Nagoya Day 15 Highlights

The final day of sumo saw an unthinkable flurry of special prizes awarded, along with a first time yusho winner. We will have a new Ozeki in September, as Hoshoryu takes the cup and the promotion while the other two hopefuls fail to reach double digit scores, and must start over in September.

Early on day 15, Hiradoumi dropped out, giving Kotoshoho a free win on the final day. On to the matches!

Highlight Matches

Daishoho defeats Roga – Daishoho wins his exchange match, and if it works out as lksumo predicts, stay in the top division for September. The fight itself was remarkably straightforward, Roga went chest to chest with Daishoho, Daishoho moved him back and slapped him down. Daishoho ends Nagoya 6-9.

Takarafuji defeats Tsurugisho – One last loss for Tsurugisho to send him to double digits. He had little ability to hold up to forward pressure head on, and I hope he can heal up or at least improve for September. Takarafuji gingerly walks him around until he can get directly in front of him, then shoves him out. Takarafuji ends Nagoya 9-6, Tsurugisho 5-10.

Shonannoumi defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu plows straight ahead into Shonannoumi, who puts his neck under his right arm and slams Myogiryu to the clay. Simple and effective. Myogiryu finishes Nagoya 6-9, Shonannoumi reaches double digits at 10-5, and a Fighting Spirit special prize.

Endo defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji works hard to keep Endo from touching his mawashi for most of the match with good reason. As soon as Endo does manage to latch on, Nishikifuji is out three steps later by yorikiri. Nishikifuji finishes Nagoya 5-10, Endo with double digit wins at 10-5.

Aoiyama defeats Sadanoumi – Aoiyama closes out with 7 straight wins after a rocky start of 2-6. I thought he was a goner from the top division for sure. Sadanoumi put up a solid defense today, but once Big Dan got his meaty hands around Sadanoumi’s neck, the hatakikomi was on its way. Sadanoumi has a final score of 5-10, Aoiyama finishes with 9-6.

Gonoyama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi sets up his favored face attack from the second step, and Gonoyama looks overwhelmed. But he manages to consolidate his sumo, and finds Tamawashi’s chest open for thrusting attacks. Tamawashi attempts to counter with a pull, but Gonoyama has his target, and won’t relent. He drives Tamawashi from the ring by oshidashi for a final day win. Tamawashi finishes 8-7, Gonoyama 10-5 with a Fighting Spirit special prize.

Takayasu defeats Chiyoshoma – Takayasu manages to gather up enough sumo power on the final day for one last win, pushing Chiyoshoma back and out in direct and rapid fashion. Chiyoshoma’s final score for Nagoya is 6-9, Takayasu 7-8.

Oho defeats Bushozan – Bushozan has one moment where he is attacking, it lasts until Oho can get his hands under Bushozan’s arms and begin to lift and push Bushozan back. Unable to do much to stop Oho’s advance, Bushozan is out quickly by yorikiri. Final score for Bushozan is 3-12, for Oho 6-9.

Meisei defeats Kinbozan – The only Darwin match of the basho, Kinbozan lets his feet get into poor position while he is distracted by a tsuki/oshi fight with Meisei. A quick tsukiotoshi while Kinbozan is off balance, and it’s Meisei’s win. He’s kachi-koshi on the final day at 8-7, Meisei make-koshi at 7-8.

Midorifuji defeats Hokuseiho – No official special prize for Midorifuji throwing the enormous Hokuseiho by shitatenage to win the match, but you have to know every sumo fan looked at that and said “Wow!”. Both with double digit losses at Nagoya, Hokuseiho at 5-10, Midorifuji at 4-11.

Mitakeumi defeats Onosho – Mitakeumi proves his sumo is still around, even if he is not actually using it this tournament. He handily brackets and constrains Onosho, engaging him in a yotsu-zumo fight that favors Mitakeumi if he wants to fight. The match was not spectacular, but gave Mitakeumi a final day win to finish at 3-12, while Onosho ends the tournament with 6-9.

Ura defeats Shodai – Ura showed up to compete today, Shodai did not. Ura got a double inside body grip on Shodai, and ran him for the east side before the former ozeki could set his feet up to defend. Ura finishes Nagoya 7-8, Shodai 6-9.

Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – We guessed this might be a wild, fast and dynamic match, and it was. Both men were at close to full throttle, and the finishing okuridashi had Kotoeko deep in the zabuton interacting with the fans. Both end the tournament kachi-koshi, with Kotoeko at 8-7, Tobizaru 9-6.

