Some Juryo Hot Takes

The long title of this post is Some Juryo Hot Takes That Will Almost Certainly Be Proven Wrong, but that’s not good for formatting, and you get the point anyway.

Sumo Prime Time (in which Hiro Morita is rapidly achieving Cult Icon status of late) has recently done a Juryo spotlight which is worth checking out. It got me thinking about the state of the division at present, if it’s exciting and what makes it exciting.

I concluded that it is exciting and the reason for this is that we actually are seeing the realisation of what should be the next wave of makuuchi mainstays. Juryo has not been very good for the past several years. Lots of old guys have either retired or stopped clogging up the promotion lanes, and as a result we’ve seen an infusion of new, young talent.

I can’t write 6000 more words like I did for makuuchi after the last tournament [edited to add: apparently I can do 2300 though], so please don’t blame me for not writing absolutely comprehensive scouting reports about everyone’s sumo style. With some time you can find that on the web, there are lots of good sumo resources and hopefully we will be able to contribute some in-depth articles as well. But hopefully this can help some folks at least identify some names to watch.

J14W Gonoyama

As the name implies, he’s the first sekitori developed by former Ozeki Goeido. If this makes you feel old then you may not enjoy the next year as several of Goeido’s contemporaries will be bringing up their new stars as well. Gonoyama is a former Sandanme tsukedashi (accelerated start in sumo’s fourth tier for a formerly accomplished collegiate star), who picked up a yusho in Makushita and he’s hit the wall a bit in his first two Juryo tournaments. At 24 he needs a strong basho.

J14E Tsushimanada

The David Benjamin sumo book starts with a detailing of how newcomers to the sport might give rikishi a silly nickname. Sushi Man is a 29 year old journeyman from Kyushu making his sekitori debut at his home basho, who had come close on several occasions previously before being scuppered by performance or injury. This is the achievement for the Sakaigawa-beya man. The rest from here will be the icing on the cake.

J13W Roga

Before the pandemic, I sat down with Murray Johnson and he identified Roga as a lower division one to watch. Murray might well be right, and time is on the 23 year old’s side, but the Russian has made an awfully plodding run through Makushita (19 basho!) to get to his Juryo debut. He’s also the first sekitori produced by Futagoyama oyakata, former Ozeki Miyabiyama.

J13E Shimazuumi

The 26 year old enters his fifth Juryo tournament and hasn’t been entirely convincing. He’s been slightly better than average over the last several years and looks like he may be stuck in Juryo for a while, if he doesn’t drop out. He’s the first sekitori produced by the new Hanaregoma beya (former Sekiwake Tamanoshima), but in reality is a product of the former Nishonoseki beya and took his shikona later in his career in deference to the old shisho, former Ozeki Wakashimazu.

J12W Oshoma

Continuing the theme, here’s another first, the first sekitori produced by the new Naruto beya, led by former Ozeki Kotooshu. We’ve talked quite a bit about the heya’s comprehensive recruitment and lower division performance on this site but the Mongolian 25 year old is the first to make the breakthrough earlier this year, helped in no small detail by his Makushita tsukedashi debut placement (for the top collegiate champions). His May Makushita yusho (where he knocked off some very notable names) is looking more like an outlier at the moment, so hopefully he can properly bed into the division and find his feet. The expectation on a Makushita tsukedashi is that they will turn into a top division star, with names like Mitakeumi, Ichinojo and Endo achieving titles and notoriety, although in rare cares that doesn’t happen (Mitoryu, Daiamami).

J12E Tokushōryū

Not going to spend a lot of time here: the storybook champ is on the downswing of an unlikely end of career run. The blue jacket beckons for the man who made Nara proud.

J11W Takakento

The former Takanohana product is on his third Juryo stint, with only 1 winning record in his first six tournaments at the level before Aki’s 9-6. In the absence of an overpowering skill it may be a struggle to project the 26 year old as a makuuchi talent, especially with a tough crowd of prospects to fight through at the moment.

