Tokyo November Day 4 Highlights

Several winless rikishi picked up their first white star today, as it seems the ring rust is mostly gone. I expect some great sumo from here on out, with Kotoeko and Chiyonokuni continuing to impress. The man to catch is likely to be Terunofuji, who today showed a great example of how much his sumo has improved in his long climb back to the top.

It’s apparent that Shodai is hurt with at least a left ankle and possibly more. Should we have a second Ozeki go kyujo, it would further complicate the January basho forecast, with possibly two kadoban Ozeki in must-win situation to save their rank, and two Yokozuna in must-win situations to save their careers. Way to ratchet up the drama guys!

Highlight Matches

Shimanoumi defeats Akua – Akua attempted a pull in the second combo out of the tachiai, and that release of forward power was all that it took for Shimanoumi to take control and win. Shimanoumi remains perfect at 4-0.

Kotonowaka defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma had the strong hand in this match, getting a solid right hand outside grip early. His attempt to pivot to his right to set up a throw fell apart when his right foot lost traction at the same moment that Kotonowaka counter-rotated to stop the throw. The outcome – Chiyoshoma collapsed into the clay and Kotonowaka picks up his third win.

Chiyotairyu defeats Hoshoryu – Yet again, an uncharacteristicly low-velocity tachiai from Chiyotairyu. As with day 3, it seems to have thrown his opponent’s notion of force and distance at the tachiai off. Hoshoryu’s first step is over extended, his balance too far forward, and he was ripe for a Chiyotairyu slap down.

Chiyonokuni defeats Kaisei – Yep, Chiyonokuni won to go 4-0, which is great. But I did like how Kaisei stuck with the match and worked well to counter everything that Chiyonokuni tried. This is in spite of Kaisei looking like he is nursing some kind of leg injury.

Sadanoumi defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo’s sumo can be very frustrating. He is solid out of the tachiai, gets a good grip on Sadanoumi. But then Sadanoumi is able to disrupt whatever plan Ichinojo had for the match and swing him out. Ichinojo drops to 0-4, while Sadanoumi picks up a much needed first win.

Ryuden defeats Yutakayama – As expected, the bounce is back! I have to wonder how long it will be before the grumpy old men of sumo tell Ryuden to knock it off, but for now, let’s enjoy his unique take on the tachiai. My compliments to both on a high-endurance match. Early form was all tsuki/oshi, with Yutakayama going for Ryuden’s face and Ryuden focusing on Yutakayama’s armpits. They finish chest to chest with Ryuden having a right hand inside grip, which he quickly converts to a throw. Ryuden improves to 3-1.

Meisei defeats Enho – It almost looks like Enho is putting a majority of his effort into evading his opponent, and in doing so turns himself into the sumo equivalent of a clay pigeon. Now it’s fun to make them explode into a swarm of little pieces, but it’s really only flying through the sky so you can blow it up. Enho remains winless at 0-4.

Kotoeko defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu opened strong, but that throw from Kotoeko to end the match. That guy has a ton of upper body strength, he launched Tokushoryu with lateral lift and shove. Great move from Kotoeko, he remains unbeaten at 4-0.

Tochinoshin defeats Terutsuyoshi – Tochinoshin henkas Terutsuyoshi, talk about your man bites dog sumo match! He follows it up with a solid mawashi grip, and a mini sky-crane. Tochinoshin improves to 2-2.

Takarafuji defeats Aoiyama – I love Takarafuji’s tachiai today. So detailed, so efficient. Takarafuji knows Aoiyama is coming in strong with his left, and he pivots in the first step, opening space on his right. Without the set up for the lift up / slap down combo it seems Aoiyama was looking for, he clicking into a oshi-attack pattern, and Takarafuji moves to defend and extend. With that much meat in motion, Big Dan Aoiyama runs out of energy before long, and Takarafuji takes him apart for his third win.

Endo defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi had the better start, but he could not keep Endo at optimum tsuki range, and the lead of the match went to Endo with each step forward Endo took. Solid response to Tamawashi’s sumo by Endo, who improves to 4-0.

Myogiryu defeats Kotoshoho – Myogiryu brought slightly more power to the tachiai, and converted that modicum of forward advantage into a strong advance that carried Kotoshoho out of the ring. First win of November for Myogiryu, now at 1-3.

