Osaka Day 11 Highlights

The many of the crew trying for kachi-koshi today scored their 8th win, and now the race is on to see which of them can finish with double digits. In the processes, the tournament leader Midorifuji took his first loss today. There is a solitary chaser, Daieisho, who has a slim chance to take the cup in 4 days, but only if someone can put dirt on Midorifuji yet again. Midorifuji faces hit-or-miss Wakatakakage on day 12.

I continue to puzzle at what seems like better, more intense sumo coming from Juryo compared to the bulk of the top division. Maybe there is more at stake down there somehow? Maybe folks are less banged up and injured? Today it was a fairly stark contrast, looking at matches like Ichinojo vs Ochiai, Asanoyama vs Gonoyama and a few more. All of those names will be in the top division soon enough, so be ready for some fine sumo later this year. No word what version of GoeidDOS Gonoyama is running.

Highlight Matches

Oshoma defeats Tsurugisho – Oshoma comes to visit from Juryo to pick up a much needed win. He’s probably outside of the promotion zone at this point, but it would be good to see him promoted following the May tournament. He’s the highest ranking rikishi from Naruto heya, and I hope we can see him in the top division soon. I like how Oshoma defended against Tsurugisho’s attempt at a throw, and put the juice into his pivot to get the ponderous bulk that is Tsurugisho onto the clay. He ends the day 5-6.

Daishoho defeats Kinbozan – Once Daishoho got that right hand inside grip, it was his match to lose, and he was not about to let Kinbozan reach kachi-koshi today. Good escape attempt from Kinbozan, but Daishoho fought him off and walked him out of the ring. Yorikiri win and both end the day 7-4, and will try for kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Kotoeko defeats Takanosho – Wow, check out that ottsuke from Kotoeko! I would dare to say the whole match turned on that thing as he shut down Takanosho’s attempt to get a hold, and kept him distracted long enough to set up the tsukiotoshi. Marvelous sumo from Kotoeko, he is now 7-4 and will try kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Mitoryu defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu continues to be little more than practice ballast this March. Mitoryu boxes him up in short order, and carries him to the curb for trash day in Sumida-ku. Yorikiri for Mitoryu, and he’s now 6-5.

Chiyoshoma defeats Nishikifuji – When Chiyoshoma decides he is going to fight without any nonsense, he’s a solid rikishi. Today he hit kachi-koshi with his 8th win after setting up a left hand inside grip against a faltering Nishikifuji, and walking him out to end the day 8-3, and head to the interview room. Nishikifuji has now lost 5 of the last 6 matches.

Hokuseiho defeats Myogiryu – Hokuseiho has managed to shake of the Snorlax virus that Ichinojo gave him on day 5. Unlike prior days, we got to see him use both hands in a frontal grip set up to the yorikiri that took the match. Myogiryu was not quite sure which half of Hokuseiho to fight, I think. There is just so much of him to take on all at once. Hokuseiho now 7-4, and could reach kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Hiradoumi defeats Bushozan – Hiradoumi breaks the pattern, and wins on an odd numbered day in fine style. The bulk of the match was a pushing battle, with Bushozan getting the better of the attack. The tides turned when Hiradoumi got his hands inside of Bushozan’s defenses, and pushed for all he could muster. Hiradoumi now 6-5.

Oho defeats Aoiyama – Again we see Aoiyama unable to hold ground, and employ only partial power in his customary V-Twin attack. He was unable to disrupt Oho’s balance enough for his hit-hit-pull combo to work. Oho eventually got a body hold on Aoiyama and walked him out for a yorikiri, he is now 5-6.

Kagayaki defeats Ichiyamamoto – Kagayaki brings it home with his traditional fundamentals focused sumo. Note how he is maniacal about pushing center mass, and just blasting through Ichiyamamoto’s attempt to attack. The loss makes Ichiyamamoto make-koshi for Osaka, as Kagayaki improves to 5-6.

Takarafuji defeats Sadanoumi – Takarafuji has now won two in a row. Faced with make-koshi he has found some way to rally and pull out a few more wins. I would assume with this one the threat of demotion to Juryo is passed. Sadanoumi provided all the forward motion, but Takarafuji’s defensive sumo instincts provided the kotenage applied while stepping back and to the side.

