We regret to inform our readers that former Ozeki Terunofuji withdrew early today from the mock basho. We had seen it coming since day 1, as the kaiju was clearly hurt, and unable to move with any strength at all. He is reported to have injured his ACL, and we hope it was just minor damage. The kyujo certificate only reads 2 weeks rest, so maybe it was only inflamed.
Further up the banzuke, in current Ozeki territory, Takakeisho is in serious trouble now. A loss today puts him at 2-5 for the tournament heading into the middle day on Sunday. His odds of taking 6 of the last 8 are not good, and I fear we may be seeing him once again as an Ozekiwake, as he was last September. A combination of opponents getting a belt grip, and apparent loss of power from his primary pushing weapon set has left the Grand Tadpole vulnerable and a fairly easy mark.
Day 7 Matches
Nishikigi (6-1) defeats Wakatakakage (4-3) Oshidashi – Nishikigi seems to have found his Cinderella mawashi from 2 years ago, and it’s working wonders. He’s change up his style quite a bit from always going for the double arm bar. Wakatakakage came in hard and low, but he was surprised to find that Nishikigi hand dropped his hands and thrust upward at the moment of contact. With one hand on Wakatakakage’s face and a second on his chest, Wakatakakage found himself without offensive position. Nishikigi converted his left hand to an inside hold as Wakatakakage hopped back in an effort to escape, but Nishikigi kept that left hand against Wakatakakage’s body. Realizing he had made a second mistake, Wakatakakage tried to pull, but his move only powered Nishikigi’s charge to win. Nice sumo today from the man in the green belt.
Chiyomaru (2-5) defeats Kotonowaka (3-4) Oshidashi – Chiyomaru led into the tachiai, his arms up and his palms forward to halt Kotonowaka’s somewhat tepid charge. Chiyomaru immediately unleashed a volley of thrusts to Kotonowaka’s face and neck, and he was forced to give ground. Kotonowaka reset and reached in to get both hands tentatively around Chiyomaru’s enormous body. Although Kotonowaka is on big fluffy, doughy guy, Chiyomaru was out to prove the power of the belly, and Kotonowaka found he could gain no purchase. A second volley of thrusts and Kotonowaka lost his footing, and hopped out of the ring. Chiyomaru had been on a cold streak since day 1, so it was good to see him get his second win.
Takayasu (6-1) defeats Terunofuji (0-7) Fusen – Takayasu winner by default. I am sure he does not mind the win, but we all hope Terunofuji recovers.
Kotoshoho (4-3) defeats Shohozan (3-4) Yorikiri – I really liked Kotoshoho’s position at the tachiai. As Shohozan drove inside, Kotoshoho kept his right leg back, kept his hips low and concentrated on ottsuke, which frankly I am starting to notice he has a bit of a gift for (as did Kisenosato). Frustrated by Kotoshoho’s blocking technique, Shohozan launched into a blistering combo attack, a dive in with the left hand – blocked by Kotoshoho’s ottsuke, immediate slap from the right to Kotoshoho’s face. Much admiration as Kotoshoho took Shohozan’s blows with strength and just kept moving forward. Shohozan found himself out mid-slap, and Kotoshoho took home the win. Great technique today.
Sadanoumi (5-2) defeats Kotoyuki (3-4) Yorikiri – Kotoyuki went for the face, as Sadanoumi focused center-mass at the tachiai. The two exchanged rapid-fire combination thrusts to the upper body, neither man yielding position at the shikiri-sen. As Kotoyuki amplified his thrusts, Sadanoumi’s lightning speed and some spectacular timing saw him drive inside. The gamble paid off (Kotoyuki could have pulled at that moment and put Sadanoumi on his face), with Sadanoumi getting a right hand inside grip. Kotoyuki attempted an arm bar against that right hand, but the move caused him to release forward pressure, and Sadanoumi drove him from the ring.
