Aki Day 9 Highlights

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.

Highlight Matches

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.

17 thoughts on “Aki Day 9 Highlights

  1. If Terunofuji had to lose, I’m glad it was at least to someone who’s won a yusho and has credible sumo. Seeing him falter against an unproven opponent would’ve sown seeds of doubt. But he lost to a determined rikishi today and still looks the favorite to take the title. But across the banzuke, day 8 was full of fun. And I, for one, don’t miss the winnowing of the Darwin field. Maybe then the demotions/promotions will be clear for once.

  2. What a day of sumo! The Hoshoryu match had everything, a strong clash at the tachiai, Hoshoryu taken back right to the edge, and then unleashing that throw.

    Seeing some of his trips and throws (as well as those of Akua from the same stable down in juryo) had made me wonder how they actually learn to do this…You never see this sort of thing in the keiko videos we get to see. Is it just something they’ve carried over from high school judo, or are they trying these moves out on long-suffering tsukebitos etc…?

    • I always wonder that too. Like for Ura, where does he get a chance to practice those rare kimarite? Even some of the not-quite-as-rare ones like the one where they both pitch forward of one leg and land head-first (sorry I don’t remember the name, some kind of inner thigh thing maybe?), who would want to practice that with you? Can they just know something is possible in theory and take a shot at it? Do they try things at lower levels and we don’t hear about the failed attempts?

      • The Mongolians might know some Mongolian wrestling techniques, but that doesn’t explain how the Japanese wrestlers learn them.

          • Maybe I should watch judo. I took judo classes decades ago but I was lousy at it. Much taller than the other women in the class, couldn’t get my hips low enough, always off balance. Also got dizzy practicing forward rolls.

            • I’d stick to watching sumo :)

              From what little I’ve seen on the TV judo is 1% spectacular throws and 99% incomprehensible grappling on the floor.

              With some of the rarer kimarite (ipponzeoi excepted) I expect they are just the result of a naturally talented rikishi “going with the flow”, rather than something they’ve specifically practised. There are only so many ways that a wrestler can fall to the floor, and the shimpan have to classify it as something. I seem to remember Terutsuyoshi saying as much after one of his wins last year.

              And of course with Ura he’s always trying things even at the top level, and we do hear about his failed attempts :)

              • That makes sense. There are all these different ways to go with the flow depending on the situation, and later someone categorizes them.

  3. Quick question, and I don’t know if this has been covered elsewhere, what is up with Tsurugisho’s right calf? It looks red, inflamed, and basically infected. My Google translate isn’t able to tell me what the announcers are saying. Anyone know?

  4. That ipponzeoi from Hoshoryu made my day. On the instant replay you can see the momentum, it’s like you can read “A’ight I’m doomed anyway, let’s do this” on Hoshoryu’s face. The sashi chigae was the extra little something to make it a match to remember. Now both the gyoji and Teru felt the sting of slight humiliation today I suppose?

    They said earlier on that Tsurugisho had to be tested for COVID because of a high fever. Turned out to be cellulitis, which is a skin infection of some sort.

  5. Hoshoryu …. where on earth did THAT come from? I’ve been slow (and purposely so) to board the hype train that’s the Hoshoryu Express, .. after all, we’ve seen a fair few ‘next big thing’ rikishi in the last few years, but that (THAT) was quite something else. All the same, it takes two to tango, so hopefully the Hoshoryu/Wakatakakage match-up develops into a must-see rivalry for some time to come (though always the danger that their next couple of matches will be somewhat of an anticlimax when compared to today’s fare).
    Elsewhere, much fun to be had in Juryo (I did enjoy the Shohozan-Nishkigi bout, albeit I strongly empathised with N’s being crestfallen at the outcome, … I’m desperately hoping that N can gather himself and close out a decent KK from what’s been a good start this basho).
    And then, then, then … Daiesho! Where’s that form been hiding til now? There’s a bit of a cumulative communal learning thing going on in the top division, maybe. Tamawashi sorta showed the way (keep the newly minted Yokozuna away from your belt {& therefore unable to double-clamp you to the touch lines} for as long as you can, and the keys to the Kingdom may yet be yours…), and Daiesho followed that up in spades. Top entertainment today and more fun tomorrow as the schedulers pitch the yusho hunters in together to (presumably) create a clear sole title challenger to Terunofuji in the later days (though it’s still his to lose, I’d imagine). Fun fun fun – I love this sport.

  6. Hoshoryu hitting the ipponzeoi was beautiful but I think equally beautiful was how it was set up by his defense at the edge. During the stand-off in the middle of the dohyo Wakatakakage got his right arm inside; his left ottsuke completely inactivated Hoshoryu’s right arm and he started to gain ground. Hoshoryu understood he would be heading backward to the tawara and chose to get his right hand and arm back in the game by grabbing Wakatakakage’s right arm with it and going for the amiuchi. The amiuchi didn’t hit but it did move Wakatakakage over to Hoshoryu’s right side, out of position to push Hoshoryu directly across the tawara. So Wakatakakage continued to push forward from that position; with Hoshoryu high and off-balance there could be no resistance. Indeed there wasn’t — instead Hoshoryu made good use of the one part of Wakatakakage he could still attack, the trapped right arm, to take Wakatakakage’s energy and use it in winning technique.

  7. How I miss the purple rain that should rightfully fall after a kinboshi…

    Its good for the overall dramatic arc of the tournament that Teru took a loss today.

    (Down in Juryo, Abi’s win over Akua made for a 5-way leading group, all on 7-2 – exciting!)


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