Nagoya Day 13 Highlights

The 2023 Nagoya basho continues its topsy-turvy ways. We eliminate another Ozeki hopeful from the race to 33, we shuffled the leader board again, and we start to ponder the possibility of the last man on the banzuke, yet again, maybe taking home the cup.

With 2 more days yet to go, I suggest laying in supplies of sake, popcorn, and Pepto-Bismol, as this one is not going to go down easy.

Highlight Matches

Aoiyama defeats Tohakuryu – That’s now 5 wins in a row for an injured Aoiyama, incredible. Tohakuryu had never fought Aoiyama before, so he was probably not ready for the slap-slap-pull that is one of Aoiyama’s favorite combos. Aoiyama now 7-6.

Takarafuji defeats Chiyoshoma – It’s been a while since we saw Takarafuji be able to set up “that” stance, and engage in his favorite defend and extend tactic. But it was there today, and it seems to have thwarted everything Chiyoshoma wanted to use. When Takarafuji chose to attack, it was almost out of position as he hit the clay after sending Chiyoshoma out by yoritaoshi. Takarafuji finally kachi-koshi at 8-5.

Gonoyama defeats Tsurugisho – Gonoyama took charge of the fight, but switched from oshi-zumo to yotsu, even though the oshi attack was working quite well. Once they were chest to chest, Tsurugisho employed a few good combos to try and break Gonoyama’s attack, at least two of them nearly worked. The oshidashi finished the match, and Gonoyama advances to 8-5, and is kachi-koshi for July.

Kotoeko defeats Bushozan – Kotoeko ticks the boxes for an oshi-zumo match; he has his hands inside his opponent’s defenses, and he is hitting him in the middle chest, near center mass. Credit to Bushozan for putting up a solid defense for a time, but once Kotoeko had a clear attack route, he really leaned into his pushing combos. Kotoeko improves to 7-6.

Ryuden defeats Kinbozan – Once Ryuden gets his left hand outside grip, there is not a whole lot that Kinbozan is able to do. He struggles to break the grip if he can, but Ryuden has him locked up. With his heels on the tawara, Kinbozan loses traction and his left knee hits the clay. Ryuden improves to 9-4.

Hokutofuji defeats Endo – Hokutofuji completely disrupts everything Endo wanted to do. Hokutofuji’s “handshake tachiai” is really quite effective when he can land it properly. It sets up the initial pull down attempt that fails, but it leaves Endo doubled over with no foot position at all. A quick shove and he’s out. Hokutofuji maintains his share of the lead at 11-2.

Shonannoumi defeats Nishikifuji – This was a jolly mess of a match, with both men hopelessly out of step and off balance for a good portion of it. As Shonannoumi hit the clay, Nishikifuji’s foot was somewhere near the janome, so a monoii was called. Sure enough, there was an almost imperceptible dent in the fine sand just beyond the bales. The win went to Shonannoumi, advancing him to 9-4 while Nishikifuji is now make-koshi at 5-8.

Sadanoumi defeats Daishoho – Sadanoumi gets his right hand inside at the tachiai, and Daishoho responds with a arm bar hold. But the injured Daishoho can’t hold ground or defend against much forward pressure. Sadanoumi walks him back and out for a yorikiri win. Both end the day 4-9.

Tamawashi defeats Myogiryu – A quick combo attack from Tamawashi followed by a hikiotoshi, and Myogiryu hits the clay. Win #8 for Tamawashi, and he is kachi-koshi for Nagoya.

Kotoshoho defeats Hokuseiho – An odd stand up tachiai from Hokuseiho allow Kotoshoho to attack first. Of course Hokuseiho gets his right hand grip, but it’s inside rather than outside. Without that leverage point Hokuseiho struggles to really do much, as the much smaller Kotoshoho walks him out for a yorikiri. That’s 8 losses for Hokuseiho, and his first ever professional sumo make-koshi. Kotoshoho improves to 5-8.

