Five rikishi picked up their 8th loss and are make-koshi for January. This includes Ozeki Shodai, who will join Ozeki Takakeisho in kadoban status for Osaka. I don’t know what happened to Shodai’s “Good” sumo, but I really want to see him bring it back and dominate again. Another was M16W Tsurugisho, who is one of the few people in the bottom rungs of the banzuke with a demoteable record now. With the complex promotion / demotion picture right now, it seems some of the long serving rikishi such as Tochinoshin and Aoiyama who I worried might be in their last top division tournament will quite possibly stick around. Aoiyama will for certain, as he was able to secure his 8th win today, and will be posting to higher rank in March.
Tochinoshin defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru could not generate enough thrusting force at the tachiai to really move Tochinoshin back at all. In return Tochinoshin calmly set up a usable hand grip, and then proceeded to lift and move Chiyomaru back, then out. Tochinoshin improves to 6-7 to keep his hopes alive.
Chiyotairyu defeats Wakamotoharu – Chiyotairyu attempts a flying henka, and connects enough at the tachiai to send Wakamotoharu to the clay. Chiyotairyu is now 5-8, and Makamotoharu needs to look for his kachi-koshi tomorrow.
Ishiura defeats Oho – Wow, it’s been a while since we have seen anyone use the death-spin. Made me miss dear Harumafuji there. Ishiura did not quite have the size to get Oho going too fast, but it discombobulated Oho enough that shitatehineri that followed it made for a satisfying payoff. Ishiura now 9-4, Oho lost the last 3 in a row and still not kachi-koshi. Welcome to the top division, sir. Time to buckle down and gamberize.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto showed surprising lack of awareness in that match. Once Terutsuyoshi stabilized his grip and his balance, there was little chance that the pull was going to do anything more than open the door for Terutsuyoshi to rush forward and take the match. Terutsuyoshi improves to 6-7.
Yutakayama defeats Akua – Akua keeps trying sumo moves that fall apart and cost him a match. After a couple of weeks, it sure does add up. Today he rotated into a throw but left his opponent, Yutakayama behind. As in directly behind. It was okuridashi from there. Yutakayama improves to 5-8.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyonokuni – Chiyonokuni poured on the thrusting attacks, but could not really move Aoiyama about at all, Big Dan finally did respond, but not with the V-Twin thrusting attack. More of a hug-n-tackle sort of move that sent Chiyonokuni off to see the fans for a moment. That’s 8 wins for Aoiyama, and he is kachi-koshi for January.
Hoshoryu defeats Kotoeko – Of course these two went chest to chest immediately, and the high strength technique battle was on. After exchanging grips and moving about a fair amount, they tried to throw each other, with Hoshoryu winning out and heaving Kotoeko to the clay. Fun match to watch, and Hoshoryu improves to 9-4.
Okinoumi defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho worked hard to put Okinoumi away early, knowing that if he let Okinoumi get set up, his chances were slim. With Okinoumi able to consolidate his stance and his hands, it was short work to take Tsurugisho out, and Okinoumi improves to 4-9, while Tsurugisho picks up his 8th loss and is make-koshi.
Kotonowaka defeats Tamawashi – Wow, Tamawashi can’t find that 8th win. He’s lost 3 in a row trying to reach kachi-koshi, and he will have to try again tomorrow. I tell you folks, Konosuke is the best gyoji in sumo right now. He caught that early step out by Tamawashi when almost nobody else did. Kotonowaka improves to 10-3.
Ichinojo defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi recognized that Ichinojo’s size was going to work harder against him the longer the match went. Sadanoumi put a lot of effort up front to grapple Ichinojo and get him moving. I expected Ichinojo to passivate him and go for endurance again today, but instead he actually executed some sharp sumo, turning Sadanoumi around and driving him out. Ichinojo improves to 7-6.
Ura defeats Chiyoshoma – I really liked Chiyoshoma’s initial combo. He kept Ura at arm’s length for a couple of steps, then rushed forward to pressure him back. Ura’s response was to bend like willow tree and completely shut down Chiyoshoma’s forward pressure. Brilliant stuff. Now chest to chest, Chiyoshoma lined up to attack again, and had Ura moving, but a rotation at the bales put Chiyoshoma out first, and Ura improves to 7-6.
Tobizaru defeats Kiribayama – Tobizaru set up a double inside grip almost at once, and you had to know that it was going to be a rough run for Kiribayama. Kiribayama figures out just how poor his position is after a time, and starts working to escape or reverse advantage. Thats when Tobizaru attack, and takes Kiribayama out. Tobizaru improves to 6-7, and Kiribayama is now make-koshi.
Wakatakakage defeats Endo – These two teetered on the edge of losing their balance many times, and it was great to watch them trade advantage back and forth. They lost the plot for a moment, and when they revived, it was Wakatakakage driving Endo over the West side bales to improve to 7-6, and handing Endo his make-koshi.
Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – It took us until day 13, but we finally get… “The Most Powerful Make-Koshi In All Of Sumo”! Hokutofuji takes a face full of dirt, and his 8th loss as Daieisho stands him up and slaps him down. Both are now 5-8.
Takarafuji defeats Meisei – It makes my day to watch Takarafuji when he is fighting well. Even in the moments when Meisei seems to be pouring on the offense, Takarafuji’s calmly going along like Meisei poses no genuine risk. When Meisei gives him an opening, Takarafuji brings out the attack and moves Meisei to the exit, giving him his 8th loss and make-koshi for Hatsu. Takarafuji improves to 9-4.
Mitakeumi defeats Abi – The big match of the day for the yusho race, it was clear at the tachiai that Mitakeumi was not going to move one step back in response to Abi-zumo’s double arm attack. As soon as Mitakeumi had disrupted the thrusting train, he focused his forward pressure below Abi’s shoulders, found a connection and turned up the forward motion. 5 steps later Abi was out, and Mitakeumi improved to 11-2.
Onosho defeats Shodai – I like that in response to Onosho’s mega-thrust, Shodai brought out the “Wall of daikon” at long last, and it was working well until Onosho twisted near the tawara and Shodai went along for the ride. Thats 5-8 for Shodai, and it’s kadoban twins for March. Onosho improves to 9-4.
Terunofuji defeats Takanosho – Terunofuji focused his opening attack on an outstretched right arm of Takanosho, and broke Takanosho’s balance. A quick push from the side, and Takanosho was out, and Terunofuji had his 11th win. The Yokozuna faces Abi tomorrow.