The final weekend is upon us. After months of anticipation we have another yusho race but this one is certainly unexpected. At the start of the week, Hakuho looked to be on cruise control. Having locked up his Yokozuna kachi-koshi, a misstep against Daieisho and then injury against Mitakeumi cost him his title chance.
The young guns are making serious moves for promotion. Mitakeumi and Shodai will want to begin Ozeki runs here. No, I don’t think either are in one at the moment. With absent Yokozunae, Asanoyama will surely be looking for a belt but he needs to start winning tournaments first. And Terunofuji is leading the way from “the behind” again and wants to get back into sanyaku. How is he here? I mean this article pulled up by Herouth is a heart-wrenching AND stomach-churning two-fer.
So, the questions for today are many. Can Terunofuji lock things up today, with a little help? Will the young guns in san’yaku begin their own serious bids for promotion? How many of our fading heroes will fall from makuuchi? Why is Andy’s neighbor’s dog barking at 6am? Read on and we shall see…
Takayasu (10-5) defeated Nishikigi (6-8): Takayasu got the jump with a solid tachiai and quickly walked Nishikigi out. At least Nishikigi won’t have to worry about a senshuraku Darwin bout. Yorikiri.
Sadanoumi (7-7) defeated Kotoshogiku (8-6): Sadanoumi, on the other hand, will likely get a Darwin bout tomorrow with this win over Kotoshogiku. He quickly wrapped up the former ozeki and walked him out. Yorikiri.
Shohozan (4-10) defeated Kotoyuki (6-8) vs: Sadly, Kotoyuki is kyujo Shohozan picks up the easy win after his henka of Onosho yesterday. Shohozan got a freebie and Onosho got Ikioi…
Chiyomaru (4-10) defeated Shimanoumi (5-9): Another quick win. This time Chiyomaru chases Shimanoumi out. These early bouts aren’t exactly filled with Kanto-sho contenders, are they? Yorikiri.
Myogiryu (10-4) defeated Kotoshoho (8-6): Myogiryu met Kotoshoho with a solid tachiai. Then he absorbed Kotoshoho’s attack, sliding back to the tawara. At the last moment, he pivoted and brought his arm up to help Kotoshoho off the dohyo. A wily, experienced win. Hatakikomi.
Wakatakakage (9-5) defeated Tamawashi (9-5): Tamawashi came to brawl. With a strong tachiai and upper torso attacks, he forced Wakatakakage into reverse. A brutal nodowa at the edge and I thought the smaller man was done. However, Wakatakakage ducked to the side and under Tamawashi’s attack. His counter-attack was able to drive Tamawashi back and out. Oshidashi.
Tochinoshin (9-5) defeated Hokutofuji (8-6): Hokutofuji met Tochinoshin with a solid tachiai, set his head down to drive into the powerful former ozeki. Tochinoshin slipped his left arm to Hokutofuji’s mawashi and pulled his opponent forward for a well-timed throw. Uwatedashinage.
Kagayaki (5-9) defeated Kotonowaka (4-5-5): As Leonid mentioned, Kotonowaka’s presence on the dohyo today was not wise. Kotonowaka’s tachiai took effort. That left knee is not ready. Kagayaki wore the youngster out by letting Kotonowaka charge with his right leg and force their massive combined weight across the ring. Then he took advantage of the fact that Kotonowaka could not put all of his weight on that knee. By pivoting, Kagayaki forced Kotonowaka to the outside and into a position where he couldn’t lead with the left or resist at the bales, either. Yorikiri.
Takarafuji (5-9) defeated Kaisei (5-9): Takarafuji pounced with a quick left-handed grab under Kaisei’s right arm and pull. I realize “quick” is a relative term. Kaisei rolls down the banzuke. Tsukiotoshi.
Kiribayama (5-9) defeated Chiyotairyu (5-9): Kiribayama slipped under Chiyotairyu’s oshi attack, drove him back to the bales and walked him over. I woke up at 3am for this? Gonna get some tea…may put a nip of whisky in there. Yorikiri, btw.
