Aki Day 13 Highlights

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.

Highlight Matches

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.

30 thoughts on “Aki Day 13 Highlights

  1. So, Shodai suddenly went from collecting make-koshis to collecting jun-yushos and kanto-shos? From 0-9s and 3-12s to 11-4s and 13-2s with no prior notice? Makes one wonder just what happened. I like the guy and am glad to see him living up to what we all expected of him, but that’s sure a little surprising.

    Very refreshing to see all the light-weight young guys breathing life in the agonizing Makuuchi. Think most of them are here to stay. Let´s see if the older brothers can catch up next year, I doubt it.

    • Take Shodai’s 5-10 record in July 2007 at M1e. He’s 25 years old at the time and has been in Makuuchi since Hatsu 2016. His first four opponents were all Yokozuna at the time and the next three Ozeki, albeit Terunofuji went out kyijo. In order:
      Kakuryu , Harumafuji, Hakuho, Kisenosato, Goeido, Terunofuji, Takayasu.

      No real surprise that he’s achieved a pretty consistent level of performancein recent basho – the quality of competition has gone down just as he has matured.

      • I was actually pointing out his failures from 2019, when things were not that much different from today. Whatever might have happened, it’s hard to believe he’s is going to stop at Sekiwake.

        • That 3-12 from last year is certainly worth a look. A lot has happened, including a cancelled tournament. I wonder if he had confidence issues in the joi but then was clearly better than the mid-maegashira. That may have helped his confidence while everyone else…broke?

          • Have you ever gotten close to a goal and then had everything fall apart? Did that make you angry and more determined to actually reach the goal?

            I think that’s exactly what has happened with Shodai.

    • Unlees your name is Hatorizakura, if someone in Makuuchi goes 3-12 it almost certainly means that he has something ailing him (unless you have been ridicuclously overpromoted). Whether thats a smaller undisclosed injury or just a little flu, that robs you of your stamina.
      It was one bad tournament. It’s not like Shodai had been collecting this kind of scores. He was just one of the rikishi on the bubble, bouncing in and out of the joi-in. I think he has just matured and found a way to deal with his still less than stellar tachiai.

  2. The mystery heel touch strikes the Georgian again. Last time it cost him a good shot at a yūshō, this time just a few slots in the rank-and-file. I didn’t see it either time.

    • I have to agree with Yume. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” is wisdom not just for dealing with shady people. Tochinoshin keeps pulling and getting himself into these situations.

    • On AbemaTV the former Tochiozan watched the replay and when the picture showed the crucial moment and appeared to depict a dark patch under Tochinoshin’s heel he said “kage” which means “shadow”. He may have been a bit biased in favour of his stablemate of course. By the way, he seemed to be having an absolute hoot doing the commentary, bursting into laughter all the time (mind you I could only understand the sumo terms so I’m not sure exactly what he found so funny). He was certainly having more fun than Goeido in the same role earlier in the basho; the ex-ozeki was desparately uncomfortable and the main presenter had to work very hard to get anything more than monosyllabic responses for two hours.

  3. I have to check the video from the last basho, but I think one of the big differences for Onosho is that he’s closer to the shikirisen this basho and his modified stance allows him to execute his tachiai faster. It is possible that Takarafuji is injured, but he also potentially was caught completely off guard by how fast Onosho moved.

    I literally said out loud, “Here comes the henka” as soon as Terutsuyoshi did his first matta. Hokotofuji continues to prove the old adage by P. T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

    Tobizaru knew he got away with one today based on his facial expression after his win. “PHEW! That was CLOSE!”

    Quality sumo from Shodai and Asanoyama today. Today’s match makes me believe that Mitakeumi is also injured somehow.

  4. The replay on NHK was pretty clear – it showed Tochinoshin’s right heel grounding into the janome enough that you could see the sand bunch back up around his heel. As much as I like him, I’ve to admit the video replay is clear, damning, and conclusive.

  5. I came here for “The most powerful make-koshi in sumo” and I was not disappointed.

    What is it with Tochinoshin and his heel???!!! I did think that this time, unlike in the previous hugely controversial instance, the heel did touch.

