Nagoya Day 7 Highlights

The middle weekend of any basho sometimes feels like a festival. Nobody is make-koshi yet, and everyone has a chance to slug it out for wins. Great day of sumo, ending with a bit of comedy. Let get it going!

Highlight Matches

Chiyonokuni defeats Kyokutaisei – Kyokutaisei’s start of the match: “Hey, lets get some sumo going…” Chiyonokuni’s start of the match: “I am going to take that head clean off first…” Kyokutaisei: “umm, left hand inside?” Chiyonokuni: “That head’s still on there, someone get a crowbar” Kyokutaisei: “hidariyotsu..?” Chiyonokuni: “Clearly you are an evil Juryo robot, and must be dispatched, I will come by later to take care of that head”. Chiyonokuni advances to 5-2.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Daiamami – I am sometimes surprised by matches where one rikishi takes early advantage, while the one forced to follow adopts the attack plan of the leader. Ichiyamamoto got a solid neck and face attack going early, and Daiamami tried to respond it kind, but that’s just not his brand of sumo. They went chest to chest, but there was no hope for Daiamami, who got a trip across the tawara for his troubles. Ichiyamamoto improves to 5-2.

Ura defeats Tsurugisho – The Ura Brand™ super low attack worked today, and he was underneath and in against Tsurugisho. From there, that inhuman grip strength latched on to Tsurugisho’s mawashi and Ura charged headlong for the east side. Tsurugisho did not have a prayer and went immediately out. Ura improves to 4-3.

Kagayaki defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu was slow off the shikiri-sen, and in this match that made all of the difference. Kagayaki connected a double arm thrust to Tokushoryu’s neck, and knocked any offense Tokushoryu may have had in mind completely out of the match. A quick grapple and move to the to tawara, and Tokushoryu was out. Kagayaki improves to 4-3.

Ishiura defeats Kaisei – Ishiura uses the best possible plan for him, quick into the tachiai, circle to the side and attack while Kaisei is still trying to get all of his massive body into the match. With Ishiura behind, he throttled up and ran the big Brazilian out for an okuridashi win, advancing to 4-3.

Chiyomaru defeats Terutsuyoshi – I don’t know what ails Terutsuyoshi, but it’s robbed the sumo world of one of the most dynamic rikishi we could count on for a great match. I do hope he can heal up and come back soon. Chiyomaru expertly contains and restrains him, and packages him for crating and shipment. Chiyomaru advances to 3-4.

Tamawashi defeats Chiyonoo – Tamawashi had all the mojo in this match, and was in the process of running Chiyonoo out of town when Chiyonoo tried a last moment hikiotoshi, and it may have worked. A monoii was called, but the gumbi was affirmed, giving Tamawashi his 5th win.

Shimanoumi defeats Tochinoshin – Shimanoumi wisely starts by attacking from his left, focusing power against Tochinoshin’s damaged knee. Points to Tochinoshin, he does look like he’s trying to fight it out now, and puts up a solid counter attack. But Shimanoumi is merciless against Tochinoshin’s weak side, even at one point trying a leg pick against that bandaged leg. Tochinoshin tries to spin up some uwate, but Shimanoumi reverses the flow and tosses Tochinoshin across the bales. Shimanoumi improves to 4-3.

Kotonowaka defeats Hidenoumi – Kotonowaka continues to excel. Readers know I am thrilled to see him finally comfortable enough in the top division for him to bring some of the sumo that got him here in the first place. Hidenoumi got morozashi at the start – Kotonowaka went deep and over Hidenoumi’s shoulders and pulled him down. Kotonowaka advances to 6-1, one win behind the leaders.

Kiribayama defeats Aoiyama – Kiribayama keeps himself too close to Aoiyama for Big Dan to fire up the V-Twin, and keeps his arms too tangled up for Aoiyama to set up any kind of grip. Kiribayama works a left hand inside hold, and eventually turns it into a throw to b ring Aoiyama down. Kiribayama improves to 5-2.

