Kyushu Day 15 Highlights

Thus the final basho of 2019 comes to a close. I will post my opinions on the basho and the state of sumo a bit later, perhaps tomorrow, to make way for the discussion of the matches themselves. There was plenty of exciting action for day 15, and with the broad slate of Darwin matches, much was on the line. Tachiai congratulates Yokozuna Hakuho for his record breaking 43rd yusho, marking another milestone for history’s winningest rikishi.

If you have been following lksumo’s excellent story line post series, you know that the Juryo to Makuuchi swap for January is likely to be broad. We are likely to see a resurgence of familiar names return to the top division. This basho, more than many in recent memory, has a broader set of inter-division swaps available for the next banzuke.

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us for the Kyushu Basho. It’s been mountains of fun sharing our love of sumo with the world, and we appreciate that you take the time to visit our web site, read our posts, and participating in the discussion.

Shout out to Kotoyuki for that awesome flex at the end of the Sanyaku Soroibumi. You absolute legend.

Day 15 Matches

Daiamami defeats Nishikigi – Whatever damage Nishikigi is carrying (maybe that taped left ankle) continues to rob him of his sumo. The hapless Daiamami punctuates his demotion to Juryo with a final loss. Readers know I have a soft spot for Nishikigi, and I hope he can get his body back to good health.

Ishiura defeats Daishoho – Ishiura 3.0 is back in full force. In fact I think he’s a better Enho than Enho is right now. Today’s match is a direct import of Enho’s sumo, as Ishiura finds the nearest body part and tugs for all he can muster. This completely derails whatever Daishoho wanted to do, as he moves to break contact. As Ishiura spins Daishoho around, his left hand finds a deep grip, and it’s time for phase 2. About this time, Daishoho realizes he’s caught, and Ishiura’s seeks position to load the throw. But throw he does, and it’s win number 9 for Ishiura.

Shimanoumi defeats Chiyomaru – Shimanoumi overcomes Chiyomaru’s giant belly and finds green silk. In reaction Chiyomaru launches into a mad-cap retreat and pull sequence, over and over, as Shimanoumi consolidates his position and delivers the yorikiri.

Chiyotairyu defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama completely failed to counter the predictable Chiyotairyu opening thrust. Chiyotairyu stood him up, then pulled him down. Yutakayama tends to struggle in the final weekend, and this basho follows that trend.

Kagayaki defeats Shohozan – Kagayaki focused on fundamentals, left the head smashing to Shohozan and worked forcefully on Shohozan’s center-mass. Kagayaki, without flair or a lot of attention, has racked up double digit wins this Kyushu. Readers know I am a fan of his work ethic, and his relentless focus on sumo fundamentals.

Kotoeko defeats Daishomaru – Both men trade impotent pull attempts, with Kotoeko’s pull resulting him Daishomaru rushing forward to finish him. But Kotoeko keeps his head in the match and times a side step at the tawara that gives him the win. Both finish with a dismal 5-10 record.

Tsurugisho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Tsurugisho rallies on the final day, and stops his 6 match losing streak. It was not forward motion sumo, but at this point I am just happy he could close the basho with a win.

Kotoshogiku defats Aoiyama – This was a surprisingly fun and satisfying match. Aoiyama nearly finishes Kotoshogiku at the tachiai, but somehow the former Ozeki keeps his feet. Dan fires up the big V-Twin gets Kotoshogiku to give ground. In a bold double hand slap, Kotoshogiku disrupts Aoiyama’s thrusting attack, lowering Aoiyama’s arms. His chest now exposed, The Kyushu Bulldozer gets to work. Taking Aoiyama to his chest, he finds that Big Dan has too much forward pressure for him to engage the hug-n-chug attack, he gives ground to unbalance his foe, and rotates into a tsukiotoshi. The crowd and I are both delighted that Kotoshogiku got to finish with a win.

Tamawashi defeats Sadanoumi – Complete clash of opening gambits, as Sadanoumi takes the tachiai with his face. He’s still reaching for Tamawashi’s belt, but he has no balance to plant his feet, and Tamawashi powerful forward charge continues and it’s densa-meshi time.

