A pair of story threads for Aki came to a close today, and one more hangs by a thread. Ozekiwake Takakeisho scored his 10th win today, and returned to Ozeki status. It’s a remarkable story, and a great come-back from treatment for knee damage. In addition to getting his 10, he is (for the moment anyhow) the sole leader in the yusho race. Following Takakeisho’s win over Myogiryu, Goeido scored his 8th win, beating Ryuden, and clearing kadoban for the 8th time in his somewhat puzzling career.
But as one Ozekiwake exits, the final match of the day saw injured Ozeki Tochinoshin take one step closer to the drop. At 5-7, he needs to win all 3 remaining matches to clear kadoban, or he will be the shin-Ozekiwake for November. Tough times continue in the top ranks.
Yutakayama defeats Chiyoshoma – Yutakayama picks up his 8th win, and with his kachi-koshi moves away from the bottom edge of the banzuke, which has already gobbled up Toyonoshima and Takagenji.
Nishikigi defeats Takagenji – Nishikigi gets a left hand inside at the tachiai, and Takagenji is trapped. A valiant attempt by Takagenji to change his grip, but Nishikigi is latched on tighter than a tick in Texas, and uses his opponents gambit to escort him across the bales.
Daishoho defeats Tochiozan – Tochiozan has zero forward pressure today, and Daishoho stampedes him back and out. Tochiozan is perilously positioned should he end the tournament make-koshi.
Onosho defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki meets Onosho’s push at the tachiai, but can only hold his ground for a few moments before the Onosho starts advancing. In spite of Kagayaki getting a good armpit attack going at the start, Onosho’s hips stay much lower, and his feet are much better set. Kagayaki cannot find a break to get lower, as Onosho is relentless. Much as I love Kagayaki, I think his long legs rob him of some natural sumo mechanics at times.
Tsurugisho defeats Sadanoumi – I think this kimarite should be renamed neko-nage, or “cat’s throw”. I see my cats do this to each other all the time. Grab your opponent by the whiskers and pull him down. Of course this would (in the cat world) be followed by biting and kicking, but… yeah whatever.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Azumaryu – Well, that was a henka. Sort of a crab-henka with a pincer move to the knee, so it had some interest to it, but it was still weak sumo.
Kotoyuki defeats Shohozan – This match tells me 2 things. First, the “fierce” Kotoyuki may be the next brawler we look to during honbasho. He takes it to Shohozan and overwhelms him at his own sumo. Second, Shohozan is only operating at a fraction of his power right now.
Okinoumi defeats Meisei – Former co-leaders battle it out, and the veteran takes the white star. Both are still in the hunt, as the group chasing the post day 12 leader is 5 men wide. Okinoumi prevents Meisei from setting up any offense at all, and just moves him away for the win.
Takarafuji defeats Enho – Takarafuji has always been a first-class sumo technician, and today we see that he has solved his version of the Enho puzzle with great results. Again and again Takarafuji stalemates everything Enho tries, and when Enho finally gets super-low and moves for the mawashi, Takarafuji gently lowers him to the clay.
Kotoeko defeats Ishiura – Ishiura brought all of the offense, but a great defensive pivot by Kotoeko at the tawara saved the match, and kept him from make-koshi. First rate effort.
Kotoshogiku defeats Tomokaze – Kotoshogiku had a superior tachiai, and just advanced well. Tomokaze could not respond in time to keep himself inside the ring. Perhaps some of Kotoshogiku’s frustration is now eased…
Daieisho defeats Asanoyama – Daieisho kept Asanoyama at arms length, frustrating the Natsu yusho winner in his efforts to get a mawashi grip. As Asanoyama’s efforts become more vigorous, they lead to him becoming unbalanced, which Daieisho reads perfectly to roll him to the clay.
Hokutofuji defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu opens with his big tachiai, but Hokutofuji surges back after hitting the bales. Chiyotairyu is still looking wrecked after yesterday’s bloody result with Goeido, and as soon as Hokutofuji starts attacking Chiyotairyu’s face, he goes soft and concedes the match. I think a wise most given how painful that lip must be.
Aoiyama defeats Shimanoumi – Aoiyama takes his two-piston / V-Twin sumo out of the garage and runs over Shimanoumi. After some poor sumo from the man-mountain, it’s good to see him revert to “his brand of sumo” for a win.
Abi defeats Shodai – Well, now I am at the point where I am feeling sorry for Shodai. He is not really a 2-10 rikishi, he’s just having a bad basho. I am sure there are distractions outside of the dohyo that may have his mind less than sharp right now, and his chaos sumo is just not paying out like it normally would.
Tamawashi defeats Endo – Endo clearly had a high-skill match in mind, with a nuanced opening gambit with that left hand of his. But then Tamawashi just gunned the throttle and plowed him out of the way. The up-side being all of the fans along the west-side hanamichi who got up close to “Endo the Golden” for a moment as he struggled to bring himself to a halt.
Takakeisho defeats Myogiryu – Takakeisho stood Myogiryu up, and threw him down. Simple, effective and elegant. Welcome back, Ozeki Takakeisho. I once again anoint you as the Grand Tadpole – (大蝌蚪)
Goeido defeats Ryuden – So Goeido blows up Ryuden at the tachiai, but somehow it was a matta too. Shikimori came very close to a handing out a second jicchuugi-sho in as many days. Ok, let’s try again. Then… matta-matta-matta mo’matta. When they finally get things going, Ryuden is able to lure Goeido into a yotsu battle, and even Murray thinks Ryuden has the advantage here. But Goeido keep his cool and dominates Ryuden, expertly swinging him into an uwatenage for his 8th win, clearing kadoban. Crazy ass match.
Mitakeumi defeats Tochinoshin – You know what this match needs? That would be matta with a tart matta gravy. Is this because there are so many kyujo that they need to stretch the broadcast? It seems really out of place. Once they get going, it’s all Mitakeumi, but to be honest I am sure both contestants were probably expecting Shikimori to call them back again. Just one fan’s suggestion here, let the rikishi battle it out, sir. I know in the US, a lot of fans abandoned the NFL because the referees too frequently got in the middle of what should have been legitimate plays, and ruined the sport.