Tokyo July Basho Nakabi Highlights

The first week of the tournament over and we have quite the entertaining show on our hands. Unfortunately, before today’s action we received word that promising Kotonowaka has withdrawn due to a knee injury. Herouth sussed out the reason and it sure sounds painful. The young man had soreness after his bout with Kaisei yesterday and couldn’t bend his knee this morning. As a result he has pulled out.

Highlight Matches

Terunofuji (7-1) defeated Nishikigi (2-6): Terunofuji succeeded in grabbing Nishikigi’s belt with his left hand just out of the tachiai. His right arm was just under Nishikigi’s left arm pit, forcing Nishikigi’s left arm into an awkward and useless raised position. Even in this awkward position, Nishikigi was able to resist Terunofuji’s first drive to the edge. However, he was unable to improve his position so the second drive to the edge proved decisive. Yorikiri.

Kotoeko (6-2) defeated Takayasu (4-4): As Bruce predicted, Kotoeko focused on Takayasu’s left arm and immobilized it. He continued to drive confidently into Takayasu, fishing for the belt. For a few seconds, Takayasu was able to get Kotoeko off and force an oshi battle but Kotoeko dove time and time again for the belt. Takayasu grimaced after a kotenage attempt on the arm and shortly afterward Kotoeko edecuted a throw. Uwatenage.

Sadanoumi (4-4) defeated Kotoshoho (6-2): After a strong tachiai, Sadanoumi locked up Kotoshoho’s belt with his left hand. Keeping action in the center of the ring, Sadanoumi lulled Kotoshoho to sleep and then executed a wonderful left-handed throw. Uwatenage.

Wakatakakage (4-4) defeated Shohozan (2-6): Shohozan’s intimidation stare down was ineffective. At the tachiai, Wakatakakage drove for the shoulder. The slight shift forced Shohozan into an awkward sideways position and his own thrusts missed. Wakatakakage pushed forward with Shohozan’s left arm up, forcing Shohozan to slide over sideways and out. Oshidashi. *I miss Tochiozan.

Tochinoshin (5-3) defeated Kotonowaka (4-4): Kotonowaka’s sudden kyujo handed Tochinoshin the walk-over win. The reason for the kyujo is listed as an injury, not dinner. It appears his left knee was injured after yesterday’s bout. Fusen.

Kotoyuki (2-6) defeated Kaisei (3-5): Kotoyuki was the aggressor on this bout, forcing an oshi battle. The strong tachiai led to a quick pull attempt, forcing Kaisei off-balance. Kaisei just barely stayed up but Kotoyuki kept up the offensive, forcing Kaisei around the ring. Tsukidashi.

Chiyomaru (2-6) defeated Myogiryu (6-2): Chiyomaru found his sumo and charged out on the offensive. A strong tachai drove Myogiryu back and then a quick pull unsettled Myogiryu. He got a rare vocal response from the crowd with his well-timed decisive shove. Shoving with his left hand into Myogiryu’s right shoulder, Myogiryu landing on the bales. The impressed “Oooo” reminded me of the crowds of old…followed by the applause brought me back to reality. Tsukiotoshi.

Ishiura (3-5) defeated Shimanoumi (2-6): Ishiura gets more “Oooo” reactions from the crowd with a well-timed left foot trip. His left-handed belt grip rotated Shimanoumi into a spin, once he completed a full rotation, he slipped that left foot behind Shimanoumi’s right leg and then rotated backwards. Having successfully fumigated the dohyo, Ishiura seemed to regain his confidence. Susoharai.

Kotoshogiku (6-2) defeated Chiyotairyu (3-5): A quick belt grab and drive, Kotoshogiku bulldozed Chiyotairyu over the edge with little resistance. Perhaps it was the angle that left Chiyotairyu unable to counter? Yorikiri.

Halftime? (I Lost Track)

Terutsuyoshi (4-4) defeated Ikioi (2-6): “ちくしょう.” A slight deflection from Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai but Ikioi was ready. After a short oshi battle, Ikioi reached around Terutsuyoshi to attack from the back but Terutsuyoshi countered with the same attack to Ikioi’s back was able to push Ikioi out awkwardly. Yorikiri.

Tamawashi (6-2) defeated Tokushoryu (4-4): A bout of champions. Tamawashi’s right-hand in Tokushoryu’s face forced Tokushoryu high. He then followed with a well-timed pull, Tokushoryu in a heap at the center of the ring. Hatakikomi.

