Aki Day 8 Highlights

The Landscape

This was meant to be the day I’d start checking off people on my Kachi-Koshi Bingo entry. But noooo… Apparently everyone likes rolling around in the clay so much. There’s clearly not enough Kawaigari with this degeiko ban. Well, at least Kotoshogiku’s back, for now. I guess he’s still technically got a chance for a miracle and that spot on my card’s no longer dead — even if I’ve got him, Shohozan and Enho along the diagonal. Yutakayama’s now blocking my top row. Wow.

And look! Ishiura’s back after taking the first week off! He’s still technically got a chance. With the yokozunae out, none of the other leaders want to win this thing, though I’d put my money on Takayasu. His eyes must be as big as saucers right now. But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? Let’s get to the action…

Highlights

Meisei (5-3) defeated Shohozan (0-8): Solid tachiai and a quick oshizumo bout. Meisei wins with…a pull. Who better to Meisei’s win assured Shohozan’s makekoshi record. Let’s move on, shall we? Oshidashi.

Ishiura (1-0-7) defeated Shimanoumi (4-4): No Juryo visitor today because Ishiura’s back. As Bruce mentioned, this would be a fresh hell for us mortals. However, rikishi age – and therefore heal – at a rate 10 times faster than us because of their sacred keiko. After the tachiai, Ishiura clawed at Shimanoumi with his left hand until he secured a solid grip. Once he achieved that grip, a quick yank on the mawashi rolled Shimanoumi down. Shitatedashinage

Ichinojo (5-3) defeated Kotoshoho (6-2): Kotoshoho had a quick, strong tachiai against Ichinojo and he backed the giant to the tawara. But Ichinojo reached around and grabbed the young colt. He had a solid left-hand grip on Kotoshoho’s mawashi and executed a nice throw. “Just like tossing ponies back home.” Uwatenage.

Kaisei (3-5) defeated Chiyotairyu (5-3): Kaisei powered through Chiyotairyu’s thrusts to force a yotsu belt battle. He quickly secured a morozashi and, with all his might, heaved Chiyotairyu back to the bales. The tawara helped Chiyotairyu offer some resistance but Kaisei’s solid gaburi worked Chiyotairyu over and out. Yorikiri.

Hoshoryu (4-4) defeated Kotoshogiku (2-3-3): Speaking of gaburi, Kotoshogiku is in no condition to even attempt his signature technique. Once Hoshoryu had a both hands latched on to Giku’s belt with a left-hand inside belt grip, Kotoshogiku was toast. As Hoshoryu eased the injured veteran back and out, Kotoshogiku regaled him with tales of, “That One Time I Beat Your Uncle.” “Listen here, sonny, and I’ll tell you of that time your uncle couldn’t throw me.” Yorikiri.

Sadanoumi (3-5) defeated Tobizaru (6-2): Tobizaru was desperate to keep Sadanoumi off his belt. When Sadanoumi got a grip with his right hand, Tobizaru spun around to force him to release it. Tobizaru tried a kick but Sadanoumi followed with a decisive shove. Tsukiotoshi

Kotoeko (4-4) defeated Tokushoryu (1-7): Tokushoryu did look tired as he brawled with Kotoeko. Each seemed to drain him. Once inside, Kotoeko pivoted and ushered Tokushoryu over the edge and into the salt box. Oshidashi.

Onosho (6-2) defeated Ryuden (3-5): Both men made an attempt to rearrange the face of their opponent, thrusting their hands at their opponent’s chin. But, oh, wow. Onosho’s nodowa was fatal. That right hand into Ryuden’s throat forced Ryuden to fall over backwards, hard. Oshitaoshi.

Aoiyama (4-4) defeated Enho (1-7): Aoiyama did not charge ahead at the tachiai. Instead, he stood up and shoved out to keep Enho off his belt. A few thrusts with that V-Twin Turbo launched Enho off-balance and off the dohyo. Tsukidashi.

Kiribayama (6-2) defeated Kagayaki (5-3): Kiribayama tried a pull. Kagayaki recovered well but as he brought his arms up to start beating Kiribayama for his insolence, Kiribayama used all his might to blast Kagayaki’s arms away. Now with Kagayaki off-balance and deep in Kiribayama’s side of the dohyo, Kiribayama drove forcefully into Kagayaki, forcing him back that last step and out. Oshidashi.