J11E Enho

Injuries and scouting reports have zapped the talented pixie of his mobility and unpredictability, but he is still able to be a chaos agent and others have shown there is still plenty of mileage in that approach, even in the top division. I hope he makes it back. He’s been largely a .500 rikishi over the last year, and while the new Miyagino oyakata (the legendary Hakuho) has been lauded for his recruitment, his coaching of Enho – who at 28 should be in his career prime – will be an intriguing watch.

J10W Kaisho

The first sekitori product of Asakayama oyakata, former Ozeki Kaio, he’s one of those guys that seems to have been around in sumo for absolutely ages. He had a laboured route to the salaried ranks, but despite mixed results (4 kachi-koshi from 10), the eye test does tell me he’s someone who could go a bit further than his Juryo 2 peak, and I feel like his belt work is projectable.

J10E Chiyosakae

The 32 year old made his debut nearly 14 years ago and now reaches his career high rank in his third Juryo basho, having successfully fought (by slim margins) in his first two. He’s on a wonderful 7 basho kachi-koshi run but is almost certainly due for a course correction sooner or later. It would be very surprising to see him continue his run into the top division.

J9W Daishoho

It’s been three years since the 28 year old last reached the top division, but he’s carved out a decent run for himself in the second tier. The Mongolian’s results have looked like a slightly less successful Azumaryu (albeit, he does have one top division winning basho), as he’s loitered mostly in the division’s bottom half since that top division spell. We shouldn’t expect too much more from the yotsu-zumo enthusiast.

J9E Daiamami

The rare former Makushita tsukedashi man that just doesn’t make the grade, Daiamami’s awkward oshi-zumo style has translated largely to good results in Juryo, but only 2 kachikoshi in 11 top division basho tells us he’s what baseball scouts would call a “AAAA” player – too good for the minors top AAA level, but not quite strong enough to hang in the majors. At 29 he’ll probably return to makuuchi a couple more times for the odd basho.

J8W Kotokuzan

The Arashio-beya vet has been a real success story for the new oyakata, finally making the breakthrough to Juryo in 2021 after years of near misses, and then making short work of the division en route to his makuuchi debut. But since getting absolutely leathered at Natsu where his pushing-thrusting style lacked power, he’s found the second division a bit tougher on the second go.

J8E Shimanoumi

It’s awful to say, but Shimanoumi has looked absolutely wretched and listless on the dohyo since his wedding earlier in the year. Hopefully it’s a coincidence. Assuming he doesn’t free fall right out of Juryo this time, he’ll reach 30 sekitori tournaments in January and become eligible to eventually take up the name he (allegedly) picked up the rights to upon marrying the daughter of the sadly deceased former Izutsu. He’s meant to be one of sumo’s nice guys, so hopefully he can turn it around.

J7W Kinbozan

Sumo’s lone Kazakh debuted a year ago as Sandanme tsukedashi and has rattled off six consecutive dominant performances including a pair of yusho. Entering Juryo at Aki, he posted double digit wins cementing his place in the prolific Kimura Sehei production line. Unlike many of his stablemates however, putting technique and experience aside he’ll be hoping to make Kyushu his second and final Juryo basho en route to a 2023 that could take him up to the san’yaku ranks at his current rate of progress.

J7E Tochimushashi

The top recruit formerly known as Kanno has blitzed his way from his Sandanme tsukedashi entrance to the middle of Juryo with just one make-koshi in ten appearances, and a very timely first yusho in his Aki debut in Juryo. He should easily chart the course to Makuuchi by early next year. And there are reasons why he draws comparisons to his stablemate Aoiyama…

J6W Kitanowaka

Tipped for big, big things for a long, long time, his star has dimmed a bit after experiencing a fairly indifferent couple years in Makushita. At 190cm he’s a tall drink of water and, although there are other talents in the heya, he may eventually represent one of 60 year old riji-cho Hakkaku’s last products to challenge in the top division.

