It came down to a playoff. The playoff was tremendous sumo, possibly the best match of the year so far. The right man won. The loser was clearly heart broken, and I feel for him, but his sumo was fantastic this month, and he has another try in May.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Hidenoumi – Ichiyamamoto abandoned pushing and thrusting fairly early on, and went chest to chest with Hidenoumi. They then proceeded to try and pull on each other’s heads back and forth a few times before they decided that it was not going to work at all. Hidenoumi was unhappy with grip, went to change it up, and reduced his forward pressure, letting Ichiyamamoto run him out to the West. Both finish the day 8-7, with Ichiyamamoto reaching kachi-koshi on the final day.
Kagayaki defeats Terutsuyoshi – Kagayaki finished well, he shut down Terutsuyoshi’s opening moves, kept his pushing focused center mass, and quickly moved Terutsuyoshi out. He finishes 7-8, and I will leave it to lksumo to guess if he’s going to be on the Juryo barge back to Tokyo.
Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin – A bit of a leap tp the left at the tachiai by Myogiryu had what was probably the desired effect – keep Tochinoshin away from Myogiryu’s mawashi. Tochinoshin eventually closes the gap, but insists on repeated pulling atttempts. Myogiryu tosses him back, then tosses him out to finish Haru 7-8.
Shimanoumi defeats Kotokuzan – The first Darwin match goes to Shimanoumi, but the offense was nearly all from Kotokuzan. But all it takes it the right moment, and Shimanoumi finds his opening, gets a body hold and moves Kotokuzan out. Shimanoumi kachi-koshi at 8-7, Kotokuzan 7-8 and make-koshi.
Wakamotoharu defeats Nishikigi – I love that Nishikigi decided to give Wakamotoharu an endurance check. They set up left hand inside at the tachiai, and there they stood, waiting the other out. Wakamotoharu whats the right hand outside grip, and eventually finds it, then gets to down to business. He moves Nishikigi to the edge of the ring and throws him down with an uwatenage. Both men finish with 9-6.
Kotoshoho defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma hits first, but Kotoshoho gets his hands inside. Chiyoshoma could have made a fight of it, but was pulling Kotoshoho instead. Without an resistance to his forward motion, Kotoshoho made fast work of getting Chiyoshoma out. He finishes Haru 9-6.
Hokutofuji defeats Yutakayama – I liked this match because it’s been a while since we saw Hokutofuji’s lower body decide it was winning a match, no matter what. Outstanding offensive footwork form Hokutofuji, and I just have to wonder where is this sumo the other days of this basho. Yes, he smoked Mitakeumi on day 10 to knock him out of the yusho, but this should be his every-day sumo. Yutakayama takes his 8th loss, his third consecutive make-koshi.
Akua defeats Ishiura – Well, that was dumb. Not sure Ishiura wanted to even compete today. Go home and heal up. Akua improves to 4-11.
Takarafuji defeats Chiyonokuni – Also in the “no condition to fight” category, Chiyonokuni has little offensive power, and finds himself unable to move Takarafuji. Takarafuji takes control and drives Chiyonokuni from the ring to finish Haru 6-9.
Kiribayama defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko still can’t find a formula to beat Kiribayama, it seems. He starts strong, but Kiribayama wraps him up, then gets him to all fours with what they labeled a kotenage. Kiribayama finishes Haru strong at 10-5.
Chiyotairyu defeats Meisei – At this point, Meisei is little more than a loss sponge. Meisei did manage one win, but maybe he should have gone for a spotless 0-15 instead. Chiyotairyu hit large at the tachiai, hit again to stand Meisei up, then pulled him down. Chiyotairyu’s final score: 7-8.
Onosho defeats Chiyomaru – Onosho locked on target center-mass at the tachiai, and all Chiyomaru could do was try to pull into his powerful advance. This sped up the process of sending Chiyomaru into the front row, giving Onosho has 6th win to finish Haru 6-9.