Chiyoshoma defeats Onosho – I am sad that Onosho is only 2-5, but his sumo mechanics need some tuning this July. But the big upside is it was another day of solid, technically sound sumo from Chiyoshoma. As one twitter commentator put it so well, “I like this new no-henka Chiyoshoma who does not act like a dick”. Chiyoshoma 2.0 improves to 4-3.

Hoshoryu defeats Takarafuji – I do like how Hoshoryu communicated, “Yeah, you are just going to lock me up and make me wait, so lets get straight to it” with the tachiai. Takarafuji stood up, caught him and went into defend and extend straight away. Then it was time for Hoshoryu to try him out, a bit of leg trip almost worked, but upset Takarafuji’s balance enough that Hoshoryu had something to work with. Hoshoryu set a foot inside and Takarafuji’s stance, and pushed through again, bringing Takarafuji down. Nice sumo from Hoshoryu, and excellent first match against Takarafuji for him. Hoshoryu improves to 5-2.

Okinoumi defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu just can’t seem to really push with any power at all. He grapples with Okinoumi directly out of the tachiai, but can’t find any power. Okinoumi tests him out for a moment before he drives him across the bales by yorikiri to improve to 4-3. Myogiryu down to 1-6, and can’t seem to find a win anywhere.

Hokutofuji defeats Chiyotairyu – The tachiai was disappointingly gentle, as I think both expected some kind of jack-assery to happen in the opening moments of the match. With Chiyotairyu’s primary attack avenue shut down, the whole match was a bit of slapping about concluding with a Hokutofuji applying a surprisingly tentative shove. Hokutofuji improves to 4-3.

Wakatakakage defeats Meisei – I watched this one about three times pausing on “good” frames. I really like Wakatakakage’s foot placement in this one. He’s got Meisei high, and he keeps his feet heavy. Meisei is usually better than this on defense, but I am going to chalk this up to Wakatakakage really having a solid match and some spot on technique today. Both men end the day at 3-4.

Mitakeumi defeats Daieisho – Daieisho gets his mega-thrust going, but when you are shaped like Mitakeumi is, that’s really just some kind of odd massage to him. Unable to topple to original tadpole and part time weebil, Mitakeumi starts backing away to let Daieisho over extend, which he is happy to do, and receives a greatly anticipated Daieisho to add to his 1 win misery. Mitakeumi improves to 5-2.

Takanosho defeats Takayasu – Takayasu comes in strong, but gets into trouble when Takanosho counter attacks, and Takayasu can’t maintain traction on the clay. With his feet flat, he gets pushed back to the bales, and is out of territory to defend. Takanosho uses this to full effect, and batters Takayasu off balance, sending him out. Both men end 3-4.

Terunofuji defeats Kotoeko – Terunofuji immediately contains Kotoeko, which seems to trigger Kotoeko’s “Check Engine” light. Terunofuji allows him to struggle for a moment before he carries him out and sends him to the nearest oyakata for the indicated maintence and inspection. Terunofuji improves to 7-0.

Ichinojo defeats Shodai – Can someone please go find Shodai’s Acme box of cartoon sumo? He’s not really an Ozeki without his secret stash of WTF moves, and this is starting to get pathetic. Maybe Yutakayama hid it from him, and he just has not figured out that its under the stairs. Ichinojo left hand outside, carry out service, 2 star review on yelp, that’s Shodai sorted.

Hakuho defeats Tobizaru – I am reminded of the first match between Takakeisho and “The Boss”, but it was less farcical than this number. Tobizaru clearly wanted no part of fighting Hakuho, and kept a ridiculous amount of distance in a Shonanzakura (formerly Hattorizakura) display of sumo timidity. Well, may as well link Herouth’s send up, with Tobizaru clearly playing the role of Tuco.

Haru Day 1 Highlights

I want to start today with something we have not seen in 8 months, a Yokozuna dohyo-iri.

