Some sumo fans were skeptical of my interest in Onosho. Today maybe there is more to think about, as the “Red Tadpole” took a chunk out of Yokozuna Hakuho, scoring his second kinboshi (the fist was Aki 2017 against Harumafuji). Since they first began to breach the sekitori ranks, Onosho was always, to my eye, the most capable of the crew. True, he has had balance issues that were compounded by an injury during Hatsu 2018. It has been a real struggle for him to fight back to this level of competition, including a misguided attempt to stop wearing that red mawashi.
With Hakuho’s loss, the yusho race opens up considerably, bringing none other than “Big Dan” Aoiyama into a tie with Hakuho for the cup. Do I think the Bulgarian is a match for Hakuho – probably not, but Aoiyama likely could care less. I am sure that should they ever go head to head, he will give him a full volley and let the sumo decide. Hot on their heels, just 1 loss behind, are three proven yusho winners who are eager for a chance to step in and claim the title: Kakuryu, Asanoyama and Mitakeumi. Frankly, if Mitakeumi takes his 3rd Emperor’s cup, the fans in Nagoya are going to be incorrigible.
Kotoyuki defeats Daiamami – Well, that injury in January does not seem to have quenched Kotoyuki’s sumo. He looked strong and motivated to drive Daiamami from the dohyo. At Juryo 1E, all he needs is a kachi-koshi to return to the top division.
Azumaryu defeats Kotoshogiku – That probably should have been a matta, but the gyoji let them fight it out. Kotoshogiku struggled for a reasonable grip, and each moment that passed drained some of the power he could transmit through those damaged knees. Azumaryu took his time, set up the throw and took the match with an uwatenage. Both men end the day 5-5.
Aoiyama defeats Shimanoumi – “Big Dan” Aoiyama remains at the front of the makuuchi race for the cup with a solid win over Shimanoumi. Shimanoumi came in low and fast, but Big Dan unleashed the V-Twin, and there was no escape for Shimanoumi. Aoiyama improves to 9-1.
Kaisei defeats Ishiura – Ishiura used a lot of great high-agility sumo today, and Kaisei played with him for a bit. But once Ishiura went full Enho and started grabbing any body part and tugging, it seems Kaisei reached out to his spirit guide, Sir Issac Newton, and unleashed a might shove that broke the dohyo. Kaisei improves to 6-4.
Meisei defeats Ikioi – Ikioi certainly gave it a full measure, but a well timed side step by Meisei in the face of an Ikioi charge sent Ikioi to the clay. Meisei really needed that win to maintain any hope of a kachi-koshi for March.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Kotonowaka – A duck and side step at the tachiai left shin-maku rikishi Kotonowaka momentarily distracted. In a blink of an eye, Terutsuyoshi had a hold of the left knee and lifted, sending Kotonowaka to the clay. Great sumo from Terutsuyoshi today, wow!
Nishikigi defeats Tochiozan – Is there anything sadder that Tochiozan’s sumo right now? I don’t think so, at least not inside the Edion area. Day 10, and still more tape on veteran Tochiozan as Nishikigi gets his favorite kimedashi arm bars early, and just advances for the win. Tochiozan is now an eye watering 0-10.
Tochinoshin defeats Shohozan – Two more injured veterans, facing each other and trying to stay away from make-koshi. Sadly Shohozan succumbed to this 8th loss fever in a chaotic bout against Tochinoshin when he lost traction, and his legs splayed out, straddling the tawara. Hopefully no groin pull there. Shohozan now make-koshi.
Chiyotairyu defeats Kiribayama – Not quite sure what happened here. There was a strong tachiai from Chiyotairyu, and as he reached for a right hand grip, Kiribayama collapsed to the clay. Kimarite is listed as hatakikomi, so let’s go with that. Chiyotairyu improves to 7-3.
