Osaka Day 12 Preview

Day 12 dawns with a bit of a theme. I would call it “make-koshi day”. Many of the rikishi who start today at 4-7 are paired up in matches where they are statistically likely to struggle. Maybe it is time to sort the lot of them into the demotion category. Everyone is waiting to see if Wakatakakage can rescue is Sekiwake rank by putting Midorifuji on the clay. Signs point to “maybe”, but I am going to watch with great interest anyhow. There are also a pair of mini-Darwins where a possible outcome is the loser is make-koshi and the winner is kachi-koshi.

I also note with great enthusiasm that the schedulers, in their infinite wisdom, paired Asanoyama against that dumpling Oho in the opener. Maybe Oho will find a sudden burst of genki energy, but I tend to think maybe this won’t be possible for whatever reason Oho is performing poorly this March.

Haru Leaderboard

One man in the lead, one a loss behind him, and six 2 losses back. I note that Midorifuji and Daieisho have still not matched. Don’t be surprised if they hold the torikumi until after Midorifuji’s match against Wakatakakage to allow that head to head to happen on day 13’s schedule.

Leader: Midorifuji
Chaser: Daieisho
Hunt Group: Hoshoryu, Kiribayama ,Wakamotoharu, Kotonowaka, Endo, Chiyoshoma

4 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 12

Asanoyama (10-1) vs Oho (5-6) – Oh Goodie, we get Asanoyama back to see if maybe he can give Oho an atomic wedgie. Asanoyama has been fighting like a monster in Juryo, and shows up today 10-1 with a stamped, first class ticket back to the top division. He has a never fought Oho before, but I think Oho might be in for a bit of a ride.

Kinbozan (7-4) vs Mitoryu (6-5) – Kinbozan is looking for win #8 today against Mitoryu, who has won their only prior match; day 12 of Kyushu 2022. I think Kinbozan is going to have his hands full today, as Mitoryu is on a 3 match win streak, and looks to be finishing strong.

Hokuseiho (7-4) vs Takarafuji (4-7) – I have said it before, and here it is again. There are some sick folks in the scheduling committee. We have a mini-darwin match right here, and the set up is pretty clear. Try to arrange Hokuseiho’s kachi-koshi while delivering Takarafuji a make-koshi at the same time. This is their first ever match, so lord knows what’s going to happen. Hmm, advice to Hokuseiho – attack Takarafuji’s neck, that ought to work.

Azumaryu (1-10) vs Tsurugisho (6-5) – I wonder just how many losses Azumaryu would need to be assigned to the Juryo barge and sent packing from the top division. Knowing how long he has tried to get up there, and win 8 and stay, it’s kind of a tough moment to see him start day 12 with a 1-10 record. For today, we can also cite that Tsurugisho has a 16-8 career record against Azumaryu.

Chiyoshoma (8-3) vs Takanosho (6-5) – Chiyoshoma has his 8 wins, and I think this is a test for Takanosho to see if he can power through a fairly genki opponent. Takanosho needs to win 2 out of the last 4 to get to eight wins, and I am still hoping he can put that together.

Myogiryu (4-7) vs Kotoeko (7-4) – Another mini-Darwin match, this time it’s Kotoeko set for kachi-koshi and Myogiryu for make-koshi. Myogiryu has a 9-3 career lead, but has lost 4 of the last 5, and I expect him to struggle today.

Aoiyama (4-7) vs Kagayaki (5-6) – Another rikishi primed for make-koshi is Big Dan Aoiyama. He looks hurt to me, and he seems to go soft once he gets a lot of pressure from his opponent. I expect Kagayaki to fight for inside hand placement, and then push for all he can to take advantage of Aoiyama’s current condition.

Daishoho (7-4) vs Hiradoumi (6-5) – A win today for Daishoho will be his 8th, and kachi-koshi. He has a 3-0 career lead over Hiradoumi, who has won three of his last 4. This has the makings of a good fight.

