Haru Day 13 Preview

It’s the start of the final weekend of the basho, and we are at the cusp of resolving some story lines around this tournament, including some new ones that have presented themselves as the past 12 days of competition were written into history. I like Terunofuji’s chances of beating an Ozeki in the last three days, and that would give him 10. I like Takayasu’s chances of going 12-3 or 13-2 to take the yusho, and that would not just hand him a cup, but give him a solid start to re-taking his former Ozeki rank. Of the three contestants for the cup, Takayasu has the easier route. He faces Wakatakakage today, and two rikishi ranked below Ozeki for day 14 and 15. I think those may be Tobizaru and Chiyonokuni, both of which will give him a good battle.

Haru Leaderboard

Leader: Takayasu
Chasers: Asanoyama, Terunofuji, Tobizaru
Hunt Group: Takakeisho, Wakatakakage, Meisei, Tobizaru, Chiyonokuni, Aoiyama, Hidenoumi

3 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 13

Kotoeko vs Chiyomaru – Hey! Chiyomaru is today’s Juryo visitor. With 9-3 at Juryo 3, there is a fair chance this supremely round fellow will re-join the elite ranks of the top division for May. He faces Kotoeko, who has to be less than thrilled. Kotoeko needs 2 wins out of the last 3 to avoid make-koshi, and he has a 3-5 career deficit against Chiyomaru.

Akiseyama vs Yutakayama – Likewise Akiseyama needs to win 2 of his last 3 to avoid make-koshi, and he’s against already Juryo-bound Yutakayama today. Yutakayama is really looking unwell, and I think that for his last 3 matches, he will be hard pressed to find any more wins.

Hidenoumi vs Kotoshoho – I can’t wait to see if Kotoshoho can win 2 in a row after coming back from 8 days kyujo. This guy really can show some great sumo, and was completely off his form for the first 3 days of the basho. Maybe he was able to fix whatever the problem was, and he’s back to good form?

Chiyotairyu vs Daiamami – Surprisingly, a first ever match between these two rikishi. Chiyotairyu needs to win all of his last 3 to avoid make-koshi, and Daiamami needs 2. I expect this mathematical impossibility to result in some hard hitting action today.

Chiyoshoma vs Ryuden – Likewise, both of these guys are in dire need of wins in the remaining 3 days, with Chiyoshoma needing 3 and Ryuden needing 2. Both of them will likely remain in the top division if the expected make-koshi should happen. But you can maybe look for some kind of full-throttle henka action from Chiyoshoma today.

Midorifuji vs Kaisei – What kind of cruel oyakata would put an injured Midorifuji up against nearly 200 kg of Kaisei? There is literally 100kg different between these guys. Kaisei, please be gentle on this guy. First ever match.

Chiyonokuni vs Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho needs one more to complete his 8, but he’s going to really have a challenge against Chiyonokuni. Chiyonokuni holds a 3-1 career advantage, and he is been fighting really well.

Aoiyama vs Tobizaru – Both are fighting well, both are kachi-koshi already, and I expect some sparks out of this match today. Will it be Big Dan’s V-Twin crushing attack, or will we see Tobizaru’s hit and move sumo carry the day? Bring it on!

Kotonowaka vs Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi still has a chance to rescue his score and achieve his 8th win, but he will need to win 2 more. He’s got Kotonowaka, who has been struggling since day 1, and has not been able to put together back to back wins this March.

Hoshoryu vs Kagayaki – A Hoshoryu win today is kachi-koshi for him and make-koshi for Kagayaki. But I don’t think it’s quite that cut and dried. I think we may see some solid fundamentals overcome at least some of Hoshoryu’s defenses. Hoshoryu won their only prior match, but Kagayaki is motivated by being one loss away from his 8th defeat.

Kiribayama vs Tochinoshin – Sort of a pre-Darwin match. The loser is make-koshi today, and the other gets to struggle on and hope to win 2 more. Simply put, both of them are a bit too banged up to really achieve kachi-koshi in this tournament, so I hope they are plotting their strong return in May.