Savor that one folks, I fear we won’t have too many more of them, and it’s grand and wonderful to see this grand ritual return to sumo for the first time since July of 2020. Of course, I know that we won’t see Hakuho retire tomorrow, and there is the open question of Kakuryu. But both of the top ranked men in Sumo are edging closer to retirement, and it could be some time once they leave active competition before we see another rikishi gain the rope.

The current Ozeki and the Ozeki hopeful have their fans, and rightfully so. However I watch them, and I don’t see Asashoryu, or Harumafuji, or even Kisenosato. I see solid Ozeki. That means that one of them will need to make a step change to evolve to another higher form. This might take a while, if it should ever happen. While I can see a post Hakuho era with a lot of strong Ozeki sumo, getting one of the current bunch to have back to back yusho may be a tall order just now.

What a glorious first day of sumo.

Highlight Matches

Daiamami defeats Tokushoryu – Interesting clash of opening gambits at the tachiai. Tokushoryu went for Daiamami’s face, and Daiamami kept his hands lower. This resulted in Tokushoryu getting a good combo in on Daiamami’s face, but when that ended, Daiamami was in control. With his power focused center-mass, Daiamami owned the rest of this match. An attempt at a last ditch defense at the tawara by Tokushoryu ended when his right foot skidded onto the janome. I really liked Daiamami’s focus and discipline today.

Hidenoumi defeats Kaisei – After coming back from COVID-Kyujo in January, it would seem that Kaisei has a fair amount of ring rust. Hidenoumi struggled quite a bit to capitalize on Kaisei’s poor balance and even worse footwork. There is just so much giant Brazilian to try to move. A final stumble as Kaisei tried to set up a rescue throw at the edge sent him tumbling from the dohyo, and I have to hope he did not injure himself with that one.

Yutakayama defeats Tsurugisho – Was looked like a fairly straightforward chest-to-chest battle took a worrisome turn as Tsurugisho’s knee appeared to give out and he tumbled down the dohyo. I know I gasped when I saw this, and Yutakayama’s body language could be read from Dallas – “Oh damn!” But Tsurugisho managed to get up, and seemed well enough.

Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – No henka from Chiyoshoma today, but there 14 days left for us to see the “Flying Mongolian”. Chiyoshoma looked to have tried a hit and shift, but ended off balance and vulnerable. Kotoeko read this perfectly, and with a right hand on Chiyoshoma’s face, applied a massive thrust that put into the salt box. Points to the Yobidashi who yanked the chikara-mizu bucket out of the way before Chiyoshoma ended up with a swirly as well.

Aoiyama defeats Terutsuyoshi – There are matches where I think Big-Dan Aoiyama is going through the motions. Then there is today, where this giant bag of muscle and mayonnaise can surprise you. He opened with a V-Twin thrusting attack, and when Terutsuyoshi circled left to set up his attack, Aoiyama used Terutsuyoshi’s body position to hurl him to the clay. Nice move.

Akiseyama defeats Kotoshoho – Akiseyama also really over-performed today. He took Kotoshoho to his chest, which I think Kotoshoho was not quite quite expecting. With a solid right hand inside grip, Akiseyama went for a yorikiri, but Kotoshoho found his footing and ramped up the forward pressure. Akiseyama deftly converted and took one measured step back, and Kotoshoho hit the clay.

Chiyotairyu defeats Ryuden – Chiyotairyu without sideburns is a bit unsettling, possibly to Ryuden as well. In the past we have discussed the possibility that some minor kami resides in them, so this basho he may be without that boost in power. Chiyotairyu kept the pressure on Ryuden’s face and shoulders from the tachiai, and Ryuden never really had a chance to set up much if any offense. But did Chiyotairyu steal Midorifuji’s katasukashi?

