Hatsu Day 12 Preview

It’s day 12 and the yusho race has suddenly become interesting

Hatsu Leaderboard

With there being two men tied for the lead, there are many more options. My favorite being that both Takakeisho and Onosho lose one more before day 15, while Tamawashi and Kotoshoho continue to win. Readers know that I am enamored with big multi-way final day scenarios where we don’t know the winner until late in the second half of action. I am sure that is a long shot at this point, but a fellow can dream.

I note that Takakeisho and Onosho have been bashing each other on the clay for many years, and competed head to head as children. They have 14 career matches, with Takakeisho holding a 11-3 advantage. Not good odds for Onosho at all. Their last match was in May of 2022, where was an oshidashi that put Onosho out of the ring on day 5.

Leader: Takakeisho, Onosho
Chasers: Tamawashi, Kotoshoho

4 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 12

Tohakuryu vs Chiyomaru – This could be a good day for Tohakuryu, who is 7-4 and visiting from Juryo. He’s going up against ailing Chiyomaru, who has a losing record at 3-8, and a 2-1 career deficit against Tohakuryu. With so few at J5 and up with winning records, and a host of spots due to open, a kachi-koshi might be enough for him to make his top division debut in March.

Kagayaki vs Takarafuji – Kagayaki, if you try to henka Takarfuji today, I am going to lose all hope for him. Kagayaki is 6-5, and needs 2 more wins for kachi-koshi, where as a Takarafuji win (7-4) would be kachi-koshi for him today. Takarafuji holds a 12-5 career advantage, so I hope that he can make it work today and pick up his 8th.

Aoiyama vs Kotoeko – Both are 6-5 to start the day, the loser will course correct to better aim to join the Darwin cohort. I am foolishly holding out hope that crap sumo like what Aoiyama gave us on day 11 are now a thing of the past. If there is any real oyakata left, Kasugano hopefully give him something to think about. Kotoeko has a narrow 7-5 career record lead, and took 4 of the 5 matches they fought in 2022. Hopefully the two of them will actually have a straight ahead fight today.

Azumaryu vs Hiradoumi – Good news everyone! One of these fine fellows will get their 8th win in this match, as both are 7-4. You may have guess that I am hoping that it will be Azumaryu, who has won both prior matches against Hiradoumi. Oddly enough, this is the first time the two have fought outside of a November tournament.

Takanosho vs Tsurugisho – I am sure the schedulers had both Takanosho and Tsurugisho left over after they had the pairings they wanted, and so they went head to head. Tsurugisho is at 4-7 to start the day, Takanosho 5-6. They have split their prior two matches. A Tsurugisho loss today would be make-koshi for him, and both of them have a strong chance of finishing Hatsu with a losing record.

Ichiyamamoto vs Endo – Another “winner kachi-koshi” match, this time it’s Endo and Ichiyamamoto. This seems to be a cream-puff “gimmie” for Endo, as he has won both of their prior matches. In an strange repetition of a prior theme, this is the first time the two of them have had a match outside of a September tournament.

Mitoryu vs Oho – At 1-10, Oho is now a donor or blood-bag for the rest of the rikishi they want to throw lifelines too. Maegashira 15W Mitoryu has a 4-7 record, and if he were to “lose out” would be punted far down the banzuke into the jungly dark depths of the Juryo bog. So pair him with Oho, who has lost to him all of their 5 prior matches. Grim.

Hokutofuji vs Chiyoshoma – With a middling 6-5 score, its still quite possible that Hokutofuji may end Hatsu with “the most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”, as is his custom. He has a 6-1 career lead over 5-6 Chiyoshoma, who is likely headed for a day 15 Darwin match. I did really enjoy his win over Tsurugisho on day 11, so maybe he is going to finish Hatsu strong.

