Hatsu Day 12 Highlights

Today may have been the day that chaos came to call. It’s a day of “did you see that?”, and where you wonder if our fine friends who post match results on Twitter are trolling you or not. Well, dear readers, it seems things did happen that way. But when chaos came to call, it took at lot of hopes and dreams as its wages, but it also left us gifts.

To the matches.

Highlight Matches

As expected, Kaisei is kyujo. This gave Juryo 1 East Kagayaki a freebee win, taking him to 8-4 and punching his ticket to return to the top division, hopefully in better condition. We hope to see you soon, sir.

Wakamotoharu defeats Kotoeko – Wakamotoharu’s left hand inside grip looks like the real deal again today. Kotoeko may have attenuated a fraction as he is already kachi-koshi, but that finishing toss from Wakamotoharu was not. Wakamotoharu improves to 7-5 and may reach kachi-koshi himself tomorrow against Chiyomaru.

Chiyomaru defeats Oho – Oho struggled to find a grip anywhere on Chiyomaru. This is, in fact, the entire point of Chiyomaru. To be so spherical that your hands can find no purchase. While Oho is wondering how the almighty allowed such a creature to exist, Chiyomaru is giving him to business. Oho manages to rally a couple of times, but Chiyomaru has control of this match, and with a mighty shove, he sends Oho out to the combini to get more beer. Chiyomaru improves to 7-5 and has Tochinoshin tomorrow.

Ishiura defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto comes in with a obligatory double arm thrust, with his balance quite far forward. Ishiura absorbs the first hit, then steps to the side. Ichiyamamoto was counting on having someone to push against, and topples forward. At that moment, Ishiura advances to an 8-4 kachi-koshi while Ichiyamamoto drops to a 4-8 make-koshi.

Tsurugisho defeats Chiyotairyu – The mini-Darwin goes to Tsurugisho, who really hustled today. Maybe he can deliver full power right now if he does it in a hurry, as in before the pain rises in his body and makes him back off. Tsurugisho advances to 5-7 and keeps hope alive while Chiyotairyu is now 4-8.

Kotonowaka defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi gave up his speed advantage early by going chest to chest with Kotonowaka. Once they were locked in their yotsu battle-hug, it was Kotonowaka’s match to decide. They finished it with a mutual throw attempt that was close enough to merit a monoii, but the gumbai was upheld and Kotonowaka advances to 9-3. Sadanoumi can try again tomorrow for kachi koshi against (umm.) Ichinojo?

Aoiyama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Hey, a brief glimpse of Aoiyama and full battle power! He grabs Terutsuyoshi’s head and tosses him forward at the tachiai, pivots and pushes the stumbling Terutsuyoshi out from behind. Aoiyama now 7-5, and might actually hit kachi-koshi. It was at this point that we could see the funnel was going to take a beating.

Chiyonokuni defeats Tochinoshin – Chiyonokuni’s sumo overpowered Tochinoshin today. Even though Tochinoshin is in somewhat dilapidated condition, it came as a bit of a surprise to me. Maybe Tochinoshin’s knee could not take that lateral thrust that sent him over the bales and down to the floor. Chiyonokuni advanes to 2-10, and Tochinoshin is now one loss away from make-koshi.

Okinoumi defeats Akua – Okinoumi had some fine, patient sumo today. He took his time to set up his winning move, chipping away at Akua a piece at a time. Both end the day at 3-9.

Hoshoryu defeats Tamawashi – That’s two losses in a row for Tamawashi, who fails yet again today to find his 8th win. He had a strong open against Hoshoryu, but could not keep him centered. Hoshoryu scores his 8th win and is kachi-koshi.

Ura defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama gave it a good try, but that head / neck pull attempt seems to have given Ura the green light to toss his broad backside out of the ring with enough force to send Yutakayama on a considerable jog down the hanamichi. That’s an 8th loss for Yutakayama, and he is kachi-koshi, while Ura advances to 6-6.

Ichinojo defeats Takarafuji – We had guessed this one might turn into a yotsu endurance contest, and they did in fact supply just that. After a small opening struggle, they settled into their battle-hug and waited for the other man to weaken. This did not happen quickly at all. There was a moment where Takarafuji changed his grip, and they moved a few steps. Then… back to the battle hug. As the moments ticked by, it looked to me that Ichinojo was starting to lose patience, which must have given Takarafuji encouragement. But as we neared the 3 minute mark, Ichinojo lifted Takarafuji and walked forward for his 6th win. He earned his pay this day.

