It looks like the day off may have done Yokozuna Hakuho a world of good. He bounced back strongly and did not wince during or after his match with Mitakeumi. If he can gamberize for the next 3 days, it sets up that final match on day 15 to be the decider, and it could not be a better bout to close out this trauma ward of a basho. A dai-Yokozuna who is maybe at 70% against the “understudy” who is showing some of the best sumo of his career.
It also looks like the top division may have an impressive number of “Darwin matches” on the final day. Where both rikishi are 7-7 and only one man exits with a kachi-koshi. This is in keeping with the brutal themes of this tournament, which I am sure many rikishi will look back and say “It can’t be as bad a Nagoya 2019…” when facing future struggles.
Kotoyuki defeats Kagayaki – Surprised? Impressed? Not sure how to list this. Kotoyuki has been good fun for a while, but tough to take too seriously because his performance is so unpredictable. But he picks up his first top division kachi-koshi since January of 2017. Well done sir!
Nishikigi defeats Yago – Yago is busted to be certain if Nishikigi and box and ship him out without even stoping by the post office for a stamp. Hopefully Yago is still under warranty, as a lot of fans want to see him healthy and fighting fit as soon as possible.
Kotoeko defeats Sadanoumi – Kotoeko’s superior mobility carried this match. He uses double arm thrust to the shoulders and then steps out of the way as Sadanoumi ramps up the forward pressure. Kotoeko picks up #8 and is kachi-koshi.
Shohozan defeats Enho – Anyone else getting flashbacks of Ura blowing out his knee doing acrobatic stunts on the dohyo? This match was a mess, as it looks like Enho’s opening gambit fell apart and he improvised. While it might look like Shohozan had a hand down early, the top of Enho’s foot made contact with the clay well ahead of that. Crazy sumo, try not to get hurt guys.
Toyonoshima defeats Onosho – Experience, power and patience cleaned Onosho out today. I am an Onosho booster as fans know, but he’s still not quite right post injury / post surgery. Somehow, against all odds, Toyonoshima is not make-koshi. Acres of respect for this guy, he’s not going down easy, and not without taking a few other rikishi down first.
Okinoumi defeats Chiyomaru – Okinoumi wore his roundness down to the nub and then threw away the scraps. That was kind of boring to watch, as it was two guys standing around, but it was all about having the patience to make sure Chiyomaru was too worn out to really move his own ponderous bulk, let along execute any sumo.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Myogiryu – Boom. Terutsuyoshi gets lower and inside at the tachiai, and never gives up the advantage. Though Myogiryu is landing blows, Terutsuyoshi is calling the tune, and he catches Myogiryu out of position and drives him out. Great sumo from Terutsuyoshi, who now has 10 wins. What a turn around from March and May! (6-9 each)
Shimanoumi defeats Takagenji – Takagenji really hit a wall, picked up an injury or something just turned off. He came out strong and now he’s make-koshi. At Maegashira 10, he’s probably going to get a second chance to score 8 in the top division come September, so I hope he can get things buttoned up.
Kotoshogiku defeats Tochiozan – Both men wanted to establish a dominant grip, but neither could really land a hand on the other’s mawashi. Kotoshogiku can still push with a lot of force, and Tochiozan ran out of room to try his pull down.
Takarafuji defeats Daishoho – Again we see Takarafuji get into a stable position and work to wear down and stalemate his opponent. This seems to be working for him, as he now won the last 3 in a row. I will be most impressed if he can avoid make-koshi.
Ichinojo defeats Tomokaze – Young Tomokaze gets a lesson in fighting someone very large when he aggressively goes for a eats battle, and finds himself utterly unable to do anything other than hold on. His arms were not long enough to reach around Ichinojo, and he had given the Mongolian behemoth a solid two hand grip on his own belt. Try as he might, he could not move Ichinojo, who played with him a bit before taking him to the curb for collection.
Daieisho defeats Asanoyama – Daieisho executed a well timed side-step as Asanoyama charged towards the edge of the ring to finish him. This is not the first match of this basho that Asanoyama has lost in this manner, so it’s probably something he wants to improve.
Shodai defeats Hokutofuji – One of the reasons I have a semi-permanent annoyance factor with Shodai is on display in this match. Look at this. He utterly out-classes Hokutofuji and sends him to get a facial from the gyoji in waiting, Konosuke. Where is this other 14 days of the basho, Shodai? Get it together man!
Endo defeats Abi – Endo effectively stalemated Abi-zumo 1.0, and when Abi went to unleash 2.0 on Endo, it fell to bits. I chalk it up to being a brand new gambit, and he needs to get more comfortable with when and how to employ it. His feet were not set properly, the dohyo is slick, and Endo had no problem shutting Abi down. Kimarite listed as tsukihiza, which is a “non-technique” denoting that Abi fell down.
Aoiyama defeats Ryuden – Aoiyama took control at the tachiai, and never gave up the advantage. Ryuden wanted to respond, but was too busy trying to maintain balance against Aoiyama’s thrusting attack.
Tamawashi defeats Meisei – Tamawashi manage to win is second match of the basho. Both of these rikishi need to regroup, because they have had a miserable time in Nagoya.
Kakuryu defeats Chiyotairyu – After far too long of everyone muttering about why the hell is Kakuryu a Yokozuna? We are seeing some genuine “wow” sumo from Kakuryu. This ankle kick (susoharai) to bring Chiyotairyu down on his rear is quite seldom seen. If he can stay unhurt for 3 more matches, Kakuryu is going to be tough to beat.
Hakuho defeats Mitakeumi – Hakuho normally has little problem with Mitakeumi, but today the lead Tadpole robbed him of any leverage for The Boss’s much cherished “nage” throws. So the two expended endurance in a waiting game. What surprised me is that at one point both of them were nearly upright, and neither man went immediately to finish the other. I would say Mitakeumi was too tired, and Hakuho was protecting those elbows.