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    Day 3.

    Enho is still killing it down in Juryo.

    Tochiozan continues his astonishing start, dropping Goeido to 1-2. Takakeisho disposes of Ryduen to match him at 3-0. Kaisei is back! But the schedulers frownon temporary kyujos so they put him up against Takayasu, whi flattens him to also go 3-0. Down the table, Sadanoumi has also started with three wins. Amazingly, that's it for the ranks of the undefeated.

    Tochinoshin's fight against Miyogiryu was interesting. M went with the now-standard "keep this dude off your belt at all cost" defense, and it mostly worked. He stayed low and under Tochinoshin and pushed the latter's arms high. But Tochinoshin seems to have evolved a countermove: pushed high, he just used his superior height and strength to free one hand, put it on the back of M's head and pushed down. Hard, until his face was in the dirt. Win by hatakikomi and the Georgian improves to 2-1.

    Kisenosato lost a monumental slapfest to Hokutofjui. Now 0-3 and he has a lot of thinking to do.

    (later edit: Schedulers are being cruel to Kisenosato now. Tomorrow's fight is against Tochiozan).
    Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 13-11-2018, 15:29.

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      Day 4.

      No change at the top. Takayasu, Tochiozan and Takakeisho all at 4-0 (and yes, that means Kisenosato has fallen to 0-4, which I believe is the worst start to a tournament by a yokozuna since 1974). Tochninoshin deadlifted 450 lbs of not-particularly mobile Kaisei to go 3-1. Arawashi totally robbed by a terrible judge's call. Enho still undefeated in juryo. He's probably too far down the banzuke to get promoted even if he did win the juryo yusho this time, but every day it is looking likelier he will be in Makuuchi division some time in 2019.

      For reasons that defy easy explanation, the schedulers have put Takayasu and Tochiozan together tomorrow. This could be one of the matches of the tournament. Abi vs. Kotoshogiku should be a fascinating contrast of styles, too (flailing arms vs. hug-and-chug)

      Later edit: Actually, Kisenosato's 0-4 is the first since the adoption of the 15-match basho rule in the 1920s. The 0-4 in 1974 was actually an 0-3 plus a kyujo. Technically if K pulls out today, he will be credited as 0-5-10. The Japanese outlets I follow seem to think he is likelier to retire for good than just pull out of the tournament, but no one seems to think he will be in the ring tomorrow.
      Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 14-11-2018, 13:19.

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        Kisenosato confirmed kyujo. Will have to wait for the post-basho Yokozuna Deliberation Council (or whatever it's called) meeting to see whether the Sumo Lords tell him his time is up or whether he gets another chance.

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          Day 5.

          Enho gets first loss in juryo. Abi-Kotoshogiku was a bust of a bout but Abi won bringing him to 4-1. Best bout of the day: Takanoiwa-Yoshikaze (about 6:45 on the video). After that, pretty much all hell broke loose with all five top-ranked rikishi (the Sekiwakes and Ozekis) losing. Takakeisho went 5-0 by beating an increasingly feeble-looking Ichinojo (will her pull another week 2 miracle? Seems hard to believe he can do that again). Nishikigi seems to be learning from his getting-pounded-by-the-entire-San'yaku experience - today he turned the tables and dropped Goeido (Nishikigi 1-4, Goeido 2-3). A fired-up Hokutofuki beat Tochinoshin with some pretty good oshi-zumo. And in the top of the card match today, another upset: Tochiozan beat Takayasu to go 5-0.

          So: Takakeisho, Tochiozan 5-0 Takayasu, Abi, Daiamami, Onosho, Chiyotariyu, Daieisho: 4-1

          Not sure what the rules are in Japan on betting on sumo, but pretty sure the odds against a Takakeisho/Tochiozan yusho battle would have been unbelievably high a week ago.

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            Day 6.

            AHAHAHAHAHA! Tochiozan's San'yaku-busting unbeaten run gets ended by....Nishikigi, who posts just his second win. Routine stuff, too. Makes you wonder what the hell the San'yaku have been drinking these last few days. Takakeisho makes short work of Kaisei to move to 6-0 and sole possession of first place (12 wins in a row going back to last basho - at one point in September he was 3-6 and definitely headed down, which shows you how crazy the ebb and flow of sumo can be). Down the card, Abi, Onosho, Daieisho an Cihotariyu all won to keep pace at 5-1. At the top, Mitakaeumi put in his best performance so far to beat Hokutofuji. Ichinojo was terrible again - barring a miracle, he's going to be handing his Sekiwake spot to Takakeisho in nine days' time. Takayasu beat Tamawashi in an entertaining bout to go 5-1. Goeido steamrollered Ryuden. Tochinoshin faced his bogeyman sekitori, Shodai, and....lost. He simply has not been able to impose his yotsu game on anyone this basho. Goeido and Tochinoshin both now 3-3. Down in Juryo, Enho is successfully reminding everyone of sumo's judo origins - now 5-1 and in a three-way tie for the lead
            Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 16-11-2018, 10:29.