Okinoumi vs Shimanoumi – Good grief! Both of them have terrible 3-9 records starting the match today. One of them will exit with a staggering 10 losses on the dohyo. Move over Onosho, you may have competition for the worst record of Haru.

Hokutofuji vs Ichinojo – Did you know you wanted to see this match? I know I did. You have Ol’Stompy going up against the Mongolian Boulder, and the winner gets kachi-koshi. You could note that Hokutofuji holds a 6-4 career record, but Ichinojo is fighting quite well right now, and will be tough for Hokutofuji to beat.

Takarafuji vs Onosho – Oh wait, it CAN get worse than the Okinoumi vs Shimanoumi match. Both of them are 2-10! Is it possible for either of the Maegashira 1’s have such a bad record that they could fall completely out of the top division? I sure hope not. No matter who wins this match, it’s a sore subject.

Meisei vs Daieisho – Daieisho has never lost to Meisei, so I am expecting him to power this thing across the bales with a flurry of thrusting attacks. Daieisho needs 2 more wins for kachi-koshi, and that would be a remarkable recovery from his 1-5 start.

Tamawashi vs Mitakeumi – The loser of today’s mini-Darwin match gets a make-koshi for March, and the winner gets to struggle on. Both of them are likely headed for 8 losses, we are just working to see which day they hit that number. Mitakeumi holds a 22-7 career record, so it’s not good news for the cookie-baker.

Takayasu vs Wakatakakage – Going into the final 3 days, the pressure really starts to mount. I personally think that Takayasu has the upper hand in this match, even though Wakatakakage has a narrow 2-1 career advantage. He’s been close to winning the cup, with 4 jun-yusho in his career. But long suffering fans wonder if this is the time he can actually take home the hardware.

Myogiryu vs Takanosho – Takanosho needs 2 of his last 3 to hit kachi-koshi, and keep his Sekiwake slot. Given the number of wins Takayasu may end up with, and a likely Ozeki re-promotion for Terunofuji, there could be a rather interesting shuffle in the san’yaku. A loss today puts Myogiryu make-koshi for Haru.

Takakeisho vs Asanoyama – It’s time for the Ozeki battles! And first up is Takakeisho and Asanoyama. Who gets the first hit, and will it be a yotsu-zumo fight that favors Asanoyama, or will Takakeisho open a gap in Asanoyama’s defenses and attack with his tsuppari? Both are kachi-koshi, so this is just battling for wins right now.

Shodai vs Terunofuji – Terunofuji just needs to beat one of these guys, and I like his chances best against Shodai. Since Terunofuji’s return to the top division, he has a 2-1 record against Shodai, winning the last two. Clearly he knows how to do it, and I am hoping that we get to see some full bore kaiju action today to seal the deal on promotion.

Haru Day 12 Highlights

Ozeki Takakeisho, with a win today over Okinoumi, has cleared kadoban and will remain an Ozeki for the May tournament. I am delighted to see Takakeisho affirm his rank, and to do it with some solid sumo this March. As we are on the cusp of the final three days of this tournament, the next story to wrap up may be the Ozeki bid by Terunofuji, who picked up his 9th win today against Tamawashi. Finally, the yusho race remained nearly static, as all the leading rikishi won their matches except for Tobizaru, who drops out of the pack 1 win behind Takayasu.

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko defeats Kaisei – Kotoeko kept his hands low at the tachiai, and was rewarded with a double inside body grip. This was quickly converted to powerful forward motion, and seconds later a 6th win. Both end the day at 6-6.

Tsurugisho defeats Chiyonoo – Tsurugisho’s early front grip did not last, but he used his larger mass and enormous belly to keep Chiyonoo on defense, and moved him about effectively. Tsurugisho improves to 7-5.

Aoiyama defeats Daiamami – Big Dan Aoiyama hits his 8th win for a well deserved kachi-koshi. Daiamami had a good opening combo, but he could not convert it to usable offense, and Aoiyama took over. The match ended with Daiamami’s head in the salt basket. I suppose Aoiyama wanted to make sure he had lost.

