The sumo association may find themselves with a shortage of Ozeki again soon. I am starting to have hopes that Shodai can pull it together over the next 6 days and end with a kachi-koshi, but looking forward to September, we may lose an Ozeki to promotion, and maybe one out due to injury. The “stinger” that Takakeisho suffered in his loss to Ichinojo can indicate a more involved spine / neck injury, and I would not be surprised to see him require an extend recovery period. With Asanoyama in the dog-house for being an idiot, we could be down to Shodai for September. Looking across the landscape, I am fairly certain there is no one even close to putting on a run to take up the Ozeki rank. Perennial brides maids Mitakeumi and Takayasu might be able to scrape that together, but it will take them 3 tournaments to do so. Thus to transition period marches on.
I note with some interest that we have zero rikishi one win behind the leaders. With each day that passes and sees them both win, the chances of anyone being able to contest for the cup drop, and we are looking forward to a possible “Brawl to end it all” on Sunday. I would bet that if it comes to that, this final match may also be the promotion test for Terunofuji. Frankly today he fought better than Hakuho did, and I am really going to be surprised if he does not take the rope this month. The folks in the Tatsunami ichimon should start getting ready for a weaving party, I would guess.
Tsurugisho defeats Wakamotoharu – Tsurugisho gets a right hand inside immediately at the tachiai, and Wakamotoharu has no answer. Tsurugisho gets to lifting and shifting, and three steps later Wakamotoharu is finished. Tsurugisho improves to 6-3.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Chiyomaru – My only knock against Ichiyamamoto for this match is that he has his head down, with his eyes off of Chiyomaru at the tachiai. This may be because he’s well aware that Chiyomaru will try an immediate pull / slap down, which fails. Ichiyamamoto abandons a thrusting attack, and goes for a right hand inside grip. He and Chiyomaru spend a while leaning into each other, but Ichiyamamoto controls the center of the ring. The third time Ichiyamamoto attempts to rally, he is able to move Chiyomaru, and propels him out to improve to 7-2.
Ishiura defeats Kagayaki – That’s six wins in a row for Ishiura, today by katasukashi. Kagayaki seems very motivated by Ishiura’s hit and shift to the left, and tries to chase him down. That seems to just work in Ishiura’s favor, and sets up the kimarite. Ishiura improves to 6-3.
Chiyonoo defeats Tochinoshin – Chiyonoo attacks strong to his left (Tochinoshin’s right), keeping maximum pressure on that damaged right knee. It pays off, as Tochinoshin is really not able to do much in that position, and the former Ozeki gets a fast trip across the west side tawara. Chiyonoo improves to 4-5.
Kotonowaka defeats Chiyonokuni – Interesting change-up tachiai from Chiyonokuni, I think he was hoping that he could get a clear route to test Kotonowaka’s head attachment ligaments, which he did for just a single volley before Kotonowaka decides to return the favor. This devolves into mutual blows to each other’s heads, with Kotonowaka getting more punishment landed on Chiyonokuni’s noggin than he received. Kotonowaka improves to 7-2.
Kaisei defeats Daiamami – Kaisei found a match where his enormity was a bonus, he took Daiamami to his chest, and was able to keep him squarely to the front. Having locked him up, he marched forward, and took the win. Kaisei improves to 4-5.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Tokushoryu – Terutsuyoshi gets a shallow left hand grip at the tachiai, and that sets up his entire offense for this match. He quickly lands his right, and is in business as Tokushoryu struggles to break contact. Terutsuyoshi upends the bulky Tokushoryu with a brilliant leg trip, and I swear you can see Tokushoryu bounce as he hits the clay. Terutsuyoshi improves to 4-5.
Ura defeats Takarafuji – Their first ever match, and I loved how tentative Takarafuji was. I mean, Ura could have tried almost anything. But no, the tachiai was kind of gentle and simple. Takarafuji seems to have decided to just grapple in and contain Ura, as would be his plan. It was at that point Ura’s grab and tug sumo took hold, finding Takarafuji’s left arm and locking on with his iron grip. Ura starts to pull him, Takarafuji, using his sumo instincts thinks “I have him now” and presses forward. Well, no… a big tug is delivered straight to center mass through that trapped left arm, and Takarafuji launches headlong toward the salt basket. Classic Ura sumo, improving him to 5-4.
