Hatsu Day 1 Highlights

battle formation

Top headline of the day: Kisenosato drops his match against Takakeisho. There are two things to learn from this: First and foremost, Takakeisho is gunning hard for Sekiwake and above. I slight him for his oshi-only approach, but he is making it work for him. He looked strong, fast and relentless today against the struggling Kisenosato.  The second thing of note is that Kisenosato looked much better than I had feared. He moved well, he attacked with strength, and kept moving forward. Fans who fear the Great Pumpkin being on the ropes should keep in mind he has not really had matches in a while, and will be rusty for a few days. If he walks out with 10 wins, he’s good.

Highlight Matches

Asanoyama defeats Daiamami – Decent throw that took some time to set up. Moving much better than he was in Kyushu. The happy rikishi has a long path ahead of him, and to reach his potential, he must stay healthy.

Ryuden defeats Nishikigi – Ryuden looked strong in his first Makuuchi bout, easily dominating Nishikigi. Ryuden kept his eblows tight, and prevented Nishikigi from establishing a grip, while Ryuden set up for a well executed throw to end the match.

Ishiura defeats Yutakayama – A flurry of activity in which Ishiura was everywhere at once and overwhelmed Yutakayama. He was able to get his head against Yutakayama’s chest a couple of times, which helped him keep the larger rikishi’s center of gravity high.

Daieisho defeats Abi – Massive oshi fest as Abi took the initiative and was landing tsuppari with purpose. But he over committed, got too far forward and Daieisho brought him forward and down.

Kagayaki defeats Takekaze – Kagayaki was very high at the tachiai, but managed to get Takekaze off balance and moving backwards. His excellent sumo instincts took over and he kept moving strongly forward. Good, solid win.

Kotoyuki defeats Aminishiki – Not quite the battle I was looking for, it was over in a blink of an eye as Aminishiki slipped trying to find his footing. Kotoyuki recognized this quickly, and finished what gravity had started.

Chiyomaru defeats Terunofuji – In spite of Chiyomaru’s enormous belly, Terunofuji was able to land a mawashi grip. But without abilty to transmit power through his legs, he was unable to halt Chiyomaru’s counter attack.

Chiyoshoma defeats Ikioi – Massive tachiai, with Ikioi taking the early initiative, but Chiyoshoma pulled out a win at the edge thanks to excellent ring sense and a great deal of balance.

Endo defeats Takarafuji – Keep your eyes on Endo! He wants back in the upper ranks, and he seems to finally have his body in order. This fight saw both rikishi try to establish an offense only to be countered quite effectively, but Endo kept working forward. Fantastic effort from both.

Arawashi defeats Okinoumi – In spite of Okinoumi showing some solid sumo moves, he let Arawashi land a deep left hand grip right away, and from there Arawashi kept working Okinoumi towards being thrown. 800th bout for Arawashi.

Tochinoshin defeats Shodai – Shodai, for once, had a solid tachiai, but he immediately went chest to chest with Tochinoshin, which had to delight the big Georgian. In spite of Shodai’s right hand mawashi grip, Tochinoshin out-matched him in strength and power.

Mitakeumi defeats Kotoshogiku – Mitakeumi has a very sloppy start, he was high and immediately off balance. Kotoshogiku was able to set up a solid defense, and as Mitakeumi was struggling (more than he should) to finish him, Kotoshogiku apparently stepped out. The match was stopped by the shimpan.

Takayasu defeats Yoshikaze – Takayasu still working that forearm blast into the tachiai, but it seems to leave him high and forward. Yoshikaze could not exploit it, and was moving backwards in a hurry. Both men re-engaged, and kept the battle running, with Yoshikaze pushing to land a mawashi grip. Takayasu prevailed and Yoshikaze took a slow motion roll to the clay. Hopefully he was ok.

Goeido defeats Ichinojo – As predicted, Goeido came in fast and low, but Inchinojo’s mass and forward momentum was too much for Goeido to simply power out. Goeido 2.0 is all about keeping up the pressure, and he did eventually get Ichinojo to step out, but Goeido was on the verge of falling down as it happened.

Kakuryu defeats Hokutofuji – This was classic Kakuryu, letting his opponent open the offense, then making him pay. I am thankful that Kakuryu was able to open strong today.

Takakeisho defeats Kisenosato – Wow, what a battle! Twice, Kisenosato let Takakeisho set up his “wave action tsuppari”, with devastating effect. But twice the Yokozuna was able to escape. The match ended when Takakeisho grabbed a hold of Kisenosato’s right arm and twisted, bringing the Yokozuna down. Kisenosato looks worried, but it may take a few bouts for him to hit his stride.

