After a false start on day 12, the schedulers did get “Make-koshi day” after all, minting 7 new losing records for Kyushu today. It was brutal satisfying at the same time. They were also able to piece together a few scraps of their Darwin-funnel, and may have a couple of 7-7 matches for day 15, with 11 rikishi still in the funnel for tomorrow.
I feel the urge to express my disappointment with Ozeki Takakeisho for not taking Abi seriously today. At least that is the impression I had from that match. Abi came ready to fight to the best of his ability, and was prepared to win. When I saw Takakeisho give up his footing, resort to pulls and more or less let Abi run him about, it says to me that he was not really prepared to face that opponent today. Abi is super powerful if you let him use his “one weird trick”, which can be shut down with a bit of practice, a bit of force, and some superior timing. We know Takakeisho can show excellent timing, and we know he can hit with massive force. As a result, he yields the challenger spot to Abi, who is the only man who can challenge Terunofuji at this point. So what did the schedulers do? Put them face to face on day 14 to possibly decide the yusho. If Terunofuji wins the match, he wins the yusho. Should be fantastic.
But I have confidence that Terunofuji will take this match seriously, and probably be working most of the day using the same technique that greats like Harumafuji used to shut down Abi-zumo. I look forward to day 14.
Ishiura defeats Kaisei – Solid strategy from Ishiura today, moving early to get to the side of Kaisei and prevent the big man from squaring up against him. Even with that advantage, Ishiura found it tough to move nearly 200kg of rikishi, but persistence got the job done. Both end the day at 6-7.
Yutakayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi got inside at the tachiai, and set up a right hand nodowa. Yutakayama really did not like that, and batted Terutsuyoshi around, breaking his grip and sending forward. Yutakayama circled behind and pushed, improving to 6-7. Terutsuyoshi drops to 5-8, and is make-koshi for November.
Kotonowaka defeats Chiyomaru – In a story as old as sumo, Chiyomaru attacked high, Kotonowaka attacked center-mass. We all know which one tends to come out the winner. Both end the day at 6-7.
Tochinoshin defeats Chiyotairyu – Its a bit unusual to see Tochinoshin work the slap/slap/pull combo, but it had two advantages. First, it does not require movement, reducing strain on his injured knee and back. Second, Chiyotairyu was about to use it too. The win improves Tochinoshin to 5-8, Chiyotairyu is now make-koshi.
Aoiyama defeats Shohozan – We got to see Aoiyama use the V-Twin today, thought it did not have its normal effect. Shohozan could not sustain a counter-thrust effort, and resorted to just enduring Aoiyama’s attacks. Big Dan repeatedly tried to pull Shohozan down, and eventually one of them stuck. Aoiyama improves to 4-9.
Akua defeats Tobizaru – Fast match, Tobizaru went to drive him hands inside, and met Akua’s hatakikomi. Never even got a second step in as Tobizaru tumbles to the clay. Akua improves to 8-5, and is kachi-koshi.
Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – In the match that may have been set up to see who would have the most losses in sumo this year, it was Kagayaki who took the ignoble laurels. A nice rally by Kotoeko to drive Kagayaki out. Both end the day at 3-10.
Chiyoshoma defeats Sadanoumi – Its fun to see a rikishi known for speed, Sadanoumi, succumb to that kind of rapid combo. In the first step, Chiyoshoma both stood Sadanoumi up, and pulled him forward. The upward thrust was just up, not back, and seemed to have done nothing to remove any of Sadanoumi’s forward momentum. Chiyoshoma improves to 7-6.
Chiyonokuni defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi had one moment of offense before Chiyonokuni took over and drove Shimanoumi from the ring. That was the 8th loss for Shimanoumi, and he is make-koshi, while Chiyonokuni improves to 8-5 and is kachi-koshi.