Hidenoumi defeats Chiyotairyu – Hidenoumi absorbed Chiyotairyu’s cannonball tachiai, and got Chiyotairyu turned to the side for a force out. That is Hidenoumi’s first ever top division kachi-koshi, and I am sure the folks at Kise heya celebrated. What a long tough road for Hidenoumi, who entered sumo in 2012.

Kotoshoho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Back from kyujo, Kotoshoho comes out strong and surprises not only Terutsuyoshi, but most sumo fans as well. He over powered Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai, and completely disrupted Terutsuyoshi’s last ditch attempt to throw at the tawara. On day 13, Kotoshoho finally gets his first win.

Ryuden defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama opened strong, but could not finish Ryuden. Ryuden gets an opening to place his hands inside, and switches to offense, taking the win and giving Yutakayama his 8th loss for a make-koshi in March. I am sad to see Yutakayama take a berth on the barge to Juryo, but he seems to be in need of some remediation.

Akiseyama defeats Hoshoryu – Almost picture perfect tachiai from Hoshoryu, who had a right hand under Akiseyama’s chin and a left hand against his pectoral. But the excellent start rapidly gave way to a strong Akiseyama counter attack. Akiseyama giant belly was on the move, and try as he could, Hoshoryu could not find enough leverage to slow things down or stop him. Akiseyama improves to 6-6.

Kotonowaka defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma seemed to be a bit under powered today. Kotonowaka absorbed everything Chiyoshoma was delivering, and still managed to move forward. Kotonowaka improves to 4-8.

Ichinojo defeats Midorifuji – Ichinojo brutes ahead, taking Midorifuji to his chest and rapidly moves him out. With Midorifuji nursing an injury, there is not much he could do against Ichinojo if Ichinojo was actually fighting today. Midorifuji hits his 8th loss and is make-koshi for Haru. Ichinojo improves to 7-5.

Chiyonokuni defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu had the advantage from the tachiai, with a left hand inside, and superior body position. As he was being moved back by Myogiryu, Chiyonokuni loaded up a rescue throw at the edge and connected to pick up his 8th win, and a well earned kachi-koshi for March.

Meisei defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru got one combo in at the tachiai, and then it was all Meisei. Launching a thrusting attack squarely at center mass, Meisei got Tobizaru moving, then thrust him out for his 8th win, and kachi-koshi. Tobizaru drops out of the group 1 win behind Takayasu.

Kagayaki defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi’s sumo lacks any real forward power now, and I would guess whatever injury has been robbing him of his typically powerful offense is really starting to hurt, and he picks up his 9th loss today, helping Kagayaki dodge make-koshi today.

Tochinoshin defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji played his best “defend and extend” hand today, taking Tochinoshin to his chest and keeping him locked up and stalemated at the center of the dohyo. A protracted leaning / endurance contest ensued, with Tochinoshin gradually working to set up his right hand for the finishing throw. With the win, Tochinoshin improves to 5-7.

Kiribayama defeats Onosho – Onosho’s miserable record ties him with Takarafuji down in the basement of the top division. Onosho chose to fight this one out on the belt, and his yotsu-zumo is not quite up to putting Kiribayama down. Kiribayama worked to set up a pivot at the bales, and took the match away from Onosho, who drops to 2-10.

Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji opened strong, but was deflected on his third thrust. As his body turned, Takayasu pivoted and drove him from the ring. Brutal, quick and effective. Takayasu improves to 10-2 and remains in the lead for the cup.

Wakatakakage defeats Daieisho – Daieisho had a thrusting attack pattern up and running at the second step, but Wakatakakage kept shifting under the pressure. This kept Daieisho turning, and unable to hit a second thrust with his hips and shoulders squared against his opponent, robbing him of full power. Wakatakakage kept this running until he had Daieisho near the bales, and a quick hatakikomi finished the match. That’s 8 wins for Wakatakakage, and kachi-koshi with his first ever win over Daieisho.

Terunofuji defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi came out strong and agressive at the tachiai, and had Terunofuji on his back foot almost at once. Getting an “arm breaker” hold on Terunofuji, Tamawashi delivered combo after combo, and he kept moving Terunofuji back, and it looked like a loss for the Ozeki hopeful. But an over-extension by Tamawashi and a well placed thrust put Tamawashi to the clay, and Terunofuji improves to 9-3.