Halftime

Wakatakakage (6-2) defeated Takarafuji (5-3): Wakatakakage tried an HNH but Takarafuji adapted well. “Son, I know a guy who did that better than you.” He kept driving his left elbow into Wakatakakage’s chin. Wakatakakage had enough of that and worked his way inside with both hands wrapped around Takarafuji. From this position, he forced Takarafuji up and charged forward. Takarafuji tried a last gasp throw at the edge but Wakatakakage forced him out. Yorikiri.

Takayasu (6-2) defeated Terutsuyoshi (2-6): Baloneium contained, for now. Terutsuyoshi knew that left hand would be dangerous so as Takayasu’s fingers wormed their way in, he just tried to take the whole arm. Takayasu then opted for an oshi battle and was going to make. He’s pretty good at those, too. He tried to smush Terutsuyoshi’s face and this propped Terutsuyoshi up, and then Takayasu tipped him forward onto his hands. Terutsuyoshi may have twisted his ankle. He limped back down to the shitakubeya. Hatakikomi.

Terunofuji (6-2) defeated Tamawashi (3-5): Terunofuji’s footwork in this bout was excellent. At the tachiai, he kept Tamawashi in front of him and weathered the storm as he advanced. At the bales, Tamawashi escapted to the left but Terunofuji pursued close behind. A few times Terunofuji came close to a belt grip. Not many can assert a yotsu position against Tamawashi. But Terunofuji powered through Tamawashi’s assault and shoved Tamawashi out. “I don’t need the belt, I’ll just grab your whole trunk.” Yorikiri.

Sanyaku

Okinoumi (3-5) defeated Takanosho (4-4): Okinoumi is another of those guys who doesn’t need the belt to get a solid hold of his opponent and do his sumo. In a manner reminiscent of how he defeated Shodai, Okinoumi enveloped Takanosho with his arms and twisted to the right, forcing Takanosho down. Tsukiotoshi.

Hokutofuji (3-5) defeated Endo (3-5): Someone had to win, right? Hokutofuji was rather determined not to let Endo get a belt grip, pushing, time and time again to keep him off. Endo tried a pull but Hokutofuji wasn’t going to fall for it. He wasn’t advancing with enough momentum. When Endo did get his arms inside, Hokutofuji locked them in under his arm pits and would not let them go. He then tried to take a page from Kaiju and kimedashi walk Endo back and out. The bales offered Endo just enough resistance to keep him from going out. But Hokutofuji twisted his body down to the right, forcing Endo into the clay. Kotenage.

Shodai (6-2) defeated Myogiryu (3-5): Damn it, Shodai, don’t get into this habit. He pulled at the tachiai. His left hand came close to a disqualifying grip on Myogiryu’s top knot but he didn’t lock the fingers in. This forced Myogiryu off-balance and Shodai stepped in behind Myogiryu and forced him out. Maybe they should have called the hair pull to scare Shodai straight. Okuridashi.

Yutakayama (2-6) is kyujo. <note to see yesterday> Asanoyama (5-3) picked up the freebie win.

Daieisho (3-5) defeated Mitakeumi (4-4) : See, Shodai? See what pulling will do to your Ozeki hopes? See? Watch Mitakeumi in this bout. Tired of the absolute pounding he’s getting from blow after blow rained down by Daieisho, Mitakeumi chose to pull. Well, essentially “retreat” rather than “pull” because it wasn’t accompanied by a swipe at Daieisho’s head to try to force him off balance. Daieisho pursued, carefully, and forced Mitakeumi out. Oshidashi.

Tochinoshin (4-4) defeated Takakeisho (6-2): And we have a crazy race, folks. Turns out Tochinoshin doesn’t need the belt, either. A grip on the head works just fine. F’ing pulls. Who needs ‘em? This is how you execute. Tochinoshin didn’t pull. He met Takakeisho head on. But while Takakeisho blindly bulled forward at the tachiai, Tochinoshin worked his hand up behind Takakeisho’s head and forced him down, deflecting his attack to the side and shoving T-Rex into the dirt. He didn’t need to pull back 8 rassifrassin feet to execute this. Push down, get interview. Done. Hatakikomi.

Summary

What is this, the fucking Belmont? We’ve got a nine-horse race heading into the final week. Even Kiribayama’s up here in the lead. Onosho’s got a shot! Takayasu may just raise the cup, yet! We’ve got ourselves a Juryo-like free-for-all in Makuno-freaking-uchi. Asanoyama’s only one win back. Takarafuji is in this! This is blinking nuts! Will the field narrow before we get to the final turn? Join us tomorrow for more insanity. A little less coffee then, I promise.

