Yokozuna Bloodbath Continues
Firstly, apologies for not posting any previews on Tuesday. Hopefully no more cross country marathon road trips for a while.
Overnight in Osaka, the Haru basho continued pulverizing the Yokozuna and Ozeki ranks. The concerns we raised prior to the basho seem to be panning out, as today Hakuho, Kakuryu and Goeido all lost their bouts. At the end of day four, only Kisenosato remains undefeated in the upper two ranks. Kisenosato easily won over Sokokurai today. I would once again call attention to how wide Kisenosato’s stance is throughout almost the entire match. In finishing he once again presents his mie pose.
Ikioi was winless going into today’s match with Hakuho, but he came off the line hard and just pushed with everything he had. A monoii ensued, but Ikioi’s victory was upheld. A fantastic kinboshi win for a popular rikishi. Hakuho looked stunned (as was I).
Likewise, the Kotoshogiku revival train gained a bit more steam today when the demoted Ozeki was able to overpower Kakuryu. Kotoshogiku attempted his preferred hug-n-chug, but did not have the leg strength to take the Yokozuna out, but executed a rather clumsy throw (sukuinage) to finish him. It was ugly and all over the map, but Kotoshogiku got it done.
In other news of top rikishi back from the grave, Terunofuji easily dispatched Yoshikaze. Going into day 5, Terunofuji is undefeated! However in the walking dead camp, Goeido was defeated by Takanoiwa. It almost seemed that Goeido was unaware he was already over the tawara, and kept trying to thrust Takanoiwa down after the match was over.
In a battle of the giants, there was some excellent strength sumo between Takayasu and Mitakeumi (this was my favorite match of the day). Takayasu prevailed but Mitakeumi is clearly demonstrating skill and strength to maintain a high rank. Takarafuji has been showing us some fantastic sumo this basho, and in his match against Hokutofuji, he was able to get Hokutofuji turned around and pushed out. Given that Hokutofuji has yet to finish a tournament with a losing record, his current 1-3 record should worry him.
Lower down the torikumi, the hapless Tochinoshin fell to the undefeated Chiyoshoma in a battle that ranged back and forth for a good amount of time. Chiyoshoma was in control the whole time, but Tochinoshin repulsed attempts at throws, slap downs and trips to remain upright and in the fight. In the end Chiyoshoma was able to force him out.
Ichinojo as also been excelling this basho, looking greatly renewed and invigorated. Today he faced Kagayaki, and marched him directly off the dohyo with little fuss or resistance.
Ishiura executed a really nice throw in his win over Sadanoumi, and I am beginning to hope that he is getting his poise and confidence back after his drubbing during Hatsubasho. Ishiura has a lot of promise and potential, so it’s great to see him back into his sumo.
Lastly, Ura is at it again, and was able to keep upright during yet another super-low tachiai. His opponent, Daieisho, seemed perplexed and was unsure what to do. This is typical of Ura matches and he usually will win in the moments his adversary is trying to reorganize their thoughts, and come to grip with what just happened.
All in all a great day of sumo, and I will gamberize and be back on my regular posting schedule.
Updated – Video from Jason’s all sumo channel (from the full NHK feed) of the Hakuho vs Ikioi match, showing the cause of the monii, and the controversy about the call. From the angle shown, it would seem to indicate that Hakuho probably deserved a rematch. By the way, this same ruling in similar conditions was used to remove a victory from Goeido in Kyushu.