Tokyo November Day 9 Highlights

What a bloody fantastic day of sumo! The “good” Enho made a very welcome return, Ryuden still has the boogie in his butt, and you can take your pick between Takarafuji and Takayasu for “holy smokes”. We like to talk about the really good rikishi coming into a match with plan A/B and sometimes C (or if you are Hakuho, all the way up to H, naturally). Today it was clear that we were going to plan 🤷 in several cases, as rikishi ran out of ideas and just threw everything they could into these contests.

Highlight Matches

Akua defeats Akiseyama – With the banzuke gap back, we get a daily visitor from Juryo, and today is Akiseyama. He and Akua hae been through this dance a few times, and today it took the form of a mawashi battle. Akua prevailed for his 4th straight win after a fairly cold start. Both end the match with 5-4 records.

Kotonowaka defeats Hoshoryu – Two great mawashi battles in a row! Hoshoryu had advantage early, but could not keep Kotonowaka from setting up a reciprocal grip. Once Kotonowaka had his left hand outside sashi set up, the match favored Kotonowaka, but he could not quite overpower Hoshoryu. The finish came as Kotonowaka shifted his grip, and Hoshoryu responded with a throw. It seems Hoshoryu touched down slightly ahead and the match went to Kotonowaka. Wow!

Kaisei defeats Ichinojo – Let’s make it a three-peat! These two hulks lock up chest to chest, with both taking a left hand outside grip. They stand around. They stand around some more. Kaisei tries to left Ichinojo. They stand around again. Kaisei flexes again, but this time can move forward and takes the win.

Shimanoumi defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama took the inside position, and like too many matches this basho, started strong but could not maintain his advantage. With Shimanoumi pinned at the tawara, he pulls a Wakaichiro-style spin, ends up behind Yutakayama, and forces him out. Thats the 8th win for Shimanoumi, who is kachi-koshi, and remains in the yusho race from the last slot in the banzuke,

Chiyotairyu defeats Sadanoumi – No low velocity tachiai from Chiyotairyu today, straight forward at power and a single combo was all it took to drive Sadanoumi and his damaged undercarriage from the ring. Chiyotairyu improves to 6-3.

Chiyonokuni defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu has surprising lateral agility for a man of his bulk, and at least twice he put Chiyonokuni perilously off balance during the match by evading to the side. Chiyonokuni kept his feet and kept up the pressure to drive Tokushoryu from the ring, advancing to 7-2, and giving Tokushoryu a bloody nose in the process.

Chiyoshoma defeats Terutsuyoshi – Chiyoshoma employs a leap to the side, a masterful henka against a target that could have (and should have) done the same in exchange. Sadly no flying double henka today, just a laterally rolling throw against Terutsuyoshi who takes a tumble for his 7th loss.

Enho defeats Aoiyama – Now that Enho is safely make-koshi with a perfect 0-8 record, he fires up the sumo machine. He swoops left at the tachiai, gets both arms around Aoiyama’s meaty right leg and runs him across the tawara. That’s more like it! Double bonus points because Aoiyama’s expression was priceless.

Endo defeats Meisei – Meisei succeeded in blocking Endo’s opening frontal grip move, but found himself all the way back against the bales. A single combo pushing attack, and he was out. Endo improves to 6-3.

Ryuden defeats Tochinoshin – Ryuden continues to employ his new wiggle, and his highly energized posterior once again delivers. Perhaps he has invented a new form, some kind of shiri-zumo? Regardless, it seems that the “boogie” remains firmly ensconced in Ryuden’s butt, and it’s looking for wins. Ryuden gets a double inside grip shortly after the tachiai, while Tochinoshin tries to lift him any way he can. But the power of Ryuden’s butt, could not be undone. Tochinoshin tries to throw him, but the throw collapses and Ryuden gets his 7th win.

Tamawashi defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko was too high at the tachiai, and Tamawashi thundered forward, blasting him from the ring. Kotoeko has yet to find a way to win against Tamawashi in 4 attempts. Tamawashi improves to 6-3.

Takarafuji defeats Okinoumi – They went chest to chest at the tachiai, both locking into a left hand outside grip. Takarafuji had superior body position, and excellent (naturally) defensive foot placement, controlling the center of the ring. They push, they struggle, they lean, but neither one can do anything moderately offense related. This style favors Takarafuji, who is draining whatever stamina Okinoumi may have brought to the match. Okinoumi realizes the clock is running out, lunges forward to get his right hand on Takarafuji’s mawashi, and drives forward. But Takarafuji pulls out a win with a deft pivot at the edge, sending Okinoumi to the clay. What a match!

Hokutofuji defeats Kagayaki – Hokutofuji came in low at the tachiai, connected with gusto and immediately pressed upward, taking Kagayaki’s center of gravity up, up and away. Kagayaki rallies, and it Hokutofuji’s turn to show us his best Wakaichiro impression, spinning away to re-engage. With all structure of the match completely abandoned, the two just throw the kitchen sink at each other (call it plan 🤷). Attack the face, attack the body, attack the neck, attack each others dreams and life goals! But Hokutofuji’s philosophical armor is stronger, and he reaches into Jungian space, realizes “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do” and wins both the argument and the match.

Daieisho defeats Wakatakakage – Daieisho with a masterful tachiai, transitioning into a running combo of thrusts directly to Wakatakakage’s chest. He had no chance at all and finds himself out. Daieisho improves to 6-3.

