Nagoya Day 8 Highlights

For those catching up, Ozeki Goeido withdrew from Nagoya the morning of day 8, citing an injury to his right shoulder, and medical guidance to abstain from sumo for a month. While Goeido was not fighting well going into the middle weekend, his kyujo has far-reaching implications to the remainder of the tournament, which we shall detail.

Which leaves Takayasu as the final Ozeki still competing. But during his day 8 match, Takayasu appears to have injured his left elbow in his match with Tamawashi, as Tamawashi used his “arm breaker” hold that has betting so many rikishi in the past. Should Takayasu withdraw as well, we would find ourselves in a “Nozeki” situation for the first time in quite a while.

From Herouth

Who benefits the most from the culling of sumo’s second highest rank? I would say the injured Hakuho, who looked even rougher, more chaotic and maybe even desperate today in his match against Shodai. The lack of San’yaku opponents for the Yokozuna in week 2 means the schedulers will need to reach further down the banzuke for matches, and some mid-Maegashira may find themselves facing the Yokozuna. Hakuho has already had matches with both rikishi in from Maegashira 1-3, and faces Maegashira 4 Ichinojo on day 9. He has both Sekiwake, Takayasu if he stays in, and Kakuryu on the final day. But at some point he will look at his score, feel the twinge in that right arm and decide it’s time to go kyujo. I am sure given the increasing pain he suffers every day on the dohyo, he won’t have any problems finding a doctor to declare him in need of healing.

Highlight Matches

Azumaryu defeats Kotoyuki – Azumaryu, visiting from Juryo, employs a very skillful “not quite a henka” to dodge the tachiai and win over Kotoyuki.

Chiyomaru defeats Enho – Enho gets his submarine tachiai, but discovers that due to Chiyomaru’s enormous belly, there is not much he can do down there. Rather than attempt to grab a hold of Enho, Chiyomaru expertly thrusts him away, time and again. Enho can’t take much of this, and is pushed out for the loss.

Sadanoumi defeats Yago – An early thrusting battle turned into a stiff arm mawashi fight for grip. I am going to assume that Yago’s heavily bandaged knees are the source of some of the problems Yago has maintaining forward pressure. Yago moves to lift Sadanoumi, which only raises him up and leaves him exposed to Sadanoumi’s advance.

Kagayaki defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi’s tachiai is excellent, and he succeeds in raising Kagayaki up, but he finds it tough to maintain traction, as by day 8 the Nagoya dohyo has started to take on its typical smooth finish. Terutsuyoshi keeps battling forward, but Kagayaki gets a hazuoshi (armpit) attack running that prevents Terutsuyoshi from doing much of anything, save a throw attempt that Kagayaki disrupts, sending Terutsuyoshi to the clay. Watch your footing out there, gentlemen.

Nishikigi defeats Kaisei – Kaisei has nothing to offer in terms of sumo right now. I think he should just take his lumps and work on recovery.

Kotoeko defeats Tochiozan – Kotoeko maintains his oshi-focus at Tochiozan’s center mass, and does not let the veteran distract him. Solid sumo from Kotoeko, who dropped 4 in a row.

Toyonoshima defeats Takagenji – I loved this match. Takagenji’s youth and vigor against Toyonoshima’s quiet strength and experience. I know that he’s executed that sukuinage thousands of time in daily practice, and once he set it up there was nothing Takagenji could do but enjoy the ride.

Myogiryu defeats Daishoho – Daishoho attempted a bit of a side step, but Myogiryu adjusted and took a hold of the Mongol and advanced for a yorikiri.

Chiyotairyu defeats Shohozan – When we previewed this match, we knew it had potential, but it went a bit odd when Shohozan tried a dramatic hopping shift to his right at the tachiai. Chiyotairyu adjusted an tried to tackle Shohozan, who caught him and now the two are chest to chest. Shohozan tried to lift and twist to set up a throw, but Chiyotairyu advanced and drove Shohozan from the ring. I enjoyed the surprises this match delivered.

Shimanoumi defeats Okinoumi – Tons of traction problems today with Okinoumi’s protected left foot sliding out from under him to enable that loss. Have to love that Nagoya dohyo.

Tomokaze defeats Kotoshogiku – I feel a bit down about a match like this. Kotoshogiku still has the speed and the skill, but is no longer strong enough to bulldoze guys like Tomokaze. In my somewhat faulty brain, as soon as he gets his arms around an opponent, I expect Kotoshogiku to just motor them off the edge. But Tomokaze is more than up to the task of shutting down the former Ozeki.

Onosho defeats Takarafuji – I am going to start being hopeful that Onosho has gotten a bit of his balance back. He certainly looked more like his former self today, completely overpowering Takarafuji.

Asanoyama defeats Endo – Beautiful sumo from Asanoyama today. That fluid “rack and roll” into the uwatenage really reminded me of Kisenosato, and brought a smile to my face.

Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – Not sure what they are feeding Hokutofuji right now, but please keep doing it. Aoiyama gets turned around straight from the tachiai, and Hokutofuji escorts him out. The mighty Konosuke (gyoji) barely gets out of the way as over 700 pounds of combatants come rumbling through.

Abi defeats Ryuden – We got to see some well executed Abi-zumo today, but that ending was a bit of a puzzler. Ryuden lunged to his left (where Abi was not) and stumbles out of the ring. The kimarite was listed as hikiotoshi, but I am going to assume that poor traction once again played a part in this match.

Mitakeumi defeats Ichinojo – A matta revealed that Ichinojo intended a henka against Mitakeumi, which would have been bloody glorious. But when the match finally got underway, Ichinojo struggled to contain Mitakeumi who had gotten inside at the tachiai. Once The Boulder knew the jig was up, he released pressure and stepped out.

