Five Interesting Matches on Day 9


 

The midway point has come and gone, and we are now beginning to get a better sense of where the chips will fall in Fukuoka. As the journey to Senshuraku begins, here are five matches to keep an eye on for day 9.

Homarefuji vs. Daiamami

Juryo mainstay Homarefuji will be making his second appearance on the NHK broadcast tomorrow when he takes on old rival Daiamami. His first bit of screen time came on day 1 in a loss to Myogiryu, and he will be looking for a better result when he takes to the Dohyo tomorrow. With only two wins, Daiamami is at serious risk of rejoining Homarefuji in Juryo by the New Year Tournament, which may not be a bad thing as he is not yet ready for the top division. Their series sits at 2-1 in favour of Homarefuji.

Okinoumi vs. Kotoyuki

Okinoumi has been one of this basho’s biggest surprises, and currently shares second place in the yusho race with Ichinojo and Arawashi. As Bruce has mentioned before, Okinoumi suffers from a chronic injury that affects his sumo when it flares up. Based on his recent success, it appears he is pain-free and fighting at full capacity and shouldn’t have much trouble dealing with Kotoyuki on day 9. Okinoumi leads thier personal series 8-1.  Although I’d like to see Okinoumi put these helth issues behind him, as he has a lot of potential for greatness, I’m not getting my hopes up anytime soon.

Asanoyama vs. Nishikigi

Day 8 marked the return of the Asanoyama whose big smile stole our hearts in September. Will this same Asanoyama show up tomorrow, is another question. Mr. Happy got a commanding victory over Takekaze today, but he will have to give it his all on day 9 when he faces the far more desperate Nishikigi, who still needs three more wins to stay in Makuuchi. While many are wondering what has happened to Asanoyama, I don’t exactly view this string of losses as a bad thing. After all, to learn how to win you have to learn how to lose.

Ichinojo vs. Daishomaru

Wait, that’s no boulder! That’s a Kaiju egg, and it’s starting to hatch!! Ichinojo continues to decimate his competition this basho, and picked up his fourth career kinboshi in an impressive victory over Yokozuna Kisenosato today. Tomorrow the competition level drops significantly for the big man when he takes on the struggling Daishomaru. Like Asanoyama, Daishomaru has not lived up to his Aki performance and has managed to scrape together just two wins. One has to wonder if Daishomaru has what it takes to move the massive Ichinojo over the tawara when they meet on day 9. These two have met three times before, with Ichinojo taking their last two bouts. Ichinojo is really growing on me this basho, and I’m eagerly awaiting his matches with the rest of the joi.

Onosho vs. Takakaisho

This is one matchup many of us have been looking forward to this basho. Onosho versus Takakaisho: best friend versus best friend! Despite this anticipation, both men could not be trending in more opposite directions since their joint interview on the NHK preview. While Takakeisho has conquered two yokozuna and has a 6-2 record, Onosho is just two losses away from his first top division make-koshi. Will Takakaisho push his brother-in-arms one step closer to a losing record, or will facing his best friend re-ignite Onosho’s fighting spirit? Either way, this has potential to be the match of the day.

Day 3 – Katasukashi Galore


Elephant Crosses Dohyo
What Yokozuna Incident?

So… let’s start with a couple of Juryo bouts. First, if there are any Ishiura fans out there, take a look:

Finally, Ishiura gets a win, against the hapless Homarefuji. He plants his head and keeps his feet in order, and manages to take the Isegahama man out. Of course, this black star is probably the last worry on Isegahama Oyakata’s mind this day. But they keep piling on.

Now take a look at Yutakayama vs. Tokushoryu:

A couple of days ago I said that there’s a level of difference between Yutakayama and Asanoyama. But as it turns out, the larger man is already in possession of three wins, while Asanoyama is not doing as well.

Up into Makuuchi we go, and Daiamami gets his first win today! Admittedly, Kyokushuho is just a Juryo rival, but any white star is a gold star at this point for the newcomer. It starts with a matta, but in the second round, Daiamami just cannons into Kyokushuho and gaburi’s him out. The fans enjoy his interview face:

Kotoyuki also grabbed his first win today, in a bit of a confused battle. Myogiryu throws Kotoyuki down, but falls a split second before the huge meatball. Air resistance?

