Natsu Day 12 Highlights

Today was a satisfying day of sumo, and while the drama of day 11 still hangs in the air like unwelcome flatulence, we at least had some decent sumo action to enjoy. A fair number of rikishi are still in prime shape for day 15 “Darwin” matches. A Darwin match is my term for two 7-7 rikishi fighting head to head on the final day. The entire tournament down to a single match. The winner is kachi-koshi, the loser is make-koshi. I know that some of the folks who set up the fight schedule love these things, and this tournament they seem to be doing everything they can to funnel as many rikishi as possible into this position. Sometime late on day 14, we will now how well it worked.

Highlight Matches

Tokushoryu defeats Ishiura – Tokushoryu gave ground until Ishiura had him backed up to the tawara. Tokushoryu the surged forward, catching Ishiura off balance and ran him off the dohyo. Tokushoryu picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for May, and probably headed back to the top division.

Chiyotairyu defeats Okinoumi – Chiyotairyu goes back to oshi-zumo, standing Okinoumi up and slapping him down. Both end the day at 8-4. I am happy that Chiyotairyu is kachi-koshi, he fought well this tournament and showed some versatility in changing up his sumo.

Kaisei defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi opens with a strong thrusting volley, but Kaisei is just too big to move very far if he is ready to fight. Today, it seems he was. He rallies and drive Tamawashi from the ring, both end the day 6-6.

Daiamami defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi struggled to achieve a grip, and the few moments he was able to grab onto Daiamami’s mawashi, it seemed to only serve to Daiamami’s advantage. In the end, Daiamami carries him over the bales to advance to 6-6.

Shimanoumi defeats Akua – Akua had early control of this match, but decided it was time to pull Shimanoumi down. In fact, it was not time to pull Shimanoumi down, as Shimanoumi surged forward and pushed against Akua’s chest to send him out for his 8th loss, and make-koshi for Natsu. Shimanoumi ends the day 6-6.

Kotonowaka defeats Kagayaki – Kotonowaka gets a great early grip on Kagayaki, who counters with an arm bar hold, and can’t do too much with it. But he had a solid hold of Kotonowaka, and used his lower body to push Kotonowaka. Kotonowaka consolidates his hold as Kagayaki has him moving back, and translates Kagayaki’s forward motion into the energy for a shitatedashinage that won the match. Kotonowaka finishes the day 7-5.

Chiyomaru defeats Tsurugisho – Chiyomaru started with a quick thrusting volley, then took Tsurugisho to his chest. Tsurugisho had a firm left hand grip, but did not move with Chiyomaru when he attempted to break contact. Now too far forward, Chiyomaru thrust Tsurugisho to the clay, giving him his 8th loss and make-koshi for Natsu. Chiyomaru improves to 7-5.

Kotoeko defeats Endo – What a great match from Kotoeko! I am going to guess that like me, Endo expected Kotoeko to open with a thrusting attack, instead he grabbed Endo across the chest. Endo’s normal opening attempt a frontal grip was nowhere to be found. You can see Endo move to change attack modes, he hops to the side and reaches down for a hand hold of Kotoeko’s mawashi. But Kotoeko keeps his shoulders square to his opponent and is pushing forward with power. Endo arrests his backward motion at the bales, but Kotoeko continues to drive, and takes him out. Kotoeko improves to 7-5, and really impressed today.

Takarafuji defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma opened strong, but focused his left hand attack on Takarafuji’s non-existent neck. Takarafuji laughed it off, and broke Chiyoshoma’s hold, and charged in to grab Chiyoshoma’s mawashi. Chiyoshoma backed up, but lost balance and Takarafuji converted that to an oshitaoshi. Both end the day at 6-6.

Tochinoshin defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu leapt in early, and I am not sure if it was a bad start, or Tochinoshin was defending against a suspected henka. Hoshoryu lets Tochinoshin get a left hand outside grip, and he’s in business. It’s 3 steps from that moment to the point where Tochinoshin chucks Hoshoryu over the edge of the ring, into Tobizaru. Hoshoryu looks a bit winded and disoriented, and takes time to return to the dohyo. Tochinoshin improves to 4-8.

