Ozeki Takakeisho, with a win today over Okinoumi, has cleared kadoban and will remain an Ozeki for the May tournament. I am delighted to see Takakeisho affirm his rank, and to do it with some solid sumo this March. As we are on the cusp of the final three days of this tournament, the next story to wrap up may be the Ozeki bid by Terunofuji, who picked up his 9th win today against Tamawashi. Finally, the yusho race remained nearly static, as all the leading rikishi won their matches except for Tobizaru, who drops out of the pack 1 win behind Takayasu.
Kotoeko defeats Kaisei – Kotoeko kept his hands low at the tachiai, and was rewarded with a double inside body grip. This was quickly converted to powerful forward motion, and seconds later a 6th win. Both end the day at 6-6.
Tsurugisho defeats Chiyonoo – Tsurugisho’s early front grip did not last, but he used his larger mass and enormous belly to keep Chiyonoo on defense, and moved him about effectively. Tsurugisho improves to 7-5.
Aoiyama defeats Daiamami – Big Dan Aoiyama hits his 8th win for a well deserved kachi-koshi. Daiamami had a good opening combo, but he could not convert it to usable offense, and Aoiyama took over. The match ended with Daiamami’s head in the salt basket. I suppose Aoiyama wanted to make sure he had lost.
Hidenoumi defeats Chiyotairyu – Hidenoumi absorbed Chiyotairyu’s cannonball tachiai, and got Chiyotairyu turned to the side for a force out. That is Hidenoumi’s first ever top division kachi-koshi, and I am sure the folks at Kise heya celebrated. What a long tough road for Hidenoumi, who entered sumo in 2012.
Kotoshoho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Back from kyujo, Kotoshoho comes out strong and surprises not only Terutsuyoshi, but most sumo fans as well. He over powered Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai, and completely disrupted Terutsuyoshi’s last ditch attempt to throw at the tawara. On day 13, Kotoshoho finally gets his first win.
Ryuden defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama opened strong, but could not finish Ryuden. Ryuden gets an opening to place his hands inside, and switches to offense, taking the win and giving Yutakayama his 8th loss for a make-koshi in March. I am sad to see Yutakayama take a berth on the barge to Juryo, but he seems to be in need of some remediation.
Akiseyama defeats Hoshoryu – Almost picture perfect tachiai from Hoshoryu, who had a right hand under Akiseyama’s chin and a left hand against his pectoral. But the excellent start rapidly gave way to a strong Akiseyama counter attack. Akiseyama giant belly was on the move, and try as he could, Hoshoryu could not find enough leverage to slow things down or stop him. Akiseyama improves to 6-6.
Kotonowaka defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma seemed to be a bit under powered today. Kotonowaka absorbed everything Chiyoshoma was delivering, and still managed to move forward. Kotonowaka improves to 4-8.
Ichinojo defeats Midorifuji – Ichinojo brutes ahead, taking Midorifuji to his chest and rapidly moves him out. With Midorifuji nursing an injury, there is not much he could do against Ichinojo if Ichinojo was actually fighting today. Midorifuji hits his 8th loss and is make-koshi for Haru. Ichinojo improves to 7-5.
Chiyonokuni defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu had the advantage from the tachiai, with a left hand inside, and superior body position. As he was being moved back by Myogiryu, Chiyonokuni loaded up a rescue throw at the edge and connected to pick up his 8th win, and a well earned kachi-koshi for March.
Meisei defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru got one combo in at the tachiai, and then it was all Meisei. Launching a thrusting attack squarely at center mass, Meisei got Tobizaru moving, then thrust him out for his 8th win, and kachi-koshi. Tobizaru drops out of the group 1 win behind Takayasu.
Kagayaki defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi’s sumo lacks any real forward power now, and I would guess whatever injury has been robbing him of his typically powerful offense is really starting to hurt, and he picks up his 9th loss today, helping Kagayaki dodge make-koshi today.
Tochinoshin defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji played his best “defend and extend” hand today, taking Tochinoshin to his chest and keeping him locked up and stalemated at the center of the dohyo. A protracted leaning / endurance contest ensued, with Tochinoshin gradually working to set up his right hand for the finishing throw. With the win, Tochinoshin improves to 5-7.
Kiribayama defeats Onosho – Onosho’s miserable record ties him with Takarafuji down in the basement of the top division. Onosho chose to fight this one out on the belt, and his yotsu-zumo is not quite up to putting Kiribayama down. Kiribayama worked to set up a pivot at the bales, and took the match away from Onosho, who drops to 2-10.
Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji opened strong, but was deflected on his third thrust. As his body turned, Takayasu pivoted and drove him from the ring. Brutal, quick and effective. Takayasu improves to 10-2 and remains in the lead for the cup.
Wakatakakage defeats Daieisho – Daieisho had a thrusting attack pattern up and running at the second step, but Wakatakakage kept shifting under the pressure. This kept Daieisho turning, and unable to hit a second thrust with his hips and shoulders squared against his opponent, robbing him of full power. Wakatakakage kept this running until he had Daieisho near the bales, and a quick hatakikomi finished the match. That’s 8 wins for Wakatakakage, and kachi-koshi with his first ever win over Daieisho.
Terunofuji defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi came out strong and agressive at the tachiai, and had Terunofuji on his back foot almost at once. Getting an “arm breaker” hold on Terunofuji, Tamawashi delivered combo after combo, and he kept moving Terunofuji back, and it looked like a loss for the Ozeki hopeful. But an over-extension by Tamawashi and a well placed thrust put Tamawashi to the clay, and Terunofuji improves to 9-3.
Asanoyama defeats Mitakeumi – Asanoyama got the grip at the tachiai, and Mitakeumi could do litter more than go along for the ride. Asanoyama remains 1 win behind Takayasu in the yusho race, and improves his score to 9-3.
Shodai defeats Takanosho – Takanosho gets a right hand nodowa at the tachiai, raising up the already poorly positioned Shodai moments after the tachiai. But today Shodai shifted to break the attack and focused on bringing Takanosho forward and disrupting his balance. Two combo hits later, Takanosho is face down on the clay, and Shodai improves to 7-5.
Takakeisho defeats Okinoumi – This was an odd butsukari match, with Okinoumi acting as the ballast for Takakeisho’s powerful forward motion. Unable to do much other than try to slow the Ozeki down, Okinoumi quickly found himself forced out of the ring. Takakeisho has his 8th win, and clears kadoban on day 12.