Nagoya Day 12 Highlights

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.

Highlight Matches

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.

18 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 12 Highlights

  1. I was saddened to see Enho limping away from the dohyo. I fear this will be a replay of last basho, with him once again being to banged up to reach his kachi-koshi.

  2. Who else laughed out loud watching Tomokaze try to gabori-yori Ichinojo?

    Okinoumi defeats Chiyomaru I actually enjoyed watching as the audience seemed to.

    NHK announcer said Abi’s fall may not have had anything to do with Endo. I don’t know about 0%, but he did get an assist from the slippery dohyo. It’s a pity so many wrestlers are losing due to slips today.

    Kakyru just kicked Chiyotairyu’s leg out from under. Not only may this be Kakuryu’s yusho, it may be his zensho yusho.

    Isn’t this the first time we’ve seen Hakuho go chest to chest this basho? I guess he was saving those arms for Mitakeumi. Well done, Hakuho!

    • I’m not sure that Abi can blame the slippery surface. To my eye, it seemed like, in his all-too-frequent manner, he allowed his feet to become tangled.

    • Ryuden got some chest to chest yorikiri love on Day 4. Wasn’t a lot of belt lifting though, more holding on and pushing out.

    • Hakuho may have gotten chest to chest, but he wasn’t in control. Once again he failed to get his favorite grip, as Mitakeumi morozashied him from the get-go. The reporters noted that a soto-yotsu is very rare for the yokozuna – it wasn’t his choice. As usual, he saved himself by experience. His grip was firm enough to limit Mitakeumi’s mobility, and he got his belt lower than Mitakeumi’s mawashi. He did the lifting not with his arms, but with his belly and pelvis.

  3. Isn’t it just possible that after having being figured out, that mid-Maegashira is Onosho’s natural level?

      • If what we see now is his 85%, there is no way he has ever been “the better of the two” (compared to Takakeisho), as I used to read here so often. Damn, he should probably be thankful to even be compared to the Tadpole Ozeki.

        • Onosho currently has some serious problems, but even today we could see that he can hold his own in a mawashi bout, which is something Takatadpole has only tried once and it cost him a knee.

        • Onosho always had a slight tendency to fall over, even before his injury, but since his return his balance is completely messed up. As noted by others, his repertoire is much more well rounded. When he was komusubi before his injury, he beat Takakeisho the two times they met. He has been much better than he is now.

  4. Both Tomokaze and Mitakeumi managed to get a morozashi, but to no avail. In the case of Tomokaze it felt like a ‘welcome to the big league, you’re not in Juryo anymore’ moment – he hadn’t really done anything wrong and had got a double-inside grip, but now he’s facing top-drawer opponents that is not enough to ensure victory. I suspect that Hakuho knows perfectly well that Mitakeumi has stamina issues and so after ending up on the wrong end of the morozashi he was very happy to slow things down and make it a test of endurance. When they both ended up in that weird upright position it was clear that Mitakeumi had nothing left in the tank.

    I very much appreciated Bruce’s eloquent praise of Toyonoshima today – the veteran showed remarkable fight against a young, strong opponent (Onosho’s possible lingering injury notwithstanding).

    Endo vs. Abi was shaping up to be a completely awesome tussle, and then that slippery Nagoya clay rather ruined the ending. Abi must still shoulder some measure of blame for losing his footing, given how much he was jumping around all over the place. But as he slipped, he was just about to get a grip on the back of Endo’s belt – as he did in his victory over Mitakeumi – and it’s a shame we didn’t get to witness another rare glimpse of ‘Abi 2.0’.

    Of course the best move of the day was Kakuryu’s kick. Is that perhaps the ‘champagne moment’ of the whole tournament so far? The other breathtaking thing that sticks in my mind was Shodai’s incredibly casual throw/thrust-down as he was being driven back by (an admittedly injured) Takayasu on day 9 – he suddenly just seemed to discard the ozeki, like a bag of unwanted bric-a-brac, without even glancing back over his shoulder.

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