The yusho race ends with a playoff, and a solid day of sumo action. For those of you who read the preview, it seems Asanoyama’s kami did manage to make it back to the Kokugikan in time, but was limping and had a black eye.
The playoff ended with a henka, which was a big disappointment to me. I am sure the YDC will have some grumpy words about that soon enough, as they are quick to criticize such developments. The 2023 Aki basho was indeed a “Wacky Aki” with a Maegashira 15, in his second posting to the top division, achieving a yusho dotten result. Granted, the yusho was a stinky 11-4 win, but someone had to take home the cup.
Congratulations to Takakeisho for your 4th Emperor’s Cup, and for setting the stage to possibly reach Yokozuna by the new year.
Nishikifuji defeats Mitakeumi – Not sure where the Mitakeumi from the prior 14 days was today, but he just sort of went “sack of potatoes” and let Nishikifuji have the yorikiri. Nishikifuji with a final day win ends the tournament 5-10.
Endo defeats Kotoshoho – Endo worked very hard to make something happen with that right hand inside, and points to Kotoshoho for shutting it down each and every time. But Endo being Endo, he decided his left hand could do the job too, and flattened Kotoshoho with a kirikaeshi. Nice to see that move, and well executed to boot. Endo finishes Aki 9-6.
Myogiryu defeats Kinbozan – Veteran Myogiryu scores a final day win by over powering Kinbozan in a rapid fight that sent the Kinbozan into one of the shimpan. Not the last shimpan to get a visitor today. Myogiryu’s final record is 10-5 winning by yoritaoshi.
Midorifuji defeats Aoiyama – I had hoped for one last katasukashi, and Midorifuji delivered. I am surprised that Aoiyama did not do more to prevent it. The match was over in a moment, with Midorifuji finishing 10-5, and Aoiyama at real risk of being relegated to Juryo for the first time since 2018
Kagayaki defeats Oho – Kagayaki assumes and maintains such poor body position through this whole match, it’s a shame that Oho did not just slap him down. In spite of Kagayaki’s awkward stumbling sumo today, he manages to apply an oshidashi and take the match. Both men finish Aki 5-10.
Chiyoshoma defeats Ryuden – No farewell henka from Chiyoshoma, rather a smooth and well executed kotenage at the third step. Actually nicely done. Chiyoshoma boards the Juryo barge of the Damned with a 3-12.
Onosho defeats Tsurugisho – Onosho only loses his matches against Tsurugisho when Onosho gets too far forward. It looked like Tsurugisho was going to try to set that up, but Tsurugisho’s switch from forward to back hit a misstep, and Onosho drove him out. Onosho finishes Aki 9-6.
Sadanoumi defeats Shonannoumi – First of the Darwin matches goes to Sadanoumi, who landed a right hand frontal mawashi grip at the tachiai, and had Shonannoumi out three steps later. Sadanoumi kachi-koshi at 8-7 for a final score, Shonannoumi make-koshi at 7-8.
Takanosho defeats Daishoho – Daishoho gets a big charge forward, tries a pull hands the match to Takanosho. Sort of sad after that solid tachiai. Takanosho’s final score for Aki is 6-9.
Hiradoumi defeats Tamawashi – Hiradoumi achieved excellent hand placement, including a hazu-oshi to finish pushing Tamawashi out of the ring. Hiradoumi’s final score for Aki 6-9. Tamawashi limped through the basho to 2-13, but kept his spotless attendance record.
Shodai defeats Takarafuji – Shodai actually showed good sumo today, boxing in Takarafuji and never really letting him get into an active defense mode. I think Takarafuji thought Shodai was going to go for a yorikiri, but pivoted into an uwatenage. The second Darwin match ends with Shodai kachi-koshi at 8-7, Takarafuji make-koshi at 7-8.
Asanoyama defeats Atamifuji – The big match to start the second half, Asanoyama had his right hand inside before the second step, and at that point it was all over except the final step over the bales. Atamifuji is young, he’s inexperienced, and has acres of talent. A future version of himself will have that left hand ottsuke he needed today to win this match. He ends Aki with a blistering 11-4, and will face someone in a playoff for the yusho.
Meisei defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko really had no offense in this match, and Meisei was able to box him in and run him out. Good forward pressure by Meisei, which was quickly converted to an oshidashi. He finishes Aki 7-8.
Abi defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji’s opening nodowa is easy to predict, and we got to see Abi shut it down at the tachiai. The resulting off balance position was perfect for the hatakikomi that followed a moment later, dropping Hokutofuji to the clay. Abi finishes Aki with a 9-6 record.
Gonoyama defeats Tobizaru – I love that Gonoyama was able to finish the basho with a strong win. Sadly it seems Tobizaru’s exit from the ring injured one of the shimpan, who had to be helped out of the venue. I expect we are going to see a lot more good sumo from Gonoyama in the next year. He ends Aki 9-6.
Ura defeats Nishikigi – Ura goes to the nodowa again today, and it likewise seems to work with massive effect, setting Nishikigi up for an immediate tottari that drops him to the clay. Thus ends Nishikigi’s magical mystery tour of the san’yaku at 5-10, while Ura finishes Aki at 9-6.
Kotonowaka defeats Wakamotoharu – A delightful match as the two Sekiwake battle it out. Wakamotoharu had the better grip to start, and maintained it throughout the match. The final exchange was each man trying to lift the other out, with Kotonowaka proving to be the stronger, and scoring a final day win by yoritaoshi. Both end Aki 9-6.
Hoshoryu defeats Hokuseiho – Hoshoryu manages to reach kachi-koshi on the final day by toppling the Miyagino giant in a slow motion watashikomi. Had I been at the Kokugikan, I would have shouted “TIMBEERRRRR!”. Hoshoryu needs to get his sumo in working order, as beating an M11 on the final day for your kachi-koshi is not how this is supposed to work. But he did get the job done. He ends Aki 8-7.
Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Takakeisho always beats Daieisho, but Daieisho gave him a great fight. Once Takakeisho is able to disrupt Daieisho’s attack pattern, he gets Daieisho turned and shoves him out by okuridashi. Takakeisho ends Aki 11-4 and qualifies for the yusho playoff.
Kirishima defeats Takayasu – Takayasu’s sumo looked good today, he just did not have the balance to maintain his footing when Kirishima was able to land lateral thrusts. I note that Kirishima also kept his feet closer to the clay, where we saw Takayasu with more vertical steps. Once Takayasu was off balance, a thrust to the side finished him by hikiotoshi, giving Kirishima a final day win and a score of 9-6.
Takakeisho defeats Atamifuji – Takakeisho henka! Not sure that was what anyone was hoping for, and it kind of left a foul odor to end this tournament. But he did win it in somewhat inglorious style. Perhaps he was hurt in that match with Daieisho. We will likely never know. Takakeisho wins his 4th title, and sets up his second chance at Yokozuna this year.
With that, dear readers, we end our daily coverage of the Aki basho for 2023. It has been a treat and a pleasure to bring you previews and highlights this September. Please follow Tachiai on the run up to the final basho of the year, coming in November. I will have a few things to say about sumo, it’s fans and this site before I sign off in the coming days. Thank you for spending Aki with us, we appreciate all of you who take the time to read our site, and to comment on our content. See you again soon!