Chiyoshoma defeats Tamawashi – Oh my! Many days of straight ahead sumo, battling it out against his opponents set up today. With Tamawashi going strong into the tachiai, Chiyoshoma deploys the flying henka. Readers know I tire quickly of the henka, but today it was glorious. Tamawashi goes skidding to the clay. If you have to henka, you may as well do it like Chiyoshoma did it today, with flare and gusto. He improves to 5-4.
Myogiryu defeats Shimanoumi – Myogiryu staves off make-koshi today, with effort and stamina. Myogiryu landed a right hand inside at the tachiai, and kept Shimanoumi tangled up until he was ready to attack. A quick drop of the hips and press forward gave Myogiryu his second win of the basho, improving him to 2-7.
Kiribayama defeats Hidenoumi – Kiribayama set up an excellent mawashi grip at the tachiai, and kept lifting throughout the match. At one point he had Hidenoumi off of his feet, and struggling to find a way to lower his stance. Hidenoumi was relegated to defense, and put all of his energy into blunting Kiribayama’s repeated attempts to lift him and shift him closer to the bales. A defensive strategy usually only lasts so long, and bit by bit Kiribayama worked Hidenoumi out. Kiribayama improves to 6-3.
Onosho defeats Aoiyama – Perhaps the only man in sumo with worse balance than Onosho is Aoiyama. How fitting that Onosho stood him up, and when Aoiyama redoubled his forward pressure, Onosho stepped out of the way and sent him to the clay. Onosho picks up a much needed win to advance to 3-6.
Ichinojo defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru really did try for the “Bad Pony” treatment today. A slap here, a pull there, a poke at the face – Tobizaru was all hands and fingers to Ichinojo. When Ichinojo grabbed his hands to stop the slappy-pokey mess, Tobizaru resorted to head-butting instead. Ichinojo got a left hand grip, and it was “Bad Pony” time, with Ichinojo sending him on his obligatory run out / tumble home trip with a single contemptuous shove. Ichinojo improves to 6-3.
Takanosho defeats Daieisho – Takanosho traps, wraps and ejects Daieisho in a quick series of moves, and sends Daieisho to his 8th loss. Daieisho is make-koshi while Takanosho improves to 5-4. I don’t know what Daieisho’s injury is, but I would love to see him back in fighting form soon.
Hoshoryu defeats Wakatakakage – Hoshoryu picks up his first ever win over Wakatakakage. Wakatakakage set up the fight with an immediate left hand outside grip, and Hoshoryu returned the grip in kind. They paused a moment to consolidate, and Hoshoryu twisted to his left, rolling Wakatakakage to improve to 6-3. Nice move sir!
Mitakeumi defeats Kotoeko – Great demonstration of denshamichi-zumo from Mitakeumi today, as the big magenta shinkansen departed Nagoya for points East, running Kotoeko from the dohyo. Mitakeumi improves to 6-3.
Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – With these two on the dohyo, you had to know there would be a big opening salvo, and they did deliver. Shoulder blast from Takayasu, handshake tachiai into a nodowa from Hokutofuji. It looked like Hokutofuji had control at first. But a really solid recovery from Takayasu, which all flowed from his excellent foot placement. Hokutofuji was solely focused on getting that neck hold re-established, and that allowed Takayasu a chance to take apart Hokutofuji’s offense, and set him up for the hatakikomi. Takayasu improves to 5-4.
Terunofuji defeats Okinoumi – Terunofuji started and remained impressively low. Good grief, for a man with no knees he was really in hira-gumo mode today. When a man that big is coming at you from below, there is not much you are going to be able to respond with. It was a fast trip out for Okinoumi, and Terunofuji improves to 9-0.
Shodai defeats Meisei – Meisei almost had this one thanks to his superior mobility, but Meisei could not quite keep his balance and his attack aligned. He would move and attack, but always not quite lined up with Shodai’s center mass. This allowed the Ozeki a chance to deflect and survive. Eventually Shodai got a few shoves in the right places and sent Meisei out. Shodai improves to 5-4.
Hakuho defeats Chiyotairyu – I have to compliment Chiyotairyu for delivering some high energy, decent threat sumo to Hakuho today. He opened with a solid combo, and kept the pressure on. Hakuho needs more like these to get him tuned up for the remainder of the basho. Hakuho toys with Chiyotairyu a bit, then propels him out to improve to 9-0.