Hokutofuji defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi’s early attempt at a pull gets him horribly off balance, with his feet aligned to boot. Hokutofuji says, “Thank you very much” and puts him on the clay. Nishikigi ends Nagoya with a respectable 10-5, and the Outstanding Performance special prize. Hokutofuji advances to a yusho playoff at 12-3, with a Fighting Spirit special prize.

Kotonowaka defeats Ryuden – Ryuden was not match for Kotonowaka’s yotsu today. He grabs a hold but finds Kotonowaka putting much more power forward. A quick walk back and a win by yorikiri. Ryuden’s final score 10-5, Kotonowaka 11-4 with yet another Fighting Spirit special prize.

Asanoyama defeats Wakamotoharu – Wakamotoharu fails to reach double digits, resetting any hoped for Ozeki run back to the start. Asanoyama’s makikae gave him perfect hand placement to deliver the power to Wakamotoharu’s chest, setting up the yorikiri. Wakamotoharu finishes Nagoya 9-6, Asanoyama kachi-koshi at 8-7 after coming back from kyujo.

Takanosho defeats Daieisho – Daieisho resorts to his preferred “mega-thrust” sumo with all power forward. If you can endure the initial hits, its quite easy to set up a step to the side and a match winning hikiotoshi against him, which is just what Takanosho does. Daieisho also fails to reach double digits, his Ozeki bid is likewise reset, and he will have to try again. Final scores for Nagoya, Daieisho at 9-6, Takanosho at 8-7 and kachi-koshi on the final day.

Hoshoryu defeats Hakuoho – It was over in a flash, as Hoshoryu expertly set up the uwatenage at the first step and took Hakuoho down before the rookie could counter. Hoshoryu ties for the yusho with Hokutofuji, and advances to the playoff match. Hakuoho finishes the basho with an impressive 11-4 after facing some of the top men in the sport from the bottom of the banzuke, and beating them. This earned him the Technique special prize and the Fighting Spirit special prize. Hoshoryu at 12-3 also picks up a Fighting Spirit special prize.

Abi defeats Kirishima – With his bid to remain out of kadoban ended, Kirishima suffers a final day loss to already make-koshi Abi. This might be the first time this week we have seen Abi-zumo really work at full power, and he uses it to eject the lone Ozeki from the ring. Final scores for Nagoya, Abi at 6-9, Kirishima at 6-9.

Yusho Playoff

Hoshoryu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji had his sumo running well, but for some reason decided to pull against Hoshoryu. That lost him the match to be certain, as Hoshoryu ran him out like a bad batch of curry. Hoshoryu wins his first Emperor’s Cup, secures an Ozeki promotion, and finally smiles for the first time in 2023.

Congratulations to yusho winner Hoshoryu, enjoy your moment of victory!

To the readers of Tachiai, this ends our regular basho coverage. I am sure we will continue posting during the run up to Hoshoryu’s Ozeki promotion in the coming week. Thank you and see you again in September for the Aki basho.

29 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 15 Highlights

  1. An exciting last day!!! I must admit I was rooting for Hokutofuji, if only because Hoshoryu is bound to have plenty more opportunities to win a yusho. But seeing the emotion from Hoshoryu after winning that play-off bout was so moving.

    Also, Midorifuji throwing Hokuseiho was surely the highlight kimarite of the basho! That’s exactly the kind of bout to show people when they wonder why you’re into sumo – so exciting and impressive to see the little guys throwing the giants!

    Btw, does anyone know anything concrete about Nishikifuji? There’s been speculation about injury and obviously he’s bandaged on his foot now as well as his elbow, as usual. I felt this week that he was super cautious about getting thrown and basically giving up rather than risk being chucked off the dohyo. It was his birthday yesterday, too! Poor guy. All in all not a great basho for Isegahama, so I also wonder if there’s something going on there.

    Thanks so much to everyone at Tachiai for your coverage!

    • That Midorifuji bout was an absolute highlight. I am really eager to see how Hokuseiho can retool. He got eaten up this tournament.

  2. Midorifuji’s Nage was excellent.
    Tobizaru vs Kotoeko match was funny as both ran out of the Dohyo.
    Kotonowaka reached 11 wins, hopefully he will be promoted to Sekiwake.
    Hakuoho had a great Makuchi debut.
    Congrats Hoshoryu!! I was bit surprised by his emotion and crying. His Ozeki promotion is for sure now.

    Thank you Bruce for your daily coverage, which I was waiting eagerly every day.
    Also thank you for the tachiai team.

