My thanks to the rest of Team Tachiai for covering the dailies for me while I was traveling the US drumming up business for my day job. I really enjoyed reading the rest of the teams views on the matches, and your comments.
On this tournament (which I hope to write more on this theme later today), I can only say “what the hell?” The top division for the Kyushu Basho has many aspects of what we have gotten used to seeing in Juryo, where everyone has middling records, and on any given day your favorite is just as likely to disappoint you as to carry the day. Even most of the wins are not necessarily what I would call “Good Sumo”. I assume that everyone is putting in what they have, but damn this is some weak honbasho. That being said, it’s the best damn sumo tournament I am going to watch this November, so I am in for the long haul.
My bright spot is that in Juryo, Ikioi is still undefeated, and may in fact be rolling his way back to the top division for New Years.
Kagayaki defeats Daishoho – At least it was easy to tell you were in bizzaro world for day 6. We had Kagayaki change up to yotsu-zumo when he grabbed Daishoho’s mawashi and won. It was like going to a fancy Christmas dinner and finding the desert was clam and gouda ice cream.
Takanosho defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi went for his expected battle-hug, but generated less than expected forward pressure, and really only put up a token fight against Takanosho.
Daishomaru defeats Chiyotairyu – A failure to launch properly resulted in the head shimpan directing a “do-over”, where Daishomaru met Chiyotairyu’s tachiai and shifted. Chiyotairyu was never quite on balance again, and got too far forward. Easy thrust down for Daishomaru.
Shimanoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – This match was little more than Shimanoumi chasing Terutsuyoshi around the dohyo while Terutsuyoshi tried to figure out what to do to reverse his fortune. That did not happen, Shimanoumi caught him and swung him to the clay.
Chiyomaru defeats Shodai – Uncharacteristic fire from Chiyomaru the past couple of days, he gave Shodai’s neck a proper flexing, which kept Shodai quite high. A flurry of tsuppari to Shodai’s shoulders, followed by a dive for Shodai’s exposed chest ended the match.
Ishiura defeats Yutakayama – Ishiura changes his mawashi color to a nice army green, and honestly it did seem to change his attitude. A bit of a Hakuho style face slap at the tachiai? It seems to get Yutakayama fired up, but the match ends with a monoii, and a rematch. Ok, who did not see a henka coming from a mile away for the rematch? Yutakayama, that’s who. It was not a complete henka, but a hit and shift, and it was brilliantly done.
Kotoshogiku defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho attempts to shift to his left at the tachiai, but Kotoshogiku read this perfectly and follows. Now Kotoshogiku has solid foot placement, and Tsurugisho is still trying to move. The Kyushu Bulldozer catches him across the chest and drives forward for the win. Experience carried the day for Kotoshogiku.
Onosho defeats Sadanoumi – Onosho drove hard at the tachiai into Sadanoumi’s chest, an unusual move for the man in red. Sadanoumi obliges by latching a commanding mawashi grip and setting up a throw which falls apart when Onosho, through some miracle, has his weight centered over the arches of his feet and is in proper defensive position. Sadanoumi re-establishes his grip, but… so does Onosho? Onosho’s overwhelming strength kicks in, and even Sadanoumi’s superior grip can’t save him as Onosho pushes ahead and wins. Hey, Onosho – brilliantly done. Expand on that one, I think it will take you far.
Shohozan defeats Enho – Another chapter in the WTF annals of Kyushu 2019. Enho goes for the henka, but Shohozan recovers his balance masterfully. They battle for a moment before Shohozan reaches over Enho’s shoulders to grab his mawashi, and forces Enho to the clay. Well – Enho does the splits and loses when his… well.. groin touches down. I am sure at this moment the sumo world is struggling for a kimarite, allow me to suggestion chinponage? If you see Enho’s face just after he’s down, there is a look of surprised amusement, I concur.
Ryuden defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko tried to pull straight out of the tachiai, and had no forward pressure against Ryuden’s advance. Not sure what happened to Kotoeko, but that was terrible.
Aoiyama defeats Okinoumi – Big Dan fires up the V-Twin for just a moment and that’s all it took to send Okinoumi out.
Abi defeats Daieisho – I am going to start hoping that Abi has put the distraction of the social media ban behind him and is back to Abi-zumo form. He certainly looked frantic, intense and unstoppable. Daieisho had all the composure and offense-oriented sumo of a man caught in an industrial dough kneading machine, as Abi’s long arms repeatedly slammed into his neck.
Hokutofuji defeats Kotoyuki – Kotoyuki held the advantage at the start of this match, and masterfully blunted and deflected everything Hokutofuji tried. But Hokutofuji did manage to land a hand on Kotoyuki’s right arm and pull him forward, rolling him to the clay and giving him a long overdue visit to the zabuton section.
Endo defeats Asanoyama – Endo once again shows why he referred to as a master technician. While Asanoyama brought brawn and energy into the match, Endo had a plan. As Asanoyama was pushing forward following the tachiai, Endo traded dohyo space for a grip change, and that was all it took to set his favored throw. Asanoyama realized a fraction of a second too late that he had been out-maneuvered, and down he went. There are days when Endo is wonderful to watch, and I hope Asanoyama gains experience from this loss, as Endo has much to teach.
Takarafuji defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi is way off form. It’s still the first week, and normally he is still full of energy and fight. But that bang he took to the head earlier seems to have have robbed him of enough of his sumo that he’s kind of an easy mark right now. With the absolute chaos in the Ozeki ranks right now, this would be his best shot probably ever to run up the score. But Mitakeumi is just not healthy right now.
Tamawashi defeats Takakeisho – Speaking of not healthy, Ozeki Takakeisho just is not even close to his normal level of genki. It’s great to see the master disruptor, Tamawashi, completely hash the tadpole, but I have to hope that Takakeisho is not compounding that chest muscle tear at this point. Takakeisho’s balance is off, his power is way down, and we have yet to see him really execute a coordinated attack.
Myogiryu defeats Takayasu – Myogiryu has a track record of beating Takayasu that goes back years, but today’s drubbing was especially uncomfortable to watch. We know that Takayasu’s left arm is useless right now, but today’s match saw Takayasu having almost zero offensive pressure, and absolutely terrible body position.
Hakuho defeats Meisie – We nearly get a second chinponage today as Meisie looses traction and finds himself doing the splits. Odd and awkward match to end a somewhat puzzling day of sumo. Unless Hakuho hurts himself, there is no way anyone’s sumo this November is going to even pose a real challenge for him.