Tokyo July Basho Senshuraku Highlights

Octagon Presents Terunofuji the Emperor’s Cup

Leonid did a great job of explaining what’s at stake today. One thing that I can’t get over, though, it is August 2nd. The July basho yusho was, oddly enough, decided in August after being fought in Tokyo. One Ozeki on the torikumi for senshuraku and zero Yokozuna confirm we are in a time of flux on the dohyo. But off the dohyo, the whole damn world is in flux. However, the drama of this past fortnight has served as a wonderful distraction.

Terunofuji’s Championship serves to demonstrate that our substantial challenges can be overcome. The next time we get together, we will be confident for the health and safety of all involved and that we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief. The coronavirus reminders have been everywhere and lapse in protocols may end up costing Abi very dearly. The virus robbed Terunofuji’s triumphant return of much of the pomp and celebration he’s due. No parade. No senshuraku parties. Supporters are beyond arms reach, though we are with him in spirit. I hope he gets to party properly after his next title.

Highlight Matches

Sadanoumi (8-7) defeated Nishikigi (6-9): Sadanoumi hot off the line, wrapped up Nishikigi and walked him back and out to pick up his kachi-koshi. Yorikiri.

Tochinoshin (10-5) defeated Kotoshoho (8-7): Tochinoshin got the better of the initial charge, forcing Kotoshoho back a step. Kotoshoho pivoted but Tochinoshin followed and got his big left paw up around the back of Kotoshoho’s neck and pulled down violently. Kotoshoho had no choice but to touch down. Hatakikomi.

Kaisei (6-9) defeated Shimanoumi (5-10): Shimanoumi tried to drive forward into Kaisei but Kaisei’s trunk was well set at the center of the ring. Kaisei shoved Shimanoumi backwards twice, hurling the matching orange mawashi out of the ring. Tsukidashi.

Wakatakakage (10-5) defeated Ishiura (4-11): Ishiura seemed to pull something in his right leg. He was unable to put much weight on his right foot. Wakatakakage blasted the hopping Ishiura off the dohyo. Ishiura limped back up onto the dohyo. Oshidashi.

Kotoeko (10-5) defeated Terutsuyoshi (8-7): Terutsuyoshi’s ashitori worked once but Kotoeko was ready for it. He dodged out of the way and regrouped grabbing for Terutsuyoshi’s belt. Taking a page from Tochinoshin, Kotoeko landed his left on the back of Terutsuyoshi and pulled him down to the floor. Hatakikomi.

Ryuden (7-8) defeated Kotonowaka (4-6-4): Kotonowaka still could not put much weight on his left leg. Ryuden was able to get Kotonowaka sliding backwards to the bales and over. Yorikiri.

Hokutofuji (9-6) defeated Kotoshogiku (8-7): Hokutofuji met Kotoshogiku head on but stepped to the side with his right arm up on Kotoshogiku’s shoulder, forcing Kotoshogiku to the ground. Hatakikomi.

Chiyotairyu (6-9) defeated Aoiyama (5-10): Aoiyama was a bit over-eager, charging forward off balance. Chiyotairyu pulled with his left hand up on Aoiyama’s shoulder applying sufficient pressure to force Aoiyama down. Hikiotoshi.

Ikioi (3-12) defeated Kagayaki (5-10): Ikioi showed some strength and wile for the first time this week. Driven to the bales by Kagayaki he drove forward, forcing Kagayaki back. However, Kagayaki wasn’t going to go over the bales easily, either. Kagayaki grabbed Ikioi by the mawashi, forcing him back but Ikioi deftly slipped to the side and pulled Kagayaki down. Shitatenage.


Kiribayama (6-9) defeated Takarafuji (5-10): Takarafuji wiggled and retreated, trying to keep Kiribayama off his belt. But Kiribayama was relentless and able to slip both hands on there. Once he was secure in the morozashi, queue deathspin throw. Uwatenage.

Onosho (2-13) defeated Chiyomaru (4-11): Follow the bouncing Chiyomaru. Onosho got the better of the tachiai but Chiyomaru used his mass to arrest Onosho’s progress and started moving forward. Onosho pivoted several times in retreat to stay away from the edge of the ring but as Chiymaru forced him along it, Onosho executed a throw. Shitatenage.

