Day 4 – Five Men In The Lead

Hatakikomus Magnificus!

There are three men keeping this basho from becoming as wacky as the previous one: one Dai-Yokozuna and two Ozeki, who keep delivering the goods expected from Yokozuna and Ozeki, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop them from doing so.

All hail the king and the two princes, but don’t tell me you’re not cheering for the other two guys who are 4-0 at the moment. One is a big boulder from the steppes of Mongolia who suddenly decided to be a sumo wrestler. And the other is the “Magician From Tsugaru”, in the picture above.

First let’s start with Ryuden, who aspires to enter Makuuchi, vs. Kotoyuki, who aspires not to fall back to Juryo. As they dance, it seems for a moment that Kotoyuki has achieved a bear hug around Ryuden, but the Japanese announcer calls it right: “Ryuden is in”. Meaning Ryuden achieved a morozashi, and indeed, within two seconds Kotoyuki is out.

In the next bout, between Nishikigi and Takekaze, Takekaze also achieves a morozashi for a second. Nishikigi manages to escape one side, but Takekaze uses that hand to catch on to Nishikigi’s belt and throw him down. Both of them are now 2:2, and apparently Takekaze is not leaving us yet.

And now we get to the waza lesson of the day by Uncle Sumo. After a matta from a somewhat nervous Myogiryu, Aminishiki slips in a slap at the tachiai, pretends to be going for a grip, but within a split of a second has his hand on Myogiryu’s nape, and dances back. Years of experience tell Uncle exactly where he is on the dohyo, and Myogiryu meets clay before Aminishiki sets foot outside the tawara. Work of art.

Daiamami can’t get two wins in a row, as a very improved Kagayaki, who seems to be going more for grips than for slaps this basho, turns him around and introduces him to the audience.

Okinoumi tries to get a hidari-yotsu on Kaisei, but the Brazilian is just a bit too big for that. No matter, Okinoumi has a firm left hand on Kaisei’s mawashi, and succeeds in twisting him for a shitatenage.

Ikioi comes back after yesterday’s loss, and shows us he has some waza in him as well. It’s impressive that he can pull that kotonage with his bandaged elbow. Poor Endo will have to wait for his next W.

Asanoyama is somehow not showing the same brilliance he showed last basho. Perhaps the other Maegashira have come to know him. Perhaps he has too much self-confidence. Daieisho attacks him with oshi-zumo, and he doesn’t find a defense against it in time.

Chiyomaru continues in his day-on-day-off schedule. This time he got into a yotsu match with Shodai. This is dangerous, as Shodai is pretty strong once past the tachiai. Indeed, Shodai manages to get a morozashi, But Chiyomaru rallies beautifully by pulling on Shodai’s neck from both sides and sending him down to the clay.

Now, second waza lesson of the day, from our throws expert, Chiyoshoma. As soon as he catches Daishomaru‘s mawashi, he immediately makes the maru fly. An uwatenage for the books.

Takarafuji continues the Isegahama misery (after Homarefuji and Terutsuyoshi lost again in Juryo), when he meets Tochinoshin, who shows us some of his good sumo today.

Today, Ichinojo was given all sorts of trouble by Arawashi, who had him in a really firm morozashi (but couldn’t really push the boulder out). Arawashi then managed to throw him down. However, in doing so, he stepped out, and Ichinojo maintained his perfect record. The Japanese commentator noted that unlike previous basho, in which Ichinojo tended to give up easily, this time he stands his ground.

Hokutofuji continues in his good performance, impressive for a broken wrist. But what is wrong with Tochiozan? He seems to be strong, but just can’t get that first white star.

Allow me to skip the description of Kotoshogiku performing the easiest hip pumps in the world on the ghost of Terunofuji. I’m sure there wasn’t even a sense of revenge there. On the Isegahama page, Terunofuji comments. “No good. I have no idea what to do anymore.”, and Isegahama fans are urging him to go for a long kyujo and heal himself.

Onosho seems to fulfill Moti’s predictions for this basho. In a match with Yoshikaze, in which I would expect the ambitious tadpole to win decisively, he gets pulled to the ground by the elderly sekiwake. Once again he loses his balance, though it’s not a slippiotoshi this time – just bad footwork. I suggested to him from these pages in the past to go ask the Tagonoura brothers for a lesson in self-balance, because this was his weak point even in his shiny Aki basho. I doubt they will give him that lesson, though, as this will make him very very dangerous.