Kotoshoho vs Nishikigi – Displaced from the leader group, 8-3 Kotoshoho gets to have a match with surprisingly genki 7-4 Nishikigi. I hope we continue to see strong sumo from him, as he could take the place of Kotoshogiku as the rikishi you can count on to just square up against an opponent, grab a hold and run them out of the ring. A Nishikigi win is kachi-koshi for him.

Abi vs Ura – Both rikishi are 6-5, and the loser gets pushed back to the middle of the narrow road to Darwin town. Personally I think it’s going to be Ura, who while he’s not terrible this January, is not really able to consistently generate solid offense. I have not seen a lot of tug and pull going on, and he’s too bulky now for some of his early plastic-man tricks. I still have Abi pegged for a likely kachi-koshi.

Onosho vs Tamawashi – Now that Onosho (9-2) is a co-leader, you know they are going to make him work quite hard to keep that position, possibly trying to get him into a head to head against Takakeisho in the next few days. He’s had some success against 8-3 Tamawashi, taking 5 out of 11 matches. But every match since 2021 has gone to Tamawashi. Both are big-power pushers, so I expect fireworks today.

Tobizaru vs Myogiryu – The flip side of some early matches, both are 4-7, and the loser will end the day make-koshi. Both have some problems with their sumo this January, so it would not surprise me if both of them are 9 or 10 losses at the end of day 15. I hope we can get Tobizaru back together and tuned up for Osaka. The upper rank matches are more entertaining when he’s around to cause trouble.

Mitakeumi vs Daieisho – A 24 match history between these two, and Mitakeumi leads it 14-10. But Mitakeumi is not his normal self, and his not fighting anywhere near where he should. At just 5-6, he is another likely candidate for a Darwin match on Sunday, if he can get that far. A win today for 7-4 Daieisho would be kachi-koshi for him.

Meisei vs Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi has only had one match in the past two years against Meisei, which he lost. He is already make-koshi at 3-8 and just maybe if he can squeeze out a win today, he can share the losing record love with 4-7 Meisei, too. I mostly want Sadanoumi to keep his feet, and stay away from the salt baskets.

Midorifuji vs Wakamotoharu – First of a series of “Darwin tune up” matches featuring an Onomi brother. Its 6-5 Wakamotoharu against 5-6 Midorifuji, with the optimum outcome (for Darwin purposes) being a Midorifuji win to push them both to 6-6. They have had one match per year for the last three years, with Midorifuji winning the 2020 one, and Wakamotoharu the most recent two.

Wakatakakage vs Kotonowaka – Another Darwin tune up, with both at 5-6. The winner gets to join the crowd at 6-6. The loser is one loss away from make-koshi. They fought five matches in 2022, with Kotonowaka taking 4 of them.

Nishikifuji vs Shodai – First ever match, for them. We have 5-6 Shodai, who still has a chance at kachi-koshi if he want win 3 of the last 4, against already make-koshi Nishikifuji. We know Shodai has the sumo to win those last matches to reach the safety of 8, but his fighting spirit seems all but quenched.

Ryuden vs Hoshoryu – A win for 7-4 Hoshoryu would be kachi-koshi for him, and I would assume an immediate return to kyujo status. He has won the only prior bout against 6-5 Ryuden, which was in March of 2021. Hoshoryu is still looking hurt, so I hope this gamble pays off for him.

Kiribayama vs Takakeisho – I think after winning with a throw on day 10, 9-2 Takakeisho was “Feeling his oats” a bit too much, and may have left room for Kotonowaka to fight him on his own terms. I would expect he will not make that mistake today against Kiribayama, who has a 4-8 record against him on the clay. Now that he is not in sole possession of the lead, Takakeisho needs to revert to daily wins and wait for someone (possibly even himself) to pick of Onosho.

Hatsu Day 11 Highlights

There must have been a memo that went around, directing everyone to try some manner of henka or limited tachiai today. I don’t really a day with more soft tachiai, henka attempts, side steps and general avoidance countermeasures in all my years as a fan of sumo. It made for some unusually tactics, some interesting results, and at least one frustrated fan (myself). It got so bad that in the second half of the top division matches, several of the athletes were expecting some kind of jack-assery at the start of the match, and more than once were right.

