The big news for day 11 is that two more stables have detected cases of COVID, and are now kyujo. This includes Sadogatake, home to all of the “Koto” rikishi. Joining Sadogatake is Tamanoi heya, where Azumaryu trains. At this point about 1/5th of all rikishi in sumo are out due to COVID policies. This includes some rikishi that were in the middle of important, career elevating tournaments (Kotonowaka) that won’t get that momentum or experience back. As mentioned on prior days, given how virulent Omicron BA4/5 is, quite a few people in the sumo kyokai are likely infected now, and one has to wonder if they are even going to finish this tournament if they keep benching all of the talent.
List of fusensho (and opponents) today
- Yutakayama – (Kotoshoho)
- Oho – (Kotoeko)
- Daieisho – (Kotonowaka)
The elimination of so many competitors from the top division has a dramatic impact on the television format, as the current producers for both NHK and Abema are struggling to fill the time that would normally be taken by the matches themselves. Lets hope we don’t get an Isegahama or Kokenoe covid-kyujo, or they will need to start showing Shin-Chan cartoons between bouts.
In action on the dohyo, the leader group is now down to two, with just 4 chasers. We will likely have a yusho race after all. Two more rikishi hit their 8th win today, and are kachi-koshi: Takakeisho and Nishikifuji, with another 4 on deck for a try tomorrow. The funnel crop is a bountiful as ever, and this could be one of the largest group of 7-7 rikishi I have seen in my lifetime on this earth, unless they all go covid-kyujo first.
Onosho defeats Daiamami – Daiamami’s injured ankle really can’t support much in the way of sumo right now, and Onosho makes fast work of him. It’s stand him up, slap him down. The tsukiotoshi takes Onosho to 6-5.
Chiyoshoma defeats Takarafuji – I marveled at Chiyoshoma’s work to keep Takarafuji from getting a proper mawashi grip, or setting up his defensive foot placement. That was high-skill sumo tuned for a very specific engagement, and I loved it. From the center-mass tsuppari chest strike at the tachiai, to the point where he chose to go chest to chest with Takarafuji, Chiyoshoma had this one dialed in. Both end the day at 5-6.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Chiyomaru – Terutsuyoshi grabs a drumstick and proceeds to walk Chiyomaru about for a while before dumping him off the dohyo. 8 losses for Chiyomaru now, and he is make-koshi and headed back to Juryo, 5-6 for Terutsuyoshi after that fine ashitori.
Midorifuji defeats Tsurugisho – Midorifuji had trouble deciding what to do with his left hand. He was inside and low, but changed up the spot he was gripping Tsurugisho’s mawashi, and it simply was not working out for him. But fortunately for him, his right hand was in excellent position to load the throw, and it was shitatenage time! Midorifuji improves to 7-4 and can earn his kachi-koshi tomorrow.
Nishikifuji defeats Chiyotairyu – Nishikifuji gets a deep double inside grip early and simply brutes Chiyotairyu around. It is surprising that as big and bulky as Chiyotairyu is, that he can’t overpower Nishikifuji, or if whatever injuries he’s dealing with rob him of any power to shut down the yori in any meaningful way. Nishikifuji scores his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi for July by yorikiri.
Myogiryu defeats Nishikigi – I think the false start wrecked Nishikigi’s timing, and he was not quite in normal form when the tachiai did take place. He struggled for hand positioned, and was well forward of his toes. Myogiryu was aware of this, took a step back and hit the hatakikomi. Nishikigi hit the clay, and Myogiryu advanced to 7-4.
Tochinoshin defeats Meisei – Fighting Tochinoshin involves a lot of guess work, it seems. There are days when he’s rather tender, and unable to really employ is overwhelming strength. Today was not one of those days. Meisei goes for the inside grip, Tochinoshin obliged. Tochinoshin worked to get his left hand outside, and then it was time for Meisei to endure some power sumo. A quick waltz across the clay, and it was a yorikiri win for Tochinoshin, with both men finishing the day at 6-5.
