With day 13 in the record books, it’s on to the final weekend. The funnel has 14 rikishi that may become candidates for day 15 Darwin matches, and it’s clear that unless Shodai or Takayasu get a lucky move, it’s going to be Terunofuji vs Hakuho to decide the cup. There is a strong chance that the winning score is going to be a 15-0, and that’s some really potent sumo for a hot, sweaty summer tournament in Nagoya.
It was torinaoshi theme day today, as two matches went to re-runs, and we had 3 rikishi pick up their kachi-koshi today. Solid day of sumo, and it has me very excited for this weekend’s action.
Tokushoryu defeats Kyokutaisei – It was an uneven tachiai, with Kyokutaisei leaping in early, but it did him little good. Tokushoryu had the inside lane and dialed up he pressure in his opening thrusting attack. It was enough to get Kyokutaisei to move back a step, and Tokushoryu kept him moving. It was 6 steps around the ring and then out for Tokushoryu to improve to 5-8. Tokushoryu is still hungry for wins in order to make the bid to either stay in the top division, or land in the top two ranks of Juryo.
Tochinoshin defeats Tsurugisho – With his back against the wall, Tochinoshin finds an opponent who permits him his left hand outside grip. With that set up, it’s just a matter of time before he can lift and shift Tsurugisho for a much needed win. I have to wonder what Tsurugisho though would happen once the former Ozeki had his grip. Tochinoshin improves to 5-8.
Kaisei defeats Ura – Ura goes in very low at the tachiai, and attempts a leg pick. He gets a hold, but can’t seem to maintain it, and choses to go chest to chest with Kaisei. He has to know where that move leads, I said to myself. Ura attempts his magic shoulder lift move and throw, but Ura’s left hand finds Kaisei’s mage, and in spite of putting Kaisei on the clay, he is disqualified, handing Kaisei a welcome win advancing him to 6-7.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Ichiyamamoto – When Terutsuyoshi is dialed into his sumo, you get matches like this. It’s hard to tell what the exact combo was that sent Ichiyamamoto to the clay, but it was a combination of Terutsuyoshi’s hand placement and Ichiyamamoto’s attempt to back away and turn that set up the oshitaoshi. Terutsuyoshi picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for July, and Ichiyamamoto is pushed back into the funnel.
Ishiura defeats Shimanoumi – Ishiura’s sumo today was excellent in opposition to Shimanoumi. His tachiai was low, fast and rewarded him with the inside position. His hand placement was direct, crisp and efficient. At the 3rd step back, Shimanoumi realizes he’s been out-classed and tries to rally, but Ishiura just increases the attack power, finishing Shimanoumi with a shitatenage. That’s Ishiura’s 8th win, and he is also kachi-koshi for July. Shimanoumi gets tossed back into Darwin’s funnel.
Chiyonoo defeats Hidenoumi – Chiyonoo overcame Hidenoumi’s defenses to get both hands inside, and that was all it took. Simple and effective. Both are still in the funnel with Hidenoumi at 6-7 and Chiyonoo at 7-6.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyonokuni – Big Dan – what the hell was that? You already won the match, and a cheap shot like that is a bit much, sir. I hope it’s not because Chiyonokuni made him work for it, because that would be sad indeed. Chiyonokuni did pour on the hot sauce in this thrusting battle royale, escaping each time Aoiyama moved to overpower him. Aoiyama improves to 5-8, and is still make-koshi both in score and attitude today. Chiyonokuni gets dame-oshi’d back into the funnel.
Tamawashi defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji opened defensive, and nearly was able to shut down Tamawashi’s thrusting attack. But with the long history these two have fighting each other, Tamawashi was capable of blowing past the traps. Tamawashi focused center mass, and 3 volleys later, had Takarafuji out. Tamawashi improves to 10-3, a great score for him.
Kotonowaka defeats Chiyoshoma – A quick grapple and battle for hand placement at the tachiai, that quickly converted into a mutual throw attempt. In spite of Chiyoshoma’s somewhat better body position, Kotonowaka manages to stay aloft a moment longer, as Chiyoshoma’s right forearm touches down first. Kotonowaka reaches double-digits, finishing the day at 10-3, while Chiyoshoma returns to the funnel.