Asanoyama defeats Mitakeumi – Asanoyama got the grip at the tachiai, and Mitakeumi could do litter more than go along for the ride. Asanoyama remains 1 win behind Takayasu in the yusho race, and improves his score to 9-3.

Shodai defeats Takanosho – Takanosho gets a right hand nodowa at the tachiai, raising up the already poorly positioned Shodai moments after the tachiai. But today Shodai shifted to break the attack and focused on bringing Takanosho forward and disrupting his balance. Two combo hits later, Takanosho is face down on the clay, and Shodai improves to 7-5.

Takakeisho defeats Okinoumi – This was an odd butsukari match, with Okinoumi acting as the ballast for Takakeisho’s powerful forward motion. Unable to do much other than try to slow the Ozeki down, Okinoumi quickly found himself forced out of the ring. Takakeisho has his 8th win, and clears kadoban on day 12.

Haru Day 12 Preview

With Takayasu dropping his day 11 match to Shodai, the yusho race opens up quite a bit (stats below). Again going into the “What will the winning record be?”, we can now say it will be no better than 13-2. At that mark, only Takayasu has a chance to take home the cup. But I think 12-3 is far more likely. At that score, we have a chance that at least one of the list of Takayasu, Asanoyama, Terunofuji (whom I picked pre-basho), and plucky Tobizaru! Tobizaru is the name of great interest. He has yet to face Takayasu, and in their only prior match, Tobizaru won. I would not be surprised to see a day 13 or 14 match against the flying monkey.

The next big question is Terunofuji. He has yet to face the Ozeki, and faces Tamawashi on day 12, leaving him to rotate through Asanoyama, Takakeisho and Shodai on days 13, 14, 15. In what can’t be good news for Asanoyama, he has yet to beat Terunofuji in any of their 4 prior matches. The news is not much better for Shodai, who seems to serve as fair practice ballast for the kaiju, having only won 4 against Terunofuji’s 6, and only once since Terunofuji’s return to the top division. Terunofuji fares poorly against the Grand Tadpole, with Takakeisho holding a 3-1 career advantage. That wave-action tsuppari really take their toll on the kaiju, it seems. Terunofuji with 10 wins to finish Haru seem to be a good bet right now, and both Asanoyama and Terunofuji’s route to 12 wins is really rocky at this point – the would both have to win out, and at some point they face each other. So once again, my attention returns to Tobizaru. I am sure the schedulers area going to give him some very hard matches soon, but he has shown an ability to surprise. What a great final 4 days!

Haru Leaderboard

Leader: Takayasu
Chasers: Asanoyama, Terunofuji, Tobizaru
Hunt Group: Takakeisho, Hokutofuji, Wakatakakage, Meisei, Chiyonokuni, Hoshoryu, Aoiyama ,Hidenoumi

4 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 12

Kotoeko vs Kaisei – The vast mass difference in these two means that Kaisei, if he can plan his feet and keep Kotoeko centered, will pick up his 4th win in a row over the Sadogatake rikishi. Kaisei is just 2 wins away from a kachi-koshi, and while is sumo is fairly stationary, sometimes being enormous is a valid strategy.

Chiyonoo vs Tsurugisho – Chiyonoo comes to visit from Juryo, facing off against Tsurugisho for the 12th time in his career. Chiyonoo, ranked at Juryo 3, has a chance at a promotion to the top division in May. This would be 4+ years since his last top division banzuke. Good luck guys!

Daiamami vs Aoiyama – Big Dan Aoiyama is one win away from kachi-koshi, and given how strongly he has been fighting (3 wins in a row), I think he’s going to have a distinct advantage over Daiamami. Aoiyama, who has a 4-2 career advantage, tends to us a “stand him up, slap him down” technique against Daiamami.

