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SUMO: 2018 Aki Basho (Day 11)

We’re two-thirds of the way through the Aki Basho, and Day 11 starts with tow yokozuna still undefeated atop the leaderboard—Kakuryu and Hakuho. However, we’ve had a bit of a drop off in the contenders as only ozeki Takayasu remains one win behind the leaders.

Takayasu squared off against fellow ozeki Goeido yesterday. It was a pretty stellar match, and even though Goeido lost, he still seemed to be focused and strong. My fear was that he’d slip into his too familiar lapse of concentration, and to tell the truth, I’m even MORE worried about that today. He has a long history of NOT bouncing back from adversity and instead following up a loss by coming to the dohyo with a resounding mope. If he can avoid that today in his match against M3 Shodai, Goeido can still be a force to be reckoned with in the current yusho [tournament championship] race.

For his part, for someone who started the basho with recurring back pains, Takayasu has looked rock solid. He hasn’t been doing anything fancy, but he always seems to bring what’s needed to the dohyo with him each day. That will for sure be put to the test today as he faces co-leader Hakuho in the final match of Day 11.

Hakuho showed he’s still the “king of the ring” yesterday by handing a loss, and manhandling, the behemoth sekiwake Ichinojo. Something happened during the match that Hakuho didn’t like, and if you go back and watch yesterday’s video again, you’ll see that he gives Ichinojo some extra smacks to the side of the head mid-bout plus a final dame-oshi [extra shove] thump to the chest when the match was done. 

Kakuryu, the other co-leader, also continued to put in a strong performance, refusing to slip into his old “pull and backpedal” ways despite the fact that sekiwake Mitakeumi took control at the tachi-ai [initial charge] of their bout. Kakuryu calmly dug in his heels, waited for his opponent to power down a little, and then reversed the charge, giving him a reasonably easy win. It also gave Mitakeumi his second straight loss to a yokozuna AND served what may be the final blow to the sekiwake’s hope for a promotion to ozeki. At 6–4, Mitakeumi would have to win all of his remaining matches to get to double-digit wins, and even that might not be a strong enough showing to earn him the promotion.

Ozeki Tochinoshin bounced back from back-to-back losses with a solid and powerful win over M1 Kaisei. This puts his record at 6–4, meaning he only needs two more wins to overturn his kadoban [threatened with ozeki demotion] status. Of course, he faces Kakuryu today, and then still has to fight both Hakuho and Takayasu before the basho is done, so it’s no easy feat ahead of him.

NOTE: Sadly, I wound up going to the hospital and not being able to get this posted anywhere near on time … so there’s really no need to list the matches of the day. But here is the video just for your enjoyment.

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