But in the final match, Takakeisho was unable to best Kotonowaka, I think in part because Takakeisho was a bit soft in his tachiai, perhaps expecting some dodge from Kotonowaka. As a result, he did not get his normal dominant position, and was gradually degraded, then defeated by the Komusubi. That loss puts the yusho race to a two way battle between two of our beloved tadpoles, as Onosho was able to defeats Kotoshoho early in the match day. I still like Takakeisho for the cup on Sunday, and we will see if we get a head to head match between Takakeisho and Onosho before the final weekend.

Highlight Matches

Ichiyamamoto defeats Oshoma – These two went at it like warriors. Oshoma did a fair job of disrupting Ichiyamamoto’s preferred attack style, and I was surprised to see Ichiyamamoto switch to an energetic head and neck pull. Credit to Oshoma, it did not work, and he countered by swinging Ichiyamamoto around. I can see what the fuss is about. Now finding himself in a mawashi battle, Ichiyamamoto does a surprisingly good job of working outside of his comfort zone to get Oshoma turned, and pushes him out from behind, improving to 7-4.

Chiyoshoma defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho supplies all of the offense at first, but finds he can’t overwhelm Chiyoshoma. The stand chest to chest for a moment, and then Chiyoshoma switches on the power. He moves about 200kg of Tsurugisho back, an impressive feat, then gives him a hearty gaburi-yori to buck him over the bales. This is the kind of sumo I wish we would see from Chiyoshoma all the time, as he advances to 5-6.

Mitoryu defeats Hiradoumi – Hiradoumi supplies the offensive power in this match, right up until the end. Mitoryu wisely decides to remain as static as possible, be huge, and let Hiradoumi wear himself out. The end comes when Hiradoumi tries some kind of throw for the 4th or 5th time, and Mitoryu collapses the move for the win. He is now 4-7.

Takarafuji defeats Aoiyama – What the bloody hell. Now Aoiyama tries to henka Takarafuji? Look here, chubstance, it didn’t work. Takarafuji was more careful today, and when Aoiyama decided to try some real sumo, he was off balance and too far forward. Fitting end that as Aoiyama lunged forward to try and push Takarafuji out, Takarafuji got out of his way and let him fall into Oho. There is a moni-ii, and I am not sure how Takarafuji’s heel did not mark the janome, but so bet it. Verdict stands. Go take a shower, man-boobs. Takarafuji is now 7-4.

Endo defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu was a bit lethargic in the tachiai, and Endo is able to grapple before the initial charge is complete. A quick rotation, and Azumaryu goes to confer with the time keeper and the gyoji-in-waiting. Endo improves to 7-4 by uwatenage.

Chiyomaru defeats Oho – Wow, how bad is it with Oho? Bad enough that an injured Chiyomaru can beat him now. The “Stand him up and slap him down” combo almost works, but only almost. Chiyomaru resorts to pushing Oho around, and manages to get him out on the third exchange. Oho now 1-10, Chiyomaru up to 3-8.

Onosho defeats Kotoshoho – As was said in “The Highlander”… There can be only one! It’s not every day that Onosho gets to win a match with a throw, but today he applied a “close enough” sukuinage to Kotoshoho to remain the sole person one behind the Ozeki. I am pretty sure he will face Takakeisho some time in the remaining 4 days, but I think they are saving that one. Onosho now 9-2

Kagayaki defeats Ura – Kagayaki suspects some Ura trickery, and does a tachiai even more lethargic than Azumaryu’s, and switches immediately into defense. After a couple of feigns, he is able to get his hands inside and start pushing, and then makes short work of Ura who seems to have no answer today. Both end day 11 at 6-5.

