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Kyushu Basho (November sumo tournament) results and recap

The final sumo tournament of the year, the Kyushu basho, was an exciting one and leaves a lot to talk about moving into 2014. The winner, yokozuna-ranked Harumafuji captured his sixth career championship with a record of 14 - 1.

The most intense match of the tournament pitted ozeki Kisenosato against yokozuna Hakuho on a day 14 matchup. Coming into the home stretch both yokozuna were undefeated. One day prior Kisenosato had defeated Harumafuji, ending his 12 day streak and on day 14 he did the same to Hakuho leaving the leader board looking like this heading into the final day:

Hakuho, Harumafuji 12 - 1
Kisenosato 11 - 2.

Technically it was still possible for Kisenosato to capture the Emperor’s Cup but it would require a lot of losing on the part of the yokozunas and two wins for him in the final two days. Half of that equation came true when Kisenosato beat Hakuho on day 14 after an epic stare down before the bout, but Harumafuji was successful over Kakuryu which automatically eliminated him from the yusho race.

On the final day the two yokozuna squared off with identical 13 - 1 records to decide the championship. At the onset of the bout they clashed, but Harumafuji quickly sidestepped after the initial contact and spun Hakuho off balance and started to drive him towards the edge of the ring, a tactic he seems to have mastered as of late. It looked as if Hakuho’s back foot was very close to stepping out and it was at this time that the referee checked with the ringside judge and got a signal that indeed Hakuho had just stepped outside the hay bales and the match was over. The ref then tried to say something to the wrestlers, but Harumafuji was already making his next move to force out his opponent and did so. Whether Hakuho was letting up because of the referee’s decision or whether Harumafuji forced him out by his own accord is still unclear, but one thing is for certain and that is that Harumafuji did in fact win the bout and as a result won the 2013 Kyushu basho.

The runners up are Hakuho and Kisenosato who both finish with 13 - 2 records. Finishing at 11 - 4 was maegashira 6 ranked Chiyotairyu who also picks up the Technique prize and his counterpart also ranked at M6, Ikioi, receives the Fighting Spirit award.

Several top division wrestlers withdrew with injuries including M11 ranked Masunoyama on day 11, M10 ranked Kotoyuki on day 7, ozeki Kotooshu on day 4 and ozeki Kotoshogiku on day 3. As for Kotooshu, he was kadoban coming into the tournament which means for the first time since November 2005 he will fall back down to the rank of sekiwake. He can however resume his old rank if he manages to win at least 10 of his bouts in January.

In other news, the first African sumo wrestler Osunaarashi, who made his top division debut this month, just fell short of kachi-koshi finishing at 7 - 8 and could possibly face demotion back to the juryo division. Sensation Endoh, who many people thought wouldn’t even be able to compete, also had a majority of losses at 6 - 9 and wining the juryo division championship was J2 ranked Chiyootori who will most definitely be promoted to the top division next year.

If you’ve read this far into the article and are interested in sumo, make sure to check out Fightbox in the afternoons for more great sumo action. If you are interested in sumo, but have no idea what this article means, try reading the May 2013 blog for more information.

Until next year: banzai!!

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