Nagoya Day 9 Highlights

I like that day 9 gave us some showcase sumo, with some rikishi getting come from behind or “against the odds” wins, and some of our leaders showing us their best technique. We still have 3 rikishi tied for the lead in the yusho race, with Nishikigi having the easier path to the cup given he already beat the top men in week 1. But what’s this? You say Nishikigi has yet to fight Hokutofuji? (Evil super villain laughter intensifies)

Highlight Matches

Bushozan defeats Takarafuji – Every day can be a fresh day in sumo. I take a look at Bushozan coming in with 1-7 today, staring kachi-koshi and a return to Juryo down. We all know that Takarafuji is going to disrupt, block and defect every attack Bushozan can try to land, but Bushozan stays focused, stays center mass, and just steps forward each and every time. Takarafuji recognizes he’s giving ground, and tries for a slap down, only to find Bushozan lunging forward to drive him into the front row. Much respect to Bushozan-seki, nicely done. He advances to 2-7.

Daishoho defeats Hakuoho – Not too sure about Hakuoho’s side step at the tachiai, I think it robbed him of a lot of offensive potential, and let Daishoho dictate the form of the match. Hakuoho does have both hands inside, but that only gives Daishoho the position to clamp his arms down and reduce Hakuoho to practice ballast for the resulting oshidashi. Hard lessons to learn for a future super star, but learn them he must. Daishoho improves to 4-5.

Endo defeats Gonoyama – Dear lord, when I mentioned before the basho that Gonoyama is soft of the Mac mini to Goeido’s iMac, I did not think I would imply that they would break down and malfunction in similar ways. But here we are, Gonoyama now has 4 straight losses after a solid 5-0 start. It’s freaking Goeido II I tell you, at least for this July. That means that the only way to properly reboot him is to grab him by the crotch and fling him to the clay with monster truck force. How many of you knew that’s what Harumafuji was doing? He saved us all from obliteration, or worse. Endo now 7-2.

Aoiyama defeats Chiyoshoma – In the top division, all it takes is a single minor mistake and the whole match can go to your opponent. Note how Chiyoshoma opens strong and is moving Aoiyama back, until he attempts to make a slight turn, which Aoiyama seems to anticipate. Boosting Chiyoshoma turn, Aoiyama gets him turned around and almost runs him out from behind, only to have Chiyoshoma attempt to recover, netting the winning move as oshidashi. Aoiyama really needed that win, he is now 3-6.

Ryuden defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho opened strong, but could not stand up to Ryuden’s counter attack. It’s tough to watch someone with so many excellent sumo tools available to him, like Tsurugisho, struggle with a straightforward match, and be visibly in pain. Tough summer for him, Ryuden now 5-4.

Shonannoumi defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko’s first attempt at a belt grab went horribly wrong, as Shonannoumi times a slam to the back to intersect his reach inside. Kotoeko is propelled forward, out of control, and out of the ring. Excellent reactive skill display from Shonannoumi, he is now 6-3.

Myogiryu defeats Kotoshoho – I am not sure what kind of plan Kotoshoho had for this match, but it looked like “Catch Myogiryu at the tachiai and hold him”. Fine, but Myogiryu’s plan was “bundle him up and toss him to the clay”, which played well with Kotoshoho’s crummy tachiai. Myogiryu now 5-4.

Kinbozan defeats Tamawashi – There goes my dreams of a Tamawashi yusho. Unless most of the leader board catches rapid onset explosive leprosy, or something like that. Sure Tamawashi man-handled Kinbozan and thrust him to the dirt, but his heel left a tell tale mark on the janome, and the gyoji’s gumbai was reversed, giving Kinbozan the win, improving his score to 5-4.

Sadanoumi defeats Takayasu – Big time fade from Takayasu now, this is the first time that Sadanoumi has ever won against him, so I was quite surprised. With the number of grave injuries that Takayasu has sustained in his career, it could be any one of them acting up and giving him fits. The opening parts of the match, Takayasu looks fine and normal. But once Sadanoumi consolidates a frontal left hand grip, Takayasu goes soft and consents to step out. Sadanoumi staves off make-koshi to improve to 2-7.

