When in the middle of week one, it was clear that we would have no Yokozuna, and 2 of the three Ozeki were out, I worried that this would be a complete dud of a basho. But the athletes and the crew at the Japan Sumo Association gamberized, and delivered a fun and satisfying tournament. My compliments to everyone, as I know this was a tough one to carry. We close this tournament with an almost perfect ending given the circumstances. The hope for a new Yokozuna in 2021, the return of a potent foe to the upper ranks of sumo, with a strong statement, 13-2!, that he will return to his former rank.
Congratulations to Takakeisho for your second yusho. You broke a long drought of Ozeki yusho (Kisenosato, January 2017), and maybe we might be able to have a new Yokozuna in 2021 to take some of the pressure off of the two guys who are at the end of their competitive careers.
Congratulations to Terunofuji. I expected 10 wins from you, but you really went above and beyond. Your skills are vastly improved, your sumo is frighteningly good, and I have great hope for your future. I just worry every day about those knees.
Ichinojo defeats Chiyoshoma – Try as he might, Chiyoshoma could not move the boulder today. There was a brief moment at the start of this lengthy chest to chest match where Ichinojo tried a pull, and Chiyoshoma changed momentum. But let’s face it, Ichinojo was motivated, and there is not a rikishi, pony ride, or ice cream parlor that can endure that. Both end the November basho with 8-7 records.
Sadanoumi defeats Ishiura – Ishiura, back for his second visit from Juryo, can’t find any way to shut down Sadanoumi’s forward motion, and is quickly run off the dohyo. Ishiura was already kachi-koshi, can he return to the top division for Hatsu? Sadanoumi improves to a painful 5-10.
Meisei defeats Shimanoumi – It almost seems as is Shimanoumi’s genki spell was broken in his loss to Terunofuji, as he drops his last 3 matches to finish at 11-4. Don’t get me wrong, thats a great score. I just wish he had been able to keep up the fight. Meisei finishes November 9-6.
Chiyonokuni defeats Kotoeko – Chiyonokuni with double digit wins (10-5) for his return to the top division. A hearty kotenage, and the kanto-sho fighting spirit prize. Quite the way to return from a long absence!
Akua defeats Tokushoryu – These two went into throw postition almost at once, and it was tough to tell if it was Tokushoryu’s throw or Akua’s counter move that took the match. The shimpan called for a monoii, and video showed Tokushoryu’s hand touch the clay a fraction of a second before Akua’s face made impact. 9-6 finish for Akua, a kachi-koshi for his first trip to the top division.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Kaisei – Terutsuyoshi got to the side of Kaisei, and picks up win number 5. Rough tournament for both men, I am going to hope they can rest, recover and regroup.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyotairyu – We finally get to see the V-Twin fire up, but at a fraction of it’s normal power. It was enough to move Chiyotairyu out of his defensive stance, and thrust him out. A 6-9 finish for November for Aoiyama.
Endo defeats Hoshoryu – In spite of the high anticipation a few days ago, there was not a swarm of Darwin matches. Most of the candidates were able to avoid a 7-7 day 14 score, or had already matched against the other 7-7 rikishi. Hoshoryu’s post-tachiai press to move forward me with Endo’s pull, and out Hoshoryu could not keep his balance. Endo finishes with a kachi-koshi, Hoshoryu make-koshi.
Enho defeats Tobizaru – I think Enho rallied everything he had for this final match, and battle-swarmed Tobizaru with great effect. Tobizaru is a high energy, high rate of motion fighter, but when Enho is cranked up and attacking well, he was easily 2-1 move for move. 3-12 finish for Enho, will it save him from a big drop to Juryo?
Hokutofuji defeats Ryuden – Wow, again today we see Hokutofuji engage at close range and dominate a match. That right hand ottsuke did its job and kept Ryuden contained. He finishes with 11-4. From Maegashira 4, that puts him in perfect position for Hatsu. Perfect as in his first week is going to be absolute hell, with 2 iffy Yokozuna, 2 iffy Ozeki, and one Grand Tadpole looking to throw him off the dohyo for much needed wins.
