Day 13 featured a lot of quick matches, and flurry of rikishi hitting their 8th win or their 8th loss. 3 men picked up their kachi-koshi today, and a whopping 7 hit their 8th loss and make-koshi today. You may have noticed that you don’t see me raging on about “Darwin matches” or the “Darwin funnel” this basho. That’s because it seems that our guess going into the middle weekend, that they would not run one, was in fact correct. That is not to say they won’t have a few 7-7 matches on Sunday, I think there may be two or so. It’s just that you can’t see them actively trying to herd as many rikishi into 7-7 scores at the end of day 14 this September. I am actually grateful for that, as it just seems to add another layer of creeping doom into the final week of the tournament.
In the yusho race, we have Tobizaru and Nishikifuji picking up losses today, so the field for the middle weekend indicates that unless something odd happens we will see the yusho be played out between our leader Tamawashi at 11-2, with Takayasu and Hokutofuji at 10-3. I note with some interest that Hokutofuji has Wakatakakage on day 14, Takayasu faces Hoshoryu, and Tamawashi is fighting Tobizaru. If there is one thing to take away from this, it’s that Tobizaru will likely relish his role of spoiler in the final weekend of the tournament.
Chiyotairyu defeats Tsurugisho – Some actual powerful forward motion form Chiyotairyu today, I was not expecting to see that. He steps aside when Tsurugisho counter attacks, and puts Tsurugisho on the deck. Chiyotairyu improves to 5-8.
Yutakayama defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho opened strong, and then Yutakayama sort of hulks out and bashes Kotoshoho around and shoves him out. Kotoshoho misses out on kachi-koshi today, as Yutakayama advances to 4-9.
Hiradoumi defeats Kotoeko – Great sumo from this first ever match between Kotoeko and Hiradoumi. Kotoeko had the advantage in the front part of this match, and Hiradoumi found himself under attack and moving to the rear. Kotoeko attempted a throw without consolidating his grip or his feet, and it fell apart. The second attempt again was poorly constructed, and Hiradoumi was able to break the grip mid rotation and bring Kotoeko down. I think they did not know what to call that move, so it was given a tsukiotoshi label and everyone tried to move on. Loss number 8 for Kotoeko, and he is make-koshi for September, while Hiradoumi is 7-6, and will try for kachi-koshi tomorrow.
Chiyoshoma defeats Myogiryu – I am delighted to see Chiyoshoma pick up his 8th win today. He has fought well, and I think I would like to see if he can survive in the middle ranks of the banzuke. When you see Chiyoshoma hit at the tachiai with his hands together, aiming for center-mass, you know what he’s about to do. A quick push back followed by hatakikomi. It caught Myogiryu off balance and brought him down, Chiyoshoma kachi-koshi at 8-5.
Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – Both of these guys are aging out, and are nursing performance limiting injuries. But wow can they bring the battle to the dohyo. Tochinoshin got his left hand outside grip early, but could not get his right hand to give him any purchase. Okinoumi kept his shoulder and hips square, and was able to blunt each attempt by Tochinoshin to lift and move him. After not being able to get Okinoumi in a losing position, he went for the old standby – uwatenage. But seeing him hop about on that bandaged right knee trying to simulate the pivot, well, you can feel the pain from 8,000 miles away. Tochinoshin advances to 5-8
Mitoryu defeats Onosho – This was an interesting test of Onosho, as he normally can generate phenomenal amounts of forward pressure. Instead, Mitoryu was able to capture him and walk him back without too much trouble. Points to back or lower body problems as the cause of Onosho’s poor performance. Both end the day at 5-8, as Onosho hits his 8th loss and is kachi-koshi for Aki.
Aoiyama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Two hands out, and twist! Down goes Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai. It was fast and sort of brutal. That’s loss number 8 for Terutsuyoshi, and he is make-koshi. Aoiyama improves to 4-9.
Ryuden defeats Endo – I am starting to get jazzed about the refreshed version of Ryuden. He gets a right hand grip, and works that advantage into a win by yorikiri. Endo got boxed in, and really ran out of options kind of early in this match, but was able to keep fighting, hoping for an opening. Ryuden now 9-4.
