Tokyo November: Nakabi Highlights

As we discussed in the preview, there’s a lot of action and drama building across the banzuke. In makuuchi, the big story is our big men – Takakeisho and Terunofuji. The joi-jin are performing well as a result of the tumult up top so we should have a great contest…not just for the yusho but for longer term advancement. We very well could have no changes or shuffling in the sanyaku ranks for Hatsu with several joi-jin also carrying over and earning a slot in the Thunder Dome.

We also have drama building in the lower divisions as a new generation of wrestlers hope to join the fray. So I thought I’d bring you a couple of those bouts as well.

Lower Division Yusho Races

Great footwork and a nice little escape act from Wakakaneko against Adachi. Wakakaneko is the only “rookie” left undefeated in the Jonokuchi yusho race. He joins three veterans battling for that division’s title.

Up in Jonidan, Ofukasawa from Naruto-beya made quick work of his opponent. He heads a twelve-man slate of undefeated which includes Hagiwara and KENHO! The big man deserves big letters. We can expect more fun Darwin matches this week.

Takeoka also obliterated Chiyotenfu and picked up his kachi-koshi.

Taiyo had to work a little harder but still dominated Daihisho.

Hokuseiho picked up his kachi-koshi against Nihonyanagi. With the strong shove on the false start, I thought Nihonyanagi would try for a pushing/thrusting attack to counter Hokuseiho’s strength on the belt. But once Hokuseiho got that belt, Nihonyanagi locked in as well. He gave Hokuseiho a scare, lifting him, but Hokuseiho stayed cool and got the uwatenage win.

Things will heat up in Sandanme as these young up-and-comers battle it out! We’ll see both Hokuseiho and Taiyo in separate fights tonight tonight. Will they face each other later this week?

Roga stays perfect and joins a crowded field of eight wrestlers with perfect records in Makushita, including Naya who likely secured his slot in Juryo with his win yesterday. Both are set to battle in their very next Day 9 match. Oh, this will be good. In today’s bout, though, he wrapped up Nakazono quickly. Nakazono tried to retreat but Roga stayed right with him and won with an uwatenage at the edge.

Ura defeated Chiyootori. The pink mawashi went for the leg-pick early and missed. Chiyootori pivoted and forced Ura back to the edge. The tawara seemed to give Ura the leverage and strength he needed to drive forward. Once he got Chiyootori going in reverse, it was all over. Oshidashi.

Makuuchi highlights

Shimanoumi defeated Chiyomaru: Chiyomaru was the aggressor, shoving and slapping at Shimanoumi but Shimanoumi maintained his ground in the center of the ring. With excellent footwork, he was able to cut off Chiyomaru and corner him at the edge, easing him out Yorikiri.

Hoshoryu defeated Ichinojo: Early in the bout Hoshoryu secured a morozashi. He wore Ichinojo down and slowly worked his compatriot to the edge and out. Excellent patience and endurance from the young gun. Yorikiri.

Kotonowaka defeated Yutakayama: Yutakayama pounced, driving Kotonowaka to the edge. Kotonowaka used what leverage he could get from the straw bales to push back at his aggressor. Kotonowaka executed a well-timed side step, slipping right along the bales, catching Yutakayama off-balance as he pressed forward. Kotonowaka then came in behind and forced him out. Okuridashi

Chiyoshoma defeated Kaisei: I was wrong. Chiyoshoma didn’t pull a henka. Instead he shoved Kaisei to the edge, taking aim mainly at Kaisei’s head, forcing him high. He dominated the larger man, shoved Kaisei to the edge, spun him around and shoved him out from behind. Okuridashi

Akua defeated Enho: A young Enho fan in the stands knew what was going to happen. Enho took Akua head on. Akua quickly secured a migi-sashi, a solid right-hand grip on Enho’s mawashi. While Enho was still fishing for a solid grip, Akua pulled Enho and spun him down to the floor. Enho makekoshi. Uwatehineri

Ryuden defeated Chiyotairyu: Wow, I called this pretty well. Ryuden forced a belt battle, effectively negating Chiyotairyu’s preferred style. Early on, both men had solid belt grips and tussled around the center of the ring. Ryuden forced Chiyotairyu’s arm off his belt and held it out. With his footwork he worked Chiyotairu to the edge and out. Yorikiri.