J6E Hokuseiho

Derailed by injury and covid kyujo, the enormous Hokuseiho (21 years old as of basho-time) will look to continue his impressive development. Questions still remain about his ultimate ceiling: he has the physicality and apparently the determination to reach the top, but his sumo is a bit slow and lumbering. Still, with a career record of 74-21 heading into his third Juryo tournament, it’s hard not to dream on him.

J5W Chiyonokuni

Riddled by injury and with all of his former epic brawling opponents having ridden off into the sunset, it’s tough to see a path forward for the 32 year old energetic street fighter. He may well make his way back to Makuuchi for the odd appearance as he is still competitive at this level, but even being only 18 months removed from the joi-jin, it seems his best days are behind him.

J5E Akua

I never thought he’d make it to makuuchi, so I think it’s a great credit that he’s been able to hang tough and carve out a solid career in the second tier. Now 32, I think the realistic goal is to make it to the middle of 2024 in the salaried ranks to try and qualify for elder status.

J4W Yutakayama

While it feels fairly shocking to see him ranked here, such have been the disappointing results from the former top prospect that it’s hard to make a case that he belongs even at the back end of the top division right now. While it’s easy to argue he might benefit from a couple confidence boosting 9-6s to keep expectations in check, that’s more or less what’s happened on his last few Juryo demotions. He may be playing yo-yo for the next couple years, but at 29 and with 26 sekitori basho under his belt, he at least looks a lock to secure the 30 basho required to qualify for a kabu.

J4E Hidenoumi

While his brother is getting all the plaudits right now, 33 year old Hidenoumi continues to solidly motor along. Demoted due to suspension, he was making a decent go of it in makuuchi and probably belongs somewhere at the bottom division at the moment. Although, with the wave of new talent pushing upwards, his comfortability slugging it out in Juryo bodes well for the final stage of his career.

J3W Mitoryu

The former Makushita tsukedashi took forever and a day (27 basho) to make it out of Juryo and his debut Makuuchi performance was… not good. Overpowered and short of mobility, he was sent packing with double-digit losses. At 28, the Mongolian is looking like another for whom Azumaryu’s career (lots of Juryo time with the odd Makuuchi make-koshi thrown in) looks like a reasonable ambition.

J3E Tsurugisho

Another Juryo lifer who benefitted massively from the reduction in top division quality, Tsurugisho has been pretty OK at doing a whole lot of things on the dohyo and not particularly incredible at any one. The jack of all trades dropped down for this latest spell after a pair of 5 win tournaments and may yet yo-yo some more, but he surely reached his ultimate ceiling 3 years ago.

J2W Bushozan

Former Ozeki Musoyama’s starlet performed admirably in his first year in Juryo after spending an eternity (six whole years) in the third tier. This year though, he’s hit a bit of a wall. He’s been in promotion range several times before and not been able to get the job done, but after the basho he’ll be 27 and should be firmly arriving soon into the peak of his powers.

J2E Churanoumi

Churanoumi reaches his career high-to-date at Kyushu, and it’s not been a straightforward ride for him to navigate the penultimate division. He’s has several promotions and demotions back to Makushita, and while his current span in the salaried ranks has only been disrupted for a single basho since the start of 2020, he’s spent very little time in the top reaches of the division or fighting against the occasional top division opponent. This basho, then, is a real test for a guy who somewhat notably once defeated the likes of Kiribayama and Oho in title-clinching bouts in the lower divisions.

J1W Chiyomaru

This lovable character has made a career out of jostling at the top end of Juryo and lower end of Makuuchi and will go again as he enters his 10th year as a sekitori. He is what he is.

J1E Tōhakuryū

I often lament the lack of creativity in shikona assembly, and while the characters in play for Tohakuryu are fairly common, the order and reading is a little less so. I enjoy that. He’s yet another former Sandanme tsukedashi who made more or less quick work of the lower divisions (with one blip). But he’s not the biggest, and his run through Juryo has been plodding, steady if unspectacular. Here he arrives at his career high rank, in his prime at 26, at the position from which a kachi-koshi will certainly deliver him a promotion. However, should it be tight going into the second week, he’ll find many of these aforementioned talents breathing right down his neck…

Kyushu Day 15 Highlights

Thus the final basho of 2019 comes to a close. I will post my opinions on the basho and the state of sumo a bit later, perhaps tomorrow, to make way for the discussion of the matches themselves. There was plenty of exciting action for day 15, and with the broad slate of Darwin matches, much was on the line. Tachiai congratulates Yokozuna Hakuho for his record breaking 43rd yusho, marking another milestone for history’s winningest rikishi.