Takarafuji (3-5) defeated Ryuden (3-5): Ryuden pitched too far forward trying to get that left-hand in. Takarafuji twisted and shoved into Ryuden’s right side.  Tsukiotoshi.

Kiribayama (3-5) defeated Enho (4-4): Enho missed with his slap at the tachiai but connected with the belt. Kiribayama’s right hand grip from above and Enho’s left-hand grip from below. Twice Enho pulled and almost got Kiribayama off balance but each time Kiribayama recovered. When it was Kiribayama’s turn to go on the offensive, he did not disappoint, pulling Enho across the ring and into the dirt. Uwatenage.

Takanosho (5-3) defeated Yutakayama (0-8): Onosho kept up solid pressure on Yutakayama after a brief oshi-battle. Yutakayama extended a bit awkwardly with his right and Onosho’s sustained effort forced the mountain out over the bales and to an early make-koshi record. Yorikiri.


Daieisho (5-3) defeated Onosho (0-8): After the tachiai both rikishi attempted to decapitate each other with matching facial shoves. Onosho tired of the nodowas, turned his head, perhaps searching for the exit. One final shove from Daieisho and Onosho capitulated, joining Yutakayama as make-koshi. Okuridashi.

Okinoumi (4-4) defeated Endo (2-6): Okinoumi’s solid tachiai worked Endo back a step. His height meant his extended body was too long for Endo to secure that right-handed belt grab. As Endo kept reaching, Okinoumi drove forward, forcing an impotent Endo over the edge and into the crowd empty purple mats. Endo left running away from the dohyo, as seems quite common. Yorikiri.

Shodai (7-1) defeated Mitakeumi (7-1): No wild, cartoon nonsense from Shodai today. Solid tachiai. Perhaps the shoulder blast stunned Mitakeumi? Mitakeumi forced Shodai high but couldn’t follow with a real attack and seemed lost. So, he lost. Shodai’s left arm under aite’s right armpit gave him leverage to bring high-flying Mitakeumi back to Earth. Tsukiotoshi.

It’s a two-horse race for now. How will Asanoyama and Hakuho respond?

Hokutofuji (5-3) defeated Takakeisho (5-3): Takakeisho’s scowl vs Hokutofuji’s stomp. Stomp wins quickly with a sudden sidestep. Solid tachiai but Hokutofuji shifted left and brought his right arm down on Takakeisho’s head. Takakeisho could not find a way to pull. Rather, it was Hokutofuji. Hatakikomi.

Asanoyama (8-0) defeated Aoiyama (3-5): Asanoyama did not let Aoiyama’s thrusts dissuade him from latching on to Aoiyama’s belt. Once Asanoyama grabbed that belt, Aoiyama knew it was over and the V-twin went into reverse, stepping out. Yorikiri.

Hakuho (8-0) vs Kagayaki (3-5): Hakuho derives his power from that copper-infused mawashi. A strong tachiai from Kagayaki but the blow to the face really angered the master. Hakuho decided he did not need to mess with a belt grab and instead grabs Kagayaki’s head and shoved it to the clay. Bruce was prescient. Wakanohana wonders, “who can stop Hakuho?” Aoiyama?

24 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Nakabi Highlights

  1. “Wakatakakage pushed forward with Tochiozan’s left arm up, forcing Shohozan to slide over sideways and out.”
    Seems unreasonable cruel to use another rikishi’s arm but if it wins…

  2. Rotten luck for Kotonowaka (and rotten luck for everyone in juryo if he lands there in September). I wonder if this has been creeping up on him for a day or two as he seemed to be struggling after a strong start. His oyakata said that he might be able to return this basho so maybe it isn’t as grim as the description makes it sound. Two more wins would probably see him survive.

    Sometimes I spend so much time watching the arms in a sumo bout that I forget about the feet. At first I thought that Ishiura had just twirled Shimanoumi around till he got dizzy then pushed him over, but that was a very nifty move. I couldn’t recall seeing the “hairy Susan” (susoharai) before but I checked and it’s the move that Kakuryu used against Chiyotairyu in Nagoya last year.

    • Knees are incredibly important in sumo and even bruising there will cause too many issues to take the risk of continuing on, honestly. It’s unfortunate for Kotonowaka, but you’re correct that he’ll bounce back up ASAP if he does drop to Juryo.

      • He’ll just need to head properly and not rush back to get several more losses by the end of the basho…

    • Well, replays show Kotonowaka trusted awkwardly on his left knee, while succumbing to Kaisei.

      Yep, Kakuryu against Chiyotairyu. Spot on.

