Kyushu Day 9 Highlights

Takakeisho-Tochinoshin

Day 9 action worked to narrow the yusho race somewhat, with the goal for the next 5 days being for someone to get dirt on Takakeisho. A single additional loss at this point for the leader could open up a multi-way contest for the Emperor’s Cup going into the final weekend. I would call special attention to what may be an emergent Ryuden-zumo doctrine. Twice in the last few days we have seen him grapple with his opponent, stalemating them and wearing them down. This approach requires almost superhuman stamina, but its amazing to watch. I am hoping we will see him use it a few more times before day 15.

Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Tokushoryu – Visiting the top division to even out the holes in the torikumi, Tokushoryu gets the business from Chiyoshoma, who is working hard to steer himself to the safety of kachi-koshi. The match did have a certain “dancing with the stars” quality to it.

Onosho defeats Daiamami – It’s clear that Onosho is dialed into his sumo by this point. He starts strong and increases the pressure on Daiamami, who is completely overwhelmed. Onosho’s sumo is not fancy at this point, but highly effective. He raised Daiamami up with a quick nodowa, and then focused his pushing against center mass. Onosho stays in the yusho hunt for day 9.

Aoiyama defeats Meisei – After a rough start, Aoiyama has settled into the basho and 7 consecutive wins. For a man of considerable mass, his maneuverability is impressive. Coupled with his long reach and the power he puts behind his tsuppari, Meisei could only react and try for a desperation throw at the tawara. Aoiyama also retains his slot in the group 1 behind Takakeisho.

Takanosho defeats Chiyonokuni – Notable because we can clearly see Chiyonokuni trying to protect that right arm. How hurt is he? He’s still showing up for matches. But he is 1 loss away from a make-koshi.

Yutakayama defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru puts some effort into it, but in a battle of the walking wounded, Yutakayama was just healthy enough to prevail. One more loss and Chiyomaru punches his ticket for a trip down to Juryo to sort out his health and his sumo.

Daieisho defeats Arawashi – Daieisho maintains his spot in the group 1 behind Takakeisho, and hands the injured Arawashi his make-koshi, ensuring he will be headed down to Juryo for January. Arawashi has had a terrible time with that leg, and needs to find a way to get healed up.

Takarafuji defeats Endo – Endo had nothing, zero today. Takarafuji really needed the win, but this match lacked any vigor or drive. There is a growing number of rikishi who really need the New Years break to get their bodies back together. These two especially.

Shohozan defeats Sadanoumi – Local rikishi Shohozan has the crowd driving him on, and his sumo was fast and brutal. Inside quickly after the tachiai, Shohozan did not let Sadanoumi generate any offense, and quickly pushed him out to the cheers of the hometown crowd.

Ikioi defeats Abi – Ikioi defeats an effective counter-strategy to Abi-zumo, attacking Abi’s arms from underneath until he is forced to abandon his morotsuki attack, and is an easy target for Ikioi’s counter-attacks.

Kotoshogiku defeats Kagayaki – The Fukuoka crowd was cranked to 11 for Kotoshogiku, and Kagayaki allowed him to set up the hug-n-chug. Kotoshogiku remains on a kachi-koshi trajectory for his home-town basho.

Takanoiwa defeats Nishikigi – Good to see some “A game” sumo from Takanoiwa. Though Nishikigi is getting quite close to the make-koshi line already, he has fared better than I expected at this high of a rank. There may be some future for him to visit the joi-jin and not be a completely free win.

Tamawashi defeats Asanoyama – Classic Tamawashi-zumo today, his stance, his thrusts, all of it is what we have come to expect out of him, and he gave Asanoyama little chance to respond. After an early volley to raise Asanoyama, he focused his attacks center-mass and controlled the flow and result of the match. Good sumo.

Myogiryu defeats Hokutofuji – Myogiryu continues to impress, and derails the Hokutofuji express service with a boisterous clang. Myogiryu reacted perfectly to Hokutofuji’s now familiar opening gambit, and used his own predictability to shut down any chance at offense.

Kaisei defeats Tochiozan – The wheels have come off of Tochiozan’s parade float, as he has lost 3 of the last 4 matches after a fantastic start. We know Kaisei is injured, and came back from kyujo, but today he did put together a much needed win. Why Tochiozan decided to go chest to chest with nearly a quarter of a ton of Kaisei will forever be a mystery.

Ichinojo defeats Shodai – All the tricks in “Toon Town” can’t really do much against the Mongolian Boulder once he gets rolling. Its too early to declare that Ichinojo is going to finish strong and try to hold onto his rank, but it was nice to see him actually put some effort into his sumo.

Ryuden defeats Mitakeumi – Much like his win over Takayasu, what is fascinating to watch is how much Ryuden works to bring the match to a stalemate, then slowly grinds down his opponent. Takayasu used to do this all of the time, and I watched Takayasu lose to this approach in total fascination and disbelief. Mitakeumi simply did not have the stamina to endure the contest. Ryuden expends every erg of his strength to bind and limit Mitakeumi from moving, and just ratchets up the pressure moment by moment. It must be fairly brutal to be on the receiving end of this. I hope he continues to evolve this strategy. While it’s not flashy, for sumo nerds its like watching a car being crushed – terrible and fascinating at the same time.

Takayasu defeats Yoshikaze – Yoshikaze tried a few things, valid and valiant moves, but Takayasu had his number from the tachiai. Better luck next time, berserker.