Midorifuji defeats Hoshoryu – It seems Midorifuji mounted the dohyo to find that his prize katasukashi was missing, and he needed to do something else. By all accounts, Hoshoryu was not paying attention today, as he launched. hard and fast into the tachiai expecting Midorifuji to try for a shoulder / under-arm hand placement. Instead the Isegahama power pixie had stepped to the side, and Hoshoryu got a face full of Kokugikan clay.

Chiyonokuni defeats Tobizaru – I had high hopes for this match, but a clumsy Tobizaru tachiai mostly made Chiyonokuni’s win a foregone conclusion. Better luck day 2!

Kagayaki defeats Kotonowaka – Yeah, I know I mentioned Kotonowaka as a candidate for a breakout basho in the podcast. Perhaps I have now doomed him? Goth mode Kagayaki, who may have been humming the chorus from “Bella Lugosi’s Dead”, kept his feet heavy and is hips low. In response, Kotonowaka had. Well, frankly, nothing.

Ichinojo defeats Tochinoshin – You can forgive Tochinoshin for thinking that he should start the match with the assumption that Ichinojo was going to use his brand of sumo. That is to be large, heaving and immobile (aka “The Boulder”). Instead, Ichinojo was on the move from the first step, and came in aggressive and strong. Once Tochinoshin was off balance and mostly relying on his damaged right knee, he was an easy mark for Ichinojo’s throw.

Okinoumi defeats Tamawashi – This match was unique, in that the outcome stumped the unflappable Konosuke, who had his eyes on the moment when both men stepped out, and came away with the expression of “hell if I know…” has he pointed both east and west with his gumbai, tossing it to the shipman and the replay crew. The replay was equally as baffling as you can see two high-skill vets undertake the most amazing series of footsteps each defying physics and human body mechanics to keep their feet inside the ring. At the end, it seems that the replay crew concurred and flipped a coin, giving the win to Okinoumi. On the NHK replay, I saw the fine sand from the janome fly about thanks to Okinoumi’s heel. But I am sure the replay crew had access to more cameras (in 4K!) than I do. Kimarite was listed as isamiashi, or a non-winning technique of “Inadvertent step out”.

Myogiryu defeats Endo – Well, better luck day 2 Endo. There was a solid clash at the tachiai, and Endo either bounced away off balance, or tried to hit and shift. Either way, Myogiryu was ready for it, delivering a fast win for his shonichi.

Shimanoumi defeats Kiribayama – Shimanoumi’s first every win over Kiribayama. He had his hands inside and lower at the tachiai, and it was straight into an armpit attack that disrupted whatever Kiribayama had planned. Kiribayama finally was able to break Shimanoumi’s attack, but by that point Kiribayama was too high. Shimanoumi dropped his hips, dropped his head, squared his shoulders and drove forward. Nothing Kiribayama tried could do any better than stalemate until Shimanoumi’s finishing drive took them both out.

Meisei defeats Takayasu – Takayasu had this won at least twice, but Meisei’s higher mobility shut down Takayasu’s attempts to drive him from the ring. Takayasu had really sharp foot placement today, its a shame that he let Meisei hook a leg in when Takayasu drove forward to finish the match. Nice recovery into a kakenage for Meisei.

Takanosho defeats Wakatakakage – It seems that these two watched the Okinoumi / Tamawashi, and declared “hold my beer”. I am not sure I have ever seen more elaborate efforts to keep your feet in while your opponent is off balance from two rikishi. Once again the result was “hell if I know”, but this time it was declared a torinaoshi, and they fought again. The second match – Takanosho kept his focus and power on center mass, and quickly drove Wakatakakage from the ring.

Terunofuji defeats Hokutofuji – My compliments to Hokutofuji for a well fought match. He used the handshake-tachiai into a right hand nodowa. With his left hand on Terunofuji’s chest, he dialed up the pressure and began to advance. The risk of this attack strategy is that the attacker’s body is wide open. Terunofuji found easy handholds and collapsed the nodowa by taking Hokutofuji to his chest. In response, Hokutofuji shifted to defense smoothly, dropping his hips and pressing forward with his shoulders. But Terunofuji’s left hand found a mawashi grip, and moments later the Kaiju’s powerful shitatenage sent Hokutofuji tumbling. Nine more to go.

