Ah what a day in sumo. The four men at the top of the banzuke all fell short, and we know that in 2022, anything can happen. But it was also gyoji auditing day it seems, as there was a flurry of monoii called. None of them overturned any decision in the ring, so maybe the shimpan just needed to walk about to stretch their legs.
Please, Japan Sumo Association, urge Terunofuji to get whatever treatment is possible for what is left of his knees. He’s not fooling anyone at this point, and we need him to hold the rope a while longer. Nobody wants to see this great man, this indomitable spirit lifted into that comically large wheelchair and carted from the Kokugikan in some career ending blow out of what is left of his lower body. On behalf of myself and probably a few other folks, I beg you to urge him to go kyujo now.
That being said, Hokutofuji and Tamawashi continue unbeaten, while Wakamotoharu and Oho pick up their first losses.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Tsurugisho – Terutsuyoshi tried for his obligatory leg pick. He managed to grab a hold and enter a spin cycle, but Tsurugisho just had his bearings replaced, and he turned smartly about to match. Fortunately for Terutsuyoshi, he also landed a left hand frontal grip, which he used in his second attack plan – lift and walk forward from below. Yorikiri win takes him to 2-4.
Tohakuryu defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma had the more aggressive sumo, but could not keep his feet under him. As Tohakuryu broke contact, Chiyoshoma turned to pursue, lost his balance and was wide open for a Tohakuryu slap down. Both men now 4-2.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Hiradoumi – Ichiyamamoto had a strong opening combo, and Hiradoumi never really was able to recover. The first “grab and twist” attack succeeded in getting him off balance, and the follow up resulted in a twirling uwatenage that put Hiradoumi feet first into the front row. Ichiyamamoto improves to 4-2.
Mitoryu defeats Oho – Oho picks up his first loss of Aki as Mitoryu continues his absolute domination in their matches. Mitoryu is now 5-0 against Oho, and appears to be able to put him on the deck any time he wants to. Today’s win was a slow motion, wide arc uwatenage that was more like a crash landing than a throw. Mitoryu now 3-3.
Ryuden defeats Yutakayama – Ryuden’s attempt at a left hand frontal grip at the tachiai missed by a mile, and Yutakayama countered, trying to bring Ryuden into a tsuki-oshi battle. Ryuden did not take the bait, got his hands around Yutakayama’s torso, and walked him out. Pretty sure Yutakayama’s injuries keep him from really fighting in forward gear most of the time. Ryuden improves to 2-4.
Kotoshoho defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu really does look lost these days. Sure, he tried some vigorous thrusting and slapping, but he kept his chest wide open, inviting Kotoshoho to just move right in and force him out. Tsukidashi in take Kotoshoho to 3-3.
Kotoeko defeats Okinoumi – Kotoeko finally gets his second win, by not settling into a single attack mode. Forced to respond to Kotoeko’s shifting hand placement, Okinoumi was unable to put up a strong defense. Kotoeko coupled that mixed mode offense with relentless forward motion, and his yorikiri win takes him to 2-4.
Takanosho defeats Tochinoshin – Takanosho rapidly moves into grapple Tochinoshin at the first moment that Tochinoshin’s chest was open. The resulting low hold opened the door for Takanosho to bunny hop forward, moving the former Ozeki out in a hurry. Takanosho up to 4-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji put a lot into this match, but looked like he had a few missed opportunities. I counted 3 times that he tried to pull on Hokutofuji’s arms or head, each time giving up forward pressure. Hokutofuji for his part stayed as low as he could, kept the pressure as close to center-mass as he could manage, and kept pushing to the front. Excellent footwork by Nishikifuji at the bales almost gave him the win, but Hokutofuji made sure he landed last. Hokutofuji remains perfect at 6-0. This is his best start since Aki of 2018 when he opened with 7 consecutive wins.
Myogiryu defeats Aoiyama – its clear that Aoiyama can’t hold ground at all. Any forward pressure and he starts to back away. He managed to try to slap Myogiryu as he was retreating, and it looked very close to me. A monoii gave the match to Myogiryu, even though I thought it should be a torinaoshi. Myogiryu now 4-2.