Goeido defeats Chiyotairyu – A shameful henka. Absolutely shameful. Really Goeido, has it come to that? I know your sumo can defeat Chiyotairyu. For folks who may not know, this is perfectly legit, but quite disappointing for the top Ozeki in the sport to deploy against a rank-and-file rikishi (in my opinion).

Takakeisho defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin was completely disrupted by the “wave action” and his fall at the west side tawara did not look good, as his fragile right knee moved in an unnatural way to my eye. It almost seemed to collapse has the Ozeki worked to maintain his footing. Takakeisho remains the sole leader.

20 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 9 Highlights

  1. Very good, but you didn’t quite capture the energy of Takakeisho in his match. There was a lot of force going into Tochinoshin’s body. I hope he’s ok, ’cause I like him, too, but Takakeisho just friggin’ ANNIHILATED him.

    • Tochinoshin hasn’t looked in good shape the whole basho. I think it’s borderline whether he should just go kyujo and take his chances in going kadoban for the next basho

  2. The Yokozuna Deliberation Council should have permanently put a line through Goeido’s name after that display today. Shocking.

    Takakeisho today though? Wow! Cannonball by shape, cannonball by nature. The force behind that tachiai was incredible.

  3. A) Ikioi’s ability to “eat bitterness,” as they say in China, is impressive. He clearly re-tweaked his ankle injury on Day 8, exiting the dohyo in considerable pain. However, on Day 9, he summoned the gumption to prevail over the usual Abi assault, which definitely stressed that ankle.

    B) Takarafuji looked just about entirely hopeless through the first several days of this basho. Now he’s one win away from leveling his record. How did that happen? Well, in Day 9’s bout with Endo. he did it with a series of three or four adjustments in technique as the tussle progressed. He pretty much threw the whole tool kit at Endo.

    • Ikioi is one of the few rikishi who can match Abi’s reach, rendering his usual assault less effective. And Takarafuji is one of the few who can match Endo’s mawashi skills, and has years of extra experience.

    • I really like Ikioi. He always seems sincere. Always shows respect to his opponents. He’s a great representative for the sport.

  4. I agree about Goeido’s henka today, Bruce. It wasn’t at the level of Terunofuji/Kotoshogiku, but it was still needless and disgraceful.

    All aboard the Takakeisho train! Choo! Choo!

  5. We were there! A truly magical afternoon and great summary of the action Bruce. I was interested (and amused) to see Chiyomaru pulling up to the arena in a standard taxi while his Makuuchi buddies were in the more salubrious SUVs with blacked out windows. We took our 9 month old son and delighted to see how helpful the arena staff were and the baby-friendly facilities in Japan are streets ahead of the rubbish available in UK. GAMBARE!

  6. Not good to see Goeido summoning the spirit of Ishiura with that henka, and not the first time we’ve seen it either. And when we’ve seen it before it’s when he’s been desperately trying to squeeze out a kachikoshi which isn’t even the case this time.

  7. The only thing more shameful than Goeido’s henka is this website’s utter lack of respect for the true spirit of sumo. Like the oh-too-keen poseurs that you are, you throw around words like “yusho” and “kachi-koshi” and “make-koshi”. But on the same page you dismiss the tireless and brave Yoshikaze as a “berserker”, not to mention your continued treatment of Takakeisho as some kind of arm-waving freak.
    Did you even bother to listen to Takakeisho’s post-match interview? In it, the young wrestler humbly played down the idea of being first to win eight in the tournament, and instead spoke–in words that belied his age–of his own inner struggle, as the spotlight shifts to him in the coming matches, to be true to his sumo. Takakeisho is indeed a rikishi deserving of respect. Yet some wrestlers you rush to glorify here–for example, the fat, bloated, dollar-store yokozuna from Ibaraki faking injury upon injury to cover up for his laziness, as well as that worthless henka-meister from Tottori–need all the shame we can heap on them.

  8. Goeido made contact and then shifted. Interesting that here many considered shameful. When 2 (i think 2) basho back Hakuho did the same thing it was OK and everybody who thought otherwise was kind of picked apart. It’s Ok to be partisan but please be more objective.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment on Tachiai, we appreciate that you have taken the time to read our site. We are nothing without people like yourself.

      I nearly always dog anyone who henkas. There are some cases, such as when Hakuho did one to Harumafuji where it seemed to me to be more of a prank / joke. But other than that, I admit they are permitted, but I don’t condone them.

      I don’t try to be objective. I am not a journalist, and like the other writers on this site, receive no compensation for our work here. We do it out of love for the sport. In most cases I (personally) do try to be fair. I tend to state my biases and favorites clearly, and let our readers know so they can think for themselves.

  9. Gonna go contrarian here and say I have no problem with Goeido using the henka. If he wants to use it twice in a row like he did at Wacky Aki I say more power to him. Come at me! (But if you do I’ll just henka.)

  10. Great write up, as ever.
    But I would demur ever so slightly from the summary of Kaisei’s win. Tochiozan was actually succeeding in pushing the Brazilian behemoth backwards after the tachiai. But Kaisei managed to execute quite a nifty little swing/throw whilst retreating to send Tochiozan out.
    Nimble rear-guard reverses are not what I first think of when I think of Kaisei, but so I feel like the big guy deserves extra credit for pulling it off.

    • I agree. The primary theme I was trying to work was the futility of Tochiozan going chest to chest with Kaisei. That much rikishi is going to be tough to handle in a yotsu-zumo battle, especially if his comfortable with his mass, as Kaisei is.

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