Nagoya Day 8 Highlights


Hakuho-Salt

Simply, Some Fantastic Sumo!

This is one of the days that I wish the NHK show was more than just highlights. There was a wide variety of great sumo, from the first Makuuchi matches all the way up to the Yokozuna finals.

The young crop of rikishi who are competing at the very top of sumo for the first time are really recusing themselves well. We are not seeing waves of upset wins, that was never in the cards. But we are seeing young men with skill and a lot of determination going into matches they will not win with a plan to compete hard, and delivering a challenge to some of the best sumo has ever seen.

It should be noted that Aoiyama lost his match today against upstart Onosho, breaking his really fantastic unbeaten streak. I don’t really cover Aoiyama much, because he is a very one dimensional rikishi. He will execute his bouts in a given manner, and will rarely stray from that plan. This used to be Mitakeumi’s problem too, but he managed to expand his sumo, and as a result he is consistently fighting at San’yaku level now. Is it possibly for Aoiyama to be viable at higher ranks? I hold dear the notion that any person can adapt, survive and overcome. So for Aoiyama, I think it’s going to be about setting a goal and working hard to attain it.

Hakuho is now one win away from tying Chiyonofuji’s all time win mark of 1045. Short of an asterioid strike or a tragic injury, we will see Hakuho take out Kiao’s (yeah, that guy in the picture) all time high of 1047. It’s difficult to review the entirety of Hakuho’s career without devolving into a rolling mess of superlatives, and this additional record heaps those superlatives ever higher.

Highlight Matches

Takekaze defeats Chiyomaru – Huge effort from Chiyomaru here, really stood up to a pounding delivered by Takekaze at first, then Chiyomaru locked up the veteran to wear him down. They stood chest to chest for an extended period and it was Takekaze who broke the stalemate with a last ditch hip pumping attack. Great great sumo here.

Chiyonokuni defeats Gagamaru – So happy that Chiyonokuni has overcome whatever had him lethargic and losing during the first week. The battle with Planet Gagamaru was excellent effort from both rikishi, and it could have gone either way. Watch this one if you can find it! It’s not common to see Gagamaru this active and committed to battle.

Tokushoryu defeats Sokokurai – Although Sokokurai put up a great fight, Tokushoryu just kept moving forward. This is a fundamental principle of sumo that every Takakeisho learns, but many don’t always put into practice. As my readers may have guessed, I am a big fan of the fundamentals, and when I see them executed well, I call it out.

Takanoiwa defeats Okinoumi – At the bleeding edge of make-koshi, Takanoiwa pulls out a win. It did look like Okinoumi lost his footing and fell, but it was still a win.

Ishiura defeats Ichinojo – Yes yes yes! Sumo has these great big man / little man bouts, and this was about as large a difference as you might ever muster. Ichinojo really had Ishiura on the defense from the start, and it’s fun to see Ishiura deploy his take on Hakuho in a bout like this. Ishiura has now pulled even to 4-4.

Onosho defeats Aoiyama – I am starting to think that Onosho will get to have the “Takakeisho experience” next basho, as this young rikishi keeps turning up the power. The bout was mostly Onosho driving forward after finding a way to get Aoiyama off balance. Very nicely done.

Tochinoshin defeats Ikioi – Crowd favorite Ikioi has been sucking wind this basho, I hope that whatever has him underperforming can be resolved. Tochinoshin took a side step at the tachiai and got behind Ikioi to take control, but Ikioi recovered well enough to put up a bit of a struggle.

Shodai defeats Tamawashi – Shodai was high again in the tachiai, but was able to take charge of Tamawashi and defeat his offensive strategy. Very good effort from Shodai, and I hope we see more from him like this.

Takakeisho defeats Mitakeumi – This match was a joy to watch. We already know that Mitakeumi will be a San’yaku fixture for the next several basho, but it’s great to see just how much effort Takakeisho can bring to a match like this. Turns out, quite a bit! Watching these two with the same build, the same height and the same mawashi color is a bit unsettling. Well done lads!

Goeido 2.0 defeats Hokutofuji – I love me some Hokutofuji (Kaio Edition), but this was Goeido 2.0 time. He exploded off the line and blasted Hokutofuji out. When I talk about Goeido 2.0, it’s this total commitment to his attack plan, with no chance or hope of a defensive move anywhere along the way. Just overwhelm your opponent and accelerate to victory.

Takayasu defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma decides to grab Takayasu’s mawashi, and sumo nerds crack a smile. Yeah, let the big man hug you to victory. Thank you Chiyoshoma for doing that.