Wakamotoharu defeats Onosho – Onosho went for a left hand face slap at the tachiai that missed by a fair measure, and allowed Wakamotoharu to get his left hand outside grip. From there it took about one step for Wakamotoharu to break Onosho’s questionable balance, and run him immediately out. 5-1 now for Wakamotoharu, out-doing his brother’s score by a fair amount.
Endo defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji still can’t find a win. Like Aoiyama he breaks his stance whenever his opponent sets up any kind of yori. Given that Takarafuji’s entire sumo existence is built on going chest to chest and outlasting his opponents, he is pretty much a sitting duck. Endo gets a quite welcome win and is now 3-3.
Nishikigi defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi successfully shuts down Nishikigi’s opening attack, but as Nishikigi is still pushing ahead and working to get inside, Sadanoumi decides to try a pull. This fails as it so frequently does, and Nishikigi runs him out of the ring. Both end the day 3-3.
Takayasu defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji is having a lot of introductory matches this basho, as he is finally ranked high enough to fight some of the top men in the sport. His first time against Takayasu today must have been quite the eye opener. That’s a lot of hairy rikishi to try to overcome. Midorifuji was mercilessly batted about and tossed over the east side. Takayasu up to 5-1 now, very nice.
Tobizaru defeats Hoshoryu – As sumo fans, we love to see the high rankers run up the score. I find it important for myself to remember that really what these top folks need is 8 wins. I continue to think that Tobizaru faces a strong chance of hitting his 8, and remaining at the top of the rank and file for November. Today he bested shin-Sekiwake Hoshoryu, when Hoshoryu refused to stop trying to pull. Tobizaru now 3-3.
Wakatakakage defeats Ichinojo – Starting to hope that Wakatakakage was only suffering from ring rust, and that he has managed to sandpaper that down. Meanwhile Ichinojo has reverted to form after his enchanted yusho run. His enormity presented it’s own challenges for Wakatakakage, but the Sekiwake was nothing if not relentless. Wakatakakage up to 3-3.
Kiribayama defeats Daieisho – Daieisho attempts to open a big thrusting war with Kiribayama, and lands a couple of solid hits. But Kiribayama’s balance was better, his targeting was superior, and he worked to get Daieisho off balance. With that in hand, a combo to Daieisho’s chest put him out of the ring. Kiribayama now 4-2.
Meisei defeats Shodai – I refuse to get too engaged in whatever hot steaming pile Shodai has going on these days, and it is a hot steaming pile. I mean, what was he trying to do? He looked completely lost, no offense, token defense, and simply waiting for Meisei to decide how he wanted to win. The one moment he showed any offensive sumo moves, they were underpowered and poorly coordinated. Lord, how he frustrates me. Meisei now 3-3.
Tamawashi defeats Takakeisho – One big hit at the tachiai, and a quick second clash that had Tamawashi pressing down on Takakeisho’s shoulders. Down goes the Ozeki, and Tamawashi remains unbeaten at 6-0.
Kotonowaka defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi picks up a loss when he can ill afford to lose. This was a cheap, sloppy match that was composed of a big tachiai from Mitakeumi, and a rickety pull attempt from Kotonowaka that just barely worked. Fine guys, way to phone it in. Both are 3-3. Hope you enjoy the funnel.
Ura defeats Terunofuji – The Terunofuji comeback story is one for the ages. But even a man of such unstoppable will cannot make those damaged knees support Yokozuna class sumo this September. I urge Isegahama and whomever else to convince Terunofuji to seek medical treatment to patch things up as soon as possible. Take the rest of the basho, and maybe November too. As soon as Ura gets his arms around Terunofuji’s body, he goes soft and Ura runs him out. I note with great interest the care Ura took to not let him fall from the dohyo. I think it’s an open secret that Terunofuji is hurt, and everyone wants to try and keep him as whole as possible. Terunofuji drops another kinboshi (his 3rd this tournament), and Ura is up to 4-2 now. Terunofuji a miserable and painful 3-3.