It’s time to start act 3 of the mock Natsu basho. Act 3 is where we sort the rikishi into make-koshi and kachi-koshi, we start speculating about who will get the boot back to Juryo, and we crown our yusho winner. The biggest shock of the day is that both Yokozuna went down to losses from younger rikishi. Both Hakuho and Kakuryu are kachi-koshi, and in no real risk of being recommended for retirement, but it’s the kind of event that has been predicted since we entered the transitional period.
Takakeisho, having reached 8 losses and being consigned to reduction in rank for the next tournament, has wisely withdrawn to focus on recovery of that torn left pectoral muscle. Depending on how severe that tear is, it could be a career limiting or even ending injury. I am guessing the Sumo Kyokai is thankful for promoting Asanoyama following the Osaka tournament. The question now must be asked – we we lose Takakeisho, who is showing any sort of mettle to rise to the challenge of the Ozeki rank?
Last but in no way least, Ishiura’s spell seems to have been broken, as he goes down for the second day in a row. This transforms the yusho race in a five way brawl between Ishiura, Asanoyama, Mitakeumi, Sadanoumi and Tokushoryu. If Tokushoryu can manage to wrack up his second yusho in one year, then 2020 needs to go into the timeout corner and think about what it’s done.
Mock Natsu Leaderboard
Leaders – Asanoyama, Mitakeumi, Tokushoryu, Ishiura, Sadanoumi
Chasers – Hakuho, Kakuryu, Chiyotairyu ,Nishikigi
Hunt Group – Takarafuji, Hokutofuji, Takayasu, Kotoshogiku
4 Matches Remain
Day 11 Matches
Tochiozan (3-7) defeats Chiyomaru (3-7) Katasukashi – Veteran Tochiozan visits the top division to fill the Terunofuji banzuke gap, and delivers a seldom seen kimarite against Chiyomaru. That’s a under shoulder swing down against a man so big and round he was a real risk of rolling all the way back to the dressing room. Of course Chiyomaru helped the cause by getting forward of his toes moments after the tachiai.
Wakatakakage (6-5) defeats Takayasu (7-4) Oshidashi – After a great start, I have my doubts about Takayasu’s health now in the 3rd act. That knee that collapsed so hideously in Osaka may be bothering him again. It certainly limited both his mobility and his power today as Wakatakakage was able to gain control of the match after 15 seconds, and pushed him around the bales until Takayasu stumbled and went down.
Kotoshogiku (7-4) defeats Shohozan (5-6) Yorikiri – Shohozan attempted a henka / hit and shift at the tachiai, placing his hands on Kotoshogiku’s neck and pulling to try and drop the former Ozeki in the opening moment of the match. It failed and Kotoshogiku latched onto Shohozan’s arms and drove forward for a quick win.
Kotoyuki (5-6) defeats Shimanoumi (5-6) Yorikiri – Kotoyuki went high and Shimanoumi went low at the tachiai, with Shimanoumi reaching for the belt and Kotoyuki thrusting to Shimanoumi’s face. Before Shimanoumi could set his feet and begin to attack, Kotoyuki drove forward and sent him out. I think that Shimanoumi was not quite ready at the tachiai, and his improvised opening gambit fell apart in a hurry.
Myogiryu (5-6) defeats Kotoeko (5-6) Yorikiri – This probably should have been a matta, as Myogiryu launched early, and got control of the match before Kotoeko could even stand up. Three steps later, Myogiryu had him over the tawara for a win.
Chiyotairyu (8-3) defeats Kotoshoho (6-5) Tsukiotoshi – Very soft tachiai from Chiyotairyu today, as if he was expecting Kotoshoho to henka or side-step his normally powerful tachiai. Chiyotairyu begins thrusting and pushing but he yielded the inside position to Kotoshoho. Chiyotairyu’s overwhelming power drove Kotoshoho down for Chiyotairyu’s 8th win, and a nice kachi-koshi for our mock basho.
Sadanoumi (9-2) defeats Nishikigi (8-3) Hikiotoshi – Sadanoumi’s lightning fast tachiai had Nishikigi struggling to react, Nishikigi got his hands positioned to enact an arm bar hold, but Sadanoumi shifted his shoulders at the moment Nishikigi reached to grab. Sadanoumi swiftly helped him finish his trip to the dohyo to extend his win count to 9.
Kotonowaka (6-5) defeats Terutsuyoshi (3-8) Uwatenage – Kotonowaka executed a hit and shift at the tachiai, as Terutsuyoshi powered ahead. Getting to the side of his opponent, and landing a left hand mawashi grip, Kotonowaka rolled into the throw and delivered loss number 8 to Terutsuyoshi.
Ryuden (4-7) defeats Tochinoshin (2-9) Yorikiri – Tochinoshin’s loss streak continues, and I have to wonder about risk of demotion to Juryo. With any luck lksumo may look into is formulae and give us an opinion. Tochinoshin can’t seem to generate any forward power, and was only able to deliver token resistance to Ryuden’s attack.
Enho (5-6) defeats Kaisei (3-8) Kainahineri – We love it when Enho produces some of sumo’s more seldom seen winning moves. Kaisei looked like he was ready for Enho to dive in and work deeply underneath, and Enho was happy to supply. As Kaisei reached to place his hands, Enho got both of his on Kaisei’s left arm. In response, Kaisei took a deep grip on Enho, and held on just long enough for Enho to pivot and twist, bringing Kaisei down. That was loss number 8 for Kaisei, and he is now make-koshi.
