Tokyo July Basho Day 11 Highlights

As Bruce would say, Act Three is upon us. It’s been a long time coming but we are now in the final stages of the July tournament. We’ve got quite the horse race with Secretariat Hakuho out in front chased by Asanoyama and Terunofuji. Terunofuji’s early success here reminds me of Ichinojo’s debut run. I’m eager to see how far he can take it. Asanoyama’s form, with the one weak performance against Mitakeumi, has been excellent. The three champions start Day 11 in fine form.

Highlight Matches

Nishikigi (4-6) defeated Chiyoshoma: Chiyoshoma-induced matta meant a henka was coming. Nishikigi snuffed it out but appeared to go down first as Chiyoshoma pulled while Nishikigi dove into Chiyoshoma. Mono-ii. Nishikigi was shown to be driving Chiyoshoma out and Chiyoshoma touched down outside. Oshidashi. This is the rule set we’re used to.

Wakatakakage (6-4) defeated Chiyomaru (3-7): Chiyomaru-induced matta Wakatakakage drove Chiyomaru back immediately. Chiyomaru tried a trip at the bales but missed. Wakatakakage continued to apply pressure to Chiyomaru’s shoulders, and drove him up and over the bales. Yorikiri.

Terunofuji (9-1) defeated Tochinoshin (6-4): Dramatic staredown, and immediate engagement on the belt at the tachiai for both men. A stalemate at the center of the ring as each man’s attempts to get momentum started was met with fierce resistance. Tochinoshin applied Sky Crane power and backed Terunofuji half-way to the tawara before Terunofuji could stop their progress. Tochinoshin let go with the left to try a throw at the edge but Terunofuji pivoted, maintained pressure on Tochinoshin and walked an exhausted Tochinoshin over the bales. Yorikiri. What else?

Shimanoumi (3-8) defeated Shohozan (2-9): Shohozan kept Shimanoumi off the belt but Shimanoumi continued to advance, ushering Shohozan over the tawara and out. Shohozan was perhaps a bit preoccupied with trying to mold Shimanoumi’s face like Play-Doh rather than actually advancing his position. Oshidashi.

Kotoyuki (5-6) defeated Myogiryu (7-4): Kotoyuki advanced from the tachiai, Myogiryu in retreat. Myogiryu continued to rotate to his right but Kotoyuki stayed right with him, paddling Myogiryu over the edge. Tsukidashi.

Kotoeko (8-3) defeated Ikioi (2-9): Ikioi solid on the tachiai, drove Kotoeko back a step but Kotoeko applied pressure to Ikioi shoving Ikioi to the edge. As soon as Kotoeko got a hand on Ikioi’s belt, he was able to get the leverage to raise Ikioi over the edge. Yorikiri.

Tamawashi (8-3) defeated Kotoshoho (7-4): Kotoshoho abandoned any attempt at a yotsu battle, engaging in a slapfest, and advancing to the edge. An ill-timed pull attempt from Kotoshoho. Tamawashi followed, driving forward through the Sadogatake beya youngster. Tsukitaoshi.

Takayasu (6-5) defeated Chiyotairyu (5-6): Takayasu with a shoulder blast at the tachiai, tried once to grab Chiyotairyu’s belt with the left but was denied. A powerful blast to the face from the former Ozeki sent Chiyotairyu into reverse. Takayasu pursued, driving Chiyotairyu over the bales. Tsukidashi.

Sadanoumi (5-6) defeated Ishiura (4-7): Sadanoumi off-balance, matta. Sadanoumi strong with the tachiai, slid Ishiura back. A well timed pull, with the right-handed force down on Ishiura’s traps forced Sadanoumi to the floor. Hatakikomi.

Kaisei (5-6) defeated Tokushoryu (6-5): Superior balance from Kaisei today. Tokushoryu advanced only to attempt pulls but Kaisei was wise to Tokushoryu’s strategy so he maintained his balance during each attack. Tokushoryu tired after a few laps around the ring and Kaisei was able to drive Tokushoryu out. Yorikiri.

