Nagoya Day 5 Highlights


Kisenosato

Less Crazy, More Pushing, Thrusting, Throws!

Day 5 closed out the first act of the Nagoya basho with a day that seems to have been devoted to pushing, shoving and all things oshi-zumō. Even the big guys got in on it, and the results were really exciting. As noted last night, Endo is out fairly hard, likely for a couple of months with damage to his ankle to compliment the problem he was already having with his ACL.

This means Ura is now on deck to provide fodder for the upper ranks, as the lack of Kakuryu and Endo (and possibly soon Kisenosato and Terunofuji) means that the lower ranked Maegashira will be tapped to participate in joi level bouts that they might normally avoid. Ura looked very good today (more on that below), so he is going to be alright in his joi bouts over the next 10 days.

Terunofuji is clearly very hurt, and I wonder if he is risking the repair work he had done to his knee by competing. With any luck he will be taken aside by his stable master or some official in the NSK and convinced to heal. We may lose 1-2 Yokozuna this year, and it would be really wonderful to see Terunofuji push for a shot at the rope.

As predicted, the retirement rumors are swirling around Yokozuna Kakuryu. Truth be told that he has the speed and skill to perform at Yokozuna levels, but his body is falling apart, and can’t support the intensity of competition that the modern sumo league has adopted. This raises a question that has been rattling my poor tired brain. Are 6 basho per year too many? Should the NSK move to 4? Perhaps 2 in Tokyo and 2 “Not in Tokyo”. With the Not in Tokyo venues changing to bring sumo to a larger area of Japan. I am sure that to the existing Kyushu, Osaka and Nagoya, a basho in Hokkaido would be greatly welcomed (especially in the height of summer), and an old-timey outdoor basho in Kyoto would be a real marque event.

Last but certainly not least – it was clear that Kisenosato had sustained some injury to his left ankle during today’s match with Ikioi. The big Yokozuna took a dive into the first row of zabuton, landing on a Gyoji. Word from Kintamayama’s daily newsletter is that he was taken directly to the hospital, and they are leaving his status for day 6 as a decision for the morning.

Highlight Matches

Kaisei defeats Gagamaru – To me it looks like Kaisei may have lost weight, or at least is more healthy than he has been in months. He handled a failing Gagamaru well.

Arawashi defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi finally loses one. Match started with a matta. that should have been two matta, but Arawashi found his mark and Nishikigi went down.

Shohozan defeats Takekaze – After a Shohozan matta, Takekaze employs a henka, but Shohozan is having none of it. In fact it seemed to really crank up “Big Guns” and what followed was Shohozan chasing Takekaze around the dohyo. Though Takekaze battled back briefly, Shohozan was out for blood.

Onosho defeats Ishiura – Huge tachiai from Onosho was carried into a blistering attack. Match ended with Ishiura taking flight into the second row. Onosho is really impressing me right now.

Ura defeats Tochinoshin – I am trying to restrain my superlatives, but this was damn brilliant work by Ura. Tochinoshin had him on size, reach, weight and strength. What was he to do? His plan seems to have been to get inside and push like mad. Tochinoshin, being the veteran he is, knew this was going to happen, and masterfully kept striking Ura away. Ura set a trap, by backing up to the tawara, baiting Tochinoshin to come push him out. As Tochinoshin moved to take the bait, inside went Ura – who grabbed a leg, and with a quick pivot it was Tochinoshin who left the ring. Ura doubters, take note – this was a big match in the progression of Ura.

Mitakeumi defeats Tamawashi – Mitakeumi continues unbeaten against Tamawashi, as he strongly took command from the tachiai and forced Tamawashi from the dohyo in short order.

Kotoshogiku defeats Terunofuji – As a gauge of how damaged and in pain Terunofuji is, he allowed Kotoshogiku to set up and execute his trademark hip pump attack, and could do nothing to stop it. I pray that Terunofuji goes kyujo soon, as i am sure if he is healthy he can battle out of the kadoban status at Aki.

Takayasu defeats Takakeisho – A far cry from day 4’s match with Hakuho, Takakeisho faced the run away freight train that is Takayasu. The tachiai stood Takakeisho upright and rocked him back on his heels, and from there Takayasu batted him around a few times and then threw him down.