Kagayaki defeats Tobizaru – This may have been the day that Kagayaki broke through his ring rust and re-connected with his sumo. Tobizaru had the advantage in the first part of the match, and successfully moved Kagayaki back. Kagayaki rallied as his heels contacted the tawara, and his left hand found Tobizaru’s neck. From there it was all Kagayaki, and he picks up his first win.

Terunofuji defeats Okinoumi – The tachiai may look chaotic, but it was an intense and well calculated struggle for grip, that favored Okinoumi. the old form of Terunofuji would be in trouble at this point, and Okinoumi begins to shift him around, looking to get enough power to throw Terunofuji. Terunofuji manages to shut down at least 2 throw attempts, consolidates his grip and marches Okinoumi out. Terunofuji improves to 4-0, and is looking like he may be the man to beat for now.

Hokutofuji defeats Takayasu – I cringe every time I see Takayasu open with that left shoulder “blast”. It leaves him high and off balance. It’s easy to predict, and not that tough to exploit if it does not knock you down. It’s impatient sumo, and its contrary to the excellent form that he used to show when he was posted to Sekiwake before he rose to Ozeki. Hokutofuji knew what to do, and completely dismantled any additional offense Takayasu may have had in mind. Hokutofuji looking solid this November with a 4-0 start.

Kiribayama defeats Mitakeumi – Before Kiribayama even completes his first step, he brings his right hand up and makes contact with Mitakeumi’s shoulder. This sets up the kimarite nicely as he pulls Mitakeumi forward and past him for his first win of the November tournament. Gutsy move that could have just as easily blown up in his face, and he executed it well.

Takanosho defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage employs a Harumafuji-style mini henka, but it seems to not really give him much advantage. Takanosho recovers his balance and re-engages with a better grip and hand placement than he would have had Wakatakakage just continued at the tachiai. Takanosho made short work of what was left to improve to 2-2.

Daieisho defeats Shodai – Some of our readers noted that Shodai looking hurt following his day 3 match against Takayasu, and that may have been correct. Shodai offered only token resistance to Daieisho, and easily went out for his first loss of the basho. He was limping badly following the match, and clearly looked in pain. A second Ozeki kyujo and subsequent kadoban would further spice the anticipated “Thunder Dome” doom scenario for January.

Takakeisho defeats Onosho – Onosho came out strong at the tachiai, but once Takakeisho got into his rhythm, he made short work of the lesser tadpole. Onosho still winless while Takakeisho improves to 4-0.

25 thoughts on “Tokyo November Day 4 Highlights

  1. That was a scary landing for Enho. Woof. Glad to see he’s okay.

    Tochinoshin used Terutsuyoshi’s tachiai on Terutsuyoshi! Brilliant!

    Something’s wrong with Big Dan. He had a couple of opportunities to fire up the V-Twin today and he didn’t take any of them.

    Am I right that Miyogiryu won because Kotonowaka was airborne and on his way off of the dohyo? I thought there might be a monoii there until I saw the replay.

    Hokotofuji is definitely focused and serious about his sumo. Takayasu tried to brawl with him like he did yesterday, but Hokotofuji was completely uninterested in any shenanigans.

    Both Mitakeumi and Shodai showed up with a half-baked plan and weren’t 100% focused on their matches. That used to be okay and might get you a scrappy win, but now it just means you get absolutely thrashed.

    • I thought Kotoshoho clearly won. He still had one foot on the dohyo when Myogiryu touched down. At the very least it should have been a monoii; one of those clearly blown calls we get a few times per basho.

  2. I don’t expect a change, but the raised dohyo clearly contributes to injuries. Very heavy men fall an
    extra couple of feet onto a hard surface. How could this not sometimes cause injury. I think Shodai would
    be fine if the dohyo was not raised, and probably Kisenasato after his famous throw by Haramafuji. There are many other examples — but I don’t expect any change. Tradition is tradition. But there are so many injuries and this is damaging Sumo.

    • Shodai’s injury was pretty much exactly like Wakatakakage’s a few tournaments ago, when he similarly jumped off the dohyo after a win and landed on one leg. Not to mention Tomokaze’s much more serious injury in a similar situation.

