The highlight of the day is, without a doubt, Hoshoryu’s ipponzeoi. He was a heartbeat from his 7th loss, when he turned the tables on Wakatakakage and threw him over his shoulder. These two are the future of sumo, and I am delighted to see the seeds of a strong rivalry start.
There are times when I look at the nightly preview posts and wonder what the hell. I think the topic that comes to mind first was the discussion of the “Darwin Funnel” that worked with terrible purpose in May and July. It was clear the schedulers were going to try it again at Aki. But reality had a different idea, as most of it fell to bits today, leaving only 12 rikishi in the funnel at the end of the day. The bulk of the X must win and Y must lose set ups went against the career trend, and many of the rikishi at the bottom end of the funnel lost their matches and are on firm make-koshi paths.
That being said, I am sure there will be a few Darwin matches on day 15, but the funnel may not be possible this time.
But then the musubi-no-ichiban stole all the excitement from a fairly exciting day of sumo, when Daieisho found a narrow opening in Terunofuji’s defense and blew a kaiju sized hole in the yusho race. It’s Terunofuji’s first kinboshi, and it was well earned. Even in his ultra genki state, Terunofuji can and sometimes will make choices in a match that lead to less than winning results. We all hope he does not let this loss worry him, and returns day 10 with power and poise against Ura.
Chiyonokuni defeats Tokushoryu – Chiyonokuni found that Tokushoryu was a bit too massive to push back at the tachiai. After a second volley, and with Tokushoryu advancing, Chiyonokuni pulled from Tokushoryu’s shoulders, which is a bit unusual. It worked well enough, and Tokushoryu fell over the edge of the dohyo. Chiyonokuni improves to 7-2.
Kagayaki defeats Kaisei – Kagayaki used a nodowa to start Kaisei moving backward. I swear, Kaisei catches more neck holds than anyone, it must be painful and annoying. Kagayaki finished him with a push against Kaisei’s chest, improving to 5-4.
Tochinoshin defeats Chiyonoo – Tochinoshin got a right hand inside grip, but never did connect with his left. Normally Tochinoshin will hold off from any kind of offense until he can get his left hand involved, but today he was able to take care of Chiyonoo without it. Both end at 3-6.
Kotoeko defeats Tsurugisho – Kotoeko has shown this good form for most of the 9 days at Aki, but today he was able to bring it together with some strength. He moved 200kg Tsurugisho around for his 3rd win (3-6), assuring that he will have a better score than his 2-13 in Nagoya.
Endo defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto made first contact at the tachiai, with his hands at Endo’s neck. Endo grabbed the nearest arm and gave it a solid tug, sending Ichiyamamoto to the clay. Endo now at 7-2.
Chiyomaru defeats Hidenoumi – Great example of a “kitchen sink” match, its Chiyomaru on offense, throwing combos at Hidenoumi trying to get him out or down. Chiyomaru attacked high, low, from the side, on the belt and finally got Hidenoumi to step over the bales. Chiyomaru improves to 6-3.
Okinoumi defeats Tobizaru – Not so sure about this match. Okinoumi was clearly overpowering Tobizaru, but fell to a slap down the moment that he forced Tobizaru out of the ring. That timing will come eventually for Tobizaru, but today Okinoumi takes the win to improve to 7-2.
Yutakayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi was caught trying to exchange brute pushing force with Yutakayama, and given their mass difference, it was never really going to work. Yutakayama’s win came when he reached around Terutsuyoshi’s shoulder, grabbed the back of his neck and propelled him forward and out. Yutakayama improves to 5-4.
Shimanoumi defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama opened strong, and we got to see him finally use some of his double arm thrusting attacks. He looked like he was about to put Shimanoumi out, and then for some reason decided to pull. Shimanoumi was ready for this, and rushed forward to dump Aoiyama out. Both end the day 4-5.
Onosho defeats Myogiryu – The junior tadpole drops the man 1 win behind the Yokozuna. Myogiryu decided to pull against Onosho’s big initial thrust out of the tachiai. This is aways a poor gamble with Onosho, as he tends to not be off balance until his third step. As it was, he not only caught the full blast, but amplified it with his pull. Both end the day 7-2, joining an increasingly broad group behind Terunofuji.
Chiyotairyu defeats Ura – Traditional Chiyotairyu sumo – stand him up, then slap him down. Ura lasted just a moment before eating Tokyo clay. Chiyotairyu improves to 5-4.
Takarafuji defeats Kotonowaka – Everybody knew this would be a battle of strengths, chest to chest, pitting their endurance and balance against each other. Kotonowaka tired first, standing progressively higher, until he was nearly upright. I think he understood it was now or never and his attempt swing Takarafuji into a throw only powered his defeat. Takarafuji improves 5-4.
Hoshoryu defeats Wakatakakage – We expected big offenses from these two, and they certainly supplied. The match began with a furious slapping fest that favored Wakatakakage, who got a left hand deep, and turned Hoshoryu to the side. Normally this is the moment that Hoshoryu is completely doomed. But Hoshoryu rallied, and took advantage of Wakatakakage to unleash a spectacular shoulder throw, ipponzeoi. Hoshoryu improves to 3-6 with that amazing recovery.
Takanosho defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo could not maintain forward pressure against Takanosho, and found himself backed up and forced out in short order. Takanosho improves to 5-4.
Meisei defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi had more offense to start, but was unable to keep his hands inside. Meisei took the opening and never gave it back. A few combo thrusts and a Tamawashi off-balance thrust later, and he was out. Meisei improves to 4-5.
Kiribayama defeats Mitakeumi – Kiribayama gives a leap to the side at the tachiai, landing to Mitakeumi’s right side. A quick push from behind, and the original tadpole steps out of the ring. Both end the day at 6-3.
Takakeisho defeats Takayasu – Takayasu seems to really be off of his sumo now. He gets a big hit in at the tachiai, but leaves himself wide open to attack, and Takakeisho is happy to supply. Did you see Takayasu get on one foot a few times? No way to defend against that level of tsuppari unless both feet are firmly connected to earth. Takakeisho improved to 5-4, and needs just 3 more wins to clear kadoban.
Shodai defeats Chiyoshoma – Points to Chiyoshoma for a strong opening and bashing Shodai back to the bales. But the Ozeki rallies, and finds some power to advance. It did not help that Chiyoshoma threw a pull in there too, Shodai improves to 6-3, and Chiyoshoma is now make-koshi at 1-8.
Daieisho defeats Terunofuji – The subject of our day 9 preview was “who hand Terunofuji his first loss?”. It turns out we did not have to wait long. The first portion of this match was solid Terunofuji sumo. He shut down Daieisho’s opening gambit, and calmly advanced to control the center of the dohyo. But there is a moment where Daieisho gets one thrust combo to land from underneath. In response, Terunofuji returns the thrust but opens his chest to Daieisho. That was all it took. Terunofuji’s defenses were down, and Daieisho had a clear route to attack at full power. The Yokozuna had no chance to recover, and three steps later was across the tawara for his first loss of September. That’s a kinboshi for Daieisho, and he improves to 8-1.