We are down to three undefeated rikishi at the end of day 6, with the match between Takakeisho and Terunofuji, somewhere in week two, as the showdown that will likely decide the yusho. They have fought twice before, and Takakeisho has taken them both. The first was in 2017 when Terunofuji was an injured Ozeki. A then Maegashira 1 Takakeisho powered up the wave action tsuppari and blasted Terunofuji with it on day 1 in Nagoya. The second was just last tournament, again on day 1, when a now Maegashira Terunofuji could not find a hand hold and succumbed to Takakeisho’s thrusting attack. We know their third career match is coming, and it should be a big one.
Chiyotairyu defeats Shohozan – What would a match like this be without Shohozan taking an early, cheap shot? He tried the same combo when they were able to start together, but his pull down idea was ineffective as Chiyotairyu seems to have given up the cannon ball tachiai. Chiyotairyu advances to 4-2.
Ichinojo defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi takes his first loss of the November tournament. He went for Ichinojo’s armpits, and raised him up. This is puzzling, because Ichinojo is fairly “raised up” even when he is seated. They broke contact, and re-engaged with Ichinojo getting a fierce mawashi grip. After locking up and catching their breath, Ichinojo marched forward and took Shimanoumi over the bales. Very nice to see Ichinojo stick with this match.
Yutakayama defeats Chiyoshoma – Yutakayama picks up a much needed win. He edged out Chiyoshoma at the tachiai, and then just ran him off the dohyo. Short, brutal, done. Yutakayama improves to 2-4.
Kaisei defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka opened strong, but I think he’s not used to someone the size of Kaisei. Kotonowaka backed him to the bales, and probably thought that one shove finished him. No, Kaisei was happy to return the gesture, and plowed Kotonowaka back across the dohyo and out. Both end the day 3-3.
Akua defeats Sadanoumi – An Akua false start caused a series of explanations and awkward resets, and they never quite got the timing down. Sadanoumi started strong but Akua overcame Sadanoumi’s superior position to get an uwatenage loaded to pick up his second win of the tournament.
Chiyonokuni defeats Enho – Chiyonokuni stays perfect after he dominates Enho and tosses him across the tarawa. I have seen Scottish farmers use that same techniques to get young sheep back in the pen.
Tokushoryu defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu smashes into the wall of flesh that is Tokushoryu, and finds there is little he can do. I have seen discussion online that Hoshoryu’s back is in pain, and that would explain much of what is happening with him. Tokushoryu gives him a rag-doll oshitaoshi, and he’s out.
Aoiyama defeats Meisei – Big Dan finally picks up his first win, and his fans around the world breath a sigh of relief. We didn’t quite see the “V-Twin” today, but he was able to get good hand placement and convert that to a win.
Ryuden defeats Terutsuyoshi – Ryuden continues to have (as Eddie Murphy would say) “The boogie in his butt”. But it seems to be working. It quasi mesmerized Terutsuyoshi, who charged ahead, but in a state of hesitant confusion. I may need to consult the ladies on this one.
Tochinoshin defeats Kotoeko – Tochinoshin put a lot of energy into the tachiai, and I was impressed that Kotoeko absorbed it, and was able to rally. Tochinoshin powered into what could have been winning positions, but his body is just too damaged for him to be able to channel power the way he once did. Kotoeko hung in tough, but eventually Tochinoshin was able to at least partially lift Kotoeko, and slowly bring him to the clay. Tochinoshin improves to 3-3.
Tamawashi defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu just seems to have no forward power at all, and he collapses back under Tamawashi’s initial charge. Tamawashi improves to 4-2.
Kotoshoho defeats Endo – I am impressed that Kotoshoho took a win from Endo. In fact he effectively shut down or disrupted every attack that Endo could muster, and in the end pushed him out with a powerful forward lunge. Kotoshoho improves to 3-3.
