As things here in Akita start to get covered in snow, things are starting to heat up down in Kyushu. Yesterday saw a slight clean up of the leaderboard. Currently Hakuho leads the pack with his perfect record, followed closely by the shin-Yokozuna Harumafuji. With 2 losses the are 3, but Goeido is really the only one with a snowballs chance in deGama’s pants.
We got some good fights to look forward to today. Tochiozan will take on Goeido, as he tries to secure kachikoshi. Kotoshogiku will take on Harumafuji to try and secure his kachikoshi and rid himself of his kadoban status. And Hakuho will take to the stage at the final bout of the day, as it should be, to destroy the other kadoban ozeki, Kotooshu.
E-M15 Yoshiazuma 2-8 vs. E-J3 Kotoyuki 4-6
Kotoyuki hit Yoshi square in the chest with his head lifting his centre of gravity. He followed quickly with a pushing attack, keeping his eyes on Yoshi all the time, and drove him straight back and out. Good stuff from the 21-year-old.
W-J2 Tamaasuka 6-4 vs. W-M14 Chiyonokuni 4-6
Chiyonokuni demonstrated his lightning fast tachi-ai today, as he false started. On the second attempt he hit Tamaasuka as fast, but all the momentum was absorbed well, and he got driven straight back and out. Chiyo really should have done better here, allowing yourself to be forced straight back is not on.
E-M12 Kitataiki 5-5 vs. W-M13 Wakakoyu 3-7
A tsuppari attach from both men here. Kitty always looked more balanced than Waka who was flapping wildly and without a whole load of power. Kitty drove forward and when Waka sensed the straw bales he tried to evade to his right, but way too easily lost his footing and fell in a heap.
E-M11 Asahisho 5-5 vs. W-M11 Miyabiyama 4-6
As Miyabiyama was using his left paw to push on Asahi-salty upright, Salty simply swiped down on the Miyabis arm and sent him to the salt, or sand, I think it was mainly salt.
E-M10 Ikioi 6-4 vs. W-M10 Yoshikaze 6-4
First date for these ladies. I always feel bad when reporting on Yoshikazes fights. I couldn’t possibly report on everything that he does. I guess in essence he tried to push Ikioi back with, and when he can’t he went for a pull down. It was badly times though as Ikioi was ready and pounced forward. Ikioi now had the advantage, and as Yoshi tried another push pull down, he found himself being pushed out quite easily.
E-M8 Tokitenku 4-6 vs. W-M12 Wakanosato 6-4
No funny business from Tokitenku at the tachai-ai. A straight on collision left Wakanosato with a solid left had outside grip. Waka tried to end it quickly with a throw attempt, but the Mongolian wasn’t going down so easily. The settled back into a similar situation as before. From here I really felt that Waka had the much better position, he had a solid left grip, and Tokitenku was at an sideward angle. Had Waka been on his game he would have pulled in his elbow and drove Toki back. But he isn’t as young as he used to be… nor is he as good. So after a long while Waka tried to do something, Toki reversed and saw the old man fall a fraction earlier that the Mongolian stepped out. A mono-ii was called but the win was Tokitenku’s. Fight time: 1:40
E-M14 Jokoryu 3-7 vs. W-M7 Aran 7-3
A weak tachi-ai left Joe with a solid right had inside, as Aran stretching for a grip. When he finally got it, Aran was in a better position, but couldn’t force Joe out. On each attempt that Aran made, Joe circled around and make Aran work for it again. Finally as the fight hit 2 minutes, Aran was obviously losing strength, and the Joe made his move, driving the Russian over the edge. Fight time: 2:16
E-M7 Gagamaru 5-5 vs. E-M13 Fujiazuma 5-5
Fujiazuma isn’t a small guy, but when going chest-to-chest with Gaga he seems a little small. Gaga had him to the edge but couldn’t drive him out. Gaga did what we’ve seen him do before, with his left hand on the belt he uses his right to push as hard as he possibly into the chin of his opponent. Scary stuff. I imagine that a normal persons head to clean pop off, but Fuji was able to withstand it. So Gaga went back to pushing on his body and forced him out that way.
W-M15 Chiyotairyu 8-2 vs. W-M6 Toyonoshima 8-2
These 2 guys have actually been on the leaderboard until today. Both with only 2 losses each. Chiyotairyu looked like he was going for a big push to Toyonoshimas face. Toyo’s body bent backwards so that h was looking directly behind him, but upside down. And as it was returning to right side up, Chiyo pulled down on his arms and head to send him straight down. So there you have it Chiyotairyu is still in 3rd place, with 9-2 and faces Aran tomorrow.
E-M6 Kyokutenho 7-3 vs. E-M16 Tamawashi 6-4
Kyokutenho hit Tamawashi with a nice right handed slap to the face, preventing Tama from stepping to the side, before gaining a right handed grip and running him backwards and out.
E-M9 Shotenro 4-6 vs. W-M4 Masunoyama 5-5
Masunoyama hit Shotenro with a nice headbutt at the start but was prevented for getting a grip on his belt. Sho had a left hand on, and wiggled left and right preventing Masu’s efforts from materialising. Then as Masu went to get a right hand in, Shotenro pushed him down in the same direction. Great momentum from Shotenro. Masunoyama is in a lot of pain with his shoulder.
W-M8 Daido 2-8 vs. W-M3 Takekaze 2-8
Both men 2-8!! Wow. A forearm blast from Daido looked to give him a great advantage at the tachi-ai, but as the Akitian continuously slapped down on Daido’s arms, he got lucky and saw him fall just before Takekaze was flying out of the ring.
