Only one rikishi in the leader group (Takayasu) lost today, so we have six (6!) men headed into day 10 in contention for the yusho. This is going to be a wild run to the weekend, I do predict. It’s easy to favor Takakeisho in the yusho run, but his sumo is still very narrow, and I expect he will struggle with Shodai and Asanoyama. I have to like the chances of Terunofuji. Holding a Maegashira 1 slot, he’s already fought both Ozeki and all 3 Sekiwake. The rest of his schedule are people lower down the banzuke, and he is really fighting well. Stay tuned, sumo fans.
Kotonowaka defeats Shimanoumi – Kotonowaka is now one win away from a kachi-koshi, and a likely return to the top division. A couple of times he tried to pull against Shimanoumi, but Shimanoumi was not prepared to respond.
Shohozan defeats Ishiura – Shohozan picks up a very welcome first win against the injured Ishiura. Furthermore, Ishiura demonstrated why his return is such a gamble. Ishiura’s twisting fall from Shohozan’s hatakikomi rolled the dice on compounding that injured ankle. Ishiura now make-koshi.
Tobizaru defeats Meisei – Tobizaru stays in the leader group with this wild roaming brawl. Lots of hit high / hit low / pull me / push you exchanges in this match. If you want to see a pair or rikishi really mix it up, this is your match.
Kaisei defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu discovers first hand just how massive Kaisei truly is. Hoshoryu got a right hand inside with a solid grip, but then could do nothing with it. Sometimes, being enormous is a sumo strategy. Both finish day 9 at 4-5.
Onosho defeats Kotoshoho – Great work by Kotoshoho, wrapping up Onosho. The only knock was that pull attempt just following the tachiai. But with Onosho’s known balance issues, it had possibilities. But Onosho got is hands into Kotoshoho’s armpits, and that was the end of Kotoshoho’s offense. Onosho remains with the leader group.
Enho defeats Ichinojo – This match was as awkward as a couple of 13 year olds at their first school dance. But at least Enho staved off make-koshi for another day.
Tokushoryu defeats Kotoshogiku – You can visibly see the strain on Kotoshogiku’s knees as Tokushoryu presses ahead against Tokushoryu. But of course Tokushoryu spins up his near magical tsukiotoshi, but the result is a slow motion collapse as Kotoshogiku goes down. Both end the day at 2-7.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu could not find enough energy to really move Aoiyama back, and the match became a battle of shoving that Aoiyama was bound to win. Both exit day 9 with 5-4.
Kotoeko defeats Ryuden – Ryuden tried for a right hand frontal grip at the tachiai and missed. As a result Kotoeko got a left hand inside, and his right hand looped around Ryuden’s left. This was a perfect pivot point and the resulting kotenage took only a few steps to develop. Solid sumo today from Kotoeko.
Sadanoumi defeats Kagayaki – Standard Kagayaki oshi-fare, but Sadanoumi was expertly working thrust-and-shift. This kept Kagayaki working to react, and it paid off for Sadanoumi, when Kagayaki lost his balance and opened the door for Sadanoumi to rush forward and push Kagayaki out from the side.
Wakatakakage defeats Takayasu – It’s a new day indeed when you can see Wakatakakage overpower Takayasu. For a moment it’s a straight up power struggle, and… Wakatakakage gets the advantage? Takayasu attempts to break contact, and Wakatakakage catches him from the side and plows ahead. Wakatakakage stays with the leader group.
Tamawashi defeats Takarafuji – This match went to beans for Takarafuji when he attempted to reach for Tamawashi’s belt, lost his balance and Tamawashi expertly let him continue the fall. Really amazing reaction speed from Tamawashi here.
Terunofuji defeats Hokutofuji – The tachiai between these two seems to be an equal exchange. Terunofuji gets his hands low, and Hokutofuji gets his hands in Terunofuji’s arm pits. In a typical match, the armpit hold would degrade the opponent’s offense and raise them up. But it seems Terunofuji has been spending nights and weekends having his tsukebito poke him in the armpits while on the bench press. Seemingly immune to Hokutofuji’s hazuoshi pushes Hokutofuji around, and then releases pressure, bringing Hokutofuji to the clay. Terunofuji stays with the leader group.
Takanosho defeats Endo – Endo seemingly blows the tachiai, ricocheting to his right, and Takanosho follows and pushes him away and down. I am sure Endo wishes he could have a do-over on this one.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Okinoumi – Well, this restores my faith that Terutsuyoshi has not turned into a complete goon, as he shows solid, attack-forward sumo today. Okinoumi tried a pull down, and that was all the advantage Terutsuyoshi needed to take over offense, which Okinoumi was unable to recover. Both end the day at 3-6.
Mitakeumi defeats Myogiryu – Mitakeumi remembers his massive body, and decides to use it to move forward today. And guess what? He wins. Maybe Mitakeumi can forego his week 2 fade, having pre-faded in week one.
Shodai defeats Daieisho – The first match ended with both men exiting the ring together, and a rematch was called. The second try was an 80% re-hash of the first, but this time Daieisho really took his frustrations out on Shodai’s face and neck. Shodai, to his credit, kept his cool and waited for his moment. It came when Daieisho reached in with his left and lost balance. Shodai stays with the leader group.
Takakeisho defeats Kiribayama – Sadly, Kiribayama did not seem to get the memo that Takakeisho’s on-off switch is located on his mawashi. Instead Kiribayama decides he is going to engage the grand tadpole in a pushing match, and there are few things on planet Earth that Takakeisho enjoys more than a good game of Pengo. Takakeisho stays with the leader group.
Asanoyama defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin, that stuff was beyond it’s expiration date yesterday. I am not surprised that Asanoyama was ready. With the crummy henka a disaster, Tochinoshin tries for, and gets his left hand outside grip, but can do absolutely nothing with it. Asanoyama gives him a hearty uwatenage, and sends him home.