Tokyo July Basho Day 13 Highlights

Chiyomaru v Tochinoshin. That matchup was cause of some concern for Chiyomaru, and everything went indeed according to the Georgian’s plans.
Tochinoshin endures a few nodowa, resists Chiyomaru’s early forward
driving, and seizes his opponent’s mawashi. No problem for Tochinoshin driving his opponent to the dohyo limits. Simple yorikiri win, and Chiyomaru is heading to juryo.

Shimanoumi v Kotoyuki. Kotoyuki’s trademark thrusts take place after the tachi-ai, but lack power to move his opponent backwards. Shimanoumi seizes the opportunity to surge forward, and eventually sends Kotoyuki to the clay. Shimanoumi’s quest to safety looks successful, whereas it’s looking grim for Kotoyuki, whose knees looked to severely trouble him after the bout.

Wakatakakage v Myogiryu. Wakatakakage shifts to his left at the tachi-ai. He looks successful to drive Myogiryu outside the dohyo, using a nodowa at the edge. But Myogiryu resists, and manages to pull his opponent down before putting a foot outside the dohyo. No mono-ii, and the replays show a clear hatakikomi win.

Kaisei v Nishikigi. Kaisei gets the initiative after the tachi-ai, but
his momentum drives him a bit too far as his right arm is held by
Nishikigi. Kaisei is drived to the edge, but an ultra strong left grip
helps him surviving Nishikigi’s first yorikiri attempt. Incredible
resistance. Nevermind, Nishikigi regains his breath and succeeds with a second yorikiri attempt. He gives himself hope for survival.

Kotoshoho v Chiyotairyu. A decent tachi-ai from Kotoshoho, who tries to repell his opponent with both hands on the chest area. It’s not overly efficient, but it raises Chiyotairyu’s upper body. The Tokyo-born rikishi blindly rushes forward, and Kotoshoho basically does, er… nothing. Chiyotairyu powerfully crashes to the clay. The newbie gets his kashi koshi, Chiyotairyu the undesired make koshi.

Tamawashi v Kotoeko. Kotoeko gets blasted at the tachi-ai, and his
helpless to survive a couple more thrusts from Tamawashi. The Mongolian efficiently targets Kotoeko’s neck to duly push him out of the ring.
Both now share a 9-4 record.

Ishiura v Takayasu. Ishiura goes frontal and tries to incomodate
Takayasu. The left hand on his opponent’s chest, and the right hand taking care of Takayasu’s left arm: the former ozeki had to face that strategy earlier this basho. He is even caught off balance once, but recovers; Ishiura’s attempts globally lack strength. He is himself caught too low, and is pulled down by Takayasu. Hatakikomi win.

Sadanoumi v Tokushoryu. Both wrestlers go chest to chest after the
tachi-ai. If yotsu zumo is Sadanoumi’s thing, his right arm is useless because of Tokushoryu’s clever left arm position. Tokushoryu’s strength
prevails, and that’s an impressive yorikiri win for him.

Kotoshogiku v Ryuden. Ryuden is faster on the tachi-ai, but only to go
chest to chest with his opponent. Giku can’t get his gaburi sumo going, and a battle on the mawashi takes place. Both have a strong grip with one hand, and Ryuden eventually prevails over the former ozeki. Another yorikiri win.

Terutsuyoshi v Kiribayama. The Isehagama resident has had some bad tachi-ai this basho, losing straight after it. He got this time a decisive advantage right after the collision: he stands low, and catches Kiribayama in a morozashi. Kiribayama is impressively drived backwards, and is powerless to resist. Kiribayama’s basho at his career best turns ugly (4-9).

Shohozan v Onosho. A nervous matta by Onosho. Shohozan does him no favour at the second attempt, though. He produces a henka and the bout is over from the start. Onosho’s terrible run continues, and demotion is now looming: he has to find a way to victory tomorrow or Sunday.

Takanosho v Takarafuji. Takanosho goes to Takarafuji’s neck at the tachi-ai, and efficiently drives him back. Takarafuji shows his opponent
the door, but this is not the last trick: Takanosho survives, and manages to pull Takarafuji down while dancing around the bales. Mono-ii: did Takanosho step out? The gyoji’s verdict stands: Takanosho’s right foot was JUST inside. A close win, which brings Takanosho one win away from his kashi koshi.

