A fine day of sumo for all. I am starting to think that Shodai has his act together. I am going to be interested to see if he can keep this level of consistency up, because if he can, he will be a force to be reckoned with. If he is going to be regularly at the top of the division, he may need some kind of occasional use nickname. One internet sumo fan suggested “booger”, as Shodai has been found on camera this past week picking objects out of body openings while he waits for his match. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
The whole thing comes down to Shodai’s match against Tobizaru as the second to last fight of the tournament. Right now, Shodai controls his fate. He is the sole leader in the yusho race, with only Takakeisho and Tobizaru able to challenge if Shodai should lose tomorrow. Pro tip to Tokitsukaze oyakata – go buy the fish now.
Shohozan defeats Nishikigi – I liked this match because Shohozan actually was able to generate some offense against Nishikigi. Of course Nishikigi worked hard to establish an arm bar (his favorite grip), and lost the hold at least once. But Shohozan got a nodowa in with his right, and then pulled. This is a risky move, which frequently gives the initiator a swift loss, but Shohozan got Nishikigi down before he stepped outside himself.
Ishiura defeats Ikioi – Watching Ikioi get up after a loss like that is painful. I can’t imagine what it’s like for him. Both end the day at 3-11, and maybe they can fight it out in Juryo in November.
Sadanoumi defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo never could set up any kind of defensive footing, and the smaller Sadanoumi moved him around the dohyo with minimal effort. Both are 7-7 and are headed for Darwin matches. Ichinojo continues to be an enigma, he will fight well one day, and be week and ineffective the next.
Kotoeko defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi could not come up with anything other than defense against Kotoeko’s attacks. But that was a really solid defense. Kotoeko kept working to get his hands inside, and kept moving Shimanoumi back. Shimanoumi gets his 8th loss, and Kotoeko improves to 7-7 and qualifies for a day 15 Darwin match.
Kotoshoho defeats Tokushoryu – In sumo, much of a rikishi’s defense comes from their lower body. This is a great example today, as Kotoshoho maintains his stance and balance under Tokushoryu’s offense. We saw Tokushoryu load up that “magic” tsukiotoshi that took him to the yusho in January, but Kotoshoho kept his feet. Tokushoryu’s 8th loss, and is make-koshi for September.
Ryuden defeats Kotoshogiku – Kotoshogiku really has no power left in his legs. I marvel at how gentle Ryuden is with him. Good show sir. With a 2-12 score at Maegashira 11, we may be saying goodbye to the Kyushu Bulldozer soon. He might hang in for the November basho if it were to return to his homeland in the West, but I am pretty sure November it will be another basho re-homed to the Kokugikan.
Kaisei defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama gave Kaisei a V-Twin attack, and Kaisei held his ground. Aoiyama found he could only move Kaisei a little, and tried for a doulbe handed slap-down. It was at that moment Kaisei lowered his hips and charged. His win leaves both of them at 7-7, and excellent candidates for a day 15 Darwin match.
Hoshoryu defeats Kagayaki – After getting multiple combos to his face, Hoshoryu shifted from direct attack to deflect and move. Kagayaki followed, keeping the pressure up. As Hoshoryu came perilously close to the tawara, he hooked his leg around Kagayaki and pivoted into kakenage. It was great to see, and some mighty fine sumo. Both end the day at 7-7, and its MORE DARWIN!
Meisei defeats Myogiryu – Congrats to Meisei for a solid kachi-koshi (now 9-5) in his rebound match from his quick trip to Juryo. He was there long enough to pick up a yusho, and rough up everyone in the farm league. Hopefully he has recovered from his injury in November of last year. Myogiryu’s 8th loss, and make-koshi.
Enho defeats Terutsuyoshi – We all expected there to be a parade of shenanigans when these two were already make-koshi and facing off late in the basho. Enho employed a flying henka, a reverse battle hug, a quick spin on the Enho-go-round and a push out by the rear for Terutsuyoshi. Bye!
Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji kept looking to get a nodowa in against Takayasu, and this caused him to reach in a few times toward the former Ozeki’s neck. Takayasu exploited Hokutofuji’s gambled and slapped him to the dohyo. Takayasu improves to 9-5.
Tochinoshin defeats Tamawashi – These two threw everything they could think of at each other. It was a wild and chaotic match, and the sumo on display here underscores how far both have degraded from their genki forms. Points to Tochinoshin for sticking with the shifting fight modes, and keeping his balance centered.
Takanosho defeats Onosho – Look at Takanosho’s stance. His amazing defensive posture and footwork robbed Onosho of his offense, and at one point his frustration leads to a pull attempt. But Takanosho is planted and is going nowhere. When he finally gets Takanosho on the move, Onosho’s too far forward and wide open for Takanosho’s hatakikomi. Not sure how Takanosho applied that much force when only his little toe had a grip on wrong edge of the tawara, but he made it work. Seriously genki pinky-toe. Feed it some roast beef, sir!
Kiribayama defeats Okinoumi – Very evasive sumo from Kiribayama, with a step to the side at the tachiai. But it was enough for kachi-koshi today, after sitting out a few days earlier in the tournament due to a shoulder injury.
Takarafuji defeats Daieisho – This is a great match to watch a few times at regular match and in slow motion, as Takarafuji has much to teach today. As is frequently his plan, he comes on with a strong defense and works to endure his opponent’s opening attacks. Note where his hips are relative to his feet when Daieisho attacks his neck. Takarafuji his high, but stable. His body is at the extent of Daieisho’s reach, so Daieisho can only apply fraction force. As the fight continues, Takarafuji keeps his feet as close as possible to the center of the ring. Although Daieisho is attacking like mad, Takarafuji converts any attempt by Daieisho to move forward into Daieisho circling around. It only takes a few exchanges before Daieisho notices this and tries to change up his attack. It’s at this point that Takarafuji engages offense, and Daieisho find he is nearly out of territory to work with. The match ends shortly after that. Lesson learned – control the center of the ring, and a strong stance correctly balanced can be a tool to overcoming a vigorous opponent’s energetic attacks.
Mitakeumi defeats Wakatakakage – Mitakeumi recovered after a rough start that saw Wakatakakage claim the attack position from the tachiai. Mitakeumi’s attempted a pull down, and that nearly cost him the match. I do wish he would cut that stuff out. A few moments later, Mitakeumi settles into the fight and gets a proper body position and hand hold on Wakatakakage, and takes him apart. I think this match is a great example of what may fans perceive as Mitakeumi’s inconsistency. He’s an opportunist, and frequently he has a tough time with his second step. Opponents have this figured out, and can goad him into trying to pull, and use Mitakeumi’s release of forward attack to beat him. Fortunately, Mitakeumi prevailed for his 8th win and is kachi-koshi. But yet again his campaign to reach Ozeki are likely reset to zero.
Shodai defeats Asanoyama – Good heavens, that version of Shodai is quite the overpowering monster. Asanoyama’s grip attempt at the tachiai failed, and he found himself turned to the side, with his right flank exposed. Shodai latched on and rapidly dispatched the surprised Ozeki. Excellent sumo, and excellent match plan from Shodai today. He is now the sole leader for the yusho.
Takakeisho defeats Tobizaru – Really impressed with how well Tobizaru did in this match. Takakeisho was trying whatever came to mind, and it was clear that Tobizaru was on defense, but his ability to hang in and stay on his feet was notable. I predict in a year or less, their future matches will have a different tone. Both men end the day 11-3, one win behind Shodai, whom Tobizaru will meet on day 15.