Kotoeko (3-4) defeats Tochinoshin (1-6) Oshitaoshi – How bad are Tochinoshin’s knee? So bad that Kotoeko was able to thrust him down for an Oshitaoshi win. I know Tochinoshin, as a former Ozeki, makes good money every time he steps on the clay, but this is just too much to witness.
Kotoshogiku (5-2) defeats Myogiryu (3-4) Tsukiotoshi – Every time Kotoshogiku mounts the dohyo, I always hope I can see him in his genki form. The full power Kyushu bulldozer, with the hug-n-chug offense in all of its glory. But today we got a deft step to the side and thrust down. I guess this is what you get when your knees are shot and you still want to be kachi-koshi on day 15.
Ikioi (2-5) defeats Shimanoumi (4-3) Oshidashi – Long time fans have been looking for Ikioi to rally. Injury aside, the man is a sumo machine and has a warrior spirit through and through. Ikioi ramped up the pressure post tachiai, and drove Shimanoumi back. But Shimanoumi had no intention of losing to Ikioi today, and drove him back, training thrust for thrust. Ikioi reverse his lead hand and forced Shimanoumi to go chest to chest to shut down the attack. Locked up at the center of the dohyo, each man drove forward with all of their strength. Ikioi’s hands were inside, but too high to constitute a grip of any kind. Realizing that Shimanoumi was working to drain his stamina, Ikioi thrust upward twice with his right hand, breaking Shimanoumi’s hold and causing him to stumble. Ikioi advanced and took the match. I don’t know where he gets it, but I am glad it’s still there.
Chiyotairyu (5-2) defeats Kaisei (2-5) Oshidashi – When two men of this size face off, their tachiai is recorded on seismometers across the globe. Kaisei’s tachiai is slow but massive. Chiyotairyu’s violent and explosive. Today’s clash resulted in a meaty crack that must have echoed through the empty Kokugikan. A quick inside thrust to Kaisei’s chest as he moved to step forward started his reversal, and Chiyotairyu fell forward, both men stumbled to the west size and fell out. The gumbai went to Chiyotairyu. But the Shimpan decided to review the results, or maybe just talk about who was going to flush Goeido’s (Takekuma Oyakata) head down the toilet that evening. The verdict stood and Chiyotairyu improves to 5-2.
Tokushoryu (5-2) defeats Tamawashi (3-4) Okuridashi – Tamawashi opened with a strong tachiai and a great follow up combo. But Tokushoryu deftly deflected the final push of Tamawashi’s combo, and the strength of that thrust was enough to turn the former Sekiwake. Tokushoryu wasted no time in applying maximum force from behind and launched Tamawashi over the bales.
Ishiura (7-0) defeats Ryuden (2-5) Yorikiri – Ah, traditional Ryuden: matta, matta! Plus a bonus cheap shot against the sole leader of the basho going into the middle day. It did not seem to rattle Ishiura one bit. After a tentative tachiai (I think Ryuden was looking out for an Ishiura henka..), Ryuden tried to keep Ishiura at arms length with wide, sweeping thrusts. But one swing went wide, and Ishiura dove in, grabbed a right hand outside grip and drove forward for the win. 7-0 to start the mock basho, and I am damn impressed. His sumo has been tack sharp, and I hope he gets higher ranking opponents in week 2.
Hokutofuji (4-3) defeats Terutsuyoshi (2-5) Tsukiotoshi – Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai missed its mark, but his right hand arrived suddenly on the back of Terutsuyoshi’s neck. Terutsuyoshi had lost his balance at the tachiai, and Hokutofuji took the gift of gravity in stride and pulled with his right, and Terutsuyoshi went face first into the clay.