If you have been following lksumo’s excellent story line post series, you know that the Juryo to Makuuchi swap for January is likely to be broad. We are likely to see a resurgence of familiar names return to the top division. This basho, more than many in recent memory, has a broader set of inter-division swaps available for the next banzuke.

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us for the Kyushu Basho. It’s been mountains of fun sharing our love of sumo with the world, and we appreciate that you take the time to visit our web site, read our posts, and participating in the discussion.

Shout out to Kotoyuki for that awesome flex at the end of the Sanyaku Soroibumi. You absolute legend.

Day 15 Matches

Daiamami defeats Nishikigi – Whatever damage Nishikigi is carrying (maybe that taped left ankle) continues to rob him of his sumo. The hapless Daiamami punctuates his demotion to Juryo with a final loss. Readers know I have a soft spot for Nishikigi, and I hope he can get his body back to good health.

Ishiura defeats Daishoho – Ishiura 3.0 is back in full force. In fact I think he’s a better Enho than Enho is right now. Today’s match is a direct import of Enho’s sumo, as Ishiura finds the nearest body part and tugs for all he can muster. This completely derails whatever Daishoho wanted to do, as he moves to break contact. As Ishiura spins Daishoho around, his left hand finds a deep grip, and it’s time for phase 2. About this time, Daishoho realizes he’s caught, and Ishiura’s seeks position to load the throw. But throw he does, and it’s win number 9 for Ishiura.

Shimanoumi defeats Chiyomaru – Shimanoumi overcomes Chiyomaru’s giant belly and finds green silk. In reaction Chiyomaru launches into a mad-cap retreat and pull sequence, over and over, as Shimanoumi consolidates his position and delivers the yorikiri.

Chiyotairyu defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama completely failed to counter the predictable Chiyotairyu opening thrust. Chiyotairyu stood him up, then pulled him down. Yutakayama tends to struggle in the final weekend, and this basho follows that trend.

Kagayaki defeats Shohozan – Kagayaki focused on fundamentals, left the head smashing to Shohozan and worked forcefully on Shohozan’s center-mass. Kagayaki, without flair or a lot of attention, has racked up double digit wins this Kyushu. Readers know I am a fan of his work ethic, and his relentless focus on sumo fundamentals.

Kotoeko defeats Daishomaru – Both men trade impotent pull attempts, with Kotoeko’s pull resulting him Daishomaru rushing forward to finish him. But Kotoeko keeps his head in the match and times a side step at the tawara that gives him the win. Both finish with a dismal 5-10 record.

Tsurugisho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Tsurugisho rallies on the final day, and stops his 6 match losing streak. It was not forward motion sumo, but at this point I am just happy he could close the basho with a win.

Kotoshogiku defats Aoiyama – This was a surprisingly fun and satisfying match. Aoiyama nearly finishes Kotoshogiku at the tachiai, but somehow the former Ozeki keeps his feet. Dan fires up the big V-Twin gets Kotoshogiku to give ground. In a bold double hand slap, Kotoshogiku disrupts Aoiyama’s thrusting attack, lowering Aoiyama’s arms. His chest now exposed, The Kyushu Bulldozer gets to work. Taking Aoiyama to his chest, he finds that Big Dan has too much forward pressure for him to engage the hug-n-chug attack, he gives ground to unbalance his foe, and rotates into a tsukiotoshi. The crowd and I are both delighted that Kotoshogiku got to finish with a win.

Tamawashi defeats Sadanoumi – Complete clash of opening gambits, as Sadanoumi takes the tachiai with his face. He’s still reaching for Tamawashi’s belt, but he has no balance to plant his feet, and Tamawashi powerful forward charge continues and it’s densa-meshi time.

