Signs Of Life
What was fantastic about day 7 was a number of rikishi who had been flagging badly, seem to have caught their breath and have returned to full engagement. It’s always worrisome to see someone like Chiyonokuni, who has a really bright future, start the basho 1-5. Likewise Ishiura woke up today and remembered he is actually really good at sumo. I was happy to see many rikishi get it in gear and gamberize.
A special comment on the Harumafuji match. It’s clear that he has a lot of trouble transmitting power to ground at this point, and that his knees and ankles are not well. In the last three matches, he has been on one leg each time, and when Kotoshogiku moved forward strongly, Harumafuji had nothing to stop it until he locked his knees and pushed back with his heels on the tawara. It’s painful to watch, and I don’t know Harumafuji endures the pain he must suffer on the dohoy.
Matches We Liked Day 7
Gagamaru defeats Takekaze – Planet Gagamaru has been turning in a real stinker of a basho thus far, so it was great to see him actually come off the mark and dominate Takakaze. Let’s hope that Gagamaru has settled in and is starting to really try.
Chiyonokuni defeats Nishikigi – Chiyonokuni is back to doing sumo! Huzzah! Seriously, the level of strong attacks we saw today is his standard operating mode. I am still looking for Nishikigi to turn in a fairly strong kachi-koshi from Nagoya, so this is just a bump on his journey.
Kotoyuki defeats Shohozan – “Big Guns” goes down hard as the lifeless Kotoyuki comes roaring back ready for battle. Shohozan gave it his full measure, but something agitated Kotoyuki, and he fought like he meant it. More please!
Okinoumi defeats Daishomaru – Yesterday we saw some life from Okinoumi, today he was really rowdy, and delivered a blistering attack to send Daishomaru immediately off the dohyo. We hope that Okinoumi can keep this intensity for the rest of the basho.
Aoiyama defeats Ichinojo – Man Mountain Aoiyama made quick work of Ichinojo, and there was really very little to this bout, save that Aoiyama remains undefeated for now, and tied with Hakuho for the lead.
Ishiura defeats Tochiozan – Very nice, very brutal take down executed well by Ishiura today. Tochiozan has been racking up the wins thus far, and came in as a strong opponent. The biggest question – where was this awesome sumo the last 6 days, Ishiura?
Kagayaki defeats Onosho – Kagayaki’s biggest trouble is his inconsistency. He will go for days looking like he is not sure what to do, and then we get a match like day 7. He faces Onosho, who is on a real hot streak, and tosses him out like a bale of hay.
Hokutofuji defeats Yoshikaze – Yoshikaze was rather ineffective today against Hokutofuji, and has looked vague since that embarrassing henka loss to Hakuho. In contrast, Hokutofuji has looked sharp every day, ready for whatever comes his way. If Hokutofuji stays healthy, I see a lot of great sumo for him in the next few years.
Mitakeumi defeats Ura – Mitakeumi underscores that he belongs at Sekiwake, and continues to refine his sumo. Ura is less effective moving backwards this basho, and perhaps that’s for the best.
Tochinoshin defeats Tamawashi – Tochinoshin, after almost a year of having not much to give, is really powered up and fighting well this basho. The bout with Tamawashi was a real slug fest that could have gone either way, but Tochinoshin was positioned correctly to bounce Tamawashi over the bales.
Takayasu defeats Shodai – Notable only in that we can once again clearly see Shodai too high in the tachiai, and the staggering strength of Takayasu. Takayasu is settling into his Ozeki role, which is really just the same sumo he was doing earlier this year on a different schedule.
Hakuho defeats Ikioi – Ikioi gets airborne in what seems to be a trivial match for The Boss. He cracked a huge smile afterwards, and seems to genuinely be having fun this basho.