When everyone in the yusho race are ranked below san’yaku, odd things can happen. These are rikishi on a “hot streak”, much like Ichinojo in July, and the hot streak rikishi will carry forward as far as they can. But eventually those hot streaks may falter. So today, we had a big re-rack of the yusho race. Tamawashi took a loss, then a number of other people won, with the crucial fight being Hokutofuji’s loss to Takakeisho. This leaves Tamawashi as sole leader, but now there are 4 rikishi just one win behind, and a further 4 two wins behind the leader. This is a bit chaotic to the start of day 13, but it is still Tamawashi’s yusho to lose. We now know the winning score will be no higher than 13-2, but I expect it to be no higher than 12-3 when they toss the gyoji at the end of day 15.
Okinoumi defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama put Okinoumi on defense at the tachiai, and kept him from using a right hand inside grip. One thing that may not get discussed much, but many rikishi really almost insist on a certain inside / outside grip to do much in the way of powerful sumo. Locking Okinoumi out of using his right hand inside, Yutakayama kept Okinoumi from “getting comfortable”, would be my closest choice of words. Okinoumi has been doing this for a long time, and adapted. It was a bit clumsy, as he could not get his throw attempt to work “backwards”, but he managed a yorikiri anyhow. Okinoumi finishes day 12 6-6.
Kotoshoho defeats Mitoryu – Today, Mitoryu’s sumo was interesting to watch. He was not really able to generate any offensive or forward power, but he was doing a masterful job of evading every move Kotoshoho employed to try and get him out. Sometimes, winning a sumo match can be done by simply not losing, and it looks like that may have been Mitoryu’s strategy today. But eventually Kotoshoho managed to box him in and get him out, giving him his 8th loss and Mitoryu is make-koshi for September. Kotoshoho improves to 7-5.
Takanosho defeats Chiyoshoma – Onigiri-kun Takanosho continues his rehabilitation basho, he’s now won the last 4 in a row, and locked in kachi-koshi for September. I think the defining moment of this match was when Takanosho shoved Chiyoshoma away, just as Chiyoshoma was about to get a grip and set up his attack. Nicely done, sir! Takanosho is now 8-4. Kimarite is listed as tsukite, as Chiyoshoma lost his footing, and touched the clay as he recovered balance.
Myogiryu defeats Oho – Oho has now lost 2 in a row, and 3 of the last 4. Did he get hurt? Or is he just having some kind of 2nd week struggle? He was fighting well, evenly balanced against Myogiryu, and then tried to pull. Of course Myogiryu had a plan for that, and took control of the match, putting Oho out by oshidashi three steps later. Both end the day at 7-5.
Ryuden defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko could not maintain the block against Ryuden getting his left hand inside, and on Kotoeko’s mawashi. He did manage to prevent Ryuden’s attempt to throw, but just ran out of dohyo to attempt any evasion. Ryuden scores his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi for September at 8-4. Welcome back to the top division, sir. Glad you will be sticking around.
Hiradoumi defeats Tochinoshin – Holy smokes, where as this edition of Hiradoumi been? Granted, Tochinoshin is not able to fight with the strength of a bear, that has a strength of two bears any more, but what a combo from Hiradoumi. Did he hulk out when Tochinoshin broke his attack and shoved him away? It almost looked like it. Sadly Tochinoshin is now make-koshi at 4-8, while Hiradoumi is 6-6.
Chiyotairyu defeats Aoiyama – I would describe this match as tentative and obligatory. They needed to compete, they are both make-koshi, and they are both in sub-par condition. They tried to move as little as possible with their lower bodies, and just bludgeon the other one into submission. It was a close call, but Chiyotairyu managed to thrust Aoiyama down to improve to 4-8.
Onosho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Another day, another low tachiai from Terutsuyoshi, in fact too low. He gets hand placement, can’t hold on and gets rampaged out by Onosho. Both end the day 5-7. I have seen better sumo in Makushita.
Endo defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto tries his “one weird trick” on Endo, and it’s not working. So, if you are one dimensional, you do it again except much harder. Endo is unmoved, and gives Ichiyamamoto his walking papers. Endo advances to 6-6.