Takarafuji defeats Meisei – This match is a fine example of how Takarafuji prefers to fight. He lets Meisei throw what he wants to in at the start of the match, and just focuses on blunting every attack, and keeping his feet, waiting for his opponent (Meisei today) to make a mistake. It comes about 12 seconds into the match, and Takarafuji switches to attack mode. Going chest to chest against Meisei, he knows Meisei was not ready to grapple, and his feet are in poor position. Takarafuji adjusts his stance, loads the throw and finishes him.

Myogiryu defeats Onosho – As predicted, Onosho did not have the balance today to counter Myogiryu, and is caught too far forward. Onosho has a lot of potential, but he’s still working through the impact of reconstruction surgery on that knee. Myogiryu finishes Kyushu with his 8th win.

Takanosho defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi spent most of this match too far forward of his feet. While Takanosho played with him for a time, he soon figured out that releasing pressure might give him the win. It did and he finishes 10-5.

Enho defeats Daieisho – Not wanting to be out-done by stablemate Ishiura, has a great high-low feint at the tachiai that gets him a left hand inside grip. Though Daieisho charges ahead, using his superior mass, Enho is ready and rolls the sukuinage at the bales. Enho finishes Kyushu with a kachi-koshi.

Shodai defeats Asanoyama – This match had a number of odd things going on. Firstly, where did that tachiai come from Shodai? Where have you been keeping that? Second, Shodai’s feet are all over the place, which is common for him, but Asanoyama is completely overwhelmed and Shodai has little trouble forcing him out. For recent sumo fans, this is one source of Shodai frustration. In the past, he fought like this most of the time. He was a real up and coming rikishi. I reserve the right to change my mind about Shodai if he returns to good form.

Hokutofuji defeats Ryuden – For the second day in a row, we seek Hokutofuji tone down the mobility and work to maintain contact with his opponent. And for the second day in a row, it pays off as he completely dominates Ryuden to finish Kyushu 7-8.

Kotoyuki defeats Endo – For fans recently enjoying sumo, this seems to be the original Kotoyuki, who was a decent rikishi. Today he blasts the tachiai, preventing that left hand frontal grip attempt that everyone expects from Endo now. Kotoyuki is relentless against Endo’s center mass, and just keeps pressing the attack. He ends Kyushu with his 8th win, handing Endo his 8th loss.

Abi defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi, in spite of whatever injury has throttled back his sumo, gives Abi a solid fight. Twice Abi is forced to break contract and fall back. But Mitakeumi is a half step slower than his normal intensity, and Abi has exquisite mobility. Mitakeumi’s push to send Abi out of the ring was met with balance, as Abi remained in bounds just long enough for Mitakeumi to land. Sad to see Mitakeumi blow up his 3rd Ozeki campaign so badly, but my compliments to Abi for a great basho.

Hakuho defeats Takakeisho – This match was all down to the opening gambit, with Takakeisho needing to get a hand on Hakuho’s chest. I am sure he practiced against the Yokozuna’s predicted launch sequence, but Hakuho pulled out his quick-start that he used to use all the time against Harumafuji. As a result, he was able to take the lone surviving Ozeki to his chest. His primary weapon disabled, Takakeisho waited out the inevitable, and took the loss.

Kyushu Day 15 Preview

Welcome to Senshuraku – the final day of the Kyushu basho. It’s been an odd and crazy sumo tournament, part of the rough and unpredictable road into a new era of sumo. While the yusho is decided, and we already know a bit about who is going to be demoted and promoted for January, there are 7 rikishi who enter day 15 with 7-7 records. In most cases they will face each other, creating what we at Tachiai call “Darwin matches”. Only one rikishi survives these encounters with a winning record, and the other leaves the dohyo with a demotion for the New Year. The competition this November was so evenly balanced, the tournament ended with an unusual number or rikishi whose records were 7-8 or 8-7.

