Some genuinely sloppy sumo today, but once again Hokutofuji stood out as showing better sumo than what I have seen from him in a while. Before he took a fairly brutal concussion in 2018, he was quite the rising star. That includes and 11-4 jun-yusho 3 years ago in Kyushu. But this November, his sumo, his stamina and his fighting spirit are all working together. He has at least 9 wins at Maegashira 4, and him finishing at least 10-5 is not out of the question. Given what I expect for Hatsu, he could be in for quite a ride near the top of the rank and file. I did, in fact, pick him to once again show off “the most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo” this month, but he has shown my prediction to be way off. Thanks for the surprisingly good sumo, sir!
Chiyomaru defeats Akua – The bulbous Chiyomaru visits from from Juryo, and finds his 8th win against Akua. It was an even fight up until the point that Akua decided to try to pull Chiyomaru down. In doing so he gave up any defensive pressure, and found himself pushed out.
Chiyonokuni defeats Yutakayama – The oshi battle between these two was so intense, Chiyonokuni started shedding tape from his bandaged shoulder. He improves to 9-4 while a dejected Yutakayama takes a stroll to burn off momentum.
Chiyoshoma defeats Enho – Where has the fire pixie gone? Well, it’s down to an injury, sadly. I think that Enho’s poor performance and demotion to Juryo for Hatsu may be indications that he should just address his problems now. Chiyoshoma improves to 7-6.
Sadanoumi defeats Kaisei – In spite of one matta, the second try could not get the tachiai quiet right, but the gyoji let them continue. Sadanoumi did not waste energy building up a bit hit against Kaisei, rather focused on getting his arms around Kaisei’s chest and driving forward. Kaisei was unprepared, and quickly left the ring.
Meisei defeats Kotonowaka – Good, solid thrusting combo from Meisei to score his 8th win. He moved forward with power, and apart from one attempt to pull, Kotonowaka had nothing today. Meisei get his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for November.
Ichinojo defeats Kotoeko – Again today we get the powerful, fighting version of Ichinojo. I would hate to think he only showed up with there was a make-koshi imminent. That’s three losses in a row for Kotoeko, who had a fantastic start to this basho, but is now in genuine risk of a make-koshi. Both end the day 6-7.
Aoiyama defeats Hoshoryu – No V-Twin today from Aoiyama today, but he managed to stay mobile, and kept Hoshoryu moving around until he could time the slap down. Aoiyama improves to 5-8.
Chiyotairyu defeats Endo – Endo sniffed that something was not right, and when the tachiai finally came it was a Chiyotairyu henka. I guess Chiyotairyu wanted to take no chances scoring his 8th win, and Endo bought it. Endo drops to 6-7.
Hokutofuji defeats Tokushoryu – Hokutofuji went chest to chest with Tokushoryu, who can be pretty tough to move. But once Hokutofuji got his feet in the match, he dominated. A rescue throw attempt at the tawara was for naught, and Tokushoryu stepped out. Hokutofuji improves to 9-4.
Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – That’s 5 straight losses for Okinoumi, who started very strong. Okinoumi moved Tochinoshin back at the tachiai, and you could really see Tochinoshin do everything he could to keep pressure away from that right knee. Amazing sumo adaptation on his part. Once Tochinoshin was able to consolidate his grip, he moved forward for the win. 7-6 for Tochinoshin, and Okinoumi’s 8th loss for make-koshi at 5-8.
Tamawashi defeats Kagayaki – Great tachiai defense from Kagayaki, but forward power from Tamawashi was so great, you could see both of Kagayaki’s feet leave the dohyo. With no connection to earth to arrest his slide back, Kagayaki found himself at the edge of the ring in the second moment of the match. He went for a thrust down against Tamawashi, but had already stepped out. 7-6 for Tamawashi, and Kagayaki 8th loss for make-koshi at 5-8.
Takarafuji defeats Daieisho – The missing element from Daieisho’s sumo today? Mobility. He was landing thrusts well, but was not moving. I chalk this up to Takarafuji’s superior defenses, and once Daieisho’s attacks began to wane, Takarafuji took him to his chest and took over the match. Takarafuji improves to 9-4.
Onosho defeats Kotoshoho – Onosho was too far forward today, and in response Kotoshoho tried to pull him down or forward, but that simply powered Onosho’s final attack. Onosho, after opening 2-6, has rallied and may actually pull off a kachi koshi.
Wakatakakage defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu’s opening gambit fell short of taking Wakatakakage out, and he managed to get chest to chest and stop Myogiryu’s advance. After a moment’s pause, Myogiryu rallied into Wakatakakage’s throw for a loss. Wakatakakage improves to 5-8.
Kiribayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Kiribayama manage to shift his grip mid-match, and in doing so changed his fortunes, picking up only his 3rd win of the tournament. Both end the day with a dismal 3-10 record.
Tobizaru defeats Takayasu – As expected, it’s more Takayasu “wild man” sumo. Tobizaru deserves a lot of credit for repeatedly blasting through Takayasu’s defenses and focusing center-mass. The two broke contact and then locked up chest to chest, and stalemated. With Takayasu contained, Tobizaru worked to adjust Takayasu’s balance until he had him shoulders out past his toes, and delivered swift kick to Takayasu’s ankle, dropping him like big hair coconut. Nice combo, Tobizaru!
Terunofuji defeats Ryuden – Ryuden’s butt-sumo brought him no benefit today. But his loose mawashi really blunted Terunofuji’s attack. But the best he could manage was to slow down the inevitable. Terunofuji broke Ryuden’s grip and pushed him away, and over the bales. That’s 11-2 for Terunofuji. Nice start to an Ozeki campaign.
Takanosho defeats Mitakeumi – That’s 5 straight losses for Mitakeumi, and I am going to predict he’s got some kind of lower body mechanical problem. He’s not really able to counter anyone’s forward movement, and seems to be easy to move around the dohyo. Takanosho improves to 7-6.
Takakeisho defeats Shimanoumi – A good example of just how genki Shimanoumi is right now, he was able to absorb and survive Takakeisho’s initial combo, and even rallied to drive the Ozeki back. But it seems that was just “level 1” for Takakeisho, who dialed up the intensity and the speed. A quick step to the side while Shimanoumi was staggering forward ended the match with a win for the Ozeki, who is now the sole leader of the yusho race at 12-1.