Ikioi v Yutakayama. Yutakamaya promptly reacts at the tachi-ai, and gets the upper hand. As Ikioi resists, Yutakayama side-steps and tries to get a hand on the back of his opponent’s mawashi. He eventually seizes his belt, and reinforces his grip, while Ikioi gets himself a grip before it’s too late. The Osaka born wrestler tries a uwatenage, but his attempt is sabotaged by Yutakayama’s leg trip attempt. The latter wins by sotogake.

Endo v Hokutofuji. Endo is driven back at the tachi-ai, by Hokutofuji’s
trademark, powerful oshi zumo. Endo resists quite well, but fails to drive Hokutofuji out of his comfort zone. Endo is sent down to the clay: a straightforward hatakikomi win for Hokutofuji.

Enho v Okinoumi. Another matta on an Enho bout. He goes for Okinoumi’s right leg, at the second attempt. It does not work, and that’s another battle with Enho sitting under his opponent’s chest. Okinoumi shakes his opponent quite efficiently, and manages to raise the Miyagino resident. Enho’s defences are breached, and that’s an oshitaoshi win for Okinoumi, who gets his kashi koshi on day 13!

Daieisho v Aoiyama. As expected, a feisty thrusting battle takes place
between the two. Daieisho survives a pulling attempt. A small break settles, as both rikishi try to grab the other’s hand. Aoiyama sees an opportunity and resumes the fight with a furious thrust. He looks set to win that one, but his uncoordonate attempt makes him lose balance, and the Bulgarian crashes out as Daieisho moves to the side! Aoiyama looks pissed to have lost that one, but that was some fun.

Kagayaki v Mitakeumi. Kagayaki gives Mitakeumi no hope of seizing his mawashi, but he’s rushing forward way too heavily. Mitakeumi releases
the pressure on his opponent’s chest, moves to the side, and that’s quite an easy hikiotoshi win. Mitakeumi has reached double digit wins.

Asanoyama v Terunofuji. THE BOUT OF THE TOURNAMENT. Both men logically go for the mawashi at the tachi-ai. Terunofuji has the required
strength, sure. All eyes on his knees: can he sustain that formidable
challenge? He does, manages to pivot, and drives Asanoyama backwards.
The ozeki is ressourceful, though, and sends all his energy trying to pivot himself to regain the advantage. Terunofuji resists, and is on the highway to drive Asanoyama back a second time. The ozeki has no ressources left to avoid his fate. YORIKIRI WIN FOR TERUNOFUJI!

Hakuho v Shodai. Unsurprinsingly, Hakuho is kyujo. It’s no quality win
for Shodai, but he nevertheless improves to an impressive 10-3 record.

What a day!

31 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Day 13 Highlights

  1. Big fan of Tochinoshin so it was good to see him get the job done and secure a winning tournament. The break has done him the world of good. Hopefully he can keep it up.

    Aoiyama! When he blasts away and shows some attitude going forward, he is a proper handful. The moment he takes a step back, I cringe. Blast away dude, blast away.

    • His footwork have always been a big issue. The number of times I’ve seen him somehow crashing on the floor.
      I’m also surprised he doesn’t go to yotsu zumo. Probably the same issue with his legs, heh.

  2. So Terunofuji has Shodai tomorrow and presumably Mitakeumi on senshuraku. If he wins. nobody should minimize the achievement. It isn’t his responsibility that two yokozuna and an ozeki are kyujo.
    Still, having two out of three basho won from M17 is standing the banzuke on its head!

    • Indeed. Beating both sekiwake and the remaining ozeki would be a good mark of a champion.
      Even if he loses to one of them, he could still defeat Asanoyama for the second time, in a playoff.

  3. I hope Kotoyuki isn’t injured too badly. He’s fought hard and really deserves to stay in the top division.

    The crowd did NOT like the henka from Shohozan against Onosho and I agree. I know that rikishi are focused on wins, but that was really kicking someone when they’re down. Oof.

    It’s nice to see that Daiesho has been working on his interpretive dance and he can effectively use it on the tawara these days! I wonder if he’s taking lessons from Shodai?

    I don’t think anyone has said it yet, so I will: Outside of the Yokozuna, who are always dangerous but currently dealing with age and injuries, the lineup from the top of Makushita, through Juryo, and into Makuuchi is amazing and highly skilled. All of the Sanyaku rikishi got kachi-koshi. The bottom rungs of the top division are littered with former Ozeki. No one had a kachi-koshi or a maki-koshi in Juryo for most of the tournament. A lot of the top ranked rikishi in Makushita can’t earn dominant, winning records because the other members of their division are highly skilled and hungry to get promoted. People were wondering about “the future of sumo” at the beginning of this year because of the decline of the Yokozuna. This basho is evidence that there is nothing to fear about the future of the sport.

