Aki Day 12 Preview

Some wild matches today, with a lot of potential for big battles. I have a lot of interest in Wakatakakage and Chiyoshoma, Endo and Takanosho, and Mitakeumi and Onosho. I am keen to see Takakeisho pick up his 8th win today and clear kadoban, and I think that Shodai is going to have a tough match if the genki Ichinojo shows up today.

Aki Leaderboard

Leader: Terunofuji
Hunt Group: Myogiryu
Chasers: Shodai, Mitakeumi, Onosho, Okinoumi, Endo, Chiyonokuni

4 matches remain

What We Are Watching Day 12

Daiamami vs Chiyonoo – Loser of this match is make-koshi. For Chiyonoo, it nominates him to join the Juryo barge for the slow sail down the Sumida. There could be as many as 5 promotion candidates from Juryo, so it could be a shredder at the bottom of Makuuchi this time, as opposed to some of the more limited exchanges earlier this year.

Chiyonokuni vs Tochinoshin – I am going to guess they will give Tochinoshin any chance that they can to make his 8 and stay in the top division. The sentimental sumo fan in me likes this. This could also be a “how genki is Chiyonokuni” type match. Tochinoshin holds an 8-1 career advantage, so a win today by Chiyonokuni would be a signal that he is going to be in for a good lift in the November banzuke.

Chiyotairyu vs Kotoeko – Chiyotairyu is my pick to win this one. Both men come into to today with a 3 match win streak, and only one of them will make it to 4. Should be Chiyotairyu, he will be kachi-koshi for Aki, with 3 days to go.

Kagayaki vs Myogiryu – Myogiryu continues to be 1 win behind Terunofuji, and this match strikes me as a big of a “gimmie” to keep him in the hunt, and have the thinnest thread of competition in this yusho run for the kaiju. Myogiryu is fighting well, Kagayaki is fighting poorly, and I think this will be a Myogiryu win today.

Aoiyama vs Yutakayama – An evenly balanced match, both of them are ‘yama, both have 6-5 records, and they have an even 4-4 career match record. Both of them want to swat their opponents into next week, so I expect a log of power and maybe some blood today.

Tsurugisho vs Hidenoumi – Tsurugisho’s cellulitis has really sapped Tsurugisho of his offensive sumo. He has lost the last 3 in a row, and is probably hoping to just make it to the end of Aki without double digit losses. Because of Tsurugisho’s poor condition, I am going to give Hidenoumi a clear advantage today.

Tokushoryu vs Tobizaru – Tokushoryu is already make-koshi, and I think is likely captain of that Juryo barge. If he can muster a win today, he would send Tobizaru into make-koshi land. Given Tobizaru’s 1-6 career deficit, that looks somewhat likely today.

Shimanoumi vs Kaisei – Loser of this match is make-koshi, the winner gets to survive another day. Neither man has had a really good match this basho, and for Kaisei, he needs to worry about how deep a make-koshi he ends up with, lest he join the crew on that barge.

Ichiyamamoto vs Terutsuyoshi – The depressing matches continue. Both are already make-koshi, both are fighting hurt, and it’s going to be a battle of who can bring the least damaged sumo to the match. My bet is on Terutsuyoshi, but this one is going to be painful.

Ura vs Chiyomaru – Ura is also in the broad crew at 7 losses, who is on the road to make-koshi. Given his rank at M6, he will stay in the top division in all likelihood. He struggles against Chiyomaru, probably because of his enormous belly, and all of the problems it introduces into Ura’s grab and tug brand of sumo.

Wakatakakage vs Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma has won 3 of the last 4, and seems to be on the march toward squeezing out a few more wins before the end of the bahso. Given that Wakatakakage fights with a lot of energy, and is on the wrong side of the make-koshi line, I expect him to be at peak power today. This match has a lot of potential.

Okinoumi vs Kiribayama – Kiribayama is going to get his second shot at reaching 8 wins today, against wily veteran Okinoumi. Okinoumi has won all of their prior matches this year, and I am going to guess that maybe he has a recipe for dominating Kiribayama. We will see in the second half of day 12.

Hoshoryu vs Daieisho – Hoshoryu is already make-koshi, but I expect he is going to keep attacking hard for the last 4 matches. He needs to attenuate his drop down the banzuke, and hope to be able to battle his way back to the top. in the next few tournaments. This is a first time match for these two.