Ichiyamamoto (3-8) vs Bushozan (4-7) – Ichiyamamoto is already make-koshi with 8 losses, and he has a chance to share that fate with Bushozan today with a win. Ichiyamamoto’s sumo has been all over the map this March, lacking power, poise, balance and coordination. I hope he can get matters back into good condition prior to the Natsu basho in May.

Nishikifuji (6-5) vs Takayasu (7-4) – Something happened to Nishikifuji on or around his day 6 match against Aoiyama. Since then he has lost 5 matches out of 6, and I would expect he is going to lose this match as well. Takayasu won their only prior fight, on day 11 of Kyushu 2022. A Takayasu win today would be kachi-koshi for him.

Kotoshoho (3-8) vs Ura (6-5) – It makes me sad that Kotoshoho underperformed this tournament. I maintain hopes that he will take the next step with his sumo and become a big deal. But before any of that might happen, he has to get his body healthy and moving well. He has a 1-3 career deficit against Ura, who I think will pick up his 7th win today.

Abi (6-5) vs Mitakeumi (4-7) – Normally this match would be easy to handicap. Mitakeumi has a repeatable recipe for shutting down Abi-zumo and sending him packing into the front row in a heap. But Mitakeumi has not been fighting well for months, and it looks like he struggles just to mount the dohyo and perform shiko. Mitakeumi leads the series 8-4, but a loss today would me make-koshi for him.

Sadanoumi (3-8) vs Ryuden (1-10) – A traditional battle of the make-koshi, this is where two rikishi with losing records battle each other in an attempt to give one of them a win more to cushion the fall down the banzuke. I am not sure how dire it will be for either of them, as they are high enough up they should be safe from any demotion risk. They share a 6-6 career record.

Tamawashi (3-8) vs Nishikigi (2-9) – Another battle of the make-koshi, we will see this during the remainder of the basho, I would think. The interesting aspect to me is that Tamawashi has started looking genki again suddenly, having won the past two days. Care to make it three sir? He holds a 7-1 career advantage over Nishikigi.

Daieisho (9-2) vs Hokutofuji (7-4) – Daieisho needs to keep winning if he wants to maintain any hope of catching Midorifuji. He has a nearly even (9-7) record against a resurgent Hokutofuji, who has 7 consecutive white stars on the board following a 0-4 start. A win today for Hokutofuji would be kachi-koshi.

Meisei (4-7) vs Kotonowaka (8-3) – Not quite a mini-Darwin, but a loss by Meisei will be make-koshi. He’s facing already kachi-koshi Kotonowaka, who is two wins behind Midorifuji. That’s too far to be likely to contest for the cup, but he may as well keep the pressure up to win just in case everyone has a wipe out on day 13 or 14. Meisei has a 4-2 career advantage.

Wakamotoharu (8-3) vs Endo (8-3) – Both are kachi-koshi, both are fighting very well, both have exceeded expectations for this basho in my book. I think they are both also curious about the potential for some kind of jumble in the yusho race in the next two days, and want to stay on pace with Midorifuji. So look for sparks here. Wakamotoharu has won 3 of their 4 career matches.

Shodai (6-5) vs Tobizaru (4-7) – So much for the hope that Shodai might contest for the cup. For whatever reason he just can’t execute his “good” sumo at the intensity needed right now to carry that forward into the second week. He has a chance to kick Tobizaru out of the named ranks with a win here today, handing sumo’s flying monkey his 8th loss and kachi-koshi. Shodai holds a 5-2 career advantage.

Wakatakakage (5-6) vs Midorifuji (10-1) – Wakatakakage has a chance to play spoiler and draw himself even at 6-6. He needs to be worried about his rank, as he needs to win 3 out of the last 4 to make it to the safety of 8, or he will lose Sekiwake for May. Midorifuji took his first loss on day 11, and maybe his confidence took a hit as well. This should be a very good match.

Kiribayama (8-3) vs Hoshoryu (8-3) – I love this match, as it’s two high skill, fairly healthy rikishi fighting it out to see which one gets a chance to wait with the rest of the crowd for some kind of yusho race jumble in the next couple of days. Only one will make it! Hoshoryu holds a slight 6-4 edge in matches fought.