Enho (2-5) defeats Abi (3-4) Shitatedashinage – Dare we hope Enho has found a path through whatever injury has been plaguing him in the first 6 days? Or did he suddenly recover his mojo? Abi succeeded in getting his hands up early, and in Enho’s face, but after receiving one set of blows to the face, he took a big step back, and Abi lunged forward. At the moment he was in motion, Enho ducked under and latched his right hand firmly onto Abi’s belt. A quick push from the left and pull to the right, and Abi tumbled to the clay. Only the second win for Enho thus far, but it’s the first day he really executed his preferred techniques. Fingers crossed he can keep it up.
Endo (2-5) defeats Takanosho (5-2) Uwatedashinage – Much like Ikioi, long time fans knew Endo would probably rally. Takanosho has been on a hot streak that included dropping Yokozuna Kakuryu. But the master tactician dismantled Takanosho like a junker car with rare parts. Endo drove hard at the tachiai and found his preferred shallow grip, and quickly loaded the throw. Takanosho caught air as his feet left the clay, and he landed with a wet thud just shy of the tawara.
Daieisho (5-2) defeats Yutakayama (1-6) Oshidashi – Yutakayama threw the kitchen sink into this match, and in spite of having the upper hand for most of it, found himself on the wrong side of the tawara at the end. Daieisho as able to get the inside hand position, and kept working at Yutakayama’s upper body. But the “Big Unit” applied double arm lateral thrusts to rock Daieisho off balance, and then drove forward. As the two continued to trade blows, Yutakayama attempted to pull Daieisho down, but that moment he released forward pressure was just the move that Daieisho had anticipated, and he pushed forward into Yutakayama and pushed him into an Oyakata.
Mitakeumi (6-1) defeats Aoiyama (4-3) Oshidashi – Big Dan Aoiyama could not find enough room to keep his arms swinging, as Mitakeumi went belly to belly with Aoiyama, and it seems may have surprised him. With his arms trapped over Mitakeumi’s shoulders, Aoiyama could do little as Mitakeumi advanced, and applied a forceful “goodbye” shove to send him bottom first over the edge.
Shodai (4-3) defeats Okinoumi (1-6) Yorikiri – Shodai set up shop on the second step after the tachiai, getting his left hand inside and past Okinoumi’s attempt at ottsuke. The two struggled for grip, and suddenly Shodai had a double inside / morozashi grip. Now completely in control of the match, he worked to pacify Okinoumi, before driving him out at a trot. It was apparent that Okinoumi was only really able to generate a fraction of his normal power, but Shodai was on top of his sumo today.
Asanoyama (5-2) defeats Onosho (2-5) Tsukiotoshi – Ack! As an Onosho booster, I just can’t abide seeing him get so far forward early in the match, before he has his feet set. Asanoyama dispensed with his normal yotsu style, and just slapped him down.
Takarafuji (4-3) defeats Takakeisho (2-5) Oshidashi – Takakeisho is now in real trouble, as he picks up his 5th loss for the basho, and his 4th loss in a row. My compliments to Takarafuji for ducking and evading with exquisite timing, he was able to keep Takakeisho from connecting with any real force until Takarafuji had drained him of stamina. A poor step by the Ozeki left the door open for Takarafuji, and a well placed shove sent him down. Takarafuji is in the midst of a hot-streak against the named ranks right now…
Kakuryu (5-2) defeats Kagayaki (5-2) Okuridashi – Kagayaki was completely outclassed today, in spite of superb defensive footwork. He was no match for Kakuryu’s mobility and skill at keeping his opponent guessing what comes next. What came next was a glancing thrust that sent Kagayaki to the size, and gave the Yokozuna a clear path to get behind Mr Fundamentals and drive him from the ring.
Hakuho (5-2) defeats Kiribayama (2-5) Yorikiri – Hakuho’s done playing, it seems. Kiribayama had never faced the dai-Yokozuna before, and Hakuho gave him his traditional welcome gift of a rapid loss. The face slap from the left, a shove from the right, and Kiribayama was launched back to the bales. Hakuho drove forward and managed to get both hands around Kiribayama as he powered him out of the ring.