Kyushu Day 15 Highlights

Congratulations to Yokozuna Terunofuji for taking his first perfect yusho, a 15-0 masterpiece that saw him overwhelm every other competitor from across the banzuke. It has been since the 1960s that a Yokozuna won both his debut tournament and the one that follows. A fine and rarefied roster that Terunofuji has now joined. What gives me a smile is that not even Hakuho, the greatest Yokozuna in sumo’s long history, was able to do that one.

Some solid questions coming out of Kyushu:

  • There is a massive log-jam of promotable rikishi at the top end of the banzuke. How they are going to sort this one out will be a puzzle for people like lksumo to consider.
  • Mitakeumi is back attempting an Ozeki campaign again. One of these times he is actually going to make it. I kind of feel bad for he guy, as every time he puts on one of these surges, he comes up just a hair short.
  • I am warming up to the idea of a “big churn” going into Hatsu, where the banzuke group just decide to send all the damaged rikishi with gimpy records down to Juryo, and bring up the maximum number of fresh athletes. This would somewhat defy convention, but would probably do wonders for sumo.

Highlight Matches

Terutsuyoshi defeats Tochinoshin – Terutsuyoshi went deep inside at the tachiai. Tochinoshin tried to wrap him up, but kept leaning over farther to keep him contained. Terutsuyoshi kept shifting in and a bit more to the side, and unleashed an under-arm shitatehineri that swung Tochinoshin to the clay. Terutsuyoshi finishes Kyushu with 7-8.

Kagayaki defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka chose defense by the 3rd step, as Kagayaki was connecting well against center-mass. Kotonowaka’s was able to hold Kagayaki in check until Kagayaki got a body hold, and was able to drive forward for a yorikiri. Kagayaki ends with a dismal 5-10 score, but may have passed the “most losses in 2021” title to Kotoeko.

Sadanoumi defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu was strong out of the tachiai, connected well and started moving forward. Sadanoumi was ready for this, and as Chiyotairyu lunged forward to finish him, Sadanoumi stepped aside, grabbed an arm and boosted Chiyotairyu forward. Sadanoumi improves to a final 9-6 for November.

Chiyonokuni defeats Hidenoumi – Chiyonokuni took this one by never letting Hidenoumi set his feet. Without a moment to establish his balance, Hidenoumi never generated much offense, and was picked off a piece at a time by Chiyonokuni’s hit and move sumo. Chiyonokuni picks up a final win to end 9-6.

Akua defeats Aoiyama – Check out Akua’s thrusting variation. That was neat over / under pattern he set up against Aoiyama, and it really broke Aoiyama’s thrusting attack. Big Dan found himself unable to hold territory, and Akua sent him over the East side to finalize on a 9-6 score for Kyushu.

Yutakayama defeats Kotoeko – Even though Kotoeko finished the basho with a horrific 3-12 score, its not the worst record this November. But man, is it terrible. Yutakayama started strong, focused center mass, and gave Kotoeko no chance to try any sumo at all. Yutakayama finishes 7-8. I know there are some conditions in play that may limit demotions, but really we should see Kotoeko and Kagayaki in Juryo next time to give them a break and let the regroup.

Hokutofuji defeats Chiyoshoma – Hokutofuji completely overpowered Chiyoshoma, and my hoped for yotsu mega-battle never had a chance to take place. Chiyoshoma looked like he thought something was not quite right with that match, but that’s how sumo goes, it seems. Hokutofuji ends with a powerful 11-4 score for Kyushu.

Chiyomaru defeats Ura – Chiyomaru enormous round defensive screen proved a significant geometry problem for Ura, who had to work around it to try and get inside and get his offense started. Chiyomaru knows this, and its why he built that protuberance, and as Ura dove in, he drove Ura down. Chiyomaru picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for the day. Ura gets the well deserved technique prize and everyone wins something in this match.

Shohozan defeats Shimanoumi – In what might be Shohozan’s final match during honbasho, Shohozan breaks his nose and bleeds all over Shimanoumi in the process of taking him out with a yorikiri. Shohozan finishes Kyushu with 4-11, and will be ranked in Juryo on Christmas Eve unless he chooses to assume his kabu and retire.

Endo defeats Kaisei – The first of the true Darwin matches goes to Endo. Kaisei had a strong early advantage, but a throw attempt fell apart, leaving Endo behind him. A quick run out and a win by okuridashi, Endo finds his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi.

Hoshoryu defeats Takarafuji – Sort of a mini-henka from Hoshoryu at the start put him in control of the match. Surprisingly, Takarafuji seemed to be in a bit of a hurry today, and rather than grind Hoshoryu one second at a time, he went quickly to attack. This supplied the power needed for Hoshoryu win, as he opened up an uwatenage, that nearly fell apart. Hoshoryu improves to 7-8 for his final mark.

Okinoumi defeats Myogiryu – Dear readers, I present the worst record of Kyushu, Myogiryu with a 2-13. He was 11-4 and had the jun-yusho last month, and now this. He had almost nothing against Okinoumi today, who improved to 7-8 on the final day.