Kotoeko defeats Myogiryu – Was that the rare double henka? Both men dodged to their left, and nobody impacted at the tachiai. They both seemed quite surprised by that outcome, and took to batting at each other while they made up a plan of what to do next. Kotoeko improvised better, getting his hands around Myogiryu’s body and trying for some gaburi-yori. It seemed to work, and he belly bounced Myogiryu out for the win, advancing to 6-5.

Takanosho defeats Hokutofuji – Takanosho decided he does know how to fight in the top division today. He went hard into Hokutofuji, getting his hands inside, and maintaining contact. With the pressure on, he found a lucky break when Hokutofuji could not maintain good foot placement, and Takanosho had him back and out in just a few seconds. Takanosho improves to 5-6.

Tamawashi defeats Nishikigi – It took the power of Tamawashi to prevent Nishikigi from winning 4 in a row. I do hope this does not mean that he is going to start a losing streak, because I am really enjoying the fact that he is greatly improved. The key to Tamawashi’s win was never letting Nishikigi get close and get any kind of hold. I loved how Tamawashi had a bobbing and weaving element to his tsuppari volleys today, as it did not provide a stable target to allow Nishikigi to grab any kind of hold. That’s win number 8 for Tamawashi, and he is now kachi-koshi at 8-3.

Ryuden defeats Mitakeumi – After looking solid day 10, Mitakeumi had no mojo at all today. Ryuden took control at the tachiai, and walked Mitakeumi directly back and out. Ryuden now 6-5.

Tobizaru defeats Abi – Both men execute a stand up tachiai, blink for a moment, and then attack. Abi has all the power, but no control for the brief period of this match. While he is busy getting ready to send Tobizaru into the zabuton for a little fan service, he neglectfully steps out, and loses the match via isamiashi. Tobizaru advances to 4-7, staving off make-koshi.

Daieisho defeats Wakamotoharu – Wakamotoharu manages to break through Daieisho’s offense and establish a body grip. Kind of impressed by his tenacity in doing so. He can’t quite get his hands on Daieisho’s mawashi, and keeps pressing forward to try. Daieisho exploits this to get him too far forward near the bales, and rotates him out as Wakamotoharu gets airborne. Nice, clever win by Daieisho, and he’s now 7-4, breaking a 3 match losing streak.

Meisei defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji should have known better. Yet another henka attempt, in the face of Meisei lining up well behind the shikiri-sen. He knew it was coming. Meisei closes the distance, grabs Midorifuji and gives him a hearty toss into the zabuton. Clown move, Midorifuji, enjoy your black star today. Meisei dodges make-koshi and is now 4-7.

Shodai defeats Sadanoumi – The salt baskets were thankful they did not get any non-standard interactions with Sadanoumi today. But we did get to see Shodai’s “Wall of Daikon” come out for a less than forceful deployment. It’s still good to see that he has it available to him. He uses that big body to completely screen out Sadanoumi, and hustles him off the dohyo. Shodai at 5-6, could he still get kachi-koshi?

Hoshoryu defeats Nishikifuji – Hoshoryu comes back from a single day kyujo, and picks up a quite welcome win. Nishikifuji tries at least three different combos, including the prelude to a throw, but Hoshoryu is having none of that, and puts him over the bales for his 7th win, now 7-4. Kachi-koshi tomorrow?

Kiribayama defeats Wakatakakage – Surprisingly off balance and clumsy sumo from Wakatakakage today. He lets Kiribayama grab and arm, and then Wakatakakage rotates into it, Kiribayama hooks his leg around Wakatakakage leg and unleashes a tottari, which was great to see. Time to upgrade your sumo again, sir. Kiribayama improves to 5-6.

Kotonowaka defeats Takakeisho – I am puzzled by Takakeisho today. No real tachiai (maybe he read the memo?), then he decides to ease into the forward attack, and does not really get Kotonowaka off balance. The result was the two trading blows, and eventually Kotonowaka getting Takakeisho off balance, then running him into those poor suffering salt baskets. Of course the crowd goes nuts, as Kotonowaka scores only his 5th win (5-6) of the basho, dropping Takakeisho down to even with Onosho, and setting up an at least 2 way race for the cup.

