Harumafuji’s win over Tochiozan was a great way to cap an exciting day one of sumo action. He leads the charge as many of our favorites and up-and-comers slipped up early. Takayasu’s yorikiri win over Tochinoshin gets him off to a great start to challenge as the lone ozeki winner on Day 1. In fact, as we’ll see below, these were the only sanyaku wins today. Let that sink in. A banged up Harumafuji, who bleeds kinboshi, and the newest ozeki Takayasu are the only sanyaku wrestlers with wins today.
All the history (45 bouts), all the pressure of kadoban status was not enough to prepare Goeido for Kotoshogiku’s henka. It was almost a patented Harumafuji sidestep but Harumafuji meets his opponent full on before ducking to the side. In this case, Giku went to the side from the start…just not as blatant as Aminishiki usually does. Giku then finished Goeido off with an easy shove. Terunofuji lost a similarly disappointing match to Hokutofuji. In this case, the tachiai was well met by both, but as Terunofuji allowed himself to slide back to the tawara, he put far too much weight forward. Hokutofuji sensed his chance to pull back and let the ozeki fall to the clay.
Mitakeumi similarly looked rusty and lost to a quick pull by Onosho. Yoshikaze also fell to Chiyotairyu’s tsukidashi early on in this sanyaku blood bath, which started with Shohozan’s great bout against komusubi Tamawashi. Their bout was active, lively, going back and forth until Tamawashi over committed and Shohozan pulled back with perfect timing to let Tamawashi flop onto his belly.
Ura’s agility won the day over Shodai’s power. After a strongly met charge, Ura grabbed Shodai’s arm and pulled back, ducking to the side at the last minute for the impressive tottari win. Ichinojo and Takakeisho faced off to start the second half of makuuchi action. Ichinojo absorbed Takakeisho’s initial charge with ease and seemed to have the bout under control until he tried to grab Takakeisho’s belt. It seemed that going that low brought him off balance and with his back foot already close to the straw bales, Takakeisho pushed him back enough for the win. Balance was also a factor as Chiyonokuni quickly dispatched an off-balance Kagayaki.
The Ikioi yusho is off to a great start with his genki win over Chiyoshouma. The solid shoulder at the tachiai was followed up with a hatakikomi attempt. Chiyoshoma countered with an ill-advised pull as Ikioi pounced and launched both wrestlers out with the Mongolian falling out of the ring first.
Surprisingly, Takarafuji and Takanoiwa have only faced each other seven times, with Takanoiwa’s win bringing his advantage to 5-2. Takarafuji put Takanoiwa on the defensive when he went for an early belt grab but Takanoiwa evaded, resulting in a lively, fast moving bout as each wrestler tried to maintain position. However, Takanoiwa was able to gain control of the center of the ring and walked Uncle Taka out.
Ishiura’s quick henka over Arawashi may have won the bout, but it lost the crowd support. Daieisho aggressively chased wily Takekaze around the ring, picking up a good force-out victory.
The maru-battle was won by Daishomaru. Everyone’s favorite bowling ball, Chiyomaru, met Daishomaru with a straight-forward tachiai. Daishomaru quickly shifted to the side, letting Chiyomaru slip over the edge.
Kaisei’s sukuinage win over Nishikigi evens their personal rivalry at 2-2. Kaisei had retreated to the edge of the dohyo and when Nishikigi advanced, Kaisei used the leverage he could get from the straw bales to keep Nishikigi’s momentum going forward and out of the ring.
Sponsorship banners made an early appearance in the makuuchi tournament, courtesy of Endo’s low rank. He featured about a dozen banners for this bout against Okinoumi. Okinoumi won with a quick throw. It seemed Endo was over exposed with his left foot very far forward. Okinoumi did not miss the opportunity to tip him over forward. I know my previous post made a bit of a point about Endo’s sponsors had not been as present since his Juryo demotion, so I was glad to see so many banners for this fight.
Asanoyama picked up a convincing first makuuchi win over veteran Sokokurai. Yotakayama also got a quick hug-and-chug win over juryo bound Tokushoryu. Daiseido was victorious in a rookie sekitori bout with Yago that lived up to the hype. Both of these big, young guys have a strong future a head of them.