Kyushu Day 9 Highlights

A surprising lack of yorikiri wins today, as it seems everyone wanted to try something different. We saw throws, trips, twists and smash moves aplenty. Surprisingly at the end of day 9, only one rikishi is make-koshi, and 4 are now kachi-koshi. The Funnel is very much up and running with great effect, with 15 rikishi squarely in the progressively narrowing neck, pushing them to 7-7 scores on day 15.

Highlight Matches

Akua defeats Kagayaki – Akua wasted no time loading a dramatic kakenage, and pivoted as Kagayaki was looking for his fist hand hold. Kagayaki is no light weight, and that’s a lot of chanko to get airborne like that. Akua advances to 5-4.

Shohozan defeats Tochinoshin – Shohozan attempted to maximize the off angle attacks, putting Tochinoshin’s back to the test. But the former Ozeki was able to latch Shohozan to his chest, and the match was on Tochinoshin’s terms. They took their time to set up then, with Shohozan having the advantage of a double inside grip, and Tochinoshin having the advantage in possessing the strength of a bear, that has the strength of two bears. There was a power-lifting contest or two, and in the end Tochinoshin lifted Shohozan over the tawara. But a mono-ii was called, and it was decided that Tochinoshin had stepped out much earlier, and Shohozan was awarded his second win of November, improving to 2-7 and avoiding make-koshi for today.

Yutakayama defeats Sadanoumi – Good for Yutakayama! He got a solid opening combo in against Sadanoumi’s face, and got him turned to the left. Now attacking from the left flank, he advanced low and strong, sending Sadanoumi tumbling from the ring. Yutakayama improves to 3-6.

Hokutofuji defeats Kaisei – Handshake tachiai to right hand nodowa? Check! Very low hips and extra wide stance? Check! Relentless drive against center mass? Check! Yep, that’s Hokutofuji’s sumo. He put Kaisei on defense, and marched him to and fro for a while, then pushed him over the bales to advance to 7-2. There are days when being enormous is not a workable sumo strategy.

Chiyonokuni defeats Terutsuyoshi – Chiyonokuni employed a stand-up tachiai, I think expecting a deflection or side-step from Terutsuyoshi. But the two clashed head on, and Chiyonokuni got to work. Terutsuyoshi could not find a route to get his offense started, and he simply tried to endure the withering storm of blows from the Grumpy Badger. He was able to break contact once, but did not have the time or space to switch to a better offense or a better defense. Chiyonokuni takes him out to improve to 5-4.

Abi defeats Chiyotairyu – Abi opens with his traditional double arm push, and as Chiyotairyu dials up the forward pressure in response, Abi steps out of the way. Chiyotairyu hits the clay face-first, and Abi picks up his 8th win for kachi-koshi.

Chiyomaru defeats Tobizaru – Points to Tobizaru for staying in the fight during Chiyomaru’s “Stand them up / slap them down” phase. He dove in and went chest to chest with the big round guy, but then found that Chiyomaru’s mass worked a ballast for yotsu-zumo as well. A surprisingly rapid dash forward transported Tobizaru like a bug plastered against the windshield of a speeding dump truck across the tawara. Chiyomaru improves to 5-4.

Ishiura defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko has speed, intensity and goes full out every day. And loses. Today was his 8th as he throws everything he can at Ishiura, but Kotoeko finds his kirikaeshi attempt collapsing at the edge as Ishiura shuts him down. That’s loss number 8 for Kotoeko, and make-koshi, while Ishiura improves to 4-5.

Chiyoshoma defeats Kotonowaka – Chiyoshoma’s first ever win against Kotonowaka. It was not a henka, or a trick move, rather a heft helping of straight ahead power vs power. Kimarite is listed as watashikomi, so I guess Chiyoshoma grabbed a leg in there. It was all kind of a blur. Chiyoshoma improves to 5-4.

Ura defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama opens with a V-Twin thrust to the face region, but finds Ura has already ducked down and in, and connects with nothing but air. Aoiyama attempts to lock Ura’s right arm, and puts a lot of pressure on Ura’s elbow, getting almost to Tamawashi’s famous “arm breaker” move, but then relenting. Ura responds with a shoulder grab and swings Aoiyama down to the clay with a katasukashi. Ura improves to 7-2.

Tamawashi defeats Hidenoumi – Tamawashi’s right hand nodowa at the tachiai did a lot of work to remove most of the ring from Hidenoumi, leaving him on one foot and turned to the side. Two hands to Hidenoumi’s broad chest and it was all over in a total of 3 steps. Tamawashi improves to 7-2.

