Nagoya 2022: Day 13 Highlights

Well, instead of getting serious, tonight was when this basho became a joke. Not one, not two, not three but FOUR stables were forced into Covid kyujo: Shibatayama, Kataonami, Isenoumi, and (gasp!) Oitekaze. This eviscerated the heart of makuuchi action. Tamawashi, gone. His perfect attendance streak, reaching back to 2004, over. Nishikigi, Endo, Tobizaru, Daieisho, Daiamami, Tsurugisho…sidelined. News from Herouth is that Endo actually tested positive. We hope that if he has symptoms, they’re mild and he recovers quickly.

The nonsense really hit home in the last half of makuuchi “action” with a streak of five consecutive fusen, broken by three bouts, only to have yet another fusen, and then the final two bouts. The gasps and groans from the audience were audible to those of us viewing at home. Well, let’s take a look at how it went down.

Tonight’s bouts

Mitoryu vs. Tsurugisho: I was jazzed for this bout because of the promotion/demotion implications of both wrestlers. Unfortunately, Tsurugisho’s late covid scratch meant this match would not take place. As a consequence, Mitoryu is 8-5, kachi-koshi, and Tsurugisho is 5-8, make-koshi*…with a corona-virus-shaped asterisk. Mitoryu is likely to be promoted but Tsurugisho’s status for the next banzuke is suddenly uncertain, not to mention stablemate Daiamami.

Terutsuyoshi vs. Oho: Terutsuyoshi went for the submarine attack at the tachiai. What surprised me was that Oho obliged and went for the belt. Oho sure knew what he was doing, though, because one quick pull brought Terutsuyoshi forward to the floor. Uwatedashinage. Oho claims his first kachi-koshi in the top division and looked pretty chuffed as he walked to do do his sankyo. Terutsuyoshi is make-koshi.

Yutakayama vs. Midorifuji: We got a decent brawl. Yutakayama’s plan may have been to beat Midorifuji into submission. But Midorifuji well-executed plan lured Yutakayama to the edge…and then disappeared, causing Yutakayama to tumble from the dohyo. Hatakikomi, rather than katasukashi, but close enough. Midorifuji secures his kachi-koshi while Yutakayama falls to 6-7.

Myogiryu vs. Meisei: A quick bout which didn’t go the way I thought. Myogiryu already had his winning record but was more motivated than Meisei, and drove him back and out with little-ado. Myogiryu is 9-4 and looking at his first double-digit record in nearly a year. Meisei falls to 7-6.

Chiyotairyu vs. Onosho: Onosho didn’t fall for it this time. Chiyotairyu had the strong tachiai, driving Onosho back. But when he executed his pull, Onosho was unfazed, following without losing his balance or pitching too far forward, then shoved Chiyotairyu over the bales. Onosho kachi-koshi at 8-5, Chiyotairyu falls to 6-7.

Shimanoumi vs Chiyomaru: Shimanoumi continues to have a terrible tournament. He locked up with Chiyomaru in a lean-fest. He even strategized with a sufficiently loose shimekomi. This time the gyoji did not intervene and attempt to fix it as it started to unravel. This did give Chiyomaru significant difficulty in trying to lift or drag Shimanoumi forward. Chiyomaru’s left hand, while firmly gripping Shimanoumi’s belt, was up at Shimanoumi’s shoulder!

Wisely, Chiyomaru decided to push him down from that shoulder. I’d almost call that a katasukashi but they’ve given him an uwatedashinage, likely because his hand was all over Shimanoumi’s belt. Shimanoumi is Juryo-bound at 1-12. Chiyomaru improves to 5-8.

Tochinoshin vs. Chiyoshoma: No double henka. Long stare down, they reset. One-way henka. Chiyoshoma henkas and Tochinoshin falls for it, literally. They call it an uwatedashinage because Chiyoshoma got his hand over on Tochinoshin’s belt. Tochinoshin is 7-6, Chiyoshoma is 6-7.

Pestilence Strikes

Nishikifuji vs. Tobizaru: A first-time bout here, which we miss out on because of Covid. Tobizaru rests, kachi-koshi at 8-5, Nishikifuji improves to 9-4.

Daiamami vs. Sadanoumi: Sadanoumi won this but I did not foresee the Covid kyujo. Daiamami is 2-9-2 but will he save his makuuchi rank with the covid kyujo? Sadanoumi improves to 5-8.

