If you have been waiting all of Natsu for full throttle sumo from the top men in the sport, today’s final 4 matches will give you want you crave. Fantastic bouts to finish Natsu, and a wonderful display of just how much these rikishi can bring to the ring.
We congratulate Yokozuna Terunofuji for his 7th yusho. It was obvious from day one that he was in poor condition, and he toughed it out, and took home the cup. I don’t know how much longer he can nurse those knees along and compel them into action, but it was great to see him overcome and win.
In the match before, we got to see Takakeisho escape kadoban, in spite of Ozeki Shodai actually showing up today and giving Takakeisho a vigorous match. This makes me quite happy, as the last time there were 3 Ozeki kadoban at the same time, we lost one for good.
Yes, there were special prizes awarded, they went to
- Daieisho – Shukun-sho (Outstanding Performance Award)
- Takanosho – Shukun-sho (Outstanding Performance Award)
- Sadanoumi – Kanto-sho (Fighting Spirit Prize)
Nishikigi defeats Chiyotairyu – Nishikigi did what he needed to do, absorbing Chiyotairyu big tachiai, and then keeping his feet when the follow through pulling attempt hit. From there it was straight ahead yorikiri sumo, and Nishikigi picked up his 8th win to finish with an 8-7 kachi-koshi.
Okinoumi defeats Meisei – Meisei had the initiative in this match, and took the fight to Okinoumi, but could not muster the power to finish him. Okinoumi took his time and worked his hands and body to get a grip, and set up the throw. Once nice uwatenage later, Okinoumi advances to 9-6 to finish Natsu winning his last 5 in a row.
Midorifuji defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin put a lot of work into reaching in for any grip on Midorifuji, which just set up the katasukashi. It’s wild to see how quickly that can be set up and executed. Down goes Tochnoshin, and Midorifuji ends Natsu 9-6.
Aoiyama defeats Kotoshoho – An odd side step by Aoiyama at the tachiai, followed by repeated pull down attempts. I have to admit his sumo today was kind of uninspiring, but he picks up a win to finish 10-5.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Azumaryu – Terutsuyoshi went low at the tachiai, and Azumaryu tried to push him the rest of the distance to the clay. But while he was down there, Terutsuyoshi grabbed Azumaryu’s left leg and lifted. The ashitori worked a charm, and he walked Azumaryu out, both finishing Natsu with 5-10 scores.
Kagayaki defeats Kotoeko – Hey, Kagayaki – where the hell has this sumo been for the last year? He comes off the shikiri-sen low, and attacks from below with power. Kotoeko catches the attack amidships and is blasted out in short order. Both end Natsu 6-9.
Takarafuji defeats Kotokuzan – We get to see the “defend and extend” sumo style on the final day, and it seems to work well against Kotokuzan. Takarafuji Keeps absorbing Kotokuzan’s attack, and taking a step forward. This way he just kept taking territory a few centimeters at a time. Takarafuji finishes 11-4.
Tobizaru defeats Yutakayama – You know, Tobizaru’s frantic sumo really seems to overwhelm most opponents at this level. You can see Yutakayama tries to hold him steady, but Tobizaru is constantly adding some little shift of push into every move. He keeps Yutakayama walking back, and eventually Yutakayama steps out. Tobizaru ends Natsu 7-8.
Sadanoumi defeats Takanosho – A big yusho match, co-leader Takanosho lets Sadanoumi land a double inside grip at the tachiai, and is immediately in trouble. Takanosho pressed forward well, but that double inside grip gave Sadanoumi many options, and he chose a sukuinage. As Takanosho went over the edge of the dohyo, his yusho chances went on life support. Both end Natsu with excellent 11-4 scores.
Endo defeats Myogiryu – Endo could not get a grip his first or second reach during the tachiai and the initial merge. They locked up in the center of the dohyo for a moment, and Myogiryu surged forward. Endo responded with a throw that put Myogiryu to finish Natsu 7-8.
Tamawashi defeats Ichiyamamoto – What strikes me about this match is just how calm and patient Tamawashi is. I would say almost like an instructor showing a student “this is how you do it”. “No kid, more shoulder, see? Yes, push hard on the pectoral, like this, no not like that…” Then out goes Ichiyamamoto, and Tamawashi finishes Natsu 9-6.
Hokutofuji defeats Oho – Hokutofuji doesn’t always get a chance to go chest to chest, but today he displayed some fine chops when he grappled with Oho. Hokutofuji kept his hips lower, and moved Oho around with ease, and took only a short time to earn his final win of Natsu, finishing 5-10.
Kotonowaka defeats Wakamotoharu – Kotonowaka indulged Wakamotoharu’s preference for yotsu-zumo, taking a double inside grip, and driving Wakamotoharu back and out without pause. Three steps from tachiai to finish, and both finish Natsu 9-6.
Takayasu defeats Chiyoshoma – Takayasu took an immediate left hand in / right hand outside grip at the tachiai, and did not wait for a second forward step to unleash the throw. The uwatenage hit full force, and Chiyoshoma hit the clay. Both finish the Natsu basho 6-9.
Daieisho defeats Shimanoumi – Daieisho denied Shimanoumi his kachi-koshi with a strong start, and pulled Shimanoumi down to finish. It was a risky move that nearly went the other way, as Shimanoumi was not easy to drop, and pushed back in response. Daieisho finishes Natsu 11-4.
Kiribayama defeats Hoshoryu – The ending to this match was evident shortly after Kiribayama had captured Hoshoryu. Hoshoryu responded by going lower, looking to attack from underneath. Each moment, Hoshoryu found a way to get lower still, and Kiribayama eventually helped him finish and crushed him to the clay. Kiribayama finishes 10-5.
Wakatakakage defeats Abi – Absolutely crazy match, it has something for everyone. The range of sumo styles these two used in this all out battle was a delight to watch. Abi was pushing hard for his 8th win, but just could not get Wakatakakage on defense for more than a fleeting moment. Wakatakakage eventually consolidates his grip, and drives forward for the win. He finishes Natsu 9-6.
Takakeisho defeats Shodai – Really strong sumo from Takakeisho today, and we got to see Shodai mount some kind of defense in response. In the end it was Takakeisho who kept his balance, and tossed Shodai out with a firm tsukiotoshi to take his 8th win, and finish Natsu with an 8-7 kachi-koshi.
Terunofuji defeats Mitakeumi – With the cup on the line, Terunofuji knew that a win would give him his 7th yusho. Terunofuji absorbed Mitakeumi’s strong tachiai, and found Mitakeumi’s belt wide open. Both hands went in and he had a double inside grip. That was utter and complete doom for Mitakeumi, and 3 steps later Terunofuji had the win, and the yusho. He finishes Natsu 12-3.
With that, we conclude Tachiai’s daily coverage of another basho. Thank you dear readers for joining us throughout the tournament, and we hope you have enjoyed Natsu as much as we have. Please join us again in July as we cover the Nagoya basho.