Hakuho defeats Onosho – The boss made short work of Onosho, who once again over-committed and was too far forward.

15 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 1 Highlights

  1. Jason has the video of Daeisho and Abi’s match which is worth watching just for Abi’s shiko.

    I have to disagree with the summary of Hakuho’s match. Moti called Hakuho shaky and I replied “shaky like Natsu 2017” — anyway, I was inspired to go back and watch the match in super-slo-mo (that is, the slow motion replay on Jason’s video at 0.25x speed). Here’s what I saw:

    Hakuho attempted a HNH to his left; Onosho — probably expecting it — used his right hand to keep track of Hakuho’s body and adjusted to meet him fairly square on, only a bit to the right side of Hakuho’s center of mass. Hakuho at that point had no forward momentum and no choice but to do retreating sumo. Being ridiculously fast, he was able to slip even further to his left and pull Onosho past him.

    So Hakuho had a game plan based on Onosho over-committing and Onosho was able to stymie it. That would probably have been enough to beat any other rikishi but Hakuho’s evasive talents were too much for the komusubi.

    • Yeah, Abi’s shiko is amazing. And you’re not the only one who caught on to Hakuho’s very narrow escape. The Japanese press noticed too.

    • Going to treat myself to a full 2 hour replay of Makuuchi this afternoon with some choice Japanese beer. Looking forward to all of it, Abi’s shiko included. Hopefully my posting will be better as I am done for a few days flying all over the US. Things get better when I can be in one spot for more than 12 hours.

  2. Kotoshogiko did do his big stretch. I guess he doesn’t feel an M2 deserves to show off like that.

    Or maybe no stretch no Mojo.

  3. Hakuho hasn’t figured out his new slap-free tachiai yet. Kakuryu looked good. I’m less sanguine about Kisenosato. He’s got another 6 bouts against sanyaku opponents, plus two against the M1s, and I’m not sure based on what we saw today that I’d have him favored in any of them. Mitakeumi out-Kotoshogiku’d Kotoshogiku. Overall, strong start by the sanyaku—a clean 5-0 slate against the upper maegashira ranks.

    • Yeah, it was fun seeing Mitakeumi gaburi-yori Kotoshogiku. Most people try to avoid the man’s pelvis. Mitakeumi took it like a champ.

      • That has actually been Mitakeumi’s approach the last couple of times they’ve met. Ended in throws in September and November, but he seems to enjoy beating Giku at his own game.

    • Kisenosato is worrying. But I am think he will be different on day 4 than he is today. He skipped all of Aki, most of Nagoya and most of Kyushu. He’s not had a real basho in 6 months, and the guy is rusty as can be. Having never fixed that pectoral muscle, he’s questionable any day, but maybe he’s compensated some how.

  4. It was pleasing to see Ichinojo get pushed back to the bales and keep fighting, even if he did eventually lose. Also, great to see Goeido moving forward!

    Absolutely brutal-looking tsuppari from Abi there, but he was leaning into it too hard.

    Ishiura looked great. A far cry from his last Makuuchi basho! Let’s hope he can keep it up.

  5. It’s starting to feel like the reasonable upside for Ishiura is a stronger version of Yoshikaze – and that may be the model for Enho as well (if he can get RIPPED like Ishiura anyway). If he can take advantage of his height disadvantage and keep mobile and flying around, with the strength to pull larger rikishi down or execute throws, there’s really no reason he can’t be one of those guys that bounces around between M4 and K/S by the end of the year. Hopefully he’s focused on adding a couple dimensions.

    I watched the Mitakeumi match live on the NHK broadcast and they showed a few replays and it just didn’t look like Kotoshogiku went out, but also I don’t speak Japanese so where that happened was totally lost on me. Agree with the no stretch no mojo comment above – I don’t care if Kotoshogiku is down in Makushita, I want to see that stretch!

    • He did go out. Right in front of the shimpan’s nose. They also showed the mark on the sand outside the ring. It was very near the little indentation in the tawara, and he only touched outside with his tiptoes – but that’s enough.

  6. I like watching some of the pre-bout rituals. Shame NHK World cuts some much of it. We didn’t know that Kotoshogiku didn’t do his back bend.

    Although, the NHK World Highlights did show the replay of Kotoshogiku stepping out.


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