Aoiyama defeats Myogiryu – Aoiyama won this match, but never really seemed to control it. He was able to counter Myogiryu forward pressure, but chose to launch a risky pulling attack that saw him reverse across the entire diameter of the ring, but finally bring Myogiryu to the clay. Aoiyama improves to 2-10.

Tobizaru defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama had his heart set on grabbing Tobizaru and engaging in a grappling match. He got his wish, but it was Tobizaru who had the superior body position. While Kiribayama is attempting to get some kind of attack going. Tobizaru shifts his stance, attempting a leg trip. The leg trip fails, but Kiribayama’s completely disrupted, with his back turned to Tobizaru. Tobizaru runs him out for the win. Both end the day a 3-9.

Hidenoumi defeats Wakatakakage – Hidenoumi fought well from a low position, forcing Wakatakakage to fight off balance from the tachiai. Hidenoumi converted that to a quick hatakikomi, bringing Wakatakakage to the clay. Hidenoumi improves to 5-7.

Meisei defeats Mitakeumi – Meisei picks up his first ever win against Mitakeumi, and he did it by first carefully setting up his hand position, and then driving forward against his much heavier opponent. This was solid, skilled sumo, and its even better to watch in slow motion. He improves to 6-6, and Mitakeumi is solidly into his week 2 fade with 3 losses in a row.

Hokutofuji defeats Daieisho – Hokutofuji was not interested in losing today. He took a solid look at Daieisho’s day 11 match footage, and noted that the Hatsu yusho winner was closing his eyes at the tachiai. Hokutofuji supplied a hit / shift / slap to drop Daieisho at the tachiai.

Shodai defeats Takanosho – Shodai in classic form today, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Sloppy, slow tachiai, some evasive sumo that dodged Takanosho’s attacks, and a cartoon sumo move at the bales to win. But it’s a win, and he needed one. Shodai improves to 7-5, while Takanosho is make koshi at 4-8, and will vacate his Sekiwake rank.

Takakeisho defeats Ichinojo – I was impressed that Ichinojo was not really able to put enough force into his thrusting attacks to move Takakeisho back much if at all. There was a scary moment when Takakeisho went very low to attack, and looked like he might drop a knee. But he found a route to Ichinojo’s center mass and overpowered nearly 200kg worth a rikishi. Wow. Takakeisho improves to 10-2.

Terunofuji defeats Onosho – No lingering mental hangups from Terunofuji that I could notice today. He took Onosho apart and dumped the remains over the east side. Now 11-1 for Terunofuji and still in sole possession of the lead.

13 thoughts on “Natsu Day 12 Highlights

  1. Here’s hoping Hoshoryu didn’t suffer a bad injury with that fall. The way he fell and landed was a recipe for a concussion or a broken neck. He was doing his best to be stoic but you could see he was struggling. Even a bad strain at this high level could be a real bad detriment to his career.

    • That was a very tough fall. Looked like he was hanging in with all his might and Tochinoshin had to really go for the slam, sending both out hard.

  2. It’s funny: Ishiura hurts his hand, and his sumo falters from that point on. Chiyotairyu has a bum elbow, and it instead forces him to try a brand of sumo he’s not used to deploying and he gets a kachi-kochi out of it. Now, if only somehow Tochinoshin’s beleaguered knee had such benefits…

    As for others, great job by Kotoeko and Hokutofuji! Both are fighting with gusto to not get a losing record. Conversely, Mitakeumi is in the grips of an unsurprising second week slump, and Ichinojo just refuses to show any fight once moved one millimeter backwards. Both rikishi need to overcome these recurring issues to fully realize their potential, and I just don’t think they can. Just like Hokutofuji is incapable of doing anything less than 100 percent, and that style leads to him toeing the Darwin line.

    • I had similar thoughts with regard to Wakatakakage vs. Hidenoumi. Wakatakakage, maybe one of the stars of the tournament and with his stated dream of promotion to komusubi in reach, was completely shut down by an injured rikishi enduring 6 straight losses. He really was never in the bout.