Goeido defeats Shodai – Shodai once again brings his weak tachiai, and Goeido really blasted him hard. But from there, Shodai put up a really good fight. I also like that we are seeing more Goeido 2.0 action, as I really like that guy.

Ikioi defeats Kisenosato – Kisenosato seems to have become an injury magnet. Ikioi focused on Kisenosato’s left arm, and cranked it for all he was worth. The Yokozuna took a dive off the dohyo, and seems to have sustained a left ankle injury as well. Ikioi’s first win of Nagoya is a kinboshi against Kisenosato, whom he has never defeated before in 16 attempts.

Harumafuji defeats Hokotofuji – Harumafuji delivers his sumo in a big way today. Hokotofuji is good, and one day he is going to be great, I think, but today it was speed and maneuverability that carried the day. Hokotofuji never had time to counter the Horse’s rocket propelled tachiai, which Harumafuji transitioned seamlessly into a brilliant sukuinage.

Hakuho defeats Yoshikaze – Nobody should be surprised. Yoshikaze was a real threat, and was likely to blast off the tachiai into the boss. That moment of uncertanty would have deicded the match, and there was a fair chance that if Yoshikaze landed a good tsuppari, it could have gotten ugly for Hakuho. I hate to see a Yokozuna throw a henka against my favorite rikishi, but it was kind of the right thing to do here.

9 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 5 Highlights

  1. Ura…. Wow! How? I cant understand how he does it. I think someone should see how he trains so we could dissect the techniques.

    We have one healthy ozeki, possibly two

    Hakubo pulled a trick from harumas book. Just showing he is an encyclopedia of sumo personified

    I want to see ura vs hakuho!

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    • I don’t know that Ura is going to get matched with the Boss this run. If he can keep a steady pace and pick up his kochi-koshi, he will get his chance at Aki as he would possibly be Maegashira 1 or Maegashira 2. I think it is more likely we will see him face Tamawashi, Mitakeumi and maybe Takayasu. But for real entertainment, Ura vs Yoshikaze. Yoshikaze is already a fantastic coach of sumo, so I am curious what lesson he would share with young Ura.

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      • With Kakaryu and Endo out, and probably others soon, it’s almost certain that Ura will face Hakuho — there aren’t 10 higher-ranked rikishi left for his remaining bouts.

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  2. Onoshos continues to aply a sumo that´s really, really solid – and this guy is what? 21 years old? Most impressive. I guess we will see him as a Komusubi next basho – baring injuries of course.

    Ura´s sumo is evolving in a very great way – less chaos, more focus and a lot more “solid”. But it still retains the flash and bang I love about Ura. Win or Loose, nobody entertains like Ura.And if he goes up against the big names his ability to learn quickly and apply the lessons the next day will only enhance his sumo further. He doesn´t really repeat mistakes.

    Mitakeumi is hungry, and I would bet this basho sees him start his Ozeki run.

    Takayasu can do it all – slapping, throwing, mawashi-fighting. He never closes his eyes during a match and he seems to be done with loosing for the ret of the basho. That´s some fierce determination he is showing.

    Please Kisenosato, step away from this basho and get well. It brings out tears to see loosing him with a left hand in grip of his own. Inconceivable a few month back, today its (sad) reality.

    Hakuho seemingly has decided that loses are something that happen to other rikishi, and not him. Can´t wait to see him against Takayasu (who has decided something similar). And I hope Harumafuji stays healthy (as healthy as he is as least) so we can have a nice final bout at day 15.

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  3. Yes, please, Kisenosato and Terunofuji, please sit this one out. It’s really painful to watch your bouts right now. (I’m sure the tate-gyoji on whom the Yokozuna landed agrees)

    Ura seemed to have entered the dohyo with an appetite for leg. He was tenaciously aiming for that leg, like a horny pug. He’s funnier to watch than the kinjite bouts. And he probably drives his heya’s barber to tears.

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    • Horny pug… now I won’t be able to shake that image for weeks. But yeah, he has a new tactic that the big boys seems to have some challenges countering. Tochinoshin today was a fun fun match.

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