Takakeisho defeats Onosho – I really like both of these rikishi, but Takakeisho looked strong and healthy today, and I was happy to see him in good form. Onosho made contact first, but his hands were just an couple of inches too high. Takakeisho had an open route to center mass, and his feet were in excellent position. Realzing he was 2 steps from defeat, Onosho tried to pull and twist against Takakeisho’s head. But with his balance centered, his hips low and his feet heavy and wide, the pull failed, giving Takakeisho his first of 8 wins to secure his Ozeki rank.

Asanoyama defeats Takarafuji – Asanoyama got his preferred stance and grip at the tachiai, and Takarafuji found himself face first in the clay one step later.

Mitakeumi defeats Shodai – I had high hopes for this match, and it did deliver. Shodai was high at the tachiai, and his feet were in poor position. While Shodai tried to sort out his body, Mitakeumi went for the chest and began his attack. Shodai quickly set up a left hand outside mawashi grip, shutting down Mitakeumi’s chances for a quick win. Mitakeumi broke Shodai’s grip, and re-took command and bodily threw Shodai over the edge of the dohyo before the Ozeki could unleash any of his trademark cartoon sumo.

Hakuho defeats Daieisho – After sitting out for several months, I am expecting a lot of ring rust on Hakuho. He looked a bit shaky in his first competition match since July, and he let Daieisho set up a throw in the face of Hakuho’s overwhelming forward advance. But The Boss made sure that Hatsu yusho winner Daieisho went out first, and picked up his first win for March.

Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

With a thunderous kyujo, act 2 comes to a close. I do mean Takakeisho, yes. While he has had poor performance from the start, he was was the center of attention in the days before the basho, as he had taken the cup in November and had an opportunity to make a bid to be promoted to Yokozuna. It seems at some point early in the tournament he injured his ankle, but frankly I think there may be more than that. He has looked unwell since the joint practice in the basement of the Kokugikan. I hope that he can get his body together a bit later this year and try again.

In the rikishi still active, there was no change at the top of the leader board as both Daieisho and Shodai won their matches today, and remain #1 and #2 respectively. This only gets interesting if someone can drop Daieisho at least once during act 3, which starts tomorrow. Personally I like the chances of another loss (at least 40%) due to the mental pressure of considering the yusho may cause some loss of focus during the daily bout. The chance is high we won’t know who will take the cup until day 15, and that is how it should be.

Highlight Matches

Azumaryu defeats Akiseyama – Akiseyama has now lost 4 in a row, and is on a genuine cold streak. He had been tied for the lead at one time, and is now struggling. Is it a cold streak, or did he pick up an injury? Either way, Azumaryu picks up a much needed win to improve to 3-7.

Hoshoryu defeats Kotonowaka – Ok, Hoshoryu seems to have found his sumo for real! He beats Kotonowaka for the first time in 4 attempts by slamming him to the clay after a leg trip attempt. He has won the last 5 in a row after losing the first 5 from opening day.

Ichinojo defeats Midorifuji – You have to admire Midorifuji’s courage, he has to have seen Kiribayama’s day 9 attempt to grapple Ichinojo, and he somehow said to himself, “I am going to try that too!”. Well, it was just as pointless as once you get a hold of Ichinojo, he gets a hold of you, and you realize you have no way to let go. So you try to bide your time, but Ichinojo is quite comfortable and possibly napping. You then realize that you are simply going to have to make it look good. Ichinojo advances to 7-3 to remain at the edge of the group chasing Daieisho.