Up we go to take a look at everybody’s favorite uncle. Whatever is happening around him in his heya, and the fact that he is going to do his dohyo-iri in his own kesho-mawashi from now on, do not seem to affect him. Nishikigi tried to do the smart thing – to press the kneeless man against the tawara. But Aminishiki just tiptoed aside like a ballerina, and handed Nishikigi the first Katasukashi of the day.

Aminishiki’s comment on the Isegahama website: “The heya has met with a serious situation, but the remaining rikishi must do their best. As the eldest I will strive to lead everybody forward”.

Takekaze seems to be headed to Juryo (if he doesn’t decide to retire). Okinoumi exchanges some thrusts with him until he gets a nice hold of his neck and ends it with a hatakikomi (if anybody can explain to me why this is not a tokkurinage… sigh).

The Asanoyama vs. Kagayaki bout was different than I expected. I’m used to seeing Kagayaki flailing wildly with his arms and his… additional appendages… This time he basically got his hands on Asanoyama’s body and managed to beat the Yotsu man at his own game.

Daiesho gets a first win today as well, when, after some attempts to slap and defend on Ikioi‘s side, he finally sidesteps and lets the big man hit the clay.

Endo decides to use thrusts vs. Shodai, and doesn’t make any use of his tachiai advantage. Shodai withstands the tsuppari attack, and manages to get a grip on Endo’s upper body. That’s the end for the recovering man in the golden mawashi, as Shodai has more than enough power to get him out even without a mawashi grip.

Not much can be said about the battle of the Marus. Again, Chiyomaru seems to have come to the dohyo without his usual genki. Daishomaru easily pushes him out.

Arawashi takes Tochinoshin to the bales and executes a beautiful sukui-nage. As Tochinoshin tries to resist the fall, Arawashi uses his right leg against Tochinoshin’s left and “helps” him complete the roll. Very nice!

Takarafuji earns his first win today vs. Chiyoshoma. It was Chiyoshoma’s initial initiative, but Takarafuji rallied, didn’t let Chiyoshoma get any grip on him for a throw (come on, Chiyoshoma, don’t try neck grips with Takarafuji, those are futile!) – and then throws the thrower in a nice uwatenage.

The second Katasukashi of the day came from Ichinojo. But this one was rather weird. Hokutofuji came at him low at the tachiai, and Ichinojo grabbed him under his arms, and then just let him drop. Not sure if slippiotoshi or sloppy tachiai on Hokutofuji’s part.

Chiyonokuni‘s match with Shohozan was less of a slapfest than I thought it would be, and ended pretty quickly with the Kokonoe man slapping his opponent down. All-important first win for Chiyonokuni.

Kotoshogiku nearly succeeds in his game plan today, and starts pumping his hips. However, Mitakeumi makes sure to be loose on one side, and concentrates his power on his grip on the pump-man’s arm for a well-executed sukuinage. Still bothered by his toe, but as long as he can execute throws like that, I’m sure the sekiwake is happy. Kotoshogiku is not getting the comeback he was hoping for, now 0-3.

Terunofuji‘s ghost continues to float over the dohyo without ever being able to latch its feet to it. Yet another loss for the former kaiju, this time against Yoshikaze who picks up his first win.

I wonder when Onosho is going to switch back to his fiery red mawashi. Rikishi are usually quick to blame their mawashi for their troubles, and the tadpole clearly suffers some bad lack, with his second slippiotoshi in a row against Takayasu. Unlike yesterday, when the Yokozuna really could take no credit for anything in the bout, Takayasu can be commended for managing to keep his footing first against a sidestep and then when pushed to the tawara. Excellent footwork from someone who tore a major leg muscle less than two months ago.

Goeido diversifies. In the two previous matches he hugged his opponent and swept him all the way to the other edge. Today he heard it was Katasukashi day, so he showed Tochiozan that he has waza as well as brute force.

If anybody hoped for another pedagogic bout between Hakuho and Takakeisho, this was not to be. Takakeisho exhibited welcome fearlessness in this bout, and even attempted to throw the dai-yokozuna. And if he had managed to do that I would really be worried that we’re seeing the decline of the One True King. But of course, Hakuho maintained his footing, got his other arm on Takakeisho and quickly swept him off the dohyo.

Finally, in the musubi of the day, Kisenosato manages to overwhelm Chiyotairyu in a way that he can feel happier about than yesterday’s silly bout vs. Onosho. He almost dances back to his position on the east to take his prize money.


Some more lower-ranks action:

Osunaarashi – Takagenji:

For followers of Shunba: