Kyushu Day 7 – Recap

1:59 bout vs. Takayasu, Ryuden

The first week of this tipsy basho is coming to a close, and the basho signals to us that it still has enough bottles of saké to develop a good delirium tremens, and that any advance bets and dares are at our own risk (how was your rump steak, Bruce?)

Daishoho does today’s duty as the Juryo fill-in, facing Meisei. He envelopes Meisei right off the Tachiai, and none of Meisei’s wriggles are to any avail. Yorikiri, and Daishoho picks a nice envelope in his first Makuuchi bout.

Chiyomaru and Takanosho are both 1-5 coming into this match. Takanosho is aggressive and pushes Chiyomaru to the edge. Chiyomaru tries to sidestep, but Takanosho maintains his balance and keeps up the pressure, leading him to the other edge. So Chiyomaru tries it again. This time it works. Hatakikomi, Chiyomaru grabs his second win. I believe both of them are heading down to Juryo by the end of this basho, but I’m not staking any body-part steaks on that.

Arawashi‘s bout with Onosho might as well has been a fusen. Onosho rises, and pushes unresisting Arawashi straight off. Watching Arawashi this basho is really painful.

Endo attempts a harizashi (slap-and-slip) on Chiyoshoma, but never gets to the sashi (slipping his hand inside) part. Chiyoshoma advances, retreats, advances again and seems in control, but Endo pulls and wins this one by hatakikomi.

Okinoumi and Daiamami are “kenka-yotsu” – meaning one of them prefers migi-yotsu (right hand inside), and the other hidari-yotsu (left hand inside). And indeed most of this bout is spent attempting to get their favorite grip and denying the other his. Daiamami maintains a strong grip on Okinoumi’s belt, but it’s just an “ichimai” – hold on one layer – and it’s Okinoumi who manages to wrap Daiamami up and yori-kiri him.

Chiyonokuni‘s match with Daishomaru starts with a strong kachiage – but it’s actually a matta. On top of that, that kachiage causes Daishomaru’s nose to bleed. He needs to take a break and returns to the dohyo with a wad of tissue up his nostril – not exactly a beautiful sight. The match restarts. This time Chiyonokuni is a bit more hesitant in his tachiai, and Daishomaru exploits that and yori-kiris the Kokonoe man.

Both Aoiyama and Sadanoumi look better than one would expect this basho, and start this match 4-2. Sadanoumi takes the initiative and has his right hand inside, but Aoiyama locks it, prevents him from achieving a proper yotsu position, and adds a bubious nodowa (you’re not supposed to do that with your fingers folded, though one can’t call that an actual punch), sending Sadanoumi for a dive. Oshitaoshi.

Yutakayama does not look very good this basho. However, he starts this match with a kachiage to Kotoshogiku‘s throat. Follows that with two powerful nodowa, and when Kotoshogiku applies all his strength to the ground to withstand those, steps aside and lets the former Ozeki’s strong legs to all the work. Yutakayama gets his second win by tsukiotoshi.

Daieisho, who somehow found himself in the chaser group without us even noticing him, is not impressed with Abi‘s well-known opener. He withstands a couple of shoves, goes under them and does some shoving of his own. Daieisho is now 6-1.

In the battle of the single-kanji wrestlers, Ikioi lands a shallow grip, but Kagayaki frees himself and starts a pushing attack that puts Ikioi in reverse gear and out of the ring. This is Kagayaki’s first win against Ikioi.

Something really is up with Takanoiwa this basho. It’s as if he is afraid of contact. Takarafuji manages to land a brief hold on him. Takanoiwa retreats, frees himself from that grab, but instead of making any attack of his own, keeps retreating and Takarafuji really doesn’t need to do much to win. Both end this match 2-5, and I’m sure Takarafuji was scratching his head asking himself how exactly he won that, as he was going back to Isagahama beya’s lodgings.

Shohozan starts his bout with Asanoyama with a mighty morotezuki… only he does it without having actually touched his hands to the ground – and soon-to-be-promoted Konosuke will have none of that. In the second tachiai, he touches very slightly, and repeats the morotezuki, following it by a brief morozashi. Asanoyama is very active, releasing himself from that grip first on one side and then the other, and then getting his own hold. From then on it’s Asanoyama all the (short) way.

Tamawashi starts his typical oshi bout with Nishikigi, but Nishikigi defends well, and starts his own attack. He really should have attempted to lock a hold on Tamawashi, though, because Tamawashi has years of experience and as he nears the edge quickly reverses the fortunes. It wasn’t far from another Nishikigi upset, though.

Hokutofuji is not letting Tochiozan‘s 5-1 record distract him. A shove. A nodowa. Another aggressive shove. Tochiozan ends up losing for the second day in a row, his magic gone.

