Kyushu Day 11 Highlights

After a rough and difficult start, this basho seems to have its act together. The sumo is solid and strong across the matches, and the rikishi are putting impressive effort into their matches. At the start of act 3, its time to start sorting the competitors into bins labeled kachi and make koshi, and some favorites are surprisingly close to a losing record for November. The yusho race will come down to Takakeisho’s attempt to defeat Hakuho, opening the door for a playoff if Asanoyama can continue to rack up the wins.

Highlight Matches

Ikioi defeats Terutsuyoshi – In a beautiful sumo moment, Ikioi visits the top division for a single match. As a result he secures his kachi-koshi, and quite possibly ensures he will once again be a Makuuchi rikishi for the new year. In March Ikioi was a physical wreck, nursing multiple injuries, and could only score 2 wins in the entire basho. Since then he has been relegated to Juryo, where he continued to struggle until Aki, when he turned in a 12-3 record and took the Juryo yusho. It’s been a hard road for this guy, and frankly I find it inspiriting. Terutsuyoshi gave him a full measure, and really made him work for the win.

Daishomaru defeats Shimanoumi – This was an even brawl until Shimanoumi gambled on a pull down attack and released forward pressure against Daishomaru. Daishomaru, one loss away from make-koshi, was not going to let that kind of opening pass him by. He rushes forward into the pull and blasts Shimanoumi out of the ring. Both men are now 4-7.

Yutakayama defeats Chiyomaru – I am fairly impressed with Yutakayama’s sumo today. Chiyomaru can deliver a lot of force to his front quarter, and today Chiyomaru was up to his normal slappy-face standard. Yutakayama dove into the punishment like a champ and just kept giving Chiyomaru about 20% more than he received. Yutakayama improves to 7-4 and is very much in the hunt for his kachi-koshi.

Kotoshogiku defeats Chiyotairyu – Rather than his normal grapple, hug and chug approach, Kotoshogiku pivoted into a throw at the tachiai, and appeared to catch Chiyotairyu off balance. Only Kotoshogiku’s 3rd win, but I am happy to see it.

Shodai defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi yielded morozashi within the first few seconds, but even with a double-inside grip, Shodai found himself retreating. Carrying him like a full can of rubbish to the curb, Sadanoumi was in the midst of winning when a wonderfully executed “rescue” move by Shodai at the bales (utchari) turned the tables and sent Sadanoumi out first. How did Shodai get morozashi and not dominate Sadanoumi? Look at Shodai’s lower body.

Takanosho defeats Shohozan – Shohozan had a strong start, but took the chance of pulling Takanosho via his outstretched right arm. Shohozan did not have the foot placement to do it safely, propelling himself backward. Takanosho read this expertly and helped Shohozan complete the process.

Ishiura defeats Kotoeko – Another excellent match by Ishiura today. That tachiai was low and hard, and sent Kotoeko reeling. Kotoeko manages to break contact, but as he drove back to re-engaged, Ishiura improved his grip and rolled into a shitatenage. I am starting to have hope for Ishiura…

Kagayaki defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho almost had this won at the tachiai, as Kagayaki came up too low, and too far forward. But Tsurugisho decided to try and finish Kagayaki with a pull. As its their first ever match, he may not have had a feel for just how stable Kagayaki is, and that was all the opening that “Mr Fundamentals” needed to rally and drive Tsurugisho out.

Enho defeats Daishoho – Enho did in fact use an alternate attack plan, and it worked. Should it have been a matta? Eh, maybe? But if the Gyoji says the fight is on, it’s on. Daishoho wisely lined up well back of the shikiri-sen, but Enho rockets off the line and blasts into Daishoho’s body. From there it was attack-circle-attack for Enho. Brutally effective and tough to counter for any big man. Your feet are never set for offense or defense, and whatever you want to do in terms of trying to win is disrupted as you try to make sure you keep Enho in front of you.

Kotoyuki defeats Nishikigi – This is a prime example of Kotoyuki’s “brand of sumo”, and it’s quite effective. Nishikigi wants to close the distance and take Kotoyuki to his chest, but Kotoyuki’s thrusting attacks are too well orchestrated to present an opening. Sadly Nishikigi is make-koshi, and may be a candidate for that Juryo barge.