Osaka Day 11 Highlights

The many of the crew trying for kachi-koshi today scored their 8th win, and now the race is on to see which of them can finish with double digits. In the processes, the tournament leader Midorifuji took his first loss today. There is a solitary chaser, Daieisho, who has a slim chance to take the cup in 4 days, but only if someone can put dirt on Midorifuji yet again. Midorifuji faces hit-or-miss Wakatakakage on day 12.

I continue to puzzle at what seems like better, more intense sumo coming from Juryo compared to the bulk of the top division. Maybe there is more at stake down there somehow? Maybe folks are less banged up and injured? Today it was a fairly stark contrast, looking at matches like Ichinojo vs Ochiai, Asanoyama vs Gonoyama and a few more. All of those names will be in the top division soon enough, so be ready for some fine sumo later this year. No word what version of GoeidDOS Gonoyama is running.

Highlight Matches

Oshoma defeats Tsurugisho – Oshoma comes to visit from Juryo to pick up a much needed win. He’s probably outside of the promotion zone at this point, but it would be good to see him promoted following the May tournament. He’s the highest ranking rikishi from Naruto heya, and I hope we can see him in the top division soon. I like how Oshoma defended against Tsurugisho’s attempt at a throw, and put the juice into his pivot to get the ponderous bulk that is Tsurugisho onto the clay. He ends the day 5-6.

Daishoho defeats Kinbozan – Once Daishoho got that right hand inside grip, it was his match to lose, and he was not about to let Kinbozan reach kachi-koshi today. Good escape attempt from Kinbozan, but Daishoho fought him off and walked him out of the ring. Yorikiri win and both end the day 7-4, and will try for kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Kotoeko defeats Takanosho – Wow, check out that ottsuke from Kotoeko! I would dare to say the whole match turned on that thing as he shut down Takanosho’s attempt to get a hold, and kept him distracted long enough to set up the tsukiotoshi. Marvelous sumo from Kotoeko, he is now 7-4 and will try kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Mitoryu defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu continues to be little more than practice ballast this March. Mitoryu boxes him up in short order, and carries him to the curb for trash day in Sumida-ku. Yorikiri for Mitoryu, and he’s now 6-5.

Chiyoshoma defeats Nishikifuji – When Chiyoshoma decides he is going to fight without any nonsense, he’s a solid rikishi. Today he hit kachi-koshi with his 8th win after setting up a left hand inside grip against a faltering Nishikifuji, and walking him out to end the day 8-3, and head to the interview room. Nishikifuji has now lost 5 of the last 6 matches.

Hokuseiho defeats Myogiryu – Hokuseiho has managed to shake of the Snorlax virus that Ichinojo gave him on day 5. Unlike prior days, we got to see him use both hands in a frontal grip set up to the yorikiri that took the match. Myogiryu was not quite sure which half of Hokuseiho to fight, I think. There is just so much of him to take on all at once. Hokuseiho now 7-4, and could reach kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Hiradoumi defeats Bushozan – Hiradoumi breaks the pattern, and wins on an odd numbered day in fine style. The bulk of the match was a pushing battle, with Bushozan getting the better of the attack. The tides turned when Hiradoumi got his hands inside of Bushozan’s defenses, and pushed for all he could muster. Hiradoumi now 6-5.

Oho defeats Aoiyama – Again we see Aoiyama unable to hold ground, and employ only partial power in his customary V-Twin attack. He was unable to disrupt Oho’s balance enough for his hit-hit-pull combo to work. Oho eventually got a body hold on Aoiyama and walked him out for a yorikiri, he is now 5-6.

Kagayaki defeats Ichiyamamoto – Kagayaki brings it home with his traditional fundamentals focused sumo. Note how he is maniacal about pushing center mass, and just blasting through Ichiyamamoto’s attempt to attack. The loss makes Ichiyamamoto make-koshi for Osaka, as Kagayaki improves to 5-6.

