The finale of yet another oddball Aki basho is upon us. Today we decide who gets the Emperor’s Cup, and the most likely winner is none other the 37 year old iron man of sumo, Tamawashi. When I say iron man, I mean he’s not missed a match or a day of practice. He’s some completely dedicated his life to the sport, that is his sole focus most days. If he can take the cup, it’s his second yusho, and the rest of his stats just amaze.
- 111 Basho
- 78 Basho ranked in the top division
- 1(2?) Yusho
- 7 Kinboshi
- 1 Jun-yuso
- 1 Gino-sho
- 1 Shukun-sho
- 1 Kanto-sho
He also bakes. Quite well I understand. Oh, you think this is another one of Bruce’s tall tales? From Wikipedia…
Tamawashi married a fellow Mongolian in 2012. His second child was born in January 2019, on the same day as his tournament championship was confirmed. Tamawashi is a talented baker, known for his cakes and cookies.
There is no need for a leaderboard today, We have one match of consequence, Tamawashi is going to fight Takayasu near the middle of the top division match roster. If Tamawashi wins, he takes the cup. If Takayasu wins, it’s a playoff following the Ozeki match to end the tournament. Much as I adore Takayasu, I recognize that Tamawashi has to win one, Takayasu has to win twice to take the yusho, and the odds therefore favor Tamawashi.
What We Are Watching Day 15
Tsurugisho vs Yutakayama – Both are 4-10, and I would not be surprised if this match was to determine who gets to stay in the top division on double secret probation. Yutakayama has a 6-3 winning record against Tsurugisho, and Tsurugisho makes faces like he is getting poked with a hot iron before, during and after the recent matches. So he’s wrecked.
Ichiyamamoto vs Mitoryu – Both are 5-9, deeply make-koshi, and Mitoryu is probably headed for the Juryo barge this evening to make a slow and smelly trip back to the second division. At Maegashira 16e, Mitoryu did not have any room to spare, and a 6-9 or 5-10 record nominates him for demotion.
Terutsuyoshi vs Ryuden – I think this is one of those “leftovers” matches, where the schedulers have all of the matches they want, then they have a set of rikishi they toss together because that is who is left. So we have kachi-koshi Ryuden at 10-4 against 6-6 Terutsuyoshi. I kind of want to see Ryuden go double digits in his “welcome back” tournament.
Chiyoshoma vs Kotoeko – I am certain that Chiyoshoma would like to improve from his current 9-5 to a 10 win record. All he has to do is beat 5-9 Kotoeko, who would certainly welcome the win. The wrinkle? With one exception, Kotoeko has been taking Chiyoshoma’s lunch money since 2019 (10-5).
Aoiyama vs Hiradoumi – First ever match, I had been hoping that Hiradoumi’s (5-9) survival in the top division would be settled today by a Darwin match, but instead he gets Aoiyama (7-7). This probably comes down to if genki Aoiyama shows up, or orthopedic ward Aoiyama ounts the dohyo instead.
Takarafuji vs Okinoumi – Another battle of the make-koshi. We get 4-10 Takarafuji probably donating a win to 6-8 Okinoumi. They have a 29 match history fighting each other that splits 17-12 in favor of Takarafuji. But given both are some degree if injured, this may not matter one bit.
Nishikigi vs Chiyotairyu – Still more battles of the terminally make-koshi, now it’s 5-9 Nishikigi against 6-8 Chiyotairyu. If Nishikigi can keep his feet at the tachiai, I think he has a decent shot here to win. Since both of them are mid to upper Maegashira, none of them is likely to risk dropping out of the top division.
Oho vs Ura – First of our Darwin matches today. Ura has failed the last 2 day to get his 8th win, and now has to face bulky Oho, who likewise can’t seem to find another white star anywhere. I am sure he has checked the cushions, and the bottom of his rice bowl three times today already. Ura won their only prior match. With Ura looking far to static the past few days, I would really enjoy if he gave Oho a proper grab and tug sumo demonstration today.