  3. Down in juryo Ura v Chiyonoumi had a spectacular ending. When watching it the first time I couldn’t understand why Chiyonoumi stepped out when it seemed he couldn’t lose. Even when Chris Sumo called it out on YouTube it took a few viewings to appreciate Ura’s genius – such a perfectly timed kick.

  4. Regarding a different “yama”, Yutakayama’s arm could be bothering him again and we are creeping towards a Darwin match. It’s good to see Oho and Bushozan settling into their sumo. Ura has been great to watch! Takakento hopefully gets an upcoming win displaying a strong fighting style. I do wonder if Takanosho is having arm or shoulder problems, being dropped by Shodai and Asanoyama in similar fashion. There had been a flurry of talk around the new year about knee problems, an injury that happened during his juryo time. Hard to say what’s caused his makekoshi; his opponents could just be aware of his hit-and-shift starts and his forward momentum to reply in turn.

    But a general question: what is up with all of the spins we are seeing this basho? There have been so many spins and backs provided for push out it’s become a theme for this tournament.

  5. Nearly every match today had something that caught my eye… Tokushoryu’s win hopefully will ensure a return to the division come July; Tochinoshin’s win pleased me also (though I hope Hoshoryu didn’t come off with anything worse than a inconsequential bump on his head and a tiny bruise to his lower back where Tochi unceremoniously slammed him onto the dohyo’s edge).
    Mitakeumi’s famed second week fade looks worse than usual – is he suffering from long Covid? It’s not like he ordinarily has tons of stamina to spare, but this seems to be another order of fading (at least to my untrained eye).
    Ichinojo’s unhappy habit of ‘conceding’ once an opponent gets him to within 6” of the bales is frustrating to say the least (though he was prob always up against it in a match with Takakeisho)… either he still has some issue with his back, or he’s in serious need of a sports psychologist. Terunofuji lies in wait tomorrow, so we’ll see how much battle resolve he’s got then.
    And then there’s Shodai…. no form or function but came up with the win… Takarafuji tomorrow? Not sure what to make of that, but here’s hoping big S can magic up win 8, (cos he prob won’t manage it if he doesn’t get it done tomorrow).
    I haven’t even mentioned Kaisei’s penchant for checking on his opponent post-bout with the ‘helping hand’ offer (nearly always refused, I note), or Tobizaru’s dohyo allergy (even with the win, he felt the need to take a tour of rows 4 & 5 – it’s like he can’t stay up there more than a minute without getting altitude sickness or something).
    Terunofuji marches on to his third hoisting of the Trump Cup (OK, and the Emperor’s Cup too and a bunch of other stuff) – which I’m convinced now is cursed (ask Asamoyama… and it finished Kakuryu, and Hakuho’s hardly been seen since last lifting it, and there are prob more coincidences that I’ll get around to adding to my conspiracy theory).
    Sorry all for the super long post, but I REALLY enjoyed today’s bouts. Can’t wait for day 13.

  6. In the Tochinoshin-Hoshoryu bout, Tochi was not defending against a suspected henka; he was executing a henka. At the tachiai, Tochi stepped back and to the side.
    I hope that they run Hoshoryu through some form of a concussion protocol before he next steps onto the dohyo. He was attempting to clear the cobwebs from his head in the wake of that bout.

  7. I still can’t believe Asanoyama… This is just so overwhelmingly stupid that it is hard to accept… Oh well, may be he will get back to Ozeki one day. I can already hear his kojo speach :”I will live up to my name as ozeki and l promise not to think with my dick this time”

  8. It’s not inconceivable that we’ll only have one yokozuna and one ozeki, or two ozeki, within a couple of tournaments.

    Hakuho may well be gone after July / the Olympics. Asanoyama has been stripped of rank and is on the slowest of barges to juryo. Shodai doesn’t look like an ozeki, and it feels just a matter of time until he drops down.

    Terunofuji may well take the rope in the next couple of tournaments. Takakeisho looks like he’s stable at ozeki.

    There will be an opportunity for rikishi to step up.

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