Endo vs Takanosho – Big rank gap (10) in this match, but I honestly think that Takanosho is at risk to finding his 7th win. Endo has been fighting very well, but he’s been fighting quite far down the banzuke. He’s now closer to his normal and expected rank in this match. Takanosho looked very good in his day 11 match against Hoshoryu, and I think Endo is going to need to work for it.

Takayasu vs Tamawashi – I doubt this match happens given that the wheeled Takayasu out on day 11 after his match with Terunofuji. If it does go forward, the loser is going to be make-koshi. They have 29 career matches, with Takayasu holding an 16-13 advantage. But I do expect Takayasu kyujo today.

Mitakeumi vs Onosho – Another tadpole fight! How much fun can this be? This time its the original tadpole against the junior tadpole. Both are kachi-koshi, both are fighting pretty well. Both favor an overwhelming power charge in the tachiai. Mitakeumi has a 9-2 career record against Onosho, so he has history in his favor. This one will likely end in a heartbeat, so don’t blink or you may miss it.

Shodai vs Ichinojo – If I am Shodai, do I let Ichinojo go chest to chest with me? He has a 9-3 career advantage over Shodai, and if he runs the same battle plan he did against Takarafuji on day 11, Shodai’s in for a hell of a fight.

Takarafuji vs Takakeisho – I like Takakeisho’s chances today, and a win would clear kadoban and secure a kachi-koshi. The challenge to Takarafuji is that he needs a moment to set up his defend and extend tactic, and getting a spare moment to set your feet around Takakeisho is tough to do.

Meisei vs Terunofuji – Meisei has yet to win against Terunfuji in 6 attempts. I am going to guess that won’t change today, and Terunofuji will stay at least 1 win ahead of anybody else.

Aki Day 11 Highlights

Some tournaments, the last 5 days are a grind of rikishi low on stamina and just going through the motions, hoping to make it through each day. Aki 2021 seems to be a mad cap brawl if increasing intensity. Each day is a bit more energetic than the last, and the sumo just keeps getting better. I am not sure about you, dear readers, but it’s just the tonic I need this fall.

Highlight Matches

Wakamotoharu defeats Chiyomaru – First ever win for Wakamotoharu over Wakamotoharu. He correctly anticipated Chiyomaru’s pull and pushed forward, sending Chiyomaru over the bales in a hurry. Wakamotoharu improves his chances at a kachi-koshi by improving to 5-6.

Tochinoshin defeats Tokushoryu – Tochinoshin finalizes Tokushoryu’s make-koshi, stamping his boarding pass for the Juryo barge of the damned. Again today Tochinoshin could not land his left hand, but made do with his right. Once he had Tokushoryu moving, it was fairly easy to move him out, and hand him his 8th loss. Tochinoshin improves to 5-6.

Endo defeats Kaisei – Endo’s belt grab at the tachiai fell apart, and he released forward pressure and stepped to the side. Kaisei can do many things, but moving to the side is not really one of them. So Endo slipped to Kaisei’s left, reached in from behind and attacked. Endo picks up his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi.

Myogiryu defeats Ichiyamamoto – Myogiryu got the better of the tachiai, putting his hands inside and low while Ichiyamamoto went high. Ichiyamamoto quickly tried to pull Myogiryu down, further degrading his position, and Myogiryu powered ahead to drive him over the bales. Thats loss #8 for Ichiyamamoto, and he is make-koshi, while Myogiryu improves to 9-2, and remains one behind Terunofuji.

Chiyotairyu defeats Tsurugisho – How many days in a row are folks going to let Chiyotairyu execute this move? It’s simple, it’s effective, and some times it’s kind of unstoppable: a big hit at the tachiai and and immediate hikiotoshi. Chiyotairyu improves to 7-4.

Hidenoumi defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki attacks high, and does not maintain the gap to Hidenoumi, as Hidenoumi takes a half step back; just enough to take Kagayaki off balance, and then slaps him down. Hidenoumi seems to finally be into his sumo, and improves to 5-6.

Aoiyama defeats Chiyonoo – Sloppy set of combo attacks from Aoiyama got the job done, and Chiyonoo could do little other than try to hang on and survive. A big left hand push from a right hand inside position finished Chiyonoo and gave Aoiyama his 6th win, keeping hopes of kachi-koshi alive for him.