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              Sorry, been a bit distracted. This basho is total mayhem though. Takakeisho 8-1, Takayasu, Onosho Aioyama (!) and Daieisho at 7-2. Still have to figure Takayasu is favourite, but there is a genuine chance someone from way way down the banzuke (Onosho would be likeliest I think) could win this. But man, Takakeisho is for real. He absolutely stomped Tochinoshin today (start at 3:00). Not pretty.

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                Day 10. No change at the top: Takakeisho with 1 loss, Takayasu, Aioyama, Onosho and Daieisho with 2. Takakeisho was totally dominant again (I thought today he might have started with a matta bur the judge disagreed) and looking very dangerous. His run-in is significantly easier than Takayasu's, too. Nishikigi, who was pretty much everyone;s favourite to go 0-15, improves to 4-6 and I couldn't be happier for him. Tochinoshin back to 5-5 with a win over Ichinojo, who figured he didn't need to keep T off his belt because hey, I'm 227 kilos and who could lift me? Answer: Tochinoshin.

                Best fight of the day - Chiyonokuni v. Shohozan (start at 5:05)

                Enho tied for the lead in Juryo at 8-2.
                Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 20-11-2018, 11:51.

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                  Day 11.

                  Onosho loses so the leader group is down to four: Takakeisho with one loss, Aoiyama, Daieisho and Takayasu with two. Nishikigi (5-6) won again, edging closer to a massively improbable kachi-koshi. Takayasu handed Ichinojo his eighth loss in a *very* tight contest that required a mono-ii (judges' confab) to decide. It's Ichinojo's first make-koshi in over a year. If he wins the rest of his bouts (unlikely), the demotion will only be to Komusubi - more than that he's back down in the maegashira ranks. It could all still come down to a final-day fight between Takayasu and Takakeisho - but Takayasu still has to fight the other two Ozeki (starting with Tochinoshin, tomorrow).

                  In juryo, Enho dropped to 8-3 to fall one off Terutsuyoshi's pace.

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                    Day 12..

                    And then there were two. Daieisho and Aoiyama both lose. Nishikigi defeats Kaisei to climb to a remarkable 6-6. Takakeisho beats Tamawashi to go 11-1. Goeido, having got his 8th win, promptly goes kyujo. Meaning the basho will only have one Ozeki match-up and its today - Tochinoshin vs. Takayasu which the latter wins, to stay one back of the leader.

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                      Sorry guys, been a busy couple of days. And right now I am flying over the Atlantic on a plane which happens to a) have live TV and b) has NHK. So I can actually watch the final day live, which is some kind of amazing.

                      Anyways, key things from Day 13 and Day 14. Tochinoshin got his kachi-koshi; both Ichinojo and Mitakaeumi went Make-koshi, which means both Sekiwake slots are opening up, Nishikigi got a lucky break from the schedulers and got his 8th win on day 14. But the big story on day 14 was the seemingly-unstoppable Takakeisho (12-1) facing off against the man with the hairiest back in sumo, Takayasu (11-2). Why schedule this on the penultimate day instead of the final day? Good question. But so they did, and Takakeisho had Takayasu on the ropes until his misplaced is foot and slipped. Tie at 12-2 going into the last day. Takakeisho will face off against Nishikigi, Takayasu against Mitakaeumi. Playoff if they both win or both lose. I will live-post the rest.

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                        Myogiryu beats sumo Elvis (Chiyoratriyu) to go 8-7. From M1 that makes him the leading candidate to grab the second Sekiwake spot for January (Takakeisho is a lock for the other one).

                        Now it's Takakeisho - Nishikigi. One thing I totally love about Nishikigi is he is the only Sekitori who wears glasses. He takes them off in the ring, obv. But he's seriously near-sighted. He wears them right up to the point where he walks down the aisle to sit ring side. I would love to see an upset here: that would put hinm at 9-6 and at least theoretically a shot at Komusubi (it's complicated, I doubt he would get it, but it would give the banzuke makers something to think about). But Takakeisho has been like a freight train. Not gonna happen.

                        Matta! Takakeisho goes early. Re-start.

                        Takakeisho wins, but that was close. Nishikigi pushed him to the edge there.
                        Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 26-11-2018, 21:42.

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                          Now it's the charity match of the day: Ichinojo vs. Kagayaki. Charity because holy hell the schedulers did not need to give Ichinojo quite this easy an opponent on the final day. He's 6-8. A win means he'll only drop one rank, to Komusubi. A loss means going back to Maegashira. Kagayaki is not a bad rikishi, but he's had a weak tournament and is currently 4-10.

