Kyushu Day 11 Highlights

Hello sumo fans. Tight day for myself, so I will hold back the sumo banter and just get straight to the matches. Some notables

10 rikishi at 4-7. Expect tomorrow to be “make-koshi day”
15 rikishi in the funnel at 5-6 / 6-5. This could be an epic Darwin match roster if the schedulers can keep it up.

Highlight Matches

Hokutofuji defeats Chiyomaru – One of the underlying themes of this basho is that Hokutofuji is one some kind of sumo “Bonus level”. Over-demoted, he is fighting rikishi far below his actual level, and more or less running amok down there. Today it was Chiyomaru who got to play with him, and supply his 9th win. I love me some Hokutofuji, but I am pretty sure there is no boss fight in his future, so its a bit mindless.

Sadanoumi defeats Ishiura – Ishiura took the attack straight to Sadanoumi’s forward quarter, and found he lacked the power to move Sadanoumi at all. After consolidating his stance, Sadanoumi pushed to the front, found he could move Ishiura, and proceeded to march him out. Sadanoumi improves to 7-4.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Kagayaki – Two matta: this match was a mess before it even started. Once they got underway, neither man could find a solid hold, a usable stance, or any clear advantage. The traded offense until Terutsuyoshi got low enough, raised Kagayaki high enough, and gave a lateral shove to take the win. Kagayaki’s picks up his 8th loss, and is make-koshi, Terutsuyoshi improves to 5-6 and remains in the funnel. Kagayaki has not had a winning tournament since September of 2020. How is this guy still in the top division?

Kotonowaka defeats Akua – Kotonowaka absorbed Akua’s initial combo, and managed to hold the middle of the ring as the two locked up chest to chest. Akua was slow to switch to a defensive posture, and in that gap, Kotonowaka moved forward, tossing both of them into the east side rikishi. A mono-ii affirm’s the gyoji’s call, and Kotonowaka improves to 4-7.

Kaisei defeats Hidenoumi – Low speed, calm match between these two. It was Kaisei who was in control from the tachiai. He was able to take his time, and slowly work his way to a left hand mawashi grip. Once that left hand hit silk, it was three short steps to the win, and Kaisei ends the day 5-6.

Chiyonokuni defeats Aoiyama – Well, Aoiyama showed about 4 seconds of offense, and some of it was working. Chiyonokuni rallied, and Aoiyama gave ground, then tried to pull. The match ended with Aoiyama falling down, losing his footing on the bales. Hell, that was a mess. Aoiyama picks up loss number 8, and is make-koshi for November, Chiyonokuni advances to 6-5.

Shohozan defeats Kotoeko – Shohozan had never lost to Kotoeko, and he kept that rule in force today. A quick hit, hold and stride forward took care of Kotoeko in about 4 steps. Almost looked like Shohozan doing it too. Shohozan finishes 3-8.

Tochinoshin defeats Chiyoshoma – Tochinoshin used a side step at the tachiai, but it had very limited effect, as Chiyoshoma knows all about such moves. The big question was what happens when they go chest to chest. I guess Chiyoshoma wanted to find out, too. It turns out Tochinoshin does have just enough strength left in that leg to use a very limited form of his “sky crane” to heave Chiyoshoma out. Tochinoshin picks his 4th win, and is 4-7. I have to wonder if Tochinoshin may actually be able to rescue himself from the Juryo barge after all.

Abi defeats Ura – This match had a lot of potential to be a crazy running battle between two high mobility rikishi. But Abi was able to connect on the first two volleys, and Ura was never able to recover his balance. A quick walk forward, and Mr. Pink mawashi was in Konosuke’s lap. Abi improves to 10-1 and remains on the leader board.

Tamawashi defeats Chiyotairyu – The key to a win against Chiyotairyu is to survive the first 5 seconds, when Chiyotairyu’s power is at its maximum. Tamawashi gave ground into Chiyotairyu’s advance, but was able to move aside at the bales, leaving Chiyotairyu on his face dangling over the west side. Tamawashi improves to 9-2.

Yutakayama defeats Shimanoumi – Against the odds, as I saw them, Yutakayama beat Shimanoumi, staving off make-koshi, and pushing Shimanoumi back into the funnel. Yutakayama kept his feet, in spite of having balance issues the entire match. It was enough to get Shimanoumi, and finally out, to improve to 4-7.