Takayasu (10-5) defeated Takanosho (8-7): Takayasu’s aggressive tsuppari pushed Takanosho up and back. A well-timed pull sent Takanosho to the clay. Hikiotoshi.

Yutakayama (5-10) defeated Enho (5-10): Enho eager to get things started but Yutakayama. Yutakayama advanced forward, keeping his weight low. His effective tsuppari targeted Enho’s face and shoulders. He attempted two hatakikomi pulls, the second of which was more effective in getting Enho off balance but Enho sprang backwards. Yutakayama pursued and forced Enho out. Oshitaoshi.

Endo (8-7) defeated Tokushoryu (7-8): Our sole Darwin bout? Tokushoryu allowed Endo in to the belt far too easily. Endo bounced Tokushoryu to the edge where Tokushoryu’s foot slipped from the bales. They give Endo the yorikiri.


Tamawashi (10-5) defeated Okinoumi (9-6): Tamawashi is a bruiser and Okinoumi was ready for a brawl. Okinoumi chased Tamawashi around the ring with effective slaps and thrusts. Tamawashi won on the belt, though, throwing Okinoumi at the edge. Uwatenage.

Daieisho (11-4) defeated Myogiryu (10-5): Daieisho ducked to the side, as Myogiryu was pitched too far forward. A disappointing end to Myogiryu’s fantastic basho. Hikiotoshi.

Terunofuji (13-2) defeated Mitakeumi (11-4): Showtime. Wow. Morozashi from Terunofuji and Mitakeumi was done. Terunofuji advanced, marching Mitakeumi out. Yusho Terunofuji! Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (12-3) defeated Shodai (11-4): Asanoyama bulldozed into Shodai who’s back to a less-than-impressive tachiai. After yesterday’s bout with Terunofuji, I was expecting more fire from the Daikon. However, Asanoyama corralled Shodai effectively, working Shodai back to the edge. Shodai nearly pulled the Ozeki down but Asanoyama recovered. Oshidashi.

Terunofuji has been here before. But I NEVER would have thought he’d storm back in his first makuuchi tournament. The pink macaron! Congratulations, Terunofuji!!!

Aside from the yusho, Terunofuji picked up the Outstanding Performance and Technique Prizes. Daieisho and Mitakeumi also collected Outstanding Performance Prizes. Not to be left out, Shodai was given the Fighting Spirit Prize for actually having a solid tachiai against Kaiju. See what you can do?

Thank you for enjoying this tournament with us. Time to clean up and get ready for September.

40 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Senshuraku Highlights

  1. So pleased he did it, what a story! And second M17 to win in a year!!

    To be honest even though he had two chances to win I doubted his knees would have stood up to a 3 way play off. And in all honesty I thought Mitakeumi would win and couldn’t believe Terunofuji marched him out so comprehensively.

    He definitely owes Terutsuyoshi a beer but looks like he won a years supply of beer (corona!) so shouldn’t be a problem

    • It will probably all go to his heya mates, as he himself has been abstinent for more than a year now (probably due to the diabetes and hepatitis, neither of which go together well with alcohol, certainly not with the amounts he drank).

    • I thought Mitakeumi to win, and to prevail over Asanoyama during the playoff.
      But Terunofuji cleverly locked Mitakeumi’s arms. There was no debate whatsoever. Very good win. So he definitely can fare well against san’yaku opponents.

  2. Not a single word about our 6 man play off in Juryo? ;) It also looks like Hoshoryu is catching up with Kotosho and following him to Makuuchi next tournament.

    A bit dissapointed that Mitakeumi fumbled the playoff and that Shodai fumbled an Ozeki run, but it was an exciting tournament and the long break did especially the old guard well (Hello Tochi, Okinoumi, Tamawashi, Miyogiryu, Giku, Takayasu and of course Terunofuji).
    It’s maybe no surprise with how thin the Ozeki/Yokozuna ranks were, but it was also a stellar tournament for all Sanyaku. Hadn’t Okinoumi fumbled that last fight against Tamawashi, all of them would have been in double digits.