                          But Ichinojo manages to stuff it up anyway! Win for Kagayaki, who gets the white arrows (the winner of the third-last match of the basho gets a small quiver of white arrows and no I have absolutely no idea why).

                          The next match is a dead rubber: Shohozan v. Tochinoshin, both already kachikoshi.

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                            I can;t quite tell what is going on here because the picture keeps freezing, but they fought three times, ref called them back twice for reasons I do not understand (mattas, presumably, but he was very slow to call it, especially the first one, that fight lasted awhile). Third battle ended in 1) Shohozan bleeding all over Tochinoshin and 2) a monoii. Tochinoshin was judged to have won by the gyoji, but in fact his toe had gone out of bounds. Judges, correctly, give it to Shohozan.

                            And so now here we go, last bout, Mitakauemi v. Takayasu. If Mitakauemi loses, he;s down to Maesghira and we have ourselves a playoff. If he wins, he'll stay in the San'yaku and Takakeisho will get the yusho.

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                              Mitakaeumi had Takayasu right up on the rice bales, but *somehow* Takayasu fought back. A lot of immobile hugging in the middle of the dohyo followed. And then a tussle, a tangle of arms, Mitakaeumi threw Takayasu out of the ring with an overarm throw (sukuinage was the call on the kimarite), and Takakeisho gets the yusho. Wow.

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                                Feeling very sorry for Takayasu. The look on his face when he hit the floor was very sad. This yusho probably should have been his and he knows it.

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                                  Now comes the awarding of the Ludicrous Prizes.

                                  First, takakeisho gets the diploma certifying the win. Then, he is handed the Emperor's Cup. Then, a big purple flag. Now another diploma and another cup (a little googling shows it is the Prime Minister's Cup)

                                  Then he gives a speech which I can't hear and couldn't translate anyway.

                                  Now come all the rest of the loot. There's the Mongolian PM's trophy. Another diploma. A massive plaque of some sort. Disappointingly they cut away before the giant pilsner stein award, the huge Shiiitake mushroom award or the enormous macaron award. (and that's only a fraction of what's coming...good list of awards here).

                                  That's all she wrote. Back in a couple of days with news of Kisenosato's fate once the YDC meets.
                                  Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 25-11-2018, 22:16.

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                                    The Yokozuna Council has decided on "encouragement" as a strategy for Kisenosato. Please get better, we expect you to compete in January. Council is not issuing an "or else" threat here; if he can't compete, they will reassess based on the situation.

                                    Swear to god, he could go to 2020 without showing up and they'd let him keep his status. Unless Takakeisho makes a real Yokozuna run (btw: he needs 11 wins next outing for Ozeki status), in which case maybe they'll dump him overboard.

                                    Here's the final day's action: Check out the Tochinoshin fights (start 11:15). The refereeing is just godawful. and that's in theory the senior-most gyoji, who is in theory about to get promoted to "tate-gyoji" (King Referee, basically) in the next couple of months. But the tate-gyoji is supposed to be near-infallble (he carries a dagger to symobolize willingness to commit ritual suicide if he gets a decision wrong), so...
                                    Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 26-11-2018, 11:43.

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                                      So, Takanoiwa - that is, the getting-hit-over-the-head-with-a-TV-remote-and-making-Harumafuji-retire-Takanoiwa - has...wait for it...hit another sumo wrestler (his "Tsukebito", or attendant...all the sekitori have them, and they are all active rikishi from the lwoer divisions) over the head and around the face and is tomorrow expected to resign from sumo himself.

                                      Story here

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                                        New basho starts Sunday. Looks like everyone is in, including Kisenosato, despite him having barely practiced since the last disastrous basho. A very good summary of the lunacy of the Kise situation here. Tochinoshin is the only question mark at the moment but odds are still on him starting the tournament. Very much looking forward to seeing how Takayasu bounces back, how hard a healthy set of yokozunas and Ozekis will deal with Takakeisho.
                                        Kisenosato, YDC Keiko Soken, January 7th, 2019 It's difficult to find a new angle on the Kisenosato story. Some new sumo fans who have joined the readership of this site may not even know what Kisenosato looked like before that injury which put him into the lingering zombie state in which we find him now,

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                                          What the hell is up with the new link function?

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                                            Just use url tags

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                                              Ursus minor an d I watched the NHK World review of 2018 tonight, so we expect to be paying more attention than we have in the past.

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                                                Excellent! The more the merrier.

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                                                  All three Ozeki lose on opening day (hokutofuji, Nishikigi and Ichinojo picking up the wins). Takakeisho, Kakuryuu and Hakuho win. Mitakaeumi beat Kisenosato and this shit just has to stop. Fork, done, etc.
                                                  Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 13-01-2019, 12:37.

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                                                    This has to now be a greater embarrassment to the establishment than not having a Japanese Yokozuna at all.

                                                    What an utter debacle.

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