Day 10 Highlights

Takayasu Salt
Image courtesy of the Japan Sumo Association Twitter Feed

Act two is in the record books, and the yusho race is down to three credible contenders. Entering into the final 3 days, the Ozeki and Yokozuna will face each other daily, and the level of competition will ratchet higher. It’s still possible that Aki will be won with an unbeaten 15-0 record, which would be a great mark to achieve during a year of tournaments plagued by injuries and absent rikishi.

Highlight Matches

Ishiura defeats Ryuden – With no room for another loss, and his position in the top division at stake, Ishiura finds his sumo. Today’s match was some of his best, and one has to wonder where this has been for the past year.

Yoshikaze defeats Nishikigi – I swear, you can see Nishikigi get nervous as Yoshikaze pulls him to his chest, and Nishikigi realizes he is in contact with the Yoshikaze mystery rash. You know, if its all over your torso anyhow, why not use it to help win? Dekimono-kiri anyone? In better news, it does look like the rash is clearing up.

Takanosho defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi starts strong, but Takanosho rallies after he lands a nodowa. With his neck pinned back and his body too high, Sadanoumi can offer little defense as Takanosho drives forward and wins.

Kotoyuki defeats Kyokutaisei – Much to my surprise, Kotoyuki looked strong and forceful today, and did not go sailing into the zabuton. Instead he won over Kyokutaisei, who may have compounded his right knee injury.

Takanoiwa defeats Tochiozan – Takanoiwa reaches kachi-koshi on day 10, cementing his return to the top division after almost a year recovering from injury and battling his way back up the banzuke. Kimarite is listed as sotogake, for that leg trip he applied to Tochiozan at the tawara.

Kagayaki defeats Aoiyama – Kagayaki’s first ever win over the Bulgarian meat mountain. Clearly Aoiyama desperately needs some recovery time, and is now make-koshi.

Onosho defeats Daishomaru – A quick but effective hatakikomi, notable in that it’s only Onosho’s 3rd win of the tournament.

Myogiryu defeats Kotoshogiku – Myogiryu’s speed and intensity prevents Kotoshogiku from setting up any offensive sumo.

Asanoyama defeats Hokutofuji – After a blazing 7-0 start, Hokutofuji seems to have hit a wall, and is now on a three-match losing streak. Hokutofuji invested too much time trying to get his nodowa to pay off, all the while Asanoyama was moving forward and maneuvering Hokutofuji’s body into an increasingly perilous position.

Chiyonokuni defeats Shohozan – It was a given that these two would show a lot of action, and it did not disappoint. Repeatedly charging each other, it was more a game of bumper cars at first. The match ended before there could be any bloodshed when Shohozan lost his footing and stepped outside the bales.

Takarafuji defeats Abi – Takarafuji shows us how its done. He patiently absorbs Abi’s double arm thrusts, carefully deflecting part of each thrust and circling a step to his left each time. Forced to constantly adjust his stance, Abi’s rhythm is disrupted. Takarafuji reads this with great skill, finds an opening, and drives Abi out. Great tactics from Takarafuji today.

Shodai defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu picks up his make-koshi. The NHK team did not necessarily concur with the gyoji’s indication that Shodai had won the match, but none of the judges asked to review the gunbai.

Tamawashi defeats Ikioi – Both rikishi fought with a lot of power, with Tamawashi finishing the match with a burst of strength that lifted and threw Ikioi from the dohyo. That was big!

Takakeisho defeats Yutakayama – Solid Takakeisho style oshi-zumo today, Yutakayama was powerless to mount any kind of useful defense. Why did he come back from kyujo again?

Tochinoshin defeats Kaisei – Kadoban Ozeki Tochinoshin sores a much needed win against Kaisei, keeping the chances of him clearing kadoban plausible. The two were chest to chest from the start, and both men were trying to outmuscle the other. Both were able to lift each other, but struggled to do more than stand in the center of the dohyo, keeping their opponent at bay. Kaisei tired first, and Tochinoshin lifted him enough to carry him out. Tochinoshin’s magic number is now 2.

Takayasu defeats Goeido – The two Ozeki surprisingly decided to go chest to chest and fight it out yotsu-style. This seems to have been a smart move for Takayasu, as Goeido’s mobility did not factor into the match, and Takayasu was able to contain and control his fellow Ozeki. For fans of unusual winning moves, we got to see Takayasu apply a kainahineri, or a two handed twist down. This leaves Takayasu as the sole rikishi one loss behind the Yokozuna.

Kisenosato defeats Endo – As expected, Kisenosato picks up his kachi-koshi and completes his return to active sumo competition. A series of matta marred the match, and when they finally launched on the fourth attempt, Kisenosato charged forward ahead and took Endo out quickly. With win number 8, the pressure on Kisenosato subsides a bit. He can remain an active, competing Yokozuna, and work to improve his performance at Kyushu. The sumo world breathes a sigh of welcome relief.

Hakuho defeats Ichinojo – Glad to see Ichinojo actually put in an effort today. He had Hakuho working to keep the giant contained, and several times Ichinojo was able to generate good forward pressure. However, Hakuho remains undefeated and tied for the lead.