  3. Thank you Bruce, thank you team Tachiai, great basho! (Though sorry Kirishima is kadoban without the benefit of having sat out to rest).

    Whoa, Midorifuji! And lovely to see Hoshoryu crying, smiling.

    Also very cool kakenage by Wakaikari to win sandman gusto

    What a wealth of talent we have now! Stay (or get) healthy, guys!

    • Interesting autocorrect there. Sandamne yusho.

      Who would we nominate for the sandman gusto award?

  4. Wouldn’t be so sure about the clock fully resetting on Daieisho and Wakamotoharu – there have been no fewer than 16 Ozeki promotions in the modern era where the protagonists scored a max of 19 over the first two basho – the key is that they mostly either won or came runner up in the third.

    Most recent was Shodai but there are some big names who did it, Chiyotaikai, a number of Yokozuna, etc. Unlikely as next basho will have 3 Ozeki in front of them and maybe a Yokozuna to contend with, but still very plausible.

    • To be fair, post-Futahaguro, when the de facto minimum win total went to 32 over 3, we’ve had 72 19-win starts from suitable ranks (30 if you restrict it to sekiwake in both basho), with only two (Chiyotaikai and Shodai) successfully completing the run.

      • I agree with everyone here in that I don’t think it’s likely and the odds are extremely against them putting up what will be required to do it (basically: yusho, doten, or 13+ jun yusho), but it also hasn’t set them back to the very beginning just yet.

        And in fact even if they don’t punctuate it next time, if one of them puts up a score that’s better than their Natsu score (so, 11 or 12), the 9 this time could easily be the first of a three that is easier for them to accomplish in November than Nagoya would have been. It may certainly be over for them because of the circumstances of the Aki basho and because history says it’s unlikely but then again if it were likely, everyone would do it.

        • I certainly agree that a 9-6 doesn’t mean the runs definitively restart from scratch, as in they’d only be judged based on Sept-Nov-Jan results and promotion is impossible till March. Strong enough results in Sept and possibly Nov could do it as you say.

    • While you’re right that the door isn’t completely shut, I just don’t see either of these guys doing what’s needed, which is a yusho. Takakeisho should be back and healthy. Kirishima will need to rest and come back healthy, and Terunofuji.

  5. My favourite ‘main event’ on the final day: the intense stare off between Hoshoryu and Hakuoho. Each man tunnelling into to the other’s souls with their speak-like gaze. Hoshoryu’s subsequent uwatenage a mere postscript.

    You could hear Hoshoryu slapping his belt pre-fight all the way here in New Zealand.

    Feels like some pieces have fallen into place this basho that will be significant for the future – reset after chaos.

    Thanks everyone for the coverage and sharing the knowledge 🙏

  6. Good summaries, Bruce, and “ran him out like a bad batch of curry” is the commentary-kimarite of the basho.

  7. As soon as Hokutofuji’s “handshake tachiai” missed its mark in the playoff, my heart sunk. Now we’re gonna have an Ozeki with loads of talent and an even-more bloated ego coming off a yusho. The crying humanized Hoshoryu, but his actions in the ring aside from his actual sumo leave a lot to be desired. Soon, he might be the only rikishi at the sport’s second highest rank, and that just won’t look good from many angles.

    Hats off to Hokotofuji, Hakuoho, and Nishikigi for keeping the title race interesting. And applause to all the special prize winners; don’t think I’ve ever seen that full a list. September, I feel, is gonna be one of those watershed moment tournaments where the reality of sumo shifts again.

    • I have a slightly differnt take in reference to your comment “Soon, he might be the only rikishi at the sport’s second highest rank, and that just won’t look good from many angles.”

      I think in the near future the bad look for the NSK will be a Mongolian Yokozuna (no matter how short his time may be) and 2, in their prime, Mongolian Ozeki. That to me will be what won’t look good from many angles for the NSK. Add to this look that 1) The 2 Japanese Ozeki candidates imploded in Act 3 of this basho and 2) The last 2 basho have served to crown 2 new Mongolian Ozeki. All bad looks.

      On the other hand, the NSK does have Kotonowaka, Hakuoho, and Gonoyama as potential Japanese stars that will get the home folks excited. And then too, they’ll continue to hype Asanoyama and even Daieisho and Wakamotoharu could get it together and make Ozeki runs again.

      Side note: Even as an Hoshoryu mega fan, I was rooting for all 3 Sekiwake to get their 33 and really thought that Daieisho had the best potential. After Hoshoryu went down to 9-3 I was hopeful but I thought it was over for him.