Takarafuji defeats Sadanoumi – Takarafuji has now won two in a row. Faced with make-koshi he has found some way to rally and pull out a few more wins. I would assume with this one the threat of demotion to Juryo is passed. Sadanoumi provided all the forward motion, but Takarafuji’s defensive sumo instincts provided the kotenage applied while stepping back and to the side.

Kotoshoho defeats Ryuden – I have to assume that Ryuden’s recurring hip problems are back in full force, as he just can’t seem to muster any sumo power at all right now. This match quickly evolved into a protracted grapple with both using right hand inside holds. When the time came, they both battled to lift the other and move, but it was Kotoshoho who was able to swing around and throw, improving to 3-8.

Abi defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi manage to break Abi’s double arm thrusting train early on, but found that those long arms and big hands around the back of his head pulling him forward and down. A quick hatakikomi, and Abi is now 6-5.

Ura defeats Shodai – Across the years, Ura has shown himself to be consistently resistant to Shodai’s cartoon sumo. The most that Shodai could muster today was a brief employment of his “Wall of Daikon” which was only partially effective. When Shodai is using his body as a big blocking wall like that, he is vulnerable to an under-shoulder swing down, given that he keeps his back straight and stiff to bolster the effect. Good work Ura, both end the day 6-5.

Tamawashi defeats Mitakeumi – After losing 8 matches in a row, Tamawashi appears to have cleared whatever problems caused that make-koshi run, and now has two wins in a row. He was able to contain Mitakeumi and push him forcefully from the ring by oshidashi. Tamawashi now 3-8.

Hokutofuji defeats Kotonowaka – After four straight losses to open the basho, Hokutofuji has now won seven in a row. Points to Kotonowaka for being able to push through Hokutofuji’s nodowa and move him back to the bales, but a deft step to the side and thrust down put Kotonowaka down and out at the same time. Hokutofuji now 7-4, and will try for kachi-koshi tomorrow.

Wakamotoharu defeats Midorifuji – Wakamotoharu succeeds in putting dirt on the yusho arasoi leader out of the ring, scoring his 8th win for kachi-koshi in the process. Midorifuji tried for his favorite move, a katasukashi, but Wakamotoharu was ready. Midorifuji’s release of forward pressure to initiate the move was met with power forward, and Midorifuji crashed to the dohyo beyond the bales. Wakamotoharu ends the day 8-3, and the thinnest crack of daylight appears in the yusho race.

Daieisho defeats Takayasu – Daieisho was ring side to see Midorifuji win, and he knew that he could keep his chances alive with a win. At the start of the match, Takayasu’s form was excellent, reminiscent of his days working toward Ozeki. But he got himself into “wild man” mode, and we could see him on one foot. Daieisho attacked then, and rapidly took away any ability Takayasu had to recover his stance. Daieisho advances to 9-2, one win behind Midorifuji once more.

Wakatakakage defeats Tobizaru – I love how Wakatakakage maintained tight cover on Tobizaru, even when the flying monkey tried twice to break contact. This allowed Wakatakakage to attack the moment Tobizaru moved to step away, catching him between steps and with no solid connection to ground. The resulting okuridashi was the payoff for a brilliant match from Wakatakakage, he is now 5-6.

Kiribayama defeats Meisei – Kiribayama stops Miesei one and one half steps into his tachiai, and Meisei has no solid connection to ground. Before he can react and plant his feet, Kiribayama slams him down to the clay by hatakikomi. Kiribayama kachi-koshi at 8-3.

Hoshoryu defeats Endo – Endo attempted to avoid the tachiai, and it did not work well. Hoshoryu captured him with the right hand, and loaded up the spin cycle. It’s been a while since I have seen that one, and its always fun when the rikishi treated like a load of soggy washing started the process with something akin to a henka. Round and round he goes, and ends up in a heap on the shikiri-sen. Hoshoryu kachi-koshi at 8-3.

Osaka Day 11 Preview

Welcome to the start of act 3, the final five days of a basho. In act 3, we sort everyone into make-koshi and kachi-koshi, and crown the yusho winner who takes home the Emperor’s Cup. The final act is where we get to see more matches that pair high performing rikishi against each other, and in this tournament, we should see Midorifuji take on a spread of named rank opponents. Sadly there is no Ozeki or Yokozuna to challenge this Maegashira 5 upstart who looks like he very well could take it all the way to day 15 and bring home the trophy to Isegahama.

We have six rikishi up for a possible kachi-koshi today: Hoshoryu, Kiribayama, Wakamotoharu, Takayasu, Kinbozan, and Chiyoshoma

Haru Leaderboard

The closest competitor is 2 wins behind Midorifuji, making the odds of him being challenged for the cup fairly long. It has happened before that a red hot rikishi from the middle or lower ranks suddenly faces stiff competition and falters, but the “stiff competition” is not very potent right now, so I am expecting him to completely dominate the next few matches. He still has not faced Daieisho though…

Leader: Midorifuji
Hunt Group: Daieisho, Endo, Kotonowaka

5 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 11

Oshoma (4-6) vs Tsurugisho (6-4) – Oshoma visits from Juryo to work on getting himself back into winning territory. He won his only prior match against Tsurugisho which happened on day 11 of Kyushu last year. I expect Tsurugisho to win this one.

Daishoho (6-4) vs Kinbozan (7-3) – Looking forward to both of these rikishi hitting their 8 wins (or more) and making a lasting mark in the top division. I think Kinbozan has had some stand out matches this March, and I think if he can stay healthy we will see him continue to grow in power and strength. Daishoho has won 2 of their 3 prior matches, but it was Kinbozan who won their last match in January on day 2 of Hatsu. A Kinbozan win will be kachi-koshi for him.

Kotoeko (6-4) vs Takanosho (6-4) – Both have matching 6-4 records, and I think at least for this tournament, this is a very even match. They have a six match record, but only two matches were fought since 2020, with Takanosho taking them both. The most recent being day 2 of Aki 2022.

Azumaryu (1-9) vs Mitoryu (5-5) – With his 1-9 score, Azumaryu is very much at risk of being relegated back to Juryo not long after his first career kachi-koshi in the top division. He managed his first win on day 10, to everyone’s relief, and now the question is: can he claw his way back with enough wins to make the case to stay near the bottom of the Makuuchi banzuke? He has a career record of 9-3 against Mitoryu.

Chiyoshoma (7-3) vs Nishikifuji (6-4) – An interesting match, as you have Chiyoshoma fighting for kachi-koshi against another high agility rikishi in Nishikifuji. Nishikifuji took both of their matches last year, in an overall 1-2 career match up history. I still think Chiyoshoma can find his 8th win today, but he is going to have to work for it.

Myogiryu (4-6) vs Hokuseiho (6-4) – A first ever match, with both rikishi presenting mirror image scores of the other one. Myogiryu has lost 3 of the last 4, which is only slightly worse that Hokuseiho, at 2-2. The more I watch him, the more it seems that Hokuseiho is still trying to figure out what “his brand of sumo” really means. There are just not that many enormous, plodding rikishi to model your fighting techniques after.

Bushozan (4-6) vs Hiradoumi (5-5) – Hiradoumi has this odd “win on even days, lose on odd days” pattern going on. Given that 11 is an odd number, I expect a loss today against Bushozan, which will make Bushozan quite happy.

Aoiyama (4-6) vs Oho (4-6) – With both rikishi starting the day at 4-6, the one who wins this match will take a step closer to a possible Darwin match on day 15, and the loser will move one loss away from make-koshi. Ugly position to be in, but sumo is a brutal, zero-sum sport. It forces every outcome to be tallied toward a final reckoning on day 15. It’s both terrible and glorious at the same time.

Ichiyamamoto (3-7) vs Kagayaki (4-6) – Ichiyamamoto had a nice 3 match win streak bracketed by a swarm of black stars, which resumed with his surprising day 10 loss to Azumaryu. I think we will see Kagayaki step up and hand Ichiyamamoto his 8th loss for a make-koshi today.

