Day 9 is in the record books, and we continue to see Yokozuna Hakuho dominate every single match. While the week 2 action continues, everyone awaits Chiyomaru’s test for COVID-19. The latest explanation for his 40°C (104° F) fever is a suspected to have a case of cellulitis passed through an open wound. But just in case he is undergoing a PCR test for Corona. Kokonoe beya currently has no other rikishi with any symptoms, but they are isolating him behind a wall of rice, beer and curry just in case.
Kotonowaka defeats Hidenoumi – Hidenoumi achieved a right hand inside grip at the tachiai, but really could not do much with it. After stalemating for a moment, blocking Kotonowaka from getting a grip, Hidenoumi advanced strongly, but it was directly into Kotonowaka’s arm bar throw. That grip on Hidenoumi’s bandaged elbow made me wince. Yikes! Kotonowaka improves to 7-2.
Daiamami defeats Azumaryu – Daiamami picks up a much needed win, and this in spite of Azumaryu superior right hand inside grip. Both men exit day 9 at 4-5.
Kaisei defeats Meisei – Meisei came in strong and low at the tachiai, and bounced off of Kaisei’s broad belly. A few thrusts from Kaisei, and it was oshidashi for tea. Kaisei has now won 5 of his last 6, to improve to 5-4 after a cold 0-3 start.
Ishiura defeats Ikioi – Everyone, including Ikioi, read that henka. It did seem to fire Ikioi up, and he went after Ishiura like Ishiura had just pooped in Ikioi’s lunch box. The vigor and energy eventually worked against Ikioi, as the more nimble Ishiura was able to get behind the beloved veteran and send him over the salt basket. Ishiura improves to 7-2.
Shimanoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi stumbled at the tachiai, and went immediately to a pull down attempt, which worked even less well than his tachiai. Easy oshitaoshi for Shimanoumi, with an extended jog into where the fans should be sitting.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyotairyu – To me it seemed like Chiyotairyu flinched at the last moment as he was about to make contact with Aoiyama just blasted right through. Aoiyama picks up a well deserved day 9 kachi-koshi.
Kotoshogiku defeats Tochiozan – Tochiozan has absolutely nothing to offer this tournament. I feel sorry for him mounting the dohyo each day just to be defeated again and again. He has enormous sumo skill, but clearly some unannounced injury has him in shreds.
Nishikigi defeats Shohozan – Well, there is a surprise – Nishikigi picks up a win by advancing in force following a Shohozan face slap at the tachiai. Nishikigi avoids the inevitable make-koshi for another day, as both rikishi finish day 9 at 2-7.
Takanosho defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi once again opened strong, but quickly ran out of power and clay, finding himself over the bales on the East side. That’s a kachi-koshi for Takanosho, who has been fighting brilliantly.
Takarafuji defeats Kiribayama – Once again, a textbook example of Takarafuji’s sumo style. He lets Kiribayama come in strong, taking him to his chest, and completely robbing him of any meaningful offensive hand placement. Try as he can, Kiribayama can’t find any path to get a grip, and is expending energy in every try. After a time, he goes quiet and tries to decide what to do next. This is always Takarafuji’s cue to get to work. He locks Kiribayama’s arms up, and marches him out. Takarafuji improves to 6-3.
Kagayaki defeats Sadanoumi – Kagayaki showed very nice speed today, getting inside Sadanoumi, and applying power early. Kagayaki improves to 6-3.
Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin – Myogiryu shifts left at the tachiai, and gets to the rear of Tochinoshin, who circles to defend. But he could not turn in time, and Myogiryu lunges to push Tochinoshin out.
Tokushoryu defeats Onosho – Onosho went too high at the tachiai, taking a hold of Tokushoryu’s face rather than applying force center-mass. Tokushoryu’s unusual shape means that his head is the least vulnerable part of his body. Tokushoryu takes the golden opportunity Onosho has given him and waltzes him across the bales for a much needed win, staving off make-koshi for another day.
Daieisho defeats Okinoumi – Daieisho worked hard to get the inside path, and did not waste the opening when it came. Okinoumi showed a lot of defensive energy and skill, but Daieisho drove hard and got the win. He improves to 6-3.
Endo defeats Enho – The kawaii battle ends with Endo shutting down Enho’s wild, chaotic combination attacks. Fans have started to wonder if Enho’s small man sumo has found its natural limits, or if he is struggling with some kind of injury. We are confident he will bounce back for the next tournament.
Mitakeumi defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji left the inside route open, and Mitakeumi wasted no time in applying a rippling volley of thrusts to first unbalance, then move Hokutofuji backward and out. Mitakeumi improves to 7-2.
Asanoyama defeats Shodai – The Sekiwake battle started with what looked like a mis-timed tachiai, with Asanoyama launching before Shodai, and opting for a left hand outside. He was never able to land a grip with that left hand, but it proved enough to shut down Shodai’s energetic escape moves, and win the match. 7-2 for the Ozeki hopeful.
Yutakayama defeats Takakeisho – Yutakayama did a brilliant job of matching Takakeisho blow for blow, and eventually grabbing the Ozeki’s right arm, disrupting the tsuppari train. From there Takakeisho’s entire offense fell apart, he blew his stance, blew his body position, and moments later lost the match. We know the lone surviving Ozeki is hurt, and days like this much give the NSK fits.
Kakuryu defeats Abi – Points to Abi for dictating the early elements of this match. He connected well with his double arm strikes, but Kakuryu’s sumo is built in stalemating his opponent, and waiting for them / helping them to make a mistake. He did not have to spend much time before Abi’s back was turned to the Yokozuna in a forward rush turned away, and it was Kakuryu’s moment to strike. The Yokozuna improves to 7-2.
Hakuho defeats Ryuden – Ryuden gave him a solid fight, but it ended with Ryuden taking a now familiar dash into the empty zabuton area beside the dohyo. Hakuho improves to 9-0.