Tamawashi defeats Onosho – Onosho got the better of the tachiai, but Tamawashi managed to get the inside path, with a brilliant running thrust combo to Onosho’s chest. Once a skilled rikishi like Tamawashi can set this up, you are going out or you are going down.

Daieisho defeats Meisei – Crashing together like two seals fighting for a strip of dock space, Meisei gave out first as Daieisho ejected him on the south side of the dohyo. Meisei attempted to set for a throw, but when his hand missed its hold on Daieisho’s mawashi, the pivot was already in motion. Daieisho finished him with a strong push for the win.

Okinoumi defeats Abi – Woa! Okinoumi demonstrates yet another way to upend Abi-zumo. Abi misses the tachiai by a split second, rocking back on his heels as Okinoumi launches. Okinoumi gets his hands up first, and grab’s Abi’s enormous head, and gives it a firm twist. His balance now completely disrupted Abi tumbles to the clay in the blink of an eye.

Asanoyama defeats Takarafuji – Another straight ahead yotsu-zumo win for Asanoyama, and he stays one behind Hakuho. Takarafuji had no chance to set up any kind of stalemate and wait gambit, as Asanoyama took charge of the match at the tachiai and marched Takarafuji out. Asanoyama now 9-2.

Myogiryu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji was all over the place today, even more than his normal form. Watch this match and notice Myogiryu’s efficiency. While Hokutofuji is wildly flailing away, Myogiryu is focused, calm and careful with his moves. Hokutofuji falls to 4-7, and is in real danger of a make-koshi for the final basho of the year.

Endo defeats Mitakeumi – Exhibit 9 for Mitakeumi is not quite right. He was unable to put Endo into a defensive mode at the tachiai, and let the man in gold set up a mawashi grip, then gave him room to shift and improve that grip. Its good to see Endo on top of his high-skill sumo. I am starting to wonder how far he can take it.

Takakeisho defeats Aoiyama – The Grand Tadpole hits his 8th win, and confirms his Ozeki rank in spite of the injuries he brought into the basho. I have huge respect for this young man for sticking it out and fighting to win every single day. Aoiyama controlled the early moments of this fight, but Takakeisho held his ground until he found his opening, and counter-attacked with power and focus.

Hakuho defeats Ryuden – Ryuden did in fact give Hakuho a solid match, fighting well and keeping the Yokozuna working until the last moment. Hakuho advances to 10 wins, or as he calls it a “Yokozuna kachi-koshi”. At this point, short of an injury, it will come down to Takakeisho to see if anyone has a chance of beating “The Boss”.

30 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 11 Highlights

  1. I’d love to see a playoff between Asanoyama and Hakuho. I want to see what kind of pressure Asanoyama can take and how it affects his sumo.

    Finally the Giku rallies!

  2. I liked how The Boss showed how to totally control someone who has a double inside grip on you. As soon as Ryuden had maemitsu and thought he was primed to turn the tide, Hakuho reflexively bumped him up off the ground to prevent any momentum, then continued advancing to push him out. Most other rikishi there are panicking when the opponent gets double inside, and flail about wildly and don’t have a viable plan.

    Btw, did anyone else have no sound on NHK World for the highlights (I had to cast from the NHK World app to my TV for a stream with sound)?

    • The bump is specifically when Ryuden tries to move his hands down to get Hakuho’s belt. Actually he tries a bit earlier with just the left and Hakuho does his patented hip wiggle to shake him off; then Ryuden tries with both hands and Hakuho raises him up.

      Something is wrong with Hakuho’s right arm — he lost the fight for sashite against Ryuden in just the same way he lost it against Okinoumi. I guess he can afford to — apparently moro-zashi gives barely any advantage against Hakuho.

      • I mentioned it on Twitter today. Despite the boasts, Hakuho’s muscle is still torn and will probably remain torn. My speculation – I’m not an expert on anatomy – is that it’s actually the biceps, not the coracobracialis that was torn, which prevents him from putting much power into rotating his arm.

        I have seen him get a couple of “nozoki” this basho – his right hand just peeking through his opponent’s armpit – but couldn’t convert it into a full sashi. To get a sashi, you need to rotate your arm to release the pressure of the opponent’s ottsuke. The term is usually “nejikomi” for the initial part, and “kainakaeshi” when you are in deeper. He doesn’t seem to be able to do it. He gets stuck in the ottsuke and tries to find alternatives.