At least someone out there will have a gem of a bingo card. With 9 guys in the lead, people will have possible yusho-winners all over the place. I think my best row is Ryuden, Ichinojo, Tamawashi, Okinoumi, Takarafuji. Shohozan and Tokushoryu have ganged up to block Shodai for me. Gee, thanks, guys!

34 thoughts on “Aki Day 8 Highlights

  1. My first impulse after seeing Tochinoshin’s win over Takakeisho was to think “henka”. On re-watching, I realized it wasn’t. His upper body barely moved. Which raises the question, what did Takakeisho think he was doing?
    As for the yusho, Terunofuji is looking very much in control of his bouts now. But who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    • Tochinoshin normally bulls forward to get a belt grip. Instead, he stood up and stepped to the side. Not enough time to recover for Takakeisho.

        • It was a good example of an HNH a “Harumafuji Non-Henka”. Just a slight shift of balance that disrupts the momentum of the onrushing opponent and gives you an advantageous position. Takakeisho’s facial expression was priceless: “Aww man, I can’t believe I fell for that”.

          • An HNH is something totally different – it’s when (Harumafuji) goes inside and so quickly goes back inside that everybody thinks it was a henka but it isn’t. Otherwise he would have been grilled for it long ago.

    • Takakeisho was practically horizontal from tachiai. I thought he was attempting an E. Honda flying headbutt. Definitely his error.

  2. Ishiura’s win was honestly incredible. He has no business being in the ring if injury reports out there are accurate, and somehow he does that? It was remarkable.

  3. I am impressed with the gentleness that Hoshoryu showed with Kotoshogiku. Hoshoryu’s “I understand you have to be here, but…” half shrug after the bout pretty much said it all.

    Sadanaoumi did NOT like that kirakeshi from Tobizaru. If looks could kill, then a murder would have occurred on the dohyo.

    There HAS to be something wrong physically with Enho. Straight forward against Big Dan? Come on now.

    Takayasu played a game of “You Ain’t Touching Me” and won his match. It’s surprisingly effective.

    Endo is firmly stamped as “fake hope” in my book at this point. He’ll show up with things really matter and then completely collapse otherwise. I’m done being fooled.

    I think Shodai’s plan was more of a HNH, but the glassy surface of the dohyo made this a much more “clown sumo” style attack. If Shodai didn’t have good footwork or recovery skills, then Myogiru would have won handily.

    I think Mitakeumi also has a “phantom injury” somewhere due to the lack of resistance he provided today. Honestly, he almost walked backwards out of the dohyo. That’s a bad sign.

  4. I think I might actually shed tears if Takayasu wins this tournament. He’s put in such work, such skill, and has just had a really rough time. I’m definitely cheering for him!

    This tournament really does seem to have endless opportunities for “what if”- it’s been very enjoyable to sit and speculate with my partner about the various possible outcomes.

    I’m also not clear on what happens if Terunofuji wins a second in a row- does that meet Yokozuna promotion qualifications? It feels like it shouldn’t, but promotions remain a huge mystery to me.

    • Yokozuna promotion requires two consecutive yusho (or “equivalent performances”) as an Ozeki, so no. There’s some debate regarding whether he could get promoted to Ozeki, because the promotion criteria there are not written down and two consecutive yusho by someone below that rank would be literally unprecedented, though even that seems unlikely. Sekiwake is the most likely rank if he wins.

        • First, let’s see the kaiju actually lay his paws on that Emperor’s Cup for the second time, contrary to hundreds of years of history (OK, not exactly, as the Emperor’s Cup has been donated only fairly recently). Then we’ll see what Isegahama oyakata can arrange for him in his capacity as head of the shimpan department. 😝

        • I don’t see how that would be an underpromotion. His first one was a 13-2 from M17 and the best he can do this tournament is 13-2 in a no zuna basho. If we were talking about zensho yusho, I could see maybe an argument to be made, but not for in a a best case a modest yusho. I think the credit he will get is that that last yusho will count for his Ozeki run, if he manages to follow this up with two good tournaments.

        • Totatally agree with you!
          Kaiju would be Sekiwake even with a 9-6 (and why not with an 8-7 if the other contenders for sanyaku underperform).
          So, how the F*** he would also be Sekiwake with a 2nd consecutive yusho???!!!!