Aoiyama defeated Sadanoumi: Aoiyama got his V-twin back from the shop. Effective, powerful tsuppari from the tachiai, forced Sadanoumi back and out. Sadanoumi had no desire to weather those blasts and force a belt battle. I could not have been more wrong. Tsukidashi.

Tochinoshin defeated Meisei: Meisei’s body was pitched far too forward as he tried to secure a belt grip. Tochinoshin attacked from above and shoved Meisei’s head down to the clay. But he was able to do it without a sidestep tachiai. Hatakikomi.

Endo defeated Chiyonokuni: Chiyonokuni did his best to keep Endo away and shoved him back to the edge. But Endo rallied with the leverage and dove under Chiyonokuni’s attack. As Chiyonokuni pivoted, his right foot landed outside the ring as Endo pushed forward. Yorikiri.

Takarafuji defeated Kotoeko: No lavender energy today. A solid tachiai from Uncle Takara blasted Kotoeko half-way to the bales. Takarafuji then secured a solid belt grip with the right hand. With the left under Kotoeko’s armpit he was able to keep Kotoeko from securing his own belt grip. With Kotoeko’s right arm flailing around, it reminded me of Terunofuji’s battle yesterday. Takarafuji drove forward, through Kotoeko, and forced him over the edge. Yorikiri.

Tokushoryu defeated Tamawashi: Gah! Three wrong in a row here. Tamawashi pounced from the start, looking good, shoving Tokushoryu’s face back. Tokushoryu weathered the storm and in retreat, slipped to the side. As Tamawashi’s momentum carried him forward, Tokushoryu pushed him down to the clay. Hatakikomi.

Kotoshoho defeated Terutsuyoshi: Terutsuyoshi tried a henka. So much for the battle I was eager to watch. Kotoshoho snuffed it out perfectly, and shoved Terutsuyoshi to the ground. No need for a pull. Push him down while moving forward. Oshitaoshi.

Okinoumi defeated Kagayaki: Let’s make it five bad calls in a row. Okinoumi proved that I’m the one on a schnide. With a solid tachiai that secured praise from Wakanohana himself, Okinoumi quickly wrapped up Kagayaki’s belt and forced him to the edge. Kagayaki tried to rally from the edge but yotsu is not his game. Okinoumi kept up the pressure and forced him out. Yorikiri.

Wakatakakage defeated Kiribayama: Wrong again. Kiribayama got a great grip. Both dug in for a great battle. With Wakatakakage’s arm lodged under his arm, Kiribayama pounced with a kotenage attempt but Wakatakakage maintained his footing. Wakatakakage countered well, forcing Kiribayama forward and out. Oshitaoshi.

Daieisho defeated Terunofuji: Maaa…ne… When it rains it pours. Daieisho did not let Terunofuji anywhere near his belt. Beast-o Mod-o muted. As Daieisho circled counter-clockwise in retreat, Terunofuji continued to pursue but couldn’t attack. Daieisho escaped to the center of the ring and from here he launched his own attack, forcing Terunofuji back and over the edge. Oshidashi.

Takayasu defeated Onosho: Takayasu and Onosho engage in a solid tachiai and Takayasu did his homework. Onosho pitched too far forward and Takayasu shoved him to the ground. Hatakikomi.

Mitakeumi defeated Tobizaru: Tobizaru impressed me, standing his ground against Mitakeumi…for a while. Solid tachiai from Mitakeumi drove Tobizaru backwards. Mitakeumi followed up with a quick belt grip and pressed forward but Tobizaru demonstrated just how slippery he can be by ducking back to the center of the dohyo. Mitakeumi stayed calm, and as the two settled down into a grapple, he pounced quickly with an overarm throw. Thus, flying monkey goes flying. Uwatenage.

