M9 Onosho is coming back from his worst top division score ever of 2-13 at the July tournament. And what a comeback it has been! For a moment (day 5) he was leading this basho as the only undefeated rikishi. That momentum has slowed a bit as he dropped to a shared second place on a still saturated leaderboard by day 11. His day 12 match-up threatened to slow that momentum further in the form of two-time champion Terunofuji.
Looking at their history, Terunofuji may not seem like Onosho’s biggest challenge yet this tournament, as he’s slapped the larger man down in their only previous meeting. But this was at Aki Basho 2017, where an M3 Onosho was on fire and on his way to Komusubi, and it was an ailing Ozeki’s second to last match before dropping out and beginning his historical fall to Jonidan. And taking a look at the caliber of Onosho’s other opponents so far, as well as seeing the kind of performance Terunofuji has been putting on, it looked kind of scary for the young Onomatsu fighter.
|EAST||TALE OF THE TAPE||WEST|
|E. Maegashira #1||Rank||E. Maegashira #9|
|0 wins||Past Meetings (1)||1 win|
|8-3||Record this Basho||8-3|
Onosho’s head-into-the-chest tachiai jolted the taller man up enough for a follow-up left to the face. Instead of keeping his distance, the pusher-thruster went for a surprising inside left grip before the mountain bore down with his upper body weight. Terunofuji patiently reached for a right underhook, but Onosho pummeled to the inside and made it clear he had no intention of backing up.
Now with the left inside on the belt that he sought before, Onosho fended off Terunofuji’s right outside reach, forcing him to settle for an overhook. With a belt lift and a stiff arm under Terunofuji’s left armpit, Onosho picked him up off his base and drove to the East tawara. Terunofuji’s only option was to throw a left kotenage, but he didn’t have the hold for it! Onosho kept his balance and shoved the Isegahama man to his belly for a win by tsukiotoshi!
Onosho stays in the yusho race, tied at 2nd place with two others at 9-3. An Ozeki, a Sekiwake, and a brand new top division fighter are ahead of him, sharing the lead at 10-2. Onosho’s next opponent is Takarafuji, for a 5-5 rivalry tie breaker!