        The only sashi I’ve seen him get was against Asanoyama, and that’s because he placed himself strategically when Asanoyama extended his arm to get an outside grip. So there was no ottsuke. This would not work with Ryuden, who always goes for the morozashi.

      • On some iOS or Android app, or a streaming device app? Try deleting and reinstalling. I’ve had no audio (but other streaming issues on just a FireTV device which uses an Android hybrid OS, but not iOS devices).

    • That’s one thing I think that does sets Hakuho apart from all others is he is always one step ahead of his opponent mentally most of the time. It’s like a chess match with him, like he can anticipate the next move ahead of time. This is one thing I admire about him.

  3. People may wonder why strong rikishi like shodai don’t try this “rescue” move more often but when you look at how he lands afterwards you can imagine that it can result in all sorts of injury. Happy it worked out for him though.

      • He had a foot on the bale when Sadanoumi loses his and also dives below dohyo level with the other. No monoii needed.

        • I think Shodai’s foot placement is the highlight of this match. His entire concentration is keeping his feet on the ground as long as possible because he knows that’s what will get him the win. Shodai literally toppled over like a tree during his throw. Absolute perfection.

      • At about 3:35 on Kintamayama’s video, you can clearly see Shodai’s right foot still on the tawara while Sadanoumi is well below the plane of the dohyo.

        • Yes. and Shodai’s left heel would have been closer to going out, except that the effort to twist, causes that heel to go airborne. Lucky or Good.. Either way is was an effort that had our house applauding.at the breakfast table.

  4. Abi was probably late off the mark because he never actually moved his left hand down toward the ground. A win is a win and when the gyoji says, “Hakkeyoi!” you fight, but on some other day this would have been an unremarkable matta.

  5. Ikioi…. YES!!
    Kotoshogiku… YES!!
    Abi….. WTF?
    It kinda looked like he wasn’t quite ready and then tried some half-baked semi-henka and ended up just rolling over and handing the win to a bemused looking Okinoumi. Oh dear.

    • To me it looked like Abi thought it was a Matta but then the Hakkeyoi was deployed and he sputtered and fell, lol. Sucks but it’s a good lesson in not making an assumption.

    • If you watch the match again, Abi rocks his weight back on his heels and literally stands straight up at the tachiai. I’m assuming that Okinoumi noticed the weight shift and reacted accordingly.

      • Abi’s left foot, big toe, sort of “stubbed”. Maybe because he was caught off sync, or maybe just misfortune. But that stub toe was also a significant factor.

  6. I was right about Enho! Huzzah for forward sumo and changing tactics!

    The matta at the beginning of the Kotoshogiku/Chiyotairyu match was amusing. “I don’t care if you said ‘Hakkeyoi’, we don’t want to wrestle yet!”

    I’m betting that Ishiura has been watching Terutsuyoshi’s and Enho’s matches closely. His strategy has changed and he’s relying on a lot more tools in his sumo toolbox these days. It’s fantastic to see and I hope he is encouraged to henka less often.

    Everything hinges on Hakuho eating dirt. If it happens, then this basho is going to get VERY interesting. Especially since he defeated Asanoyama so resoundingly in their first match.

    • Ishiura and Enho are both deshi of Hakuho and Miyagino-beya is in Isegahama ichimon so Ishiura probably has lots of opportunity for live demonstrations too.

      • I think at first Ishiura didn’t take Enho too seriously, like he thought the gimmick will lose traction at some point. Then when the Yokozuna’s prediction came true and Enho outranked him, he started paying attention.

  7. I think an assett of Enho’s is his agility and speed as well as adaptability that will make it difficult for opponents to counter what he may be trying going forward. I hope so.

    “Carrying him like a full can of rubbish to the curb, Sadanoumi was in the midst of winning…” That brought to mind Oscar the Grouch’s classic Sesame Street jingle “I Love Trash” I play for my 18 month old daughter.

    “Daieisho defeats Meisei – Crashing together like two seals fighting for a strip of dock space.” I was laughing so hard it hurt. Where to you come up with this stuff? By all means, keep it up Bruce!

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