Chiyotairyu vs Hidenoumi – Long time sumo fans around the world are eager to see if Hidenoumi can finally have his first ever career kachi-koshi in the top division. At 31 years old, and 53 basho, the former Nihon University athlete will achieve a welcome milestone with a win over thunder-god Chiyotairyu today.

Terutsuyoshi vs Kotoshoho – For reasons no one at Tachiai can fathom, Kotoshoho is back from kyujo to face Terutsuyoshi. Seriously, Kotoshoho, your sumo was a wreck before you went kyujo. Unless you have found some magic potion to get your body in working order, it’s not going to pan out for you.

Yutakayama vs Ryuden – Ryuden can deliver a make-koshi loss for Yutakayama today, should he prevail. Both of these rikishi are fighting well below their career median, and I hope that should Yutakayama return to Juryo, he use the return to the junior division to get his body in condition.

Akiseyama vs Hoshoryu – A win today gives Hoshoryu a kachi-koshi at his highest ever rank (M9w). I personally see Hoshoryu having a lot of growth to do in terms of his sumo, but I note with some interest that since entering the top division last September at Maegashira 16, he has managed to stay in spite of a make-koshi in the middle of that run.

Kotonowaka vs Chiyoshoma – Kotonowaka holds a 3-0 career advantage over Chiyoshoma, but I think Haru day 12 may be the day that Chiyoshoma puts up his first win in that record. Kotonowaka, like his stable-mate Kotoshoho, is fighting poorly, and needs to regroup.

Midorifuji vs Ichinojo – The schedulers always love putting the little guys up against Ichinojo. Its like when the new guy at work has to do the really ugly work for a while. Midorifuji has lost both previous attempts, and a loss today would be a make-koshi for Haru.

Chiyonokuni vs Myogiryu – Chiyonokuni only needs 1 more win to reach his 8, but i don’t think fans should pin their hopes on day 12. He has a 3-5 career deficit against Myogiryu, coupled with a distinct fade in Chiyonokuni’s sumo since he injured his right thumb in week 1.

Meisei vs Tobizaru – Meisei needs one more win for kachi-koshi, but if prior tournaments are any indicator, Tobizaru won’t back off the intensity even though he has reached kachi-koshi. Meisei also holds a 4-1 career advantage, so I am expecting a basho and smash battle between these two today.

Kagayaki vs Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi, who seems to have lost to everyone except Terunofuji, can deliver make-koshi to Kagayaki with a win today. But I very much doubt that Shimanoumi will be able to summon enough genki power to make it happen. Both of these guys seem to be suffering from some kind of crummy sumo malfunction this March.

Takarafuji vs Tochinoshin – Takarafuji’s defend and extend defense works about half of the time against Tochinoshin. The former Ozeki is one loss away from his own make-koshi, so he should be fighting with a touch more urgency today.

Kiribayama vs Onosho – Onosho has a chance to deliver make-koshi to Kiribayama today. Onosho has not lost to Kiribayama, ever. So maybe he can keep his balance centered and just pound Kiribayama into the clay. With a miserable 2-9 record going into day 12, what does he have to lose?

Takayasu vs Hokutofuji – One of the big matches of the day, it’s puts Takayasu’s 1 win yusho lead on the line against Hokutofuji, whom Takayasu trades wins with every couple of months (7-7 career). I want to see Takayasu prevail today, but he’s going to have to be very careful with Hokutofuji’s nodowa. Should he manage to land that thing, it may be tough to keep in the fight. A Hokutofuji win today would be kachi-koshi for him.

Wakatakakage vs Daieisho – I really like this match, although it is likely overshadowed by some of the higher profile contests today. This pits a born-again genki Daieisho against a rikishi who seems to be ramping up his sumo into the second week, Wakatakakage. This is only their second ever match, with Daieisho blowing Wakatakakage off the dohyo in November. I almost expect a repeat ejection ceremony, but I have a suspicion that Wakatakakage may make it a bit more of a challenge this month. A Wakatakakage win today would be kachi-koshi.

Terunofuji vs Tamawashi – Since Terunofuji’s return to the top division, he has not lost to Tamawashi, and I don’t expect that to change on day 12. This would take Terunofuji to one win away from justifying an Ozeki bid, and push Tamawashi to one loss from make-koshi.