Wakatakakage defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru supplied a measure of frantic action, but Wakatakakage kept his power focused and delivered it center-mass. He ejected Tobizaru butt-first into one of the shimpan, who would not have been pleased to receive a face full of flying monkey rump. Wakatakakage advances to 6-6.

Endo defeats Kiribayama – Endo staves off make-koshi yet again, picking up his 3rd white star in a row. Kiribayama made the mistake of not taking whatever advantage he had in the opening moment and winning with it. The longer that match went on, the more Endo was able to improve his position. That finishing uwatenage looked fantastic, and Endo keeps hope alive at 5-7.

Daieisho defeats Chiyoshoma – Daieisho got to use his mega-thrust today, and I am sure that made him happy. Chiyoshoma caught the blast full in the chest, and rapidly exited on the East side for his 8th loss. He is make-koshi for January, joining Daieisho at 4-8.

Onosho defeats Mitakeumi – With his warm ups complete, the mischievous kami who came to watch sumo today got down to business. In this tadpole battle, I expected some pushing, especially from Onosho. I did not expect it to disrupt Mitakeumi to the extent that it did. Onosho followed with hikiotoshi and before you could say say “Mitakeumi” he was face down on the clay. With that loss, Mitakeumi drops to 10-2, Onosho advances to 8-4 and is kachi-koshi in grand style, having picked off a yusho leader, and possibly run Mitakeumi’s Ozeki bid for January aground.

Abi defeats Takanosho – The next piece of this puzzle fell into place nearly automatically. It relied on Abi doing what he does best: deploying fast, aggressive Abi-zumo against Takanosho. A strong opening combo and a tsukidashi + slippiotoshi combo later, and Abi joins Mitakeumi at 10-2. They face each other on day 13.

Shodai defeats Hokutofuji – With his back against the kadoban line, Shodai seems to have found his sumo. We saw a bit of the “Wall of Daikon” followed by a solid escape move that employed the gyoji as a bollard. Both end the day at 5-7.

Meisei defeats Terunofuji – Reaching the final match, it was time for our mischievous kami to finish his task. Meisei gets Terunofuji off tempo tachiai. Meisei grabs an arm and pulls Terunofuji forward he can recover has balance ,and sends him straight out the west side. In that helter-skelter exit, Terunofuji may have hurt one of his quasi robotic knees to boot. With the loss, Terunofuji drop to 10-2, and there is a three way tie for the cup with just 3 days to go. Meisei picks up his 5th win, and even if he is make-koshi at the end of day 15, he is a champion today.

9 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 12 Highlights

  1. Well, Shodai avoided make-koshi via inadvertent guoji interference. That about sums up his basho.

    Mitakeumi looked vintage today, and not in the good way. His plan was just go straight ahead, thinking Onosho would be doing the same. That’s not Ozeki thinking.

    Poor Terunofuji. Those knees cannot take drops from the ring like that. I worry that he might go kyujo from tomorrow to prolong his Yokozuna career, starting a dangerous dance the champions before him have gone through.

    Down in the rank and file, of course Abi is the standout. Surprisingly, he might win it all now. But don’t count out the Mongols, Hoshoryu and Tamawashi. Both look very motivated and locked in, and their bout today was my favorite. They might not win, but the spoiler role is fun to play, too.

  2. Now having a 3-17 record against Ichinojo, Takarafuji needs to come up with a new strategy against the big fella. I was impressed with how Ichi steadily gave Taka less dohyo room to work within.

    Onosho’s hikiotoshi of Mitakeumi really showed Onosho’s great strength. Mitakeumi seemed to have a pretty solid stance, with neither body too far forward nor arms too far extended, when it happened.

  3. Poor Mitakeumi, this has now become a slippery mess for him and his Ozeki run.

    You’re right Stonecreek, Mitakeumi did not display any anticipatory Ozeki thinking today and to follow come Abi, No-Dai, and T-Rex. If he’s to get the usual requisite 33 wins over 3 basho he needs to win out but I still suspect that if he wins 2 out of 3 to get to 32 wins they’ll promote him.