      • I don’t think Daieisho will ever be Ozeki material. His sumo is just too much a dance on the edge. He might totally win more Yusho though.

        I also love Hoshoryu‘s sumo, but he is really mimicking some of Asashoryu‘s antics. Wish he would just stop that.

        I will hold my breath on the rookies. Kotoshoho looked like the next Ozeki when he marched all Themas to M3 without a makekoshi, Kinbozan looked really in his first tournament recently and followed that up with two makekoshi. But yeah, this basho looked very promising for all 3.

        I didn’t think Asanoyama would get a kachikoshi after his kyung, but well done. Let’s see if he can match up with Hoshoryu and a healthy Kirishima next basho.

        Nishikigi must feel real sad. He beat everyone above him but Kotonowaka and then faded on the easy part of his schedule.

        Little bit sad Hokutofuji couldn’t get the Yusho. He might not get another chance, while I’m pretty sure Hoshoryu will get plenty more opportunities.

    • For what it’s worth, the YDC, which is as old-school Japanese as it gets when it comes to sumo conduct, was extremely complimentary to Hoshoryu at their post-basho meeting: “Once again he has shown how he can make the most of a chance he is given. He cleared a path to the rank of Yokozuna with his own bare hands.” No criticism of any kind, and we’ve seen in the past that they’re not shy about complaining about someone’s conduct (Hakuho, among many others)

  8. Many many thanks, as ever, to Bruce and to Andy and to all the Tachiai team. Hoping you will keep the content flowing from time to time through till September…
    Another awesome Basho. Nice to see my boy Abi salvage some pride on the final day after a poor tournament. Nice also to see Shishi get a healthy 9-6 down in Juryo.

    • Takakeisho has already recorded the shortest ozeki term possible. At worst, Kirishima could tie him. Unless he suddenly goes intai, or dies or something.

      Also, even in his currently injured state, Kirishima went 6-6 for matches he actually participated in. He should have no problem getting his 8 in September.

      • The shortest possible Ozeki term has been recorded 14 times since 1795. Tochinoshin was the last one to be included in this group, just one basho after Takakeisho.
        Let’s hope Kirishima will be in good health in September to clear kadoban

        • Four of those 14, amongst them Takakeisho but not Tochinoshin, came directly back from Sekiwake and didn’t have to start a new Ozeki run. I like the term Osekiwake very much, because it shows that those guys are still kind of an Ozeki.

  9. oh, btw, bruce’ ment that 3 ozekis are ‘mathematically’ impossible makes lot more sense, now that basho is over with.. u know. 😂

  10. Quick note on Mongolian dominance at the top. Teru is on his way out, I hope He will still be able to get 1-2 more but I would not bet on Him still being around next Nagoya. Kirishima is so likable that people will root for him, Mongolian or not. As for Hoshoryu, He is exactly the man you need in a combat sport: the perfect villain. Strong, cocky, full of himself. He is the guy you want to see loosing, just because you cannot stand that smug face. Just like another couple of famous Mongolians….but the Japanese are coming strong. Kotonowaka has turned a corner. Hakuoho, well.. pray he manages to stay healthy! And how about Onosato? From the (little) I have seen He is strong and competent, perhaps just a little more nervous than Hakuhoho. And finally, well a certain Magaki said that He will start improving when he starts loosing. This time He got trashed, so maybe… great work team tachiai!

  11. Andy, Bruce, Iksumo and Josh – GREAT JOB AS ALWAYS. I always look forward to all of your play by play, comments, prognostications and the Best Most Accurate Information as well as the Entertaining Senses of Humor! I enjoy many of the posters as well. I appreciate this blog more and more as I can’t read the public comments on Twitter as it has been closed to outsiders and I am not a subscriber – so Herouth – I missed your comments! This was such a great basho and I look forward to the prognostications and upcoming posts!

    Thank you all so very very much!!!

  12. This was a fun basho, though I missed Terunofuji.

    Midorofuji shitanage throw of Hukuseiho was memorable
    though I fear that “small man sumo” does not really work
    in the modern era. Tobizaru and Ura have noticeably bulked up
    and Ishida and probably Enho got injured and forced to retire.

    Mongolians continue to dominate at the top — maybe life for
    young men in Japan is too nice to undergo the rigors of sumo.

    What happened to Mitekeumi? Superconsistent at Sekiwake, got
    promoted — and his sumo fell apart.


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