Harumafuji’s slip-up gives up a surprising gold star to a visibly injured Jokoryu. There’s a lot of speculation about why the yokozuna fell so easily but my take on it is he was trying for a rare kimarite and underestimated Jokoryu’s ability to stand his ground. I’ve never seen anyone reach all the way round the opponent to grab the thong part of the mawashi. Until I know the real name, I’m going to call it an attempted nuclear-wedgie. I will not fault Harumafuji for trying because I enjoy his creative style of sumo. He seems to always find new ways to win that I haven’t seen, like the komatasukui from yesterday. The timing today is questionable, when tied for the lead with Hakuho to close out week one.
Hakuho seems destined to lose to a well timed hatakikomi in the next few days. Today’s match against Takayasu was even closer than the near loss to Ikioi Thursday. Again, Takayasu’s foot touched outside the dohyo before the yokozuna hit the clay. Nevertheless, he stands alone at 7-0. Harumafuji joins Kisenosato and Okinoumi with one loss. Seven wrestlers, led by Kakuryu are two back.
As for Kakuryu, he won a close match with Endo. Endo’s thrusting attacks the last few days have made for some very exciting bouts. With only two wins to show for his efforts he’ll need to step on the gas this week to finish with a winning record.
Kisenosato finally got the better of Ichinojo. This time the newcomer did not pull a henka on the ozeki but it’s clearly changed Kisenosato’s tachiai. Kisenosato used to be very slow, baiting many wrestlers into false-starts but he seems to have given up that tactic after being tricked in his first bout against Ichinojo.
Meanwhile, Ikioi is still winless, this time going down to Tochinoshin in another close one. He’s generally got good bouts but just comes up short. He needs more experience but I don’t know how much he’ll learn fighting lower ranked maegashira next tournament. He’s got Endo tomorrow in what will surely be an anticipated bout. Both wrestlers are quite popular.
A bit further down the banzuke, Oosunaarashi absolutely throttled Yoshikaze. His aggressive style is racking up the wins but he’s definitely favoring the right leg. At times it seems he cannot put all of his weight on it. I do not think he can contend with longer matches on the belt, or those requiring leg thrusts and lifts. His opponents need to henka to his left, forcing him to plant that right leg, then get in close for a belt battle. Otherwise he’ll just keep filling up plastic surgeon offices.