With day 12 in the record books, there is no yusho contest remaining, save the one between undefeated leaders Hakuho and Terunofuji. There is no mathematical way that anyone can challenge them now, and its down to the working through their last 2 matches that lead to the final contest on day 15, the “Brawl to end it all”.
Chiyonokuni defeats Akua – Akua visits the top division from Juryo, and rapidly eats a pull down from Chiyonokuni. I would rather see Chiyonokuni win by beating his opponents into submission, but he is now 1 win from kachi-koshi, and who can argue with that? Chiyonokuni ends the day at 7-5, Akua at 6-6.
Tokushoryu defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru gets a sturdy right hand inside grip against Tokushoryu, but can’t convert that to any kind of offense at all. Tokushoryu stands him up and what can only be described as “Dancing with the stars” leads Chiyomaru on a waltz to his make-koshi. Both end the day at 4-8.
Ura defeats Tochinoshin – The two clash a bit tentatively at the tachiai, and then Ura reverts to grab-and-tug sumo. His second attack finds something to latch with his iron grip, Tochinoshin’s left shoulder. With Ura now affixed his body, Tochinoshin put all of his focus on detatching the pink attacker, landing a strong shove with his free right hand. The shove topples Tochinoshin, and sends Ura in a twisting fall off the dohyo, but Tochinoshin was down first. Tochinoshin with 8 losses and make-koshi, while Ura is kachi-koshi for Nagoya. Welcome back to the top division, Ura. May you remain for a long string of tournaments.
Kagayaki defeats Daiamami – Daiamami opened strong, getting the better of the tachiai and landing a right hand inside grip. The hold shut down any hopes Kagayaki had of using his motion based thrusting attacks, and he was forced out of “his brand of sumo”. Eventually he was able to land his own grip, left hand outside, but it was not nearly enough to do much against the heavier Daiamami, but Kagayaki attacked anyhow. As Daiamami went to load a throw, Kagayaki collapsed his pivot and Daiamami hit the clay. Kagayaki improves to 5-7 and staves off make-koshi.
Kotonowaka defeats Kaisei – Kotonowaka lands a left hand outside grip at the tachiai, and at that point has control of the match. Kaisei works and works to get any kind of grip to even the advantage, but Kotonowaka blocks all attempts. Kotonowaka works his right hand inside, and the moment his right hand gets the smallest piece of Kaisei’s mawashi, he drops him with an uwatenage. Kotonowaka improves to 9-3.
Tamawashi defeats Ishiura – Ishiura looked to be in command of the match, he was inside at the tachiai, getting a double arm thrust against Tamawashi, and then rapidly landing a deep left hand grip. At the moment he seems in control, Ishiura takes a step back to pivot a throw, but loses that left hand grip. With perfect timing Tamawashi uses a single well placed shove to launch Ishiura over the bales. Tamawashi improves to 9-3.
Shimanoumi defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho attempts a hit and shift at the tachiai. But its neither rapid nor energetic, and simply provides Shimanoumi a clear inside advantage. The remainder of the match is Shimanoumi attacking while Tsurugisho tries almost everything to set up a reasonable defense or pull to Shimanoumi off balance in an attempt to recover from his tachiai. Shimanoumi stays focused and moves Tsurugisho over the bales for the win. Both are 7-5 to end the day.
Takarafuji defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto opened strong with a solid thrusting combo, and keeps up the pressure on Takarafuji who absorbs the attacks, slowly giving ground to Ichiyamamoto’s advance. It seems Ichiyamamoto decided that Takarafuji was vulnerable, and attempted a pull, which was just the signal Takarafuji needed to switch to offense, bringing Ichiyamamoto down for his 8th win. Takarafuji picks up a well deserved kachi-koshi, his first since January.