Kotoshoho defeats Ryuden – I have to assume that Ryuden’s recurring hip problems are back in full force, as he just can’t seem to muster any sumo power at all right now. This match quickly evolved into a protracted grapple with both using right hand inside holds. When the time came, they both battled to lift the other and move, but it was Kotoshoho who was able to swing around and throw, improving to 3-8.

Abi defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi manage to break Abi’s double arm thrusting train early on, but found that those long arms and big hands around the back of his head pulling him forward and down. A quick hatakikomi, and Abi is now 6-5.

Ura defeats Shodai – Across the years, Ura has shown himself to be consistently resistant to Shodai’s cartoon sumo. The most that Shodai could muster today was a brief employment of his “Wall of Daikon” which was only partially effective. When Shodai is using his body as a big blocking wall like that, he is vulnerable to an under-shoulder swing down, given that he keeps his back straight and stiff to bolster the effect. Good work Ura, both end the day 6-5.

Tamawashi defeats Mitakeumi – After losing 8 matches in a row, Tamawashi appears to have cleared whatever problems caused that make-koshi run, and now has two wins in a row. He was able to contain Mitakeumi and push him forcefully from the ring by oshidashi. Tamawashi now 3-8.

Hokutofuji defeats Kotonowaka – After four straight losses to open the basho, Hokutofuji has now won seven in a row. Points to Kotonowaka for being able to push through Hokutofuji’s nodowa and move him back to the bales, but a deft step to the side and thrust down put Kotonowaka down and out at the same time. Hokutofuji now 7-4, and will try for kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Wakamotoharu defeats Midorifuji – Wakamotoharu succeeds in putting dirt on the yusho arasoi leader out of the ring, scoring his 8th win for kachi-koshi in the process. Midorifuji tried for his favorite move, a katasukashi, but Wakamotoharu was ready. Midorifuji’s release of forward pressure to initiate the move was met with power forward, and Midorifuji crashed to the dohyo beyond the bales. Wakamotoharu ends the day 8-3, and the thinnest crack of daylight appears in the yusho race.

Daieisho defeats Takayasu – Daieisho was ring side to see Midorifuji win, and he knew that he could keep his chances alive with a win. At the start of the match, Takayasu’s form was excellent, reminiscent of his days working toward Ozeki. But he got himself into “wild man” mode, and we could see him on one foot. Daieisho attacked then, and rapidly took away any ability Takayasu had to recover his stance. Daieisho advances to 9-2, one win behind Midorifuji once more.

Wakatakakage defeats Tobizaru – I love how Wakatakakage maintained tight cover on Tobizaru, even when the flying monkey tried twice to break contact. This allowed Wakatakakage to attack the moment Tobizaru moved to step away, catching him between steps and with no solid connection to ground. The resulting okuridashi was the payoff for a brilliant match from Wakatakakage, he is now 5-6.

Kiribayama defeats Meisei – Kiribayama stops Miesei one and one half steps into his tachiai, and Meisei has no solid connection to ground. Before he can react and plant his feet, Kiribayama slams him down to the clay by hatakikomi. Kiribayama kachi-koshi at 8-3.

Hoshoryu defeats Endo – Endo attempted to avoid the tachiai, and it did not work well. Hoshoryu captured him with the right hand, and loaded up the spin cycle. It’s been a while since I have seen that one, and its always fun when the rikishi treated like a load of soggy washing started the process with something akin to a henka. Round and round he goes, and ends up in a heap on the shikiri-sen. Hoshoryu kachi-koshi at 8-3.

13 thoughts on “Osaka Day 11 Highlights

  1. Based on our discussions here, I definitely think that injuries are the problem in the top division. Here’s a quick list:

    Definitely injured: Terunofuji, Takakeisho, Onosho, Takarafuji

    Probably/Maybe injured: Ryuden, Mitakeumi, Tamawashi, Hokotofuji, Aoiyama, Meisei, Azumaryu

    When 3/4ths of one side of the banzuke is most likely hurt (and this is just the “big stuff” that can slow them down not standard aches/bruises/etc.) then the quality of sumo will definitely suffer.

    I’m hoping Midorifuji doesn’t follow in Hokotofuji’s steps and lose most, if not all, of the rest of his matches after putting together a quality unbeaten run.

    If everyone who is currently and/or can go on an Ozeki run wins more matches than loses them in the next couple of days, then May is going to be quite a basho.

    Lastly, if both Tsurugisho and Mitoryu manage to hang onto the bottom of the banzuke I will be impressed.