Takanosho defeats Onosho – Excellent tachiai from Takanosho. He captures Onosho’s right arm and pivots away to prevent Onosho from going to full forward power. Robbed of anything to push against, Onosho is unable to set his feet to defend, and Takanosho attacks from an angle to Onosho’s hips. It’s a quick walk to the bales, and Onosho is out by oshidashi, giving Takanosho a win to improve to 7-6.

Meisei defeats Oho – Thrusting battle or pulling battle? I was not sure how to call this one as I saw three pull attempts before they took their second step. The match did not settle down from there, as both men were unable to decide between thrusting or body holds, and their arms were flailing about like willow trees in a hurricane. Meisei got the better of it and eventually his left hand caught Oho in the chest and shoved him out, advancing him to 6-7 while Oho has his 8th loss and is now make-koshi.

Takayasu defeats Midorifuji – Takayasu gets first contact at the tachiai, with a quick push back followed by a hatakikomi. In his current condition, Midorifuji was not going to withstand that. Takayasu improves to 6-7.

Hiradoumi defeats Mitakeumi – So let me get this straight, Mitakeumi was able to beat Kirishima and Abi, but has lost to everyone else. I get it, he’s miserable right now, and not really in a mood to compete. Hiradoumi did show us some solid sumo in turning the tables on Mitakeumi in this match, and I think it was a solid win. Hiradoumi now 5-8.

Asanoyama defeats Shodai – Asanoyama gets his favorite grip, gets into his favorite stance and just runs Shodai out. I think Shodai was somehow surprised at the speed and power Asanoyama brought to the match today. Shodai now make-koshi at 5-8, Asanoyama improves to 6-7.

Tobizaru defeats Ura – Brilliant fight, as we suspected it might be. Points to Tobizaru’s loose mawashi for being an identifiable combatant in this match, it kept Ura from unleashing any kind of throw or pivot move. Left with little to do but try to hold on, Ura was manageable and fell to a rather messy shitatenage that saw both men land in a heap. Tobizaru now 7-6.

Hakuoho defeats Nishikigi – Hakuoho, you just keep getting better. Hurt shoulder and all, you are really just killing it all around. There is some outstanding yotsu-zumo in this match, and it’s worth watching at least twice. For example, watch Hakuoho prevent Nishikigi from doing anything with his right hand. Forced into hidari-yotsu, Nishikigi is already off his sumo. Hakuoho stalemates him for a good long time, pacifying him. The finishing move is lightning fast and utterly brilliant as Hakuoho steps forward, brings his left leg to bear to set up the uchigake. He drops Nishikigi like bag of rice, removing Nishikigi from the leader position. The crowd loses its mind. Please keep in mind, this is just the first basho that this amazing athlete is competing in the top division. With luck we have years of this kind of sumo to enjoy from him. Both end the day 10-3.

Kotonowaka defeats Abi – Abi attempts a hit and shift tachiai, but Kotonowaka is having none of it. He captures Abi with a right hand inside grip and quickly puts him over the bales for a yorikiri. Kotonowaka now 9-4.

Wakamotoharu defeats Daieisho – Well, that’s going to leave a mark. With 33 wins out of reach for Wakamotoharu, he decides to pass it on and share with Daieisho. It was at least 60% Daieisho’s fault, as he was too eager to dial up the power, and allowed Wakamotoharu to close the gap and disrupt the thrusting attack. Daieisho was so committed to that route, that he persisted with massive forward power even at Wakamotoharu was setting up a step to the side. The resulting hatakikomi put Daieisho on the clay, and ended his bid to reach 33 wins for July. Wakamotoharu now 9-4.

Hoshoryu defeats Kirishima – The last man who might reach 33 wins, Hoshoryu, was able to deliver the goods today against the lone Ozeki, Kirishima. Hoshoryu used an off-angle tachiai to capture Kirishima’s left arm, and put the Ozeki off balance and on defense. Kirishima was unable to escape that hold, and Hoshoryu dominated the match, ending it by running Kirishima out of the ring. Hoshoryu stays in the Ozeki hunt at 10-3.

