It’s Day 11 already and things are starting to get real interesting. Currently we have an undefeated yokozuna and ozeki, a Brizilian with just a single loss, and 2 hungry Japanese ozeki with 2 losses a piece. Today the highlight bout of the day is obviously the undefeated Harumafuji taking on the twice defeated Kisenosato. A Harumafuji win will kill off any hope Kisenosato has of a suprise yusho! Kaisei will take on Goeido to keep in the game, and Hakuho will entertain the Kotooshu, who in fairness has impressed many this tournament. Kyokutenho, the reigning championion, is still searching for his first win after losing a surprising 10 in a row.
E-M11 Tamawashi (2-8) vs. W-M12 Takanoyama (3-7)
Takanoyama quickly henka-ed to the left, grabbing and pulling on Tamaasuka’s arm and setting himself up for a simple oshidashi victory. He puts off his inevitable makekoshi for another day.
E-M16 Ikioi (6-4) vs. W-M10 Takarafuji (4-6)
Takarafuji came in with a hard shoulder slam into Ikioi. He set up what looked to be a great position, but a quick makikae saved him from imminent defeat. Takara kept his head down and driving forward. Once he got Ikky back to the edge he leg tripped him backwards and out. Good stuff from Takarafuji.
E-M10 Tamaasuka (2-8) vs. E-M12 Sadanofuji (3-7)
Tama came in low with a nice head slam into Sadas throat. Sada reacted well though with tsuppari to Tama throat, driving him back to the bales. Tama didn’t give up though and drove action back to the centre of the ring. But further throat tsuppari drove Tama back to the bales again, and the Sada changed grabbed the belt and forced the smaller wrestler out.
E-M8 Yoshikaze (5-5) vs. W-M13 Masunoyama (6-4)
First date these girls saw Masanoyama wear the pants! He came in with a hard charge followed by a fierce tsuppari attack that demonstrated the real potential of tsuppari. If all wrestlers who use tsuppari used it like Masa did today their game would improve greatly.
W-M14 Wakanosato (5-5) vs. W-M7 Toyohibiki (6-4)
Wakanosato holds his ground well from a good tachiai charge from Toyohibiki. Waka tries a beltless arm throw, which he couldn’t complete. Toyo’s right arm was now locked up high and rendered useless. Toyo tried to drive forward with just a left hand grip, but as Waka reversed he half attempted throw, and Toyo half fell. Add the two together and you get a full loss for Toyohibiki.
E-M7 Gagamaru (7-3) vs. E-M13 Daido (7-3)
Both men fighting for their kachi-koshi today. My money was on the Gagster. He came in low and fast, the best tachiai I’ve seen from him. Somehow Daido managed to slip under Gagas grip and got a solid left handed outside grip, and then launched a one handed throw. He couldn’t quite finish him off though and Gaga had a second to recover. Daido briefly lost the grip, but regained it quickly. He again launched a one handed throb and this time hurled Gaga across the dohyo.
E-M15 Hochiyama (1-9) vs. W-M6 Shotenro (5-5)
Shotenro must have been watching Masanoyama’s fight earlier today. Sho came in hard and low, using a powerful shove to drive Hochiyama back, and like a fly to shit Sho was back in for more. With solid shove followed by quick forward movement and more shoves Shotenro destroyed Hochiyama.
E-M6 Homasho (6-4) vs. E-M14 Tochinowaka (4-6)
Homasho came in low and prevented Tochinowaka from lifting him up like he planned. Homey drove him straight back to the edge but couldn’t finish him off. Tochi pushed back to the centre of the dohyo before Homey drove him back to another side of the dohyo. again Homey couldn’t complete the task, and Tochi tried an overarm throw which although was close, was never close enough. Again Homey pushed and and this time followed Tochi around the straw bales before finally finishing off the tiring Tochinowaka. Homasho was very poor with his finishing today.
E-M5 Aran (7-3) vs. W-M15 Chiyotairyu (6-4)
I wondered if Aran wouldn’t try a sneaky henka to seal his kachi-koshi as early as possible. And that’s exactly that’s what Aran attempted. He probably was expecting a fierce slap to face from Chiyotairyu. Aran was left with a double grip and Chiyo was left with just the one. So he tried to get he free hand inside but as soon as he moved Aran was ready and drove him back to the bales. It took Aran a few attempts but drove Chiyo out via yorikiri. Aran headed off to the interview room!
W-M11 Kitataiki (6-4) vs. W-M4 Takekaze (5-5)
Takekaze might have got the the advantage at the tachi-ai, but after he tried a pull down on the back of Kitataiki’s head he lost the advantage. Kita drive forward and again Takekaze back peddled trying to pull down his opponent. Take went back and out, Kita went forward and down. But Take’s foot went out before Kita went down.
E-M4 Tochinoshin (6-4) vs. W-M9 Tokitenku (7-3)
After the tachi-ai both these guys went for pushes and slaps on each others throats and faces. It was a complete slapfest for about 5 seconds or so. Then Tochinoshin slapped down on the Mongolians arms which sent him to the ground. Toki tried to hang onto Tchi’s legs, but it was all to late, he had some dirt to eat.
E-M9 Miyabiyama (5-5) vs. W-M3 Shohozan (3-7)
Shohozan came in high, and kept close to Miyabiyama who was always only going to do one thing, push up, pull down. Because Shohozan kept in close, Miyabiyama never had the chance to pull him down, and Sho was able to drive Miyabi back and out.