Takarafuji (3-7) vs Sadanoumi (3-7) – Both of these long serving top division stalwarts are teetering on the edge of make-koshi. The loser today will seal the deal, and the winner will survive for another day. The 14-6 career record would seem to heavily favor Takarafuji, but with Takarafuji fighting poorly this March, it’s tough to know how to sort this one.

Kotoshoho (2-8) vs Ryuden (1-9) – Both are already make-koshi, so this content is to see how far they will drop down the ranks for May. Frankly, I think Kotoshoho has a bit of an edge here, as I think he is somewhat less injured.

Abi (5-5) vs Nishikigi (2-8) – Nishikigi is already make-koshi, but if he get a solid hold of Abi, may force Abi to execute some rarely seen yotsu-zumo. That would be quite the treat! Abi holds a 5-2 career advantage in their match ups.

Ura (5-5) vs Shodai (6-4) – I am a bit disappointed that Shodai is not going to make a bid for the yusho this March. Him losing Ozeki rank, then winning the yusho would be a perfect “20202s sumo” theme. It’s always crummiest just before it gets dumb. Ura holds a narrow 4-3 edge in their career match ups, but given how they are fighting this tournament, I think I would pick Shodai as the more likely winner.

Tamawashi (2-8) vs Mitakeumi (4-6) – Thirty three (33) career matches between these two, and its Mitakeumi who is heavily favored, 27-6. Add to that that Tamawashi is already make-koshi, and seems to be injured, and it looks like Mitakeumi may find a much desired 5th win to bring him closer to the make/kachi koshi line today.

Hokutofuji (6-4) vs Kotonowaka (8-2) – It’s Hokutofuji’s turn to visit some san’yaku rikishi. He still needs two more wins the reach the safety of 8, and he’s got his work cut out for him today against Kotonowaka, who is already kachi-koshi. Kotonowaka has won every match against Hokutofuji in the past year, so this is a tall order for “ole Stompy” today.

Wakamotoharu (7-3) vs Midorifuji (10-0) – It’s Wakamotoharu’s turn to try and put dirt on Midorifuji. They share a 2-2 career record with the last bout being a Midorifuji win on day 12 of Hatsu 2023. I would expect that if Wakamotoharu can get a working grip, his power sumo will take hold and he should win the match. If Midorifuji can stay mobile, I think the white star will go to him. Should be a fun opening few seconds.

Daieisho (8-2) vs Takayasu (7-3) – Takayasu is fighting for kachi-koshi today, with a generous side helping of knocking Daieisho out of any hope to take the cup. Whatever hope there is is on the paltry side, as Daieisho is 2 wins behind Midorifuji at the start of day 11. He has a 6-11 career record against Takayasu.

Wakatakakage (4-6) vs Tobizaru (4-6) – Both are 4-6, and two losses away from make-koshi. At one point, recently, Wakatakakage was hoping to elevate his record that he might be considered for promotion to Ozeki. But an 8-7 finish in November, a 9-6 finish in January, and a possible make-koshi in Osaka have run these hopes aground. Now he has to fight Tobizaru for a chance to brawl his way up to a likely Darwin match. Ouch.

Kiribayama (7-3) vs Meisei (4-6) – Kiribayama is trying for his 8th win today, and kachi-koshi against Meisei, who seems to have some magic power over Kiribayama, holding a 6-3 career advantage. With Meisei’s score, he really could use the win.

Endo (8-2) vs Hoshoryu (7-3) – If Hoshoryu wants a kachi-koshi today, he will need to take a white start from already 8-2 Endo, who is having one of his “good” basho, an increasingly rare event. They have an even 3-3 career record, and they last ought on Aki day 15 in 2022, where Hoshoryu won by oshitaoshi.