Takanosho defeats Abi – Takanosho managed to find a gap in Abi’s attack plane, and wastes no time getting him back on his heels, removing his thrusting power. A second volley gets him traveling out, and its a fast path to win number 11, and the fighting spirit prize. The banzuke team have quite a log jam at the top to untangle for January.

Takayasu defeats Onosho – As could be expected with these two fighting, it was a mess. Onosho had Takayasu moving out, but managed to crash down to the clay a moment before Takayasu’s foot landed. There was a mono-ii, and the gumbai went to Takayasu. Both of you two, go back to Tokyo and get your sumo together. Takayasu improves to 6-9.

Wakatakakage defeats Tobizaru – Second Darwin match, it was a fine and even fight that was evenly balanced until Tobizaru decided to try and pull against Wakatakakage, opening the door for the oshidashi that followed. We have not seen Tobizaru take a tour of the zabuton for fan service in a few days, so out he goes to say hello to the locals. No word on if he eventually said hello to sumo media great Jason Harris who was in the crowd today. Wakatakakage kachi-koshi at 8-7, Tobizaru make-koshi at 7-8.

Daieisho defeats Ishiura – The final Darwin match, and there was only one way this was going to end, with a Daieisho kachi-koshi. He made fast work of Ishiura, putting him face down on the clay by the third step, improving to 8-7, and sending Ishiura to a 7-8 make-koshi.

Kiribayama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi put a bit too much stock in that pull down attempt on the third step, and gave Kiribayama a double inside grip. That was all he needed to overpower the veteran and earn his final win to complete Kyushu with a 6-9 make-koshi.

Meisei defeats Ichinojo – Lawd, what happened to Ichinojo? He finishes Kyushu with 5-10 after showing some strong sumo in week 1. Meisei struggled to find a way to move Ichinojo at first, and the Boulder’s pulling attempt more or less threw the match away. Meisei improves to 7-8.

Mitakeumi defeats Shodai – Mitakeumi gets to 11, and can make the case that he is yet again going to try to put together 33 wins to earn his way to Ozeki. Mitakeumi opened strong, and had Shodai moving, but Shodai went for a makke-kai without the territory needed to absorb the move. He was easy for Mitakeumi to finish at that point, giving him an 11-4 final score.

Terunofuji defeats Takakeisho – Well, Takakeisho proved he can move the Yokozuna if he connects, but he could not keep the wave train running, and the whole match devolved into some odd attack / pause thing that reminded me of the first time Takakeisho fought Hakuho. Terunofuji finishes him after a time to run his score up to a perfect 15-0, his first ever zensho.

With that, Tachiai concludes our daily coverage of Kyushu 2021. Thank you, dear readers, for joining us for what has been an immensely satisfying tournament. We have greatly enjoyed bringing you the stories, action and commentary of the final sumo tournament of the year. Join us on Christmas Eve for the Hatsu banzuke, and the start of a new sumo year.

18 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 15 Highlights

  1. I have to say, I’m thankful Hakuho won his last match against Teru su convincingly before retiring, else the unbearable “he is greater than Hakuho” comments would not stop.

    Thanks so much for the great coverage, congratulations ton Teru for showing what a great Yokozuna he really is. Cant wait for Jan to see if Abi keeps it u-

    • Agreed. For me, watching Terunofuji made me think of how amazing Hakuho was a lot of the time, that he beat Terunofuji head to head with no doubt or question who was the better man that day. And after having taken so much time off, crushing injuries and retirement lingering over his head. The sight of Hakuho roaring over Terunofuji’s body will be something that’ll live with me for a long time. A victory cry over the next generation’s most dominant competitor in his final bout.

      If you follow MMA/UFC it reminds me a lot of Khabib; though the circumstances are different obviously, Khabib retired and was still so far ahead of everyone else that his ghost lingers over his division. Everyone competing at the top of the division now are either people he beat soundly or people who wouldn’t have been very competitive with him. Unlike Hakuho, Khabib’s in a different sport and young so he could come back at some point but if he doesn’t he’ll go down as the greatest at his weight class of all time easily.

      Hakuho was just on another level of greatness that we can only hope Terunofuji can match.

  2. I’m no lksumo, but I believe your dreams about a large barge to Juryo are probably incorrect because there are not many promotable from there. The obvious promotees being Tsurugisho, Wakamotoharu and Ichiyamamoto. With Hakuho’s slot and Asanoyama’s ensured demotion, that’s just 1 (one) “regular” demotee from Makuuchi.

  3. Hakuho didn’t win the first two debut bashos as Yokozuna as he was just getting into his prime while a dude named Asashoryu was in his prime and at the top of the hill.

  4. Thanks to all of you for the great coverage of a really enjoyable basho! I don’t know how I’d get along without Tachiai and am delighted that I do not have to find out. After all the disruptions of The last two years, it is a joyful feeling to be headed into 2022 on a sumo high note.