E-M2 Aoiyama (4-6) vs. E-M3 Wakakoyu (3-7)
Aoiyama is been recovering nicely after facing all 6 ozeki and the yokozuna, defeating Kotoshogiku on Day 3. Since Day 8 however it was always going to get easier and he came in to today have won the last 3 in a row. If he can develop his leg movements he will be a great rikishi. Today Wakakoyu pushed him slightly upright and was using tsuppari and waiting for an opening to slap Aoiyama to the dirt. Aoi knew what was going on though and kept a good centre of balance, and instead of being slapped down he slapped on Wakakoyu’s arms to beat him at his own game! Good composure from Aoiyama today.
E-M1 Kyokutenho (0-10) vs. W-M5 Takayasu (2-8)
I wonder if there are any other rikishi in the record books that have won a tournament and then gone on to a 0-10 losing record? I wouldn’t be surprised if you just found the one! Ok, this fight was awful. Neither man could get a good grip or position. Takayasu ended up running Kyokutenho around the bales of about 3/4 of the dohyo before the, ah.. champion finally stepped out. Am, yeah, awful stuff.
W-M2 Okinoumi (1-9) vs. W-K Toyonoshima (3-7)
A very weak shoulder blast from Okinoumi opened this fight. Okinoumi got the better position, though neither man got a sniff of a mawashi. Toyonoshima went makikae and Okinoumi then locked onto the arms of his opponent and drove him out. Not good sumo in this fight either. I’m hoping things improve from here!
W-M1 Aminishiki (2-8) vs. W-S Tochiozan (2-8)
Both guys were grappling for the better position. Tochiozan went makikae deflecting an advance from the Snake. He then pushed Aminishiki back with a forceful shove that left him balancing on his toes on the straw, but you always gotta be sure of your win, so Tochiozan came in to finish him off. He did so with a powerful shove which sent the snake flying off the dohyo nearly killing a little out lady in the first row.
E-S Goeido (5-5) vs. W-M8 Kaisei (9-1)
Kaisei tried to stay within theoretical distance of the yusho. Kaisei got the much better position from the tachi-ai, so Goeido launched a throw, so he wouldn’t be forced out. Goeido tried to use his leg to knock the Brazilian off balance, but Kaisei used Goeidos leg to stay upright. Then both men seemed to face away from each other, back to back if you will. Kaisei fell down backwards and Goeido stepped out. But Kaisei was down before Goeido was out.
E-K Myogiryu (6-4) vs. W-O Kotoshogiku (8-2)
Myogiryu went in way too low at the tach-ai. His head hit the chest of the low Kotoshogiku, he legs seem to slip and Myogiryu’s hand touches the dohyo. In less than a second Myogiryu lost if for himself. The kimarite was called as a tsukite, a hand touchdown, without any real contact.
E-O Kisenosato (8-2) vs. W-O Harumafuji (10-0)
Finally on to the feature bout of the day! These two ozeki have a nice long history between them. They have faught a total of 38 times, with Harumafuji leading the rivalry 24-14. And a possibly irrelevant fact, Kisenosato has never beaten his lighter opponent on Day 11! But of course the last 6 encounters is always more informative so let’s take a look. Over the past year Harumafuji leads again with 4-2 advantage. And each Harumafuji win has been via a different kimarite! Nice. I think Kise will have his work cut for him today, as Harry is obvioulsy been on form this basho.
Both men went to raise up the centre of gravity of their opponent from the get go. Harumafuji the landed a nice harite, slap to the face, while continuing to get a better position. A second later he went for a second harite but missed. Another landed, then another. Kisenosato was getting pretty pissed off. And then Harumafuji went in grabbed the belt and shoved Kissy back but not out. Kissy changed his direction and tried to push Harry down. Harumafuji and his fast legs moved forwards quickly and had Kisenosato back and out a fraction of a second before himself!
Excellent stuff from Harumafuji. He used the same tactic that Kisenosato used against Hakuho when he ended Hakuho’s 63 consecutive wins.
E-O Baruto (7-3) vs. W-O Kakuryu (6-4)
These two have had some great fights in the past. And had they not 3 and 4 losses respectively this could have been a hightlight bout as well. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Kakuryu gained the inside position and tried to work something against the giant. Baruto was struggling for a grip until Kakuryu went to drive him out. That gave Bart the chance to get a double grip, and lift Kakuryu clean off the ground. In the past the Kak has been able to hook Barts leg, and no doubt he remembered that too. So this time Baruto lifted Kakuryu higher, and longer than usual and placed him outside the straw bales to secure his kachikoshi win.
E-Y Hakuho (10-0) vs. E-O Kotooshu (7-3)
The Dai yokozuna has a whopping 30-8 edge over the Bulgarian. Kotooshu beat the Hakuho in January this year which was his first time beating him since 2009! Some people have been saying that Kotooshu has been looking good this tournament, but I honestly don’t think he has any chance coming in to todays fight.
Hakuho came in with his signature fast and hard tachi-ai. Hakuho drove Kotooshu straight back and out in less than 2 seconds.
Well there you have it, after today’s fights the leader board looks like this:
11-0 Hakuho, Harumafuji
9-2 Kotoshogiku, Kaisei
Wear sufficient protection tomorrow as de Gamma will be radiating your screens.