Shimanoumi defeats Takarafuji – So frustrating for a Takarafuji fan. He sets up really well, but just seems to lack about 10%-20% of his normal power face to face. Foot placement – excellent. Shutting down Shimanoumi’s attempt to get his hands positioned – excellent. Body position – excellent. But Shimanoumi is able to drive through him and take him out. Shimanoumi has the better sumo today, and improves to 4-5.

Takanosho defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu’s. ring sense failed him today, as in the course of responding to Takanosho’s starting combo, he places a right foot over the bales and into the janome. Takanosho’s win takes him out of the funnel, and he has won 4 straight, after a shaky 1-2 start, improving to 6-3.

Okinoumi defeats Daieisho – Daieisho opens strong with attacks to the neck and chest of Okinoumi. But it seems Okinoumi’s match plan was to drain Daieisho’s early surge, and set up a solid defense. As certain as night following day, Daieisho’s guard dropped for a moment after his second combo attack, and Okinoumi got to work. 3 steps later, Daieisho was out, with both ending the day at 3-6.

Kiribayama defeats Wakatakakage – A grim match, both of these future hopefuls are having a crummy November, and started the day with matching 2-6 records. But there was some fast sumo action, with Wakatakakage attacking first, and Kiribayama responded by loading up a throw, double arm gripping Wakatakakage’s right arm. The kakenage worked a treat, improving Kiribayama to 3-6.

Onosho defeats Ichinojo – Oh dear. Ichinojo decided to try a pull against the maximum force of Onosho’s initial pushing attack. This left Ichinojo with no defense, no offense, and no route of escape. Three steps later he’s over the bales and both end the day with 3-6 records.

Mitakeumi defeats Meisei – I see matches like this, and it makes me a bit agitated. This is bloody Ozeki Mitakeumi right here. Why can’t we have this every basho? I guess the same reason we can’t have ultra-mega-Shodai most of the time, it’s just too much for these guys to maintain that intensity. Meisei made a good show of it, but this was Mitakeumi with the fire today. He picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for November.

Takakeisho defeats Hoshoryu – Some nods to Hoshoryu. First, he was able to endure Takakeisho’s tsuppari for a time and remain upright and in the match. Second, he managed to get a hand on the Ozeki’s belt. But the mawashi hold did not no good, as it allowed Takakeisho to fix his range, and apply maximum pushing force at a single distance. I am sure it was like getting hit by a truck. Takakeisho improves to 9-0. I think Takakeisho took a chunk out of the dohyo with that dismount.

Endo defeats Shodai – Endo had his preferred frontal grip, and used it to encourage Shodai to progress forward, brining his body out of position, and setting up the tsukiotoshi that dropped him to the clay. Both end the day 5-4, and are solidly in the funnel. Shodai, get it together man! Shodai looked dejected as he bowed to the winner and slouched off the dohyo today.

Terunofuji defeats Takayasu – Takayasu, to his credit, decided it was chest to chest with the Yokozuna from the start. He quickly set up his angled stance that telegraphed he was settling in for a long, draining contest of stamina. But this was no contest against some rank and file rikishi. Terunofuji let Takayasu setting in, then on came that amazing strength. How he can transfer that much power to ground through those knees, I will never know. But he gets Takayasu off his feet and bucks him back, one step at a time. It’s a struggle, but Terunofuji puts Takayasu across the bales to improves to 9-0.

17 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 9 Highlights

  1. So, Chiyonokuni is now the Grumpy Badger? Ha ha ha ha! I love it!

    Mitakeumi looks like he is having one of his best tournaments in a while. Hopefully his second week keeps it up.

    But I am not convinced that Tochinoshin touched out first. One angle looked like he might have, but other looked like he did not. Alas it seems like every time there is a 50/50 decision involving Tochino, they go against him. I don’t approve.

    • There was no mark that I could see on the janome, the fine sand just on the other side of the tawara, which is there to detect anyone stepping out. But I am not in the area, and most assuredly not a sumo expert, so I will have to assume they knew what they were talking about.

      • Not to be contentious, but you can see a mark on the janome (vocabulary word for the day). I had to crank up the resolution to be sure. It’s subtle. It seems to me the gyoji stared at the janome after the step out (uses new word to cement into memory).

        • I saw that same stare too. I think Tochi was hard done by v Asanoyama back in 2019 when a very similar thing happened, but this time they seem to have got it right.

          Some days having enormous feet is just not a good sumo strategy.

  2. I loved Mitakeumi’s comment. “Well, I always get people’s hopes up. I know it’s time to get results.” Yes you do and yes it is. Whatever happens, it’s nice to know that he knows!

  3. Terunofuji is not resting on his laurels as a Yokozuna; he just keeps getting better!

    Takakeisho was feeling undercarriage discomfort after his bout; let’s hope it doesn’t linger.

