Kyushu Day 7 Highlights

I would almost dare to say that day 7 represented a return to normal for a moment, as the Ozeki corps rallied with great effect. Across the top division, the quality of sumo on day 7 was a noticeable improvement from the worrisome action of day 6. The match between Takayasu and Tamawashi was of great interest to Team Tachiai, and it did not disappoint.

Come back later today for our first look at the leaderboard, as we start to discuss the yusho race in the top division, and who if anyone can actually challenge Hakuho for the cup. Lower down the banzuke, Ikioi took his first loss of the tournament, but looks to be on track to storm his way back into the top division for January, to the cheers of his many fans. The man clearly has an iron will, and in spite of painful injuries he never stopped pushing to improve and return. Simply put, the man is an inspiration.

Highlight Matches

Kagayaki defeats Nishikigi – Again we see Kagayaki willing to grapple with his opponent, and again it works. The two trade advantage back and forth twice, but Kagayaki proves out the stronger. Maybe a positive change for “Mr Fundamentals”? At 5-2, Kagayaki is now officially having a good tournament.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Takanosho – Terutsuyoshi engages submarine mode with great effect, preventing Takanosho from generating any actual offense.

Chiyotairyu defeats Daishoho – Ok, Chiyotairyu battle hugs Daishoho and engages in gaburi-yori? Ok! I like it! It served Kotoshogiku well for a long time.

Ishiura defeats Daishomaru – Energetic henka! Frankly, I liked it, but I think Ishiura has used up his henka good will for Kyushu unless it’s really funny next time.

Chiyomaru defeats Kotoshogiku – As predicted, the mechanical and logistics problems of this match manifested themselves early, as Kotoshogiku attempted to go chest to chest with Chiyomaru, just to find his immense girth stopping his primary form of attack. Chiyomaru, who is always belly-forward, runs Kotoshogiku back to the bales, reverses and pulls for the win.

Shodai defeats Shohozan – Shohozan enthusiastically goes for Shodai’s face, leaving his chest wide open. After absorbing a good measure of Shohozan’s pugilistic offerings to his face, Shodai responds with force to Shohozan’s exposed chest. I know I struggle to find positives around Shodai, but he can take a lot of damage and keep fighting. A trait he shares with Hokutofuji.

Kotoeko defeats Shimanoumi – I am delighted that we are finally seeing strong sumo from Kotoeko. The tachiai ended in stalemate, but with Kotoeki a bit lower and with better body position. He found workable armpit grips on Shimanoumi, then lifted and pushed.

Tsurugisho defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama looked uncharacteristically off balance and disorganized today, and Tsurugisho masterfully exploited every mistake that Yutakayama made. The match ended with Yutakayama losing traction and falling face down into the clay. Hopefully he was not hurt, though he was slow to get up following the match.

Sadanoumi defeats Enho – Sadanoumi defeats power-pixie Enho by keeping him boxed in, and keeping his weight centered over his feet. If you want to see some really great sumo defense, watch Sadanoumi’s feet and hips during this match. He has an offensive plan, but his lower body is constantly on defense against whatever rapid, high torque / impulse move Enho might delivery. Enho tries to finish with a throw, but Sadanoumi masterfully contains it, and moves with Enho while containing him. Great work.

Onosho defeats Meisei – Second day in a row, Onosho goes chest to chest and employs his massive core strength to overpower his opponent. Oh my, welcome back. This was his first ever win over Meisei in 6 attempts, and frankly it looked quite solid. I am hopeful Onosho can get his 8 and we might see him compete in the joi-jin again for the first time in 2 years.

Endo defeats Ryuden – Blink and you will miss it! Ryuden is too far forward, and Endo rotates to his right and guides the charging Ryuden to the clay. Maybe not the plan Endo came to the match intending to use, but he took the opportunity and won.

Abi defeats Aoiyama – Battle of the mad-mashers, Abi forced Aoiyama to give ground almost immediately. As he was dropping back, it looks like Aoiyama decided he was in trouble, and tried a pull against Abi’s left arm, releasing forward pressure against Abi’s attack. That was all that it took to force Aoiyama from the dohyo, and for Abi to score his 4th win.

Asanoyama defeats Okinoumi – Asanoyama’s sumo keeps looking better almost daily. It really does give me hope for the future, but provides a stark contrast to the struggling veterans and long-time favorites. In a yotsu-zumo match, Okinoumi is no easy mark, but Asanoyama out-brawns him at every turn, while executing sumo in near text-book form.

Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – This one was lost at the tachiai, as Hokutofuji was unable to get either a grip on Daieisho’s upper body, or an inside position to attack his chest. Daieisho was fast, strong and inside from the start, and Hokutofuji did not have room to plant his feet and defend. Great sumo today from Daieisho.

Mitakeumi defeats Kotoyuki – It makes me happy to see Mitakeumi rally today. He’s still not even close to 100%, but he attacked with force, but looked disorganized and off balance. With Mitakeumi’s sumo in shambles following that day 3 blow to the head, its a genuine concern that he might not make his 8.

Takayasu defeats Tamawashi – Speaking of rally, I have watched this match several times now, and you can see the moment that Takayasu catches fire, and suddenly that overwhelming power that has been absent for months roars into his body, and he attacks with fighting spirit. Yes, Tamawashi is the guy who damaged his elbow and left him struggling. Maybe he just got angry over that fact, and the anger powered him to “beast mode”, but the match closed with a hearty Takayasu tea-bagging that I must admit made me laugh. Happy birthday Tamawashi, here’s something for your celebration.