    • The Kisenosato case has been discussed many times in the past. Herouth would remind you Kisenosato’s own acknowledgment that he got injured at the tachi-ai, not while falling down.

    • A very small percentage of rikishi injuries is the result of falling off the dohyo. But those injuries kind of stand out, so we tend to try to find solutions for them.

      Asanoyama is out for four weeks. The injury he suffered was virtually invisible – I had to go back to the video of his day 1 bout and watch it like a hawk to see when it happens and his reaction.

      Kisenosato’s injury, Takakeisho’s injury, Chiyonokuni’s injury – all were on-dohyo.

      The real solution is reducing rikishi weights. This will be effective for both on and off dohyo injuries.

  3. Shodai clearly injured his leg on day 3. Hard to tell what exactly is the problem, but my guess would be either hyperextended knee or pulled groin muscle. If it’s the latter then some therapy and a wrap on his thigh might keep him able to compete, but if it’s the former then he should go kyujo.

    Something is also off with the Bulgarian Boobster. He moves about the dohyo a bit tentatively and it looks like he may have a core muscle issue.

    As for Enho, he’s fallen into some bad habits and his oyakata needs to sit him down in front of the monitor to review footage of his poor sumo and then work with him to unlearn those bad habits.

    At this early stage the basho looks like Takakeisho’s for the taking, but we’ll see what happens in week two when his stamina often wanes.

  4. I might well be wrong and probably am…
    But I don’t think both ōzeki being kadoban in January would lead to aforementioned “Thunder Dome” scenario but rather be sort of good news for the yokozuna. Two ōzeki are needed on the banzuke so both yokozuna will have to do for maybe a couple of basho in the worst case.

    • That’s an interesting point of view. I hope Shodai hasn’t worsened his condition by showing up today.

  5. Given how masterful he looked in his bout against Aoiyama, it’s remarkable that Takarafuji had lost 21 of his previous 24 skirmishes with the bulky Bulgarian.

    Go back and look at the video of Shodai walking through the tunnel after his Day Three bout. It sure seemed to me that he was struggling with a groin injury. Such an injury likely robs him of any ability to generate power from his legs, while also limiting his mobility.

  6. Herouth pointed this out on Twitter and it was something I also noticed it in the moment so I think it bears repeating – Tamawashi had the match against Endo more or less won when he had him in position to execute a kotenage.

    Tamawashi inflicted multiple injuries with that weapon previously, and appeared to not execute the throw fully by choice in the moment.

    I think if Endo goes on to challenge for honours in any capacity (which I don’t seriously expect), that moment will likely be a turning point in the basho which could have seriously altered the direction of his tournament and also banzuke position for the foreseeable future.

  7. This is off-topic, but does anyone know what’s happened to SumoForum? It’s been down for a couple of days now.

    • Someone asked Kintamayama that in the comments to his YouTube video, and he said
      ” Down-major crash – should be fixed by tomorrow”

      • It’s now at least not responding, as opposed to before where it was responding and not allowing anything to load beyond the post list or user list. Thus it appears some steps are now underway to fix it, but it was strange that it sat in the condition it was in for so long.

        • I would imagine that as it’s a free site with no ads, the people who run it have real lives and jobs. I’ll be very glad when they get it fixed.

          • I’ve long said that for both that and sumodb, someone should establish a Patreon or something. I’d be very happy to kick in $1 every so often as I’m sure many others would as well to ensure a better/stable hosting solution or even fund upgrades

  8. Oh no not Shodai as well. Is it really too much to hope for that someone gets an ozeki promotion and doesn’t get injured almost immediately.

    There’s a grizzled old prospector who lives in a shack at the bottom of my garden who tells me that “there was this varmit from hoh-sakka, I think folks called him Go-way-do, but I ain’t for sure. Anyways, they tells me that after he got himself that hoh-zekki badge, he went a whole four of them there basho without missin’ a fight. I say t’ain’t nothin’ but a legend”.

    • I guess there’s hope even after injury—this guy Hakuho sat out his 4th ozeki basho, and then had a pretty fair run* for 8 1/2 years before he missed another bout.

      *only 3 basho in that span where he didn’t get the yusho (34) or the jun-yusho (14).

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