Mitakeumi vs Asanoyama – I know Asanoyama wants to vie for the yusho, but he has perhaps the toughest road of all of the candidates. Today he begins his final 4 days with Mitakeumi, who in spite of being hit or miss this March, tends to always be genki and ready for Asanoyama. Although Mitakeumi has a 5-3 career advantage, they have been trading wins since January 2020.

Shodai vs Takanosho – Shodai needs 2 more wins in 4 days to avoid kadoban. I think he should be able to do this without too many problems. He holds a distinct 4-2 advantage over Takanosho, taking the last two in a row. I am a bit sad this match is happening on day 12, as I think there is a clear path where both of these guys could end up in a position for a Darwin match on day 15.

Takakeisho vs Okinoumi – Takakeisho knows well that he must keep Okinoumi away from his belt, and provided he succeeds, he will clear kadoban today. He holds a 8-4 career advantage over Okinoumi, and the man from Simane-ken has been fighting poorly, possibly due to a chronic injury.

Haru Day 11 Highlights

As my co-bloggers have published, Yokozuna Kakuryu has announced his retirement. My personal thanks for all of the great sumo. I see his career as a lesson in what might have been. His sumo “Reactive” style was unique, and when he was healthy, quite a interesting compliment to Harumafuji’s “blow your doors off” attack sumo. I am happy to note that Shodai seems to have picked up a few elements of Kakuryu’s sumo, which I think helped him become and Ozeki. OF course Kakuryu is not really going anywhere, he will train a new generation of rikishi, and I think that is going to be an interesting stable.

Speaking of Shodai, he did what I expected him to do, and put dirt on Takayasu. The yusho race opens up as a result, and I expect there will be a big jostling of burly, round men trying to see who can take the yusho. A reminder to readers, Takayasu would need to lose 2 of his last 4 matches to outright be guaranteed of losing the cup. He faces Hokutofuji on day 12. But he has faced all of the san’yaku, and beaten them all except Shodai. Maybe if we behave ourselves, lksumo may post one of his analyses in the next few days.

Highlight Matches

Hidenoumi defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma struggled to produce much offensive power at the tachiai, and switched to a left hand outside mawashi grip. Not quite satisfied, he attempted a make-kai, and that’s when Hidenoumi turned on the power, and drove him from the ring. One more win, and Hidenoumi will have his first ever top division kachi-koshi in his 53 basho career.

Kaisei defeats Terutsuyoshi – The days that Kaisei decides his brand of sumo only comes in the “Enormous” size are frequently the days that he wins. Terutsuyoshi dumped a lot of energy into this match, but could find no way to really move Kaisei. Both end the day 6-5.

Aoiyama defeats Yutakayama – That is Aoiyama’s 3rd win in a row, as he moves Yutakayama ever close to the nearly inevitable make-koshi mark. Yutakayama put a lot of work into defense today, but Aoiyama kept ramping up the pressure, and eventually defeated Yutakayama by pushing on his face. Ouch.

Tsurugisho defeats Akiseyama – Akiseyama’s tachiai was off speed, and it met with a surprisingly agile Tsurugisho shifting to the left. With Tsurugisho’s left hand at the back of Akiseyama’s mawashi, there was trouble from the start. Tsurugisho never gave him a chance to square his shoulders or his hips, and marched him quickly out for his 6th win of March.

Daiamami defeats Chiyonokuni – I am a little sad that Chiyonokuni is fading into week 2. But I am confident he will get at least 8 wins, and be back strong for May. If he can keep his body in good working condition, I think he will return to being a joi-jin regular. Today’s loss came when Chiyonokuni stepped out early, giving the win to Daiamami who improves to 6-5.

Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – These two were even at the tachiai, and battled for hand grip, initiative, or even any advantage for a fair amount of time. Even after they went chest to chest, neither one could do more than counter the other. Kotoeko at last found footing to drive forward, but Tobizaru’s pivot at the bales took the win. He improves to 8-3 and is kachi-koshi.