Chiyonokuni defeats Tobizaru – As expected, it was a wild match with a lot of agility and motion. Both brought out their attacks at the start, but Tobizaru quickly had to shift to defense. He was unable to stem the blistering volleys from Chiyonokuni, and an attempted escape move became a rout, with Chiyonokuni pushing him out for a seldom seen okuritaoshi. Chiyonokuni improves to 8-3 and has a well deserved kachi-koshi for Aki.

Okinoumi defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama really wanted this win, he was fast off of the shikiri-sen, and attacked first. Okinoumi gave way and moved to go chest to chest, and soon had Yutakayama settled into a left hand inside position. With Yutakayama captured, Okinoumi worked to improve his grip, then move Yutakayama out for his 8th win, securing kachi-koshi, while Yutakayama gets a loss on his birthday.

Kotoeko defeats Shimanoumi – Its really nice to know the lizard men brought back the genki form of Kotoeko and took their non-sumo executing mandroid back to their secret base miles below Kagoshima. That’s now 3 in a row for Kotoeko, who improves to 5-6.

Chiyoshoma defeats Terutsuyoshi – What the hell, Chiyoshoma! Once he has a mighty make-koshi locked up, suddenly he remembers that he’s good at sumo, and starts winning matches. Maybe he just had to get that henka out of his system and now he’s well again. Hatakikomi mega-swat put Terutsuyoshi on the clay, after Terutsuyoshi really could not close in and produce any offense. Terutsuyoshi is make-koshi and both end the day at 3-8.

Tamawashi defeats Ura – Ura lost his grip as he began to execute a throw, and that turned out to be his best chance to pick up a win today. His second engagement plan fell apart when he lost traction and slipped a foot out early. Both end the day at 4-7.

Wakatakakage defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama’s dreams of kachi-koshi and a san’yaku ranking in November took damage today when Wakatakakage took control of the center of the ring, putting Kiribayama on defense. With the two chest to chest, it was Wakatakakage who had the better hand placement. He took control, pushing a struggling Kiribayama high and then driving him out to improve to 5-6.

Takanosho defeats Hoshoryu – Takanosho connected hard, and early. With a big hit at the tachiai, he blasted Hoshoryu back on his heels, and followed up with a combo that sent Hoshoryu back, then another volley pushed him out. Zero chance for offense from Hoshoryu, and he picks up his 8th loss and is make-koshi. Takanosho improves to 6-5.

Ichinojo defeats Takarafuji – The two went chest to chest shortly after the tachiai. In a normal match this strongly favors Takarafuji. The different today is the massive size of Ichinojo presented a huge drain to Takarafuji’s stamina, and Ichinojo took the opportunity to stalemate Takarafuji at the center of the dohyo. Four times Takarafuji rallied and tried to move Ichinojo out, but was just too big to move that far, and each rally presented a bit less energy. All Ichinojo had to do was wait. Sensing that Takarafuji was spent, Ichinojo lifted Takarafuji and walked him out to improve to 5-6.

Mitakeumi defeats Daieisho – Daieisho opened strong with a fierce combo, getting Mitakeumi off balance. But the temptation to pull must have been overwhelming, and Daieisho could not resist. Mitakeumi charged into the pull, and ran Daieisho out of the ring at a gallop. That’s win number 8 for Mitakeumi, and he is kachi-koshi for September.

Takakeisho defeats Onosho – Grand Tadpole Takakeisho shows why he is king of this pond, putting junior croaker Onosho on the clay on the second exchange when (no surprise here) Onosho was too far forward over his toes. After a very worrisome start, Takakeisho has gone 5-0, and is one win away from clearing kadoban, improving to 7-4.

Shodai defeats Meisei – Meisei brought some good power to this match, and had Shodai on defense early. But the “Wall of Daikon” took over with a left hand outside grip, and the match evolved to see who could throw whom first. A whirling dance for position ended with a Shodai uwatenage that concluded with a brutal tea-bagging for maximum effect. Shodai is kachi-koshi and improves to 8-3.

Terunofuji defeats Takayasu – This match was a joy at first. Takayasu, whose sumo has been pretty rough this tournament, was sharp, effective and took the fight to the Yokozuna. Terunofuji, as we have seen all of September, took his time, and did not rush to find the win. He appeared content to take Takayasu apart a piece at a time. Takayasu was having none of it, and was likewise satisfied to shut down every advantage that Terunofuji came up, while biding his time and drawing on that enormous stamina of his to wait for his chance. Terunofuji executed a fast pivot, and although Takayasu maintained contact, something seems to have happened to Takayasu’s knee, and he could not maintain forward pressure. Terunofuji pressed forward and shoved Takayasu over the tawara and into Shodai to pick up his 10th win. Out came the big wheelchair, and it seems Takayasu is hurt.