This bout is exactly the reason why Kaisei decided to enter the basho while still injured. Despite Myogiryu‘s tenacity, the huge Brazilian envelopes him and doesn’t really leave him much room for maneuver. Kaisei wins, and if he picks enough such wins, the next banzuke may see him drop to a position that’s easier to defend on the one hand, and safe from demotion on the other.

Tachiai. Chiyotairyu slams into Ichinojo. Goes for the throat. But that only manages to wake Ferdinand up, and you can see Ichinojo getting warmer and his thrusts getting fiercer. Chiyotairyu’s own thrusts seem to leave no impression – other than the loud “Slam!” sounds reverberating through the Fukuoka International Sports Center. The last slam sees Chiyotairyu at the corner beyond the bales, and I can only hope that this has woken up Ichinojo enough to show us some of his better sumo in the next few days.

Mitakeumi starts a powerful shoving match with lossless Takakeisho right out of the tachiai, and it’s boom-forward-boom-forward. Takakeisho deftly sidesteps at the edge, but Mitakeumi was not born yesterday. He turns around with an “Oh yeah?” expression on his face. Takakeisho probably regrets having stepped so far away at this point, because if he was closer he could have pushed Mitakeumi from behind. Instead, the Sekiwake lunges at him, and an exchange of thrusts begins, at the end of which Mitakeumi grabs Takakeisho’s neck and pulls him down.

Takakeisho slowly rises, while fiddling with his chon-mage, hinting at the shimpan that his hair was pulled. I am not sure they noticed that, because only after the rikishi make their bows does the head shimpan, Onomatsu, signal a monoii. Perhaps he got a call from the video room. The shimpan confer, and Onomatsu oyakata goes back to his seat and gives a confused summary. “The hand, the mawashi, the hand, the whachamacallit, the hand didn’t grab the mawashi, the gyoji’s decision stayed”. I wonder how much the shimpan drink before starting their day below the dohyo.

So Takakeisho is no longer lossless, and the way is open for the single-loss Takayasu to claim the yusho – assuming you don’t think that Daieisho is a legitimate candidate. But the day is not over yet.

Next we move to our first Ozeki match. Tochinoshin faces Yoshikaze. Now, Yoshikaze’s tactic today somewhat reminded me of Enho’s opening gambit. Of course Yoshikaze is not Enho’s size, but relative to Tochinoshin, it’s not that far off, and the agility is certainly there. He scrambles for a maemitsu grip, while denying the Ozeki access to his own mawashi. Eventually, though, he gives up that tactic, and slides up that left arm, which was seeking the maemitsu grip, under the ozeki’s arm. A beautiful sukuinage ensues. Nice touch there, forcing Tochinoshin’s head further down making him lose his footing. Tochinoshin, a pretty solid yusho candidate before the basho, finds himself needing to get enough wins to avoid kadoban instead.

OK, so now that Takayasu knows Takakeisho lost, he knows he is in the spearhead of the yusho race. All he needs to do is beat 1-5 Ryuden. But Ryuden is not impressed by the Ozeki’s kachiage, and manages – momentarily, to get his favorite morozashi. Takayasu quickly releases himself on one side, and Ryuden is left with a hand inside with no grip on the left, and an outside grip on the right. Ryuden tries again and again to achieve the grip with his left, but the Ozeki denies him with a right ottsuke. Ryuden tries an attack. But he simply doesn’t have the muscle power against the Ozeki’s 180kg. The stalemate continues.

Then Takayasu frees himself on his right side and uses the left inside grip he has on Ryuden to try and turn the Maegashira away and out. Ryuden is not easily thrown off, though. He manages to get a maemitsu grip. But his combined grip is problematic – you want to get at least one hand on the back side of the mawashi. With both hands in front he can’t create leverage, though he tries again and again.

But as the stalemate continues, Takayasu’s lower back problems are starting to assert themselves. Yet another attempt by Ryuden, and the Ozeki finds himself out of ring – and out of the leader group, again. Ryuden, barely able to breath, gets a hefty batch of envelopes, and his first win against an Ozeki! What a match!

The musubi-no-ichiban is anticlimactic by comparison. Shodai manages to briefly get a good hold on Goeido, and his previous success makes him impatient. He tries to drag Goeido to the edge. Goeido is not obliging. Shodai soon finds himself in the typical Goeido embrace, and down below the dohyo.