  5. Kagayaki absolutely deserves to be sent to juryo. If you look at his record he hasn’t had a kachikoshi in seven tournaments now. Yet despite 6-9 records he’s gotten softly demoted every time by one or two spots. Even worse, unlike Kotoeko who gives 100% every time Kagayaki looked lethargic and like he couldn’t care less most of his matches. Feels like he has bias in his favor due to his promise but after this tournament if he isn’t down in Juryo then I’d call foul. I don’t think many other rikishi would get half the gentle hand he’s gotten.

    • There’s been a feeling among banzuke aficionados for a while that he must have powerful friends on the committee.

  6. Hokutofuji impressed me with his mature measured sumo throughout the fortnight – none of the histrionics or brawls of previous basho. Not only do they serve to tire out the Rikishi but also greatly increase the chance of injury – both minor and major. I wonder if 2022 will be a good year for him?

  7. Thanks so much Tachiai, you’re the best!

    Big congratulations to Terunofuji.

    I feel bad for Kotoeko. Looking forward to having another Waka (Onami) brother in Makushita, and to seeing Hoshoryu settle in. Getting more fond of Kiribayama all the time.

    Someone on Kintmayama’s channel posted a cool video of Mongolian wrestling that people might enjoy:

  8. Now that 2021 is done thanks to the Tachiai crew for all your time and efforts to pull this all together for the rst of us to enjoy and participate in.

    Now as for 2021, I’m very happy that T-Rex completed the year with 4 yusho, a Yokozuna promotion, and a perfect 15-0 to finish the year. Yes, I’m high on the guy. No, I don’t think he’s better or even the equal of Hakuho. However, as the graph below shows, he is “The Man” right now:

    2021 Without Abi
    Wrestler 2021 Final Rank 2021 Bouts 2021 Wins 2021 Loses % Wins Average Wins
    Terunofuji Yokozuna 91 78 13 85.71% 12.86
    Ura Maegashira #7 89 59 30 66.29% 9.94
    Mitakeumi Sekiwake 90 55 35 61.11% 9.17
    Takakeisho Ozeki 74 45 29 60.81% 9.12
    Shodai Ozeki 90 52 38 57.78% 8.67
    Daieisho Maegashira #1 90 50 40 55.56% 8.33
    Meisei Sekiwake 90 49 41 54.44% 8.17

    2021 With Abi in his come back
    Wrestler 2021 Final Rank 2021 Bouts 2021 Wins 2021 Loses % Wins Average Wins
    Terunofuji Yokozuna 91 78 13 85.71% 12.86
    Abi Maegashira #15 59 50 9 84.75% 12.71
    Ura Maegashira #7 89 59 30 66.29% 9.94
    Mitakeumi Sekiwake 90 55 35 61.11% 9.17
    Takakeisho Ozeki 74 45 29 60.81% 9.12
    Shodai Ozeki 90 52 38 57.78% 8.67
    Daieisho Maegashira #1 90 50 40 55.56% 8.33
    Meisei Sekiwake 90 49 41 54.44% 8.17

    I believe this is also why Kitanofuji had such repeated comments about the poor quality of Sumo right now and Asashoryu said there was nothing to applaud, numbers just don’t lie. Just look at the huge drop off between T-Rex posting an 85.71% winning average and the next guy (excluding Abi) Ura posting a 66.29%. Then look at the Ozeki posting 60.81% and 55.56%.

    I really hope 2022 is a better year for the guys below the Yokozuna because otherwise the T-Rex freight train is going to wreck shop all of next year as well.

  9. I really enjoyed the basho despite agreeing with the Old Man on the relative quality.

    A big plus was the performances of newcomers Asanowaka and Hiradoumi in Juryo. I thought they might be straight back down to Makushita as we’ve seen a few times lately. Likewise seeing the Makuuchi promotees doing so well. Sadanoumi has been a favourite for a while and I’m a big fan of Akua’s sumo. His losses alone deserve a whole new classification of kimarite, my favourite this time being his cartwheel which ended by kicking an unsuspecting yobidashi in the face.

    A second plus is the almost complete lack of kyujo (in the top division anyway). It’s good to see everyone looking so relatively healthy.

    Thank you to all at Tachiai for the superb coverage yet again!

  10. Excellent coverage through the basho, many thanks to the Tachiai team!

    2022 should be an interesting year of sumo. Terunofuji looks well placed to pick up a few more titles. He could be dai yokozuna (10 yusho) by this time next year.

    I believe Takakeisho has shown he’s the second best right now. If he can keep his body in good condition, it would be great to see him push on to try and win some more basho/ attempt another rope run.

    Would be good to see Mitakeumi complete an ozeki run, while hopefully Hoshoryu can convert his excellent display of technique into consistent winning – on the basis of his excellent kimarite, he’d be a great addition to the rank of ozeki in the future.

  11. Anyone wondering how short, butterball, one-trick pony Takakeisho can be ozeki caliber can just watch him knock Terunofuji back on his heels from dohyo dead center right to the bales with one shove. I just wish he had the stamina to keep delivering that kind of power when the match lasts longer than ten seconds.


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