Endo vs. Takarafuji: Endo kyujo. 3-10* with a covid-asterisk. Takarafuji improves to 7-6 and may actually get a kachi-koshi.

Tamawashi vs. Ura: Tamawashi kyujo for the first time ever. Now make-koshi (5-8*) while Ura improves to 6-7.

Nishikigi vs. Ichinojo: Nishikigi kyujo, 8-5*. Ichinojo improves to 11-2 and surely enjoys the stress-free W.

Action Resumes

Kiribayama vs Okinoumi: Both wrestlers showed up today! We have a bout, after five consecutive fusen. After the solid tachiai, Okinoumi set in for a long lean fest. But just when Okinoumi’s weight was rested full on Kiribayama, Kiribayama suddenly twisted and spun out of the way. They call it a kotenage but there was no arm bar, Okinoumi just fell because Kiribayama wasn’t there anymore. Kiribayama 6-7, Okinoumi 4-9.

Hokutofuji vs. Abi: Hokutofuji did not quite make it off the dohyo when he fell forward. Other than that, this bout went pretty much as expected. Hikiotoshi. Abi improves to 7-6 while Hokutofuji falls to 6-7.

Hoshoryu vs. Wakamotoharu: A long stare. Dud bout. The stare down ended up being longer than the fight. Hoshoryu won by quick kotenage after a solid tachiai, not giving Wakamotoharu any chance. Hoshoryu kachi-koshi, Wakamotoharu make-koshi.

Aoiyama vs. Daieisho: Daieisho fell to covid kyujo. Aoiyama 6-7, Daieisho 6-7*.

Takakeisho vs. Shodai: I’m a sumo Einstein. Shodai’s run came to an end tonight. Like I said, Takakeisho is no Aoiyama. Takakeisho’s nodowa forced Shodai back to the edge where T-Rex’s lethal shove helped Shodai over the bales.

Terunofuji vs. Wakatakakage: Terunofuji just too dominant. Wakatakakage tried to get inside but the Yokozuna wasn’t having any of it. This bout resembled a schoolyard version of King of the Hill, when a first grader took on the biggest fifth grader in school. Oshidashi.

Well, that’s it for the action today. Unfortunately, rather abbreviated. Hopefully tomorrow’s bouts won’t be quite so sparse. They’re actually pulling four blokes up from Juryo to fill in! I’ll have more details later today in the preview post.

16 thoughts on “Nagoya 2022: Day 13 Highlights

  1. Sumo Soul (via nikkansports) has Tweeted that the perfect attendance records for Tamawashi and Nishikigi will not be affected by their Covid kyujos. What will be affected is the sport of sumo’s credibility. There is no way that this tournament can be officially counted, with all the extenuating circumstances. There will be a winner, maybe some special prizes awarded, but the record book should not count this basho. Otherwise, this sets a dangerous new precedent of going kyujo via Covid to keep rank. It also totally diminishes the faith in the Association and the viability of the sport long-term, should this July tournament be allowed to count. I should be commenting on the action in the ring, but that’s now secondary. The sport doesn’t matter against the health of its competitors.

    For a bit of levity… my bingo card.

    This is madness.
    No, this is sumo.

    https://mfbc.us/r/89435f170e56c3acfe9c8a928a90f7

    • I’m not sure what you mean by setting a precedent of going kyujo via COVID to keep rank. The tests are issued by the association, and PCR tests are rather regulated. If a rikishi tests positive this is reported to the local health authority, and they need to undergo close contact investigation and quarantine. The existence of positive cases is reported to the city and entered into its statistics. It’s not something based merely on a personal health report and it’s not between the rikishi and his privately paid physician.

  2. It is worth comparing this farce with how the Tour de France, which is running concurrently with the basho, is handling positive Covid tests. They are sending home only the riders who actually test positive, not their whole team. And cycling teams live just as closely as heya: They ride the same bus, stay in the same hotel, dine at the same table, uses the same physios. I don’t believe the TDF organization or the French Government are irresponsible. The White House isn’t closed down because the President tested positive, Let’s hope we limp through this to a valid yusho, but they are going to have to change this policy for September, or become a joke.

  3. I’m not going to say in my humble opinion, but rather, my SUPER PISSED OFF OPINION, that I for one, am Mad as Heck this basho wasn’t called off earlier!

    I quite agree with you Andy, that the last person standing will win, which is a Total Joke! As if Sumo doesn’t have enough problems!!!