Takakeisho defeats Myogiryu – Speaking of reverting to form, check out the wave-action today from the Grand Tadpole! I had hoped it was still possible, and Myogiryu gets a full blast of it straight out of the tachiai. One, Two, you are through!

Hakuho defeats Takarafuji – Was it just me, or did Hakuho struggle in this match? He yielded a nearly perfect position to Takarafuji, who lives to stalemate his opponents until they do something clumsy, and then he makes them pay. Hakuho seems to realize this, and he clearly changes plans mid-fight. You can see the frustration on Hakuho’s face following the match, and it’s a bit troubling. Like so many athletes at the top of their game, he sees the signs most clearly that he is losing his edge.

25 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 7 Highlights

  1. I’m wondering if the clay on this dohyo is particularly sticky. It seems that just about every day we see at least one competitor getting his feet caught under him, turning his ankle in an awkward fashion. Today it was Yutakayama.

    • Fair enough, but it was not intended. Opening line “I would almost dare to say that day 7 represented a return to normal for a moment, as the Ozeki corps rallied with great effect.”

    • What a vapid, ignorant comment. You mean class like Takanohana who engaged in an ugly public feud with his brother over his obsession with homeopathic medicine of all things? Or maybe how Onokuni’s ring performance was so mundane he is more remembered for his tenure as oyakata of a stable plagued by physical abuse, hazing, and lawsuits? This is not to say that Japanese Yokozuna are more prone to classlessness than any other wrestler. Rather, that they are as human and prone to failures and misbehavior as any other individual. You may seek to show respect for some vague belief in the nobility of the Japanese character by presuming class is an inherent aspect of Yamato Damashii. However, much to the contrary you are engaging in a modern form of Orientalization; defining an entire nation by some set of laudable principles you gleaned from chanbara films. Really, really gross stuff.

  2. Ishiura’s henka was as aesthetically pleasing a henka as I can remember – like a matador ushering through the on-rushing bull. But still, Bruce is entirely correct that: ‘Ishiura has used up his henka good will’.

    With my armchair bullshit psychologist’s hat on, I would say that my beloved Abi has put his recent distractions behind him and re-focused. But actually the simpler explanation is just that in general he runs a high risk strategy of committing totally and utterly to his favoured oshi-sumo method – when it doesn’t work he tends to over-balance and it is easy to conclude in hindsight that his foot placement or balance was wrong. But when it does work he ends up totally smoking even other oshi specialists of monstrous proportions such as Aoiyama. He is now out of debt and back in credit at 4-3.

    I interpreted Hakuho’s expression just after the moment of victory a little differently. More like: “c’mon get up! We were only just getting started…”, rather than frustration at his own form. (Though of course it could easily have been a bit of both.)

  3. Tigerboy punches the numbers into his Kagayaki prediction engine and watches till the brass wheels and cogs cease to spin. The output appears carved on discs of hippopotamus ivory and are interpreted by a delinquent badger.

    The stripy-faced oracle intones the verdict: “The plumptiously bosomed one will be as the haggis that tumbles from a butcher’s cart but bounces from the cobblestones before the wolfhound devours it”.

    Translation: Kagayaki loses five of the next six, gets windy about going back to juryo, and wins his last two.

    • That’s a lot of knowledge to be delivered by badger, no matter how delinquent! Plus, I would never entrust a haggis. They are notoriously fickle.

  4. I saw the Hakuho-Takarafuji bout differently. It looked to me that Hakuho adopted a Kakuryu-style reactive approach. He bided his time swatting away Takarafuji’s several attempts to get an inside grip. When Taka gave up on that tactic and lowered his head for a charge, Hakuho grabbed the back of Taka’s neck and shoved him down. Easy-peasy.

  5. Takakeisho’s last two bouts have convinced me that distance is the most important part of his strategy. Yesterday, he couldn’t reach Tamawashi (who dictated the pace of the bout) and he lost. Today, Takakeisho was so close to his opponent he essentially head-butted them out of the ring!

    I’m wondering if Hakuho’s frustration is more that he’s looking for a successor to pass his torch. Everyone who has challenged him recently has gotten hurt and looks like they’ll retire soon (Tochinoshin, for example).

  6. Really impressive day today. The ozeki corps are walking wounded. Even today’s wave action was almost desperate. In the past, Takakeisho used to look like he would push, then pull down. That’s what I thought wave action meant. But he’s not doing it and betting the farm on aggressive pushing. Today he headbutt into the chest, and it is clear his left isn’t good. Takayasu has turned into a one armed Big Guns brawler! And

    • As I understand it, Bruce coined the term ‘wave action’ to describe Takakeisho’s repeated two-handed thrusts. I don’t think the term has anything to do with pulling a competitor down.

  7. Re: “ After absorbing a good measure of Shohozan’s pugilistic offerings to his face, Shodai responds with force to Shodai’s exposed chest…”
    I haven’t had a chance to watch day 7 so really appreciate the detailed description of each bout. I’m very glad that Shodai came out on top as Shohozan is in my actively dislike short list.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.