Up And Coming Sanyaku Causing Trouble Early
A great opening day for the Haru basho in Osaka, with plenty of great sumo to enjoy. If you are new to enjoying sumo, keep in mind that the first few days of any basho may seem a bit odd, as the riskishi sometimes have to struggle to get into their competition “groove” and employ their best sumo.
The theme that we suspected was going to be prominent – one of the up and coming next generation challenging the established senior rikishi – played out on day one across multiple ranks of the banzuke.
Ura defeats Sadanoumi – Low tachiai from Ura with a quick pivot to eject Sadanoumi across the bales. Ura made it look easy.
Ichinojo defeats Aoiyama – Ichinojo closed out Hatsu with an impressive 11-4 record, there were some indications that he was getting his sumo to a higher state, and his bout with Aoiyama today only furthers that theory. Ichinojo showed good balance and kept the pressure forward. A solid win for an up and coming giant.
Endo defeats Arawashi – Quite impressive sumo from Endo today. Arawashi attempted to set up and execute multiple throws, but Endo kept low and kept his feet wide, and persisted in moving Arawashi every close to the bales. Endo looked very good today.
Takayasu defeats Shohozan – Shohozan had Takayasu well out of his comfort zone, and struggling to win. Normally “Big T” likes to lock up and opponent and wear them down, in today’s bout, it was Shohozan in command for most of the match, breaking Takayasu’s hold several times. In the end Takayasu was able to get a good mawashi grip and marched Shohozan out.
Tamawashi defeats Takanoiwa – Tamawashi appears solid as Sekiwake, his match today against Takanoiwa had a strong Tachiai, but Takanoiwa lost his balance and hit the dohyo early.
Terunofuji defeats Sokokurai – Terunofuji got a strong mawashi grip early and lifted Sokokurai over the tawara. To me Terunofuji looked very cautious and somewhat tender, even though he managed a clear win.
Goeido defeats Ikioi – Well, that was Goeido 2.0! Ikioi got blasted in a blink of an eye. I would love to see another Goeido 2.0 basho. Thank goodness his ankle held up today.
Kotoshogiku defeats Harumafuji – Even a long, steep path like the one Kotoshogiku must walk begins with a single step, and he took that step today. He got Harumafuji high on the tachiai and kept moving forward with relentless power from his lower body. I guess the real question is about Harumafuji coming out of today. The crowd loved it.
Kakuryu defeats Mitakeumi – Kakuryu can be a very tough rikishi to defeat. His style is to wait for his opponent to over-commit and then exploit their momentum for his gain. Mitakeumi had Kakuryu wrapped up, moving backwards and in trouble. But that was just Kakuryu letting Mitakeumi do the hard work of moving all that mass to the edge of the ring. Faster than he could react, Kakuryu pivoted and directed Mitakeumi out.
Shodai defeats Hakuho – This match surprised me. Shodai was in command from the start, with Hakuho putting himself off balance when he tried a thrust-down against Shodai, who instead turned the tables and pushed the Yokozuna to the clay. Nice reaction, nice technique.