Takarafuji defeats Meisei – This match is a fine example of how Takarafuji prefers to fight. He lets Meisei throw what he wants to in at the start of the match, and just focuses on blunting every attack, and keeping his feet, waiting for his opponent (Meisei today) to make a mistake. It comes about 12 seconds into the match, and Takarafuji switches to attack mode. Going chest to chest against Meisei, he knows Meisei was not ready to grapple, and his feet are in poor position. Takarafuji adjusts his stance, loads the throw and finishes him.

Myogiryu defeats Onosho – As predicted, Onosho did not have the balance today to counter Myogiryu, and is caught too far forward. Onosho has a lot of potential, but he’s still working through the impact of reconstruction surgery on that knee. Myogiryu finishes Kyushu with his 8th win.

Takanosho defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi spent most of this match too far forward of his feet. While Takanosho played with him for a time, he soon figured out that releasing pressure might give him the win. It did and he finishes 10-5.

Enho defeats Daieisho – Not wanting to be out-done by stablemate Ishiura, has a great high-low feint at the tachiai that gets him a left hand inside grip. Though Daieisho charges ahead, using his superior mass, Enho is ready and rolls the sukuinage at the bales. Enho finishes Kyushu with a kachi-koshi.

Shodai defeats Asanoyama – This match had a number of odd things going on. Firstly, where did that tachiai come from Shodai? Where have you been keeping that? Second, Shodai’s feet are all over the place, which is common for him, but Asanoyama is completely overwhelmed and Shodai has little trouble forcing him out. For recent sumo fans, this is one source of Shodai frustration. In the past, he fought like this most of the time. He was a real up and coming rikishi. I reserve the right to change my mind about Shodai if he returns to good form.

Hokutofuji defeats Ryuden – For the second day in a row, we seek Hokutofuji tone down the mobility and work to maintain contact with his opponent. And for the second day in a row, it pays off as he completely dominates Ryuden to finish Kyushu 7-8.

Kotoyuki defeats Endo – For fans recently enjoying sumo, this seems to be the original Kotoyuki, who was a decent rikishi. Today he blasts the tachiai, preventing that left hand frontal grip attempt that everyone expects from Endo now. Kotoyuki is relentless against Endo’s center mass, and just keeps pressing the attack. He ends Kyushu with his 8th win, handing Endo his 8th loss.

Abi defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi, in spite of whatever injury has throttled back his sumo, gives Abi a solid fight. Twice Abi is forced to break contract and fall back. But Mitakeumi is a half step slower than his normal intensity, and Abi has exquisite mobility. Mitakeumi’s push to send Abi out of the ring was met with balance, as Abi remained in bounds just long enough for Mitakeumi to land. Sad to see Mitakeumi blow up his 3rd Ozeki campaign so badly, but my compliments to Abi for a great basho.

Hakuho defeats Takakeisho – This match was all down to the opening gambit, with Takakeisho needing to get a hand on Hakuho’s chest. I am sure he practiced against the Yokozuna’s predicted launch sequence, but Hakuho pulled out his quick-start that he used to use all the time against Harumafuji. As a result, he was able to take the lone surviving Ozeki to his chest. His primary weapon disabled, Takakeisho waited out the inevitable, and took the loss.

19 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 15 Highlights

  1. Thanks Bruce and to the whole Tachiai team – I can already feel the beginnings of the horrible post-Basho come down… (Quick somebody pass the Xanax!)

    The psychodrama of Hakuho v. Takakeisho was a thrilling end to the tournament. Again we witness Hakuho’s all consuming need to establish dominance. I guess you don’t get to be the the longest reigning alpha-dog ever unless you approach every match as an existential threat to your whole identity.

    And it was also a thrill for me to see Abi win with one of his trademark tippy-toe pirouettes right at the edge.

    My fingers are already firmly crossed that they will decide on 3 sekiwake for January.

  2. Thank you very, very much for your insight and commentary; it adds greatly to the sumo experience. Have a great Xmas!

  3. Thank you for the coverage, this site is amazing. Happy to see Enho and Abi get their KK, but can’t help but can’t help feeling a little disappointed that Hokutofuji couldn’t do it especially with how he rallied at the end of the last basho. Long live the boss.