The real action is in Juryo, where we will likely see a multi-way barnyard brawl for the yusho, with many long-serving favorites battling it out not just for the top finish in sumo’s second division, but promotion back to the top division to start 2020. This may include such well known names as Azumaryu, Tochiozan, Ikioi, and Kaisei.

Note to fans – in tournaments like this, you can get to day 15, and you will see some odd matches. Huge rank differences, fights that make little sense. But just go with the flow, and toast the poor torikumi committee, who had their hands full this basho.

What We Are Watching Day 15

Daiamami vs Nishikigi – You can say to yourself, why does this matter? Nishikigi is probably the first mate for the Juryo barge at this point, and with a deep make-koshi Daiamami is probably ready to put this tournament behind him. But in truth, this is probably to help figure out Juryo ranks for January.

Ishiura vs Daishoho – Ishiura has a chance to finish the tournament with nine wins, and that would be a great achievement for a rikishi who has been struggling. Ishiura’s sumo has undergone a welcome transition in the past two weeks, and I now have hope that he’s part of a team of small rikishi who will add a great deal of excitement to sumo.

Shimanoumi vs Chiyomaru – Likewise Chiyomaru has a chance to end the basho with a 10-5, and lets see if he can take out Shimanoumi on the final day. They have a tied up career record at 2-2.

Chiyotairyu vs Yutakayama – Yes, yes! Sweet Lordy-lord yes! The big, stampeding buffalo that is Chiyotairyu pays Yutakayama a special visit to see which one of them ends the tournament with win number 9. This is likely also to determine rank for January, and Yutakayama has lost the last 2 matches he has had against Chiyotairyu. Readers know I am expecting good things in 2020 from Yutakayama, so this is a fine test of how close to ready he might be.

Shohozan vs Kagayaki – Both of them are kachi-koshi, so this is just to basho and toss each other about for a while. I would say Shohozan has the home-town edge, but hey, Kagayaki’s simple sumo style has given him an 8-5 career lead. Plus Shohozan tends to ease up once he has made his 8. Probably part of the reason he has survived in the top division this long.

Daishomaru vs Kotoeko – Kotoeko can punctuate Daishomaru’s likely return to Juryo with a win today, but even that seems to be beyond him right now. For a toughs scrappy rikishi, he has certainly lost nearly all of his mojo this November. Tachiai hopes he can recharge and refresh in time for Hatsu.

Tsurugisho vs Terutsuyoshi – Somebody broke Tsurugisho last weekend, and we need to either reboot him or send him in for repair. Although Tsurugisho has a distinct size advantage, he seems to be in no condition to compete right now.

Aoiyama vs Kotoshogiku – I would love to see Kotoshogiku close out Kyushu with a final win. With his deep make-koshi, he is going to be rather far down the banzuke for January, and long term fans must wonder how much longer his body can hold up to top division sumo.

Tamawashi vs Sadanoumi – The first of our Darwin matches, it’s run-and-gun Tamawashi against compact battle-bot Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi holds a 9-2 career advantage over Tamawashi, and Sadanoumi has been fighting quite well this basho. Plans are to be well into the second bottle of sake by this match.

Takarafuji vs Meisei – Takarafuji needs to win if he wants to avoid double-digit losses for November, but he has never won against Meisei. Meisei tends to fight with high-energy opening gambits, while Takarafuji works to constrain, contain and maintain his opponents and wear them down.

Myogiryu vs Onosho – Next Darwin match! I would dearly love Onosho to win this one, but I am not sure he’s quite up to it yet. His balance has been poor this November. It’s likely a function of his knee surgery and ongoing recovery, but it means that a high agility rikishi like Myogiryu has a distinct advantage in this match.

Takanosho vs Okinoumi – Huge banzuke gap here (M12 vs M1), but why not? Their only prior match was Aki 2018, which Takanosho won.

Daieisho vs Enho – Lets call this one a half-Darwin. Enho gets the lucky match where his opponent, Daieisho, already has 8 wins, and is less motivated to put everything he has into the match. A kachi-koshi in November would see Enho join the joi-jin, which will be quite the spicy sauce for our Hatsu Basho.