Takanosho (8-6) defeated Tokushoryu (7-7): Tokushoryu tried to pull but Takanosho pursued brilliantly, driving into Tokushoryu and forcing him out. Excellent footwork from Takanosho. There aren’t actually many candidates for Darwin bouts so maybe Sadanoumi or Endo tomorrow? There’s no schedule yet. We shall see. Oshidashi.
Onosho (1-13) defeated Ikioi (2-12): Onosho was a bit too genki, drove into Ikioi early. Ikioi scolded him and an apologetic Onosho retreated back to the shikari-sen. However, the real deal was as one-sided as the matta. Onosho drove into Ikioi and through Ikioi. Ikioi had no ability to resist. Oshidashi.
Endo (7-7) defeated Ryuden (6-8): A solid tachiai from Endo and he quickly secured a right-hand grip on Ryuden’s belt. Ryuden tried to pivot and change direction but Endo followed with his left arm under Ryuden’s armpit. From here, Endo was ready to strike and executed a great throw. Endo vs Tokushoryu is set up for bout of the day tomorrow. Amirite? As Leonid mentioned, there aren’t many bouts for kachi-koshi tomorrow. Uwatenage, btw.
Yutakayama (4-10) defeated Ishiura (4-10): Ishiura met Yutakayama head on but shifted. Yutakayama shoved his forearm into Ishiura and kept it there, pushing Ishiura back. Ishiura pivoted and got Yutakayama to the edge but Yutakayama stayed low and used his size advantage to drive Ishiura back. Oshidashi.
Daieisho (10-4) defeated Enho (5-9): Enho took on Daieisho as if he were six inches taller and 100 kilos heavier. That was not a wise choice as Daieisho stayed low and brawled with the pixie, going for his opponent’s head. Enho retreated but couldn’t find any weakness or point to counter-attack. Instead, he found the clay as Daieisho thrust straight through him, assuring there’d be no Takakeisho-style uncertainty. Tsukitaoshi.
Okinoumi (9-5) defeated Aoiyama (5-9): A great rumble and the Oki Sea rose at the tachiai, and enveloped the man-mountain. This tsunami’s angry torrent swirled around the mountain, lifted it from the very Earth and drove it into the valley below. Tsukiotoshi.
Shodai (11-3) defeated Terunofuji (12-2): Shodai was unafraid. I’ve not seen a stronger tachiai from Shodai. He drove straight into Terunofuji but Kaiju stood his ground and would not let him get all the way to the bales. Sensing the resistance and Terunofuji’s forward pressure, Shodai pulled Terunofuji back, pivoting on his right foot with a great throw and heaved him to the bales on the other side but Terunofuji stayed on his feet. The separation allowed Shodai to set up a final charge which left Terunfuji in a heap. A FIST PUMP FROM SHODAI! Yorikiri.
Mitakeumi (11-3) defeated Kotoeko (9-5): Kotoeko on the offensive here, forced Mitakeumi back. Mr. Lavender’s been eating his Wheaties. Mitakeumi on the defensive, retreating and turning as Kotoeko chased him around the ring. At the last moment, backed up against the tawara, Mitakeumi pivoted and forced Kotoeko out. Sukuinage.
Terutsuyoshi (8-6) defeated Asanoyama (11-3): Salt rained down on musubi-no-ichiban. Ready for the tachiai….Ashitori!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap!!!! A beautifully timed henka and leg grab from Terunofuji…oops, Terutsuyoshi. He ducked under Asanoyama’s advance, eyes set on Asanoyama’s left knee. Asanoyama advanced as if his eyes were closed, awaiting the impact that never came. Well, it just came later, after Terutsuyoshi picked up the leg and twisted up, forcing Asanoyama to the ground. ASHITORI!!!
It was great to listen to the Abema crew chatting during these sanyaku bouts. The drama built as we watched the bouts and the palpable excitement was refreshing to hear. The top half of the banzuke is living up to its billing. The bottom half…well, Takayasu and Myogiryu had a bit of spirit today. Kotonowaka had plenty of spirit but only one healthy knee. Technically, Terunofuji’s also from the bottom-half of the banzuke, I guess, but he’s sure worked his way back up the to the top of the torikumi.
While there aren’t many answers today, I do have one. Binky’s just crazy.