Natsu Day 11 Highlights

Image shamelessly stolen from the NSK Twitter feed

Day 11 started act 3 off with a bang. Two new kachi-koshi, three new make-koshi, and what looks like a Darwin funnel starting to form. The race for the cup is more or less down to 3 now, and we have set up some great matches for the final 4 days. We have to wonder what kind of switch was thrown in Oho and Nishikigi, as these guys are winning matches now rather than eating dirt.

Highlight Matches

Daishoho defeats Mitoryu – Many times, the battles of the mega-fauna unfold in slow motion, and this was the case today. Both men tend to operate at a languid pace today, comfortable to battle hug and lean into each other for a time. The end was no more exciting than the start, with Daishoho walking forward slowly for the yorikiri. Daishoho advances (slowly) to 5-6.

Kagayaki defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji has no defense today, and his brand of sumo is 80% defense. Thus Kagayaki easily got him on the move and send him back, then out. It’s truly sad to watch this if you like Takarafuji. Kagayaki picks up a much needed win and is 5-6, while Takarafuji is now make-koshi at 3-8.

Ryuden defeats Aoiyama – Ryuden endures Aoiyama’s surprisingly limp thrusting attacks, latching onto Big Dan’s mawashi and getting him on the move. Aoiyama makes a half hearted (quarter hearted?) pulling attempt then goes soft and steps out. This is the look of a man who is hurt and has no intention of taking a fall to compound the issue. Both end the day at 4-7 and are ripe for make-koshi on day 12.

Onosho defeats Myogiryu – This match was low on tactical intrigue, but high on forward pressure. For a time Myogiryu battled back, but could not hold power against Onosho’s front push. He also goes soft and steps out to Onosho’s oshidashi. They both end the day at 6-5.

Takanosho defeats Chiyoshoma – Kind of a surprise finish on this one, as Chiyoshoma had all of the offense in this match. He used a number of push/pull combos to break Takanosho’s balance, but on the final pull down, was out before Takanosho landed. The gyoji looked a bit lost, but eventually pointed the gumbai at Takanosho. I expected a monoii on that alone, but it stood as called. Takanosho improves to 4-7.

Oho defeats Sadanoumi – There has been some sort of evolution in Oho, he has now won 6 of the last 7 matches. He could have lost today, had Sadanoumi kept closer contact. A couple of time Oho was off balance and out of position, just waiting for a slap down, but Sadanoumi was too far away. Oho eventually gets a body hold on Sadanoumi, and heaves him out for a yorikiri, improving to 7-4. Hard to think through that this cupcake could be kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Tamawashi defeats Ichiyamamoto – Tamawashi’s body may be too sore for him to pour on the power right now, but he still has the moves. I love how he captures Ichiyamamoto, turns him and then flings him out. That was loss #8 for Ichiyamamoto and he is make-koshi. Tamawashi improves to 5-6.

Tsurugisho defeats Mitakeumi – This was about as straightforward of a match as you could ask for. They grapple at the tachiai, and Tsurugisho envelopes Mitakeumi with his big hold and wide stance. That is actually saying quite a bit, as Mitakeumi is himself a rather wide fellow. Tsurugisho then crab walks forward and the yorikiri is complete. Tsurugisho now kachi-koshi at 8-3.

Asanoyama defeats Meisei – Meisei shows us how much he wants to win this match by surprising Asanoyama by setting up morozashi and lifting the former Ozeki clear of the dohyo. He puts Asanoyama’s heels on the tawara and looks to be about to score an major win. But Asanoyama counters with a pivot and thrust, sending them both the the clay. Meisei looks around for a monoii, but the Asanoyama win stands. Asanoyama hits double digits at 10-1, and maintains his share of the lead.

Kotoeko defeats Kinbozan – This guy beat an Ozeki? Kotoeko packs, boxes, tags and ships Kinbozan like he works at FedEx. At the tachiai Kotoeko gets a commanding grip, and takes control of the match. Kinbozan tries to evade and escape, but finds no exit before Kotoeko takes him out of the ring. Kotoeko now 6-5.

Nishikigi defeats Hokutofuji – A thousand years from now, the world’s stop scientists will try to figure out what happened to Nishikigi that he went from limp to potent like this. He has now won 4 in a row. Granted he was up against a man who prides himself on a vigorous make-koshi, and that tachiai was a terrible choice. Once Nishikigi takes hold, there was nothing Hokutofuji could do but try to wait for an opening. No opening was available, so Hokutofuji took the yorikiri instead. Nishikigi now 5-6.

Ura defeats Nishikifuji – Are fans getting tired of Ura’s celebration recovery moves? I know I am not, but I am a western barbarian from the anglosphere. I think this one was worth a bit of a celebration too. Nishikifuji was genuinely putting for a big effort to best Ura, and had him stalemated for most of the match. Ura did manage to break contact, and Nishikifuji went in for the win. Big gamble with Ura, who accepted Nishikifuji’s offer of a kinetic finish, and applied a tottari to send Nishikifuji hurtling past for a loss. Ura now 5-6.

Takayasu defeats Abi – Welcome back Takayasu! Abi goes for the big forward power thrusting attack, finds Takayasu is far too heavy today to really more, and gets a volley of blows to the back of his outstretched head. Down goes Abi by hatakikomi, and Takayasu gets his first win to be 1-10.