Ryuden defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka really seems to be completely off his sumo. Ryuden took control at the tachiai, and Kotonowaka could only offer token resistance as Ryuden back him up, then out to advance to 5-6. Thats Kotonowaka’s 8th loss and he is make-koshi for Haru.

Kagayaki defeats Midorifuji – Kagayaki had his hands low at the moment of tachiai, and found a clear inside route. He ended up with both hands on Midorifuji’s shoulders, and a firm press downward completely unbalanced the smaller Midorifuji, sending him face-first into the clay. Both end the day 4-7 and are one loss away from make-koshi.

Tochinoshin defeats Chiyotairyu – A pair of big clashes as the two engaged in a slapping battle. But as is sometimes the case, Chiyotairyu kept his weight forward of this toes, and Tochinoshin slapped him down to improve to 4-7, and stave off make-koshi.

Hoshoryu defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi showed his experience and skill, he kept his hands and body calm and was rewarded with a good left hand inside grip. As Okinoumi marched Hoshoryu to the edge, Hoshoryu used his youth, power and flexibility to pivot into a sukuinage at the tawara to improve to 7-4.

Meisei defeats Ichinojo – It seems that one route to beating Ichinojo is to never let him lower his center of gravity, and keep him moving. Meisei’s right hand grip amidships was the key to him controlling this match, and improving to 7-4.

Wakatakakage defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi gave him a fair beating as Wakatakakage kept low and tried to find any route to attack. With Tamawashi attacking high, Wakatakakage found a route low, and got both hands on the front of Tamawashi’s belt. That was the winning formula, and Wakatakakage improves to 7-4.

Takarafuji defeats Shimanoumi – I am very glad to see Takarafuji pick up his second win. I was concerned that he was more or less in a free fall at this point. To me it looked like Shimanoumi was trying to run the same battle plan he used against Terunofuji on day 10, but it had a starkly different outcome today. That’s loss number 8 for Shimanoumi, and he is make-koshi.

Daieisho defeats Onosho – Onosho’s balance is back to being all over the map, and he’s an easy mark for Daieisho’s re-focused sumo. That’s now 5 in a row for Daieisho, who needs just 2 more wins to secure a kachi-koshi after a 1-5 start to March.

Hokutofuji defeats Mitakeumi – The Mitakeumi week 2 fade seems to be in full effect, and if he can’t correct the slide, he is going to find himself pushed down the banzuke, and out of san’yaku for the first time in a year. Hokutofuji continues to do well, and faces Takayasu on day 12.

Terunofuji defeats Takanosho – Kaiju back in form. He is kachi-koshi and needs to win 2 of the last 4 to punch his Ozeki ticket and complete the ultimate sumo comeback story. Terunofuji’s opening gambit payed off with a left hand at the back of Takanosho’s mawashi, and a lock on Takanosho’s right arm. I would call this the “Bouncer Grip” as I have seen it used to eject unruly patrons in the past. Terunofuji racks his 8th win.

Shodai defeats Takayasu – Shodai continues to be Takayasu’s bane, tacking his 8th straight match from the former Ozeki. Takayasu put all of his chips on that left hand grip, and drove like made to get that hand on Shodai’s mawashi. Shodai was ready for that, and as Takayasu counterbalanced his left side thrust, Shodai had consolidated his shoulder grip and swung Takayasu to the right, rolling him to the clay. Surprisingly, that is only Shodai’s 6th win of this basho, but there are now 11 rikishi within 2 wins of Takayasu, who remains in sole lead of the yusho race.

Takakeisho defeats Kiribayama – One more win for the Grand Tadpole to clear kadoban. The two traded tsuppari for a moment, but then Kiribayama decided to try to pull Takakeisho down. That release of forward pressure resulted in a strong move forward for the Ozeki, and a loss for Kiribayama, who drops to 4-7.

Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu – Ozeki Asanoyama showed up today. Once he was able to get his favorite left hand outside grip against Myogiryu, it was fast work to put him out. Thats the 8th win for Asanoyama, and he is kachi-koshi for Haru. All 3 Ozeki won today, for (I think) the first time this basho.