Both top gyoji took to the clay today, as the action amplified on the penultimate day of the Aki basho. Both Kimura Tamajiro and Shikimori Inosuke got Kokugikan clay on their ornate robes as they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hopefully neither one was hurt.
We also saw what I would happily call the most polite ashitori in all of sumo from none other than Ura. No matter what you think of his sumo, he seems to always be a super nice guy in almost every facet of his life. Its what really highlighted him in his first rise up the ranks. Yes his sumo was creative and many times a lot of fun to watch, but he has always shown good character, and nice manners.
As expected, a lot of rikishi ended the day 7-7, fueling a big crop of Darwin matches for day 15, to compliment the last match of the day, which should decide the yusho.
Tokushoryu defeats Kotoeko – Tokushoryu is able to execute his “stand you up – slap you down” combo with great effect, ending Kotoeko’s 5 match winning streak, and relegating Kotoeko to a day 15 Darwin match. Tokushoryu improves to 4-10.
Chiyonokuni defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama like Tokushoryu’s win so much, he decided to try it himself. He grabbed Chiyonokuni’s face, and pulled down. Sadly for him, he did not have an effective grip on anything and pulled hard enough he touched the clay. Kimarite is listed as tsukite, or hand touch down (non winning technique). This mechanical failure sends Aoiyama to 7-7 and a Darwin match against Kotoeko, while Chiyonokuni improves to 9-5.
Tobizaru defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto was clearly on offense this match, and Tobizaru puzzlingly seemed content to just absorb whatever long-arm thrusting and hitting Ichiyamamoto wanted to try out. This nonsense continued until they started pulling each other, resulting in a helter-skelter tumble of off balance rikishi. Ichiyamamoto hits first, and the win goes to Tobizaru, who improves to 6-8.
Shimanoumi defeats Tsurugisho – Shimanoumi left hand mawashi grip was the deciding element in this match. He used to to get Tsurugisho on the move, and then swing him out. Tsurugisho’s sumo has been very soft since his cellulitis kyujo earlier in the basho, and it’s a real shame. Shimanoumi improves to 7-7, and gets to visit Mr. Darwin on day 15.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Chiyonoo – I really liked Terutsuyoshi’s “clockwork” kakenage. Chiyonoo got a grip early, and Terutsuyoshi carefully set his hands as the two were chest to chest. Then came the slow motion, tick-tock style throw, one little stop at a time. Terutsuyoshi improves to 5-9.
Ura defeats Kaisei – Ura had a good match plan, every breath, take a step to the side, to keep Kaisei turning. This preventing Kaisei from settling into a defense and allowed Ura to continue probing attacks. A matter of fact leg pick and walk gave us possibly the most polite ashitori ever seen in sumo. Ura improves to 6-8.
Chiyoshoma defeats Hidenoumi – At the tachiai, both go for a left hand inside position, with Chiyoshoma lower, and looking primed to control the match. Chiyoshoma executes a series of test moves, none of which find any opening in Hidenoumi’s strong defenses. A grip shift, and Chiyoshoma is set for a throw, that takes Hidenoumi to the clay, sending him to his 8th loss, and make-koshi. Chiyoshoma improves to 4-10.
Takarafuji defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki gets a hazu-oshi (armpit attack) going immediately in the tachiai, and it moves Takarafuji back. Finding himself on the cusp of his 8th loss, Takarafuji executes a pivoting tsukiotoshi at the bales, sending Kagayaki to make-koshi, and improving Takarafuji to 7-7 and headed to a day 15 Darwin match.
Chiyomaru defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi opens strong, and gets Chiyomaru into defense mode, and moving to the rear. But Chiyomaru manages to break contact, and sets up his favorite pull, a blistering hikiotoshi that drops Tamawashi to the clay. Chiyomaru picks up his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi for September.