Sadanoumi defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama had the early advantage, and fired up his thrusting attack. Sadanoumi took the punishment and got inside and them got Aoiyama moving back. I notice that Sadanoumi’s leg was not as heavily wrapped today as it had been in earlier matches. Maybe that gave him some of his speed and mobility back. Both end the day 5-5.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Myogiryu – Well, they traded push back mattas, and it was clear they were annoyed with each other. When they got underway on the 3rd attempt, Myogiryu attempted a double hand slap down, but could not make it stick. Myogiryu found himself without any defensive elements to the match, and Terutsuyoshi blasted him out to improve to 4-6.

Akua defeats Tokushoryu – Sharing is caring, they say, and today Akua gave Tokushoryu the gift of make-koshi, which he received on day 9 from Tobizaru. This was another extended chest to chest match, though nothing on the scale of Ichinojo’s long duration endurance challenge. I did not like the way Tokushoryu’s left knee / leg collapsed at the end. I hope he is not injured. Both end the day at 2-8.

Meisei defeats Kiribayama – It was a battle of the slap / pull down attempts, and while it was not pretty, it all worked out for Meisei. Meisei tried one first, giving the advantage to Kiribayama who responded moments later and that loss of forward pressure was all Meisei needed. Why do these guys try to respond to a dumb move with their own version of the dumb move? I see it far too much in sumo. Meisei improves to 7-3 and stays 2 behind Daieisho.

Kotoeko defeats Tobizaru – Another day with a flying hands of fury match involving Kotoeko. He has the right partner for that activity in Tobizaru, and they two went at it like a pair of tabbies jacked up on catnip. Sometimes I do love a good “kitchen sink” match, and this was pretty close to that, with Kotoeko ultimately giving Tobizaru a powerful shove over the bales for the win. Both end the day 4-6.

Ryuden defeats Yutakayama – Ryuden did a fantastic job of robbing Yutakayama of his offensive tools. He locked him up early and drove him back and out within 5 steps, leaving Yutakayama no room to maneuver, and no room to push back. Ryuden has won 3 of is last 4 and improves to 4-6.

Kagayaki defeats Shimanoumi – Possibly the best sumo from Kagayaki so far this tournament. He stayed low, kept his stance wide, kept his feet heavy and his shoulder square. Shimanoumi battled back well, but once Kagayaki gets into this mode, he’s quite powerful. Kagayaki improves to 5-5.

Takarafuji defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho continues his relentless drive toward a 0-15 result, which is slightly easier to obtain than a zensho result. Its heart breaking, as the guy really has some excellent sumo. Kotoshoho came close today when Takarafuji fell out of the ring with Kotoshoho, but it was clear that Takarafuji’s hand touched down after Kotoshoho’s foot it the janome. Takarafuji improves to 6-4.

Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with (once again) The Most Powerful Make-Koshi in Sumo! Hokutofuji had a couple of good hits, but this was all Daieisho, and he improves to 9-1 and maintains sole possession of the lead.

Takayasu defeats Tochinoshin – Takayasu had some great hand placement, catching Tochinoshin under the armpits with a meaty shove that ruined his balance and left him wide open to be attacked and moved out. Takayasu improves to 6-4.

Mitakeumi defeats Onosho – Ok, maybe Mitakeumi has his act together now. He takes down fellow tadpole Onosho and knocks him out of the group 2 losses behind Daieisho. Mitakeumi guessed that Onosho would bring his center of balance as far forward as he could, and timed his release of pressure and pull down superbly. He improves to 5-5.

Takanosho defeats Terunofuji – I am gobsmacked by this one. On what planet was Takanosho the winner. Oh well, anyone surprised that Terunofuji got the short end of another monoii? I sure am not. Takanosho’s gymnastics to stay airborne as they both went out were spectacular. Both end the day 6-4.

Asanoyama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi opened with a powerful combo, which Asanoyama absorbed well, got his hands around Tamawashi and took control of the match. He improves to 7-3 to remain 2 behind Daiesho.

