A huge day in the progression of the basho, 7 rikishi win their kachi-koshi, the sole leader meets his first Ozeki, and the leaderboard evens up. There were consequential matches up and down the torikumi, and the stage is set for the final weekend, and the conclusion of the yusho race.
Takarafuji defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma came in early, but in his opening combo it was clear he was brining little if any forward power to his sumo. Takarafuji decided this was the case half a second before Chiyoshoma attempted a pulling move, which triggered a Takarafuji oshidashi that ended the match. Takarafuji now 6-7, and still on course for a Darwin match.
Endo defeats Nishikifuji – Endo gets his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for September. Nishikifuji went for a pulling move quite early, and surrendered the match to Endo by oshidashi. Endo is now 8-5.
Midorifuji defeats Kotoshoho – Excellent early thrusting battle for both men, the match nearly was decided when Kotoshoho grabbed Midorifuji’s arm and swung him Harumafuji style. Kotoshoho was throwing everything he could muster or dream up into this match, but eventually Midorifuji grappled him, and stood him up in the center of the dohyo. Taking his time Midorifuji worked his left hand deeper until he was able to load up a sukuinage that brought Kotoshoho to the clay. The match ended with Midorifuji kachi-koshi at 8-5, and Kotoshoho make-koshi at 5-8.
Aoiyama defeats Hiradoumi – It’s a rare day this September where we get to see Aoiyama win with his traditional V-Twin attack. Hiradoumi absorbed it as best he could, but it left him discombobulated for the resulting hatakikomi that took him out of the match. Both end the day 4-9.
Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki can only manage a couple of glancing hits on Kotoeko’s face before he is bodily removed from the ring by yorikiri. He sinks deeper into make-koshi with 4-9 as Kotoeko staves off his 8th loss at 6-7.
Sadanoumi defeats Oho – Oho makes a major mistake at the tachiai, attacking Sadanoumi’s face while not putting any effort into defending his belt. Sadanoumi sets up a strong grip and proceeds to bundle Oho out in short order by yorikiri. Sadanoumi improves to 6-7.
Myogiryu defeats Ryuden – Myogiryu does a brilliant job of disrupting and shutting down Ryuden’s opening combo. The results was a Myogiryu right hand outsde hold, and effective control of the match. Ryuden did a masterful job of fighting back, but was too upright, and could not break Myogiryu’ grip. A culminating forward rush by Myogiryu sent Ryuden out by yorikiri, giving Myogiryu his 8th win, and kachi-koshi for Aki. Ryuden suffers his 8th loss and is make-koshi at 5-8.
Kinbozan defeats Shonannoumi – Shonannoumi had zero sumo moves today. He caught Kinbozan’s tachiai at full force, and then decided his only choice was to grab Kinbozan’s neck and pull. No forward power or pressure, he was out three steps later. Kinbozan advances to 9-4.
Hokuseiho defeats Takanosho – Credit to Takanosho, he put a bunch of power up front into Hokuseiho. But how is that going to effect a 2 meter tall piece of Hokkaido concrete? Simply put, it isn’t. Hokuseiho grabs Takanosho and thrusts him to the clay. Hokuseiho improves to 9-4, Takanosho now make-koshi at 5-8.
Tamawashi defeats Daishoho – I have to assume that with 11 losses, Tamawashi’s body is absolute hell right now. But now he has managed to win 2 in a row. Not sure how it makes you feel, but as a guy, I have an overflowing well of respect that he steels himself daily and gives it his all. Tamawashi is now 2-11.
Asanoyama defeats Mitakeumi – Fantastic classic rematch, and a true battle of sumo styles. Mitakeumi gets early advantage, but Asanoyama managed to get his left hand on Mitakeumi’s belt. That was all he needed to turn the tables on our Original Tadpole, and Mitakeumi hits the exit via yorikiri. Both end the day 8-5 as Asanoyama reaches kachi-koshi.
Ura defeats Meisei – Fantastic, textbook tsuki-oshi work from Meisei, and all Ura could do for most of the match was defend. But as always he was looking for a stray finger or wrist to grab and tug. Then something flips, out comes Ura’s left hand, which we know is strong enough to break grip strength meters, and latches onto Meisei’s throat. After about 5 seconds of that, you can see Meisei’s expression read “ok, you can stop that!” as the right hand comes up and delivers a thundering tsukiotoshi. I am not sure I have seen Ura employ a nodowa in quite some time. I bet that leaves a mark, he is now 7-6.
Hokutofuji defeats Takayasu – For long time Takayasu fans, it’s more of the same. With our hairy hero almost in sight of ultimate victory, he stumbles yet again. It’s like that boss level in Final Fantasy that requires some wacky 7 finger button combo to win that you just can’t make happen, Takayasu’s SD card is full of saved games exactly at this encounter. Takayasu starts the match well, but Hokutofuji is able to turn Takayasu, get behind, and run him out by okuridashi. That’s kachi-koshi for Hokutofuji, and he is 8-5.
Tobizaru defeats Onosho – Brilliant defense from Tobizaru, and I must remark that regardless of his score, how much his sumo has progressed. His early form was almost totally offense, but as has been demonstrated in his week 2 matches, he’s improved his sumo when defending as well. He blunts nearly every Onosho volley, and waits for Onosho to get too far over his toes. Given that this is Onosho, it’s just a question of being ready when he does it. Tobizaru is ready, and delivers a tsukiotoshi, but does not miss a chance to go three rows back and mingle with his fans. The win improves improves his score to 6-7.
Shodai defeats Nishikigi – Aww, I sort of wanted to see Nishikigi hold rank in the san’yaku. At the moment Nishikigi got his battle hug started, Shodai gave us a bit of the old “Wall of Daikon” and bodily rammed Nishikigi out. Shodai is now 6-7, and in my opinion headed for a Darwin match on Sunday.
Kotonowaka defeats Abi – Kotonowaka keeps his feet and keeps his balance centered as Abi-zumo fails to disrupt his forward push. That is no easy task. Kotonowaka is now 7-6.
Wakamotoharu defeats Tsurugisho – You see, I am not really good with this “jam the M16 into the san’yaku” arc we just witnessed. Sure, Tsurugisho was having a good run, but this was, in my opinion, gratuitous. Wakamotoharu seldom gets to grapple with someone that large, so I guess it was interesting for him, plus a bonus bloody nose. Wakamotoharu picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi at 8-5.
Daieisho defeats Gonoyama – I like that Gonoyama was able to withstand a full power Daieisho facial for a solid 20 seconds. He only really got in trouble during the pulling phase of the combo, with Daieisho really pouring in the power both forward and reverse. To me this speaks highly of Gonoyama’s potential to beat these guys with a bit more time to work on his skills. Daieisho wins, and is headed for double digits at 9-4. I hope they give the G-man a creampuff match in the last 2 days to let him get his 8.
Takakeisho defeats Atamifuji – I have mountains of respect for Atamifuji mounting the dohyo and putting up a bold and vigorous fight in his first match against an Ozeki. This guy is near the bottom of the banzuke, and if he were not a yusho leader, would not have ever been in consideration for this kind of fight. I also have to recognize that Takakeisho opened with a probing attack, and never did get to full power wave action volleys. They simply were not needed. He got his stubby arms around Atamifuji and walked him out for a yorikiri. Both are now tied for the lead at 10-3.
Kirishima defeats Hoshoryu – Top tier evasive work from Kirishima at the tachiai to set up his left hand outside grip. Hoshoryu never really had any offense in this match, and was simply ballast for the resulting uwatenage. Kirishima now kachi-koshi at 8-5, clearing kadoban.