          • That’s just how sumo promotions work; an M1 with a 13-2 yusho has been promoted to Sekiwake before, as of course have M1’s with an 8-7, and even much-lower-ranked rikishi 🤷🏼‍♂️ Modern Ozeki promotion requires sustained performance over 3 basho, the last two in san’yaku…we’ll see if they make an exception in the unprecedented case of two consecutive yusho by a maegashira, but it’s doubtful.

      • Thanks! That makes sense. I know it is still just a possibility– I am just speculating on the various possibilities here.

      • Technically, his situation would raise questions even if he were to win here, AND in November ranked sekiwake 😁 because I’m not sure having two tournaments in the maegashira ranks could be taken into account for the 33 wins over three tournaments thing.

  5. Andy, what’s with the ‘f’ words? It’s your site, you can write what you want. However, in the interests of promoting the sport of sumo, I’d think that you’d want a family-friendly site.

    Yesterday you pronounced Shodai’s yusho hopes dashed. Today he’s tied for the lead. At this point in this crazy basho, I’m not willing to rule anyone out, other than hapless, slapless Shohozan.

    The NHK announcer kept declaring Tochinoshin’s move to be a henka, even as the replay was running. That was no henka.

    • I agree. Would rather not see the profanity here. Plenty of other sites to go to for that.

      Appreciate all the work that Andy and all the writers do.

  6. Terunofuji has one great advantage, there simply isn’t any pressure on him in my opinion. He came back from the “dead” to claim a yusho when hardly anyone expected him to get a winning record. Now he’s fighting dominant sumo again like in his Ozeki days… like the last few years just didn’t happen.
    So what is there to lose for him? Even if he suffers a career ending injury (“again”) his rise up to the makuuchi will still be a tale to tell. He doesn’t need to win and he doesn’t need to regain his Ozeki rank, but if he manages to do all that it’s an even bigger accomplishment.

    • The funny thing is that counting his Ozekiwake basho as well, his Ozeki days lasted for 15 tournaments in which he scored 4 times double digits and 4 more kachi koshi (3 of which were 8-7). His peak was actually in 2015 when he had a string of 4 tournaments with 13, 12, 11 and 12 wins, the last two as Ozeki. The Yusho that sealed his Ozeki promotion was the 2nd of those 4 tournaments. From there it went mostly downhill.

      But yeah, he looks like this guy again with the difference, that there are very few strong yotsu guys at the top this time. No Kise, no Hakuho, no Kakuryu, neither Tochi nor Takayasu reliably genki. Asanoyama is on a good path and maybe so is Shodai. Endo and Mitakeumi can trouble anyone on a good day, but overall this seems like a pretty good situation for Terunofuji. If healthy there are not really any matchups, where he would be the underdog atm. And he really has no pressure other than what he puts on himself.

      • If one considers there’s… ONE utterly dominant guy each generation. Then we had Asashoryu, then Hakuho, and Terunofuji, in my opinion, had to be the next dominant yokozuna.

  7. I dont know what to think about this tournament. I love sumo so much to the point where if the yokozunas and ozekis are out I still don’t care who wins, as long as we get to see good sumo and a worthy rikishi lifts the cup I am happy.

    Having said that, this tournament is a bit too crazy for my tastes, everybody looks weak, the only one who seems strong and menacing is Terunofuji but even him managed to lose twice already. I have no idea what to make of this crazy ass basho but after yesterday I am finally starting to love it, a lot, because I have absolutely no idea who can possibly win.

  8. I liked how solicitous Hoshoryu looked as he took Kotoshogiku over the tawara.

    And I loved Tobizaru’s laugh after he lost that crazy match. “Oh well, I tired, that was fun.”

    If Konosuke had been gyoji, Ishiura wouldn’t have had to kick that sagari away by himself. Konosuke would have swept it away ASAP. Shows that the gyoji can affect the match in ways besides judging. It’s lucky Ishiura’s opponent didn’t catch him off balance when he was kicking it.

  9. Tochinoshin at it again .. lucky for him he has a fanbase always willing and ready to overanalyze his dishonorable moments.

  10. Actually, the remarkable thing about Kaisei’s victory was that it was Chiyotairyu who had the morozashi. Despite being stuck with a double-outside grip, Kaisei was still able to pull off the yorikiri victori with the gaburi attack.

    • Yea this tournament is a free for all, it’s crazy. It’s like when you get into a smash bros competition and the good players stayed home.

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