Hatsu Recap 8 – Ishiura (石浦)


Disappointing Second Makuuchi Tournament.

Ishiura debuted in Makuuchi during the November basho in Kyushu, bringing a lot of power in a compact package. Entering the tournament at the bottom of the Maegashira ranks (M15), he faced a fairly easy list of competitors, and pounded them into the clay, finishing 10-5 and securing the fighting spirit special prize. With such a strong opening, we wondered how he would fare in his second tournament.

In his second basho, he was ranked Maegashira 9, and faced somewhat more fierce competition. While most of the “up and coming” were running wild while the Sanyaku crumbled, Ishiura continued to struggle. A protoge of Hakuho, Ishiura has been working on a model of intense sumo training coupled with impressive strength in a small, fast frame.

It is not uncommon for rikishi to have problems with their second tournament in a new division, and it was clear that Ishiura had a limited set of opening moves that he was comfortable using. But after Kyushu, most of the Makuuchi men had watched the video of his bouts, and knew what to do to blunt his attacks. He also got distracted a bit from his sumo when he became a spokesman for the Tokyo McLaren dealership. As a result he turned in a disappointing 6 win / 9 loss record in January.

Tachiai continues to watch Ishiura with great interest, as we think that he represents a bold experiment in building a better rikishi – one that does not rely on mass alone – to dominate. We expect he will be training hard with the rest of the crew at Miyagino Beya, and we hope that Hakuho is motivating him daily to higher levels of performance.

We certainly hope that Ishiura will return to Osaka ready to win.

10 thoughts on “Hatsu Recap 8 – Ishiura (石浦)

  1. He is obviously muscular and strong, but he needs to put more effort on the dining table. Need to work hard on the rice and chanko nabe.

    but this guy, if he can put 30kg more, is a force to reckon with

    • So there is a question that I have on wether you have to be that massive to be effective as a sumotori. I would like to think that it’s not required.

      I take a look at Ura, and he has put on a lot of weight. But I think it has hurt his sumo. If I go back and look at some of the struggling rikishi, and review their photos from a few years ago, they are smaller, healthier and generally more competitive. I have this hunch that many of these men overshoot the maximum their bodies and their sumo can support, and it results in injury and decreased performance. I do hope Ishiura focuses on strength rather than mass, as I would love to see that be a formula for success.

  2. I was impressed his first time out with fast and low moves that seemed almost like a new form of sumo.

    But he was what they call a “one trick pony” in the second basho and everyone caught on fast.

    Needs to develop some more moves, not sure though with his build and height how far he can go though.

    • The “one trick” aspect is dead on. Ura has had the same problem, and I am eager to see how it plays out in Makuuchi. I personally think that Ishiura represents a bold experiment to build a better, healthier rikishi. He spends a lot of time lifting weights, which is not common among top ranked men. It gives him amazing strength, and some nice speed. But it remains to be seen if he can work out the mechanics of how to combat an opponent who outweighs him by 30kg or more.

    • Chiyonofuji was a real cut, little guy, too. He put on 20 kilos from his makuuchi debut to when he became yokozuna at 115 kg, but mostly muscle. He was also a bit taller than Ishiura. Being big is just as much of a gimmick but also damages the body, especially the back (Ichinojo) and knees (Kotoshogiku). It really does come down to skill and health. I hope Ura makes that flexibility pay off.

      • I really want Ishiura and Ura to be viable. I agree that the fatso-fuji approach is a gimmick, and it’s a way to increase your defenses via sheer bulk.

        • The sumodb doesn’t have video from Chiyonofuji’s makuuchi debut but they do have one video from his second tournament. The dude was small. Mainoumi small. He did add 20 kg by the time he became yokozuna but I feel there’s hope for fast, technical dudes. https://youtu.be/XHj5sZCkzGw

  3. And also don’t forget about the small, but extremely maneuverable Mainoumi. He was short by sumo standards, but was very popular among sumo enthusiasts due to his lightning-quick frame and toughness. I have watched a lot of Mainoumi against much larger rikishi, like Musashimaru, Konishiki, Musoyama, etc., on YouTube. Fun stuff!

    • Mainoumi! I can still watch videos of Mighty Mouse cranking it up. That guy was a self propelled pile of awesome.

      Not that his size and shape are comparable, but I get the same kind of “damn the torpedoes” vibe from Mitakeumi. One of the reasons I think he may be destined for greatness if he can stay healthy.


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