Halftime

Kotoshogiku (8-3) defeated Terutsuyoshi (5-6): Terutsuyoshi met Kotoshogiku head on but Kotoshogiku overwhelmed Terutsuyoshi with his power. He pivoted Terutsuyoshi north and drove through. No gabburi needed, just solid footwork. One foot in front of the other bulldozed Terutsuyoshi until he was over the edge. Yorikiri.

Ryuden (5-6) defeated Onosho (0-11): Onosho woke up, with a strong tachiai bloodies Ryuden’s nose and forced him back. Ryuden shifts a bit to his left but Onosho maintained pressure moving forward. As soon as Ryuden reached the bales, Onosho attempted a throw. This was a huge mistake as it allowed Ryuden to come back to the center of the ring. Ryuden with a forceful pull of his own, hands shoved on the back of Onosho’s head, and drove Onosho to the dirt. Hatakikomi.

Enho (5-6) defeated Takanosho (5-6): Matta from Takanosho. Enho got the jump after the reset, catching Takanosho unprepared. He drove his shoulder into Takanosho and thought about a belt grip but didn’t need it. With his leverage from below, he drove Takanosho up and out of balance. Once Tananosho’s momentum was in reverse, he could not get a solid grip on the dohyo, Enho shoving Takanosho out. Oshidashi.

Aoiyama (4-7) defeated Yutakayama (1-10): What? Aoiyama on the belt — voluntarily? What the hell was that? Yutakayama had the advantage at the tachiai. Powerful thrusts forced Aoiyama back to the bales but get this. Aoiyama secured a solid left-hand grip on Yutakayama’s belt, and with a right forearm in Yutakayama’s chest drove Yutakayama back. Aoiyama has lost more than twice as many yorikiri bouts as he’s won. But he’s got a solid yotsu win here. Do that from now on! Yorikiri.

Endo (5-6) defeated Kiribayama (4-7): A shift by Kiribayama but Endo stayed upright and pursued Kiribayama. Kiribayama drove forward into Endo, Endo sliding back, halfway to the tawara. But sensing Kiribayama is out of control, Endo thrusts down hard on Kiribayama’s back, once, twice, thrice, and Kiribayama is down. Endo wins an oshi battle with Kiribayama. Am I still asleep? It’s 4:30am here so it’s quite possible I’m still dreaming but I’ll roll with it. Tsukitotoshi.

Sanyaku

Okinoumi (6-5) defeated Takarafuji (4-7): Okinoumi with a strong tachiai, got Takarafuji back a step. Both men with solid holds of their opponent. Takarafuji with a right-hand grip on the belt while Okinoumi has his right firmly on Takarafuji’s torso. Takarafuji drove forward and a well-timed pull from Okinoumi paired with a strong shove down sent Takarafuji to the clay. Tsukiotoshi.

Hokutofuji (7-4) defeated Shodai (8-3): Hokutofuji’s strong charge into Shodai who’s back to his less-than-impressive tachiai. Shodai drove forward with Hokutofuji circling in retreat to his right, with his left elbow connecting with Shodai’s head as he pulled. Shodai driven down by Hokutofuji as he reached the edge, trying to force out Hokutofuji. But Hokutofuji was still standing in the dohyo when Shodai went down. Tsukiotoshi.

Asanoyama (10-1) defeated Kagayaki (4-7): Kagayaki thrust his right arm into Asanoyama’s face but the Ozeki powered forward. He secured his left arm under Kagayaki’s right arm pit and got Kagayaki going back to the Ozeki’s right. Once Asanoyama got his right arm in there, too, Kagayaki was toast. Yorikiri.

Takakeisho (8-3) defeated Mitakeumi (8-3): Mitakeumi was ready but Takakeisho rolling his head around didn’t want to go yet. Takakeisho drove forward, Mitakeumi in retreat pushing down on Takakeisho’s back. No mono-ii? The version of the rule book omitting the bit about “first one to touch down loses”, is still apparently in the officials’ hands. Takakeisho benefits from it, yet again. Mitakeumi was dead when he jumped back, despite the fact that he was simultaneously forcing Takakeisho’s head down. Oshidashi.

