Natsu Day 13 Highlights

What a blazingly hot day of sumo we just enjoyed. On top of all the yusho and promotion race matches, we had three new kachi-koshi today, congratulations to Myogiryu, Mitakeumi and of course Ozeki Takakeisho, who cleared kadoban status today. He has been day to day for the entire tournament, and I really hope that whatever injury is plaguing him that he can find some route to treatment. Maybe sit out Nagoya and seek immediate medical treatment, especially if the NSK promotes Kiribayama, who picked up his 11th win today.

In the musubi-no-ichiban went according to proper order, with Asanoyama still unable to defeat Yokozuna Terunofuji in his 6th attempt. Asanoyama’s power-grapple is a wonder against most rikishi, but against the Kaiju, it only makes it easier for him to deliver his doom. This brings the yusho race down to a head to head of Terunofuji and Kiribayama, which we will see in the final fight of day 14. I know Terunofuji is banged up, but he is still the strongest man on the dohyo this tournament.

Highlight Matches

Oho defeats Aoiyama – Another day we see Aoiyama pushing with all he can muster, which turns out to be not too much right now, and having zero stability on his feet. Oho gets him off axis and shoves him out by okuridashi. Please, oh great sumo cat of the Kokugikan, why must you taunt us with the haunting prospect of Oho scoring double digits in this basho? Oho finishes the day 9-4.

Myogiryu defeats Takarafuji – Another day where Takarafuji’s brand of sumo is thwarted by his inability to defend in his current condition. Myogiryu makes short work of marching him out by yorikiri, and is now kachi-koshi at 8-5.

Ryuden defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto is unable to keep up his thrusting attacks, and Ryuden remains persistent in getting a belt hold. Once that right hand has a grip, Ryuden sets up the uwatenage that wins the match, he is now 5-8. With 9 losses, Ichiyamamoto raises the chances he will be on the Juryo barge of the damned.

Onosho defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki opts to attack Onosho’s face and neck, leaving his body wide open for Onosho’s tsuki-oshi. Huge strategic mistake to give Onosho a big body to push against and an open inside lane. He makes short work of Kagayaki by oshidashi, improving to 7-6. Kagayaki is now make-koshi at 5-8 on the bottom rung of the banzuke, and he punches his ticket to board the Juryo barge.

Takanosho defeats Mitoryu – Both started the day make-koshi, so this match was to see who paid for beers to night. Please note, if you go have beers with sumotori, bring a LOT of yen. I did enjoy the mutual nodowa fest, that’s not frequently seen, and they both looked like they were in quite a bit of discomfort. Mitoryu drops Takanosho by hikkake, but a monoii ensues. Turns out during the nodowa battle, Mitoryu stepped out, Takanosho gets a much needed win to improve to 5-8, while Mitoryu ups his chances of joining the crew on that Juryo barge.

Chiyoshoma defeats Sadanoumi – Chiyoshoma tries for a henka, but Sadanoumi knows enough about Chiyoshoma to expect such jackassery. But it seems that he and enough of an advantage that he was in charge of the first moments of offense. Having seen the overturned hikkake the match before, it seemed ripe for employment again here, and Chiyoshoma drops the onrushing Sadanoumi like a sack of rice, improving to 7-6.

Ura defeats Daishoho – Ura establishes a body hold at the tachiai, and Daishoho establishes an arm bar hold in response. Ura seems to like his position, and executes a lighting fast katasukashi to drop Daishoho to the clay. Loss number 8 for Daishoho, and he is make-koshi while Ura improves to 7-6.

Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko could not defend center-mass, and was summarily pushed back with not too much effort by Tobizaru’s rapid combo attacks. The oshidashi takes Tobizaru to 6-7, and denies Kotoeko his kachi-koshi today.

Tamawashi defeats Takayasu – Good lord, Takayasu, why did you come back from kyujo. He clearly is still struggling with that leg injury that sent him kyujo to begin with. Tamawashi sets up a thrust, and Takayasu can’t step back and out fast enough. Tamawashi advances to 7-6.

Midorifuji defeats Hokutofuji – Ladies and Gentlemen! I present to you, The most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo! In true Hokutofuji style, he hoovered up his 8th win with energetic, forward moving sumo. But after a throw attempt fell apart, Midorifuji countered with a katasukashi, dropping him to the clay. Both end the day 5-8.

Abi defeats Nishikifuji – Around and around they go, who falls first, nobody knows. Nishikifuji had the better tachiai, but let Abi grab his belt. Abi could not really complete his attempt to throw or swing Nishikifuji out, and both lost their balance. Abi kept his feet while Nishikifuji went tumbling down. Abi improves to 7-6.