E-M3 Tochinoshin 2-8 vs. E-M4 Takayasu 2-8
Both these men also 2-8!! Again. Wow. Takayasu used his speed to prevent Tochinoshin from getting a double grip, and that made all the difference. It also made for a very interesting fight and both men quickly moved around in their game of cat and mouse. As the mouse, Takayasu got a grip on Tochinoshins belt he found out that it was tied very loosely and wasn’t going to be good enough, and went back in for some more layers. At the edge Taka tried to force out Tochi, but Tochi counter throwed and saw both men fall at almost the same time. The gyouji thought it was a Takayasu win, but a mono-ii was called. After the mono-ii Tochinoshi was correctly awarded the win.
E-M2 Shohozan 6-4 vs. W-K Homasho 2-8
Shohozan used a nice harite to gain the advantage at the tachi-ai. He had Homasho on the angle, and to his advantage. He wanted to get the double inside grip so tried to go makikae. As he made the switch he pushed and Homasho went flying back and off the dohyo! Shohozan has been having a great tournament, beating 3 ozeki he is well on his way to getting a special prize.
E-K Aminishiki 3-7 vs. W-M2 Kaisei 2-8
Aminishiki pushed hard into Kaiseis face but couldn’t drive him back. Kaisei got his left hand on the belt with saved his life. Aminishiki then tried to throw the Brazilian, but he displayed some nice footwork and stayed with the snake. Kaisei then drove back and when Aminishiki again tried a throw Kaisei was able to keep his ground a bum bump him out. The kimarite was a rare one. It was called as a ushiromotare or backward lean out.
W-M1 Tochiozan 7-3 vs. W-S Goeido 8-2
Goeido had a great tachi-ai, catching Tochiozan off guard. Goeido was able to drive Tochiozan straight back, but at the edge Tochiozan pulled a throw and saw them go down together head first. The gyogi pointed to Tochiozans corner, and no mono-ii was called. BUT actually the replays clearly showed that Tochiozan put his hand down to break his fall just before Goeido hit the dirt. Mayor zannen for Goeido who picked up his 3rd loss in 3 days.
W-M5 Toyohibiki 6-4 vs. W-O Kisenosato 7-3
Kisenosato hasn’t been looking so hot this tournament has he! Today Toyohibiki drove him back slightly from the lines as he waddled around lifting his feet too far from the dirt. The ozeki was lucky though as with a nicely planted swipe turned Hibi around and got directly behind him to guide him out. Kisenosato picks up his kachikoshi.
E-O Kakuryu 7-3 vs. E-S Myogiryu 2-8
A hard tachi-ai from Myogiryu followed by upward pushed successfully raised the ozeki and gave the advantage to the sekiwake. As Kakuryu dug in to resist he found that his foot was already over the bales. Great stuff from Myogiryu. Too bad he didn’t fight this well all basho!
E-O Kotoshogiku 6-4 vs. W-Y Harumafuji 9-1
These guys go back a long way. Their first fight together was back in May 2003. Back then Kotoshogiku was known as Kotokikutsugi and the Yokozuna was known as Ama. Since then they have fought 42 times and although Kotoshogiku was doing most of the winning, leading the rivalry 27-15, their recent matches have been much more evenly divided, 5-5 over their last 10 encounters. Kotoshogiku is actually 44 kgs heavier than the yokozuna!
Today Harumafuji came in low and very hard. As they engaged the yokozunas right foot slipped back slightly and Kotoshogiku immediately slapped the yokozuna down in 1 second flat. I thought it was going to be a quick match, but not that quick!
E-Y Hakuho 10-0 vs. W-O Kotooshu 7-3
With his fellow yokozuna now with 2 losses, Hakuho’s chances of yusho have increased from 95% to 100%. Of course the only uncertainty is whether he will get his 9th zensho-yusho or not. If he does he will become the only man to have done so.
Kotooshu has actually beaten Hakuho 8 times over his career, the most recent coming in January this year. Hakuho has a sizeable 31 victories over the Bulgarian.
At the tachi-ai Hakuho shoulder charged the kadoban, and for a split second they separated. The yokozuna then shoved into the ozekis chin. Kotooshu gained a solid left hand outside grip and the yokozuna got a right hand inside grip. Hakuho circled around a little, then tried (half-heartily) to throw Kotooshu who withstood the throw and found himself in a much better position, facing into the side of the yokozuna. Kotoo then spins around trying to knock the Hak, strangely Hakuho seemed very lackadaisy, not asserting his authority. Again Kotooshu spun him around even got a hand to his knee, which made the yokozuna move back to right his feet. All this time the yokozunas left hand is doing nothing, basically he was just holding it out. The yokozuna then tried to throw Kotooshu, but with terrible form. Again Kotooshu spun him around, this time pulling on the back of his head. Now Kotoo got a second hand on the same side of Hakuhos belt, as the yokozuna still had his left hand out and away from the kadoban ozeki! Kotooshu tried to upright Hakuho, and his only response was to move his hand hear Kotooshus, but didn’t attempt to break it, as he could have easily done. When the ozeki finally made a drive, Hakuho stepped out without resistance. W.T.F.???
None of that made sense to me. That was strange! Did he simple wish to tighten up the yusho race? He obviously did not want to win this fight. He showed no offence, and little defence. This was not the yokozuna that we know and love. I assume, now, that he is not going to win the yusho.
Please leave some comments! I’m confused.