Aki Day 11 Preview

With the start of act 3, we focus on the yusho race, and the process of starting the make from the kachi koshi. On that subject, a surprising number of rikishi enter day 11 with 4-6 records, and only 3 with even 5-5 records. Looking at the banzuke, it seems that the majority of the top division is on solid footing for a make-koshi this September, and that means a big shuffle for November.

On the subject of the yusho race, neither of the chasers have any real history of presenting any serious challenge to Terunofuji. Myogiryu is 4-12 against the Kaiju, but Onosho is a surprising 4-2. I am going to guess we may see that match up some time in the next 3 days, as it would be definitive a Terunofuji win.

Aki Leaderboard

A blowout on day 10 in the hunt group did a lot to narrow the field, just 2 rikishi remain 1 win behind the Yokozuna.

Leader: Terunofuji
Hunt Group: Onosho, Myogiryu
Chasers: Shodai, Mitakeumi, Kiribayama, Okinoumi, Endo, Chiyonokuni

5 matches remain

What We Are Watching Day 11

Chiyomaru vs Wakamotoharu – With Kotonowaka kyujo, the torikumi imbalance returns, so Juryo rikishi are once again visiting the top division. This time its another Onami brother, Wakamotoharu. Ranked Juryo 3E, he is at a promotable rank, but he comes to today’s match with a 4-6 record, and is likely headed for make-koshi. He has never won against Chiyomaru in 3 attempts.

Tokushoryu vs Tochinoshin – This match interests me, as I suspect it may have something to do with the banzuke group starting to wonder who they are going to demote, and how far down the banzuke they will go. There should be at least two promotable records, and maybe as many as six this time. I am starting to wonder if there will be a big Juryo – Makuuchi swap coming up for November.

Endo vs Kaisei – Endo tries again for his kachi-koshi, and I would be very surprised if he does not get his 8th win today. He tends to dominate Kaisei, in spite of Kaisei’s enormous size.

Ichiyamamoto vs Myogiryu – To me it seems clear that the schedulers want to close out Ichiyamamoto’s make-koshi, and keep Myogiryu in the yusho race. So be it. This is their first ever match, but with Ichiyamamoto hurt, I don’t think his chances are too great today.

Chiyotairyu vs Tsurugisho – Chiyotairyu seems to be locked into using “his brand of sumo” going into the final five days of Aki. He’s form is good, his balance sound and his timing is sharp. I see him blasting Tsurugisho today to take a step closer to kachi-koshi.

Kagayaki vs Hidenoumi – Kagayaki is one of the lonely 3 rikishi with 5-5 records, and he is struggling at a surprisingly low rank of Maegashira 13. Should he fail to hit 8 wins this September, it would be his 6th straight make-koshi. The last time Kagayaki was ranked this low, he turned in a 10-5 result in November of 2019.

Aoiyama vs Chiyonoo – Both of them come into today with middling records, and have struggled to do much power sumo this tournament. Given the possible “big swap” for November, Chiyonoo needs to be concerned about a make-koshi at Maegashira 15. I expect him to be highly motivated today.

Chiyonokuni vs Tobizaru – This match could be a real treat. Both of them will bring high mobility thrusting sumo to the dohyo, and while I expect Chiyonokuni to dominate and get his kachi-koshi today, I am looking to Tobizaru to make him work hard for that win.

Okinoumi vs Yutakayama – Okinoumi has not lost to Yutakayama in any of the previous 4 matches. I don’t see him changing that today. A Okinoumi win would be kachi-koshi for him at Maegashira 8.

Shimanoumi vs Kotoeko – Kotoeko has won the last 2, and I am hoping he might make it 3 in a row today. He has a 10-2 career lead over Shimanoumi, who has also been struggling this September. They come to the dohyo with matching 4-6 records.

Chiyoshoma vs Terutsuyoshi – It would be nice to see Chiyoshoma have at least 3 wins to finish Aki, and stave off any consideration for demotion too far down the banzuke. He has to overcome a flagging Terutsuyoshi, who only has 3 wins so far, and a loss today would be make-koshi. They have an even 4-4 career record.