  3. I was watching SumoNatto’s (NattoSumo that was) makuuchi video; I realized that Araiso-oyakata was doing the color commentary when they put the video feed of him commentating an inset window during the slo-mo replay of Takayasu’s match. I really wish I knew what he was saying! (Interestingly they decided to have both commentators in the booth with a clear plastic partition between them.)

    • He is mostly talking about Kotoeko’s good attacks – he keeps doing an ottsuke with his right, denying Takayasu, until he gets the overarm grip, and even when counters, relentlessly pushes forward again, etc.

  4. A lot of interesting comments from Raja today, including this about Shodai “Seems like he’s, IMO really Shodai is on the offensive, while even if he looks defensive, he’s on the offensive all the time and that’s really helping him with those come from behind victories” Not sure I see it that way but definitely thought-provoking.
    As for Takakeisho, I thought his 8 wins would be easy, but he’s now lost 3 and still has to face 4 sanyaku with a combined record of 30-2. So he’s against the wall already, and can’t afford another loss against a lesser opponent.

    • Shodai is definitely focused and determined this basho. I think his previous performance plus Asanoyama getting Ozeki has really motivated him.

      • Looks like his sumo has matured. It’s really, really solid.
        I curiously believe his failed yusho quest has motivated him even more.

    • Completely agree about Takakeisho. Seeing how easily he has defeated some opponents, it’s just impossible to believe he gave away three cheap losses like that.
      Well, he remains far from his physical best, and he’ll have a hard time keeping his rank.
      If one counts losses to Hakuho, Asanoyama and Mitakeumi, that’s already six losses 🥶

  5. It’s nice to see Araiso Oyakata show so much personality when he’s commentating sumo! It’s obivious he’s mentally in a good place and enjoying his work.

    Kotoeko just OVERWHELMS people right now. WOW!

    Terunofuji has apparently gotten tired of potentially losing, so he’s going back his old ways of trying to brute force everything. When his body gives out, it’s going to be really, really ugly.

    Zero resistance from Chiotairyu against Kotoshogiku. An injury perhaps?

    Nice win for Terutsuyohsi, but that was an awkward fall for Ikioi. I hope his ankle is okay.

    SHODAI! What a fantastic win!

    No idea what’s wrong with Onosho and Yukatayama, but I hope they turn it around next basho.

    • I do like Kotoeko. He came up the hard way, starting at 15 years old and grinding his way up the ranks inch-by-inch for over a decade before reaching the promised land of Makunouchi. He’s seen it all, he fears no man and he’s living the dream right now. If he had been 5 cm taller and 20 kgs heavier he could have gone all the way, but he hasn’t done too badly, has he?

      • While attaining Yokozuna is the ultimate goal, I honestly think anyone who makes to to Juryo, never mind the top level should be proud of their career. Sure, some rikishi will have “what could have been” statements, but life is unfair and challenging. I have to keep reminding myself of Kotoeko’s age because my brain keeps thinking of him as “one of the new guys” even though that’s not really the case.

      • Have you watched the Sadogatake practice video the NSK uploaded to their YouTube before the basho? Kotoshoho and Kotonowaka were wiping the floor with Kotoeko, and he got really, really frustrated, punching the ground and whatnot. And kept going back. I thought he would have a terrible basho, but as it turned out, he got excellent practice and sharpened his dohyo sense. And he sure is a stubborn one.

  6. I was surprised to see Shodai now holds an 11-10 edge over Mitakeumi all-time, considering that the later has had far more overall success to this point.

    Asanoyama is in the groove. I’m not an Aoyama fan but even so it’s a pretty rare sight that someone can just bash straight into him and move him backwards.

    • Yeah, I’d think twice before moving forward, in direction of Aoiyama’s furious slaps. I remembered how he almost knocked out Tamawashi some day 😁

  7. Day 8 musings:

    Shohouzan was pedaling backwards and out before he could say “Wakatakakage”.

    Chiyotaryu’s face showed complete befuddlement after he met with the same fate against Giku. He seemed to think “when two bodies of near equal size going in opposite directions collide, then they shouldn’t be moving in the same direction after collision, yes?”

    The “newly wed Kaisei” is unusually listless in the ring. Wonder why? Is “nightly business” to blame?

    I found it interesting that the Araiso oyakata had no proper answer to how he would approach a bout against Enho. He must have surely thought about this at some point during the last year ….

      • Huh, I wouldn’t have thought of that — but of course if a former yokozuna puts good strategies to beat your deshi out on a national broadcast you might get a little annoyed.


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