just bounces hilariously off Ichinojo and onto his backside on the floor. A comical oshitaoshi. That’s one for the meme creators.

Ross Mihara: “That’s one of the few times you’ll see Endo looking uncool.”

We may have only got 3 matches on live TV but the first two have been worth it so far. Ichinojo and Endo both finish 8-7, and Ichinojo holds serve as Sekiwake. Rough end to the tournament for Endo, who had a real shot to get himself back up near the top Maegashira ranks but will instead have to settle for a modest promotion.

Josh K - Sun 08:18:12

Ross Mihara: “Ichinojo… big body, but little desire sometimes”

Josh K - Sun 08:16:57

UNBELIEVABLE sumo between Mitakeumi and Yutakayama. You may have to watch this a few times. I don’t even know how to live blog this. Easily the best match of the day.

Mitakeumi launches into Yutakayama with a massive tachiai. He’s got Yutakayama going backwards, but the larger man rallies and what proceeds to happen is an incredible, entertaining bout: both men pushing back from the edge of defeat multiple times. Yutakayama tries a leg trip that doesn’t come off, eventually both men grapple their way sideways to the edge in attempt of a throw and it’s Mitakeumi who hits the clay first. It’s a rare kimarite, a kakenage “hooking inner thigh throw.” That one was worth waiting up for.

John Gunning has called for a “do-over” and it’s hard to disagree. You’d watch that match-up every time.

The cameras cut to an exhausted Mitakeumi making his way back to the shitakubeya. It may take him all week to catch his breath after that.

Josh K - Sun 08:10:11

Mitakeumi has been announced with two special prizes: the shukun-sho and the gino-sho.

Gunning has claimed that he predicted Mitakeumi’s yusho…

Josh K - Sun 08:08:36

It’s upset time as Maegashira 13 Tochiozan knocks off Komusubi Tamawashi, who despite this upset still finishes with an 8-7 kachikoshi. In keeping with today’s theme, rikishi moving backwards decides to pull and gets his man, this time via hatakikomi.

NHK World has just cut over for the final three bouts. Turns out I was mistaken and it’s Ross Mihara on the call alongside John Gunning.

Josh K - Sun 08:04:18

WHERE WAS THIS YOSHIKAZE!?!!

The veteran fights like a madman in a match that’s over far too soon, because it could have been a truly epic brawl with Big Guns Shohozan. Shohozan maybe gets the better of the tachiai, but Yoshikaze launches back into him with a melee attack of arms, hands, face, and electric sumo as he literally wrestles Shohozan from the dohyo and tosses him onto the floor, and finishes with a badass pose. Huge ovation from the crowd.

Yoshikaze finishes 2-13 to Shohozan’s 3-12. Much as we’ve made so much of Yoshikaze’s dreadful and often listless run this tournament, spare a thought for his counterpart here who finishes just a win better despite having been quite a bit more genki throughout the 2 weeks.

Josh K - Sun 08:01:06

Much as I love Dive Into Ukiyo-e – and I do – I think NHK World have missed a trick here by not cutting over, as there will likely be only 2-3 matches left by the time they go live. Admittedly, it’s not their fault that such a sizeable portion of makuuchi has gone kyujo.

Josh K - Sun 07:59:48

Shodai and Kagayaki grapple a bit before Shodai gets the other “Mr. Fundamentals” turned around and tosses him down with a one-handed throw. Kagayaki tried to stop himself heading out but lost his footing and appeared to slip a bit, so Shodai more or less helped him down, although the motion was a little bit more like when you drop a bag of garbage that’s got something wet in it in the bin and shut the lid as quickly as possible.

Both guys now 6-9 after disappointing tournaments: Shodai because he had pole position and a chance to move into san’yaku having been gifted wins, and Kagayaki because he’ll have wanted to continue his recent good steady progress.

Josh K - Sun 07:56:40

In other news, imagine 2 years ago after Goeido won his heroic zensho-yusho if someone had told you, on senshuraku less than 2 years later it’d be Goeido v Takayasu? The mind would boggle. Remember, back in those days, we had 3 Yokozuna and 4 Ozeki AND they all regularly turned up all the time.

You’d have probably assumed Goeido took his opportunity for Yokozuna promotion and that Takayasu at the very least was in that position on the verge of a similar promotion. Instead, these guys will go head to head today having done enough to clear kadoban (yet again, in Goiedo’s case), having played second fiddle to the King of the Tadpoles in a Nokozuna tournament in which they’ll have had nightmares about fluffing their lines.

Josh K - Sun 07:52:59

The way that a lot of these matches are going, I’m half expecting someone to pop up and tell me it’s Kakuryu tribute day in the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Josh K - Sun 07:51:49

In one of the few matchups between close-rankers today, Kaisei (9-6) continues his resurgence by finishing off Ikioi (8-7). In a familiar pattern for the day’s sumo, Ikioi gets Kaisei going backwards before the Brazilian steps to the side and pulls the throw. 31-year old Ikioi finishes kachi-koshi for the first time at M2 or higher, so that’s some consolation. Kaisei, meanwhile, has impressed in recent months and will look to move back up to the edge of san’yaku again next time out.