Endo defeats Tamawashi – Ah, time for the next Darwin match. Tamawashi opened strong, lost his footing, and that was all Endo needed. He kept Tamawashi off balance, and drove him around the ring before sending him past the waiting Okinoumi and into a conclave of brown-coats. Endo kachi-koshi at 8-7, Tamawashi make-koshi at 7-8.
Tobizaru defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo stayed strong, patient and nearly immobile against Tobizaru’s high mobility antics. He had total dominance over Tobizaru, until he tried an arm lock throw, and Tobizaru used the weight shift to get him moving, then moved him out. Both end the day with worthy 9-6 records for March.
Ura defeats Okinoumi – Ura finds the inside lane ofter Okinoumi bats Ura’s head around a few times. Ura rushes forward, sending Okinoumi out, Ura finishes 4-11, and needs to regroup from a lower spot on the banzuke.
Daieisho defeats Aoiyama – Next Darwin match! Aoiyama got one partially effective thrust in, his chest was open and the inside route was Daieisho’s for the taking. Three steps later, Daieisho had Big Dan out, handing him a losing record for Haru, and taking home a 8-7 kachi-koshi.
Hoshoryu defeats Kotonowaka – Hoshoryu had a tall order to finish with a winning record, but he made it work. Kotonowaka opened well, but he gave Hoshoryu an opening, which Hoshoryu filled with a hearty shitatedashinage. This knocks Kotonowaka out of yusho contention, as Hoshoryu finishes 8-7.
Sadanoumi defeats Takanosho – Both men took a turn at dominating this match, with both having a left hand outside mawashi grip. Neither could find a way to finish the other. The match ended when Takanosho tried an off balance throw as Sadanoumi was backing away, and both men went out. A monoii took place to try to sort the mess out. Review showed that Takanosho hit first, and Sadanoumi picks up his 5th win of March to finish 5-10.
The final three, it’s time for Big Sumo
Abi defeats Takayasu – Abi opened strong, had full impact on Takayasu’s face and neck, and Takayasu could not hold his ground. Abi got him turned, and then pushed him out quickly from behind. Sad news for Takayasu fans as he picks up his 3rd loss, but Abi manages to put the finishing win into his kachi-koshi to end Haru 8-7. The yusho is Wakatakakage’s if he can beat Shodai.
Mitakeumi defeats Takakeisho – The Ozeki battle was quite anti-climatic. Takakeisho hits hard, Mitakeumi steps to the side, and Takakeisho hits the deck. Mitakeumi finishes Haru 11-4. Kind of a dud match.
Shodai defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage opens strong, and has Shodai defensive. But Shodai summons the Wall of Daikon, and Wakatakakage’s offense crumbles as Shodai uses his big body to plow the dohyo clear of any trace of Wakatakakage. Shodai found his sumo at least, finishing 9-6 for Haru, and sending the yusho to a playoff.
Wakatakakage defeats Takayasu – Dear lord what a battle! Takayasu saved his sumo for this brawl to end it all, and he was attacking very well against Wakatakakage. I give Wakatakakage high marks for staying on his feet and staying in the match under Takayasu’s withering barrage. Too many times Wakatakakage tried to pull Takayasu, and points to Takayasu, he remained patient, worked to keep his balance centered, and did not advance too rapidly into the pull. His footwork was poor and his balance all over the place. Takayasu found Wakatakakage’s feet on the tawara, and gave him a mighty one arm shove to send him out. But a lingering Wakatakakage hold on Takayasu’s left wrist pulled him forward and down, hitting the clay a moment before Wakatakakage stepped out. Wakatakakage wins the Haru yusho in glorious style. Well done to both competitors.
This ends Tachiai’s daily coverage of the Haru basho. What a great tournament this has been. Thank you all for sharing your time with Team Tachiai, and stopping by to read our write ups. It’s been a lot of fun, and I look forward to sharing my love of sumo with all of you again soon.