Takarafuji defeats Takanosho – Takanosho decided to try his usual tachiai, which Takarafuji deftly absorbed. As Takarafuji attempted to deflect the follow up charge, it was evident that Takanosho was too far forward, and Takarafuji helped him to continue forward to land face first in the clay. Takarafuji improves to 7-3, one win from a well deserved kachi-koshi.
Tamawashi defeats Sadanoumi – This match was a non-stop slug fest from the tachiai. If you wanted to see two rikishi unleash flurry after flurry of thrusts and blows, this is your bout. Tamawashi eventually found himself on Sadanoumi’s flank, he grabbed his mawashi and chucked him down like a bag of cement. Both men leave the day a 3-7.
Yutakayama defeats Kagayaki – Well, this is starting to get serious. “Big Unit” Yutakayama, seems to have bounced back from his 2-5 start, and has now rallied to an even 5-5. If you wanted to see Kagayaki really work a match, this is a fantastic example, as Yutakayama threw everything at Mr Fundamentals, but Kagayaki stayed stable, stance wide and pressing forward. He had Yutakayama pinned at the bales, but the Big Unit found a handle, turned and thrust Kagayaki down. Two stars from the near future in action, showing some great sumo.
Okinoumi defeats Tokushoryu – Okinoumi made fast work of the Hatsu yusho winner, handing him the inevitable make-koshi we knew was coming for a week or so now. I look forward to seeing how Tokushoryu does in the mid-Maegashira ranks, as it is clear that M2 is well outside of his ability this March.
Daieisho defeats Abi – Daieisho has learned well the mechanics of disrupting Abi-zumo, and applied them with gusto. For those of you wondering, thrust upward at the elbows and shut down his rhythm early. His foot placement is always set to allow maximum forward pressure, and if you remove that double-arm attack from the equation, he is inherently unstable. Daieisho improves to 7-3, and could reach kachi-koshi tomorrow against Endo.
Myogiryu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji once again racks up “The Most Powerful Make-Koshi In Sumo”, as Myogiryu completely disrupts his attack, then steps aside when Hokutofuji rallies to move ahead.
Mitakeumi defeats Endo – Endo staked everything on that predicable left hand mawashi grip at the tachiai. Mitakeumi went for a quick left hand nodowa. Did anyone else see that ottsuke? Mitakeumi presses forward with his massive body, and just overruns Endo’s defenses. Mitakeumi picks up his 8th win, and his kachi-koshi. So far the Mitakeumi second week fade is nowhere in sight.
Asanoyama defeats Enho – Asanoyama stays on the trail of his Ozeki bid by bashing the genki out of Enho, sending him one loss away from make-koshi. Asanoyama was in oshi-mode today, and Enho was grabbing arms, hands, wrists – anything really, to try to unbalance Asanoyama. The Ozeki hopefully was having none of it, and just kept moving forward with power. Asanoyama now kachi-koshi.
Shodai defeats Takakeisho – The lone surviving Ozeki is in trouble now, as he opens strong against Shodai, who quite impressively stayed calm and showed some nice “Defend and Extend” sumo today. He kept urging Takakeisho to move forward, and lean forward until he could slap him down. Both men end the day at 5-5.
Onosho defeats Hakuho – Hakuho’s enormous ego and overflowing skill channel him to try and fight his lower ranked opponents by copying their style. Clearly he decided he was going to take Onosho on in a thrusting match, but he found that this tadpole has the power of Takakeisho, with the reach of Ryuden. You can’t just take a step back and remove his primary offense. Points to Onosho for pressing the attack, and offering the Yokozuna no escape. “The Boss” take his first loss, and Onosho improves to 6-4. The kami that lives in his red mawashi grew in power today, watch out. I am hoping against hope we get Onosho vs Takakeisho.
Kakuryu defeats Ryuden – Kakuryu was in no mood to play today, and just grabbed a hold and drove forward with power. That’s win #8 for Big K, and he’s kachi-koshi for March.