  6. I’m puzzled by Tobizaru. As he’s new to the top division, I’d just assumed he was young, but he’s 28, the same age as Terunofuji. Did it just take him forever to work his way up, or did he have injuries that held him back?

    • Sumo DB shows that Tobizaru has never missed a bout kyujo. Quick rise to Ms, then a long slow grind through Ms and Juryo.

    • He didn’t turn pro till he had graduated from university and was almost 23 when he started. Unlike some late entrants (for example Mitakeumi and Ichinojo) who get parachuted into the third division on account of their performances at university sumo, he started from the very bottom. And as a smaller guy he wasn’t able to bully his way through the lower divisions and had to learn his craft the hard way.

    • I think it’s just his sumo. He has no clear favorite technique (his most used kimarite is Hatakikomi I think), which you could see positively as very versatile or a bit negatively as jack of all trades but master of none. On top of that he is one the smaller guys and his sumo is often a bit wild, so naturally can bounce both ways. This basho just went really well for him. Think he has more wins already than ever ever had in a single basho before.

  7. Perhaps Aoiyama shunned his customary tsuppari attack because he feared that Kotoeko might be too quick for it.

    One of the keys to Shodai’s success on Day 13 was that he not only absorbed Takakeisho’s tachiai, but he also stood Takakeisho up while doing so, thus robbing the ozeki of all forward momentum. Shodai’s improved tachiai technique has been the big difference-maker for him.

    I’m just wondering how they are going to get the goofy grin off of Shodai’s face when they have him pose for his official yusho portrait.

  8. I’ve mentioned Shodai’s ability to absorb charges before and carefully looking at his bout today, I think I have some insight on it. Being fairly tall, when his opponent attacks he often is able to transmit their power in a vertical direction by use of his legs from a low stance and his back through a coordinated arching motion. This blunts their forward progression. It’s really apparent against an opponent like Takakeisho, whose blasts are very strong and obvious. His new lower tachiai improves his ability to absorb those attacks and guide their energy in a direction of least effect or start his own offensive as they reset.

  9. Shodai is looking like an Ozeki at this point. I’ve been impressed with him more and more.

    Mitakeumi at this point I’ve all but given up on being Ozeki. He gets on a run then just dies out. This time it wasn’t a 2nd week fade but just an over all inconsistency. It’s almost like he doesn’t WANT to be ozeki and is content at Sekiwake. It’s a shame really, he’s had so many chances and now he’s been passed by by the likes of Takakeisho, Asanoyama and soon to be Shodai by the looks of it.

    I feel like Tochi was robbed yet again but also…. I don’t really care. Tochi is a shadow of his former self and his tactics are becoming more and more predictable. He hits in a Tachiai, flaps about a bit then goes for a pull, and anyone on the ball just waits for him to set it up and then drives forward when he tries… that’s when he’s not pulling a henka out of his mawashi.

    As much as I’d love to see Takayasu claim back his Ozeki rank I can’t see it happening right now and that means to me it’s very unlikely. I fear the injury to his arm has taken more away from him then he’ll admit. That really hurts me to see honestly…. I just hope when the time comes ( it’s not here yet, I mean he is Kachi ) I hope he retires with Dignity and honor like Goeido did, and not hang around as a Shadow of what was like so many others do.

    I will say this…. How many Rikishi are fighting injured right now? How many have gone Kujo this Basho? This is only the second one back since they restarted and they were all healthy in the last one.. at least as much as could be. Shohozan, Kotoshogiku, Ishiura just to name a few.. and I don’t know his name but I saw that Juryo Rikishi with the bandaged and BRACED arm with a record of 0-13 now. WHY IS HE STILL FIGHTING?! Chiyotairyu and Terunofuji Kujo today on the back of what was a string of them, not the least of which Asanoyama benefiting from 2 prior to this. It’s really insane what is going on with all of this and not more is done…

    • I will go to hell for saying this, but I hope Oki goes 0-15 and never gain his sekitori status again, to serve as (yet another) example.

  10. Normally I’d love to get up in arms about the latest Tochinoshin controversy, but his loss this time around got me my bingo!

    Make-koshi bingo of course. Let’s hear it for Abi, Endo, Kotoshogiku, Tochinoshin, and Ryuden for collaborating on this moment of glory.


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