The final day of sumo saw an unthinkable flurry of special prizes awarded, along with a first time yusho winner. We will have a new Ozeki in September, as Hoshoryu takes the cup and the promotion while the other two hopefuls fail to reach double digit scores, and must start over in September.
Early on day 15, Hiradoumi dropped out, giving Kotoshoho a free win on the final day. On to the matches!
Daishoho defeats Roga – Daishoho wins his exchange match, and if it works out as lksumo predicts, stay in the top division for September. The fight itself was remarkably straightforward, Roga went chest to chest with Daishoho, Daishoho moved him back and slapped him down. Daishoho ends Nagoya 6-9.
Takarafuji defeats Tsurugisho – One last loss for Tsurugisho to send him to double digits. He had little ability to hold up to forward pressure head on, and I hope he can heal up or at least improve for September. Takarafuji gingerly walks him around until he can get directly in front of him, then shoves him out. Takarafuji ends Nagoya 9-6, Tsurugisho 5-10.
Shonannoumi defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu plows straight ahead into Shonannoumi, who puts his neck under his right arm and slams Myogiryu to the clay. Simple and effective. Myogiryu finishes Nagoya 6-9, Shonannoumi reaches double digits at 10-5, and a Fighting Spirit special prize.
Endo defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji works hard to keep Endo from touching his mawashi for most of the match with good reason. As soon as Endo does manage to latch on, Nishikifuji is out three steps later by yorikiri. Nishikifuji finishes Nagoya 5-10, Endo with double digit wins at 10-5.
Aoiyama defeats Sadanoumi – Aoiyama closes out with 7 straight wins after a rocky start of 2-6. I thought he was a goner from the top division for sure. Sadanoumi put up a solid defense today, but once Big Dan got his meaty hands around Sadanoumi’s neck, the hatakikomi was on its way. Sadanoumi has a final score of 5-10, Aoiyama finishes with 9-6.
Gonoyama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi sets up his favored face attack from the second step, and Gonoyama looks overwhelmed. But he manages to consolidate his sumo, and finds Tamawashi’s chest open for thrusting attacks. Tamawashi attempts to counter with a pull, but Gonoyama has his target, and won’t relent. He drives Tamawashi from the ring by oshidashi for a final day win. Tamawashi finishes 8-7, Gonoyama 10-5 with a Fighting Spirit special prize.
Takayasu defeats Chiyoshoma – Takayasu manages to gather up enough sumo power on the final day for one last win, pushing Chiyoshoma back and out in direct and rapid fashion. Chiyoshoma’s final score for Nagoya is 6-9, Takayasu 7-8.
Oho defeats Bushozan – Bushozan has one moment where he is attacking, it lasts until Oho can get his hands under Bushozan’s arms and begin to lift and push Bushozan back. Unable to do much to stop Oho’s advance, Bushozan is out quickly by yorikiri. Final score for Bushozan is 3-12, for Oho 6-9.
Meisei defeats Kinbozan – The only Darwin match of the basho, Kinbozan lets his feet get into poor position while he is distracted by a tsuki/oshi fight with Meisei. A quick tsukiotoshi while Kinbozan is off balance, and it’s Meisei’s win. He’s kachi-koshi on the final day at 8-7, Meisei make-koshi at 7-8.
Midorifuji defeats Hokuseiho – No official special prize for Midorifuji throwing the enormous Hokuseiho by shitatenage to win the match, but you have to know every sumo fan looked at that and said “Wow!”. Both with double digit losses at Nagoya, Hokuseiho at 5-10, Midorifuji at 4-11.
Mitakeumi defeats Onosho – Mitakeumi proves his sumo is still around, even if he is not actually using it this tournament. He handily brackets and constrains Onosho, engaging him in a yotsu-zumo fight that favors Mitakeumi if he wants to fight. The match was not spectacular, but gave Mitakeumi a final day win to finish at 3-12, while Onosho ends the tournament with 6-9.
Ura defeats Shodai – Ura showed up to compete today, Shodai did not. Ura got a double inside body grip on Shodai, and ran him for the east side before the former ozeki could set his feet up to defend. Ura finishes Nagoya 7-8, Shodai 6-9.
Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – We guessed this might be a wild, fast and dynamic match, and it was. Both men were at close to full throttle, and the finishing okuridashi had Kotoeko deep in the zabuton interacting with the fans. Both end the tournament kachi-koshi, with Kotoeko at 8-7, Tobizaru 9-6.
Hokutofuji defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi’s early attempt at a pull gets him horribly off balance, with his feet aligned to boot. Hokutofuji says, “Thank you very much” and puts him on the clay. Nishikigi ends Nagoya with a respectable 10-5, and the Outstanding Performance special prize. Hokutofuji advances to a yusho playoff at 12-3, with a Fighting Spirit special prize.
Kotonowaka defeats Ryuden – Ryuden was not match for Kotonowaka’s yotsu today. He grabs a hold but finds Kotonowaka putting much more power forward. A quick walk back and a win by yorikiri. Ryuden’s final score 10-5, Kotonowaka 11-4 with yet another Fighting Spirit special prize.
Asanoyama defeats Wakamotoharu – Wakamotoharu fails to reach double digits, resetting any hoped for Ozeki run back to the start. Asanoyama’s makikae gave him perfect hand placement to deliver the power to Wakamotoharu’s chest, setting up the yorikiri. Wakamotoharu finishes Nagoya 9-6, Asanoyama kachi-koshi at 8-7 after coming back from kyujo.
Takanosho defeats Daieisho – Daieisho resorts to his preferred “mega-thrust” sumo with all power forward. If you can endure the initial hits, its quite easy to set up a step to the side and a match winning hikiotoshi against him, which is just what Takanosho does. Daieisho also fails to reach double digits, his Ozeki bid is likewise reset, and he will have to try again. Final scores for Nagoya, Daieisho at 9-6, Takanosho at 8-7 and kachi-koshi on the final day.
Hoshoryu defeats Hakuoho – It was over in a flash, as Hoshoryu expertly set up the uwatenage at the first step and took Hakuoho down before the rookie could counter. Hoshoryu ties for the yusho with Hokutofuji, and advances to the playoff match. Hakuoho finishes the basho with an impressive 11-4 after facing some of the top men in the sport from the bottom of the banzuke, and beating them. This earned him the Technique special prize and the Fighting Spirit special prize. Hoshoryu at 12-3 also picks up a Fighting Spirit special prize.
Abi defeats Kirishima – With his bid to remain out of kadoban ended, Kirishima suffers a final day loss to already make-koshi Abi. This might be the first time this week we have seen Abi-zumo really work at full power, and he uses it to eject the lone Ozeki from the ring. Final scores for Nagoya, Abi at 6-9, Kirishima at 6-9.
Hoshoryu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji had his sumo running well, but for some reason decided to pull against Hoshoryu. That lost him the match to be certain, as Hoshoryu ran him out like a bad batch of curry. Hoshoryu wins his first Emperor’s Cup, secures an Ozeki promotion, and finally smiles for the first time in 2023.
Congratulations to yusho winner Hoshoryu, enjoy your moment of victory!
To the readers of Tachiai, this ends our regular basho coverage. I am sure we will continue posting during the run up to Hoshoryu’s Ozeki promotion in the coming week. Thank you and see you again in September for the Aki basho.