It was fancy kimarite day today, as some rikishi dipped into the technique bag and employed some lesser seen moves to win their matches.
Like watching a massive ship run aground, it’s clear that many of the rank and file rikishi are headed toward a slew of elimination matches during the final weekend of the basho. Some fans love these, as only the strong survive. But they are a crazy reminder that sumo is one of the sporting world’s great zero-sum games.
Azumaryu defeats Daishomaru – Daishomaru looks so completely depleted right now, it’s tough to watch him compete. He tries a hit and shift left at the tachiai, but Azumaryu completely dominates him and tosses him down with little effort. Kimarite is the quite unusual sokubiotoshi.
Shimanoumi defeats Nishikigi – Speaking of depleted, Nishikigi is now at 10 losses for November, and is slated to man the bilge pumps on the Juryo barge. This guy scored a kinboshi in January. No, really.
Yutakayama defeats Daishoho – Yutakayama continues his total domination of Daishoho, picking up his kachi-koshi and securing his move into battle range with the rest of his Freshmen cohort for Hatsu. Daishoho yielded the inside thrusting path to Yutakayama at the tachiai, and Yutakayama, kept the pressure on. Daishoho also is at 10 losses for November. Hopefully he and Nishikigi can spend some Onsen time getting their bodies back to good health.
Kotoshogiku defeats Ishiura – Ishiura tries a hit-and-shift, and it’s great to see Kotoshogiku so effectively box him in. Nowhere to go, Ishiura is pinned and Kotoshogiku is set up for his gaburi-yori. Ishiura tries everything to dance away, but the Kyushu Bulldozer mode is active, and Ishiura is going out. Kimarite is listed as the seldom seen kimedashi.
Sadanoumi defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki opened strong, but Sadanoumi is one tough opponent again today. Time and again this November he shows unexpected power and fighting spirit against larger opponents. Backed up to the bales, he rallies and works to get and then exploit a right hand outside grip. Kagayaki seems to run out of ring and run out of energy and Sadanoumi takes the win.
Shohozan defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru gets the better of the tachiai, and takes the inside position. His rapid tsuppari combo starts working against Shohozan, who seems just as comfortable receiving a pommeling as he does delivering one. While his face is being battered by Chiyomaru, his hands are working to reach around his enormous belly and get a handful of mawashi. Sadly, all known forms of geometry and spacial mechanics have no successful solution to this problem, so Shohozan just muscles ahead and walks Chiyomaru out. Shohozan gets his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for November in front of his home-town crowd.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Kotoeko – Terutsuyoshi brings an opening face slap and a deep lunging dive for Kotoeko’s mawashi to the tachiai, putting him in clear control of the match. Kotoeko thrashes about in an unsuccessful effort to break Terutsuyoshi’s grip, and manages to drive Terutsuyoshi toward the tawara. But Terutsuyoshi deflects his forward thrust, and uses the Kotoeko’s unbalanced state to thrust him down. Terutsuyoshi gets his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi.
Chiyotairyu defeats Tsurugisho – Chiyotairyu once again goes chest to chest and employs a Kotoshogiku gaburi-yori to completely overwhelm Tsurugisho. That’s loss #8 for Tsurugisho, who looks dismal in week 2. That’s 5 consecutive losses for Tsurugisho.
Shodai defeats Enho – Well, Enho, your submarine face-mawashi graft had no real impact on Shodai, who probably still carries stuff around for his grandparents on the weekend. So after a bit of a pause where you can almost visibly see Shodai decide there is no real sumo here, channels his inner Tochinoshin and just lifts and shifts Enho for the win. Shodai goes double digits (as we thought he would), and should be back in the top part of Makuuchi for January.
Onosho defeats Takanosho – The classic nodowa lift and drop tachiai from Onosho today, with a bit of a leftward shift to ensure Takanosho has no outlet for his forward momentum, save to fall down. Onosho is still on track for a Darwin match on day 15. I had better buy more Sake.
Ryuden defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama slaps and hits Ryuden around quite a bit, but can’t seem to finish him off. Ryuden’s tactic seems to be keep circling to his left, waiting for Aoiyama to be too high with a left hand thrust. When it happens, Ryuden’s on Big Dan’s blue mawashi in a flash. Still in oshi-battle mode, Aoiyama is caught with neither offensive or defensive sumo ready, and is simply escorted out.
Okinoumi defeats Meisei – These two really went after each other, both intent on not being the man who would take their 8th loss today. An incredibly evenly balanced fight, it ended when they jointly threw each other with matching and symmetrical uwatenage. The gumbai went to Meisei, but from the replays it was clear he touched down slightly ahead of Okinoumi. A monoii reversed the call, and Meisei has his 8th loss, and is make-koshi for Kyushu.
Daieisho defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu picks up his first loss in 4 days after Daieisho gets inside of his defenses, and unloads repeatedly against center-mass. That was quick, brutal and quite effective.
Asanoyama defeats Kotoyuki – Kotoyuki took control at the tachiai, and Asanoyama could find no route to get a mawashi grip. At first, Kotoyuki’s thrusting attack prevailed, but Asanoyama rallied and drove him out of the North side of the dohyo. Asanoyama stay 2 behind Hakuho, and is still mathematically in the yusho hunt for at least one more day.
Tamawashi defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji has shown a lot of strength, a lot of energy, but not a lot of control this November. I think he has the tool kit to be a san’yaku regular in the post Hakuho world, but he’s got to find a way to bring his wild sumo into a more focused and efficient form. Fans (of which I am one) are frustrated by his lack of consistency, and that is down to his current sumo style. He is going to improve this, and I am eager to see the next form he takes.
Endo defeats Takarafuji – Endo once again proves he’s a man for difficult tasks, finding Takarafuji’s neck with a nodowa, and driving him back. While Takarafuji focused on foiling Endo’s follow on attempt for a left hand inside grip, he was being moved back and went down to his 8th loss via Endo’s yorikiri.
Takakeisho defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi remains in danger of vacating his Sekiwake roost with today’s loss to the sole surviving Ozeki. Takakeisho sacrificed some momentum out of the tachiai to gain a clear shot at Mitakeumi’s chest and went to work. Mitakeumi needs to win the remainder of his matches to make kachi-koshi. Kimarite was tsukidashi, and the Grand Tadpole advances to 9 wins.
Hakuho defeats Abi – Reports from the venue indicate that the crowd was behind Abi, as I think the whole sumo world shares a desire to spice up the yusho race if possible, and some fans are frustrated with Hakuho’s sumo in week 2, especially his matches with Endo and Tamawashi. But Hakuho is in fact “The Boss”, and just wins and wins and wins. Short of injury and kyujo, I don’t see him failing to hoist the Emperor’s cup for the 43rd time this Sunday.