      • Juryo’s fun! We could also write some preview articles before the Basho, recapitulating main questions, who wants to get promoted, who will right against relegation, etc.

  3. Greatest comeback in sumo history? Tochinoshin’s story was inspirational but Terunofuji fell further and had more health issues. I’m a big fan of Mitakeumi, who seems like a genuinely nice guy and is exciting to watch but I was 100% behind Terunofuji today. Once our favourite kaiju got that belt grip it was only going to go one way, and it looked for a moment that he was going for a tsuridashi, which is a way of stating “look how strong my knees are!”

    Another good comeback, albeit a less spectacular one, came from Wakatakakage, who made an excellent re-debut after his injury-abbreviated first attempt last November. He got his double digits today with an annihilation of Ishiura and has demonstrated the fast, mobile, technical style of sumo that I love. I would have given the lad a Fighting Spirit prize.

    • A bit cold of them not to give Wakatakakage a kanto-sho, which traditionally goes to a Makuuchi newcomer with 10+ wins. Okay, it wasn’t technically his debut, but given how that went…

  4. I think the second biggest victory of the day was Terunofuji keeping his composure throughout the entire interview and ceremony! He definitely took his time with his responses during the interview and he was okay…until he accepted the flag form his Oyakata. His look to the sky and the “I GOTTA KEEP IT TOGETHER” expression, while fleeting, pretty much said it all.

    Anyone can say “It’s a depleted banzuke” or whatever, but the quality of sumo across the board right now is fantastic and there are more young rikishi storming up the ranks and banging on the doors of the top division. There is only one Hakuho and as he begins his exit from the sport, there will be a lot more instability in the top division.

    • Terunofuji could barely hold in the tears as he sat in as kachi-nokori for Asanoyama’s bout. And Isegahama oyakata was caught on camera wiping tears from his eyes. This was a good day for exercising one’s tear glands.

      • I also spotted TAFKA Asahifuji “holding it in”. He has been through fire and rain in the last three years and must have felt like Andy Dufresne coming out of the tunnel. His boys did him proud.

  5. Greetings sumo fans, is it more or less determined which wrestlers-rikishi get p4omoted and wnich get demoted after rodays results ?

    Is tachiai, this great site happening to host such a link where we could see which guys get promoted to ozeki or demoted to juryo at end of final day each basho?

    would be nice to have such a link available here

    • This isn’t possible as it is only announbced with the next Banzuke. which happens like a week or two before the next basho. Based on experience of prvious tournaments, there is a very strong assumption that Kotonowaka, Chiyomaru, Kotoyuki and Nishikigi go down and Meisei, Tobizaru, Kyokutaisei and Hoshoryu go up. Ichinojo is likely to miss out with his loss today. There is probably a small chance that Nishikigi clings to Makuuchi, but we will only know in about a month.
      The only thing that will be announced early are the promotions to Juryo, but after todays results those are pretty clear with Chiyonokuni, Oki and Kitaharima replacing Asabenkei, Tochiozan and Chiyonoumi.

      • Tobizaru will be an entertaining addition to the maku’uchi ranks. I don’t expect him to survive there for more than one or two basho but I thought the same thing about Enho. Hoshoryu is more of a long term prospect.

        The juryo/makushita exchange is far from clear: Nishikifuji and Jokoryu have eminently promotable records while Takagenji looks likely to drop.

        • My guess is Oki, Nishikifuji, Kitaharima and Chiyonokuni promoted, Asabenkei, Takagenji and Chiyonoumi demoted (and one slot already exists due to Tochiozan’s retirement).

          Today’s Takagenji/Kitaharima, IMO, was an exchange match. Otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered – there was an even number of wrestlers in Juryo with Ichinojo in Makuuchi. They had to create two Makushita matches, one of them meaningless, for this match to happen.

    • We’ve got guesses but the official new list will be released in a few weeks. We will cover that when it’s released.

  6. Terunofuji is an inspiration for us, I admire his never give up attitude.
    Also nice to see all Sanyaku Rikisshis are kachi koshi and hold their ranks, I don’t remember seeing this before.
    And thanks to team tachiai for bringing us these daily basho reports. Reading the reports helps me to understand the technical aspects of the sumo when I watch it.