Hidenoumi defeats Takayasu – We did not see Takayasu resort to “wild man sumo” today, he stayed calm, focused and intense, and lost to Hidenoumi. Hidenoumi simply generated better, more focused sumo and made it stick. The finish saw Takayasu pulling Hidenoumi down, but it was too late to rescue the match. Takayasu eats loss #8 and is make-koshi as Hidenoumi improves to 8-5, and is kachi-koshi.
Takanosho defeats Hokutofuji – How good was that? Takanosho opens with a nodowa, which is Hokutofuji’s signature move. He opens the throttle and just gives Hokutofuji some denshamichi-sumo. Both end the day at 9-4.
Okinoumi defeats Onosho – Okinoumi chose to put his hands in Onosho’s armpits, and drive forward. Effective, but Onosho was able to finally set his feet and push back enough to stop Okinoumi from pushing him out. Okinoumi deftly reversed gears, and Onosho fell to the clay. Okinoumi improves to 6-7.
Wakatakakage defeats Hoshoryu – Basic sumo mechanics here, Hoshoryu was too high at the tachiai, and left his chest open for Wakatakakage to attack at close range. With his hands inside, Hoshoryu was busy trying to repel Wakatakakage’s opening combo, and failed to set his feet and hold ground. It was 3 steps to the bales, and loss number 8 for Hoshoryu. He needs to regroup and get used to his larger body. Wakatakakage improves to 6-7.
Daieisho defeats Myogiryu – We assumed this was a “gimme” match for Daieisho, and it sort of panned out that way. Myogiryu put up and adequate defense, but did little to evade Daieisho’s thrusting attacks. Daieisho improves to 6-7.
Kiribayama defeats Takarafuji – Kiribayama made the mistake of attacking Takarafuji’s neck at the open. We all know he had that thing removed more than a decade ago, and Kiribayama recognized his mistake and just abandoned that line of offense. This tactical error let Takarafuji set up his defense, and Kiribayama was stuck. In desperation he went for where Takarafuji’s neck should be again, with no results. But then, some brilliant sumo! Kiribayama changed up his grip, moved to the side and put his right hand on Takarafuji’s mawashi knot, and threw him. Kiribayama improves to 5-8. Way to stay in the match, sir!
Ura defeats Ichinojo – Who needs a tachiai? They both stood up and sort of inched toward each other. This left Ichinojo a bit disoriented I think, and as soon as Ura got in range, out came the slap from above. Well, this left Ichinojo wide open for Ura to duck in, and just like that Ichinojo is in trouble. Unable to reach Ichinojo’s belt, Ura decided we had not see katasukashi for a couple of days, and out comes his forth of this tournament. So lets count them up, 4 x katasukashi, 2 x tottari and an ashitori. Thats quite the variety of kimarite! Ichinojo takes his 8th face first in the dirt, and Ura improves to 10-3.
Endo defeats Meisei – I am not sure why so many matta were called on this one, but Kimura Tamajiro clearly did not like what he was seeing from Endo. When they finally started (4th attempt?), both were expecting another matta call, and it really wrecked the tempo of the match. Endo could not get any sort of grip, but Meisei left his chest open, and Endo resorted to thrusting him out. Endo improves to 7-6.
Abi defeats Takakeisho – Tamajiro on the matta streak yet again. Did someone forget to give this guy his coffee today? Takakeisho started well enough, but Abi broke his stance, and Takakeisho resorted to pulling. Once started, he seemed unable to set his feet and attack to the front again. With Abi, this means you are pretty much done. Abi pressed the attack, and Takakeisho took his second loss still trying to reach past Abi’s long arms and pull. Abi improves to 12-1, and will face Terunofuji tomorrow.
Shodai defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi got captured by Shodai early, and decided to arm-bar throw the Ozeki. This almost started to work, but Shodai had his defense up, and did not allow Tamawashi to complete the rotation. Both end the day at 9-4.
Terunofuji defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi got one attack in, then was captured by the Yokozuna with a frontal right hand grip. Terunofuji did not give Mitakeumi time to consolidate into yotsu and return fire, he stood Mitakeumi up and drove forward for a quick win. Terunofuji remains unbeaten at 13-0.