In the blink of an eye, today’s final match went from a raucous contest between rikishi into a momentary appearance of the kaiju. No other way to explain it for this sumo blogger.
But let’s not gloss over some of the great fundamental sumo and solid matches the top division crew brought to the dohyo today. Immensely satisfying series of contests, and I have to call out Abi, Ura, Chiyo-friggen-shoma, and Mitakeumi for bringing their best today. Great work guys, please maintain this good form as long as you are able.
Shohozan defeats Tsurugisho – Shohozan got the better of the tachiai, and left Tsurugisho too far forward. the two traded blows, each trying to open up an attack route or a hold. In apparent frustration at Shohozan’s blocking, Tsurugisho tried to pull Shohozan down, and “Big Guns” poured on the pressure, taking the match. Shohozan pick up his first win to improve to 1-1.
Sadanoumi defeats Kaisei – Sadanoumi quickly set up with a shallow left hand outside grip, but once you have a hold of Kaisei, he usually also has a hold of you. Given the mass difference, Sadanoumi did not have a lot of time to get things just right. He paused into a lean for a moment, then rallied to move Kaisei back and out. Sadanoumi improves to 2-0.
Chiyomaru defeats Akua – Akua had a good tachiai, but Chiyomaru deftly set his hands for the tsukiotoshi on the second step out of the tachiai. He pivoted to his right, and dropped Akua without further notice. Chiyomaru picks up his first win in November to advance to 1-1.
Abi defeats Chiyonokuni – I had anticipated some frantic oshi-zumo between these two, but Chiyonokuni never really got started. He caught an Abi attack in the tachiai, and never really got his body ready to counter-attack. Abi improves to 2.0.
Kagayaki defeats Yutakayama – If you want a clear cut example of Kagayaki winning a match via solid sumo fundamentals, this is the best one in the last couple of tournaments. He attacks hands low at the tachiai, and lets Yutakayama get his left hand grip started. Kagayaki keeps his hips low, reciprocates with his own left hand inside, then dials up the power. He tries a throw, but can’t get Yutakayama over, and settles for just shoving him out. Both end the day 1-1.
Hokutofuji defeats Kotonowaka – Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai missed its mark, and Kotonowaka sets up a nodowa himself, ending Hokutofuji’s initial attack combo. But rather than dominate Hokutofuji, whose head is down, Kotonowaka decides to pull instead. This gives Hokutofuji control, and he rapidly runs Kotonowaka out. Pulling seldom works against Hokutofuji, his lower body is far too stabled. Hokutofuji improves to 2-0.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Ishiura – A battle of the smalls, and both of them go low at the tachiai, but Ishiura ends up crumpled and captured. Terutsuyoshi is not sure what to do with this, but has a double arm grip on the back of Ishiura’s mawashi. So he lifts and carries as best he can, getting Ishiura over the bales in a unusual tsuridashi. Terutsuyoshi picks up his first win of November to improve to 1-1.
Aoiyama defeats Hidenoumi – Aoiyama opens with a lot of power square into center-mass, and gets Hidenoumi against the tawara in a hurry. Hidenoumi rallies for a moment, but Aoiyama pulls him forward, gets behind and runs him out to improve to 2-0.
Tobizaru defeats Chiyotairyu – Tobizaru was able to survive the first 5 seconds of the match, keeping on his feet, and on the attack. After 5 seconds, Chiyotairyu becomes decreasingly potent, and Tobizaru played this very well, getting a right arm under Chiyotairyu’s left, and unleashing a belt-less arm throw to improve to 1-1.
Ura defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko gets an early launch, and lays down a series of blistering combos into Ura’s face and upper body. Ura stayed in his defensive stance, and held ground well. He found a gap in Kotoeko’s attack, and countered with power and speed. Kotoeko could not absorb that much power, and found himself pushed over the edge for his second loss. Ura improves to 2-0.