Kotoshoho vs Meisei – Second Darwin match, this time its Meisei and Kotoshoho both at 7-7. Meisei comes in having won the last 4, and Kotoshoho has lost the last two. That gives an advantage to Meisei by my reckoning. As with all Darwin matches, winner is kachi-koshi, the loser make-koshi following this match.
Kotonowaka vs Nishikifuji – Both rikishi have wining records, but I think this is to see if Nishikifuji (9-5) can hit 10 wins and score double digits for his second consecutive tournament. Granted, last basho he had an odds defying 3 fusensho when his opponent would withdraw from competition. But a pair of back to back 10-5s for your first two basho in the top division is pretty nice. He just has to beat Kotonowaka for the first time ever (0-3).
Onosho vs Midorifuji – Back to the battle of the make-koshi, it’s off balance Onosho (5-9) against “over promoted” Midorifuji (6-8). He has won their only prior match, and if he can finish 7-8 in his first time as Maegashira 1, that’s actually quite noteworthy, as all of his Ozeki matches were first ever in his career.
Tobizaru vs Takanosho – Lets switch back to the kashi-koshi track, and we get sumo’s flying monkey, who did indeed go flying against Tamawashi on day 14. When asked by an interviewer, “How do you feel about your match with Tamawashi today” a disoriented Tobizaru replied “Thursday!”. Takanosho (8-6) has a 7-3 career record against him, but their last match was in May, and since then Takanosho has gotten hurt, and Tobizaru’s sumo has made a significant improvement.
Tamawashi vs Takayasu – The big match of the day, if 12-2 Tamawashi wins, he’s making cookies for everyone, including Takayasu’s children. If Takayasu (11-3) wins, its playoff following the last match of the day. Takayasu has a narrow 16-14 record on the clay, but Tamawashi took their last match in November of 2021 (oshidashi).
Myogiryu vs Kiribayama – This is likely to be a Kiribayama pick up to have him finish 9-6, just to increase the logjam in the Sekiwake ranks. How about Sekiwake 4 North? Sure, why not. Bring Yoshikaze out of retirement and have him terrorize everyone for 15 days. Back in reality mode, both men are 8-6, and if Myogiryu wins it will be his first ever over Kiribayama.
Tochinoshin vs Ichinojo – Battle of the make-koshi mega-fauna! Or in Pokemon terms, Snorlax vs Ursaring. Whomever gets this white star will have a coveted 7th win, which for Ichinojo would cushion his drop out of the named ranks. We know Ichinojo tends to show up for fights that matter, perhaps this will be one of those days.
Daieisho vs Hokutofuji – I do hope that Hokutofuji (10-4) receives some manner of special prize this basho. He really did fight very well, perhaps his best in many years, and for want of a proper fight on day 12, he might still be in the yusho race. Daieisho is already make-koshi at 6-8, but he seems to have once again found his sumo. You can expect high powered frontal attack from each of these men today.
Endo vs Hoshoryu – The final Darwin match of the tournament, it’s Endo, who has been sputtering along for the past year, going against occasionally brilliant Hoshoryu. It’s your last fight until November in front of the fans, please make it a good one. If Hoshoryu wins, he keeps his Sekiwake rank, and increases the logjam for the named posts. Endo, who would only move up a notch or two in the rank and file, does love to play spoiler.
Wakatakakage vs Sadanoumi – Wakatakakage (10-4) would be well advised to find a way to win his match today, and bring his score to 11-4. This “11” would put him one third of the way toward the notional goal to be considered for Ozeki promotion. He has a 2-0 career record over speed demon Sadanoumi (9-5), who is right how fighting some of the best sumo of his life. I would love to see Sadanoumi get his second double digit finish this year.
Wakamotoharu vs Mitakeumi – Why does this match exist? 4-10 pre-demoted Ozeki Mitakeumi should be kyujo already. Maybe we will get word this morning that he has throw in the towel, and decided to “listen to his body”. That would bring Wakamotoharu to a nice 10-5 finish for September.
Takakeisho vs Shodai – Shodai (4-10), please, you are kadoban, you are struggling. Give us a henka today? What a way to finish regulation for this Aki basho. I am sure Takakeisho would understand.