Outstanding matches on day 12, and the schedulers are able to move one step closer to making the final weekend a real brawl to end it all. We had 6 rikishi reach kachi-koshi today, and dear injured Tamawashi picked up his first win of Aki, possibly sealing Chiyoshoma’s demotion to Juryo in the process.
Mitakeumi defeats Sadanoumi – Something was re-enabled in Mitakeumi from Nagoya to now. He’s back to good form, and this far down the banzuke he is somewhat unassailable. This denshamichi-sumo bout against Sadanoumi is just today’s example. Mitakeumi improves to 8-4 and is kachi-koshi. Next stop, double digits.
Hokuseiho defeats Daishoho – Daishoho seems to be banking on his superior density to prevent Hokuseiho from lifting him. It works for a bit, but the effort required to keep that much mass in a fight drains Daishoho’s stamina over time. Hokuseiho waits him out, lets him get tired and then nodowas up a yorikiir. 8-4 for Hokuseiho, and he is kachi-koshi for Aki.
Kinbozan defeats Kagayaki – Points to Kagayaki for working to clear the inside lane and open the route to attack Kinbozan’s chest. He no sooner gets that underway then Kinbozan steps to the side and sends Kagayaki down by tsukiotoshi. Kinbozan improves to 8-4 and is kachi-koshi, Kagayaki hits his 8th loss and is make-koshi.
Midorifuji defeats Myogiryu – Are folks getting tired of Midorifuji’s katasukashi habit? I know I am not, he can do that every day, and I will be happy about it. Seriously though, Myogiryu should have known that was coming. Both are 7-5.
Kotoeko defeats Nishikifuji – I think Kotoeko’s right arm ottsuke did a lot of good, and stopped Nishikifuji at a critical moment. The rest was Kotoeko engaging forward power take off and driving forward. He improves to 7-5 while delivering Nishikifuji’s kachi-koshi at 4-8.
Hiradoumi defeats Kotoshoho – A quick win by Hiradoumi – this is more what I expected from him this basho. Maybe now that he’s safely make-koshi, his actual sumo will come back to support him? He gets a right hand inside grip at the tachiai and almost immediately sets up the throw. The tsukiotoshi advances Hiradoumi to 4-8.
Oho defeats Aoiyama – Starting to look grim for Big Dan. He heads deeper into make-koshi territory with his loss to Oho, who tried hard to hit the dirt before Aoiyama could. A wild and completely off balance hatakikomi dropped both men, but Oho gets the win and is now 4-8.
Ryuden defeats Takarafuji – Faced with make-koshi, Ryuden finds a much needed win. He set up a left hand inside, and both men tried to rotate into a throw. Ryuden completed first, dropping Takarafuji to the clay to advance to 5-7 by uwatenage.
Ura defeats Tsurugisho – It’s a treat to see Ura really enjoying some good grab and tug sumo for a change, and even picking up a win. Given that Tsurugisho tends to win these matches, I am surprised he was not better set up to defend. The finishing touch was Tsurugisho trying some kind of leg trip. The response from Ura seemed to be, “Thanks big stuff for putting your weight on one foot, please keep your hands inside the ride at all times”. Ura advances to 6-6 by kakenage.
Shonannoumi defeats Shodai – The early part of this match was a genuinely solid ottsuke battle, with Shodai quite effectively blocking Shonannoumi’s left hand. Normally this is where Shodai’s cartoon sumo fires up, but instead we get Shonannoumi pivoting, breaking the ottsuke and pushing Shodai out by the face. Oshidashi it is, and Shonannoumi is now 6-6.
Tamawashi defeats Chiyoshoma – Thank you, oh Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan! After 11 straight losses, Tamawashi finds enough sumo to beat Chiyoshoma and help him secure a place in the demotion queue. At one point Chiyoshoma gets behind Tamawashi, and lunges forward to drive him out. Tamawashi catches him and delivers a rapid sukuinage to improve to 1-11.
Abi defeats Endo – Abi henka, ugh. He is kachi-koshi at 8-4.
Onosho defeats Hokutofuji – Looks like the rikishi wondered if it was actually a matta, with Onosho deciding to not pause the attack. He connected to an upright and waiting Hokutofuji, who was quickly run out from behind. Fight unless it’s called, gentlemen. Onosho now kachi-koshi at 8-4.
Meisei defeats Takanosho – Meisei’s tachiai was so brutal, they heard it upstairs in the “day of” seats. I think it knocked most of the sumo out of Takanosho, who seemed relegated to reacting and trying to figure out how to get his balance back. Meisei did not give him a chance, and took the match by kotenage, he is now 6-6.
Takayasu defeats Nishikigi – Maybe Takayasu’s not hurt after all. He continues his absolute (6-0) dominance over Nishikigi by denying Nishikigi any kind of belt or body hold, then disrupting Nishikigi’s balance to the point he can push him down by hatakikomi. Takayasu improves to 9-3, and is note quite out of the yusho picture yet.
Asanoyama defeats Tobizaru – Tremendous left arm ottsuke from Tobizaru really gave Asanoyama an over sized amount of trouble. Suggestion to the former Ozeki; find a second favorite attack route, everyone knows what you are trying for, and the good ones know how to shut you down. Tobizaru’s focus on that left hand block consumed too much of his focus, and Asanoyama improvised a yorikiri and bodily rammed Tobizaru into his favorite salt basked, sending him into the crowd yet again for a little fan service. You can see why the obaasan corps really loves this guy. Asanoyama improves to 7-5, and the look on Tobizaru’s face as he mounts the dohyo makes me think that someone shoved a phone number in his mawashi while he was in the crowd.
Daieisho defeats Atamifuji – I was very curious how this one would good, as Daieisho is tough to defend against, unless you frequently fight a strong oshi-zumo maniac. Atamifuji did an excellent job for a first ever match against Daieisho, and was able to block, parry or deflect a fair amount of the incoming thrust energy. As Atamifuji’s confidence grew, he decided to counter attack, and that’s when trouble began. Daieisho got him forward of his toes, and then swatted him to the clay with an expertly delivered hikiotoshi. That’s 8-4 for Daieisho, and kachi-koshi in fine style, dropping Atamifuji down one notch and putting him in range for a yusho pick off by the chasers.
Takakeisho defeats Kotonowaka – It makes me happy to see Takakeisho back in his Ozeki form. He puts so much power forward that Kotonowaka’s fight plan must have been completely disrupted, and he is relegated to trying to improvise some form of attack. Always polite, Takakeisho saves him from the embarrassment of forgetting where he was in the match by shoving Kotonowaka’s meaty chest out in rapid fashion by oshidashi. Takakeisho now 9-3 and one win behind Atamifuji.
Wakamotoharu defeats Kirishima – Kirishima missed a chance to clear kadoban today with a crappy tachiai. Poor hand placement, bad first step, it was garbage. Wakamotoharu could not believe his luck and quickly too charge of the match and finished the Ozeki three steps later by rapid yorikiri. Try again tomorrow, Kirishima. Both end the day 7-5.
Hoshoryu defeats Gonoyama – I did not expect Gonoyama to win this one, but I did get what I was looking for. Gonoyama put up an excellent fight against a much higher ranked opponent in a first match – gutsy move to open with that nodowa. But the following pull attempt was well anticipated by Hoshoryu, and it cost Gonoyama the match. To make headway over the next year, Gonoyama will need to work on new tools that are more effective against Ozeki and above. Hoshoryu with a much needed win, now at 6-6.