Hakuho defeats Ura – As foretold by our readers and the Tachiai team, it was all Hakuho. But damn Ura, that was a strong game plan, and I think you actually made the boss work for his win. I am not sure about Hakuho, but I was impressed that Ura was able to operate effectively. Hakuho is, essentially, unstoppable at this point. Yes, the crowd went bannannas.

Harumafuji defeats Kagayaki – The young Kagayaki really did not have much of a chance, but he put up a fantastic fight. As with the Hakuho-Ura match, he made him work for it. Kagayaki is still too inconsistent to be much of a fight, but sumo fans can see that he’s got the spark of potential to be great.

7 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 8 Highlights

  1. Must say I was very impressed by both Ura and Hakuho in this bout. Ura – for standing his ground and surviving for more than three seconds. Though he did end up prostrate, it wasn’t a shamefaced defeat like some of Hakuho’s previous victims in this basho. As for Hakuho, he didn’t try to amuse himself or scare Ura into shitting himself in any way, and he was actually magnanimous enough to help Pretty In Pink up after the bout. Watching a Hakuho bout without grinding my teeth was, well, hisashiburi.

    I’m a bit unenthusiastic about Takayasu always, but always, doing the same tachiai. That man needs, at the very least, to beat Hakuho twice (unless somebody does him a big and rather unlikely favor). He can’t rely just on his sheer mass and power to do that.

    Harumafuji’s knee seems to have improved today. Good for him because Kagayaki made sure that he needed it.

    Mooby Dick has been handed his first kuroboshi just as he was about to secure his kachi-koshi. Frankly, seeing him at the top of the ranking list felt a bit unnatural. I agree with you that he is rather drab. If he played every day like he did yesterday, though, with activity and enthusiasm, it would be a different matter.

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  2. Ura looked great out there and took one heck of a pounding with that landing. My son and I both cringe-cheered for that one.

    Kagayaki had a very creditable attack going on Harumafuji. Just couldn’t handle the circling he pulled off at the end. No surprise the yokozuna pulled it off but a mistake there and Kagayaki gets cushions on his head.

    Pretty sure we saw someone take a dive to pay off yakuza debts. I won’t say who, but F for terrible effort on making it look good.

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    • People were arguing about that on the comment thread under Kintamayama’s video. Moti vigorously defended the honor of sumo, instructing people to watch it again — so I did. I used the Chrome extension “Frame by Frame for Youtube”. Short version: Chiyotairyū’s grab missed and there was no visible transfer of momentum. Arawashi’s roll doesn’t start until well after contact between the rikishi had ended.

      (The app allows me to go through the video frame-by-frame at 25 frames/sec but the video itself looks to be about 12 frames/sec, so roughly every second frame is a repeat of the previous frame.)

      frame 1: clock ticks over from 3:20 to 3:21
      frame 13: Chiyotairyū appears to make contact with Arawashi’s left upper arm near the shoulder with both of his hands
      frame 15: it’s apparent that Chiyotairyū has missed his grab — his hands are below Arawashi’s arm; Chiyotairyū’s forearms just above the wrist are in contact with Arawashi’s arm
      frame 18: Chiyotairyū’s hands swing down to belt level
      frame 19: Arawashi’s left hand is between Chiyotairyū’s arms
      frame 21: Chiyotairyū’s arms are about to lose contact with Arawashi’s arm
      frame 23: both rikishi’s arms are too blurry to see clearly
      frame 25: the two rikishi are definitely no longer touching one another
      frame 27: at this point Chiyotairyū can only affect Arawashi by psychokinesis; the vertical position of Arawashi’s shoulders has not changed since frame 13
      frame 29: Arawashi’s upper body begins to pitch forward

      Thereafter Arawashi’s left leg straightens as he bends forward and then goes up in the air for the roll. Chiyotairyū doesn’t strike Arawashi again until well after the roll is in full swing.

      I can’t think of a reason for Arawashi to throw the bout, but I also can’t really account for what I saw in any other way.

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      • Did anyone bring up the slippy Nagoya dohyo?

        I have to confess though, that was my first thought as well. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

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      • Yeah I’m one of the guys arguing with Moti in that thread. I have huge respect for the guy, and I don’t mean to join sides in a fight he’s been having with other fans for a long time, but that business with Arawashi was a big hmmmm.

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  3. As much as I want to give credit to Shodai, I think Tamawashi made his bed there by going after a belt grip rather than his trademark throat attack which just seems tailor made for Shodai’s notoriously high tachiai. Tamawashi on paper is basically the perfect rikishi to take Shodai down (along with maybe Harumafuji!), exploding from under, grabbing him by the throat and not really letting him know what hit him (Shodai doesn’t seem to handle surprises well).

    Ikioi is destined for MK but I hope he gets his groove back here soon and can at least salvage a 6-9 or even a 7-8 with a lighter final week schedule.

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