Yutakayama defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki really suffered this basho. The new black mawashi is completely haunted, as discussed in week 1, and no number of visits to shrines or temples will likely cure it. Go back to the gold and all may right itself. A 5-10 finish, losing after having clear advantage for almost the entire match is kind of a good summary for Kagayaki’s November.
Daieisho defeats Kotoshoho – Daieisho hits double digits (10-5) on the final day, but it took 2 matches to do it. First match, he completely dominating Kotoshoho from start to finish. When Daieisho can set up his attack and get his opponent to off balance, he is tough to stop. But the finish was deemed too close to call, and a rematch was declared. The second match was a quick dive for the edge of the ring, and another monoii. It was clear from the replay that Daieisho was airborne as Kotoshoho made contact with the dohyo, and he had his 10th win at last.
Onosho defeats Myogiryu – Nice to see Onosho finish with a win. Myogiryu is fighting at a fraction of his potential, he was completely disrupted by Onosho from the start. Onosho finishes November 7-8, Myogiryu 4-11.
Wakatakakage defeats Kotonowaka – These two changed battle plans at least twice per second, with hands and feet shifting to adjust. Kotonowaka eventually was able to wrap up Wakatakakagi with a bear hug to Wakatakakagi’s head. Wakatakakagi charged ahead, willing to sacrifice his own head, driving Kotonowaka from the ring. Both men finish November 7-8.
Okinoumi defeats Kiribayama – Kimarite really needs to regroup. But a make-koshi that big will take him safely away from the abattoir that will be the Hatsu joi-jin. Maybe that is some consolation.
Takayasu defeats Tamawashi – Takayasu gave a great example of why I find the form of sumo he went to as an Ozeki so bothersome. Today he reverts to his Sekiwake style, and completely dominated Tamawashi. Compare today to day 14 for Takayasu. Today his movements were focused, efficient, and no power or energy was wasted flailing around. Much better, and a well deserved kachi-koshi.
Tochinoshin defeats Takanosho – I must remark that I am delighted to see Tochinoshin in somewhat better condition this basho than I had feared. He can still fight, and has found a way to overcome the problems with that right knee. His win today puts him at 9-6, and I guess may be in the joi-jin for Hatsu. Enjoy your Christmas, big stuff. Santa’s got a whole lot of sumo for you to enjoy in January.
Mitakeumi defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji did not quite get his defense in ordered before Mitakeumi took him apart and drove him to the clay. Whatever injuries Mitakeumi have, I hope he’s able to rest and repair starting tonight. A 7-8 finish for Takarafuji, and a strong 9-6 finish for Takarafuji.
Terunofuji defeats Takakeisho – What a finish to a fantastic basho. Both have 13-2 records, Terunofuji picked up 2 special prizes (well earned) and with 13 wins has a strong opening move to return to Ozeki. I marvel that Terunofuji kept his feet during during the two big combos that Takakeisho delivered. But the third was not enough to keep the kaiju back, and his big hands found Takakisho’s mawashi. A twist and press attack threw the Ozeki to the clay. We had a playoff for the cup!
The playoff, well Takakeisho went in calibrated that Terunofuji would be able to overcome his attack after the second wave. So 2 waves was all it took to clear the Terunofuji over the west side of the dohyo. For the world of sumo, this was the best possible ending. We have the story of Terunofuji dominant in the basho, and a strong step on the road to regaining his rank of Ozeki after falling all the way to Jonidan 48! With a Takakeisho win, we have the seeds of possibly the next Yokozuna, which will be put to the test in January, where we may lose one or both of the current Grand Champions.
With that, Tachiai concludes our daily highlghts for this November basho. Thank you, dear readers, for sharing our love of sumo, and spending your time on our site.