Hatsu Day 11 Preview

With the dawn of day 11, we enter act 3 of the Hatsu basho. Act 3 is where we sort everyone into make-koshi and kachi-koshi, and we award the yusho to the rikishi with the best record. Unless something terrible happens, that will be Takakeisho (the Grand Tadpole). The question then arises, are the rumors of a possible Yokozuna promotion actually under consideration? We will get to find out in just about a week from now.

If he is successful in winning the yusho, it will be his 3rd yusho, to go along side his 8 jun-yusho he has picked up since 2018.

Hatsu Leaderboard

It’s still Takakeisho’s tournament to lose, and with the two chasers going head to head, we will narrow the field yet again today.

Leader: Takakeisho
Chasers: Kotoshoho, Onosho
Hunt Group: Tamawashi, Nishikigi, Hiradoumi, Azumaryu

5 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 11

Ichiyamamoto vs Oshoma – The day 11 Juryo visitor is Oshoma, who starts the day with a 5-5 record at Juryo 3. This guy is hell on wheels. He started professional sumo at Makushita 15 tsukidashi in November of 2021, and proceeded to blast his way up the ranks. He won the Juryo yusho last tournament, but is struggling now to try and stay on a winning path. He has never had a match against Ichiyamamoto (6-4), so this will be a lot of people’s first look at Oshoma.

Chiyoshoma vs Tsurugisho – A battle of 4-6 rikishi, and this match is what is making me start to suspect that there is a tiny amount of funneling going on. The winner will remain in the lane for the Darwin pool on day 15, the loser will get one step away from make-koshi. They have a 5-4 joint record, but to my eye Chiyoshoma is fighting quite a bit worse this tournament than Tsurugisho is, and that’s saying something.

Mitoryu vs Hiradoumi – A mirror score match, where we have 3-7 Mitoryu against 7-3 Hiradoumi. A Hiradoumi win would be a simultaneous make-koshi for Mitoryu, and kachi-koshi for Hiradoumi. The wrinkle in that plan is Mitoryu’s 2-0 career record.

Aoiyama vs Takarafuji – I am still grumbly that Endo decided to henka against Takarafuji. Now we get this match where both men are 6-4, and Takarafuji has a 7-22 career deficit against Aoiyama. Aoiyama is not at his peak form, but he’s close enough that this trend is likely to be the controlling factor in today’s match.

Azumaryu vs Endo – Today could be the day that Azumaryu (7-3) gets that magical 8th win that would reward him with his first ever winning score in the top division. As mentioned above, I am still grumbly at Endo for that stinker match on day 10, so hopefully no crummy stuff today. Endo has won their only prior match way back in March of 2016.

Chiyomaru vs Oho – Both rikishi are already make-koshi, and Chiyomaru (2-8) is already Juryo bound, so they can commiserate, and maybe Chiyomaru can pick up a 3rd win, as I am not sure who Oho (1-9) can beat at this point.

Onosho vs Kotoshoho – This match between the two rikishi who are 1 win behind Takakeisho will ensure that there is only one at the end of today. Both men are 8-2 kachi-koshi, and both have a good chance of reaching double digits over the last 5 days. Onosho has won 4 of their 5 prior matches, with Kotoshoho’s only win coming on day 9 of in July of 2022, by kotenage. Kotoshoho has had stand out tournaments in the past, but has been through a soft patch for the last year since his Juryo yusho in January 2021.

Kagayaki vs Ura – Kagayaki at 5-5 is on course to join the Darwin club on day 15, so long as he continues to win one, then lose one. Ura at 6-4 has a chance to escape that fate today with a win. His day 10 loss aside, he has had a fairly decent tournament this January, and I think it would be good for him to finish with a winning record. He has only won 1 of their prior 4 matches, with only one fight (in 2021) since Ura went kyujo to have his knees rebuilt.