Chiyoshoma defeats Shimanoumi – I am really liking this version of Chiyoshoma, he was a solid block of offense again today, and never really gave Shimanoumi any opportunity to produce more than defense. He was able to break contact once, but Chiyoshoma parlayed that in a double inside grip that included catching Shimanoumi without his feet set. Chiyoshoma at 2-0 to start November.
Tamawashi defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu looks like he went for some kind of face slap at the tachiai, and left his chest wide open for Tamawashi’s opening salvo. That single push set the tone for the match, as Tamawashi dominated the offense, and Hoshoryu was relegated to countering Tamawashi’s moves. His only real offense was a rescue throw at the edge, which looked to me like it probably worked. But the gumbai wen to Tamawashi, and the Shimpan agreed. Both end the day at 1-1.
Takayasu defeats Takarafuji – We guessed that this was going to be a contest of endurance, and it turned into a protected battle, with neither man able to set up an offensive grip at first, but both willing to wear the other one down. Time and again, Takarafuji tried to get his left hand attached to Takayasu’s mawashi, and could not make it stick thanks to Takayasu’s defense. They went at it for over 3 minutes, which is an eternity in sumo, and the match ended when Takarafuji simply could not put up the stamina to fight any longer. Nice win by Takayasu and he improves to 2-0.
Endo defeats Myogiryu – Endo got into trouble straight out of the tachiai, letting Myogiryu turn him and get behind. But genki Endo is so sharp and quick, he got re-positioned as Myogiryu lunged forward, and used Myogiryu’s power to drive the pivot that rolled into a fluid tsukiotoshi. Endo picks up his first win of November, and improves to 1-1.
Okinoumi defeats Kiribayama – A quick forearm hit by Okinoumi at the tachiai connected with Kiribayama’s chin, and I think disrupted whatever idea of offense he may have had. Okinoumi’s right hand did he rest of the work to move Kiribayama around, and finally out to give Okinoumi his first win for Kyushu.
Mitakeumi defeats Takanosho – Takanosho delivered a lot of power at the tachiai, and pressed the attack. I like how Mitakeumi stayed very calm, wrapped up Takanosho, then circled around so that in spite of all of Takanosho’s effort, Mitakeumi finished with his feet squarely in the center of the ring. He worked to raise Takanosho up, and placed his right hand into a pushing position, and moved forward. Nice opening combo from Takanosho, but Mitakeumi took the match to improve to 2-0.
Wakatakakage defeats Meisei – Meisei again opened quite strong, and had Wakatakakage moving back and attempting to defend, but was unable to finish him. Wakatakakage manage to break contact, and rally to apply some offensive tsuparri. But to my eye, Meisei lost footing and went down. They applied the kimarite of hatakikomi, but to my eye it looks quite a bit more like one of Kintamayama’s slippiotoshi.
Shodai defeats Ichinojo – Well good, Ozeki Shodai mounted the dohyo today, and matched the Boulder’s power at the tachiai. Neither man was especially fast or strong at the start of the match, but Shodai was able to get a solid body position, and walk Ichinojo over the edge before he could rally and put together an offense. Shodai picks up his first win of November, to improve to 1-1.
Takakeisho defeats Onosho – This tadpole battle gave me a huge smile, as we got to see Takakeisho’s Ozeki form. Onosho came in a little less aggressive than usual, but left his chest open to Takakeisho’s attack. I counted 4 volleys before Onosho was over the bales, and into the front row. Very nice, Takakeisho improves to 2-0.
Terunofuji defeats Daieisho – I love Daieisho’s enthusiasm and fighting spirit in this match. He cranks up hard and early, and takes the fight to the Yokozuna. About the time he has Terunofuji with his heels against the bales, and balancing on one foot, the Yokozuna seems to switch modes. “Hey, this guy is serious…” The Terunofuji person goes into warm standby, and out comes the Kaiju. “I go this” roars the inner Kaiju, and somehow his strength doubles or triples, and we see Terunofuji unleash a one handed, off balance sukuinage that got 160kg Daieisho airborne. What are you going to do when the guy you are fighting can uncork that. Damn!