With Terunofuji finally kyujo, we can set aside concerns for the Yokozuna. Word is that he is seeking surgery to help keep at least one of his knees together. I do hope that Isegahama and the NSK keep Terunofuji on light duty until after the Kyushu basho. I think a January return to Yokozuna duties makes all the sense in the world for him, and if we are lucky, we can get another year or so out of those knees. Maybe by then, someone will be ready to take the rope. His opponent today, Daieisho, picks up the freebie and is now 4-6.
The big news is that in the highlight bout of the day, Takayasu was able to continue his dominant streak over Hokutofuji, finally handing him his first loss. With that defeat, Hokutofuji dropped to 9-1, and the yusho race has broadened considerably. In fact, Takayasu gave himself a shot at the cup by besting on of his long standing rivals. Where does it go from here? We will look into that in this afternoon’s preview of day 11.
For now we can say that yes indeed, act 2 hit the mark with excellence. We have sorted the men into make-koshi and kachi-koshi paths, and the yusho race is ready for our full attention. Well done to the sumo association for their continued excellence.
Tohakuryu defeats Terutsuyoshi – This match fell apart for Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai. Going very low and trying to grab deep, Terutsuyoshi was an easy mark for any kind of counter offense. Juryo visitor Tohakuryu repelled him with force, sending Terutsuyoshi stumbling off balance. Tohakuryu chased him down and pushed him out for a win. He returns to Juryo at 6-4.
Oho defeats Ichiyamamoto – There are days where Oho looks very solid in sumo fundamentals, and today is one of those days. He does not seem to be able to execute like this all the time, and that is why I think he’s going to hang around the bottom end of the banzuke a while longer. But when he has it going, it looks like this. Ichiyamamoto started a but early, but found Oho far too solid and planted to move him to any effect. Oho countered dead center mass, marching Ichiyamamoto out three steps later. Oho improves to 7-3.
Ryuden defeats Chiyoshoma – My take away from this match – nice defense from Chiyoshoma. I counted the number of times that Ryuden tried to crank his right hand grip to get Chiyoshoma to move or lean over, and he stood fast. Ryuden finally decided to slow down, consolidate both his grip and his stance, and try a third time. He was then able to make the uwatedashinage, picking up his 6th win to finish the day 6-4.
Kotoshoho defeats Hiradoumi – I don’t think Kotoshoho planned that combo, but when his second head and neck thrust left Hiradoumi’s hands out of place, Kotoshoho decided to fling his opponents forward. It connected well, and Hiradoumi went tumbling over the east side bales. Kotoshoho improves to 5-5.
Chiyotairyu defeats Mitoryu – Chiyotairyu has suddenly found motivation to fight just a bit harder, and picks up his second win in a row. It was big, sloppy sumo from Chiyotairyu, but it got the job done as he coaxed Mitoryu into giving up his balance, and then Chiyotairyu slapped him down. Chiyotairyu now 3-7.
Takanosho defeats Okinoumi – I am starting to have some hope around Takanosho. It’s tough to see a bright star ascend the ranks, get hurt when he seems to be on the cusp of a new level of performance, and end up struggling in the bottom third of the banzuke. Good endurance match for Okinoumi, with Takanosho taking his time to set up the win. He advances to 6-4.
Aoiyama defeats Tsurugisho – Why Tsurugisho was not expecting that immediate hikiotoshi from Aoiyama is beyond me. It’s more or less the only thing he can do right now. That’s loss number 8 for Tsurugisho, and I would not be surprised to find him back in Juryo in November. Aoiyama staves off make-koshi another day at 3-7.
Onosho defeats Yutakayama – The damaged Yutakayama can’t hold back the overwhelming forward power Onosho was able to generate today. Even when he is healthy, Yutakayama would have struggled with that. Onosho improves to 4-6.
Nishikifuji defeats Wakamotoharu – Impressive work by Nishikifuji to break Wakamotoharu’s left hand grip. That is typically the opening move for Wakamotoharu to set up an attack. Robbed of his body position and his grip, he was wide open to Nishikifuji’s oshidashi. Nishikifuji kachi-koshi at 8-2.
