In a surprising development early Friday, Chiyotairyu and Terunofuji were both declared kyujo. Chiyotairyu had not really appeared hurt, but his medical certificate cited injury to both feet. We hope he gets well and can come back in fighting form. Fans who had been cheering the remarkable comeback of Terunofuji were initially surprised to read he had dropped, and they are now worried as his medical certificate cites injury to his left knee. Terunofuji’s knees are little more than gristle and pain at this point, and we assumed it would be the first thing to fail on him. I wish him best of luck getting them back together and back in the fight. He had a score of 8-4 when he went kyujo, so he will (at minimum) keep h is Maegashira 1e rank for November.
In competition, Shodai prevailed over Takakeisho, and for at least one day, the yusho race is between Tobizaru and Shodai. The schedulers have chosen Asanoyama to face Shodai on day 14, and Tobizaru gets a try at Takakeisho. Depending on day 14 results, there could be as many as six (6!) rikishi tied for the yusho on the final day. A brilliant job of shaping the yusho race by the scheduling team.
Shimanoumi defeats Shohozan – Shohozan cements his position as captain of the slow barge of the damned headed to Juryo. He’s a great competitor, but injury seems to have robbed him of his sumo. Thanks for all of the great matches, “Big Guns”.
Hoshoryu defeats Ishiura – Ishiura had a lot of guts to jump back in the basho with a damaged ankle. I am sure it was an attempt to pick up any wins he could to soften his demotion. I can’t blame his motivation, and only time will tell if his judgement was sound. Hoshoryu picks up a much needed win, but his best possible outcome now is a day 15 Darwin match.
Ichinojo defeats Kotoshogiku – Also in the grizzled veteran who may be making his last top division appearance is dear former Ozeki Kotoshogiku. He had almost no defense today against Ichinojo, thanks to knees that are completely worn out from decades of sumo.
Sadanoumi defeats Kaisei – Kaisei was not happy with his hand and body position at the tachiai, and his moment of indecision was all of the opportunity Sadanoumi needed to win the match. Both men are on a solid trajectory for a day 15 7-7 Darwin match.
Meisei defeats Enho – Meisei starts the match taking Enho to his chest, but a moment later Enho breaks contact. The familiar cat-style fight ensues, with each pawing the other with a series of tentative strike and withdraw combos. Meisei loses interest in this, lunges forward to grab Enho and power him on a flight trajectory to the tarawa. Meisei kachi-koshi.
Kotoeko defeats Aoiyama – This match was full of suprises. The first that Aoiyama decided to go chest to chest with the much smaller Kotoeko. Second that Kotoeko somehow tapped into some kind of energy reserve and was able to out-brute the man-mountain Aoiyama.
Takayasu defeats Kotoshoho – Takayasu gets his 8th win to secure kachi-koshi for September. Kotoshoho had a lot of power and forward momentum in the tachiai, but Takayasu completely blocked out Kotoshoho’s attempt for a grip. Kotoshoho kept up the pressure, but lost footing while trying to swing Takayasu around. The kimarite is listed as tsukite, meaning Kotoshoho fell down and lost.
Onosho defeats Takarafuji – This match makes me wonder if Takarafuji has some kind of back / hip pain he is contending with. Not to detract from Onosho’s powerful and efficient attack. But Takarafuji had no chance to set up any kind of defense, and quickly found himself pushed out of the ring.
Kagayaki defeats Tochinoshin – Oh, I am sure the drama in sumo fandom will rage around this one. The match proper featured Kagayaki initially overpowering Tochinoshin. Tochinoshin responded by setting up a back of the neck pull, that seemed to take forever to deliver. But Kagayaki went face first to the clay, and the gumbai went to Tochinoshin. A monoii decided that Tochinoshin’s heel touched out before he even completed the pull against Kagayaki, and the match was awarded to Kagayaki. I can only imagine the shimpan saw something I could not from the video.
Myogiryu defeats Tamawashi – Myogiryu put a huge effort into this match, and found a way to deflect or nullify almost every move Tamawashi could deliver. Tamawashi was limited mostly to responding to Myogiryu’s attacks but showed some really great balance. The final move saw both men locked chest to chest, each throwing the other down. A very athletic twisting move by Myogiryu ensured that Tamawashi landed first. Great ring sense from Myogiryu. Tamawashi make-koshi.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Hokutofuji – I am going to guess that Hokutofuji is the only person in the sumo world who did not see this one coming from a mile away. Two matta by Terutsuyoshi followed by a henka. That’s loss number 8 for Hokutofuji, and he once again can claim “The most powerful make-koshi in sumo”.
Tobizaru defeats Takanosho – Takanosho had great position in the tachiai, but found himself with a bit too much forward power. Tobizaru gave way and allowed Takanosho to move forward while Tobizaru’s third step turned him to the side, and positioned him to drive Takanosho out. Tobizaru maintains his spot as co-leader.
Ryuden defeats Okinoumi – The word for this match – makikae (grip shift). Ryuden does this very well, and he was able to nullify Okinoumi’s early advantage, and get both hands inside and on Okinoumi’s mawashi. Sadly both were make-koshi before this match, so now they are just fighting to figure out how far down the banzuke they will drop.
Kiribayama defeats Daieisho – Kiribayama comes back from kyujo and brings some decent sumo with him. Daieisho generated almost zero forward resistance against Kiribayama. I am not sure if he had his heart set ons some kind of pulling move, could not get his feet set, or is nursing an injury. Kiribayama looked pained following the win.
Shodai defeats Takakeisho – Shodai absorbed everything that Takakeisho could land on him. Under a rain of blows from the Ozeki, he kept his feet and stayed in the match. Again I see Kakuryu’s sumo showing itself in Shodai, and it’s great. Shodai’s first attempt to swing Takakeisho by him on Takakeisho’s thrust failed, but the second one a moment later delivered, and the Ozeki hit the dohyo. Shodai maintains his portion of the lead in the yusho race. Perfect selection of tactics for this match on Shodai’s part. Well done.
Asanoyama defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi looked like little more than practice ballast for Asanoyama today, and it did not take more than 3 steps to get the original tadpole airborne. Asanoyama stays in the hunt, and will have his one chance to pull himself back in the yusho race on day 14 when he faces Shodai. Frankly, I can’t wait.