Tsurugisho defeats Takarafuji – In act 3 you tend to see these “battle of the disastrous record” matches. I get it that these guys need to continue to compete, and if they can pick up wins. I liked Tsurugisho’s try for a katasukashi, but he could not complete the move and converted it into a tsukiotoshi. Tsurugisho now 4-8.
Wakamotoharu defeats Tamawashi – Oh, Tamawashi. I am sure you have already asked yourself, but when your right hand broke contact, why did your left hand try to pull Wakamotoharu? Wakamotoharu is good enough that he did not waste a moment powering forward and putting you away. Tamawashi gives up the lead as Wakamotoharu improves to 7-5.
Tobizaru defeats Nishikifuji – A big compliment to Nishikifuji for his match plan. Spam the daylights out of Tobizaru with everything you can throw at him, and maybe overwhelm him. It certainly delivered on rapid action. I have not seen a pugilistic display like that since the last time my cat go into the weapons grade catnip. But when your opponent is basically a fox spirit in human form, none of that is going to work at all. Tobizaru absorbs the chaos, and it only makes him stronger. He grows weary of the hitting and shoves the still flailing Nishikifuji out. Both end the day 9-3. Nishikifuji falls back to remain one behind Tamawashi. Tobizaru closes the gap to the leader, and is now in the chase group.
Ura defeats Midorifuji – Another chaos spirit fighting an Isegahama rikishi? Sure, let’s do that please. When Ura lines up “all the way downtown” you know that it’s going to be a special day. Ura seems to be working on some kind of attack, but Midorifuji steps out. They call it a kimedashi, which is close enough. It’s 7-5 for Ura.
Meisei defeats Ichinojo – I can only describe Ichinojo as “flaccid” for today. It amazes me that a guy that big can be moved about so easily by a person the size of Meisei. Testament to Meisei’s sumo. But seriously, where is the Ichinojo who was so gloriously immobile in July? I want my Snorlax back. Meisei delivers Ichinojo his make-koshi, and demotion out of the named ranks, while improving to 5-7.
Kiribayama defeats Kotonowaka – Unwilling to pick up his third loss in a row, Kiribayama fought like he meant it today. I liked the morozashi, loved the drive and happy he finally powered Kotonowaka over the bales. Both end 7-5, and will probably get their kachi-koshi tomorrow.
Takayasu defeats Wakatakakage – Takayasu fought with a lot of power, but really did not look focused, on balance or very tidy at all. But sometimes the wild man sumo style can get you a win. He breaks Wakatakakage’s win streak at 8, and improves to 9-3, now one win behind Tamawashi.
Daieisho defeats Sadanoumi – Daieisho is not quite ready to accept make-koshi today, and puts up a fight against speed demon Sadanoumi. I really liked Sadanoumi’s interview the other day. His voice was like a character from a historical drama. In fact when he’s done with sumo, he should go be a voice actor, he has a great set of pipes. I wonder if he can sing as well? Daieisho ignores his Sadanoumi’s glorious voice, and pushes him back and out. Daieisho now 5-7.
Hoshoryu defeats Shodai – Good golly – Hoshoryu just bulls his way into a kubinage against Shodai. Granted, this is a highly diminished version of Shodai, but at somewhere around 170kg, that’s a lot of daikon to toss over your shoulder like that. I note the gasp that escapes Shodai as he hits the clay. Can we assume Shodai is having back problems this September? Hoshoryu improves to 6-6.
Takakeisho defeats Hokutofuji – Ole! A single touch from Takakeisho as Hokutofuji’s big tachiai goes roaring past like to Tohoku Shinkansen ripping through Ueno. Hokutofuji gets completely airborne, as Takakeisho looks at him sail past. Glorious henka deluxe today. Takakeisho picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi. With this loss Hokutofuji joins the 9 win crowd now one behind Tamawashi.
Mitakeumi defeats Nishikigi – This first fight was far closer than it should have been for Mitakeumi, and for a time Nishikigi had his preferred set up. The mutual throw that ended the match resulted in a monoii and it was determined they landed together, time for a rematch. The second fight, Mitakeumi did a better job at keeping Nishikigi contained. Mitakeumi caught Nishikigi reaching for a belt grip and dumped him to the clay with a tsukiotoshi. Mitakeumi improves to 4-8.