Endo defeats Kotoeko – Today we got “good” Endo. He had a good grip early, boxed Kotoeko in, and then escorted him directly out of the ring. Both end the day 4-6.
Takarafuji defeats Myogiryu – Now that he is kachi-koshi, I guess it’s time for Takarafuji to win a few. Double arm bar hold from Takarafuji following the tachiai, gave him control for a time. Myogiryu broke that hold and both started slapping the other man down. They collapsed together, but Myogiryu hit the clay first. Takarafuji advances to 2-8.
Sadanoumi defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin’s hit and shift left him wide open to the impressive speed for Sadanoumi, who ran Tochinoshin out before he could even blink. That man is so very fast. Sadanoumi improves to 6-4.
Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – The big match of the day, sadly it ended with what looks like a slippiotoshi (nod to Kintamayama). The form was more or less what you would expect from these two, big, strong, burly-man sumo. Each was trying to overpower the other, and it was glorious. But in the fourth exchange of volleys, Hokutofuji has his right foot too far behind him, and can’t hold ground. First loss for Hokutofuji, and Takayasu improves to 8-1, securing his kachi-koshi.
Nishikigi defeats Meisei – Meisei charges in hard, but finds that Nishikigi is not moving back one bit. Instead, Nishikigi grabs a hold, shoves Meisei to the side and rolls him to the clay with a pivot. Tsukiotoshi win, and Nishikigi is now 5-5. I so want him to kachi-koshi this time out.
Kotonowaka defeats Midorifuji – A rather exotic combo throw / fall at the end of what was a rapid initial clash saw both men land together near the time keeper. the gumbai went to Midorifuji, but there was a monoii to sort it all out. The katasukashi was not quite successful due to a step out, and a rematch was called. Second time out, Kotonowaka is not having any of Midorifuji’s antics, and rapidly grabs, lifts and throws. The sukuinage advances him to 6-4.
Tobizaru defeats Kiribayama – Tobizaru continues his habit of taking Kiribayama’s lunch money, now up to an 8-4 career record. If you look, Kiribayama sets up inside at the tachiai, attacks well, and is pommelling Tobizaru with fine effect. But sumo’s flying monkey stays focused, gets his right hand inside, and finds a grip. Too late Kiribayama understands that he is without any offense, and his defensive position in poor. Tobizaru takes his time, and dismantles Kiribayama a piece at a time, shoving Kiribayama out to take the match, and improve to 7-3.
Wakatakakage defeats Ura – Wakatakakage understands that you can’t let Ura get mobile, and you can’t let him latch on to your arms or hands if you want to win. Excellent strategy from Wakatakakage, and he’s now 7-3.
Tamawashi defeats Mitakeumi – Its another bad day to be an Ozeki. Tamawashi needs another free year of food from all of the trophy sponsors, and he’s going to bash whomever he needs to to lift that cup on Sunday. With Hokutofuji getting his first clay facial of September, the door is now open. Future Ozekiwake Mitakeumi puts a lot of power into his tachiai, and overwhelms Tamawashi at first. But Tamawashi puts him in a “nuggie hold” and swings the heavier Mitakeumi around at the bales to put him out of the ring. Tamawashi is even with Hokutofuji at 9-1, sharing the lead for the cup.
Ichinojo defeats Shodai – We saw a glimpse of forward power from Shodai today, but let’s face it. Ichinojo is just so frigg’n huge that to move him reliably, it takes a crane. The Nagoya yusho winner was not in Snorlax mode today, and responded vigorously to Shodai’s offense, grabbing him with a left hand outside grip, and marching him out of the ring. Ichinojo up to 4-6 now.
Hoshoryu defeats Takakeisho – Completing the trifecta, Hoshoryu gets a hold of Takakeisho’s right leg and drops him without ceremony. Hoshoryu improves to 5-5.