Hokutofuji (7-4) defeats Ikioi (2-9) Oshidashi – Ikioi launched out of the tachiai a half beat earlier than Hokutofuji, and Hokutofuji was not able to get his right hand up and ready to establish a neck hold. Instead Ikioi got his left hand inside and struggled to grip against Hokutofuji’s ottsuke. Showing excellent form, Hokutofuji kept his hips lower, his shoulders square to his opponents, and pressed against Ikioi’s right shoulder to break the grip attempt. The thrust was so effective it moved Ikioi back, and Hokutofuji followed through, shoving Ikioi out for the win.
Abi (6-5) defeats Tamawashi (4-7) Oshidashi – Tamawashi had no answer for Abi-zumo, which seems to be running at full throttle now. Both hands went up at the tachiai, and in spite of Tamawashi’s excellent mobility, he could not disengage from Abi’s double arm thrusting attacks.
Aoiyama (6-5) defeats Ishiura (9-2) Oshidashi – Big Dan fires up the V-Twin an drops the yusho leader into the mosh pit at 9-2. Aoiyama attempted a pull down straight out of the tachiai, which failed, but wrecked Ishiura’s offensive plans, and left him off balance. Three big blows from Aoiyama and Ishiura was tossed over the bales for a loss.
Tokushoryu (9-2) defeats Kagayaki (6-5) Oshidashi – Kagayaki got the better of the tachiai, and set up a left hand inside position. Tokushoryu brought his hips forward and employed his massive belly to move Kagayaki back. With a stable, heavy stance, Kagayaki gave little ground. Dropping his right hand from around Kagayaki’s chest, Tokushoryu pressed forward, prying Kagayaki inch by inch out of his grip. In a flash, Kagayaki released his hold and answered with a combination of blows. With Tokushoryu’s right hand free, he drove forward and leveraged his mass to drive Kagayaki from the ring.
Takanosho (6-5) defeats Kiribayama (4-7) Oshidashi – Kiribayama had his palms against Takanosho chest at the tachiai, while Takanosho went for Kiribayama’s neck. Kiribayama’s attack against center-mass was ultimately far more effective, and a solid thrust moved Takanosho back. Takanosho lunged forward to re-engage, and in his second clash, he put all his energy against Kiribayama’s shoulders. As Kiribayama’s upper body twisted to his right (was he setting up some kind of big swat at Takanosho?), Takanosho delivered a double-arm thrust to Kiribayama’s exposed left shoulder, sending him back and out.
Takarafuji (7-4) defeats Yutakayama (4-7) Oshidashi – Takarafuji came in with his left shoulder forward, and his hands ready to shut down Yutakayama’s first thrusting attacks. This worked perfectly, and as Takarafuji rotated his elbows, both of his hands were pushing against Yutakayama’s chest. With Yutakayama now on defense, Takarafuji could call the tempo and tone of the match, and proceeded to frustrate and deflect every attack Yutakayama unleashed. They danced around the shikiri-sen, neither man having an advantage until Yutakayama attempted to pull Takarafuji down. That gambit failed and Yutakayama found himself in a rather speedy reverse gear for the moment before he left the dohyo.
Onosho (5-6) defeats Endo (2-9) Kotenage – This did not start out as a belt fight, but after Endo got his left hand grip, Onosho shifted gears from his oshi-attacks, and used his right arm to employ Endo’s left arm as the leverage point for a throw. Good improvisation, but I cringe each time I see anyone set up a kotenage now.
Okinoumi (3-8) defeats Daieisho (5-6) Yorikiri – Again we see that with a make-koshi firmly in hand, Okinoumi’s sumo is improving. He was able to claim a left hand inside position at the tachiai, and as Daieisho focuses on moving forward, he was too high and could not maintain forward pressure against Okinoumi’s superior foot placement and body position. An attempt at an uwatenage fell apart and Okinoumi had to settle for a Yorikiri instead. But it was a solid win, and hopefully his injuries are causing fewer problems now.
Shodai (5-5) defeats Takakeisho (2-8) Fusen – Shodai seems to have a knack for picking up these default wins. Takakeisho’s kyujo improves his record to 5-5, and keeps him very much on track for a day 15 Darwin match.
Asanoyama (9-2) defeats Kakuryu (8-3) Oshidashi – When Kakuryu starts pulling, or fighting in reverse, you know he’s probably messed up his lower back again. That ill conceived attempt to pull down Asanoyama as he was shifting his grip opened the express route to a Yokozuna defeat. Some fans rightly wonder if Asanoyama is seasoned enough to be an Ozeki yet, today’s win seems to show he’s up to the rank.
Mitakeumi (9-2) defeats Hakuho (8-3) Yorikiri – The boss ran out of alternate plans to throw at Mitakeumi, whose only plan was to lumber forward with strength but not haste, and break every hold Hakuho could set up. Mitakeumi’s relentless focus on maintaining his right hand inside kept him in the fight and eventually carried the match. I know fans like to talk about Mitakeumi as an Ozeki candidate, and on days like these he looks the part.