    Hidenoumi flinched just before the tachiai, leaving him helpless against Tamawashi’s aggressive nodowa.

  4. Ichinojo’s tachiai was just terrible, almost Shodai-esque (but Shodai has figured out how to brace with his back foot and this was lacking from Ichinojo today). Give up his chest to a pusher-thruster like that meant he had no hope other than to pull, but Onosho was not yet out over his skis the way he sometimes gets when he has his opponent moving backward.

    I’m pretty pissed off at someone — Hoshoryu? Asashoryu? The NSK? Sumo culture at large? — for the way Takakeisho’s bout ended. I get that if you give up at the edge prematurely you’ll lose bouts you might otherwise win but the trade-off in risk to yourself and your opponent makes a “never surrender” policy both selfish and foolish.

    • Completely agree. Hoshoryu will either get himself or somebody else (or both) seriously hurt by his do-or-die attitude at the edge. I would be quite angry if Takakeisho (who is finally having a good tournament again) got hurt by a rikishi who had already lost the fight but tried some stupid throw at the edge just because there is a tiny chance that some part of Takakeisho’s body may land out first. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against last minute throws at the edge in general. I actually like them. It’s just the ones where the person who is being shoved out but wins because of a small twist in their body position or by a “pull while falling” maneuver that I hate. In my opinion the dead body rule (or something like that) should be extended such that the rikishi who is being propelled out of the ring always loses, regardless of who lands first.

  5. I hope Sadanoumi is okay. He landed awkwardly on his leg and then yelled and grabbed at his knee when he landed. It was so loud that Yutakayama immediately went to check on him to make sure he was okay. Fingers crossed it’s just a stinger or something minor.

  6. Akua vs Kagayaki, Ishiura vs Kotoeko … epic balance!

    Ichinojo put his hand Onosho’s head, just like he did yesterday. He needs to rethink his strategy.

    Let’s hope Ura and Takakeisho are not seriously injured!

    • He’s got Takarafuji tomorrow so he should stay with us until at least day 11 this time. If he can make 12 wins then his 9 from last basho might count as the start of an Ozeki run I guess…

  7. All I can say as regards Shodai (and the reason I refer to him as No-Dai) is that he’s very quickly turning into a version of Kaio late in his career. The question is no longer will he or won’t he contend for the yusho but rather will he or won’t he kachi-koshi?

  8. It is very frustrating to be a Takarafuji fan. I’m just happy Mitakeumi is having such a good tournament. I had higher hopes for Hokutofuji, frankly.

  9. In terms of Hoshoryu’s “never say die”, it is pretty common to witness in the Tatsunami crew. It was scary with Akua for several basho and I am relieved that he has let up – if for the sake of his opponents because he has a bizarre bounce back ability from falls. Like Flubber. You could argue that Meisei’s ability to fight back doggedly is also part of this heya mindset. I do wish he could perform without having to fight back from the near make-koshi like last basho, but it makes for interesting narrative arcs. Though this basho he’s battling his feet as much as Onosho or Daieisho or any of the makuuchi battling the ‘slippery’ dohyo.

    Mitakeumi is a good antidote to that as he has been solidly grounded and it’s so much fun to watch him right now. Perhaps the shiner pumped his performance up a bit – he is a fellow who enjoys his camera presence and sporting a blackeye is not how he wants the basho to flow.

    Yutakayama is a softie (meant in the best way, I’m a fan of his) and he has hopped off the dohyo several times to check on opponents in recent basho. I wonder if the rule of not doing such things (‘the winner should not even look at the loser’) has been ignored lately as the dangers of injuries has been sadly proven. I think they do check on each other more frequently this past year.

    Ah, Takarafuji. One of his poor performances recently was due to his son having norovirus (ie, copious puking toddler) and he was recovering himself from it. It does appear it’s his back though since he doesn’t seem to be leveraging the defensive angles he usually accesses.

    Juryo, despite the number of walking wounded rikishi (Hakuyozan fighting Kyokutaisei, Azumaryu gently setting down a number of opponents), has been interesting viewing. Oho appears to have finally realized that he is a larger-sized rikishi and fighting with confidence. Ganbatte!

  10. Loved the Ura Aioyama bout. It was like Ura’s thinking, ok you want to play the arm game? I can do that better than you.

    The English Language announcers on NHK keep talking about Mitakeumi’s lack of consistency. I don’t get it. He seems like one of the most consistent rikishi in the top division. I remember reading recently that if his Ozeki run 3 years ago was successful, he would still be an Ozeki given his results since. This guy is super-consistent. Just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    So unusual for Shodai to go low. Wonder what he was thinking.


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