Chiyonoo defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama opens strong, gets his hands inside and moves Chiyonoo back to the bales. Chiyonoo manages to rally, and I can only guess that Aoiyama decides to try to pull against Chiyonoo’s charge, and ends up out of the ring in a hurry. I can only guess that Aoiyama is nursing some injury, and it has caused his sumo to suffer this July. Chiyonoo improves to 6-6.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Chiyoshoma – Both men’s tachiai has an element of hit and shift to the right, but it fell short of the coveted double-henka that is the stuff of legends. Both are a bit surprised, with Terutsuyoshi re-focusing himself first and getting a right hand inside grip. Suddenly they both focus on leg picks and trips, trading them back and forth a few times before Terutsuyoshi gets a hold of Chiyoshoma’s left thigh and propels him out. Both are 7-5 to end the day. Kimarite is the seldom seen komatasukui, an “over thigh scooping body drop”.
Hidenoumi defeats Hoshoryu – Hidenoumi had the stronger tachiai with a right hand inside position as the two go chest to chest. At first Hoshoryu attempts to shift his hands, and loses precious territory to Hidenoumi, and attempts to pivot into a throw. But Hidenoumi steps inside Hoshoryu’s pivot, pinching him against the bales and throwing him down. Hidenoumi improves to 6-6.
Myogiryu defeats Chiyotairyu – This was an odd match for both of these guys, a hybrid thrusting, leaning contest that featured a few moments of probing attacks at the start, followed by a long stalemate. Chiyotairyu lost patience with the situation first, and attacked into a Myogiryu hatakikomi. It was a gamble which paid off for Myogiryu, netting him just his 3rd win for July, sending him to 3-9.
Takanosho defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru catches a Takanosho stiff-arm at the tachiai in the throat, and never has a moment to do anything other than try to escape. Not really effective sumo from Tobizaru, but that is why he is 3-9 at the end of day 12. Takanosho improves to 6-6.
Hokutofuji defeats Ichinojo – Hokutofuji handshake tachiai gives him a momentary nodowa that he trades for a right hand inside grip. This grip seems to shut down most of any offensive options Ichinojo may have had, and was the fulcrum Hokutofuji used to move the Boulder around and eventually out. That’s win number 7 for Hokutofuji
, who picks up a welcome kachi-koshi.
Daieisho defeats Kotoeko – Daieisho had the advantage for most of the match, and finally seems to have some poewr to his thrusting attacks. Sadly it comes when he is already deeply make-koshi at 3-9. He gets a good hit on Kotoeko as he was charging forward to drop him in a heap to improve to 3-9. Kotoeko now 2-10.
Onosho defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage got good position in the tachiai, but Onosho was able to counter well with a right hand high, left hand low thrusting attack. In response Wakatakakage attempted a pull, but it cost him his balance. Two steps later, Onosho had him on the clay to pick up his 5th win and keep just above the make-koshi line.
Kiribayama defeats Takayasu – I was happy to see Takayasu lock Kiribayama up, and then engage his stamina to wear his opponent down. Kiribayama tried to rally a several times, just to find himself being cuddled to death by a hairy giant. As this wears on, is Takayasu getting tired? Inconceivable! Kiribayama rallies again and gets a right hand outside grip and throws everything he can into a final attack. It does seem that Takayasu is out of gas, and is sent out for a loss by an impressively persistent Kiribayama. A hard earned win number 8 for Kiribayama, and kachi-koshi for July.
Shodai defeats Okinoumi – Shodai employs textbook sumo to grapple and dispatch Okinoumi with minimal risk. Shodai improves to 7-5, and is blessedly unlikely to be kadoban in September.
Terunofuji defeats Meisei – Meisei does an excellent job of keeping Terunofuji from setting up any kind of grip, but has to endure Terunofuji repeatedly slapping him in the head instead. But it’s only delaying what we all know is coming, the Kaiju arm-bars Meisei, and tosses him from the ring. A perfect 12-0 for Terunofuji.
Hakuho defeats Mitakeumi – I loved watching Hakuho’s mechanics in this match. Every time Mitakeumi advances, Hakuho deflects his forward motion to teh side, rotating him and moving him closer to the tawara. It seems Mitakeumi had no real solution to this move, and in his two forward surges, he lost a lot of ground, simplifying Hakuho’s task of lifting and shifting him over the bales. Hakuho is also undefeated at 12-0.