Daieisho defeats Yutakayama – Daieisho is low and strong at the tachiai, and applies maximum force at center mass. In spite of Yutakayama’s fairly good defense, he can’t hold ground against Daieisho’s attack. Daieisho improves to 9-5 and Yutakayama goes to 7-7 to join the group eligible for Darwin matches on senshuraku.
Kiribayama defeats Tochinoshin – Kiribayama finally gets that 8th win, that has evaded him for the last 3 days. Kiribayama starts with a left hand inside, and puts Tochinoshin into an unworkable position. But they stalemate chest to chest. Both attempt a grip change, and Kiribayama gets both hands inside. He’s unable to really lift Tochinoshin, so he resorts to a leg trip, and topples Tochinoshin into the tawara. Tochinoshin ends the day 7-7 and joins the Darwin group, Kiribayama improves to 8-6 and is kachi-koshi.
Hoshoryu defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu supplied all of the attack power today, with Hoshoryu being uncharacteristically defensive. Chiyotairyu had Hoshoryu moving back, and moved to finish him, but a last moment move at the bales sent both men tumbling, with Chiyotairyu hitting first. They listed to kimarite as tottari, and it added Chiyotairyu to the Darwin group, and improved Hoshoryu to 5-9.
Wakatakakage defeats Takanosho – Takanosho opened on offense, with Wakatakakage unable to really set his feet to defend, or find a route to counter attack. He instead gave a bit more ground than he needed, opening a gap that allowed him to execute a hatakikomi at the moment Takanosho rushed to close the distance. Wakatakakage picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi. Takanosho heads to join Darwin.
Ichinojo defeats Endo – Even a high-skill rikishi like Endo is bound to struggle with Ichinojo when he is genki, focused and has a goal. Endo’s early grip attempt misses completely, but he does get a hand inside. Ichinojo switches direction twice in two steps, completely unbalancing Endo and opening the thrust down, which lands like thunder and sends Endo to the clay. Ichinojo picks up his 8th win, and is kachi-koshi. Endo gives up the chase of yusho leader Terunofuji, dropping to 2 wins behind.
Okinoumi defeats Mitakeumi – When Okinoumi is genki, he can really wreck just about anyone on the right day. Today it is Mitakeumi’s turn, who finds himself captured and chest to chest yet again, and unable to really do much other than struggle in place. After a brief dance to get Mitakeumi in a good position, Okinoumi rolls him to the clay, sending gyoji Kimura Tamajiro scrambling. Okinoumi improves to 10-4, his best score in 2 years, which was an Aki basho where he was also ranked M8E. It must be his luck spot.
Meisei defeats Onosho – If you want to drop Onosho in a hurry, that’s the way to do it. As the junior tadpole lunged forward, Meisei managed to get both hands behind his neck and slap him down. Onosho never had a chance to get started, giving Meisei his 7th win. Sadly no Darwin match for him on day 15. Onosho drops out of the group 1 behind Terunofuji.
Myogiryu defeats Shodai – This match is exactly why readers here think I hate Shodai. This was total crap sumo from him, and Myogiryu knew exactly how to exploit his sumo malfunctions to make him a an accessory in this match. Rapid frontal grip, lift and heave him back and out. Myogiryu improves to 11-3, remaining one behind leader Terunofuji.
Terunofuji defeats Takakeisho – I used to describe Takakeisho as a bowling ball with legs. It warms my heart to see Terunofuji put that moniker in motion as he rolls Takakeisho to his 6th loss. Takakeisho gets a few good thrusts in, and then to my surprise, initiates the chest to chest belt battle. I thought Terunofuji was a bit surprised as well, and it almost gave Takakeisho a big offensive opening. But Terunofuji’s Yokozuna hallmark is to capture, control and wait. It pays off yet again when he sets up the uwatenage, and takes out not only the Ozeki, but tate gyoji Inosuke. Sadly there is no bonus kensho for such a result. Terunofuji improves to 12-2 and remains the sole leader for the Emperor’s cup.