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!
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.