    • The torikumi committee has a particularly clear picture (relatively speaking) of who they can match Midorifuji with in the last three days to influence the outcome. One can put odds on the little guy beating Hoshoryu and/or losing to Kotonowaka, as sure as anything ever is in sumo.

  2. In Juryo today there was a funny, gyoji incident. It was during the bout between Tamanosho and Atamifuji.
    After the bout the gyoji pointed the gumbai towards Atamifuji side suddenly he had a change of mind and pointed towards Tamanosho, declaring that he had one.
    Obviously the jury got confused and called a mono-II and decided Tarinaoshi. In the rematch Tamanosho won the bout.

  3. Who could potentially walk away from May with an ozeki promotion? Since no one has already started an “obvious” run (well, except Kiribayama maybe) the outcomes must be spectacular in both March and May. Granting such outcomes actually occur, every sanyaku rikishi who has a kachi-koshi at this point is in the mix. One interesting question is how to rank them in order of likelihood; my list is: (1) Daieisho, (2) Kiribayama, (3) Hoshoryu, (4) Wakamotoharu(!?, amazing), (5) Kotonowaka. (And what an amazing glow-up it would be for Wakamotoharu to leapfrog Wakatakakage to ozeki.)

    • Actually, if Hoshoryu wins out and goes 12-3 this basho he’ll be at 20 wins which means 13 wins in May should seal the deal, If Kiribayama wins out he’ll be at 23 wins so 10 would seal the deal for him. Daieisho would be a long shot right now because his 10-5 in January came at West Maegashira #1.

      As of right now I’d say Kiribayama is in the Ozeki run driver’s seat followed by Hoshoryu. The rest on your list have some more work to do before they can be considered on an Ozeki run.

      • Daiesho might be starting a run, beginning now. Hatsu won’t count for him. Hoshoryu’s bare minimum kachikoshi in Hatsu has hurt his chances,so he really only starts this time out. Wakamotoharu isn’t on a run yet, either, though if he wins out this month and has a 13-2 or better result in May, perhaps. The only one genuinely in the midst of one is Kiribayama (but he could skuttle it if he doesn’t end up at 10-5 or better).

        • Sometimes results in Maegashira ranks count and sometimes they do not. In these circumstances with just 2 Y/O the Hatsu result as M1 might well count. But Daieisho has his chance for Ozeki promotion only after May. If there happens one after this basho, which is unlikely, it will be one of the Sekiwake.

      • My decision to put Daieisho at the top is in view of the higher possibility of a yusho which I think will compensate for the fact that January’s 10-5 wasn’t in sanyaku. The recent filling of S2 and K2 ranks is a big hint that promotion standards are going to be on the looser side.

  4. “Faltering” is the right word to describe Nishikifuji right now. Maybe he needs a mid-basho mawashi colour change to regain some of his week one mojo. I do wonder if he’s injured. He’s still just about on the right side of the leader board but yikes! Fingers crossed for the next few days.

    Loved the Ura Shodai bout today, plus WMH Midorifuji and Endo Hoshoryu. Did he really need to spin Endo around that much though?!

  5. With 4 days to go, I doubt Midorifuji can hold on to his lead as the yusho winner will need at least 12 wins and Midori is about to face the sanyaku team who will most likely keep him on 10 wins or 11 at most. He will get a special prize, after all he has been a sole leader for 1/3 of the basho. No matter what happens, in absence of top two ranks, it is still very open and exciting.

  6. At the risk of stating the obvious, there is now a significant chance of totally thrilling race for the yusho over the final days. It is entirely possible that Midorifuji loses 2 of his last 4, given he will now be facing the elite. And it is also entirely possible that Daiesho loses one of his remaining 4. There are then 6 rikishi in the chasing 8-3 pack – so it is entirely possible that 2 (or perhaps even 3?) of them remain unbeaten through the final 4 days. Could get very exciting on the final Sunday….

  7. Yeah, like other commentators have said here, I don’t get the certainty here that the yusho is somehow decided. Midorifuji has looked good but there’s nothing to say for certainty he’s going to run the table. If he drops the next four bouts then anything can happen.

    We’ve seen plenty of times that once that first loss happens, the others pile up. The feeling of invincibility could be shattered leading to in-bout mistakes.

  8. Is it just me having Hoshoryu bias?..Or was that…”Henka me ya little prick,,COP this…!!!!” old school punishment…?


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