Chiyomaru defeats Myogiryu – Chiyomaru opens with a thrusting combo, but Myogiryu manages to capture him and they go chest to chest, with Myogiryu getting a right hand inside position. After a moment, Myogiryu manages for a brief moment to get both hands inside, just as Chiyomaru unleashes a combo thrust that breaks contact and sets him up to battle-charge Myogiryu out for the win. Chiyomaru improves to 5-8, Myogiryu with double digit losses at 3-10.
Chiyotairyu defeats Daiamami – Traditional big tachiai hit from Chiyotairyu rocks Daiamami back, and robs him of any defensive foot placement. Chiyotairyu rushes forward to close the deal, and has Daiamami out 3 steps later. Both end the day with dismal 3-10 records.
Kagayaki defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru can’t find the force to stop Kagayaki’s opening combo, and Tobizaru knows it. With his feet on the tawara, he spirals away, and both fall. Even the mighty Konosuke is not quite sure who lost, and points his gumbai to Tobizaru. But of course that one was going to be a monoii. Even the video replay was not conclusive, and it was torinaoshi time. The second time through, Kagayaki ran the same attack plan but Tobizaru responded well, shutting down the charge. An attempt to crank up a throw saw Tobizaru lose his grip an spin away. Kagayaki lunges to pursue, and lands a mighty thrust that sends Tobizaru tumbling out and into the stands. Kagayaki improves to 6-7, and remains in the funnel.
Hoshoryu defeats Ichinojo – Very nice tachiai from Hoshoryu today. He gets a right hand inside grip almost at once, as Ichinojo happily grabs the outside left. In spite of Ichinojo’s enormity, its Hoshoryu who seems to have the offensive advantage, and is fighting it out for a place to put his left hand on Ichinojo’s body. Ichinojo is going nowhere, and decides to hold tight and let Hoshoryu burn stamina trying to attack. Hoshoryu recognizes his burn rate does not end in a win, and tries to load a throw, and Ichinojo responds by belly bucking Hoshoryu to the ring and out. But who stepped out first? The Shimpan declared it a tie, and it was the second re-match in a row. The second match, Hoshoryu tries to take Ichinojo out before Ichinojo can set up a defense, and it nearly works. But the two settle into more or less the same stance as in the first match, and we are back to the where the first match left off. Hoshoryu knows the clock is not his friend, and puts on a huge burst of energy to sling Ichinojo around in a partially successful shitatenage to pick up his 9th win. Personally, I think Ichinojo was robbed.
Hokutofuji defeats Takanosho – Really good left side ottsuke work today from Hokutofuji, who shuts down any offense that Takanosho may have wanted to deliver. With Takanosho neutralized, it was Hokutofuji waiting for his opening, which came when Takanosho became frustrated and tried a pull. Hokutofuji’s independently operated lower body attacked and won the match. Thats a well earned kachi-koshi for Hokutofuji, and Takanosho returns to the funnel.
Daieisho defeats Onosho – In an impressive flash back, Daieisho channels his genki self and obliterates Onosho, sending him to make-koshi by scoring his 4th win. Great intensity from Daieisho today, glad to see he can still muster that kind of sumo.
Meisei defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama let this match get away from him, attempting an early slap down and really blowing the advantage he had coming out of the tachiai. Meisei took the double inside grip, and dominated the match. Meisei’s win improves his score to 7-6.
Wakatakakage defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko attacked well, but could not muster any power to do more than blunt Wakatakakage’s attack. This is more or less the story of Nagoya for hapless Kotoeko, who is now at 11 losses for the tournament. Wakatakakage improves to 4-9.
Mitakeumi defeats Okinoumi – Mitakeumi had a solid tachiai, and was able to strike low, and press hard. Okinoumi could only slow him down for just a moment, and Mitakeumi rushed forward and took him over the bales for the win. Okinoumi picks up his 8th loss and is make-koshi, and Mitakeumi improves to 7-6 and remains in the funnel.
Terunofuji defeats Shodai – Shodai gets a moment of dominance against Terunofuji, but just a moment. He’s not able to do anything too forceful with it, and Terunofuji rallies to drive Shodai from the ring. He stays perfect and improves to 13-0.
Hakuho defeats Takayasu – Hakuho knows well that Takayasu’s sumo tends to be chaotic and poorly balanced. He always leads with a big left shoulder strike, and its easy to anticipate. If you are not intimidated by it, it sets up a really nice opportunity, which Hakuho exploited with grace and power. Folks, I could watch that tottari combo all day long, beautifully done. Hakuho also improves to 13-0.