Daieisho (7-4) defeated Hakuho (10-1): Hakuho is mortal. Hakuho wanted to pull, going for a hatakikomi at the tachiai but his right foot looked a bit out of control, splayed out far from his body as he nearly slipped. He recovered and drove forward into Daieisho, securing (momentarily) a right-hand belt grip under Daieisho’s mawashi but Daieisho deftly rolled his left shoulder and stepped back, slipping behind the boss. Uh-oh. The Yokozuna circled back around to try to regain the offensive but Daieisho had pounced, driving Hakuho back and out. Oshidashi.

A wry smile from Hakuho and he stopped by the video monitors on the way out to see the replay. He will not want to make the same mistake as we now have a three-man race for the title: Hakuho, Asanoyama & Terunofuji. Three popular champions will duke it out in Act Three. And I’m sure we’ll have more to discuss about dead men.

30 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Day 11 Highlights

  1. Great sumo from Daieisho! Hakuho took it well – his push on Daieisho’s shoulder after the bout looked like a good-natured “You got me dude”. The smart money still has to be on Hakuho, but the other two possibilities are both delicious – a first step for an Asanoyama Yokozuna push, or the completion of a miraculous comeback (and yet another yusho from M17). The 8-3s are out of it.

    • I want to see Ozeki Asanoyama for a while. We’re more depleted at that rank. Hakuho is holding down the Yokozuna rank pretty well. If Asanoyama can make a quick push like that, though, it would be cool.

      • It will take a lot (i.e. two straight tournament wins and nothing less) for Asanoyama to get to Yokozuna in my opinion. The YDC and NSK have recently been lenient with deciding who becomes Yokozuna and Ozeki due to depleted ranks and cultural pressure. As Andy stated, Hakuho is still Yokozuna, and is performing well at the rank, so there is no rush to promote Asanoyama. He’ll have to force his way into promotion. There are also a couple of other potential Ozeki candidates, but they also will have to justify their promotions especially considering their previous track records.

        • Actually, they allowed Kakuryu, Kisenosato and Goeido’s yokozuna/ozeki promotion a bit lightly, at least regarding the official requirements. And the field was everything but depleted.
          But I agree with you. If Asanoyama were to lose a playoff, and then win the following yusho, they would be like: you’re still young, prove it one more time and that will do it.

        • I wasn’t thinking of a one-two push for Asanoyama – in any case I expect Hakuho to win this time. What I was thinking is that Asanoyama wants to be promoted but before that even becomes a consideration, he has to win another yusho. As of now, promotion isn’t even in the picture. With a yusho it would be something people could start to think about. That’s all.

      • Maybe he’s kinda seeing himself like fourteen years ago or so? My dear, he reached the top ranks such a while ago?

  2. I am impressed by Watakakakage’s run of form this basho. He has definitely improved his sumo since his last visit to the top division and I hope he remains at this level. Two wins to go!

    Kachi-koshi, Kotoeko! Well deserved too!

    Kotoyuki showed a lot of fire and spirit in his bout. He definitely doesn’t want to ride the Juryo barge at the end of the basho. I think he also benefited from the canceled basho and being allowed to rest his body. Go, Penguin, go!

    Kaisei won because Tokoshoryu ruined his own Tottari attempt at the edge. It looked like Tokoshoryu didn’t take enough of a sidestep to get Kaisei all the way past his body when he made the throw. Great match by both rikishi!

    A birthday win for Okinoumi!

    My assumption, because that’s honestly what it is, is that Mitakeumi was considered a “dead body” because a) he was in the air first and b) he was going to land outside of the ring (i.e. his position was “unrecoverable”). If he had managed to jump and go straight up in the air, I wonder if the Shimpan would have given him the win.

    DAIESHO!!!! What an amazing win for him! Hakuho’s slip on the dohyo early in the match was definitely some foreshadowing. Maybe he has a problem with his toes again? A fantastic reaction from Daiesho to slip around Hakuho when he wasn’t expecting it. Intrigue and excitement abounds! We have a yusho race!

  3. Herouth, (or Tim? ) if Hoshoryu wins out, can he be promoted from J6?
    And considering Terunofuji low ranking, is there a chance he will face Asanoyama or Hakuho before a play-off? Thanks guys.

