Congratulations to Yokozuna Terunofuji for taking his first perfect yusho, a 15-0 masterpiece that saw him overwhelm every other competitor from across the banzuke. It has been since the 1960s that a Yokozuna won both his debut tournament and the one that follows. A fine and rarefied roster that Terunofuji has now joined. What gives me a smile is that not even Hakuho, the greatest Yokozuna in sumo’s long history, was able to do that one.
Some solid questions coming out of Kyushu:
- There is a massive log-jam of promotable rikishi at the top end of the banzuke. How they are going to sort this one out will be a puzzle for people like lksumo to consider.
- Mitakeumi is back attempting an Ozeki campaign again. One of these times he is actually going to make it. I kind of feel bad for he guy, as every time he puts on one of these surges, he comes up just a hair short.
- I am warming up to the idea of a “big churn” going into Hatsu, where the banzuke group just decide to send all the damaged rikishi with gimpy records down to Juryo, and bring up the maximum number of fresh athletes. This would somewhat defy convention, but would probably do wonders for sumo.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Tochinoshin – Terutsuyoshi went deep inside at the tachiai. Tochinoshin tried to wrap him up, but kept leaning over farther to keep him contained. Terutsuyoshi kept shifting in and a bit more to the side, and unleashed an under-arm shitatehineri that swung Tochinoshin to the clay. Terutsuyoshi finishes Kyushu with 7-8.
Kagayaki defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka chose defense by the 3rd step, as Kagayaki was connecting well against center-mass. Kotonowaka’s was able to hold Kagayaki in check until Kagayaki got a body hold, and was able to drive forward for a yorikiri. Kagayaki ends with a dismal 5-10 score, but may have passed the “most losses in 2021” title to Kotoeko.
Sadanoumi defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu was strong out of the tachiai, connected well and started moving forward. Sadanoumi was ready for this, and as Chiyotairyu lunged forward to finish him, Sadanoumi stepped aside, grabbed an arm and boosted Chiyotairyu forward. Sadanoumi improves to a final 9-6 for November.
Chiyonokuni defeats Hidenoumi – Chiyonokuni took this one by never letting Hidenoumi set his feet. Without a moment to establish his balance, Hidenoumi never generated much offense, and was picked off a piece at a time by Chiyonokuni’s hit and move sumo. Chiyonokuni picks up a final win to end 9-6.
Akua defeats Aoiyama – Check out Akua’s thrusting variation. That was neat over / under pattern he set up against Aoiyama, and it really broke Aoiyama’s thrusting attack. Big Dan found himself unable to hold territory, and Akua sent him over the East side to finalize on a 9-6 score for Kyushu.
Yutakayama defeats Kotoeko – Even though Kotoeko finished the basho with a horrific 3-12 score, its not the worst record this November. But man, is it terrible. Yutakayama started strong, focused center mass, and gave Kotoeko no chance to try any sumo at all. Yutakayama finishes 7-8. I know there are some conditions in play that may limit demotions, but really we should see Kotoeko and Kagayaki in Juryo next time to give them a break and let the regroup.
Hokutofuji defeats Chiyoshoma – Hokutofuji completely overpowered Chiyoshoma, and my hoped for yotsu mega-battle never had a chance to take place. Chiyoshoma looked like he thought something was not quite right with that match, but that’s how sumo goes, it seems. Hokutofuji ends with a powerful 11-4 score for Kyushu.
Chiyomaru defeats Ura – Chiyomaru enormous round defensive screen proved a significant geometry problem for Ura, who had to work around it to try and get inside and get his offense started. Chiyomaru knows this, and its why he built that protuberance, and as Ura dove in, he drove Ura down. Chiyomaru picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for the day. Ura gets the well deserved technique prize and everyone wins something in this match.
Shohozan defeats Shimanoumi – In what might be Shohozan’s final match during honbasho, Shohozan breaks his nose and bleeds all over Shimanoumi in the process of taking him out with a yorikiri. Shohozan finishes Kyushu with 4-11, and will be ranked in Juryo on Christmas Eve unless he chooses to assume his kabu and retire.
