Tachiai congratulates Tamawashi on his second yusho, which is a considerable accomplishment on many levels. At 37 years and 10 months, he is the oldest rikishi in the modern era to claim the title. The man is completely dedicated to his craft, and has not missed a match ever in his career. Well done Tamawashi; your sumo this September was indeed the best.
Thus ends Aki 2022, with everything more or less how you might want it to end. I have to admit that the final day was the least surprising day of them all, with nearly every match going the way you might expect. As has been the case over the last 4 years, when there is no Yokozuna in the tournament, it opens the door for unexpected performances, and for new champions to rise.
There were outstanding performances from a variety of rikishi, and I note with some enthusiasm that Tobizaru not only reached kachi-koshi at his highest ever rank, he scored a hearty 10-5. Likewise, Wakatakakage’s Ozeki run has started again with his 11-4 finish. As long-suffering fans of both, I was very happy to see both Hokutofuji and Takayasu score double digits, and participate in the yusho race up to the final weekend. Great effort by many, and some rather enjoyable sumo for us all to share.
Tsurugisho defeats Yutakayama – Well, you can see Yutakayama’s right leg / foot trying to give out again, and after that it’s easy for Tsurugisho to take the win. It’s tough to watch these guys fight hurt. Tsurugisho finishes Aki at 5-10.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Mitoryu – Mitoryu had a solid enough defense that he was enduring Ichiyamamoto’s initial attacks, but he took an off-balance step forward when Ichiyamamoto released pressure. That was enough to unbalance Mitoryu, and Ichiyamamoto put him on the clay. Ichiyamamoto finishes Aki at 6-9.
Ryuden defeats Terutsuyoshi – Well, that was odd. Terutsuyoshi’s had a typical submarine tachiai, Ryuden was able to maintain a hold as Terutsuyoshi tried to circle away, and as a result was behind him for a second. They both kept trying to circle and break contact, and it came to an end when Terutsuyoshi stepped out. Ryuden finishes with 11-4. Welcome back to the top division indeed!
Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – Today Chiyoshoma did not mind his foot placement, and had his right foot on the janome as he went to throw Kotoeko. They called it yorikiri, so… ok. Kotoeko picks up a final day win to avoid double digit losses at 6-9.
Aoiyama defeats Hiradoumi – Aoiyama has been in poor condition this basho, but it was good to see him put together enough of his old sumo to dispatch Hiradoumi. He finishes 6-9 with a hatakikomi.
Takarafuji defeats Okinoumi – Interesting to watch, as neither of these guys could really generate or withstand a lot of force with their hips or lower back. Takarafuji’s frontal right hand grip did most of the work, and he secures a final win to finish 5-10.
Nishikigi defeats Chiyotairyu – Everything Chiyotairyu had went into the first combo. He tried to stand Nishikigi up and slap him down, but Nishikigi was ready, and his balance remained stable. From there it was an easy win, and both end the Aki Basho at 6-9.
Ura defeats Oho – First of our Darwin matches, if you blink you may miss it. Oho pulls Ura on the second step, and gets him tumbling. But Ura manages to push Oho out before he hits the clay. Ura finds his 8th win and kachi-koshi on the final day to finish 8-7.
Meisei defeats Kotoshoho – Second Darwin match, Kotoshoho opens up with a lot of power to Meisei’s face and neck. But as Meisei has done so many times this basho, he times a move to the side and breaks Kotoshoho’s balance. Kotoshoho falls forward, and Meisei takes the win to finish Aki 8-7.
Nishikifuji defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka takes command of the match, but does not keep his opponent in front of him. Nishikifuji escapes near the bales, and moves Kotonowaka out from behind. Nishikifuji finishes the tournament at 10-5. His first two basho in the top division both end with 10-5 scores, wow.
Midorifuji defeats Onosho – Onosho opened his chest to Midorifuji, and it only took a moment. Midorifuji gets both hands on center mass and drives forward with everything he can muster. Onosho ends up in the timekeeper’s lap, and Midorifuji finishes Aki at 7-8. Not bad for his first shot at the top of the Maegashira ranks.
Tobizaru defeats Takanosho – While it’s acres of fun to watch Tobizaru go “kitchen sink” against his opponents, I have to compliment Takanosho in this match. He was able to absorb and defend against multiple waves of chaotic sumo from the flying monkey, and kept his feet. I wonder if he practices in the heya by having 2 or three Jonidan guys all try to attack him at the same time. Tobizaru wins a special prize for just crazy man sumo, has a 10-5 kachi-koshi at his highest ever rank, and is simply on fire right now.
Tamawashi defeats Takayasu – The big match for all of the gyoza, it was a callback to the delightful days of 2017 when these two used to beat the stuffing out of each other once per basho. Sadly we got Takayasu “wild man” sumo from the start. You can see him load so much energy into that initial hit that he ends up completely off balance. He’s easy meat at that point, and Tamawashi finishes him off. Tamawashi wins the yusho with a powerful 13-2 final score. His sumo has been excellent for the past 15 days. Well done sir!
Kiribayama defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu has still not figured out how to beat Kiribayama, as Kiribayama extends his career record to 4-0 over Myogiryu. Today it was all down to hand placement. Kiribayama finishes Aki 9-6.
Tochinoshin defeats Ichinojo – Tochinoshin does a masterful job of capturing Ichinojo and shutting down any attack mode he might have. They take a moment to figure it out, but the moment that Ichinojo gets a left hand outside grip, Tochinoshin knows he is on the clock. So forward march, and walk the Boulder out. Tochinoshin finishes at 7-8.
Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – I am a bit sad that Hokutofuji could not muster a final win in a tournament that has seen some of his best sumo in several years. But he did not keep his hips square to his opponent, and Daieisho moved to the side and sent him into Endo’s lap. Daieisho finishes Aki at 7-8.
Hoshoryu defeats Endo – Last of our Darwin matches. Not too happy with Hoshoryu pulling a Harumafuji style mini-henka, but I guess he is super fond of that Sekiwake title. He finishes 8-7.
Wakatakakage defeats Sadanoumi – Looks like the Ozeki run is back on, and started in glorious fashion. Sadanoumi was off balance nearly the whole time, and that robbed him of any real chance to lay down much of an attack against Wakatakakage. Wakatakakage drives him out, and takes his score to 11-4.
Wakamotoharu defeats Mitakeumi – In this condition, Mitakeumi is not even proper practice ballast. He has a bit of power at the tachiai, but once Wakamotoharu gets his hands set, it’s a quick walk forward to take the soon to be former Ozeki out. Wakamotoharu finishes with double digits at 10-5.
Takakeisho defeats Shodai – Takakeisho continues his dominance over Shodai, who almost attempted some kind of head lock pull for the briefest of moments, but Takakeisho already had him at escape velocity. Takakeisho ends the tournament 10-5.
Thank you, dear readers, for following along with Team Tachiai during this Aki basho. We have enjoyed bringing you daily coverage, and hope you will join us in our post-basho analysis, and the days that lead up to this year’s final tournament in Kyushu, just 6 weeks away.