Josh K - Sun 07:47:05

Maegashira 3 Abi salvaged a rough tournament with a good string of results over the past few days, culminating in his final day win here over Maegashira 12 Aoiyama. Aoiyama still finishes 8-7 though, so he can be content to move up while Abi shouldn’t fall too far, and can continue honing his sumo as the fan-favorite attempts to transition from a one-note piper to someone who can rattle the san’yaku rankers regularly with a full bag of tricks.

This one’s a decent back and forth battle – Aoiyama gets the better of the tachiai but Abi soon establishes his pushing technique and gets the big Bulgarian going backwards before shuttling him out. It will come as no surprise that the winning technique was oshidashi.

Josh K - Sun 07:44:06

Takakeisho wraps up Asanoyama tightly like a gift he’s worried might get damaged in the post, and then walks him over the bales in about 3 seconds. This was a good matchup on paper but not a lot to see here in another damp squib of a match on Day 15. Asanoyama still finishes with an extremely creditable 11-4 and Takakeisho reasserts his credentials with a 10-5 this tournament.

There are only 8 matches left with 25 minutes until Grand Sumo Live comes on air, so we may be commenting more on the commentary than the action at that stage.

Josh K - Sun 07:41:07

Sadanoumi wraps up his kochi-kochi at the last chance by wrangling with wild Daishomaru for a few seconds before throwing him off the dohyo. Daishomaru has been a little overmatched at this level, but he couldn’t deal with a journeyman Maegashira 12 who’s not far removed from time down in Juryo. Take nothing away from Sadanoumi however, who consolidates his place in the division.

Josh K - Sun 07:34:50

Maegashira 16 Hokutofuji beats Maegashira 6 Chiyotairyu in one of the larger rank gaps of the day.

Hokutofuji has this over in seconds when he pulls down Chiyotairyu (it’s being called as tsukiotoshi) despite the Kokonoe man getting the better of the tachiai. Chiyotairyu just can’t get his feet set and the Hakkaku man pivots at the edge and throws him down. Hokutofuji punctuates what has been a tremendous return to form with a 11-4 record in Nagoya which should see him vault back up the banzuke. Chiyotairyu finishes 9-6 and will be himself firmly back in the joi next time out.

Josh K - Sun 07:31:01

Bobblehead rikishi Ryuden has been impressing me with his tenacity this tournament – many times we’ve seen him in positions where someone like, say, Ichinojo, might give up, and he fights back with incredible effort. It’s not to be on Day 15 however, as Future-Uncle Sumo/Tactics Takarafuji overwhelms him with fundamentals to win by yorikiri. It’s a solid 30 second effort and easily the best bout of the final round in the top division today so far.

Takarafuji now 7-8 and in for a minor demotion, Ryuden now 8-7 with the opposite destiny.

Josh K - Sun 07:27:01

It’s a good moment to recall how silly it is sometimes to make sumo predictions

In the Tachiai podcast before the tournament, I may or may not have said I thought Goeido would lose his ozeki status and Tochinoshin would be the sweatiest man in Nagoya. Tochinoshin has been MIA from Nagoya and Goeido cleared kadoban before Takayasu did. However, I did at least get my prediction right that we’d get a yusho challenge out of mid-low Maegashira, so thanks to Asanoyama and Yutakayama for stepping up to spare my blushes at least a little bit.

Josh K - Sun 07:23:27

Arawashi wins in somewhat unconvincing fashion going backwards, getting credited with an uwatenage for a desperation throw to win over Daieisho. Arawashi finishes 5-10, Daieisho 6-9.

The matches are going so fast at the moment there may only be a handful of them to call by the time Grand Sumo Live comes on at 1.05am Pacific time here in the City of Angels!

Josh K - Sun 07:19:27

Kyokutaisei beats Kotoeko in seconds with what’s being called an oshidashi, though it looked like Kotoeko was running out of the ring at the end. Kotoeko has had an awful debut tournament, but by contrast, the Hokkaido man Kyokutaisei has shown remarkable character to bounce back from a 1-7 start to finish 6-9.

Okinoumi meanwhile picks up a kachi-koshi on the final day via fusen-sho from Chiyoshoma, who finishes 4-11. He may have changed back to the black mawashi but it was another awful tournament for the Kokonoe man.

Josh K - Sun 07:16:00

Myogiryu gets the better of the tachiai against Onosho and drives him back to the bales, but the “tadpole” shows remarkable “bounceback-ability” to recover, reverse course and march his elder competitor back the other direction and out by yorikiri.

This tournament could have gone any number of ways for Onosho and while he did not fulfil John Gunning’s bold yusho prediction, another double digits result is solid. Fun fact: Onosho has competed for all 15 days in the top division five times, and four of them have now ended at 10-5.

For Myogiryu, a 9 win tournament that sees him further up into the mid-Maegashira ranks and possibly to the edge of the joi in September will still be a great result for a veteran in what has been a rather inhospitable climate to the over-30 crowd of late.

