Osaka Day 9 Highlights

Day 9 featured some stand out matches, including the closer between Ryuden and Kiribayama. The match went on for a good length of time as a yotsu-zumo battle of strength and endurance. My complements to both men for one hell of a maximum effort fight. Prior to the start of day 9, Onosho withdrew from the tournament, citing a knee injury or re-injury. This explains his balance problems starting day 6. He will be out at least until Natsu in May, and I hope he can get his body healthy. Hokutofuji gets the fusensho, and improves to 5-4.

Later in the day, Shodai lost to Kotonowaka after a mis-timed move left him off balance at exactly the wrong moment. I am a bit sad that we won’t get to see Shodai try for this cup this March, but I am happy he decided to give fans some of his “good” sumo this month.

Midorifuji remains unbeaten, but I don’t expect that to hold into act 3, when the scheduling team gives harder matches to lower ranked rikishi with leading scores. Not that the men left populating the san’yaku are that fierce right now, but they have to be tougher than fighting his peers in the middle of the banzuke.

Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Hokuseiho – Hokuseiho is now a far cry from his first 4 days when he seemed like quite the amazing new rikishi. Chiyoshoma easily dismantles his weak tachiai, stands him up and tosses him to the clay in what seems like an almost effortless uwatedashinage. I recall Hakuho saying that Hokuseiho will improve once he starts losing, and gets his first make-koshi. It seems that day has come. Chiyoshoma 6-3.

Bushozan defeats Tsurugisho – I don’t know why Tsurugisho seemed so lethargic today, and lacking attack power. Maybe he was injured in the past few days. The proof came when Bushozan came in for a grapple, and Tsurugisho tried to pull, giving the match to Bushozan, who ran him out for an oshidashi win to improve to 4-5.

Kotoeko defeats Oho – Well, that was kind of a crummy henka. Oho bought it in full, and skidded to a stop with his hands on the dohyo. Kotoeko now 6-3.

Mitoryu defeats Takarafuji – It breaks my hear to see Takarafuji struggle like this. In the comments for today’s preview, the possibilities of his demotion to Juryo was bantered about, and its looking more likely with each passing day. His problems started at the tachiai, where it looks like he is trying to protect his back. The match devolves into an arm’s length leaning contest, with Takarafuji breaking position first. Mitoryu followed with a quick thrust to the chest for an oshidashi win, improving to 4-5.

Takanosho defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki tried to pull on the third exchange, and that was a big mistake. Takanosho’s feet were set, and his balance firm. The pull resulted in a potent Takanosho combo center mass, and Kagayaki was out three steps later. Takanosho now 6-3, I am starting to think he might be over his injuries and ready to climb back to the named ranks, where he belongs.

Nishikifuji defeats Kinbozan – Nishikifuji was working hard to develop a left hand frontal grip, but an opportunity with his right opened up, and he took it. The result was a shitatedashinage that brought Kinbozan down. Both end the day at 6-3.

Myogiryu defeats Daishoho – Its enlightening to see that once Myogiryu had Daishoho in a stalemate hold, Daishoho immediately went for a pull. For the love of the Great Sumo Cat, don’t do this guys. It’s boring sumo. Myogiryu runs Daishoho out, and scores his 4th win to finish the day 4-5.

Takayasu defeats Aoiyama – Takayasu goes for the battle-hug quickly, getting Aoiyama moving back from the second step. Aoiyama is still quite dangerous in this configuration, as he will try a slap down just before he steps out. It came on schedule, but Takayasu was enough ahead of that anticipated attack to ensure Big Dan was out before Takayasu hit the clay. He advances to 7-2 and stays in the yusho hunt.

Sadanoumi defeats Azumaryu – Good grief, Azumaryu has lost on all 9 days of the Haru basho. Azumaryu got his right hand inside early, and if you were going by that, you would think he had a solid shot at winning his first match. But Sadanoumi had him in a better hold. Sadanoumi lifted and walked ahead for the yorikiri, and finishes the day 2-7 to avoid make-koshi.

Endo defeats Hiradoumi – Hiradoumi puts in a solid effort, but against Endo it was simply not enough. Endo is hot or cold, but right now he’s warm to blazing. Check out his left arm ottsuke shutting down Hiradoumi as he works with his right hand inside. Endo decides to wait Hiradoumi out, and a sure as summer sunshine, Hiradoumi tires, Endo changes his grip, and Hiradoumi is out 3 steps later. Endo takes the match by yorikiri, and is 7-2.