    • Re: Hoshoryu, it depends on how many promotion slots are open and how the rest of Juryo plays out. Right now he’s 5th in the promotion queue, behind Meisei, Tobizaru, Kyokutaisei, and Ichinojo…

      And yes, if Terunofuji remains at one loss after tomorrow, or maybe after day 13, I would expect him to face at least Asanoyama.

    • 5 of the last 6 men to get 11 wins fromj6e were promoted to Maku’uchi. So it’s certainly possible. It will all depend on how many slots are available.

    • You got the ranking answer from the grand expert. As for Terunofuji, Nishikido Oyakata (of the shimpan department) said explicitly that if he beats Tamawashi tomorrow, he’ll get san-yaku opponents next. Of course, that could mean just the komusubi and sekiwake, but I think if he keeps winning they’ll want to make sure he deserves the cup or is eliminated.

      So my prediction if he keeps winning would be Tamawashi->Mitakeumi->Asanoyama->Hakuho. If at any point he loses, he gets back to his own rank range.

    • A 11-4 record would definitely be mathematically enough. But as Iksumo pointed out, it will depend on people above him (in juryo and makuuchi).
      Let’s analyze the torikumi situation differently: Hakuho should face Takakeisho on day 14, and Asanoyama on day 15. Asanoyama should face… someone on day 14 (Shodai?).
      Terunofuji is unlikely to be paired against Hakuho on day 13, but rather on day 14 – that would say Hakuho would possibly not fight against one of the ozeki.

      • I would expect that this basho will follow precedent and that Hakuho and Asanoyama will meet on Day 14, with The Boss facing the higher ranked Ozeki Takakeisho on Senshuraku. Terunofuji could potentially mess with the natural order, but I’ll leave any match forecasts to the brilliant Iksumo.

        • I tend to agree with Herouth: should Terunofuji win tomorrow, he’ll get Mitakeumi-Asanoyama-Hakuho if he keeps winning. Takakeisho has cleared kadoban and isn’t really in the race, and he isn’t a Yokozuna, so skipping him is not a huge deal. I was thinking they’d want to keep Hakuho vs. Asanoyama for senshuraku, but if Asa is 12-2 and Terunofuji is 13-1, I don’t see how they don’t match the latter directly with Hakuho—otherwise he could back into the yusho by defeating a lower-ranked opponent.

  4. This may be the best basho I have personally experienced. AND we have access to Juryo which is also big fun! The only drag on my good time is Abi.

  5. I’m happy to see solid performances from Tochinoshin and Takayasu this basho. I had thought that they both were headed for swift retirements, but now it appears that they can continue to provide stern tests in the maegashira ranks, as Kotoshogiku has done in recent years.

  6. So two very generous calls are the difference between Takakeisho clearing kadoban at 8-3 and having a serious challenge on his hands at 6-5 with 4 tough bouts to go 🤔

    And Mitakeumi can’t feel too good about the damper this puts on his Ozeki push.

      • I have to agree with Herouth here. Yesterday felt like shenanigans, but today’s call made sense. The important thing to note is Takakeisho barely defeating his opponents. We’ll see how he does for the rest of the basho, but he might start matching Goeido’s kadoban pattern if he’s not careful.

      • Was the 死に体 that obvious? No monoii needed? I thought it could have gone either way; the application doesn’t seem super-consistent.

        • The dead body thing isn’t a strict rule: you’re right that it’s not that consistent. However, in the particular case where someone just straight up jumps like this to postpone stepping out, it seems to me that the judges are usually not impressed (but people keep jumping now and then anyway).

        • Well, Takakeisho’s foot was firm on the floor (and the rest of him wasn’t) as Mitakeumi was floating above the tawara. From the vantage point of the shimpan this would have been even clearer. The TV team (and spectators, obviously) needed the replay, but the announcer immediately said: “Takakeisho’s hand touches, but Mitakeumi has no body”, and the commentator agreed “yes, he’s floating”.

          (They rarely use the term “dead body” – they prefer “flying”, “floating”, “body has gone” etc.)

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