Stare Downs & Wild Battles
Day 2 was largely predictable, but day 3 threw that all away and went for wild and furious. Though it will not likely be in the highlights shown globally, there was a great stare down in Juryo between Chiyootori and Amakaze, which seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the day.
Some things are now clearer, first and foremost that Kisenosato is in trouble (still injured), Hakuho is healthy enough to be overwhelming, and Harumafuji is ready to go the distance.
it also looks like Ura is more comfortable with his increased mass, and is pulling in a lot of sponsors and a good amount of Kensho. Kotoshogiku is at real risk of bombing out with a hard make-koshi, and Takayasu is the crowd favorite to supplant the Ozeki ranks.
Goeido is a fierce and as durable as a shoji, but Terunofuji can still be provoked to great feats of strength.
Ura defeats Ishiura – Multiple stare downs, and then a wild, rolling battle that was absolutely thrilling. Ishiura kept trying to switch to offense, but would have to improvise because Ura would do the next unexpected move. If Ura can get consistant, he is a real spoiler for anyone. I am keen to see him fight someone like Yoshikaze.
Tochiozan defeats Takekaze – Tochiozan is continuing his hot streak from Osaka, and seems to be fighting well. Today he took care of Takekaze rapidly and with flair.
Mitakeumi defeats Tamawashi – Once the dead wood clears out at Sekiwake, Mitakeumi will take his rightful place at the next step up. Tamawashi put up a good fight, Mitakeumi committed everything to winning, and got his result.
Takayasu defeats Kotoshogiku – I do love Kotoshogiku, but this basho it seems he is worn out and not up to even competing at the Sekiwake level. Takayasu now needs 7 more for Ozeki.
Yoshikaze defeats Goeido – Big stare down here, and Yoshikaze does it very well indeed. Goeido brought massive attitude and zero power. Bonus points for Yoshikaze spanking Goeido’s behind like a Maezumo upstart as he slapped him down.
Kisenosato defeats Chiyonokuni – But just barely! Kisenosato is only half there due to his pectoral injury, but he will not sit out, no matter what. I swear he wins by force of will and guile alone. Even though they talk over it, the roar in the Kokugikan was raucous and heartfelt. Both rikishi gave it everything, and the fans loved it.
Hakuho defeats Chiyoshoma – It was fast and ugly, Hakuho just kept moving forward with speed and strength. It’s so good to see Hakuho’s sumo back at full strength.
Harumafuji defeats Okinoumi – Sadly Okinoumi was not really too tough an opponent for a healthy Harumafuji, and it look a bit like a practice match. But like Hakuho, it’s very welcome to see Harumafuji strong and moving well.