Josh K - Sun 07:08:03

Ishiura gets win number 7 by way of a victory over Chiyomaru. Chiyomaru tries to open with a pushing attack, but the faster Ishiura just spins around him, gets in low and ushers him out in a hurry. He should just about survive now. Disappointing for Chiyomaru, who drops to 5-10 and will join Ishiura and Nishikigi in the Makuuchi danger zone in the next banzuke.

Josh K - Sun 07:04:23

We’re into Makuuchi now and the sun is officially setting on the Nagoya basho 2018.

Meisei knocks off Nishikigi with a nice shitatenage after a feisty start. Both men 6-9, and that will cushion Meisei’s fall a bit into the ranks of upper Juryo. He may not have had the quality this time out, but he will be back. Disappointing stuff for Nishikigi who’s dropped 5 of his last 6, and will return in Tokyo to a position he’s grown accustomed: fighting for his place in the division.

Josh K - Sun 06:43:00

The 30-year old Mongolian and former Maegashira Kagamio, who spent 3 years as a sekitori, won today’s Sandanme playoff and appears to be doing things backwards. It’s his third yusho win, though his first was in Juryo and his second was in Makushita last year. Hopefully he can keep healthy so that he doesn’t need to contest the Jonidan yusho as a 31 year old.

Josh K - Sun 06:38:36

Word has come from the oracle that the Juryo yusho has been decided…

Josh K - Sun 06:30:24

Speaking of old friends making comebacks, as lksumo pointed out earlier in the weekend, 9-win Aminishiki will have to wait for today’s top division results to see if he gets a top division return. Down in Makushita, Jokoryu may have just done enough to punch his ticket (along with the returning Enho and yusho winner Hakuyozan) after a years long hiatus back to sekitori status. Toyonoshima has also made a case though will probably just fall short.

At least 3 men will be demoted from Juryo: Churanoumi, Homarefuji and Sokokurai. While the omens aren’t great for 6 win Kizenryu at J13, there aren’t a ton of candidates banging down the door at the top of the third division this time so he could be spared.

Josh K - Sun 06:25:07

Makuuchi will kick off shortly, but at the time of writing Takanoiwa has dropped his final match against Kyokushuho and Takanosho has won his against Tsurugisho. We’ll see both in the top division in September, but for now they’ll contest a playoff to decide the yusho down in Juryo.

Josh K - Sun 06:18:21

Konbanwa and welcome to Grand Sumo Live…. blog. I’m your host tonight, and may be joined at points by special guest Bruce.

NHK World has blessed us with a second consecutive night of live sumo, so thanks for staying up with us or joining in wherever you are in the world. Our understanding is that it’s going to be Hiro Morita on the call with John Gunning on commentary.

23 thoughts on “Grand Sumo Live Blog – Day 15


  1. I do hope that they can find a juryo spot for Toyonoshima whose battle to get back in upper divisions I have been following for a while now. Maybe a retirement or two will make a space. Hey Takekaze, book a cruise!


    • It’s an interesting one. 5 wins at that rank typically wouldn’t do it, but 6 wins for Kizenryu typically wouldn’t save him. Jokoryu going back up I can see, but it’s tougher to make the argument IMHO for a 4 win guy at Ms6 over a 5 win guy at Ms7, when it’s largely the same schedule.


    • Tricky situation. You have only 2 guys who should go up and 3 guys who must go down. Then you have Kizenryu who normally would go down. I think they will only promote Jokoryu and he will end up at J14W.

      Although I’m rooting for Toyonoshima since many years, I don’t think there should be any way for him to get promotoed over either Jokoryu or Akua. If you look at his schedule this basho, he was only fighting once against anyone from MS6 or higher and he lost that bout and has two wins against both Ms12.
      Meanwhile Jokoryu had one bout outside the top 6 at Ms9 and Akua had two at Ms7&8, but also got called up once to Juryo.

      I think Toyonoshima will rank at Ms1 or 2 and Toyohibiki with his 6-1 not close behind. A kachikoshi next tournament should guarantee his promotion.


  2. Thanks to all involved- Yago finished with a win, as have Hokutofuji and Kyokutaisei- and now for Yoshikaze- everything’s crossed


  3. Kakenage to Yutakayama! What a fabulous display from the next generation ! So entertaining- just brilliant from them both


    • Gunning (as usual) made a good point – it’s one of the hardest ranks to achieve but one of the easiest ranks to retain – “technicaly you only need to win 8 bouts out of 30 to keep it”


  4. With Yoshikaze, the repeating (and repeating and repeating) pattern I saw was that he would start as genki as possible but quickly (really quickly!) run out of gas, like after 4 seconds. In his two final matches he was able to bring enough heat to win quickly but I do wonder if his stamina would have held out for even slightly longer matches…


    • On the final weekend, his oyakata did admit he was injured, but declined to state what the problem was. He said that Yoshikaze still wanted to compete, but was falling short of what it took to win. I think that knowledge was fairly widespread by the start of week 2, as you can see the great care his opponents take with him.

      For Yoshikaze enthusiasts, its now a question on if he is going to bounce back, or take up his kabu and become a sumo elder.


      • whatever it is i hope he heals fully and soon, seeing him this dejected is not good (for him OR for me! or should i say US Bruce!)

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