  7. Terunofuji must have picked up around $200K between yusho, special prize and bout money. That ought to compensate him for the time he sat in the unpaid ranks.

    • Let’s see.

      Yusho: ¥10,000,000

      Special prizes (assuming he gets full for the shared prize): ¥4,000,000

      Kensho envelopes:

      Day 1: 4
      Day 2: None
      Day 3: 2
      Day 4: 1
      Day 6: 1
      Day 7: 2
      Day 8: 1
      Day 9: 2
      Day 10: 2
      Day 11: 2
      Day 12: 2
      Day 13: 25
      Day 15: 12

      Total Envelopes: 56. ¥1,680,000

      Grand Total: ¥15,680,000
      In USD: $148,274

      Not quite $200,000, but it’s a nice sum. And he’s getting an additional ¥120,000 ($1135) every basho through mochi-kyukin.

  8. Thrilled for Terunofuji! It clearly meant so much to him. Though the celebrations will be muted, they are richly deserved and it’s such a treat to see him fighting strong again.

    Hopefully there will be more spectators next basho. I spotted a few of my favourite faces in the stands, but it’s just not the same without the crowds.

    • It’s not likely to be reported since the basho is over. A kyujo at this point will just restrict him, and if he doesn’t report the injury, it won’t be in the news anyway.

  9. At what point in the proceedings did the juryo playoff take place? Ichinojo was 9-5 going into today and had a makuuchi opponent, so I’m confused about the order of events…

  10. Quick thoughts that it’s now all over:
    1. Terunofuji is the yokozuna we never got. He displayed true sumo this basho, and did honor to the rank that should’ve been his eventually had injuries and health got in the way.
    2. We now have a reason for Ishiura’s crummy basho. He was disguising a foot injury. No wonder his forward attacks were not hitting with enough force, and his henaks lacked the speed to succeed.
    3. Kotoshogiku looked pretty poor in the last five or so days. His tachiai was so deliberate, and the stance so weird (butt high, chest nearly scraping the clay) that I wonder whether he just mentally gave up once he got kach-kochi.
    4. Enho really did not endear himself to me, or any of his fellow rikishi, this basho. His small man sumo was very ineffective, and the banner was taken up instead by Kotoeko and Terutsuyoshi. His face took a true pounding courtesy of Yutakayama on day 15, making it look like he’d been in a boxing match instead of a short sumo match.
    5. Takarafuji lost just enough to fall back into his sweet spot on the banzuke. Come September, I expect double-digit wins from him.
    6. Hokutofuji is looking motivated by all his cohorts moving up the banzuke. I think he may finally dial in his sumo and make sanyaku come year’s end and stick.
    7. Tochinoshin and Takayasu may be on the downside of their careers, but at least they bought themselves some more time. Shohozan, Ikioi, Kaisei, your top division time looks limited.
    8. Finally, I hope we get some training ramp-up before the next tournament. There was so much sloppy sumo and gyoji decisions, and I can only blame the lack of routine from virus disruption. Sure, the end was entertaining. but there was a lot of disappointment buried in the feel-good stories.

    • I think Enho was also covering up an injury.

      And yes, the sloppy sumo is probably connected to the ban on degeiko. First and foremost, Kakuryu’s koshi-kudake. A historical first for a Yokozuna.

  11. Congrats to Terunofuji! One of my favorite rikishi, without a doubt, and to see this guy defiantly, valiantly, stoically make his way slowly, but surely, back up the rankings…and then to take the yusho?!…OUTSTANDING! Just bloody good to hear!

    Now, I wonder how his body, especially his banged-up knees will hold up versus the higher ranked sumotori? Hmmmm…I guess we will all witness this with upcoming September basho…and I can’t wait.

    • Everybody in the sumo world is thinking the same thing.

      And he said in a post-yusho interview in the third act of the basho he could no longer properly stretch his legs and that climbing up and down the dohyo in the awards ceremony was a misery.

      At this rate, though, we’ll keep worrying about his knees all the way back to Ozeki…


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