Tamawashi vs Ura – Ura poured everything into that day 10 match against Terunofuji. He’s likely to finish make-koshi this tournament, but he has shown a lot of drive and fighting spirit. He’s got another tough match today, facing Tamawashi. Tamawashi is nothing close to his former strength, but is still an expert tsuki practitioner.

Wakatakakage vs Kiribayama – I would guess that Kiribayama is looking to see if he can make san’yaku in November. To my eye we will likely clear out one Komusubi and one Sekiwake slot. The big churn may apply to the named ranks as well, perhaps. Right now, Kiribayama looks like a strong contender for one of those slots, and it would be his first posting. He looked really solid in his Harumafuji style win on day 9. I think he has a fair shot against Wakatakakage, who may be more demoralized right now than out classed.

Hoshoryu vs Takanosho – Hoshoryu’s next loss is make-koshi for him. I don’t think it’s a huge chance today against Takanosho, but then they have only fought once before, with Hoshoryu winning. We can be almost certain that Hoshoryu will end up lower on the banzuke for November. His days kyujo were the primary driver of that. Today’s match is a complete toss up, and will possibly come down to who lands the first volley.

Takarafuji vs Ichinojo – Ichinojo has been struggling for most of Aki. He can fight really well when all of the elements come together, but he is unable to consistently bring them along. Part of this may be the strain of being that huge puts on every part of his body, it’s just beyond what can be sustained. I would suggest that he has a strong chance today against Takarafuji, as the Isegahama man’s defensive sumo really does not match well against someone the size of Ichinojo.

Mitakeumi vs Daieisho – A Mitakeumi win today would be kachi-koshi, and another banzuke at Sekiwake, which would make 17 – quite the mark! He has a fairly good average against Daieisho (10-7), and has been fighting better this September. I do like how Daieisho seems to have re-connected with the sumo that brought him the Emperor’s cup earlier this year. Maybe he can over come the odds today and put Mitakeumi on the clay.

Onosho vs Takakeisho – Tadpole fight! Yes indeed, we love it when things get froggy at the Kokugikan. Onosho does not have a winning record against Takakeisho (3-7), and may have a rough ride to a loss, but at least Onosho is already kachi-koshi.

Shodai vs Meisei – A Shodai win today is kachi-koshi for him, and I think he’s got a real strong case (6-1 career) against Meisei, who has lost the last 4 out of 6, and will likely end Aki with a losing record.

Takayasu vs Terunofuji – Its time to play that card, Takayasu somehow manages to have a 12-9 record against Terunofuji, but has been fighting so poorly this tournament, I don’t think it matters. Especially if you recogize that Takayasu’s 4-6 record includes on 2 wins on the clay (plus 2 fusensho). A good chance of Terunofuji hitting the Yokozuna kachi-koshi today.

Aki Day 10 Highlights

Act 2 is in the record books, and we managed to discard much of the chasers in their day 10 matches, leaving only Onosho and Myogiryu, with picked up their kachi-koshi scores today. On to act 3 tomorrow, with the focus squarely on the yusho race, and the make/kachi-koshi divide.

Kotonowaka withdrew from the Aki basho, reporting a knee injury in his day 9 match against Takarafuji is the cause. I note that his day 10 opponent, Takayasu, has his second fusensho win of this tournament, giving him a 4-6 score. Yep, of those 4 wins, 2 are default.

Highlight Matches

Kaisei defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto could not generate much forward pressure, and could not pull Kaisei off balance. Against Kaisei’s mass advantage, this was never going to work as size vs size, which is what it turned into. Kaisei advances to 4-6.

Yutakayama defeats Chiyomaru – A lesson in attacking armpits and center mass. Yutakayama was able to keep moving Chiyomaru up and back, and made short work of the the spheroid. Both end the day 6-4.

Chiyonoo defeats Tsurugisho – Another quick match, Chiyonoo gets both hands inside at the tachiai, and just walks Tsurugisho out. Both are 4-6.

Chiyotairyu defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki caught the full Chiyotairyu right in the chest at the tachiai, with Chiyotairyu immediately going into a rapid-fire combo straight to the chest. Another quick match, with Chiyotairyu picking up win number six, though it looks like he cut his eye.

Aoiyama defeats Tokushoryu – A balanced pushing and shoving contest, the two traded advantage across the ring. Of course Aoiyama grew bored with this and grabs the back of Tokushoryu and pulls him down. Aoiyama’s right hand looked to have a lot of hair contact in the process. But the judges did not move to review it, and Aoiyama improves to 5-5.