Nishikigi defeats Shodai – Nishikigi took his time, and set up his hold. It seems Shodai was counting on the Wall of Daikon to save him today, but could never get his feet set up to deploy it. Nishikigi kept his form, kept his grip and walked Shodai out for a yorikiri, improving to 7-6. That is six straight wins for Nishikigi, wow!

Kotonowaka defeats Kinbozan – Kinbozan can tell he is in the big leagues this basho, as he is trying some of his best moves and getting the stuffing beat out of him in response. If he can adapt and improve, he will be a big deal for years to come. Kinbozan gets captured and pulled to Kotonowaka’s chest early on, shutting down most of what Kinbozan probably had wanted to try. If he wants to be a contender, he really is going to need to be able to at least defend against a mawashi grip. Kotonowaka’s yorikiri takes him to 6-7.

Wakamotoharu defeats Tsurugisho – Wakamotoharu stops Tsurugisho’s winning streak at 6, which is damn impressive for Tsurugisho. After a protracted and pointless stare down, Wakamotoharu made fast work of Tsurugisho as he rushed forward into the tachiai. Both end the day 9-4.

Mitakeumi defeats Daieisho – Excellent defensive foot placement by Mitakeumi allowed him to withstand Daieisho blistering mega-thrust opening. He endured Daieisho’s early surge of offense and waited to get a grip. Mitakeumi got his grapple, and launched forward, taking Daieisho to the clay for his 8th win and kachi-koshi. Both end the day 8-5.

Hoshoryu defeats Hiradoumi – Man, the schedulers need to give Hiradoumi a cream puff match for this 8th win. It was kind of funny up to this point, but that’s 4 days in a row you have given him ball buster opponents when he is on the cusp of a hard earned kachi-koshi. And no, you don’t need to have him fight Terunofuji, the joke has worn thin. I give him points for that excellent block at the tachiai to shut down Hoshoryu’s first grip attempt. But he’s no match for Hoshoryu… yet. Hoshoryu picks up a welcome win to move him closer to double digits and is now 9-4.

Kiribayama defeats Hokuseiho – Hopefully no one is surprised that once Hokuseiho got a hold, he was going to go into his long term stance, wearing Kiribayama down. After a lengthy period of standing an leaning, Hokuseiho attempts offense, but his legs are too stiff, and at his height he struggles to get his center of force low enough to unweight Kiribayama. Hokuseiho tries a leg trip to no effect, then continues to lean on Kiribayama. Hokuseiho then seems to lose focus? Kiribayama stands him up, employs a foot trip and drops Hokuseiho backward by sotogake. 11 wins now for Kiribayama at 11-2.

Takakeisho defeats Meisei – You can condemn Takakeisho for that side step, but when you think about it, it was something Meisei should have been ready for. Needing a win no matter what to clear kadoban, he saw a chance and he took it. Was it good sumo? No! Was is strategically correct? Yes. Takakeisho now kachi-koshi and will retain his Ozeki rank until at least November. Both end the day 8-5.

Terunofuji defeats Asanoyama – If Asanoyama pictures himself re-taking his Ozeki rank, he would be well served to figure out a different approach to fighting Terunofuji. Granted, he’s never fought Yokozuna Terunofuji, but after five tries and zero wins, you would think he could bring something other than his normal left hand lead body grip. That’s about as rapid a kotenage as you are likely to see, and Asanoyama looked completely helpless to do anything other than hit the clay with a resounding thud. By the way, in the Kokugikan, you can sometimes hear the guys land with a thud. It’s glorious. Terunofuji now 12-1, and remains in sole possession of the lead.

14 thoughts on “Natsu Day 13 Highlights

  1. Hokuseiho has to be the most boring rikishi. A wardrobe in his place would not be less exciting. Somehow even Ichinojo falling asleep was more charming than annoying.

    • trying to get into an endurance test with kiribayama was the height of foolishness. I saw that man outlast takayasu of all rikishi twice!

    • I still don’t understand why Hakuho has his pupil fight so lame and mostly one armed.
      That said, Hokuseiho‘s matches are different from all the others and strangely fascinating to watch. I‘m very glad he‘s mounting the banzuke and promises to become one of the main attractions in Sumo. Can‘t wait to see him among the jo’i together with Kinbozan, Ochiai and all the other promising young wrestlers from the lower divisions.

      • I agree. The last thing we need is another basic pusher-thruster whose bouts end in seconds.

  2. I was really hoping to see Kiribayama attack that front leg. Hokuseiho has a tendency to get his leading foot way too far forward. Maybe that’s the trick as opposed to trying to wait him out?

