Act 2 is now in the history books, and the yusho race is all Takakeisho’s for now. He won his match today with a kotenage. That’s right, the guy with no yotsu-zumo (in theory) has now won two matches this tournament with that kotenage. Opponents now need to be a bit more defensive in their matches, as it seems he can and will grab you and throw you to the clay. I must compliment Takakeisho at clearly working very hard to bring this new dimension to his sumo. It may seem laughable that I laud an Ozeki for a simple kotenage, but adding it to his kimarite, which his oshi/tuski-zumo regime is so strong really complicates things for anyone looking tp win a match against him.
In carry over news from day 9, Hoshoryu did in fact go kyujo from that ankle injury he received in his day 9 loss to Wakamotoharu. But news is that the kyujo is only one day, and Hoshoryu will return to the dohyo on day 11. Maybe he was worried he would miss Kintamayama’s “Font Day” and knew he would be sad for the rest of the month if he did. I hope he will be back in fighting form on Wednesday, but for today Kiribayama picks up the fusensho, and both are now 6-4.
Azumaryu defeats Daiamami – I am impressed that Daiamami was able to misdirect and confound Azumaryu’s sumo for as long as he did. It made for a bit of a laugh to start the top division. But Azumaryu had him boxed and ready to ship by the third step, even though Daiamami made it last quite a bit longer. Azumaryu now one away from his first ever top division kachi-koshi at 7-3.
Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – These two achieved the optimum outcome for getting them closer to a Darwin match, as they both end the day 5-5. Kotoeko stepped to the side at the tachiai, and timed his follow up strike very well, getting Kagayaki out with just two hits.
Chiyoshoma defeats Mitoryu – Chiyoshoma must have tried two or three throwing attempts, but Mitoryu is a plump fellow, and could not be rotated. Chiyoshoma had to settle for just hustling him out for the win, and is now 4-6.
Hiradoumi defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto found his double arm thrusting attacks completely shut down, and for a moment there looked completely lost. Hiradoumi took advantage of his puzzlement, and put him out of the ring, improving to 7-3 with a possible kachi-koshi tomorrow. Ichiyamamoto will improve greatly when he learns how to switch to a back up attack plan.
Endo defeats Takarafuji – I am starting to worry, as Takarafuji has lost 3 of the last 4. I know he has hurt his hand this tournament, but I dearly want him to reach kachi-koshi and remain in the top division. But Endo, what the hell man? A henka today? Get out of here with that stink-burger. He’s now 6-4.
Tsurugisho defeats Oho – I have to now wonder just how low Oho’s score is going to go. With the log-jam of rikishi trying to get on that Juryo barge, I think he’s safe in the top division for now. He’s got to be injured to be performing this poorly (1-9), so I can only hope he gets himself well before Osaka. Tsurugisho grabs a firm hold, dances him about some, and tosses him toward Sadanoumi’s salt basket. Tsurugisho now 4-6.
Kotoshoho defeats Ura – First attempt, Kotoshoho attempts to blast Ura out of the ring, and Kotoshoho gets the gumbo. Replay shows Kotoshoho’s foot in, but the top is touching the clay. No matter, let’s rematch (good choice). Second attempt, Kotoshoho delivers volley after volley of blows to Ura’s face. I think it winds Ura up enough that he tries one of his old “plastic man” tricks, dives down, grabs Kotoshoho’s right leg and heaves. His grip fails, Ura is off balance, and Kotoshoho strikes him down. A real shame, I wanted him to pull it off. Kotoshoho now kachi-koshi at 8-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – Interesting strategy from Hokutofuji today, not letting Aoiyama get into a position to fully extend those long arms and deliver full force from the V-Twin attack. It devolves into Hokutofuji having a right hand inside attack, and delivering a yorikiri against Big Dan. Not a sight you can expect to see between these two. Both end the day at 6-4.
Myogiryu defeats Chiyomaru – It’s not surprise that Chiyomaru picked up his 8th loss today. He’s been hurt since before the basho, and really can’t generate any effective offense. He’s make-koshi now at the last slot on the banzuke, and he will join everyone else already aboard the Juryo barge after day 15. Myogiryu made it official with an oshitaoshi that was more of a slippiotoshi as Chiyomaru’s bum ankle gave out, improving his score to 4-6.
Nishikigi defeats Takanosho – Gentlemen of the Makuuchi corps, if you allow yourself to go chest to chest with Nishikigi, and give him a moment to consolidate his stance, he is going to walk you right out of the ring. I know this is new, and you are used to him being some kind of sumo gummy-bear, but he’s serious now. Just don’t. Takanosho did not get the memo, and Nishikigi now 7-3.
Onosho defeats Nishikifuji – I get the feeling that Nishikifuji was not quite ready for that. Sure, Onosho had won all of their prior matches, but Onosho this day 10 of 2023 Hatsu was in a hurry to win, and Nishikifuji was in the way. A quick run out by yorikiri, and Onosho reaches kachi-koshi at 8-2.
Abi defeats Ryuden – Brilliant recovery from Ryuden put Abi in trouble, quite impressed by Ryuden’s move. But Abi is just as impressive in his recovery and counter-attack that puts Ryuden face down near Sadanoumi’s other salt basket. Abi now 6-4.
Tamawashi defeats Daieisho – Strong, potent open from Daieisho, he had Tamawashi on defense early, and even gave Tamawashi a moment where he was off balance. But somehow Tamawashi regained enough control to take his right arm around Daieisho’s head, and hurl him down. Crazy, wild sumo, but it was good enough for a win, and Tamawashi is now 7-3.
Wakamotoharu defeats Tobizaru – Great hazu-oshi combo train from Wakamotoharu, which fixed Tobizaru in place and removed any chance he might dance around and cause trouble. From there, it was all forward power to drive Tobizaru out, and Wakamotoharu is now 6-4.
Mitakeumi defeats Kotonowaka – Sort of a lumbering tachiai from Kotonowaka, and it was quite refreshing to see Mitakeumi actually able to move fairly well, and brute an opponent out of the ring. He’s 5-5 now, and not quite ready for the scrap heap. But he’s also on a direct course for Darwin territory.
Sadanoumi defeats Wakatakakage – I do believe that Sadanoumi has had enough time with the salt baskets for now, thank you. Facing make-koshi today, he rallies from an early Wakatakakage advantage to deliver an energetic yorikiri, and I think surprised Wakatakakage. Sadanoumi up to 3-7. Wakatakakage, you are not going anywhere near that Ozeki rank soon, sir.
Shodai defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji sets up a double inside grip early. Normally this is trouble for the other guy, but let’s realized it’s Shodai. He’s already standing straight up, he’s as wide as the broad side of a barn, and he does have considerable sumo skill. Shodai clamps down on Midorifuji’s arms, setting up the kimedashi. From there, Midorifuji is trapped, and Shodai walks him out. Shodai now 4-6.
Takakeisho defeats Meisei – Well, I took a look out of my office window to see a flock of pigs oinking as the flapped by. That’s TWO matches Takakeisho has won with throws this tournament. Word to his future opponents, if he grabs you, he can make it work. After an early surge, Meisei ends up on his back thanks to a Takakeisho kotenage, and the Ozeki advances to 9-1.