13 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 13 Highlights

  1. The rookies, once again, prove they belong. But the old guard (Aoiyama, Takarafuji) are signaling they’re not ready to be dismissed yet. Gonna be an interesting transition from this transition period.

    Kinbozan has joined the taped-up club, and seems to be fading into make-koshi land. Such a shame, ’cause his strength is sanyaku-tier, but his skill and awareness aren’t there yet.

    I’m ecstatic for Hokutofuj already. Sole leader after day 13, and he looks supremely confident in his sumo. That footwork of his needs to be studied by every other sumo wrestler.

    Hokuseiho is looking lost. He needs some better coaching, which coming from the stable he’s in, is saying something.

    Onosho concussed? Based on Takanosho’s forehead, I think both rikishi need medical attention after that bout.

    Hakuoho was so ripe for a slap-down in the middle of his match with Nishikigi. His feet were squared during the lean-fest portion of the match, whereas Nishikigi had a more stable stance. So to witness the leg sweep be turned on the rikishi in better position for it… wow. Kudos, Hakuoho.

    If Hoshoryu can survive nearly having his head wrenched off, I think the man deserves the Ozeki bid. But that attitude better shape up with the promotion. I don’t want to see a higher-ranker reveling in the defeat of a rank-and-filer.

  2. Feeling sad for Hokuseiho, about his first make koshi. When there is a lot of expectations on you, there will be lot of pressure. He has strength and physic. If he improves his tachiai and learn few more technique through experience, he will reach great heights, still hoping to see him Sanyaku soon.

    Hoshoryu desperate enough to pull Henka against Kirishima, in his current good form of sumo, Henka is disappointing.

    Deieisho why?? Please pull yourself together and fight carefully , falling to hatakikomi in a row😔.

    Hakuoho vs Nishikigi, bout was excellent, just hoping Hakuho’s injury is not serious. Nishikigi deserves fighting spirit prize.

    Hokutofuji’s tachiai was very powerful and disrupted Endo completely. Tomorrow his match against Hokuoho will be interesting.

  3. Okay, by no reasonable definition of a henka did Hoshoryu pull one today. Are we really going to yell “henka” for anything other than two guys bashing into each other head-on?

    • During tachiai Hoshoryu’s first step was to his right, look at his right leg and he directly got hold of back side of Kirishima’s mawashi, but the lateral movement was not as big as Chiyoshoma. If this is not Henka, at least it looks like an attempted Henka.

      • To me, the intent of a henka is to avoid engaging the opponent. This was not the case here.

        • Compare to what both Wakamotoharu and Daieisho did today, which were both textbook henka. Jump completely out of the way of the opponent and go for the immediate slapdown. Hoshoryu’s quickness and awareness saved him.

  4. Chaos is the unifying theory in Nagoya this basho. So tomorrow we get Hakuoho v. Hokutofuji and if the wunderkind can take down Hokutofuj and Hoshoryu and Nishikigi win their matches we’ll have a 4 way tie going into the final day? Not sure I can recall ever reading about a four way tie, it’s probably happened, but I don’t know, maybe one of the Sumo historians can answer. So riveting, really, this is better than a movie. Hokutofuj can put it to bed with a win, which would also be something, but it’s definitely going to be quite a weekend in Nagoya whatever the results are. Final notes, I’ve enjoyed watching the different phases of Shonannoumi’s black eye the past few days, it’s been waxing like the moon. I’m very impressed by the performances of the 3 rookies. The kids are definitely all right.

    • There is a famous tournament in November 1996 with a 5way Play-off in Makuuchi and I think in March 1997 with a 4way playoff. Don’t recall anything more than a 2men Play-off in the Hakuho era.
      1997 was a great year if you like playoffs, as only hatsu basho was decided without one. There was one more 4way playoff in 1947.
      Big playoffs are much more common in Juryo. In July 2020 there was a 6men playoff (Meisei won, Hoshoryu was in the mix too). November 2019 then Kiribayama took part in a 4men playoff and didn’t win either.September 2017 Abi won a 4way, May 2014 was another … rare in Makuuchi, but happens every other year in Juryo.


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