Hoshoryu defeats Tobizaru – This one did live up to its potential, with both rikishi trading blows, launching combo attacks, and employing a good amount of lateral movement while maintaining balance. Tobizaru only really hand control for a moment out of all of that, but not convert it to a win. Hoshoryu looking quite solid in that win, and both finish the day at 5-6.

Takanosho defeats Takarafuji – As has been the problem with Takarafuji’s sumo this November, he has all of the same mechanics as his “good” basho, but it seems he can’t stick his stance. A mono-ii following the fight ruled that a rematch was needed, with the second bout running more or less as the first, save with less defensive power from Takarafuji the that time. Takarafuji had to release his feet repeatedly in the face of Takanosho’s forward pressure in both matches today. Maybe lower back issues with the Isegahama man? Takanosho takes control the second time, and keeps the attack to the front, improving to 7-4.

Wakatakakage defeats Okinoumi – Solid tachiai from both, but Okinoumi’s first step lost traction, and he went down to the clay. A classic slippiotoshi, as the great Kintamayama would put it, and Wakatakakage staves off make-koshi another day, ending at 4-7.

Daieisho defeats Onosho – This was anticipated to be a deluxe thrusting battle, with both rikishi preferring to go for big, double arm shoves. They traded blows with great effect, but it was Daieisho that won the match, as the two tried to pull / slap each other down at nearly the same time. Both end the day 4-7.

Kiribayama defeats Myogiryu – Kiribayama got to the side on the second step, and locked his left hand at Myogiryu’s mawashi knot. With this manner of grip, and keeping his stance oblique, it was time for Kiribayama to have some fun. He consolidated this stance, and lifted Myogiryu up, carrying him to the curb like a bin of green glass on Wednesday morning in Sumida. Kiribayama joins the outsize crowd at 4-7 (10 of them!).

Mitakeumi defeats Takayasu – Mitakeumi expertly disrupted Takayasu’s balance, never letting him set up either offense or defense. When Mitakeumi released his nodowa, he drove a left hand inside, and eased Takayasu over the bales. Mitakeumi improves to 9-2.

Takakeisho defeats Endo – That was the best example of wave action tsuppari from Takakeisho in a while. It was configured to keep Enod back, away from the Ozeki’s mawashi, and incrementally win the match. Once Takakeisho gets into that cyclic attack, most folks are going down. Takakeisho impoves to 10-1.

Shodai defeats Meisei – We got Ozeki Shodai today, and we got a fine display of that “Wall of Daikon” offensive-defense. He kept Meisei to the front, and nibbled a way a piece at a time to move him back. Shodai improves to 7-4, and may have escaped the funnel.

Terunofuji defeats Ichinojo – I did not expect Ichinojo to put up that much of a fight. The Boulder did well to keep Terunofuji’s left hand out of the early portion of the match. Once the Yokozuna landed that left hand, Ichinojo lost most attack routes, and the count down clock to the yorikiri started. When Terunofuji moved forward to finish him, Ichinojo surprised with an escape! Not easy to do when you are that big. Terunofuji chased him down, and put him on the clay. Solid effort from Ichinojo, but Terunofuji remains unbeaten at 11-0.

13 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 11 Highlights

  1. Wow, loved to see Takakeisho today. I haven’t been his biggest fan, but he just manhandled a very tough Endo.

    Speaking of Endo, am I the only one that chuckles a bit when I hear his name? Given Grand Sumo’s relationship with weed, I’ve always wondered if he chose that name on purpose just to spite them. I doubt that’s the case, but someone must have told him right? Right???

    Great to see Shodai stay high after his earlier debacle. He might be the second best in Sanyaku right now at the double-arm-lock push out.

  2. I wanna call out NHK World for a second. I usually watch their coverage every day because it’s the English language official source. But this tournament in particular they’ve had a really nasty habit of the commentator “leading” the viewer towards what the finish will be. The worst example was a few days earlier when the commentator mentioned Akua’s days in Judo and his love of the leg trip throws. What was the finish seconds later? Leg trip throw. There’s no reason to “hint” that other then for the commentator to feel smart. I know
    Akua loves to do that from his stints in Makuuchi and Juryo but it’s like throwing a big billboard going “HE’S GOING TO THROW HIM” up before the match. Murray Johnson is far and away the best commentator they have but he’s only called I think one day. Murray at the very least doesn’t spoil a bout before it begins.

