Last night we reported that Myogiryu and Shimanoumi had gone kyujo. At the time there were no reasons given, and some sumo fans worried that they had been caught up in a scandal. We now Myogiryu is out with a biceps injury, and Shimanoumi with a right hamstring. Both were in the funnel group, so I guess there will be one less Darwin match on day 15.
The co-leaders both won today, and we saw two Sadogatake rikishi achieve their kachi-koshi: Kotoeko and Kotonowaka.
Kotokuzan defeats Oho – Kotokuzan got one combo inside against Oho chest, and then decided to take both hands behind Oho’s neck and pull. He caught Oho at an opportune moment, breaking his balance. Oho was not able to regain his stance, and Kotokuzan sent him out. Both end the day at 7-4. Oho will have to try another day for his 8th win.
Kotoeko defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto’s tachiai was vague and soft, Kotoeko went double inside immediately, raised Ichiyamamoto up and just walked him back for a simple but effective yorikiri. That’s kachi-koshi for Kotoeko as he improves to 8-3. Nice bounce back from November’s 3-12.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyomaru – Another straight ahead match, Aoiyama starts with an arm pit attack, getting Chiyomaru to lead back. He then converts that to a double inside grip and drives forward. Chiyomaru had no exit ramp, and Aoiyama pick up his 6th win. Both end the day at 6-5 and are still squarely in the funnel.
Chiyotairyu defeats Tochinoshin – Interesting opening gambit by Chiyotairyu. He uses both hands to immobilize Tochinoshin’s left hand, removing his primary weapon from use for a time. He shifts to a double arm pull down attempt, that gets partial effect. This sends Tochinoshin stumbling forward, but he does not fall. Chiyotairyu engages a second time with a hit to stand him up, and a pull to bring him down. Tochinoshin hits the clay, and Chiyotairyu picks up his 4th win to improve to 4-7.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Yutakayama – Some fun trickery by Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai. At first it seemed to have no effect, but I do believe that it caused Yutakayama to at least momentarily pause his opening move. Terutsuyoshi took this moment to place a right hand inside, which payed off a moment later with a glorious makiotoshi. It’s been a while since I have seen one of those! Terutsuyoshi improves to 5-6 and re-enters the funnel group.
Sadanoumi defeats Kaisei – Multiple times Sadanoumi tried to keep that left hand grip active and rotate to the side of Kaisei. To his credit, Kaisei knew he needed to keep Sadanoumi to his front quarter, and largely succeeded. Realizing he could not get around Kaisei, Sadanoumi drove forward. Kaisei attempted to rotate into a throw as he backed up to the tawara, but his ankle collapsed, giving Sadanoumi the win to improve to 7-4. I wonder if that damaged Kaisei’s leg.
Akua defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho showed some solid defense today, and kept neutralizing everything that Akua produced in the opening moments of the bout. Tsurugisho could not find a way to convert to offense, and seemed to take his time and try to create an opening. That devolved into a chest to chest stalemate at the center of the dohyo. Eventually Akua had had enough standing around, lowered his hips and drove forward, inching Tsurugisho out for a yorikiri win. Akua improves to 3-8.
Ishiura defeats Tobizaru – This match had a lot of potential, and delivered on a fair amount of it. Tachiai saw Tobizaru get better hand placement, and Ishiura better body position. They lock up and struggle, yotsu-style, for advantage. The advantage broke Ishiura’s way, as he found a double inside grip, and took control of the match. Tobizaru worked to break Ishiura’s hold, but ran out of dohyo before he could free himself. Ishiura improves to 7-4.
Kotonowaka defeats Takarafuji – To me it seemed that Takarafuji was focused on setting up defensively at the tachiai, but missed his hand placement, giving Kotonowaka a narrow chance to get his hands inside. Now able to deliver force against Takarafuji’s chest, he found that Mr “Defend and Extend” did not have his feet set, and Kotonowaka moved him rapidly over the bales, scoring his 8th win of January and minting his kachi-koshi.
Chiyonokuni defeats Okinoumi – One one hand I am happy that Chiyonokuni finally won his first match of January. On the other hand, I mourn the fact that Chiyonokuni blew what may have been his best opportunity for reaching the rare zenpai status. Chiyonokuni improves to 1-10 with a pull and thrust down of Okinoumi.
Abi defeats Ichinojo – Nice response to Abi-zumo from Ichinojo. I liked that Abi lost traction early, lost distance as well when Ichinojo went to grapple him. But Abi-zumo of today is a bit more flexible than a few years ago. He givs way to Ichinojo and pulls him to the side as Ichinojo advances. Sadly, had Ichinojo just taken hold and stalemated Abi for a minute or two, he probably would have prevailed. Abi improves to 9-2.
Kiribayama defeats Tamawashi – And still, Tamawashi cannot find a way to defeat Kiribayama! That’s 5-0 for Kiribayama against Tamawashi, and I marvel at the results. Its not that Tamawashi generated no offense this match, rather that Kiribayama found the right moment to grab Tamawashi bodily and throw him to the clay. Kiribayama improves to 5-6, and rejoins the funnel group.
Wakatakakage defeats Ura – Credit to Wakatakakage, his opening move was focused directly on getting Ura raised higher, and it seemed to have worked. They spent a few moments leaning head to head, attacking each other’s hands. It escalated quickly into a rapid exchange of combo thrusting and pulling attacks. Wakatakakage catches Ura off balance, lowers his head and drives forward. Ura does not have room to get to the side or rotate into a throw, and is stampeded out the West side and into the crowd. Wakatakakage improves to 5-6, and both remain in the funnel group.
Onosho defeats Daieisho – Daieisho connects first at the tachiai, and opens his big thrusting attack. But Daieisho can’t maintain the pressure as Onosho finds a gap inside when Daieisho pulls, and switches to offense. Daieisho moves back under the thrusting attack, and attempts a slap down at the tawara. Onosho improves to 7-4, Daieisho make-koshi at 3-8.
Hokutofuji defeats Meisei – Hokutofuji opened with a left hand armpit attack, which raised Meisei up, and robbed him of any chance to execute offensive sumo. This is another day to look at Hokutofuji’s lower body and marvel at its stability. Even though his upper body is flailing away, that lower body stays structurally sound and powerfully connected to the dirt. Once Hokutofuji was on offense, it was just a process to cut Meisei off from an increasing portion of the dohyo and drive him out. Hokutofuji improves to 5-6 and remains in the funnel.
Hoshoryu defeats Takanosho – Takanosho looks like he forgot to take his first step today. Hoshoryu gets to the side, gets a right hand grip and brings Takanosho down by the second step. Fast, efficient and done. Hoshoryu improves to 7-4.
Mitakeumi defeats Shodai – Shodai lost the match, but at least we were able to see him bring out some solid sumo today. He looked a bit lethargic compared to his winning form, but at least he went through the motions well. There was a brief moment where Shodai rallied, and I thought we were about to see the “Wall of Daikon”, but it was not to be. Mitakeumi hits double digits and is 10-1.
Terunofuji defeats Chiyoshoma – I give a nod to Chiyoshoma on this one. He put everything he could muster into this match. There is a brief moment before the Yokozuna lifts him like a bag of rice and drops him over the tawara, Chiyoshoma’s head is against Terunofuji’s enormous chest, and the expression on Chiyoshoma’s face reads “Join sumo, they said. It will be fun…” Terunofuji improves to 10-1 and remains co-leader.