Takarafuji defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru’s first match against Takarafuji went about like one would think. Tobizaru was a bundle of energy, his hands in constant motion searching for grip or applying thrust. Takarafuji just kept on defense and methodically working away, his feet steady, controlling the center of the ring. He wore Tobizaru down and then tossed him out following a failed Tobizaru kick. I feel a bit sad for Tobizaru, he is facing a different grade of rikishi now, and he’s going to need to elevate his sumo if he wants to be part of the joi. Takarafuji improves to 5-1.
Onosho defeats Daieisho – Onosho picks up his second win, and genuinely had better balance and foot position today. Daieisho was fighting strong, but once he was shoved into motion by Onosho, he could not recover his footing.
Terunofuji defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama conceded to a mawashi battle against a former Ozeki who is clearly back at near that level of sumo. I had a good grip and solid body position, but Terunofuji was unimpressed. He lifeted Kiribayama and put him across the tawara to remain perfect at 6-0. I genuinely think he is the front running for the yusho headed into the middle weekend.
Takayasu defeats Wakatakakage – Takayasu found he could not overpower Wakatakakage, and resorted to a pull. This was a risky move, and nearly cost him the match. But he had enough territory to pull it off, and Wakatakakage hit the clay. That was Takayasu’s second win for November, and he has a fair sized hole to climb out of if he wants a kachi-koshi.
Mitakeumi defeats Okinoumi – That early Mitakeumi make-kai was the defining element in this match. Okinoumi found that he was poorly positioned to defend once Mitakeumi was able to change up his grip. Both end the day at 4-2.
Takanosho defeats Hokutofuji – I marveled at Takanosho’s defense today. Really top notch in the face of all of the power that Hokutofuji can muster. After Hokutofuji’s opening flurry of attacks, Takanosho was able to statelmate him and they locked up with Takanosho controlling the center of the dohyo. Over time he wore Hokutofuji down, and took him to the clay. Great effort from both, but excellent strategy and patience from Takanosho. They both end the day at 4-2.
Takakeisho defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki was never able to get his feet set up into any kind of defensive stance, and Takakeisho applied a “wave action” attack combo. That sent Kagayaki staggering away, and he never recovered his footing. Takakeisho remains unbeaten at 6-0.
4 thoughts on “Tokyo November Day 6 Highlights”
After some of the madness we have witnessed over the last couple of years it’s quite refreshing to see a basho which comes down a straightforward two-horse race after six days. I would actually characterise it as a one and half horse race (there’s some Sleepy Hollow nightmare fuel for you) as I can’t see Terunofuji losing to anyone unless he gets injured. To extend the horse racing metaphor: if Terunofuji stays sound he will win under a hand ride, but if he breaks down in the straight Takakeisho will stay on tenaciously to snatch victory on the wire.
Am I the only one getting a bit fed up with Tokushoryu’s “victory smirk”. It hasn’t reached Daishomaru levels yet, but it’s getting irritating.
Ryuden’s “bounce” is a bit like Kotoyuki’s “dog bark/owl hoot” from a few years ago. It distracts the opponent and he’ll keep on doing it until someone tells him to knock it off. I believe it was Hakuho who hinted that if Kotoyuki ever owl-hooted at him he would ram his beak up his feathery crevice. I paraphrase obviously, but the point was made.
Takanosho is really impressing me.
It just seems that Enho has lost belief in his sumo. It may have started with an injury, but whatever it was, his body language is really defeatist. It’s a shame, but if he doesn’t snap out of it soon he’ll be following Ishiura down to Juryo.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Tokushoryu’s sumo this basho. Back when he won the January championship (yes, it really happened!), he was using a Houdini act at the tawara to snatch victories from the jaws of defeat. Now he is overpowering people. Good on him!
In American football and baseball, we sometimes see players employ a little hop just before the start of a play, so that they don’t start flat-footed, but instead have some spring in their initial step. I wonder if some similar notion lies behind Ryuden’s butt-bouncing tactic.