    • Well, it depends the way you see it. It can be proof of the presence of a big amount of talent, or, on the opposite, of the absence of consistent performers.

      That’s what I’d think about juryo. I’d prefer to see somebody like Tochinoshin or Ichinojo rocking juryo apart (as they did in the past), rather than seeing people getting promoted with a bare 9-6 and going back to juryo two months later (hello, Azumaryu).

      But ok, there’s surely ground for hope. Kiribayama, Takanosho and others are doing pretty well. Tomokaze was impressive before his horrible injury.

    • Yes, poor Kotoyuki, when he finally finds he’s sumo, he gets injured, again. If I’m not mistaken, he had surgery to that right knee. We might not see him back tomorrow.

    • To be fair, Shohozan is fighting for his top-division survival; not that a henka against an 0-12 opponent is ever a good look.

      • Yeah, that’s why I wrote the bit about “understanding that rikishis want wins”. I get the mentality, but…geez.

  4. Hi Timothée. Could you please revert to the formatting the other writers use for the start of each paragraph of their recaps; eg, “Wakatakakage (8-4) defeated Nishikigi (5-7)” with the name of the winner (in that case Wakatakakage) in bold? Lots easier on those of us scanning the writeup in the morning; I usually go back and read when I get a chance, but this early I just want to quickly know who won. Thanks!

  5. Let’s take a moment to savor what Terunofuji has accomplished this basho, his first back in the top division after his long slog to regain his health, to regain his skill, and to work his way up from deep in the unpaid ranks. 12-1? Defeating Asanoyama, the sport’s greatest rising star? It is incredible! Whatever happens in his final two bouts, Terunofuji already has greatly exceeded any reasonable expectation for his performance. Kudos to the Kaiju!

    • Now we can only hope that he’ll have a sustained return to the top division instead of providing this performance and then completely falling apart in a couple of months. That is, and will always be, the worry with Terunofuji and his busted knees.

  6. I’m a sumo newcomer and enjoy the site. Thought I’d ask the experienced observers here your thoughts on Wakatakakage, who I’ve enjoyed watching. Is he considered a promising prospect for the future, or more of a rikishi who will consistently be between lower Maegashira / juryo? Many thanks in advance.

    • Well, our pixies are a joy to watch, but basically this is it. Okay, Enho is quite skilled and he reminded people of Mainoumi, who went as high as komusubi.
      But Terutsuyoshi or Wakatakakage – your question – can at best expect to enter the joi without getting a too severe make koshi. Settling around maegashira 10 is quite okay.

      • Let’s not forget Harumafuji was a Pixie. Maybe you don’t think much of the current Pixies, but there is room for them in the upper ranks

        • Harumafuji may have been the lightest man in the division for a good stretch but at 6’1″ I don’t think you can class him with the pixies. (For that matter Wakatakakage is 5′ 11-1/2″.)

    • This makes sense considering the records of other rikishi lower down on the banzuke. But, the committee really doesn’t like it when rikishi don’t post any wins.

    • Guys is there a precedent to Terunofuji in terms of the amplitude of his rise and fall and rise again.. Ozeki down to jonidan now back to the joi, wow. What a man.

      • I doubt that – maybe Iksumo will correct me on that one.
        Tochinoshin used to be the reference – he was a maegashira regular with some san’yaku appearances, and fell back to makushita.
        The other reference would be… Ura, I guess! He defeated Harumafuji in 2017, fell back to jonidan, not once, but twice! And he’s knowing at the juryo’s door

  7. Following up my comments about the lower divisions from a couple of days ago (Hi Herouth). I caught one of Hokuseiho’s matches today and I can see what you mean. He just stood up at the tachiai, whacked the poor little sod who was trying to do proper sumo across the chops with a forearm smash, and forced him out in about 1 second. Ugly stuff. Unfortunately he just looks so big, strong and mean that he will probably beat the living crap out of everyone on his way through the lower divisions which is not a good way to learn the finer points. We’ll see.

  8. The thing about Terunofuji is that he was absolutely destroying the Juryo opposition in the first week before running out of steam, probably due to his accumulated injuries. The extra long break could be the reason why he has sustained this level of performance. Really hope he wins now!

    • And what will happen when they will restart wrestling every two months? Meaning, already back in September

  9. I’ll defer to the experts, but is there a case for Chiynokuni to be promoted to Juryo from Ms12? He’s 7-0 and won the yusho. I looked some of the records above him and most didn’t look that good. I know being outside the Joi requires a perfect record, but is too far outside?


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