Kotoeko vs Myogiryu – Two more candidates for the funnel, each having a clear road to the Darwin group on Sunday. It’s 5-5 Kotoeko against 4-6 Myogiryu. For Kotoeko, he always fights much larger than his score. But for Myogiryu, something is amiss with his sumo, and he’s not turning out the wins at his normal rate. He does have a 9-2 career advantage over Kotoeko, and won 2 of their 3 matches in 2022.

Hokutofuji vs Takanosho – Speaking of rikishi who need to recover their sumo: Takanosho. No telling what has happened to him (as far as I can tell), but being 4-6 at the start of act 3 ranked at a middling Makuuchi 9 is a puzzler. For 6-4 Hokutofuji, the even / odd make/kachi-koshi is par for the course. The optimum outcome for any funnel activity is a Takanosho win, which would push them both into the middle lane headed for Darwin. Hokutofuji holds a 6-3 career advantage.

Nishikigi vs Tamawashi – Oh, I do love this match. They are both 7-3, so the winner ends the day with kachi-koshi. Tamawashi, it would be no surprise if he expanded on his 6-1 career record against Nishikigi. But as we have pointed out for days, something changed with Nishikigi in the last while, and he’s formidable right now. So it will be a clash of styles, and a race to see if Nishikigi can get his grip, or Tamawashi can get him on the clay first.

Mitakeumi vs Ryuden – The doom that completely encircles Mitakeumi just continues to rain cold, ugly drops down upon his face. He’s at 5-5, in the middle of the Darwin hunt group. He’s against 5-5 Ryuden, who holds a 5-1 career advantage, and for some reason the scheduling team seems to be picking the opponents to make sure you lose. Somebody take mercy on this guy.

Tobizaru vs Abi – It’s chaos sumo time! Who’s wild, out of control offense is going to win today? I think it’s likely up to 6-4 Abi to give 3-7 Tobizaru his 8th loss, and hand him a make-koshi for January. Tobizaru has not won a match against Abi since July of 2017, when they were both in Makushita. Ouch…

Daieisho vs Wakamotoharu – Both rikishi are 6-4 to start today, with kachi-koshi just 2 wins away. Daieisho had a wild hot streak going into the middle weekend, but has now lost 4 matches in a row, and is no longer looking genki at all. As he has done for the past couple of years, Wakamotoharu just quietly keeps plodding along, turning in constant and workable sumo. Of course it did not hurt that he had a fusensho against Takayasu on day 6.

Meisei vs Midorifuji – Midorifuji (5-5) has the task before him of giving 3-7 Meisei his 8th loss and make-koshi. Midorifuji himself needs to find 3 more wins in the final 8 days for kachi-koshi, and I am certain he does not want to be one of the crowd looking for that final white star on the last day of Hatsu.

Sadanoumi vs Shodai – I really liked Sadanoumi’s day 10 win against Wakatakakage. It’s as if he said “no more, that’s it, no more crashes into the salt box”, and made it work out that way. He’s only at 3-7, so his next loss with be his 8th. I would think under normal circumstances that Shodai would find him easy meat, but poor Shodai is just day to day right now, and at 4-6 getting perilously close to make-koshi himself.

Nishikifuji vs Hoshoryu – The prediction is that Hoshoryu and his injured ankle will be back in action on day 11. Makes a person wonder what he was out for day 10. He needs to finish up his 6-4 scored and try to find 2 more wins. I think he can do it, if he’s not too banged up. Nishikifuji at 3-7 is also in the club that is one loss away from make-koshi. This is their first ever match.

Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – A battle of two future stars who seem to have fallen into a rough patch. It’s 5-5 Wakatakakage, who at one point 10 days ago was the subject of future Ozeki rank. He’s facing 6-4 Kiribayama who is also a possible future Ozeki, in my opinion. Neither one of them have covered themselves in glory this time out, though its not out of the question that they both could hit 8 wins and kachi-koshi. Kiribayama leads the series 7-5.