Sadanoumi defeats Shimanoumi – Sadanoumi finds his third win of the basho by overpowering the hapless Shimanoumi, lifting him and driving forward to win by yorikiri. Sadanoumi improves to 3-8.
Hokutofuji defeats Wakamotoharu – Hokutofuji did an excellent job of keeping Wakamotoharu from settling into any manner of offense or defense. Hokutofuji attacked multiple points via clever combos, and left Wakamotoharu wondering what would happen next. With Wakamotoharu trying to respond to the last attack, Hokutofui grabbed a leg and powered forward. The resulting watashikomi gave Hokutofuji the win, and he finishes the day 6-5.
Ura defeats Okinoumi – This was about as vanilla a match as you might ever find from Ura. He was straight into the grapple against Okinoumi, and battled him face to face. But Okinoumi could not resist the temptation to reach that left hand for Ura’s belt. Ah ha! A stray appendage to grab and tug! Well, that was the end of Okinoumi as Ura unleashed a tottari, giving his opponent a face full of clay. Ura improves to 5-6.
Tamawashi defeats Kiribayama – I am all smiles that a seemingly injured Tamawashi achieved his first ever win against Kiribayama today. Tamawashi was all forward power and attacking Kiribayama’s face and neck, until the moment when he moved a hand behind Kiribayama head and pulled forward. The power transfer was large enough that it flipped Kiribayama end over end to win by hatakikomi. Both end the day at 4-7.
Ichinojo defeats Abi – Abi learns the hard way that his double arm thrusts are utterly worthless against the Boulder when Ichinojo is on his game. A stray arm was a perfect hand hold for Ichinojo, and Abi found himself on the receiving end of a kotenage attempt. Abi did not go out, but did not recover. Horribly off balance his 200kg beast of a rikishi chased him down and pushed him out from the rear (okuridashi). Ichinojo improves to 9-2.
Aoiyama defeats Wakatakakage – Its 3-0 now for Aoiyama against Wakatakakage. Somehow this giant man-mountain has Wakatakakage’s number, and can put him on the deck any time, any place. At the rapid conclusion of today’s match, you can see the frustration on Wakatakakage’s face. Aoiyama improves to 5-6 and pulls Wakatakakage back to the middle of the funnel.
Shodai defeats Endo – I am sure Endo did not know what to expect, having no idea which version of Shodai would show up. Looks like Ozeki Shodai was on the clay today. Endo showed some great offensive combos, but Shodai was ready for all of it. Note that Shodai’s form was terrible, but his sumo was good enough to overwhelm Endo and propel him out by yorikiri. Shodai improves to 7-4, and somehow has managed to get himself one win away from kachi-koshi, and clearing kadoban.
Takakeisho defeats Tobizaru – I am absolutely impressed that Takakeisho was able to keep Tobizaru off his belt, and keep his own balance under control in the face of the antics of the flying monkey. Tobizaru put a lot of energy into this match, and I complement him for all of the work to prepare. An off-balance combo left Tobizaru struggling to stay upright, and Takakeisho slapped him down for the win. That’s kachi-koshi for Takakeisho, he picks up his 8th win of Nagoya.
Terunofuji defeats Hoshoryu – Where to start with this. Well, Hoshoryu, that was a jerk match. Yes, it’s a combat sport, and he was focused on the win, but that whole match was executed to put maximum torque into Terunofuji’s damaged knees. That first time when Terunofuji tossed you away, then waved you back in, that should have been your first indication that you had the Yokozuna’s interest. My compliments to Terunofuji for focus, concentration and patience. You let Hoshoryu expend his energy, then locked him up, took him apart and tossed way the husk. You have a long way to go, Hoshoryu, before you might fight like that, hope you enjoyed the comparison. The look on Hoshoryu’s face following his ejection from the dohyo told to story. Terunofuji improves to 9-2.