Shodai vs Asanoyama – At first I thought, “What were you guys drinking…”. Then it made perfect sense. Some twisted oyakata decided to give Shodai a chance to share the jun-yusho with Asanoyama. Shodai is ranked at M10, Asanoyama is Komusubi 2. Please, Asanoyama, grab him and give him a fitting exit from this basho.

Hokutofuji vs Ryuden – This match has a lot of potential. Both rikishi tend to be highly aggressive, both of them are prone to moments of wild, high energy, high chaos sumo, and both are highly mobile. They have a 3-3 career record, and matching 6-8 records. This one could catch fire.

Kotoyuki vs Endo – Our final Darwin match of the day, it’s time for Kotoyuki the penguin to take on Endo the Golden. They have matching 7-7 records, and have a 4-4 career tally. It will come down to Endo getting that left hand grip, or Kotoyuki getting a solid hit center-mass. I just pray my supply of rice-crackers holds up.

Mitakeumi vs Abi – As if to punctuate Mitakeumi’s failure, he gets to fight the rikishi who has been qualified for Sekiwake for most of 2019, but has been blocked by one condition or another. Mitakeumi holds a 4-1 career advantage, but he is fighting poorly, and Abi still seems to have plenty of energy left to fight.

Takakeisho vs Hakuho – Hakuho already has the yusho, but there is zero chance he will ease off on Takakeisho. So I am expecting a rapid slap, a grab and a hearty roll to the clay. The chance Takakeisho has of stopping that will be something unexpected and possibly dangerous. Lets hope everyone stays safe.

Kyushu Day 14 Highlights

Some fantastic sumo today, especially the Terutsuyoshi vs Enho match, and the mad-cap chaos war between Tamawashi and Endo. But the headline is the much expected 43rd yusho for the winningest rikishi in recorded history, the dai-Yokozuna for the ages, Hakuho. I don’t think he’s even close to 100%, but even banged up with a gamey right arm, he’s quite capable of another yusho.

Much as expected, we have a host of rikishi headed for Darwin matches on day 15. This is where two 7-7 men face off, the winner gets the kachi-koshi. In fact we have 7 rikishi in that situation, which is much higher than I have seen in quite some time.

On to the matches!

Day 14 Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Daishoho – Chiyoshoma comes to visit the top division…. annd… HENKA! Anyone who was surprised by this should go re-watch a few dozen Chiyoshoma matches.

Takanosho defeats Shimanoumi – Poor tachiai timing, should have been a matta, perhaps. But hey, the gyoji called “hakkeyoi”, so they fight. Takanosho (who was early in the tachiai) claimed the inside lane and never gave up the advantage.

Daishomaru defeats Kotoshogiku – Poor tachiai timing, should have been a matta, perhaps. But hey, the gyoji called “hakkeyoi”, so they fight. Daishomaru was early in the tachiai and was able to get the inside grip with Kotoshogiku at his chest. With that sort of advantage, there is little Kotoshogiku could do. Perhaps Team Gyoji was out kind of late at the pub last night?

Kagayaki defeats Yutakayama – A clean tachiai, thankfully, and Yutakayama goes to work on Kagayaki’s face. But Mr. Fundamentals is intent on attacking Yutakayama center-mass. Yutakayama goes for a nodowa, Kagayaki stays center mass. Yutakayama finds he can’t maintain forward pressure, and Kagayaki shoves him out. Once again, solid sumo fundamentals carries the match for Kagayaki.

Ishiura defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi gets the better of the tachiai, grabbing Ishiura by the arm-pits and lifting. Ishiura gives ground and grapples with great effect, and now has at least partial control over Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi advances, but Ishiura masterfully re-directs his forward motion to the side, and swings him to the clay. Ishiura is kachi-koshi, and Sadanoumi heads to a Darwin match on day 15.

Nishikigi defeats Tsurugisho – I have to wonder what happened to Tsurugisho. This is his 6th consecutive loss, and to hapless Nishikigi no less! Tsurugisho’s balance seems to be shot, so I have to wonder if it’s some injury.