Kotonowaka vs Takakeisho – Takakeisho is a man on a mission, and I think we all love that mission. A win today will give him double digits, which would make his 4th consecutive tournament with 10 wins or more. Right now he’s on the yusho trail, and continuing to win is how he gets to his goal. Kotonowaka at 4-6 has only beaten him once, in May of 2022 by oshidashi on day 1 of Haru.

Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

Act 2 is now in the history books, and the yusho race is all Takakeisho’s for now. He won his match today with a kotenage. That’s right, the guy with no yotsu-zumo (in theory) has now won two matches this tournament with that kotenage. Opponents now need to be a bit more defensive in their matches, as it seems he can and will grab you and throw you to the clay. I must compliment Takakeisho at clearly working very hard to bring this new dimension to his sumo. It may seem laughable that I laud an Ozeki for a simple kotenage, but adding it to his kimarite, which his oshi/tuski-zumo regime is so strong really complicates things for anyone looking tp win a match against him.

In carry over news from day 9, Hoshoryu did in fact go kyujo from that ankle injury he received in his day 9 loss to Wakamotoharu. But news is that the kyujo is only one day, and Hoshoryu will return to the dohyo on day 11. Maybe he was worried he would miss Kintamayama’s “Font Day” and knew he would be sad for the rest of the month if he did. I hope he will be back in fighting form on Wednesday, but for today Kiribayama picks up the fusensho, and both are now 6-4.

Highlight Matches

Azumaryu defeats Daiamami – I am impressed that Daiamami was able to misdirect and confound Azumaryu’s sumo for as long as he did. It made for a bit of a laugh to start the top division. But Azumaryu had him boxed and ready to ship by the third step, even though Daiamami made it last quite a bit longer. Azumaryu now one away from his first ever top division kachi-koshi at 7-3.

Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – These two achieved the optimum outcome for getting them closer to a Darwin match, as they both end the day 5-5. Kotoeko stepped to the side at the tachiai, and timed his follow up strike very well, getting Kagayaki out with just two hits.

Chiyoshoma defeats Mitoryu – Chiyoshoma must have tried two or three throwing attempts, but Mitoryu is a plump fellow, and could not be rotated. Chiyoshoma had to settle for just hustling him out for the win, and is now 4-6.

Hiradoumi defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto found his double arm thrusting attacks completely shut down, and for a moment there looked completely lost. Hiradoumi took advantage of his puzzlement, and put him out of the ring, improving to 7-3 with a possible kachi-koshi tomorrow. Ichiyamamoto will improve greatly when he learns how to switch to a back up attack plan.

Endo defeats Takarafuji – I am starting to worry, as Takarafuji has lost 3 of the last 4. I know he has hurt his hand this tournament, but I dearly want him to reach kachi-koshi and remain in the top division. But Endo, what the hell man? A henka today? Get out of here with that stink-burger. He’s now 6-4.

Tsurugisho defeats Oho – I have to now wonder just how low Oho’s score is going to go. With the log-jam of rikishi trying to get on that Juryo barge, I think he’s safe in the top division for now. He’s got to be injured to be performing this poorly (1-9), so I can only hope he gets himself well before Osaka. Tsurugisho grabs a firm hold, dances him about some, and tosses him toward Sadanoumi’s salt basket. Tsurugisho now 4-6.

Kotoshoho defeats Ura – First attempt, Kotoshoho attempts to blast Ura out of the ring, and Kotoshoho gets the gumbo. Replay shows Kotoshoho’s foot in, but the top is touching the clay. No matter, let’s rematch (good choice). Second attempt, Kotoshoho delivers volley after volley of blows to Ura’s face. I think it winds Ura up enough that he tries one of his old “plastic man” tricks, dives down, grabs Kotoshoho’s right leg and heaves. His grip fails, Ura is off balance, and Kotoshoho strikes him down. A real shame, I wanted him to pull it off. Kotoshoho now kachi-koshi at 8-2.

Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – Interesting strategy from Hokutofuji today, not letting Aoiyama get into a position to fully extend those long arms and deliver full force from the V-Twin attack. It devolves into Hokutofuji having a right hand inside attack, and delivering a yorikiri against Big Dan. Not a sight you can expect to see between these two. Both end the day at 6-4.

Myogiryu defeats Chiyomaru – It’s not surprise that Chiyomaru picked up his 8th loss today. He’s been hurt since before the basho, and really can’t generate any effective offense. He’s make-koshi now at the last slot on the banzuke, and he will join everyone else already aboard the Juryo barge after day 15. Myogiryu made it official with an oshitaoshi that was more of a slippiotoshi as Chiyomaru’s bum ankle gave out, improving his score to 4-6.

Nishikigi defeats Takanosho – Gentlemen of the Makuuchi corps, if you allow yourself to go chest to chest with Nishikigi, and give him a moment to consolidate his stance, he is going to walk you right out of the ring. I know this is new, and you are used to him being some kind of sumo gummy-bear, but he’s serious now. Just don’t. Takanosho did not get the memo, and Nishikigi now 7-3.

Onosho defeats Nishikifuji – I get the feeling that Nishikifuji was not quite ready for that. Sure, Onosho had won all of their prior matches, but Onosho this day 10 of 2023 Hatsu was in a hurry to win, and Nishikifuji was in the way. A quick run out by yorikiri, and Onosho reaches kachi-koshi at 8-2.

Abi defeats Ryuden – Brilliant recovery from Ryuden put Abi in trouble, quite impressed by Ryuden’s move. But Abi is just as impressive in his recovery and counter-attack that puts Ryuden face down near Sadanoumi’s other salt basket. Abi now 6-4.

Tamawashi defeats Daieisho – Strong, potent open from Daieisho, he had Tamawashi on defense early, and even gave Tamawashi a moment where he was off balance. But somehow Tamawashi regained enough control to take his right arm around Daieisho’s head, and hurl him down. Crazy, wild sumo, but it was good enough for a win, and Tamawashi is now 7-3.

Wakamotoharu defeats Tobizaru – Great hazu-oshi combo train from Wakamotoharu, which fixed Tobizaru in place and removed any chance he might dance around and cause trouble. From there, it was all forward power to drive Tobizaru out, and Wakamotoharu is now 6-4.

Mitakeumi defeats Kotonowaka – Sort of a lumbering tachiai from Kotonowaka, and it was quite refreshing to see Mitakeumi actually able to move fairly well, and brute an opponent out of the ring. He’s 5-5 now, and not quite ready for the scrap heap. But he’s also on a direct course for Darwin territory.

Sadanoumi defeats Wakatakakage – I do believe that Sadanoumi has had enough time with the salt baskets for now, thank you. Facing make-koshi today, he rallies from an early Wakatakakage advantage to deliver an energetic yorikiri, and I think surprised Wakatakakage. Sadanoumi up to 3-7. Wakatakakage, you are not going anywhere near that Ozeki rank soon, sir.

Shodai defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji sets up a double inside grip early. Normally this is trouble for the other guy, but let’s realized it’s Shodai. He’s already standing straight up, he’s as wide as the broad side of a barn, and he does have considerable sumo skill. Shodai clamps down on Midorifuji’s arms, setting up the kimedashi. From there, Midorifuji is trapped, and Shodai walks him out. Shodai now 4-6.

Takakeisho defeats Meisei – Well, I took a look out of my office window to see a flock of pigs oinking as the flapped by. That’s TWO matches Takakeisho has won with throws this tournament. Word to his future opponents, if he grabs you, he can make it work. After an early surge, Meisei ends up on his back thanks to a Takakeisho kotenage, and the Ozeki advances to 9-1.