The big news in this snoozer of a basho day is that Endo went kyujo, giving Takakeisho a much needed day off. The report cites ongoing trouble with a knee, requiring fluid to be drained from it repeatedly, and advising 4 weeks treatment. Takakeisho will face co-leader Shodai on day 13 for a match that may decide the Aki yusho. We saw Takakeisho struggle with his right arm / shoulder following his day 11 match against Takarafuji, so the time to recover was quite the gift from Endo (send him a couple of those Yoshinoya coupons).
With day 12 done, we can look ahead to the final 3 days of this basho. Should Shodai prevail on day 13, the subsequent match against Asanoyama will represent a narrow but real chance for the man that most sumo fans expected to be the yusho favorite to wedge himself back into the race. Should Takakeisho win the day 13 match against Shodai, the pivotal match will be the final, where Asanoyama and Takakeisho will face off at the end of day 15. Solid schedule building, and match making this Aki. My compliments to the NSK!
Kotoshoho defeats Ishiura – Ishiura’s dive to grab Kotoshoho’s mawashi at the tachiai missed, leaving Ishiura wide open for counter attack. It came swiftly, and overpowered anything else Ishiura may have wanted to do. That damaged right ankle really can’t take much pressure at all. That’s Kotoshoho’s 8th win, and he is kachi-koshi for September.
Kaisei defeats Shohozan – Also in the group that can’t generate much forward pressure is Shohozan, who picks up his 9th loss. Aki is pretty miserable for him, but at least Kaisei found win number 6.
Meisei defeats Chiyotairyu – One big hit at the tachiai from Chiyotairyu, and his follow up met Meisei’s step to the side. Chiyotairyu hits the clay. No exciting sumo so far today….
Shimanoumi defeats Kotoshogiku – Shimanoumi concedes to go chest to chest with Kotoshogiku. In days past this was a sure route to a loss. But the Kyushu Bulldozer can’t really push ahead like he once could, and Shimanoumi is able to stalemate him. Kotoshogiku rallies and moves Shimanoumi with extra effort, but that big push left him unweighted. Shimanoumi reads it well and swings him down for a much needed win.
Enho defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu had the better of the tachiai, but found himself on defense, trying to keep Enho’s hands from getting inside and grabbing whatever they could reach. Hoshoryu now one loss away from make-koshi and a risk of dropping out of the top division.
Tokushoryu defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo tried a pull early, it was poorly timed, and he was not at all set up to do it properly. In response Tokushoryu drove ahead against little resistance to avoid make-koshi another day. Ichinojo drops to 6-6.
Tobizaru defeats Wakatakakage – Co leaders in an elimination match? Oh yes indeed. The two are quite even in size, style and came into this with matching 9-2 records. This was their 6th match head to head, and it looked to me that Tobizaru anticipated each of Wakatakakage’s offensive moves. As a fan of the “Flying Monkey” for some time, I am delighted to see him doing well in his first top division tournament.
Aoiyama defeats Sadanoumi – It really seems to my eye that Sadanoumi’s knee is really limiting his sumo right now. He used a low velocity tachiai, and caught multiple volleys of Big Dan’s V-Twin. Sadanoumi held his ground for a few moments, but once Aoiyama gets that thing revved up, it’s really tough to overcome.
Myogiryu defeats Kotoeko – The “nap-time sumo” theme continues, as these two fail to make much of a fight out of it. It was Myogiryu overpowering a possibly injured Kotoeko. Both end the day at 5-7.
Ryuden defeats Terutsuyoshi – I do like that Ryuden did not advance in the tachiai – too many stunts by Terutsuyoshi this basho. As a result, Terutsuyoshi arrives low and a bit off balance. Ryuden gets a right hand outside grip, and carefully pulls Terutsuyoshi forward and down. More snoozy sumo, but very nicely executed by the already make-koshi Ryuden.
Hokutofuji defeats Tamawashi – Seriously, are all these guys so banged up right now that they are mostly going through the motions? Tamawashi has a solid opening gambit, but Hokutofuji rallies and pushes him out of the ring. It’s good to see Hokutofuji win one, but that Tamawashi seemed to throw in his best attack, and then give up. Both end the day 5-7.
Onosho defeats Terunofuji – Time to wake up! Onosho had one of his better tachiai this basho, getting his hands inside of Terunofuji’s defense by the second step. Terunofuji focused on getting that right hand outside, but Onosho went for morozashi. With his hands well planted on the front of Terunofuji’s mawashi, he advanced and threw the former Ozeki to the clay. Win #9 for Onosho.
Takanosho defeats Kagayaki – Dear, another snoozer. Maybe Kagayaki is hurt as well. He gets one good forward move in against Takanosho, and then Takanosho just overpowers him. Win number 8 for Takanosho, and he will be a candidate for San’yaku in November.
Okinoumi defeats Tochinoshin – More sleepy sumo as Tochinoshin works for a left hand outside grip, can’t maintain it, can’t maintain any forward pressure against Okinoumi, goes soft and gets escorted over the bales.
Takayasu defeats Mitakeumi – A much needed tonic as these two well-rounded fellows decide they actually care to battle. It seems that now that he is less hurt, we can once again count on Takayasu to slam into things with a fierce grunt and maximum force. Today that was Mitakeumi, who took it fairly well. Mitakeumi looked like he changed his mind on attack strategy at least twice in the opening moments of the match, something that is tough to do while Takayasu is hitting you. The result was Mitakeumi losing his balance, and Takayasu swinging him down. Both men went twisting to the dohyo, but Mitakeumi rolled first. Both are now 7-5.
Shodai defeats Takarafuji – Back into snooze mode again, as even Takarafuji’s reactive / defense heavy sumo can do much against Shodai. Shodai looks focused but uninspired. But that’s win number 10 and he stays in the leader group.
Asanoyama defeats Daieisho – There was no chance that Daieisho was going to phone in a match, especially once against Asanoyama, whom he has a track record of beating, at least before Asanoyama entered the San’yaku. Daieisho had the offensive edge until he decided to try to pull the Ozeki down, and as we have seen too many times this September, that loss of forward pressure invited Asanoyama to overwhelm Daieisho, driving him back and eventually down. Win number 9 for Asanoyama, and he has to hope for an unusual series of events to take place over the final 3 days to give him any hope of still challenging for the cup.