Chiyotairyu defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko gets the better of the tachiai, but he makes the mistake of giving Chiyotairyu strong pressure to push against. Chiyotairyu advances with gusto and throws in a few thrusts to break Kotoeko’s balance. That’s kachi-koshi for Chiyotairyu.

Enho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Enho picks up win number 7 to advance to the Darwin round after submarining the diminutive Terutsuyoshi. Getting a deep left and shallow right hand grip, Enho gives Terutsuyoshi a ride on the tilt-o-whirl, showing how effective he is, even nearly doubled over.

Chiyomaru defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji does his best to stalemate Chiyomaru, but there is just too much of Chiyomaru to really contain. When Takarafuji lunges to go chest to chest with Chiyomaru, Chiyomaru turns to the side and guides him to the clay for his 9th win. Nice return to the top division you have going there, Chiyomaru!

Myogiryu defeats Shodai – Shodai drops out of the group 2 behind Hakuho with the loss, but at least we can enjoy that Myogiryu gets sent to a Darwin match for day 15! Shodai was effective at keeping Myogiryu from setting up any kind of planned offense, but Myogiryu was happy to improvise for the win.

Meisei defeats Shohozan – Meisei bravely invites Shohozan to a slap fest, and gives as well as he receives. But he soon realizes that a right hand grip would be better, and tries to swing Shohozan into a throw, which he disrupts. At this point the match gets wild and disorganized, as both rikishi throw whatever they can into the mix. Meisei emerges victorious as Shohozan can’t maintain balance against Meisei’s pull. Meisei advances to a Darwin match on day 15.

Daieisho defeats Onosho – Even clash until Onosho decided to try to pull, and gave up forward pressure on Daieisho. Daieisho reaches his kachi-koshi, and Onosho heads for a day 15 Darwin match.

Kotoyuki defeats Okinoumi – Kotoyuki gets the better of the tachiai, he gets inside Okinoumi’s reach and goes to work with his “Flipper Attack”. Okinoumi has the strength to push back, and advances into Kotoyuki’s attack. The two exchange volleys until Kotoyuki closes in and delivers a might shove to Okinoumi’s neck. Okinoumi is make-koshi, and “The Penguin” heads for his Darwin match on day 15.

Asanoyama defeats Ryuden – Asanoyama secures the jun-yusho, and is clearly working toward an Ozeki bid in January. Ryuden absorbed Asanoyama’s opening gambit, converting it into a solid attempt at a throw, but Asanoyama kept his footing in spite of his poor stance. Asanoyama rallied, and used Ryuden’s left hand grip to swing him around and out for win number 11. With 11 wins, he may force a Sekiwake slot to open for January, if necessary…

Hokutofuji defeats Aoiyama – Hokutofuji is less helter-skelter today, and focuses his energy on Aoiyama’s expansive whishbone region. Although he could not pick up kachi-koshi in his second trip to Komusubi, his sumo was greatly improved over his March visit to san’yaku.

Endo defeats Tamawashi – What a great match. These two threw it all at each other, and when that did not carry the day, they found new energy and kept going. I lost count how many times the match style changed: Yotsu, Throws, Oshi, and around again. At the end it looks like Tamawashi lost balance at a poor moment and Endo applied the yoritaoshi (one of my favorites) for the win. BOTH men advance to Darwin matches on day 15.

Abi defeats Takakeisho – Abi’s superior reach allowed him to land his hands first, and Takakeisho pushed forward to close the gap. Abi adroitly moved to the side and Takakeisho found nothing but clay to meet him. I would call this a damn clever delayed henka, and it worked brilliantly. Did you know this is Abi’s 3rd straight kachi-koshi as Komusubi 1 East?

Hakuho defeats Mitakeumi – And just like that, we have Hakuho yusho 43. Congrats to the boss. Mitakeumi looks completely disrupted at this point, and hits his 8th loss for a make-koshi. The question now is: will he vacate san’yaku entirely?