Sadanoumi defeats Oho – Oho, what the hell, man? That’s 3 losses in a row now. Just suck it up and get that 8th win. Nobody’s going to give it to you. Sadanoumi dials down he speed today to “steady walk” but brings up the power. He lifts and shifts Oho out for a yorikiri win, reaching kachi-koshi and ending the day 8-5.
Takarafuji defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto is so similar to Abi, that the same technique that Takarafuji used against Ichiyamamoto today was used against Abi recently. Get Ichiyamamoto to crank up the power, then step aside. That’s loss number 8 for Ichiyamamoto, and he is make-koshi for September, while Takarafuji continues to reduce the severity of his upcoming demotion by moving to 4-9.
Tamawashi defeats Nishikifuji – Well, that was a bit of a waste of a match. Nishikifuji decides he’s going to submarine against Tamawashi, who seems grateful that Nishikifuji did the hard part for him, and puts the pressure on from above and crushes him down into the clay, ending with a pride obliterating teabagging. Tamawashi stays the sole leader at 11-2 while punting Nishikifuji out of the chaser group.
Kotonowaka defeats Takanosho – Takanosho was just a bit too eager to move his feet today. I did not see him try to get heavy at all, and maybe he was intimidated by Kotonowaka’s greater mass. That never stopped Chiyonofuji, just to point it out. With each passing second, Takanosho’s lateral moves were more energetic, and his feet less in contact with the clay, making him an easy mark for Kotonowaka, who finished him with an uwatedashinage. That’s kachi-koshi for Kotonowaka as he improves to 8-5.
Meisei defeats Midorifuji – It was a battle of the swinging arms as these two tried to smack the other one silly. It was Midorifuji who could not keep his balance and footing, and hit the clay from Meisei’s hatakikomi. Loss number 8 for Midorifuji, and he is make-koshi. Meisei staves off his 8th loss for an impressive third day in a row, and is now 6-7.
Hokutofuji defeats Tobizaru – I am grateful that Hokutofuji did not let his day 12 belly flop impact his sumo today. I still hope we get something akin to a 3 way playoff on the final day, and that two of my long suffering favorites, Hokutofuji and Takayasu, have a chance to try for the yusho. A hit and shift to the left today set up the combo tsukiotoshi that dropped Tobizaru for a quick win. Hokutofuji remains 1 behind Tamawashi at 10-3.
Takayasu defeats Kiribayama – Wild man sumo tachiai followed by a Kiribayama slippiotoshi. By the way, we need to get that added as an official non-technique, please. Sometimes names are so accurate, they cannot be denied. I think it should come with some kind of special prize for Kintamayama for not only making the term widely known, but for doing so much to bring sumo to the rest of the world. The man is a treasure. Takayasu advances to 10-3.
Ichinojo defeats Ura – Ura tries an escape move at the tachiai, but the Snorlax is awake today, and rampages forward with Ura his only target. Ichinojo ends the day 5-8. Hey, Mr Boulder – where was that sumo the rest of this basho?
Wakamotoharu defeats Daieisho – We get to see some of Daieisho’s big “power forward” sumo today, and he strips Wakamotoharu of any chance to fight in this match, but he cleverly minds his feet, and ensure that he stays in the air until Daieisho touches down on the clay. A monoii confirms it, leaving Daieisho make-koshi at 5-8, and Wakamotoharu kachi-koshi at 8-5.
Hoshoryu defeats Nishikigi – Hoshoryu does not worry about Nishikigi’s early grip, his solid hand placement, or his forward pressure. Instead Hoshoryu focuses on what his body is doing, and sets up a mighty shitatenage that ejects Nishikigi a moment later. Nishikigi’s 8th loss, and is make-koshi at 5-8, while Hoshoryu as now won 3 of the last 4, and is 7-6.
Shodai defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi’s match plan? Pull, pull and pull again. No forward power, no offensive sumo, just a cheap attempt to get Shodai to fall. It’s clear Mitakeumi’s body is not moving well, I would strongly recommend he just go kyujo now and get things repaired for November, there really is nothing left for him to prove at Aki. Shodai picks up a rare win and is now 3-10.
Wakatakakage defeats Takakeisho – Ole! Sauce for the goose, I suppose. If had paid a huge amount of money for tickets to sumo, I would feel a bit robbed to get henka in the final match of the day two days in a row. Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better. Wakatakakage now 9-4