  3. I also miss the Snorlax, yet I don’t think Hokuseiho’s Sumo is boring. His enormity is a huge advantage and that high over the back grip with his right, mostly only his right, is his weapon of choice for now. Some of his matches this Basho have been long, but also exciting. It’s also exciting that he’s just a very young Rikishi, starting his career with consecutive kachi koshi is pretty impressive. Even more impressive is that his Shisho Miyagino said he’d really start learning once he gets some make koshi tourneys under his mawashi.

    This Basho has been very enjoyable with all of the Sekiwake trying to keep their momentum going for their respective Ozeki runs. Surprise excellent performances by Tsrugisho and Meisei, also a nice kachi koshi for the OG Tadpole. Proud of the Grand Tadpole for toughing out his kachi koshi, he and the Yokozuna who’s also clearly in pain are showing everyone what it means to be at the top of the Sumo heap. Toughness beyond words, because it’s a literal heap of injured giants.

    Love the site, great resource, I record the highlight show on NHK but I often read the updates here or check results on the Nihon Sumo Kyokai website before I watch.


    • Miyagino knows that there is more to learn from losing than winning. I’m quite sure he understands that Hokuseiho is green and will fall back on his instincts when he gets into trouble. You can’t teach someone how to fix those until they realize their initial skill set is faulty. I will give both Hokusieho and Kinbozan time. They (and now Ochiai who has only been in FOUR BASHOS!) will all be in the top division in the next basho. All of them will be question marks in a lot of ways until they all learn more and get their feet more under them.

  4. People are much too hard on Hokuseiho. Yeah, his style isn’t the prettiest, but this is only his second top division tournament and he’s only 21 (22?) years old. The kid is a phenom even if you find his style boring. He made Asanoyama look like a joke almost as bad as Terunofujii did.

    I think he has his style and he’s not going to easily pivot from it. He’s a grinder who uses his size and stamina to wear the opponent out. But as time goes, he’s going to round out his skillset so he can go on the attack more effectively so that he doesn’t have to rely on “his style of sumo” exclusively like he has to right now.

    I’d get used to him cause short of an injury he’s going to be around for a very long time.

    • Couldn’t agree more; what he is doing at 21 and in only his 15th full basho (none even close to a make-koshi) is remarkable, and I find it refreshing to watch someone with such a different style.

      (Hokuseiho missed his first Juryo basho due to injury and sat out two because of COVID protocols. In the other 15, his records have been 7-0 Y, 7-0 Y, 7-0 Y, 5-2, 6-1, 7-0 Y (injury) 5-2, 5-2, 5-2, 11-4, 9-6, 10-5, 9-6, 9-6, 8-5 so far, with 3 sekiwake and Asanoyama on his fight card).

    • That win against Asanoyama means nothing. It was a henka that Asanoyama totally wasn’t prepared for. Even if it didn’t directly win, it gave Hokuseiho such a commanding position, that he could quickly convert. Future bouts will tell how he matches up with him.

      That being said, last basho he was my biggest disappointment. Should have gone 3–12 or something, but outlasted a lot of bouts due to his opponents inexperience in how to deal with such a huge and heavy guy.
      This basho I was ready to puke every time he mounts the dohyo after that bout without Ryuden on day 3 or 4, where he did his best imitation of a wet sack of rice, but surprisingly he pulled some switch after that bout and was a lot more active and decisive. Glad he lost those last 3 bouts against top opponents though. He needs those losses to realise his weaknesses and grow further.
      I’m a lot more excited to see him higher up next basho.

  5. Mitoryu’s luck is running exactly the opposite from what it was in the last basho. Tough break, big guy.

    Takayasu is mounting the dohyo for the same reason that Kotoshoho has to show up again. They want to stay in the top division. A win is great, but a loss is better than an absence due to injury in the mind of the banzuke committee.

    I really, REALLY hope Abi is injured. If this is his new version of sumo, I am 100% uninterested.

    I don’t blame Takakeisho for the “hit and shift” tachiai and I agree that Meisei should have considered that as a possibility. He, Daiesho, and Onosho all have an exploitable tachiai in that way. We’ll see if Takakeisho mounts the dohyo for the next two days. I halfway expect for him to go kyujo tomorrow.

    • Picking up that one win removed Takayasu from any possible danger of demotion. At this point, he has very little to gain by staying in.

  6. Just a note to say we finally made it back to see live sumo this week after a 4 year absence and day 13 was a wonderful day for sumo! Memorable wins for Mitakeumi, Ura, Midorifuji and Kiribayama and of course the potentially decisive victory for Terunofuji over Asanoyama. Ten bouts from the end a friendly suited Japanese man came and set next to us – he said he was an official supporter of Takakeisho and had come straight from work just to see him. Had a picture on his phone of him posing with the Ozeki. Obviously he was massively happy and relieved after the victory over Meisei.


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