    I feel so bad for the wrestlers and whomever tested positive, I hope they recover and their symptoms are mild to non-existent!

    As always, thank you for the accurate information!

  4. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I thought it was refreshing to see some new/old faces on NHK’s Grand Sumo Highlights. I love seeing matches from the lower divisions. Wouldn’t it be great if NHK could extend their coverage to 60 minutes daily? Oh, how silly of me. That means they wouldn’t be able to bring the same newscast every 20 minutes.

    • The surprise lower division action taking up the first 10 minutes of the highlights package on NHK World was actually a treat that I probably enjoyed more than the actual top division bouts. Day 13 was a fusen-joke, but Day 14 is a Juryo-joke instead, with four rikishi getting to visit for the day. The bout tomorrow that makes no sense is Ichinojo (M2) fighting Meisei (M10) when he’s in the thick of the yusho race. As if this July basho needed any more reasons to question its outcome…

  5. If Aki 2017 was Wacky Aki (top ranks lost lots in the first week, Goeido put himself in contention with two consecutive henka, 11-4 makuuchi yusho for only the third time ever) then I’m going to call this one No Good Nagoya.

    The first bout shown in Chris Sumo’s youtube video today is worth a watch.

  6. The womens european football cup is currently ongoing and if a player gets tested positive they get isolated and if they recover during the tournament they are able to rejoin. No issues with this system whatsoever.
    I don’t know who got the idea to sideline an entire stable because one guy in it is tested positive. They prevent healthy wrestlers from participating and might even impact their careers negatively. This covid protocol is simply nonsense.

  7. Chiyotairyu’s initial thrust was too good today! He had no chance at the immediate pulldown, as Onosho was thrust about 5 feet away.

    As Shimanoumi’s belt continued to unravel, I watched the crowd. I have never seen the eyes so focused. Everyone was in rapt attention.

    Teru looked strong today. With Waka’s initial move, I thought he might be going for a repeat of Hoshoryu’s attempt a couple days ago to take advantage of Teru’s knees. Teru was having none of it today.

  8. I couldn’t believe it: this is a Tontine Yusho with if things continue to deteriorate a rikishi with a losing record – say Shimanoumi and without fighting a further bout steps up to take the Emperor’s Cup – but it is not for me to become all neo-colonial and tell the Japanese what to do but not one of these fighters is even aware that they are ill. Anyway I am looking forward to watching Shodai beat T Rex tomorrow.

    • the rikishi with the best record takes the yusho, even if they’re unable to participate in the final days — this has happened before due to injury

  9. I am sorry to repeat a question in case it has been answered already. I was wondering what happens if both rikishi in a bout end up kyujo. Do both get a kyujo loss on their record? If sumo is not a zero-sum sport, then can we come with a law of entropy for sumo that states d/dt(total wins -total losses) <= 0?

  10. Today was surely an unpleasant surprise, but in defense of the sumo association, Sumo is a contact sport, guys sweat in each others face and have a much closer contact during the bouts than anyone in cycling or soccer. also this might not even be a decision by the sumo association, but a demand of the local health authorities. Those rules aren’t new or applied the first time, it’s just the first time it escalates that way. Maybe (hopefully) they will find a way to adjust, but switching things up mid basho is obviously unrealistic.

    Also I don’t feel the results of this basho are a joke. For whatever lucky reason most of the upper ranks will complete their usual schedule. The most lucky guy is probqbly Hoshoryu, who got a fusen from Mitakeumi and avoided a beating from Daieisho due to that kyujo.
    Barring any miracle/desaster the yusho will be decided between Terunofuji, Ichinojo and Takakeisho neither of whom benefitted unduly from the kyujos. Ichinojo is fighting Meisei tomorrow, but that could have happened in any other basho too in this situation, because he finished the top ranks already. After Tochinoshin got called up to Hoshoryu, Meisei is the next best winning record available.
    The real mess will be the banzuke afterwards. At which point does a covid kyujo not lead to a freeze or at least a demotion protection anymore. Certainly you cant treat Daiamami, who had already secured a demoteable record the same way like Takayasu who wasn’t allowed to enter the tournament in the first place.

    Obviously I pray for no more kyujo. I would really like for Ichinojo to get to 13 wins, so they can just create an extra sekiwake slot on the next banzuke and solve this headache at the top. With a little luck the messy demotion/Juryo demotion picture will get solved by the mediocre performance of the juryo candidates other than Ryuden.

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