Shodai defeats Endo – Endo is a master tactician, and had a great formula for today’s match against Shodai. He had the Ozeki off balance and dancing around to maintain footing, and then the cartoon sumo kicked in. Shodai’s in the middle of being thrown, and suddenly he pivots and its Endo thats off balance. Shodai continues the rotation and they both crash over the bales. The gumbai goes to Shodai, and I am left wondering what I just saw. Of course there was a monoii, as they all say in unison “What the hell was that?” But no, the cartoon sumo worked once again, and Endo lands first, and it’s kachi-koshi for Shodai.

Tokyo November Day 10 Highlights

Today could be “What the hell was that?” day. The odd happenings and strange sumo occurrences were on display. Zero velocity tachiai, matta-tachiai, thrusting battles that turned into endurance matches, this day was full of the unexpected.

The 2020 magic continues: at the end of day 10 you have both the first and last man on the banzuke tied for the yusho race at the end of act 2. Act 2 is where we narrow the field to find out who has what it takes to compete for the yusho, and to start sorting the survivors from the damned. If we see yet another yusho from the last slot on the banzuke, well I am going to suggest the Kokugikan be checked for mischievous gnomes or perhaps a toll living in the cavity under the dohyo. You want further evidience of some kind of yokai at work? How about the six way tie for the lead in Juryo.

Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Midorifuji – Chiyoshoma drives ahead at the tachiai, standing Midorifuji up. Chiyoshoma then pulls him down with great effect. At 6-4, I think Chiyoshoma has a pretty good chance of making his 8, and staying in the top division for January.

Shimanoumi defeats Chiyonokuni – This match was a great idea on paper. With the chance being that Chiyonokuni might slow down the “last man” magic. Chiyonokuni had a strong open, but nothing is stopping Shimanoumi right now. He gets an armpit lift / hold on Chiyonokuni and drives him out of the ring. Shimanoumi 9-1.

Kotonowaka defeats Akua – Akua had a solid tachiai, but Kotonowaka was largely unmoved. He reached inside with both hands and took command of the match, marching Akua over the bales, improving to 6-4.

Hoshoryu defeats Sadanoumi – Excellent sumo mechanics today from Hoshoryu, and with Sadanoumi lack of usable knee joints, Hoshoryu made it a short match. That’s loss number 8 for Sadanoumi, and he is make-koshi for November. He’s not going to have much in terms of sumo without repair to those legs.

Enho defeats Chiyotairyu – We go from low velocity Chiyotairyu tachiai to ZERO velocity tachiai! Both men just stood up, expecting some kind of trickery at the start of the match. Even the gyoji was surprised. A couple of tentative probing attacks back and forth, and Enho grabs and pulls, swinging Chiyotairyu to the clay. Odd but wonderful too. Enho improves to 2-8.

Meisei defeats Tokushoryu – Meisei completely dominated this match. I am not sure if Meisei somehow tripped the “power off” button on Tokushoryu with that deep left hand, but Tokushoryu rapidly went from competitor to ballast in the space of about one step. Both end the day at 5-5.

Kaisei defeats Aoiyama – Around a quarter ton of sumo action today. A weird matta tachiai, and we once again wonder what the hell was that? Neither of them were really dialed into any kind of high energy attack plan, so they went through the motions and finished quickly. Kaisei improves to 5-5.

Yutakayama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi gets a left frontal grip at the tachiai, but can’t do anything with it, and the two stalemate in the center of the dohyo, with Yutakayama leaning over Terutsuyoshi to get a hold of his mawashi knot. After a fair amount of leaning, Terutsuyoshi tries to rally, but finds himself overpowered by Yutakayama, and quickly on the clay. Terutsuyoshi gets his 8th loss and is make-koshi for November.

Ichinojo defeats Tochinoshin – Today the “good” Ichinojo showed up and won. He left Tochinoshin no route to use any kind of offensive sumo, and completely dominated this match. You have to wonder if this version of the Boulder only shows up when he’s about to get a make-koshi. He improves to 3-7.