Mitakeumi shows that he can do well in a slapfest, even with the best of them, Chiyonokuni. But the Kokonoe man looks out of his league at this level.

Tamawashi tried the same sort of matta tricks against Goeido as he did in his bout with Kisenosato. Goeido was visibly annoyed the second time. But that annoyance didn’t cause him to lose his concentration or his clean record. In an untypical slap match, he manages to achieve his second katasukashi in a row and stay at the top.

Takayasu continues with his supercool sumo. He is so cool you could chill a beer bottle on his head (too soon? Anyway the beer man is not around). He takes Shohozan for a long, protracted hug (the match was a minute and seventeen seconds long), and then, all of a sudden, wakes up and pushes him decisively all the way out. The man is half-way out of his kadoban.

Takakeisho attacks Kisenosato‘s left side with heavy tsuppari, combined with the occasional nodowa to the Yokozuna’s right side, and completely shuts out the big K for his third kinboshi. Kisenosato is simply left powerless, and should be worried, very worried.

And then there’s a Dai-Yokozuna who fights like one. Hakuho gets a high morozashi on Chiyotairyu right from the tachiai, and the Kokonoe man flails and flails to no avail. From then on it’s just a matter of Hakuho’s leg muscles vs. Chiyotairyu’s dead weight, and Hakuho has leg muscles enough.

Flawless Leader group:

Yokozuna Hakuho
Ozeki Goeido
Ozeki Takayasu
Maegashira #4 Ichinojo
Maegashira #13 Aminishiki

What a basho!

And here’s Enho’s bout from today. Look at the tenacity of the boy wonder. Comments compare him to Ura. May his knees be strong and healthy.


8 thoughts on “Day 4 – Five Men In The Lead

  1. If the rest of this basho is as spirited as today, we’re in for some amazing matches in the coming days! I’m curious about the higher level of varied kimarite we’re seeing currently, but I’m not complaining at all. Is this because of Uncle Sumo or have various rikishi been practicing different techiques at the Jungyo?
    I am incredibly impressed with everyone’s effort today. Not a bad match in the lot and everyone fighting for every white star they can grab. Yes, the Tadpoles are showing holes in their skill sets, but they’re young and they’re learning. Onosho didn’t have great footwork, but based on the barrage that Yoshikaze assailed him with, he did a fine job lasting as long as he did.
    Will we see Uncle Sumo taking on the San’yaku by the end of this week? It’s possible and I’m really intrigued to see how those bouts will go. At this point, I can’t count Uncle Sumo out of any of them at all.
    Tochinoshin isn’t at 100%, but his knee is well enough for him to use some of his strength. That makes him dangerous for anyone that faces him. Also, if you had told me a few days ago that one of the best belt battles in this basho would be Arawashi/Ichinojo I wouldn’t have believed you. What a great match! Go, Angry Bridge Abutment, go!
    I am also impressed with Kaisei and Kagayaki. Based on these results, I’m wondering if they had some kind of injury in the last basho or so. Nothing drastic, but enough to slow them down and not allow them to perform at their current level of sumo.

    • The only way Aminishiki (M13) faces the San’yaku is if he’s still in the race late into the second week (like Asanoyama at Aki).

      • I want to see our favorite Uncle take down Hakuho for the championship with a secret technique he’s been developing all these years. Cushions flying everywhere as the crowd goes wild in Kyushu!

        *what a nice dream*

    • Great day indeed–lot of exclams dotting my scorecard for Day 4! I especially liked Ichinojo’s tenacity. He earned that misstep from Arawashi. I was also really impressed with how hard Takakeisho was able to hit Kisenosato. Moving that monster backward at every collision? Easier said than done, even if he’s hurt.

      • Let’s not forget the way he stood up Harumafuji in what may be the Yokozuna’s final bout. Haru was trying the old billy goat attack and Takakeisho was moving him backwards.

        • Thinking back on that match… Takakeisho then holds out his hand and prevents Harumafuji from falling. At the time it looked to me like an appreciation for the Yokozuna’s own habit of doing this. But two days later, it turns out that Takakeisho is a lot more noble than just that, as he was holding out his hand to the man who has assaulted his stablemate.

          Oh, and “may be”?

          • I had noticed that, too. At the time I thought it was funny because usually it’s the other way round. Like you said, whole new meaning after all the drama.

  2. Takakeisho must be reading Tachiai. He listened to my advice to keep moving forward, and Kisenosato had no answer. Well, someone has to take over handing out the kinboshi (too soon?).


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