What a day this has been. Here is the leaderboard after Cray 7. That is, Day 7:

6-1

  • K1E Takakeisho
  • M9W Daieisho
  • M13E Onosho

5-2

  • O1W Takayasu
  • M2E Tochiozan
  • M5E Chiyotairyu
  • M7E Abi
  • M12E Aoiyama

Hey, Abi, grab that Yusho! (わら)

18 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 7 – Recap


  1. Really thumbs up for Nishikigi. That was very close to another win. He only won 2 bouts so far, but he showed up and contested in each of his bouts.
    Now for the biggest surprise … the sleeping giant woke up. It’s not just that Ichinojo won, but he didn’t do it in his slow leaning yoriki style. Instead he blasted Chiyotairyu out in Chiyotairyu style. Lets hope he can continue this momentum.
    Another hopefull one was Mitakeumi. Maybe he decided to reverse his usual tournament schedule sleeping through week one and being on fire in week 2 instead.
    Tochinoshin was an upset, but not a big surprise. Tochinoshin is seriously lacking some of his sumo this basho and Yoshikaze can beat anyone any given day.
    Takayasu was the biggest dissapointment today. I wish he would remeber some of that sumo that made him an Ozeki instead of sticking with this increasingly less effective kachiage. It loses him more tachiai than the ones it wins.
    Down the banzuke Aoiyama looks much more comfortable. Maybe he will put up the 12+ wins this basho that we have been waiting for since march.


  2. Kudos to Ryuden for having the tenacity to lock down Takayasu, thereby uncovering a weakness in his sumo. I think this could actually prove to be a big problem for Takayasu — fans might want to see action-packed matches but rikishi are in it for the wins and “lock down your opponent and lean on him” is a relatively easy tactic.


  3. Excellent analysis of the Takayasu v Ryuden match. I suppose that at at first glance it might look like two big men leaning on each other but it was fascinating. When you get a stalemate situation like this each man knows what he wants to do, but he also knows that his opponent is aware of the move and is ready to counter. So we get a series of micro-moves and tiny balance shifts which look insignificant in themselves but add up over time. Meanwhile the smaller man’s strength meter runs down as he gets leaned on while the gas tank of the big guy simultaneously empties. As the lock-up went on Ryuden’s incremental gains paid off as he got lower and shifted steadily right as Takayasu became more upright and vulnerable. Physical chess at its finest.


  4. The maku’uchi is starting to look like juryo: I’m not talking about the quality of the sumo, but that there seems to be an unusually small gap in performance between the top and bottom of the banzuke. I think that Onosho has a very serious chance of winning this one from M13.

    That’s him jinxed I suppose.


    • Agreed on Onosho, but we will see how he fares once he gets matched up a little higher the banzuke. His competition so far was light. Wonder why they didn’t put him against Daieishou tomorrow, but instead against Meisei. Also guys like Abi, Chiyotairyu, Yoshikaze etc. should easily be on his schedule if he continues to beat up the bottom …


      • I think they’re trying to be fair to Onosho and his M13 rank by letting him try to pile up wins in his neighborhood of the banzuke, before moving him higher up the torikumi in a few days if he keeps winning.


    • All the henka masters are in Juryo. There was a big fat and ugly one there today – guess who performed it? I’ll be posting my lower division post soon, so you’ll be able to find out.


  5. I thought Mitakeumi’s win looked like a hair pull on my first watch too. They got it right on replay, though–didn’t look like he had a grip on there, the hand came away pretty clean. Lot of great fights today. Too bad for Survivor Nishikigi.


  6. I can’t discern quite how ironic or tongue-in-cheek the final sentence of the article is intended to be . . . but . . GAMBARE ABI!! We can still win this thing . . .

    Ryuden v Takayasu was epic. Ryuden knew he had a huge positional advantage from right after the tachiai but had to be so, so patient not to screw it up.

    I don’t know why, but the more I see of Hokutofuji, the more I like him. Maybe it is just how heart-on-sleeve he seems, with all the pre-fight slapping and gurning. I would love to see him get a KK and establish himself among the upper echelons of the banzuke.


  7. What was up with the finish of that Tochinoshin – Yoshikaze match? Watching the replay, it really looks like Tochinoshin turned to try to throw Yoshikaze with a kotenage, but completely bungled it. It almost looks like Tochinoshin threw himself.


  8. Just noticed it was a bad day for the east side of the banzuke. If I am not mistaken, they lost every single east-west matchup on the torikumi. By the way, when it’s an east-east or west-west matchup, how do they decide who’s on which side of the dohyo?


  9. “Perhaps he got a call from the video room.” I was watching this through the official NSK app (can’t stay up late enough to wait for NHK World to post the Highlights reel,) and the judge whose back is to the camera sees to be touching his ear early in the chat, so maybe he had an earpiece connecting to whoever was in the video review room? Seems possible.


    • Yes, the head judge does have a link to the video room. That’s why I thought this was the reason for the late monoii rather than Takakeisho’s hints.

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