Okinoumi Shimmies and Shines

Today’s highlight bout has to be Okinoumi over Kotoshogiku. There were several other great matches, including an epic battle between Terunofuji and Tochinoshin. But I thoroughly enjoyed the skill demonstrated by Okinoumi utterly out-classed his ozeki opponent, adding another scalp to his growing collection. Kotoshogiku is sumo’s version of One Direction because he only moves in one direction: straight ahead. Prior to today’s bout, Kotoshogiku had beaten Okinoumi 11 times. Nine of those eleven were yorikiri wins.

Okinoumi demonstrated an effective strategy: continual lateral movement. Five times Kotoshogiku drove forward and five times Okinoumi fended, shuffling to the side. And on the fifth such sidle, Okinoumi was able to use the ozeki’s own momentum to help throw him to the ground. Kotoshogiku really set himself up for the loss, though, as he never even tried to get a hold of Okinoumi’s belt. He seemed content with a bear hug but once broken found himself in the dirt. For Okinoumi it’s on to Goeido tomorrow while Kotoshogiku will face his own big challenge in Yoshikaze.

Goeido had a rough bout today. Takayasu must have wanted to turn his face into burger as he relentlessly rained blow after blow to the head. Goeido persevered and eventually managed to get in close and get a belt grip. From there, Goeido took control and worked Takayasu out of the dohyo. Based on the punishment and effort that bout took, I’d have to handicap tomorrow’s bout in Okinoumi’s favor, in spite of Goeido’s relative dominance over the maegashira. Goeido looked worn out as he picked up his pile of envelopes.  Both sekitori are in a position they’re not used to, leading a tournament going into Day 7.

Harumafuji jumped all over a bewildered Takanoiwa. Kakuryu gave a seat to Kaisei while Kisenosato was too much for Shodai. The Terunofuji/Tochinoshin bout was a great, entertaining belt battle with Terunofuji holding on for an exhausting win. Somehow, I think Chiyonokuni will still not be able to beat a tired Tochinoshin. Interestingly, they haven’t met in over two years when Tochinoshin was in Juryo, in the midst of his remarkable and unprecedented return from injury.

Endo showed excellent balance as he somehow forced Takekaze down while perched on one leg. Chiyoshoma really impressed me against Ikioi. Mitakeumi weathered a nodowa attack from Kotoyuki to force him out. And as Bruce mentioned in his previous post, Osunaarashi is out due to injury. I’ve not heard whether it’s a tournament-long injury or if he’ll be back but I hope he recovers fully.

One thought on “Okinoumi Shimmies and Shines

  1. Okinoumi is not only winning, he is doing so in excellent form. That was a fantastic demonstration of handling a “bulldozer” style attack which is Kotoshogiku’s favorite approach. It struck me as similar to some of the practice exercises the rikishi perform, Okinoumi played ballast to Kotoshogiku, wore him down and waited for his chance. The move was subtle but powerful, it’s great to watch in slow motion, a quick weight shift put Kotoshogiku off balance enough that the throw worked.

    The Takayasu / Goeido bout – the big Sekiwake should have gone early for the belt, in my opinion. I have yet to see him really do well in slap festivals.

    Tomorrow is going to be a day of days, I agree that going in it’s advantage Okinoumi.


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