Midorifuji defeats Ura – The pivotal match of the day, it was all down to Ura to cook up some impossible sumo. Ura had an excellent and dominant position, with a right hand hazu-oshi and a left hand outside. But for whatever reason he released his left, raised his arm and tried a pull. That gave the match to Midorifuji, who was happy to attack while Ura’s feet were off the ground, and dash him out of the ring. Midorifuji picks up the win by oshitaoshi, and remains unbeaten by 9-0.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Kotoshoho – Ichiyamamoto makes it 3 wins in a row, but lord what a mess. Ichiyamamoto kept pulling, failing, and nearly falling down. Not sure where Kotoshoho was, but he was handed a win at least 3 times, and could not do anything about it. The shambling wreck of Ichiyamamoto’s sumo eventually decided to try something in a forward gear, and found Kotoshoho easy enough to move out with a shove. Ichiyamamoto now 3-6, Kotoshoho picks up his 8th loss and is make-koshi.

Mitakeumi defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi stumbles on the second step, and Mitakeumi knows just want to do, he backs away and guides Nishikigi forward with his hands, turning and pulling as he retreats. Good enough for a win, and Mitakeumi improves to 4-5.

Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – Traditional attack plan from Daieisho, with Tamawashi unable to answer in his current condition. Kind of sad to watch, but I understand why Tamawashi keeps going. Daieisho now kachi-koshi at 8-1, remaining one behind Midorifuji. Tamawashi now make-koshi at 1-8.

Kotonowaka defeats Shodai – So much for any notion that Shodai would compete for the cup. I still expect him to finish with at least 8 wins. The match turns when Shodai momentarily loses his balance, and is on one foot. Kotonowaka’s reaction time is blindingly fast, and he counters before Shodai can recover. Shodai tries an escape, and it’s about half a second shy of allowing him to set his feet. Kotonowaka takes the match by oshitaoshi thanks to impressive reaction time and spot on sumo skill, he is 7-2 and remains in the chase group.

Wakamotoharu defeats Abi – Not sure what the plan was there. Good opening combo from Abi, but he quickly tried for a headlock on Wakamotoharu and a pull. No way that was going to be effective, as Abi has no defense, and effectively no offense at that point. Wakamotoharu ran him out of the ring to advance to 6-3.

Hoshoryu defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru decided to employ a henka at the tachiai. Hoshoryu was mostly unaffected by it, and caught Tobizaru off balance thanks to his henka. A quick tug on Tobizaru from Hoshoryu’s right hand, and the flying monkey took flight. Hoshoryu improves to 6-3.

Wakatakakage defeats Meisei – So it seems that Wakatakakage is out of his basho starting cold streak, now winning 4 in a row. He blasted Meisei from the start of the match, and drove him from the ring in a brutal stampede of sumo force. Both end the day 4-5.

Kiribayama defeats Ryuden – Ryuden gave it his all today, and was in fairly good form. His hips were quite high from the start, and that may be thanks to Ryuden’s persistent lower back problems. They lock up in the center of the dohyo, and wait each other out. When they resume active combat, Kiribayama can’t quite get the advantage, and Ryuden continues to stalemate and play for time. On his third attempt, Kiribayama finally overpowers Ryuden’s defense, and steps him out of the ring. Outstanding effort from both. Kiribayama now 6-3, Ryuden make-koshi at 1-8.

19 thoughts on “Osaka Day 9 Highlights

  1. Thanks to the Tachiai team for your blogs. They’ve really helped me to understand and follow the tournaments since I started watching sumo last July.

    I’ve just watched today’s action via the NHK highlights. I appreciate the English commentary but miss the stats and humour from Natto Sumo as well as showing some of the ceremonies, such as the whole bow-twirling in today’s coverage. I did actually go to Natto Sumo to replay some of the bouts I found interesting. Some thoughts from a newbie:

    Kotoeko Oho – I’m not anti-henka but this felt unfair against an opponent with a poorer score and not doing too well. The look on Oho’s face said it all!

    Nishikifuji Kinbozan – Woohoo! Not that 5-3 was a bad record going into today, but I was starting to worry that my favourite rikishi was on a losing streak and / or injured.

    Endo Hiradoumi – I really enjoyed that longer bout with some classing sumo poses. Hiradoumi is alternating between losses and wins this tournament!

    Midorifuji Ura – Wow! Just wow from the Little Green Man! I hope he gets a prize even if not the yusho. It must be quite unusual to get a “perfect” kachi-koshi, as he did yesterday? Also, his success will make his mate Nishikifuji happy so that’s a bonus! Btw, I can’t stop chuckling at the “espresso crab” description of Ura from a few days ago! I’d say espresso crab disguised as a blancmange! I love Ura’s attitude.

    Kotoshoho Ichiyamamoto – An amazing come back and so exciting. We’ve seen a few of those this basho, and we got another one later on on Day 9!

    Onosho Hokutofuji – Am I right in thinking that Onosho going kyujo will mean we get more Juryo visitors in the final days?

    Shodai Kotonowaka – A competitive bout! I’m sad for Shodai, but I’m happy he’s doing well. This is the first tournament where I’ve understood why he’s considered such a force. Where did the “Wall of Daikon” epithet come from?

