Act 2 is in the record books, and we managed to discard much of the chasers in their day 10 matches, leaving only Onosho and Myogiryu, with picked up their kachi-koshi scores today. On to act 3 tomorrow, with the focus squarely on the yusho race, and the make/kachi-koshi divide.
Kotonowaka withdrew from the Aki basho, reporting a knee injury in his day 9 match against Takarafuji is the cause. I note that his day 10 opponent, Takayasu, has his second fusensho win of this tournament, giving him a 4-6 score. Yep, of those 4 wins, 2 are default.
Kaisei defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto could not generate much forward pressure, and could not pull Kaisei off balance. Against Kaisei’s mass advantage, this was never going to work as size vs size, which is what it turned into. Kaisei advances to 4-6.
Yutakayama defeats Chiyomaru – A lesson in attacking armpits and center mass. Yutakayama was able to keep moving Chiyomaru up and back, and made short work of the the spheroid. Both end the day 6-4.
Chiyonoo defeats Tsurugisho – Another quick match, Chiyonoo gets both hands inside at the tachiai, and just walks Tsurugisho out. Both are 4-6.
Chiyotairyu defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki caught the full Chiyotairyu right in the chest at the tachiai, with Chiyotairyu immediately going into a rapid-fire combo straight to the chest. Another quick match, with Chiyotairyu picking up win number six, though it looks like he cut his eye.
Aoiyama defeats Tokushoryu – A balanced pushing and shoving contest, the two traded advantage across the ring. Of course Aoiyama grew bored with this and grabs the back of Tokushoryu and pulls him down. Aoiyama’s right hand looked to have a lot of hair contact in the process. But the judges did not move to review it, and Aoiyama improves to 5-5.
Hidenoumi defeats Chiyonokuni – I was surprised that Chiyonokuni worked to go chest to chest with Hidenoumi, who has a superior yotsu-zumo skill. Both fought well, with Hidenoumi controlling most of the match, and shutting down the 2 or 3 “breakout” moves Chiyonokuni attempted. To me it looked like Hidenoumi was hoping to get his right hand set for a throw, but settled for a yorikiri. Chiyonokuni misses out on kachi-koshi today, and Hidenoumi improves to 4-6.
Myogiryu defeats Okinoumi – Myogiryu’s right hand shallow grip at the tachiai was the key to today’s win. Okinoumi tried to break the grip twice, but by then he was at the tawara, and the match was over one step later. Myogiryu kachi-koshi with his 8th win.
Tochinoshin defeats Tobizaru – Tochinoshin doing oshi-zumo is somehow unsatisfying to me, I get that he needs to find wins now any way he can. He keeps Tobizaru from getting any kind of offense or really defense going, and simply slaps him around the dohyo for a time and tosses him at the west side salt basket. Both end 4-6.
Kotoeko defeats Terutsuyoshi – Kotoeko has a slightly longer reach than Terutsuyoshi, and that looks to have been the key to today’s win. They exchanged volleys of arm-distance thrusts, with Terutsuyoshi failing an attempt at a foot attack in the middle of it. Nice last second move by Terutsuyoshi, but Kotoeko improves to 4-6.
Onosho defeats Endo – Endo was looking for any kind of grip, but Onosho’s thrusting combos were rapid and effective, knocking Endo back again and again. When Endo tried to rally, it was too late to slow down or escape, giving Onosho his 8th win and kachi-koshi for September.
Chiyoshoma defeats Shimanoumi – Suddenly, Chiyoshoma bounces back and remembers his sumo. He had a solid performance against Shimanoumi today, dumping him over the edge with a resounding, meaty thud. That’s only the second win for Chiyoshoma who improves to 2-8.
Kiribayama defeats Hoshoryu – Kiribayama executed an immediate shift to the left, grabbing the back of Hoshoryu’s mawashi, and chucking him forward at speed. Brutal move. Kiribayama improves to 7-3.
Takarafuji defeats Takanosho – Takanosho put a lot of forward power into his second step from the tachiai, but his hips were not square to Takarafuji. Takarafuji sensed the unequal pressure, and stepped aside to let Takanosho tumble forward for the loss. Takarafuji improves to 6-4.
Ichinojo defeats Tamawashi – Today Ichinojo decided to be large and in charge. When he gets moving forward with strength, even Tamawashi can’t stop him, just slow him down. Ichinojo improves to 4-6.
Mitakeumi defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage gave it his all, but Mitakeumi had the first step one, connected well against center mass, and only took 3 steps forward to win. Almost denshamichi. Mitakeumi improves to 7-3.
Shodai defeats Daieisho – Daieisho decided to employ the same formula that worked on day 9 against Terunofuji. But Shodai has a lot more lateral motion in his sumo, and Daieisho depends on keeping his opponent directly in front of him. It only took 3 volleys for Shodai to disrupt his balance and send him to the clay. Shodai improves to 7-3.
Takakeisho defeats Meisei – Meisei had the early moments of this fight, connecting well with some big hits against the Ozeki. I was impressed to see Takakeisho focus on defense for the first 3 exchanges, find his route to center mass and blast the stuffing out of Meisei when the moment came. I hate to think of someone like Takakeisho fighting injured, but just maybe some good is coming of it, with a focus on defense. Takakeisho improves to 6-4.
Terunofuji defeats Ura – The WTF match lives up to expectations, with Ura throwing a bunch of unconventional sumo around the dohyo against Terunofuji’s unshakable defense. I gasped the moment Ura went for the ashitori, as I could just see a moment where Terunofuji’s knee gets blown out. But Ura could not get an effective offense running, and Terunofuji was happy to defend for as long as it took. Damn, what a difference from 2016 Terunofuji! They lock up, and exchange grips. I know Ura’s hand strength is insane, and I doubt Terunofuji is going to break that hold. As Terunofuji moves to execute the uwatenage. Ura’s grip holds strong, and he nearly unbalances Terunofuji by counter-rotation. But the Yokozuna does manage to get Ura to the clay, and improves to 9-1. Major effort from Ura, and that was a hell of a match, but he looked shattered when it was over.