    It will be interesting to see if Abi comes with power tsupari or he decides to switch it up and surprise Mitakeumi. If Abi pulls the switch-a-roo all bets are off.

    Then comes the ever hapless No-Dai and he’ll be motivated to get as many wins as possible and try to avoid make-koshi if it hasn’t already happened by the end of day 13.

    And finally on day 15 he has to face T-Rex unless the Yokozuna withdraws with a knee issue. This one will be more tough sledding for Mitakeumi so his best chance is to pick off Abi and No-Dai. Even if he loses to T-Rex and posts 32 wins over 3 tournaments, as long as he puts up a good fight against the Yokozuna, the JSA will promote him to Ozeki.

    On the other hand, if he limps home at 11-4 he’ll at least have a solid base of 22 wins from the last two tournaments and should be able to complete his Ozeki run in March.

  4. Mitakeumi has already had the inestimable pleasure of facing down Shodai this basho… after Abi, he’ll see Terunofuji of course, and his dancecard will be completed by (I think) either Hoshoryu (thereby completing his set of Sekiwake encounters this go around, so I think this match up most likely) or Chiyoshoma (which would complete M’s set of m5 opponents). Between a genki Abi, a progressive sort in Hoshoryu and an indomitable Terunofuji (of whom we’ve not seen any evidence yet that M has found the key to victory), poor M has a stiff enough task ahead of him to get the minimum 2 wins he’d need just to put himself in the ‘Hey guys, we seem to be running out of Ozeki… what we gonna do?’ conversation, at least not this month at any rate. Hope yet abounds, however….

  5. Hi fippy – thx for the correction about Mitakeumi and Shodai. Not sure what I did to miss that, good catch.

    • No worries… easy enough missed as there wasn’t a whole lot of proof on show that Shodai turned up that day 😇 (certainly the ‘Ozeki’ version of Shodai has been little-sighted recently and day 11 was no exception).
      Tomorrow’s Mitakeumi-Abi bout should clear things up a fair bit, serving as a kind of ‘No.1 Contender’ decider.
      Assumptions need made in order to guess exactly how things will schedule from there (the main one being that Terunofuji competes and wins tomorrow), but given this, I think that the Mitakeumi-Terunofuji match will be day 14 rather than day 15, just to leave open the possibility of the (ordinarily expected) Yokozuna v Ozeki match to round out the basho. I’m guessing that Abi will be pitted against Shodai on day 14, so should Abi prevail tomorrow (& with an eye on him possibly backing that up with a win over Shodai), I think we’ll see him (rather than Shodai) facing Terunofuji on day 15; conversely, if Shodai prevails tomorrow (Onosho; and then the schedulers hope against hope that he repeats the trick on the day after against Abi), the Terunofuji-Shodai match up would be the obvious match to end on – T (perhaps) needing the W for Yusho purposes & S needing it to (somehow inexplicably) grasp KK from the jaws of kadoban. I’m genuinely looking forward to how the match schedulers square the circles over the last 2 days, almost as much as the on-dohyo action itself.

  6. Very happy with Meisei’s win. It helps erase the preview visual Bruce provided :D and opens up the yusho run! Meisei has had a steady diet of Terunofuji fights through recent basho, so this is good practice. Or more ‘practice’ than Shodai has had against the yokozuna recently.

    This puts me in mind of Asanoyama’s return. There are now rikishi who have white starred against Teru. Can Asanoyama rise up and catch up? At least compared to the last time we saw Asanoyama, Meisei appears to have a larger arsenal of winning techniques.

    Poor Yutakayama. He was sprinting down the hanamichi like only Hakuho could stop him from fleeing the Kokugikan. I hope he can heal injuries and find his fighting spirit. Maybe find Shodai’s, too, because what’s going on over at Tokitsukaze heya? I was hoping Izutsu oyakata could help keep continuity and steadiness there but these two are struggling.

    Takanosho was not on an ozeki run and had his typical 3-4/4-3 start. I love Onigiri-kun, but he has his special prizes and dips. I just hope this bad footwork is not due to the knee acting up. He previously beat Teru in the latter half of the basho, but I’m not sure about tomorrow. A lot of variables – I’m counting three knees so far.


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