    Hoshoryu Tobizaru – Absolutely valid to henka Hoshoryu, but you’ve got do it right! Another surprising comeback, and especially surprising for the Flying Monkey! Hilarious smirk on Hoshoryu’s face.

    Kiribayama Ryuden – An impressive effort from both rikishi. I’m sorry for Ryuden’s make-koshi.

    Some long-standing sumo fans seem to be disappointed by this basho, but I’m really enjoying it! Keep up the good work, Tachiai Team, you really contribute to that enjoyment.

  2. You saw Takarafuji taking care of his back. I saw him keeping all of his weight on his back, right leg and gingerly adjusting his left ankle repeatedly. If both places are injured, he’s in really bad shape.

    There are a lot of matches at this point that feel like a coinflip can decide the outcome. It’s not bad thing, just more noticeable at the moment.

    I also feel like Midorifuji has at least one loss in him. But, everyone else has to keep winning too.

  3. OMG! For the first time in many years I actually wathced the NHK TV broadcast of the matches today. Both announcers should have been checked for a pulse and neither had any useful or meaningful color commentary or otherwise.

    They couldn’t excite a dung beetle if they had a dump truck load of manure and I’d rather hike up Mt. Fuji barefoot than listen to them again.

    • I say put the guys from Grand Sumo Breakdown in there. Granted, they don’t speak Japanese, but I am sure the watchers know enough English to at least laugh along with their antics. Maybe as an alt-alt language channel? NHK had Hiro on the SAP English side of things today.

  4. Watching Sumo is even more pleasurable/sensible with the following monikers seared in my mind…

    Shodai, Wall of Daikon (thanks Bruce)
    Daiesho, Mega-thrust
    Ura, Insane battle-crab
    Abi, Death Frog (oh no that’s mine and my son’s)

    But how to classify Midorifuji’s current stand-up sumo? He seems to be more front and centre this tournament. Any suggestions anyone. Give us your crazy true.

    • There were many others from bygone days, such as Goeido being a poorly constructed sumo robot, running GoeiDOS, which sometimes crashed into a less capable version know as “Bouncy Castle” mode. Kisenosato was, and always shall be, “The dump truck”, and a host of others. I don’t do it as much as I used to. My time budget to watch sumo has gone to hell with becoming a father. It’s a worthy trade that I would make any day, but it gives me a lot less time to write about sumo.

    • Oh, and Kotoshogiku as “The Kyushu Bulldozer”, Terunofuji as “Kaiju”, Hakuho as “The Boss”, Harumafuji as “The Horse”, Yoshikaze as “The Berserker”, Kisenosato again as “The Great Pumpkin”. Ichinojo as “The Boulder”, Yutakayama and Asanoyama as “The Freshmen”, Aoiyama as “Big Dan”, Chiynokuni as “The Grumpy Badger”. I am sure there are dozens of others. Some readers got quite put out about some of these. Funny now, really.

      • My sister and I have borrowed a few of these and given other rikishi nicknames either because we can’t pronounce their ring name or some trait.

        Wakamotoharu became Aniki. (Big Brother)
        Wakatakakage became Stutter, since that’s what it sounds like the announces are doing when they give his name.
        Hokutofuji is bull for his pre-bout ritual of stomping the ground.
        Takayasu is Bear (or Bear-Bear) for his old pre-bout ritual that made his look like a bear.
        Hoshoryu is Glower. That’s what he is always doing.

  5. Hi Newshikifanji, Welcome to Sumo Fandom. For me, there’s some context to Kotoeko’s henka today.. First, he’s older and smaller. Second, typically, and I mean routinely, he’s a solid rikishi who consistently gives it all he’s got (not sure I’ve ever seen him henka before). Third, although he’s been make-koshi the last few basho, in tho one though, he stands a real chance make kachi-koshi. So what do you think? Is one lil ole henka so bad? He’s not a rising star like Hoshoryu…see what I mean? These “rules” in here aren’t hard and fast. Case by case. 😀 Cheers. Enjoy!

    • Hi Sherry R! Thanks for that helpful context. You make some good points and as I said I’m not a henka-hater and I’m not going to be a Kotoeko-hater because of this! But part of me still think he could have saved the henka for an opponent who was higher ranked, had better record, or was actually fighting well this tournament!

  6. Hi Newshikifanji, Welcome to Sumo Fandom. For me, there’s some context to Kotoeko’s henka today.. First, he’s olsmaller. Second, typically, and I mean routinely, he’s a solid rikishi who consistently gives it all he’s got (not sure I’ve ever seen him henka before). Third, although he’s been make-koshi the last few basho, in tho one though, he stands a real chance make kachi-koshi. So what do you think? Is one lil ole henka so bad? He’s not a rising star like Hoshoryu…see what I mean? These “rules” in here aren’t hard and fast. Case by case. 😀 Cheers. Enjoy!


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