Myogiryu defeated Takanosho: A rather one-sided brawl here. As Takanosho seemed focused on knocking Myogiryu’s arms away, Myogiryu just kept pressing forward pounding on Takanosho. Yes, he couldn’t keep his arms there long before they’d be pushed away, but the blows were connecting and quite effective in sending Gingko nut’s favorite rikishi backwards. Pretty soon, Takanosho was up against the edge and Myogiryu cast him from Asgard. Oshidashi.

Takakeisho defeated Hokutofuji: Hokutofuji was overeager today and spoiled my upset call. Hokutofuji dove deep to get Takakeisho’s belt at the tachiai but Takakeisho’s thrusts forced Hokutofuji off. Rather than a “pull” Takakeisho’s well-timed pivot pushed him to the side. Hikiotoshi.  

31 thoughts on “Tokyo November: Nakabi Highlights

  1. Many thanks for the lower division coverage. I have been following the results (I am becoming a hopeless sumo obsessive!) but it’s good to be able to put faces to names. The lad Wakakaneko gives off some distinct Enho II vibes but he will need to be something very special to stop Nogami, who is a legit makushita guy when he’s fit, from walking away with the jonokuchi yusho. From my reading of the kanji Wakakaneko means something like “Young Golden Boy” which suggests that Nishiiwa-oyakata thinks pretty highly of this kid!

    Hokuseiho may have seen off his most dangerous rival today, and I suspect that we will see him square off against Nihonyanagi a few more times in the coming years. The winner of the Naya v Roga match tomorrow should take the makushita yusho but I’ll be cheering for the splendidly named Yuma Yuma who would probably have made sekitori by now if it wasn’t for injuries.

  2. The tadpole Mob boss stands strong in a solo lead :D

    Now we see if Kaiju starts having issues. With a near loss yesterday and him going out today, I would already start to question the condition of those knees. Tomorrow will be telling.

    • I don’t think Terunofuji’s knees are going to stop him, but smart tactics by his opponents might. Daieisho showed the way, lots of fast, hard hitting, lots of lateral movement and whatever you do keep him from getting to the belt. It’s essentially the anti-Tochinoshin strategy writ large. I’m not sure that Takakeisho can pull this off as he’s much more of a one-dimensional wrecking ball but it will be fun to watch the big showdown.

      • Honestly, I think the reason that Terunofuji lost today is he wasn’t patient. He allowed himself to be led around the ring and manipulated. Every other day he’s been solid, patient, and authoritative. Today, he was desperate and hasty. Not sure what’s bugging him mentally, but until he fixes that he’s going to find it challenging to win.

      • I’m actually with OneBigbugga above. I think the knees have started to bother him. As he was doing his shikiri today, he was pale and sweaty and looked in pain, and I was thinking “Uh-oh”, and the uh-oh materialized. We’ll see if it was a one-off, a figment of my imagination (though many of my followers on Twitter agreed) or the beginning of yet another “8 and out” tournament belying his own declaration about an Ozeki run.

  3. Daiesho had already beaten Shodai (admittedly injured) and both sekiwake, so his win over Terunofuji was perhaps not such a surprise. His record doesn’t look great, because of losses to Onosho and Hokutofuji as well as Takakeisho. The consistency isn’t there, but the quality that took him up to sekiwake hasn’t gone away.

    • Daieisho is the thinking man’s Takakeisho. This may be the first Joan Bakewell reference on Tachiai.

  4. I think we are getting an idea about where Terunofuji’s top end might be. His climb back to this level is nothing short of amazing. But it may be the case that his body won’t be able to withstand 15 days of heavy competition. Nothing wrong with that.

    I am still looking forward to Terunofuji vs Takakeisho!