Hidenoumi defeats Chiyonokuni – I was surprised that Chiyonokuni worked to go chest to chest with Hidenoumi, who has a superior yotsu-zumo skill. Both fought well, with Hidenoumi controlling most of the match, and shutting down the 2 or 3 “breakout” moves Chiyonokuni attempted. To me it looked like Hidenoumi was hoping to get his right hand set for a throw, but settled for a yorikiri. Chiyonokuni misses out on kachi-koshi today, and Hidenoumi improves to 4-6.

Myogiryu defeats Okinoumi – Myogiryu’s right hand shallow grip at the tachiai was the key to today’s win. Okinoumi tried to break the grip twice, but by then he was at the tawara, and the match was over one step later. Myogiryu kachi-koshi with his 8th win.

Tochinoshin defeats Tobizaru – Tochinoshin doing oshi-zumo is somehow unsatisfying to me, I get that he needs to find wins now any way he can. He keeps Tobizaru from getting any kind of offense or really defense going, and simply slaps him around the dohyo for a time and tosses him at the west side salt basket. Both end 4-6.

Kotoeko defeats Terutsuyoshi – Kotoeko has a slightly longer reach than Terutsuyoshi, and that looks to have been the key to today’s win. They exchanged volleys of arm-distance thrusts, with Terutsuyoshi failing an attempt at a foot attack in the middle of it. Nice last second move by Terutsuyoshi, but Kotoeko improves to 4-6.

Onosho defeats Endo – Endo was looking for any kind of grip, but Onosho’s thrusting combos were rapid and effective, knocking Endo back again and again. When Endo tried to rally, it was too late to slow down or escape, giving Onosho his 8th win and kachi-koshi for September.

Chiyoshoma defeats Shimanoumi – Suddenly, Chiyoshoma bounces back and remembers his sumo. He had a solid performance against Shimanoumi today, dumping him over the edge with a resounding, meaty thud. That’s only the second win for Chiyoshoma who improves to 2-8.

Kiribayama defeats Hoshoryu – Kiribayama executed an immediate shift to the left, grabbing the back of Hoshoryu’s mawashi, and chucking him forward at speed. Brutal move. Kiribayama improves to 7-3.

Takarafuji defeats Takanosho – Takanosho put a lot of forward power into his second step from the tachiai, but his hips were not square to Takarafuji. Takarafuji sensed the unequal pressure, and stepped aside to let Takanosho tumble forward for the loss. Takarafuji improves to 6-4.

Ichinojo defeats Tamawashi – Today Ichinojo decided to be large and in charge. When he gets moving forward with strength, even Tamawashi can’t stop him, just slow him down. Ichinojo improves to 4-6.

Mitakeumi defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage gave it his all, but Mitakeumi had the first step one, connected well against center mass, and only took 3 steps forward to win. Almost denshamichi. Mitakeumi improves to 7-3.

Shodai defeats Daieisho – Daieisho decided to employ the same formula that worked on day 9 against Terunofuji. But Shodai has a lot more lateral motion in his sumo, and Daieisho depends on keeping his opponent directly in front of him. It only took 3 volleys for Shodai to disrupt his balance and send him to the clay. Shodai improves to 7-3.

Takakeisho defeats Meisei – Meisei had the early moments of this fight, connecting well with some big hits against the Ozeki. I was impressed to see Takakeisho focus on defense for the first 3 exchanges, find his route to center mass and blast the stuffing out of Meisei when the moment came. I hate to think of someone like Takakeisho fighting injured, but just maybe some good is coming of it, with a focus on defense. Takakeisho improves to 6-4.

Terunofuji defeats Ura – The WTF match lives up to expectations, with Ura throwing a bunch of unconventional sumo around the dohyo against Terunofuji’s unshakable defense. I gasped the moment Ura went for the ashitori, as I could just see a moment where Terunofuji’s knee gets blown out. But Ura could not get an effective offense running, and Terunofuji was happy to defend for as long as it took. Damn, what a difference from 2016 Terunofuji! They lock up, and exchange grips. I know Ura’s hand strength is insane, and I doubt Terunofuji is going to break that hold. As Terunofuji moves to execute the uwatenage. Ura’s grip holds strong, and he nearly unbalances Terunofuji by counter-rotation. But the Yokozuna does manage to get Ura to the clay, and improves to 9-1. Major effort from Ura, and that was a hell of a match, but he looked shattered when it was over.