Our leaders remain the same: Hakuho and Harumafuji remain undefeated, and virtually unchallenged this week, with Takayasu now the lone contender chasing with one loss.
The bout of the day, Kisanosato/Mitakeumi lived up to the hype. The banged up Yokozuna helps to cement his legacy with these solid wins while the worthy youngster effectively demonstrates that he will be a leader in this league. With the simultaneous rise of Takayasu, the Filipino era may be upon us. Anyway, it helped that most of the makuuchi bouts were relatively quick contests, punctuated by oshidashi (push out) victories.
In clearly the best belt battle of the day, Mitakeumi’s charge put Kisenosato on his heels at the edge of the dohyo. However, the junior yokozuna proved his mettle by battling back to the center and patiently wearing down the up-and-comer and working him out of the opposite side of the ring.
Hakuho was just as effective, demonstrating that Daieisho’s rise was a fluke with a speedy, straight forward yorikiri. Daieisho faces makekoshi tomorrow as a result. Harumafuji made quick work of Yoshikaze, who seemed stunned after the yokozuna’s top-knot met his chin. After that powerful tachiai, everyone’s favorite pincushion had no counter-attack and was quickly ushered out.
Goeido may have closed the door on Kotoshogiku’s career. Not only was Giku’s thrusting unable to move Goeido backwards…Goeido was able to get Giku moving backwards despite the thrusts. The wily Sekiwake pivoted, forcing the kadoban ozeki’s back to the straw bales. A year ago, this would have been prime position for a hippity-hoppety jackrabbit force out but with Goeido’s own ozeki status on the line, he finished Giku off with a quick throw. Kotoshogiku is done. If he hangs on through this tournament, he has to fight Hakuho tomorrow and Kisenosato after that. He will surely finish with a losing record. The only question being, how far he will fall into the ranks of the maegashira?
Next week, he may be able to pick up some wins and finish with 5, 6, or even 7 wins. But best case scenario he will be in the top maegashira for July. It may even benefit him to fall FAR into the maegashira. If he loses most (or all) the rest of his bouts, and plummets with Daieisho into the middle ranks of the rank-and-file, he will not face sanyaku opponents in July. He could win against easier maegashira opponents. Will his pride allow him to slide that far, lose the extra retainers and status? Will he use that chance to heal his injuries, retool his game, and become a multi-dimensional wrestler? I would love to see him stay around, if his love of the sport is that strong, like Aminishiki.
Second place Takayasu got a quick, weird win against a Chiyoshoma who was trying, and failing, to do his best Ura impression. Chiyonokuni put in great effort against Tamawashi in an exciting bout, but lost his balance and got slapped down. Ura had Sokokurai completely befuddled. After he got pushed out, Sokokurai just stood there like, “what just happened?”
Honestly, most of the rest of the bouts were kinda “meh”. Tochinoshin was just too big and strong for Ishiura. Once he got the atomic wedgie going, the bout resembled those matches against little kids. Ichinojo was back to his lumbering, lethargic ways. Even Ikioi/ Uncle Takara was forgettable. I think I was just too anxious that they were going to call a matta against Ikioi. Everyone seemed to get out of whack and was a bit uncertain as the shinpan cracked down on getting both hands to touch the clay.
One thought on “Natsu Day 7 Highlights”
Kisenosato’s defence when he’s up against the straw bales is unbelievable, even one handed against top rikishi, the man is so hard to push out! If he stays until the end of the basho I cannot wait to see how he fares against the other yokozuna.