  5. Shimanoumi for Yusho! Thanks Daieisho for putting dirt on Terunofuji ;) The Shimanoumi bout was also quite fun to watch. Some ballet moves that would make Shodai jealous.
    Hoshoryu bout was also excellent. For a bit I was worried that Ichinojo would just be too heavy, but he solved that puzzle. Enho is just a sad story atm. If he can’t even beat Akua (no disrespect to Akua, he is just about the least experienced guy up there), whom does he want to beat that basho?
    It feels like yesterday that even getting your pinky finger to his belt meant an automatic loss for Chiyotairyu, but I feel he greatly improved this part of his game lately, even if he lost to Ryuden (who is one of the stronger yotsu guys).
    Endo looked like he was on one of the typical Endo slides, but he dispatched Chiyonokuni near effortless today. Is Chiyonokuni already running out of gas or are opponents just starting to prepare better? Tochinoshin also picked up an easy win and so did Takarafuji, who probably took Kotoeko in surprise by going forward.
    Tokushoryu is just much improved since his yusho. The joi-in might be too high for him, but he can difinitely hang in the top half. Always fun to watch such a huge escape artist.
    Wakatakakage made me hold my breath. Everytime I see a kotenage attempt … but he withstood and countered that.
    Daieisho was probably the highlight today. Not only did he beat Terunofuji, he did so convincingly. Didn’t feel like he was in danger during the whole fight.
    Onosho did Onosho things today and Takayasu just collected the win. It looked like Onosho had overcome those bad habbits, but this just looks like a tournament where he will bounce down quite a bit again.I hope Takayasu can go on a run now starting tomorrow with Terunofuji. Still hope he can get 10wins and get a starting point for potentially regaining his Ozeki rank. I know it’s far fetched, but I’m a Takayasu fan.
    Tobizaru put up some fight, but maybe Mitakeumi hasn’t given up that tournament yet. Now that Asanoyama and Shodai have surpassed him on the run to Ozeki, he could maybe find inspiration in that like Kisenosato, when both Giku and Goeido took home a Yusho before him.
    Takanosho … Never ever should he lose to a 1-6 Miyogiryu. But something must have possessed his body today or separated body and mind. That was about the poorest sumo I seen of him in quite a while.
    Takakeisho still looks like a boss. Everyone knows what is coming, but it’s still working. Who can stop him? Maybe Endo, if he has one of those good days? He still has Takanosho, Mitakeumi and Terunofuji. Tobizaru gave a valiant effort last basho, but he doesn’t have the same run this time.

    My highlights for tomorrow, Takayasu vs Terunofuji and Naya vs Roga. Mudoho also fighting tomorrow. Crossing fingers for both brothers.

  6. I have been following Sumo from past couple of years.
    So I have not seen Ura in either Makuchi or Juryo before.
    But I am amazed by the fan base of Ura and when I checked his details, I found that he has been in Makuchi only for 5 bashos, most of it he was in Kyujo. So I am mystified how he is so popular with many fan followers commenting for him in youtube sumo channels.

    • People were following Ura before he even entered professional sumo. When he was an amateur he was much smaller but doing amazing things to win. He has put on so much muscle mass now, his physique is totally different but he still brings an Enho-like style.

    • Ura is popular because of the variety and uniqueness of his sumo. He is skilled and varies his kimarite almost every bout. He quickly rose up the banzuke, but then serious knee injuries sent him back down to the lower levels. He now has a redemption story to go along with his skills.

    • Try to find some older footage of him. Ura was the first of the pixies to make it up the rank and imho he was the most versatile as well. It’s not by accident that he showed an Iponzori this basho. His bouts used to always be spectacular.

  7. Thank you for sharing bouts from the lower divisions, Andy! They’re much appreciated and I’m glad to see them. There is a glut of talent in the lower divisions who I think we’ll see in the upper divisions soon.

    Not too many surprises on the dohyo today, except for a specific Kaiju. I don’t think he’s physically running into a problem, or at least he’s hiding it well, but I think something mentally got to him today. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

    Mitakeumi needs to avoid his standard fade in the second week to get where he needs to go. We’ll see if he can pull it off.

  8. I don’t remember seeing Takarafuji this aggressive at the tachiai before. And over the week as a whole his sumo has seemed so controlled. Watching the Isegahama training videos and seeing him lose bout after bout to Terunofuji I thought it might get quite demoralising. I guess not :)

    • We a couple of applicable military sayings over here: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and “Tough in training, easy in combat”.


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