    And today was the worst offense yet: Terunofuji vs Ichinojo was not listed as a bout of the day. That was the closest Terunofuji’s come to losing this tournament but because of that I immediately knew he wasn’t losing. If Terunofuji loses it’s going to be listed as a bout of the day. It took all the impact out of what should have been an amazing bout. Instead Terunofuji’s closest competitors like Ura/Abi and Takakeisho/Endo were bouts of the day. Why? Who made that call? Why wouldn’t the Yokozuna with ten straight wins not be the bout of the day to keep suspense up?

    It’s to the point where I feel like my enjoyment of every day is being negatively effected by how poorly they’ve been doing.

    • I don’t share your general concerns, but that call on the Akua bout was blatant and annoying. I noticed that the announcer that day was Ross Mihara, who isn’t one of the core group (Murray, Hiro, Raja) who I think of as the NHK sumo guys (+ John Gunning). As far as I know, he’s a newscaster that they sometimes use for sumo commentary. I don’t think he has any particular sumo knowledge, so maybe this was just him trying to show that he does.

    • Best solution is to watch Kintamayama’s highlights on YouTube which use the live English commentary so no leading commentary

  3. Hokotofuji is assigned the matches the is because he’s in that part of the banzuke and there’s no reason to move him up into harder matches quickly because there are other rikishi ahead of him on the leaderboard. Everyone knows he’s going to excel where he is right now, but there’s nowhere else for them to really go, you know? Why not have him be a “mini-boss” to challenge the other rikishi at that level to improve?

    As for Kagayaki, here’s his banzuke position and record since September of 2020:

    September 2020: M6, 8-7
    November 2020: M3, 5-10
    January 2021: M6, 6-9
    March 2021: M7, 6-9
    May 2021: M9, 6-9
    July 2021: M12, 7-8
    September 2021: M13, 7-8

    So, the answer to your question is “other people did worse than he did plus some generous banzuke luck”. Especially only losing 3 ranks in November, 2020. Instead of a precipitous drop, he’s doing a sloooooooow slide down the banzuke because he just can’t put together 8 wins. He has a decent chance of dropping to Juryo with his current record at M14 (3-8), but Shohozan (M17, 3-8), Tochinoshin (M13, 4-4-3), and maybe Kotoeko (2-9, who I admit is a longshot at M8) might drop before he does if they keep losing and he scrapes together a couple of wins. There’s already two slots open with Asanoyama and Hakuho missing, so I get the feeling that someone (maybe two people?) is going to be granted a stay of execution between Kagayaki and these three rikishi depending on how they all do over the next couple of days.

    I’m curious to see what happens with Abi. He’s got Tamawashi tomorrow (M6), so if he wins there I expect they keep giving him tougher opponents. He won’t ever see Terunofuji unless Takakeisho loses again and he doesn’t, unless they make Abi/Terunofuji for the day before Senshūraku. Definitely an intriguing situation to watch unfold.

    • Kagayaki’s slow slide has been slower than it should be. That 5-10 and the 6-9 seem like they should have had worse drops.

  4. Terunofuji tried a leg pick on Ichinojo?? I think I’ve seen everything now!

    I feel like Abi has the best chance of denying the Yokozuna now. The Ura match was a nice illustration of how hard Abi’s opponents struggle when they’re not used to him.

    • Watching that leg pick move I feel like it wasn’t a genuine attempt to get Ichinojo’s leg off the ground — the grab was actually completely successful and Terunofuji didn’t attempt to follow through. I think that it was instead a feint to distract and immobilize Ichinojo, allowing Terunofuji to secure a hugely advantageous position under Ichinojo’s right armpit.

  5. I’m beginning to wonder whether Takayasu’s early ultra-long bouts have sapped his mojo. He just doesn’t seem to be summoning the same energy level now.

  6. One of the things I am working on at the moment is to see if there are “tiers” of wrestlers to identify not only when someone like Hokutofuji or Endo are over-demoted or over-promoted but to see where they “should” be.


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