Osaka Day 10 Highlights

Today was the day that the Great Sumo Cat decided to paw the yusho race off of the top shelf and watch it fall. These chaos days happen in sumo, and it took hold earlier in the day when former Ozeki Tochinoshin surrendered his match when his shoulder or pectoral suddenly gave out. He went soft in his match against Oshoma, who had the presence of mind to ease up on Tochinoshin and let him step out. There’s no word on how seriously he is injured, but I expect that if it’s bad enough, this will end his career. Furthermore, it was to his left shoulder, which is essential to his primary weapon, his left hand outside.

Past that, we saw Daieisho lose, Midorifuji win, and end the day 2 ahead of everyone else. It’s still possible for someone to catch Midorifuji, but the odds are longer now that anyone will, as it would require 2 losses for him while someone in the hunt group maintains a winning streak. Possible, but unlikely. Should this come to pass, we will once again see just how flat the competition is in the top division now. Anyone can take the cup, as none of the upper ranks are dominant enough to dominate anyone consistently. Lets call it Makujuryo.

In the headlines of “Should have happened last basho”, Asanoyama is now 9-1 at Juryo 1 East, he will return to the top division in May, and now we are just going to wait and see if he can run up the score and place higher than the bottom rung. Welcome back, sir. Please stay healthy.

Highlight Matches

Mitoryu defeats Tohakuryu – Tohakuryu sent back to the 2nd division with a loss. I thought he stepped out much earlier than the match ran, but I was not on the dohyo. Mitoryu has little fuss in capturing him, turning him to the East and stepping him out to improve to 5-5.

Kagayaki defeats Oho – Oho chooses to open with a hazu-oshi, but can’t maintain the hold as Kagayaki disrupts his upper body and hand placement, sending him off balance. A moment later the hikiotoshi lands an Oho is on the clay. Both end the day 4-6.

Takarafuji defeats Bushozan – Faced with a make-koshi, Takarafuji finds an escape move at the edge to stave off a losing record another day. Bushozan only takes a pair of volleys to break through Takarafuji’s normally solid defense and get him moving. Bushozan pursues, but finds himself on the dohyo the moment he lunges forward to finish off Takarafuji. Takarafuji improves to 3-7.

Tsurugisho defeats Takanosho – Solid sumo from Tsurugisho halts Takanosho’s climb back to the top ranks, at least for today. It was all in Tsurugisho’s left hand grip which he landed early. Three steps later, and he wins by yorikiri, both finish 6-4.

Chiyoshoma defeats Myogiryu – Chiyoshoma launched into the tachiai a bit early, and stayed on his feet when Myogiryu tried to pull him down. The match featured an awkward staring contest that lasted a few seconds in the middle before Chiyoshoma slapped Myogiryu to bring him back to the fight. Myogiryu charged, and Chiyoshoma slapped him down, improving to 7-3.

Daishoho defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji did not have the mass or the power to break Daishoho’s solid defensive stance, Daishoho counter attacked, and launched Nishikifuji out by oshidashi for the win. Both end the day 6-4.

Hiradoumi defeats Kotoeko – Hiradoumi is able to deliver a lot more power than I tend to expect form him. Plus he is on this very unusual pattern of winning on even days, losing on odd days going on right now. As day 10 is even, I guess it was time for him to win. He powers up against Kotoeko and walks him out, improving to 5-5.

Azumaryu defeats Ichiyamamoto – Azumaryu finally gets his first win of the tournament. He still can’t hold ground, but Ichiyamamoto is so helter skelter this March that Azumaryu just needed to stay one step ahead of him, and wait to apply the slap down. He improves to 1-9.

Hokuseiho defeats Ura – Do you ever have a day where you need to get at that box of papers on the top shelf in your closet? But it’s underneath a bunch of other boxes and there is stuff that is threatening to fall on you as you try to work it out of it’s spot without causing a concussion? Now imagine the closet is fighting you back. That is what comes to mind watching Ura fight from his ultra low stance against the vertically generous Hokuseiho. Ura throws the kitchen sink into this match, but Hokuseiho the closet is not giving in, and Ura is not getting that box of papers. Ura pauses for a moment, to think through if he really needs those papers, remembers it’s almost tax time, and goes at it again. This time the closet is done messing around, and it’s over by yorikiri before Ura can file an extension. Hokuseiho now 6-4.

Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – That was more forward power from Aoiyama than I think I have seen the entire basho. He did well to fend off Hokutofuji at first, but in true Aoiyama style, he resorted to a pull after a time. Hokutofuji was prepared, and rushed “Big Dan” for the exit, improving to 6-4. Six straight wins after an 0-4 start.

Kinbozan defeats Takayasu – This match was all down to Takayasu’s lack of balance and connection to earth. He starts with his pointless shoulder blast, only to find that Kinbozan is not really effected. Takayasu attacks with oshi-zumo, but it’s not really effective, so he tries to pull Kinbozan. Sadly, that does not work either a Kinbozan keeps his feed and runs Takayasu out. Every moment that Takayasu had a choice to make today, his choices turned out poorly. He’s eliminated from even theoretical competition for the cup, as both end the day 7-3.

Sadanoumi defeats Nishikigi – Sadanoumi accepts Nishikigi’s invitation to yotsu-zumo, and proceed to call the tune. Nishikigi never can set his feet defensively, and Sadanoumi swings him around and rolls him to the clay by sukuinage. Nishikigi now make-koshi at 2-8 while Sadanoumi improves to 3-7.

Tamawashi defeats Ryuden – We finally get to see some solid forward power from Tamawashi in today’s match. Ryuden is in terrible condition right now, and can’t offer more than token resistance to Tamawashi’s oshi attack, and is out in a hurry by oshidashi, with Tamawashi advancing to 2-8.

Endo defeats Shodai – Endo stays in the hunt in this solid match. We got to see a good opening gambit from Endo, the “Wall of Daikon” from Shodai, and then Endo counters with a well timed sukuinage. That’s a real risk to Shodai’s favorite move, if you can get a hand around that big body, you can swing him down for a win. Endo now 8-2 and kachi-koshi.

Wakamotoharu defeats Meisei – Outstanding defensive effort from Meisei today. He was masterful in his approach to locking out as much of Wakamotoharu’s sumo as he could, preventing Waka from getting much of a grip for most of the fight. But eventually Meisei had to pause. Wakamotoharu consolidated his grip, lifted Meisei and walked him out for a win by yorikiri, he is now 7-3.

Midorifuji defeats Tobizaru – Valiant effort by Tobizaru, but it seems Midorifuji is untouchable right now. He sacrificed his hit and move sumo for a solid right hand inside grip, and proceeded to try and find some way to break Midorifuji down. For just a moment, it looked like Tobizaru had found an advantage, he advanced. But, Midorifuji countered with a seldom seen move – a waridashi, or upper arm force out. That’s 10-0 for Midorifuji. Wow.

Kotonowaka defeats Abi – Abi-zumo seems to have once again run out of gas for now. I am sure he will be back with a variation that will cause all kinds of trouble later this year. But Kotonowaka shuts down his offense, lands a couple of big pushes center mass, and drops Abi on his back. Kotonowaka now kachi-koshi at 8-2.

Kiribayama defeats Mitakeumi – Impressed that Kiribayama was able to get a double hand inside grip and lift the bulky tadpole body of Mitakeumi up and buck him out of the ring. That’s quite a lift for anyone. Kiribayama now 7-3.

Hoshoryu defeats Daieisho – This is the point where the yusho race fell apart. It was a lot of expect of Daieisho to stay on a winning streak against some of the toughest men still fighting in this tournament. Daieisho put all of his chips on a thrust and pull strategy which failed. It was predictable, and likely trained for this morning. He was then gabbed bodily by Hoshoryu, and it was all over except for the kensho at that point. Hoshoryu improves to 7-2.

Kotoshoho defeats Wakatakakage – Ok, what the hell was that? Kotoshoho has been fighting like a top contender in Jonidan for most of this tournament. But he shuts down the one time Ozeki hopeful, discombobulates his sumo utterly, and then shoves the resulting mess out of the ring. Oh, 2020s sumo – never change! Kotoshoho now 2-8.