Hokutofuji defeats Oho – Hokutofuji is really in rare and potent form. Oho hardly knew what to do with him in the few brief moments that match lasted. Hokutofuji picks up his 8th win, is kachi-koshi for Nagoya and maintains his share of the lead.

Takanosho defeats Hokuseiho – Looks like the knowledge of how to best Hokuseiho is spreading from rikishi to rikishi now, get him turned around and you can shove him out from the rear. Kind of like how they move stuck freight trains. I blame Andy. The key moment that they are all exploiting is that Hokuseiho likes to do that over the body right hand reach with a half turn to rob his opponent of any defensive posture. At that moment, just help him keep rotating and get behind him. Done and done. Both end the day 4-5.

Onosho defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji did not make use of his superior lateral mobility, and allowed Onosho to bracket him, then dial up the forward power. I did see Nishikifuji try to dodge for just a moment, but Onosho kept at least one hand on Nishikifuji at all times. Well played. Both end the day at 4-5.

Shodai defeats Midorifuji – A thousand thanks to the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan, who has granted my wish for just one match where Shodai uses some of his old, crazy “What the hell was that” cartoon sumo. He should have been down or out at least 3 times, but was able to stay in, keep his feet and battle back. A glimpse of what once was, and what should have always been. Shodai picks up a much needed win and is now 3-6.

Nishikigi defeats Mitakeumi – Man, I just want to send Mitakeumi a basket of flowers, or maybe a case of highland single malt. The man is rightfully down, but mounts the dohyo each day anyhow. Today he brought a lot of power to this match, and I would like to think he wanted to take Nishikigi down a notch. But whatever kami has a hold of Nishikigi was only playing with Mitakeumi, and there was no way that he was going to lose. After Mitakeumi took control of the match and pushed Nishikigi around at will, Nishikigi rallied and drove Mitakeumi from the ring. Damn potent sumo! Mitakeumi takes his 8th loss and is make-koshi at 1-8, Nishikigi racks his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi for July at 8-1, maintaining his share of the lead.

Tobizaru defeats Kotonowaka – Against most opponents, Kotonowaka would have won this about 3 different ways. But each time he thought he had consolidated his hold or his stance enough to execute a finishing combo, Tobizaru showed he was still free to move and disrupted Kotonowaka’s attack. Each time, Kotonowaka lost ground, until Tobizaru had him at the edge, where a hearty shove took care of the task. Kotonowaka could have employed endurance and patience, worn him down and boxed him up properly, but chose not to. Both end the day 5-4.

Daieisho defeats Abi – The case for Daieisho’s Ozeki bid takes a big step forward with his win over fellow super-thruster Abi. Abi opened strong, probably too strong. He found himself too close to Daieisho, and pivoted to move away. Of course you don’t show your side or your back to Daieisho, or you get the big shove when you can’t absorb it. I think they could have called it okuridashi, but oshidashi was close enough. Daieisho now 7-2.

Hoshoryu defeats Hiradoumi – Hiradoumi did not fight this match like a man on the road to make-koshi. He came in with huge energy and tight moves. For a fair amount of the match, Hiradoumi seemed to be the one taking the initiative, he had Hoshoryu working to defend. But Hiradoumi fell prey to that Mongolian leg lift (kakenage) that can and does get used by the best. Granted, I was quite impressed that Hiradoumi almost shut it down, but Hoshoryu was not going to be denied. Hoshoryu now 8-1, kachi-koshi for Nagoya, and remains in the leader group.

Wakamotoharu defeats Ura – Quite an impressive performance from Wakamotoharu. Unable to finesse Ura, due to Ura being so good at disrupting and tearing down an opponents combos, Wakamotoharu finally just brutes him up and over onto the clay. Wakamotoharu now 7-2.

Kirishima defeats Meisei – Shin-Ozeki Kirishima finally finds his 3rd win. He did not have a strong showing, allowing Meisei to set the terms and form of the match. In fact, Meisei found it not too tough to move Kirishima around, and but for a slippiotoshi, might have prevailed today. But it was a most welcome win for Kirishima, and is now 3-6.