  4. Loved seeing the pixies win! I enjoy that kind of mismatch.
    I was legit surprised by Shodai, and I have a soft spot for him, but he out Asanoyama’d Asanoyama!

    I never got to see Harumafuji, so the lightning quick start by Hakuho caught me off guard. If he’s that fast, still, I’m really impressed. That was insane.

    Thank you for the great coverage and analysis!

  5. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Hakuho this Basho. The quick start that to me amounts to a sneak attack. The elbow shot and bloodied nose the day before. The slaps he used to a stupid amount. Sorry, I feel these all should be above someone of his station.

  6. ‘Thank you, dear readers, for joining us for the Kyushu Basho. It’s been mountains of fun sharing our love of sumo with the world, and we appreciate that you take the time to visit our web site, read our posts, and participating in the discussion.’

    and many thanks in return, for hosting the forum and the hard work of tachiai writers
    you provide the sumolovers a beautiful window looking deeper in, especially during basho (and always in high humor)

    <3

  7. I see that the official kimarite for the Kagayaki vs Shohozan was oshidashi. The correct description would be “right royal ass-kicking”. One of these days this lad is going to engage beast mode for the full 15 days and the noise of dropping jaws will be heard around the world. With the Demon Kakka and Bruce on his side he cannot fail.

  8. Thanks for your coverage, it’s very much appreciated. I enjoyed this basho a lot: the sumo, the unusual techniques, the win for Hakuho, kachi-koshi for many of my favourites, and spotting those familiar faces in the audience from day to day. I’m hoping the enforced break does Takayasu good and that he, Goeido, Mitakeumi and Kakuryu come back strong in January. How many days to go? 😃

  9. Enjoying the reemergence of Shodai – easy to forget he’s such a big strong dude. In fact, I think he forgets himself. Apologies for backing Tsurugisho for kk so early leading him to SUCK – hope he slides out his funk. Thanks to Bruce and the Tachiai team including the many commenters – my favourite waste of time for 12 weeks of the year!

  10. Many thanks to Team Tachiai for all of your hard work and interesting analyses throughout this basho. Bruce, we may now have reached the expiration date for the notion that Onosho is “still working through the impact of reconstruction surgery on that knee.” With January’s basho, we’ll see the two-year anniversary of that injury. Is he still “working through” the ramifications of his knee woes or does Onosho 2.0 just have a tendency to get too far over his skis?

    • I am still working through the impact of surgery 6 years ago. Granted Onosho is a young man, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. He has always been aggressive in getting forward, but his control is much worse post surgery.

  11. First of all, thank you to the Tachiai team for your efforts and continued coverage. When I first became interested in sumo over a year ago, finding this blog was what got me to start following honbasho, and really starting to appreciate and enjoy the sport. I’m hooked.

    I was so happy to see Enho get kachi-koshi this basho. Honestly I’m surprised to find him this far up the banzuke before starting to oscillate a little. A 7-8 coming out of today would not have been the end of the world for him, but it was great to see him finish a strong opponent in style.

    Likewise, Ishiura in the past was someone who I wanted to like, but found it hard to grin through the henkas. But it was wonderful to see him rise to form and embrace a stronger, more active sumo.

    Mitakeumi was a real bummer. Geez.

    The musubi no ichiban was like watching a cat play with a mouse. I think The Boss could have driven keisho right over the bales the first time, but took the lean…. and seemed to stand there, daring keisho to take the initiative. It was almost as if Hakuho took the initiative to give us a prime-time masterclass… and give the new ‘zeki the business.

  12. Thank you, thank you. I love the bashos but god damn they go by fast! I learn so much from this blog and the more you know, the more you enjoy the dance. Thanks again. One thing I would add to all the above remarks is that I enjoyed seeing Choyomaru doing so well this time. I’m haven’t check the stats, but my gut tells me this is one of his best bashos.

    Happy New Year to the gang at Tachiai!

  13. As always Team Tachiai does a FANTASTIC year end and year out! I’ll keep it short, but 2020 is just around the corner and it promise to be very INTRIGUING, indeed!

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