Takayasu defeats Tamawashi – As mentioned earlier, Takayasu sustained at least a minor injury to his left elbow thanks to Tamawashi’s “arm breaker” hold that has caught many others in its painful trap. Following to elbow tweak, you can see Takayasu become enraged and just go on the attack with his one good arm.

Kakuryu defeats Daieisho – Smooth and efficient win for the Yokozuna. He is delivering the best sumo of the basho each day, and I think he is the favorite for the yusho.

Hakuho defeats Shodai – This was a running gun battle of a match, and a complete chaotic mess. While Hakuho won, it showed few marks typical of his Yokozuna sumo. For the second day in a row he ends up laying on his opponent. Shodai executed at least two really solid escapes, leaving Hakuho to try pulling him down, which worked. That expression following the win, and that glance at his right elbow tell you everything you need to know here.

19 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 8 Highlights

  1. I’m not sure why Kaisei is continuing in this basho as he has looked shockingly bad from the start. 1-7 after eight days is the reverse of what we would have expected him to achieve at M15. Is he hoping that another couple of wins will land him in a juryo spot that would require one big result to get repromoted?

    • Presumably he doesn’t want to end up in the bottom half of Juryo, which is where he’d currently land.

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  3. I think Takayasu might take his chances against Shodai to get his 8th, then drop out. I think that might be his best option, especially with both Yokozuna still to come. Otherwise, in September, you’ll have all three Ozeki on kadoban and Takakeisho at “ozekiwake” status.
    As an aside, a one armed Hakuho versus a one armed Takayasu could be very entertaining.

      • Correction: Hakuho’s slightly less bad arm is his left. Remember that ice bucket he was dipping it in during the training camp. If there was an infra-red camera around the dohyo, we would see two bright dots of high temperature where his elbows should be.

  4. Whilst the Yomiuri Shimbun made no mention of Takayasu’s elbow, Kyodo newswire said:

    “After fending off some hard shoves and slaps from his vigilant opponent, Takayasu held his ground and was able to bring Tamawashi down. The win may have come at a cost, however, as immediately afterward he seemed concerned about his left forearm.

    The ozeki was icing the arm after his bout but did not speak about an injury. An official from his Tagonoura stable said a decision about his wrestling on Monday would be made in the morning.”

  5. I think Kotoshogiku’s problem is also due to the lack of traction at the dohyo’s surface. That gaburi of his completely relies on Newtonian forces coming through his feet. No traction, no power to pump.

  6. I can’t see Hakuho finishing this basho. I think he’d rather withdraw than face off Kakuryu running at 100% when he himself is not.

  7. As he sat by the dohyo after his bout, Takayasu had that sick-to-the-stomach look of a man realizing that the pain in his elbow was from some serious damage that felt like nothing he’d ever sensed before.

  8. Here’s a rough translation of the main part of Tamanoi oyakata’s – former Ozeki Tochiazuma – commentary from Sponichi:

    Although there was a moment of chill when Shodai scooped up Hakuho at the edge of the dohyo, Hakuho’s attack after that was quick. Thrown off by his rival, immediately returning the favor, they looked as if they were both parrying each other.

    Eventually, the Yokozuna won by pulling, but he showed the strength of his lower body in that match. It doesn’t look like the kind of sumo you execute coming out of kyujo. Moving sideways in the blink of an eye like that is something no other rikishi can do. For this reason, even though his opponent wanted to attack, he ended up trapped in the Yokozuna’s pace.

    It may be the effect of the Yokozuna’s right arm injury, however, that these two most recent bouts were pulling matches. Though he wants to enter into a grapple, he seems unable to grapple. This is a worry.

    The other Yokozuna, Kakuryu, seems in good shape. He stuck to his opponent, who came thrusting, again and again parrying from below. His mobility was not bad, either.

    When Takayasu went to insert his left arm, he took an attempted kotenage and apparently hurt his elbow. When you insert your left arm, the fundamental rule is to follow up with a kainakaeshi [roll of the arm that opens the armpit]. If you don’t do that properly, your opponent will find it easy to swing you by his forearm. Inserting his arm and then getting into a “han-mi” posture, it looked like sumo meant to cause himself injury. He should plan his moves better, and the content of his sumo will also change. Too bad.


    • V v interesting comments. I was particularly struck by the line: ‘Moving sideways in the blink of an eye like that is something no other rikishi can do.’

  9. I know the line between a henka and a semi-henka is often blurry, but the best way to judge is by looking at the rikishi’s feet: do they step forward or to the side? Azumaru’s first step was completely to the side left. It was a henka.

    • Where did that criterion come from? A semi-henka, as far as I see it, is usually one where you don’t step aside just to let your opponent fly past you, but step aside in order to reach some convenient part of his body, like belt, arm, etc. That is, you are engaging, just not full front. And that means it’s more about what you do with your hands than what you do with your feet.

  10. Is that two days in a row that Toyonoshima has pulled off a pair of rather handsome throws? Veteran skills paying the bills…

    I agree that ‘hikiotoshi’ does not seem quite the appropriate kimarite for Abi’s win over Ryuden – there was no kind of pull down that I could see. But having watched the replays a few times now, I couldn’t see any slipping or sliding from Ryuden either. It was just a neat, agile matador’s dodge of the onrushing bull that won it.

    • I was going to try to figure out that stat, but gave up. Last time he hurt someone he got really upset about it, and I think he’s not happy about Takayasu now.

      • He defeated 3 opponents by kotenage exactly a year ago in Nagoya, and all 3 ended up injured, though in the case of Tochinoshin it was a toe injury, not the elbow injury that Kotoshogiku and Chiyonokuni suffered. Tamawashi was indeed very upset about it and hasn’t won by that kimarite since.


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