15 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 9 Highlights

  1. Hakuoho may be hurt, other than that, I can’t find any reason he goes for Henka, till now his style was to go ahead with full force.

    Good chance of Nishikigi getting promoted to Sanyaku next basho, his new career high. Looking forward for lksumo’s analysis in the coming days.

    Hoshoryu looks unstoppable.
    Daieisho in good form.
    Wakamotoharu also fighting good
    In the final 5 days, there will matches among the three Sekiwake, so three Ozeki promotion looks difficult.

    And Bruce, what is kami?

    • Kami (from Wikipedia) Kami is the Japanese word for a deity, divinity, or spirit. It has been used to describe mind, God, supreme being, one of the Shinto deities.

      Part of the rituals before the basho start, and after it ends, are to recognize and pay homage to whatever Kami may have been present for the tournament.

    • Daishoho is the heaviest guy in the division. I think a henka is a sensible method of self-preservation if that freight train actually gets rolling.

        • Yeah, there isn’t really a great term to describe what Hakuoho did besides “henka” and it bugs me because you’re right. I’m wondering if he did that to lessen the blows on his hurt shoulder. We’ll see what he does tomorrow.

        • Oh, it was a hit-and-shift? I’ll check again. I thought it was a total dodge attempt but I only watched once.

  2. Three Sekiwake and a potential for 2 losses means someone isn’t getting promoted unless everyone wins out. Which, dare I say it, is actually possible. Good grief.

    You’re correct that Nishikigi/Hototofuji is going to be quite a bout, Bruce. Hoooo boy.

  3. I would love to see all 3 Sekiwakes promoted. Pretty sure one or even two of them won’t reach 33 in 3 bashos. But lack of healthy Yokozuna and Ozekis might be in their favor. Terus retirement is coming, so new Ozekis are more then welcomed. Some of them has to be our new Yokozuna

  4. I’m always kinda sad to watch Midorifuji and Hiradoumi. They both come in with high energy and very agile everyday causing there opponent a great deal of trouble, but ultimately falling just short most of the time. They are both fighting really well, but don’t get the white stars to show for it. Next basho both will probably be in a more comfortable range.

    Quite a surprise that Shonannoumi is leading the rookie group now. He quietly flew a bit under the radar in Juryo and this basho as well with his more prominent contemporaries, but he is showing really solid and consistent sumo.

    Sad about that Tamawashi slip today, but 12-3 could still be good enough for a play off, but probably won’t.

    Hoshoryu is looking really good this basho. Granted with that injury ridden there haven’t been much challenges yet. Considering health and current form outside of the other Sekiwake and maybe Kotonowaka he should dominate all his matches. I’m kinda interested to see him match up with red hot Hokutofuji, but with his advantage in speed and agility and Hokutofuji‘s tendency to overextend, that usually ends in some pull down/slap down.

    I think the odds for 3 promotions are not too bad. They all get a more or less free win against Kirishima and have that round robin with each other. The remaining 2 rounds will probably just the highest ranked Maegashira still available unless you need to throw some competition at Hokutofuji or Endo in the Yusho race. Outside of Nishikigi and Tamawashi there aren’t many Maegashira in the top half with a good basho.

    Down in Juryo Tomokaze has his best basho in years and is the only rikishi to beat Daimami so far. Outside of that not very exciting. Baring some meltdown, we will probably see Kagayaki and Atamifuji back in Makuuchi next basho. Most others seem to target a darwin match on the final day. If Tamoshoho can keep this pace, he could rush through Juryo in just 3 tournaments after spending 12 years getting there.

    • I would add Tobizaru to your list of dynamic wrestlers with Midorifuji and Hiradoumi. I love the action. But sometimes pinballs go down the hole.

      As far as Shonannoumi, he’s a big dude. Glad to see him in primetime and I think he’ll be around for a while.

      • Definitely, his sumo is a bit different though. A lot more chaotic/evasive. He is also a tad more successful this basho;-)


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