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SUMO: 2018 Kyushu Basho (Day 12)

Day 12 of this basho ALSO happens to be Thanksgiving here in the States, and I have a lot of food prep work to do before our feast, so this will be a very short commentary. Luckily, though, not much has changed since yesterday.

Komusubi Takakeisho is still alone atop the leaderboard with a 10–1 record. Immediately behind him are M12 Aoiyama, M9 Daieisho, and ozeki Takayasu, with M13 Onosho having lost yesterday and dropping back into the lurking pack that is hoping for these leaders to stumble under the pressure of the yusho [tournament championship] race.

Takayasu got exceedingly lucky yesterday. He set himself up to lose in his match against sekiwake Ichinojo, but the big Mongolian stepped outside of the ring a split second earlier than the ozeki. It really FELT like Takayasu lost, which may plague him today, but for now it doesn’t matter. He remains in the tie for second place.

One new addition to the kyujo [absent due to injury] crowd—after securing his kachi-koshi [majority of wins] victory over komusubi Kaisei, ozeki Geoido has cited an injury and withdrawn from the basho. He says that the injury occurred on Day 7, and the pundits are saying that it explains his back-to-back sidestep maneuvers to get his sixth and seventh wins. He went head-on against Kaisei, but we know that the Brazilian rikishi is injured and not moving well, and so would not have been as vulnerable to the semi-henka maneuvers that Goeido has been using. In any case, Goeido is out now, leaving just two ozeki representing the top tier of the banzuke [ranking sheet].

Today’s most important matches include:

M9 Kotoshogiku (6–5) vs. M12 Aoiyama (9–2)—Aoiyama takes on former-ozeki Kotoshogiku, who’s been very unpredictable this tournament. Some days he looks great, other days he’s seemed unmotivated. (3:00)
M13 Onosho (8–3) vs. M9 Daieisho (9–2)—Onosho fell two wins behind the leader and out of second place with a loss yesterday. If he can bounce back with a win today, he’ll drag Daieisho down to join him. (3:35)
Komusubi Takakeisho (10–1) vs. M2 Tamawashi (7–4)—Tamawashi has been looking pretty good this basho, putting up very strong fights even in losing efforts. Takakeisho knows that he must keep his winning streak alive because he’s going to be paired up against ozeki Takayasu sometime in the next couple of days. (11:05)
Ozeki Tochinoshin (6–5) vs. ozeki Takayasu (9–2)—I’m surprised that the Kyokai [Sumo Association] scheduled this pairing today. With no yokozuna in the mix, the head-to-head ozeki matches are the biggest marquee matches on the schedule. And now, with Goeido having gone kyujo, this is the ONLY one their going to get. (14:15)

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