Shodai defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru should have had that match, but there was a bit too “monkey” in his sumo today. Shodai lunged forward for a finishing move, mostly missed and was teetering at the edge of the ring. Sadly Tobizaru could not do anything with it, and caught Shodai’s follow up strike. Both end the day 5-6, and are headed for Darwin in my estimation.

Kotonowaka defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji was horribly off balance from the start, and only his thrashing about kept Kotonowaka from dropping him to the clay any sooner. That’s loss 8 for Midorifuji, and he is make-koshi, while Kotonowaka improves to 5-6.

Kiribayama defeats Hiradoumi – Kiribayama looked very good today, strong, in control and shutting down all of Hiradoumi’s probing attacks. On the topic of Hiradoumi – this guy really gave the Ozeki hopeful a tough fight. He continues to impress me. But it seems Kiribayama is a man on a mission right now, with the skill to see it done. He waits out Hiradoumi, and then brutes him out by yorikiri. Kiribayama now 9-2, and faces kadoban Ozeki Takakeisho on day 12.

Wakamotoharu defeats Hokuseiho – What amazes me is that there is no chance to use an ottsuke against this guy. He just reaches over you and grabs your mawashi from the back. Wakamotoharu knows he is fighting an uphill battle, but really pours on the power against Hakuho’s giant. There is a lengthy chest to chest stalemate where Wakamotoharu seems to be testing how long Hokuseiho can maintain the pressure. The answer is – a long time. Wakamotoharu attacks first, and is shut down. Hokuseiho decides time is up, and moves for the yorikiri, but then Wakamotoharu gets one last roll of the dice. As Hokuseiho presses forward, Wakamotoharu moves for an utchari. Keep in mind, Wakamotoharu is rotating with giant in his grip, but manages to complete the arc, bringing Hokuseiho to the clay a moment before he touches down himself. Brilliant move. Wakamotoharu secures kachi-koshi at 8-3.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – What would you do if your friend was hurt and defending a hard-won rank that you yourself hope to achieve? That’s right, you make it look good. I am not saying Daieisho threw this match. But it did turn out the “right” way, did it not. Daieisho, you are a hero in my book. Both end the day 7-4, and Takakeisho can clear kadoban tomorrow.

Terunofuji defeats Hoshoryu – That’s nine matches that Hoshoryu has fought against Terunofuji, and not a single win. This guy gets worried about the kaiju and leaves the last 10% of his sumo in the akeni. Double inside grip against Terunofuji? You should know where that one goes. A quick kimedashi. Terunofuji evens up with Asanoyama at 10-1.

7 thoughts on “Natsu Day 11 Highlights

  1. I loved today, Asanoyama again faced pressure and responded.

    Wakabro damn! One of the coolest moves I’ve seen in a long time, that was epic and I am glad the crowd applauded him, it was epic.

    And Hoshoryu vs Teru seemed like an anime boss battle, I could see Hoshoryu being the good guy main character against the final boss with all that anime rock music as he decided to go for that throw near the edge, the throw he has been practicing since birth, all the flashbacks start to show in the episode (full episode worth of flash backs and tears) until we finally arrive at the present and Hoshoryu is about to win with his climax throw and then… nothing, Teru just stood there like a wall and went (IS THAT IT????) and Hoshoryu goes “NANIIII!!!!!!” and gets blasted out and loses all of his powers.

    Hoshoryu’s revenge for what Teru did to his whole family will have to wait!

    Ok I took the story a bit far but that was hilariously bad how easily Teru beat Hoshoryu last night.

  2. Now that I’ve seen it in action it seems obvious that Wakamotoharu’s utchari skill is the perfect counter to Hokuseiho’s wait-for-nage style.

  3. Haven’t seen a backward bend like that (Ura) since Kotoshogiku.

    Seems to me that Asa is riding his luck. He is winning but only just – much as when he was Ozeki. Won’t last.

  4. I am currently the most impressed with Tsurugisho. What a way to get his kachi-koshi!

    Asanoyama is going to earn his rank in the next couple of bashos because he’s not as dominant as some people think he is. Being up into the Joi is going to be a knock-down drag-out fight for him every time he mounts the dohyo. Ozeki is absolutely not a guarantee.

    I’m not surprised that Kinbozan is losing right now. He took a big leap up the banzuke for this basho. I suspect he’ll drop down a bit and then be able to settle in a bit more. He hasn’t even competed in 20 bashos yet.

    Kiribayama knew he had Hiradoumi right where he wanted him once he had his grip set. There’s a lot of confidence there and it’s good to see.

    Now it’s time for Hokuseiho to start facing the music. You can’t just haul dudes around without thinking about strategy and counter-moves at the top of the banzuke. The other thing he’s going to have to adjust to in upcoming bashos is that his opponents are thinking and learning just as much as he is now. Regarding the finish, even if Wakamotoharu’s body fully hit the ground first Hokuseiho’s toe dragged before anything else touched the ground.

    Daiesho seemed to take a Hakuho-like “I want to beat you with your best sumo” approach in his match today. He definitely didn’t take advantage of Takakeisho’s injuries which I honestly wouldn’t expect him to do.

    I really hope the rikishi that are fighting the Yokozuna in the coming days don’t giftwrap a win to him like Hoshoryu did today. Talk about a lack of awareness and strategy. Ye Gods.


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