Day 11 of the November Tokyo basho is in the history books, and the top end of the leader board remains intact. But unless the NSK want the real chance of a bottom of the banzuke yusho yet again (it would be the 3rd time this year), it’s time for Shimanoumi to face some stiffer competition. Looks like that is in store for day 12 as the schedulers begin to shape the yusho race. November’s Cinderella candidate, Shimanoumi, will face 9-2 Ryuden and his jiggly bottom. Elsewhere in the yusho race, we get to see how silly it is to try and get morozashi against the kaiju. Did these folks neglect to watch old footage of this guy in his heyday? He’s tempting you to put both hands inside so he can just immobilize you! Ugh, so frustrating.
Chiyotairyu defeats Ishiura – Straight ahead “my brand of sumo” from Chiyotairyu today, with Ishiura jumping like a drop of water on a red hot skillet. Chiyotairyu improves to 7-4.
Shimanoumi defeats Hoshoryu – I give a lot of credit to Hoshoryu, who opened strong and put a lot of force into trying to move Shimanoumi around. But Shimanoumi figured out that as long as he kept Hoshoryu away from his belt, and kept his feet planted that Hoshoryu was not going to be able to do too much, and he waited. Hoshoryu stopped his pushing attack, fumbled for a hand hold, and received a potent shove combo from Shimanoumi, which turned him to the side and launched him into the timekeeper. that’s win number 10 for Shimanoumi.
Akua defeats Kaisei – The match started with a soft tachiai from Akua, who shifted to his left. The move gave him good hand position on Kaisei’s mawashi. Akua lifted and stepped forward, and could in fact move nearly 200kg around the dohyo. A much needed win brings Akua to 6-5.
Ichinojo defeats Yutakayama – Someone was going to take home a make-koshi today, and that was Yutakayama. Yutakayama’s tachiai bounced off of Ichinojo, and Yutakayama went for some manner of grip. Ichinojo was having none of it, he tangled up Yutakayama’s arms, and discarded him over the bales. When Ichinojo decides its time to do sumo, you are going to lose. Ichinojo advances to 4-7, and staves off make-koshi for another day.
Sadanoumi defeats Enho – Enho tried his leap to the side tachiai, but Sadanoumi was ready. Sadanoumi applied the battle-hug, and dove for the edge of the ring. Both men landed with a booming report next to the nearest shimpan for Enho’s 9th loss. Enho looked a bit winded / dazed after that drop.
Meisei defeats Chiyonokuni – I was disappointed that Chiyonokuni could not pick up win number 8 today, when Meisei unleashed a smooth henka to drop him at the tachiai. I Chiyonokuni he may be starting to fade. He is 1-4 out of the last 5 matches, and is clearly struggling.
Tokushoryu defeats Chiyoshoma – Tokushoryu suspected a Chiyoshoma henka, and he chose not to move forward at all in the tachiai. But no flying Chiyoshoma henka today, instead he worked to reach in against Tokushoryu. Tokushoryu latched onto an arm and pivoted to swing Chiyoshoma out. Both end the day 6-5.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka spent the early moments of the match batting Terutsuyoshi around, but Terutsuyoshi worked to get his hands inside and found a spot to push. Kotonowaka twice tried to pull on Terutsuyoshi’s neck, and the second attempt cost him the match, with Terutsuyoshi rushing forward and boosting Kotonowaka out. Terutsuyoshi improves to a humble 3-8 for November.
Aoiyama defeats Kotoeko – Aoiyama stood Kotoeko up, and swatted him down. Very much in “his brand of sumo”, and improves to 4-7.
Ryuden defeats Takarafuji – Ryuden’s boogie remains firmly within his butt for another day, and you know it seems to work, even against Takarafuji, who gave us yet another endurance match today. A long is always a risk when your strategy is to make sure the bout goes on as long as possible, waiting for your opponent to make a mistake. Ryuden finished him by getting a bit to the side and behind Takarafuji, and driving him forward and out. That’s win number 9 for Ryuden, and he remains one behind the leaders.
Hokutofuji defeats Endo – Endo with a solid hit at the tachiai, forcing Hokutofuji to take a step back. Hokutofuji got a right hand into Endo’s armpit, and before he could do much else, the two locked up. A long leaning match ensued, ended by a Hokutofuji pull. It failed, and Endo rushed forward to drive Hokutofuji out, but failed as Hokutofuji stepped to the side, sending Endo stumbling. Hokutofuji improves to 7-4.
Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – I am impressed that Daieisho was able to overpower Tamawashi, who seems to be about 70% of his top form. That’s an 8th win for Daieisho, and he is kachi-koshi for November.
Onosho defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi gave Onosho a firm, stable place to lean against, and that was his undoing. Without the risk of losing his balance and falling forward, Onosho was free to attack at will. Okinoumi held his ground for a time, but was driven out under a storm of oshi. Both end the day at 5-6.
Wakatakakage defeats Kagayaki – Wakatakakage opened strong, but ran squarely into Kagayaki’s fundamentals. Kagayaki was attacking slightly better than he was defending, but he let Wakatakakage break contact. Wakatakakage re-engaged with a lunge, with put Kagayaki in motion backward, and cost him the match. Wakatakakage improves to 3-8.
Tochinoshin defeats Kiribayama – At this point, Kiribayama’s dismal 1-10 record is quite the eye-sore. He was out for part of Aki, but returned from injury to pick up a trio of wins, and seal his kachi-koshi (plus one). Now it seems that he just can’t win a match at all, and will be dropping a fair amount down to the lower reaches of the Hatsu banzuke. We did get to see a bit of the Tochinoshin sky-crane today, when Kiribayama decided to let the former Ozeki get a left hand outside grip against him. Tochinoshin improves to 6-5.
Terunofuji defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu is a long serving veteran, and should know better than to let Terunofuji clamp his arms down. But it was a good day to be kaiju ballast, and Myogiryu found himself squeezed, lifted, and removed from the match. Terunofuji stays one behind the leader pair, improving to 9-2.
Tobizaru defeats Takanosho – Much better from Tobizaru today, he put a good amount of force forward against Takanosho, then released to bring Takanosho off balance. Finish with a slap down, and it’s win number 4 (4-7) for Tobizaru.
Takayasu defeats Mitakeumi – Another day, another chaotic, flailing match from Takayasu. Yep, he won today after he was able to put a surprising amount of disruptive energy into Mitakeumi’s body. I have not seen the original tadpole move that much in a couple of years, I am sure he was sore afterwards. Takayasu improves to 6-5.
Takakeisho defeats Kotoshoho – I smiled to see Kotoshoho on the receiving end of Takakeisho’s wave-action tsuppari. We have not seen Takakeisho’s famous combo in a while. Kotoshoho decided to amplify his response with each wave, and he must have been the only person to not see Takakeisho’s side step coming. Takakeisho retains his portion of the lead, improving to 10-1.