Who had “manic matta” as a theme for today on their sumo bingo cards? There were lots of matta, wall to wall matta, it was a veritable matta regatta. We have fresh kachi-koshi for Tsurugisho and Takakeisho at the end of day 11, with Takakeisho clearing kadoban as well. We also had Atamifuji deliver a thunderous uwatenage against Tobizaru, and he now has a two win lead for the yusho thanks to Takayasu’s loss to Daieisho. The goal of getting dirt on Atamifuji now requires at least 2 losses by the leader, and I am sure the schedulers are hoping that Takakeisho can play some role in the final weekend. We shall see.
Kotoshoho defeats Takarafuji – Great example of Takarafuji’s “Defend and extend” brand of sumo. Kotoshoho is working away at thrusting on Takarafuji’s chest, and Takarafuji is working to tangle up Kotoshoho’s arms, and extending the match. It works quite well for a while, but Kotoshoho gets closer and is able to double arm shove Takarafuji away, with the last big push sending him out of the ring. Both end the day 5-6.
Hokuseiho defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama decides he’s going chest to chest with Hokuseiho straight away, and actually does pretty well at first. But its obvious he is protecting that left leg, and can’t take pressure on it. Hokuseiho figures this out too, and adjusts his sumo to guard strong on his left, and Aoiyama finds himself neutralized. In response he tries a series of pulls, but he just can’t reach that high, and Hokuseiho walks him out. Make-koshi at 3-8 for Aoiyama, and 7-4 for Hokuseiho.
Mitakeumi defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki had a solid tachiai, but his left hand was blocked by Mitakeumi’s ottsuke. From there it got progressively worse for Kagayaki, as Mitakeumi stood him up, then slammed him down. The hikiotoshi takes Mitakeumi to 7-4.
Kinbozan defeats Nishikifuji – Great tachiai from Kinbozan, he blocks Nishikifuji’s attempt to get his hands inside, and pushes them out of the way with a follow up shove. Nishikifuji is wide open at that point, and Kinbozan attacks, driving him out of the ring a moment later by tsukidashi. Kinbozan improves to 7-4.
Midorifuji defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi, who is used to things happening in a hurry, seems to have been taken by surprise at the speed of Midorifuji. Unable to hold his ground, Sadanoumi went along with the push, and tried to rotate and pull Midorifuji down. I am impressed that Midorifuji rotated into the pull and dropped Sadanoumi by sukuinage instead. Midorifuji improves to 6-5.
Daishoho defeats Hiradoumi – The captain of the Juryo barge delivers a reciprocal make-koshi to Hiradoumi, who I think is at no risk of leaving the top division this tournament. Excellent defensive work by Daishoho kept the frantic Hiradoumi from doing much more than wearing himself out. The winning move, hikiotoshi, came as Hiradoumi tried to break contact following a nodowa, and was tossed down by Daishoho. Both end the day 3-8.
Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – I have to think that maybe Chiyoshoma is going to be on the Juryo barge as well following Aki. He picked up his 9th loss today after Kotoeko got a solid hold on his mawashi and wrangled him out with a lift and a shove. Kotoeko improves to 4-7.
Myogiryu defeats Onosho – Myogiryu was very clever in his move to set up Onosho to take a forward step at the moment Myogiryu stepped to his left. That required exquisite timing, and he played it perfectly. Onosho crashed out of the ring into the front row for a Myogiryu win. He is now 7-4.
Gonoyama defeats Endo – This match could have been a real barn burner, but instead Endo succumbs to a slippiotoshi and ends up on all fours. Good enough for a Gonoyama win, and both are now 7-4.
Ryuden defeats Tamawashi – Of course he did. Tamawashi is hurt, and needs recovery. It’s kind of grim watching this happen day after day, but Tamawashi would not have it any other way. Ryuden now 4-7.
Shodai defeats Oho – Shodai did not even really need to use the “Wall of Daikon” today, he simply absorbed Oho’s reduced power thrusting with not much trouble. A few steps forward, and he bodily crowded Oho out of the ring for an oshidashi win. Shodai now at 5-6, and Oho is make-koshi at 3-8.
Asanoyama defeats Shonannoumi – I am not sure what Shonannoumi had in mind, maybe that matta threw him off. He gave Asanoyama his preferred hand placement and stance at the tachiai, and it was three quick steps to the bales for a yorikiri. Asanoyama is now 6-5.
Abi defeats Ura – Abi was largely stalemated by Ura’s ability to stay low and absorb Abi’s thrust attacks. Then Ura broke contact, and lunged in low to try and get some manner of tug-and-pull going, but received a match ending hatakikomi instead. Another great example of Ura’s agility and acrobatics to end the fight, too! Abi improves to 7-4.
Tsurugisho defeats Hokutofuji – I have not seen this much lateral movement from Tsurugisho in a long time. As a bonus it was well executed, and he maintained his balance. In response Hokutofuji was completely impotent, and fell to being off balance (rare for him) and a potent Tsurugisho hatakikomi. Tsurugisho is now kachi-koshi at 8-3.
Atamifuji defeats Tobizaru – Maybe Tobizaru was not sure what combo to use at the tachiai, but throwing himself into Atamifuji’s arms like a damsel in distress was not what I was expecting. They samba for a moment, and then Atamifuji hurls him to the clay. An impressive uwatenage, and Atamifuji is now 10-1.
Meisei defeats Nishikigi – I think the joi-jin have developed a working formula for shutting down Nishikigi. You have to keep his arms pinned down at the tachiai, and drive with all you can muster. As on display today, Nishikigi will continue to put all of his focus on getting a battle hug going, so move him out before he gets that set up. Worked like a charm for Meisei, and both end the day 5-6.
Daieisho defeats Takayasu – The Takayasu week 2 fade is on in full effect, but at least he got his 8th win before it took hold. The other aspect is that I think he really did re-injure his back in that loss to Atamifuji. The first time Daieisho connects at full power, Takayasu steps out. Yep, Daieisho now 7-4.
Kirishima defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka probably could have won this match, but he allowed Kirishima to dictate him to think about defense. You can see that Kotonowaka really is doing little more than trying to block or blunt whatever Kirishima is choosing to do, and that is no way to win a fight. The eventual yorikiri takes Kirishima to 7-4, one win from clearing kadoban.
Hoshoryu defeats Takanosho – That Takanosho pull attempt on the second step really threw away Takanosho’s best chance to take the win. They locked up chest to chest, and the subsequent Takanosho throw attempt fell apart as Hoshoryu countered with a kotenage. Both end the day 5-6, and Hoshoryu keeps hopes of kachi-koshi alive.
Takakeisho defeats Wakamotoharu – Wow, it’s been so long since I got to see Takakeisho whip it on for a few days in a row, it’s a real palette cleanser! Where was Wakamotoharu’s defense? He left his chest wide open in that fight. Maybe like me he is a big fan of Takakeisho’s “wave action tsuppari” and wanted to see it up close. Makes as much sense as this match did. Takakeisho hits 8 wins, is kachi-koshi and clears kadoban at 8-3.