Onosho defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama’s worked the tachiai to get his hands up and around Onosho’s head. But rather than execute at once, he waits two long beats before he tries the pull. This gives Onosho ample time to shift his balance, absorb the pull and run Kiribayama out. That’s loss number 8 for Kiribayama, who falls to 1-8.

Takayasu defeats Terunofuji – Whoo boy! Both of these guys stayed surprisingly low for having such massive bodies. Takayasu got an early advantage, give Terunofuji a massive push, but could not finish him. Once again the match devolved into plan 🤷, and these two switched to a flat out brawl. Neither one of them is going down or out until Takayasu circles behind Terunofuji and applies a mighty shove. Wow, second loss for Terunofuji, and Takayasu improves to 5-4.

Kotoshoho defeats Takanosho – Kotoshoho really controlled this match well, and never let Takanosho set up much offense. He picks up his 5th win.

Myogiryu defeats Mitakeumi – Two false starts by Mitakeumi frankly robbed him of any chance at timing a powerful tachiai. When the two finally did get off correctly, Myogiryu quickly drove Mitakeumi from the ring, dropping him to 6-3.

Tobizaru defeats Takakeisho – Tobizaru managed to be the one who put dirt on the lone surviving Ozeki. I really liked his oshi-technique this match, look where he is putting his hands, right at the deltoid. This seems to somehow decrease Takakeisho’s power output, and for some reason he can’t really blast Tobizaru around the ring, pengo style. It’s clear the Ozeki is getting frustrated, and at the moment he gets his hand inside, and sets up his “half wave” attack with his left hand on Tobizaru’s chest, Tobizaru gives way, backs up and Takakeisho gets a face full of clay and salt. Wow!

15 thoughts on “Tokyo November Day 9 Highlights

  1. ‘… seems to somehow decrease Takakeisho’s power output, and for some reason he can’t really blast …’
    bingo! monkey fighting back

  2. Wow, what did Tobizaru have for breakfast today? He stood up to Takakeisho’s tsuppari so well!

    Tobizaru kensho happy happy!

    Congratulations on your gold star, Tobizaru! Well earned!

  3. writers and readers: “I guess Tobizaru isn’t ready to fight at the top of the banzuke.”

    Tobizaru: “HOLD MY SAKE. I GOT THIS.”

    Boy oh boy. If this basho is this much of a rollercoaster the next one is going to be a Hollywood epic. Wowza!

  4. I certainly don’t want to downplay Tobizaru’s achievement, but I can’t help feeling that Takakeisho was over-thinking things. It looked like he was being careful not to over-commit at the start of the bout, since they both knew that Tobizaru was never gonna be able to win via a direct, frontal assault. So there were a number of moments where Takakeisho kind of paused for an instant and waited to see what Tobizaru would try instead of just committing to his usual 100% oshi attack, in case the monkey-trickster was cooking up something sneaky – i..e he went for the same kind of ‘wait and see’ tactic that a number of rikishi have adopted against Enho. But then the bout ended up going on for longer than Takakeisho would have wanted (stamina not being his chief virtue) and he ended up losing his balance and footing. Shoulda just tried to blast the monkey straight outta there.

    Ps: ‘bloody fantastic’ might be Bruce’s most overtly Anglicised turn of phrase yet! (Or perhaps should that be Scotticised?) I’m hoping that by the end of the tournament Bruce may go full P. G. Wodehouse and treat us to a description of an ‘utterly spiffing’ final day…

  5. Great bouts today. Best day of the tournament so far. Takayasu and Terunofuji brought their Ozeki game to the dohyo today. It was very entertaining to watch. Perhaps Takayasu has more steam left in him than many of us thought.
    Does the topknot count as a body part when determining if a rikishi touches the ground? For the Hoshoryu vs. Kotonowaka bout it seemed that the order of impact was Hoshoryu’s hair, Kotonowaka’s hand and then Hoshoryu’s head.

  6. I really think the Hoshoryu bout should have been a mono ii/torinaoshi, but well…

    The Takayasu vs Terunofuji bout was a bit weird. It felt like Takayasu had the match half a dozen times, but was super careful on the finishing move, probably remembering his plunder vs. Shodai. I’m glad it didn’t cost him and he was able to finish.

    Tobizaru evaded Takakeisho long enough for the later to get tired. I guess that’s a fine strategy, if you are quick enough to pull it off.

    Enho did a fine henka today. Guess Aoiyama didn’t get the memo. Not sure if that means much for the rest of the basho. I didn’t see a return to strength yet.

    I continue riding the Shimanoumi train. It’s not that he is looking unbeatable, but the bouts are entertaining and he has the right banzuke position to pull it off;-)

  7. If you get 5 seconds out of Takakeisho then you’ve got a chance (in the same way that if you punch Tyson really hard in the face you get a chance). I wonder if Takarafuji is taking notes?!

  8. This was a wowzer of a day. Enho, stick with the red mawashi to be fired up! (Though it seems to me to be a slightly more auburn color rather than the old cherry red, is it a 3rd one?) Yay Takarafuji! Yay Tobizaru! I too thought Hoshoryu/Kotonowaka could have been a torinaoshi….

  9. Takakeisho fought like (a) he feared a Tobizaru henka at the tachiai, and (b) he feared Tobizaru’s greater mobility after the tachiai. As a consequence, Takakeisho was more upright than is typical for him, which robbed him of thrusting power.

    When Bruce gets really inspired by a day’s sumo, his write-ups are untoppable and unstoppable!

  10. I totally agree with Bruce – this was a Bloody AND Bloody GREAT SUMO DAY TODAY!


    (It even looks like “Mr. Wigglesworth” is going to get kachi-koshi). :):):):):)


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