Kotoeko defeats Endo – Endo had the better sumo mechanics, and should have won this match if it were just down to style. But Kotoeko did not fret too much when Endo got his preferred left hand grip at the tachiai. He worked that left arm into a arm-bar hold and used that to beat Endo. Solid sumo tactics from Kotoeko today, and he improves to 6-4.

Ryuden defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi falls to the power of Ryuden’s butt, which has added some kind of shimmy before he goes into the starting crouch. I would ridicule it more, but it seems to be working. Tamawashi opened strong, but the power of the shiri-zumo was strong again today, and it rallied to move Tamawashi back and out to deliver Ryuden’s 8th win, and a kachi-koshi for Butt-vember.

Hokutofuji defeats Takarafuji – A magical display of “defend and extend” sumo today from the master craftsman, Takarafuji. Hokutofuji was throwing in combos left and right against Takarafuji, and each of them landed. But only with partial effect. After expending his energy with his attacks, Hokutofuji is left a bit winded. At that moment Takarafuji attacks, with great effect. Hokutofuji can’t defend and moves back again and again. Spent, he goes to Takarafuji’s chest and leans in. Eventually Takarafuji has had enough, and works to end the match, but can’t quite manage to defeat Hokutofuji’s lower body. Takarafuji sets up a throw, but in spending his last watt of energy, Hokutofuji manages to resist just enough to land last. What a match! Monoii? Rematch? What the hell was that? Somehow these two found the stamina to do it all over again. The second match is a brilliant continuation of the first in style and execution. But Hokutofuji manages to overcome Takarafuji’s defensive sumo, and pushes Josh’s favored contestant over the tawara for the win. Hokutofuji improves to 6-4.

Daieisho defeats Okinoumi – Daieisho seems to be dialed into his sumo now, and today is a great example. He was strong and straight forward at the tachiai, with maxiumum force directly into Okinoumi’s chest. It was over in a moment, improving Daieisho’s score to 7-3.

Kagayaki defeats Kiribayama – Also finally showing good form is Kagayaki. He was low, strong and moving forward today, with a dash of gaburi-yori for garnish. Sadly it looks like Kiribayama may be headed for a double digit make-koshi. Kagayaki now 4-6.

Onosho defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage did not have much in this match, but he was able to force it into a yotsu battle when he connected to Onosho’s mawashi in the tachiai, and refused to give up his left hand grip. Onosho struggled some with the format, but no longer in danger of being off balance and on the move at the same time, he settled into just working to get Wakatakakage under control. Wakatakakage made his move about 30 seconds into the match, but could not finish the bulkier Onosho, who rallied and drove forward for the win. Onosho improves to 4-6 after a cold 0-4 start.

Terunofuji defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru could not quite make it 2 in a row. He went for a deep grip, and held on to Terunofuji’s mawashi with everything he could muster. The kaiju thanked him for his offer, lifted him high and took him to the curb like a basket of green glass on Tuesday morning in Sumida. Terunofuji kachi-koshi for November, and still very much in the yusho hunt. Could we have Terunofuji – Shimanoumi soon, please?

Kotoshoho defeats Mitakeumi – What the hell was that, Mitakeumi? Kotoshoho improves to 6-4.

Takanosho defeats Takayasu – Takayasu goes for “wild man strength” at the tachiai, and it completely fails. His body is too high, he is off balance and now he has Takanosho’s counter attack to absorb. Takanosho was low, compact and focused his energy center-mass. Takanosho’s efficiency was high today, few wasted movements, and all power devoted to moving forward and pushing Takayasu out of the way. A textbook example of why Takayasu’s current sumo style is prone to him losing matches that, on paper, he should dominate.

Takakeisho defeats Myogiryu – There was a moment of hesitation from Myogiryu at the start of the match, and I am confident that is what cost him a competitive chance at a win today. His moment left Takakeisho in control, and with the forward momentum. The lone surviving Ozeki improves to 9-1.