Endo defeats Kaisei – The first of the true Darwin matches goes to Endo. Kaisei had a strong early advantage, but a throw attempt fell apart, leaving Endo behind him. A quick run out and a win by okuridashi, Endo finds his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi.
Hoshoryu defeats Takarafuji – Sort of a mini-henka from Hoshoryu at the start put him in control of the match. Surprisingly, Takarafuji seemed to be in a bit of a hurry today, and rather than grind Hoshoryu one second at a time, he went quickly to attack. This supplied the power needed for Hoshoryu win, as he opened up an uwatenage, that nearly fell apart. Hoshoryu improves to 7-8 for his final mark.
Okinoumi defeats Myogiryu – Dear readers, I present the worst record of Kyushu, Myogiryu with a 2-13. He was 11-4 and had the jun-yusho last month, and now this. He had almost nothing against Okinoumi today, who improved to 7-8 on the final day.
Takanosho defeats Abi – Takanosho managed to find a gap in Abi’s attack plane, and wastes no time getting him back on his heels, removing his thrusting power. A second volley gets him traveling out, and its a fast path to win number 11, and the fighting spirit prize. The banzuke team have quite a log jam at the top to untangle for January.
Takayasu defeats Onosho – As could be expected with these two fighting, it was a mess. Onosho had Takayasu moving out, but managed to crash down to the clay a moment before Takayasu’s foot landed. There was a mono-ii, and the gumbai went to Takayasu. Both of you two, go back to Tokyo and get your sumo together. Takayasu improves to 6-9.
Wakatakakage defeats Tobizaru – Second Darwin match, it was a fine and even fight that was evenly balanced until Tobizaru decided to try and pull against Wakatakakage, opening the door for the oshidashi that followed. We have not seen Tobizaru take a tour of the zabuton for fan service in a few days, so out he goes to say hello to the locals. No word on if he eventually said hello to sumo media great Jason Harris who was in the crowd today. Wakatakakage kachi-koshi at 8-7, Tobizaru make-koshi at 7-8.
Daieisho defeats Ishiura – The final Darwin match, and there was only one way this was going to end, with a Daieisho kachi-koshi. He made fast work of Ishiura, putting him face down on the clay by the third step, improving to 8-7, and sending Ishiura to a 7-8 make-koshi.
Kiribayama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi put a bit too much stock in that pull down attempt on the third step, and gave Kiribayama a double inside grip. That was all he needed to overpower the veteran and earn his final win to complete Kyushu with a 6-9 make-koshi.
Meisei defeats Ichinojo – Lawd, what happened to Ichinojo? He finishes Kyushu with 5-10 after showing some strong sumo in week 1. Meisei struggled to find a way to move Ichinojo at first, and the Boulder’s pulling attempt more or less threw the match away. Meisei improves to 7-8.
Mitakeumi defeats Shodai – Mitakeumi gets to 11, and can make the case that he is yet again going to try to put together 33 wins to earn his way to Ozeki. Mitakeumi opened strong, and had Shodai moving, but Shodai went for a makke-kai without the territory needed to absorb the move. He was easy for Mitakeumi to finish at that point, giving him an 11-4 final score.
Terunofuji defeats Takakeisho – Well, Takakeisho proved he can move the Yokozuna if he connects, but he could not keep the wave train running, and the whole match devolved into some odd attack / pause thing that reminded me of the first time Takakeisho fought Hakuho. Terunofuji finishes him after a time to run his score up to a perfect 15-0, his first ever zensho.
With that, Tachiai concludes our daily coverage of Kyushu 2021. Thank you, dear readers, for joining us for what has been an immensely satisfying tournament. We have greatly enjoyed bringing you the stories, action and commentary of the final sumo tournament of the year. Join us on Christmas Eve for the Hatsu banzuke, and the start of a new sumo year.