Kakuryu defeats Mitakeumi – Points to Mitakeumi for a strong tachiai and backing the Yokozuna to the tawara, but Kakuryu rallies and hands Mitakeumi his 4th defeat. This likely puts his Ozeki bid on hold until Kyushu unless he can find a way to overcome both Kisenosato and Takayasu. Frankly, Mitakeumi is not looking genki enough to pull that one off, as stamina is starting to play a role in everyone’s sumo.

19 thoughts on “Day 10 Highlights

  1. Asanoyama beat Hokutofuji and few other typos, you doing OK? Although, I do like the idea of the gyoji waving gumbo around. More seriously, what ticked Hakuho off for that late push on Ichinojo?

    • It was a very strange move. Totally unnecessary, like he got pissed off for needed to work for a win. Not very sportsmanlike, good that Ichinojo did not hurt himself.

    • Hustling to get on a plane for Japan. Apologies for all mishaps and disasters. My undying thanks to Pink for fixing things up. I get to watch day 14 & 15 in person, but along the way it picked up a complication or two. Should be fine once I am in Tokyo.

  2. “For fans of unusual winning moves, we got to see Takayasu apply a kainahineri, or a two handed twist down.” – I’d have called that one Shitatedashinage, myself, an underarm pulling throw.

  3. The only way I can explain the Shodai win is if the gyoji and shimpan all have a standard unknown to us that jumping backward out of the ring automatically makes you shini-tai. It seems like if you take a hit that puts you in the air but your own attack lands, you’ll mostly win, but if you jump out of the ring of own free will to avoid the attack the call will go to your opponent. I think I’ve seen calls that have garnered controversy before that could be explained by such a standard.

    • You say that, but I’ve also definitely seen Takayasu take a remarkably ballet-like leap backwards off the tawara and get the win. I can try to find the bout if you want.

      The other explanation: The shimpan got criticised for too many mono-iis earlier in the basho, and no-one wanted to be the first to raise their hand.

        • Once again it’s impossible to see what’s going on in the judges heads.

          Also Endo got called out repeatedly for not getting both hands down at the tachiai. But when it finally got going, Kisenosato didn’t get one of his hands down but they let that go.

          Kisenosato’s kachikoshi is great news though and far beyond the respectable final hurrah most people were hoping for as best case scenario.

          • Seriously, that referee was living in an alternate reality. I mean its great if they enforce proper tachiai, but that were fine tachiai.

  4. A) The resurrection of Yoshikaze’s sumo is astonishing. Makes me wonder whether that rash might be related to some treatment he has been receiving.

    B) Brilliant upward-thrusting tachiai by Myogiryu forced Kotoshogiku out of his hug-and-chug crouch, making him vulnerable to Myogi’s power moves.

    C) That last shove to Ichinojo… Hakuho’s the greatest of all time, peerless in speed, power, skill, and creativity, but why in the world does he do unsportsmanlike stuff like that? Because he can, I guess.

    • By the way, Kisenosato has to be feeling like the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders. It’ll be fascinating to see how he performs in his final five anxiety-free bouts.

    • Regarding Hakuho and Ichinojo, I reproduce here (and endorse) a comment made by frequent commenter tigerboy1966 under today’s Kintamayama video:

      ‘Hakuho has done this “afters” thing to Ichinojo before, even slapping him in the chops on one occasion. I think he is genuinely frustrated that the man who should be the next Mongolian great keeps quitting on the bales. He’s saying FFS man, wake up, you are better than this. Tough love.’

      • I think that’s probably it. I mean, the one time Ichinojo gave him a really good fight and kept struggling to the last, Hakuho made a point of going and helping him up.

        • Exactly what I thought. Last time when Ichinojo won against him, Hakuho looked like he was gonna cry tears of happiness :D

  5. VERY disappointed in Kise for that face-slap at the start. (I thought I was imagining it, but then Murray mentioned it during the replay, at least during the highlight reel.) I’m used to that nonsense out of Hakuho, (and he did his “hit ’em again when the match is already won” jerk thing again today,) but I liked to think that Kise was better than that… It’s not just unworthy of his rank, but him as a person.

    • How different perception and opinion can be. I for my part absolutely loved Kisenosatos face slap. Please let me explain why. The face slap (for me) is sign of supreme skill and confidence if employed properly. That has a variety of reasons, which I try to confer. It happens during the tachiai, so the window of opportunity to land the slap and move the slapping handback to a strong grappling position is so narrow, it is technically challenging, all the more so because there is nearly no room (or time) for errors. So the movement as such needs to be precise and fast for the technique to work. And not only that, it needs to be powerful enough to rattle the opponent or – as Hakuho does it – to change his trajectory off the optimal line of engagement and into a weaker stance reltiv to the slapper. And that’s not the end of it! The slapper also needs to stay focused on the main task – delivering a meaningful tachiai and not get distracted by his slap attempt. So to me, the face slap is a sign of supreme confidence in one’s skill, speed and focus. I think it is a great thing that Kise feels that his sumo, his body and his mind are in a place that he attempts this technique.

  6. I am very glad to see Kisenosato back and healthy enough to get a kachi-koshi. I wish him a long career.

    It was a delight to get to see Ishiura’s bout, and a win. But I fear it is already too late. I see a trip back down to Juyro in the near future.

    What is with Hakuho and the late shoves? Nojo was already out, there was no need for that last push. My sister was asking why there is no talk (or at least nothing we’ve heard) about reprimanding him for such behavior. It reflects poorly on him and the sport.


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