Hatsu Day 3 Highlights


With three days worth of data, its becoming clear that the mandated changes to Hakuho’s tachiai have really put him off tempo. In addition, I have to wonder if there may be an additional physical problem that is robbing him of his normal excellent performance. Not to detract from Hokutofuji’s excellent sumo on day 3, but he has been quite a bit less than himself for each of the first three days.

However, the real danger is Kisenosato. There was quite a bit of talk pre-basho on how he was nearly back to his old self. His fans and people who generally think he’s a good guy hoped that was the case. But then the science of medicine strongly suggested that was just not possible. Sadly it seems that medicine may hold the final say.

On top of that, poor old Terunofuji withdraws due to complications from diabetes. The original report in the Japanese press was that his knee was once again preventing him from good sumo, but later reports changed it to “ill health”, which the sumo grapevine clarified to diabetes. We all hope that Terunofuji can get his body well, and come back strong.

Highlight Matches

Asanoyama defeats Ryuden – Asanoyama seems to be back in his groove again after struggling in Kyushu. He has a respectable 3-0 start to Hatsu, and his win over Ryuden was convincing.

Ishiura defeats Daiamami – Fast and strong again today from Ishiura. At the tachiai he deployed a henka, but immediately latched a deep left hand grip on Daiamami, and from there he controlled the match. Being short in stature, he was close to Daiamami’s knees already, so he picked one up and danced Daiamami out for a shitatenage.

Abi defeats Takekaze – Abi picks up his first win of the basho with a straight ahead shoving match with Takekaze, who seems to be sharing whatever malady has plagued Yoshikaze.

Daieisho defeats Kagayaki – Daieisho unleashes a very strong and well coordinated oshi attack, which Kagayaki seems unable to counter. While I think Kagayaki has potential, he is far to easy to bring high and off balance.

Chiyoshoma defeats Endo – Chiyoshoma is lightning fast this bout, employing something similar to Harumafuji’s mini-henka. Following the hit-and-shift, Chiyoshoma gets behind Endo and pulls the uwatenage. Endo never had a moment to recover.

Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – Clearly Tochinoshin is feeling well and can apply his enormous strength. Okinoumi puts up a valiant effort to try to block Tochinoshin’s grip, but he eventually goes chest to chest, at which point Tochinoshin overpowers him for the win.

Takakeisho defeats Tamawashi – This was always going to be a mighty Oshi-battle, but like some of Takakeisho’s earlier fights, it took an odd turn, with Takakeisho engaging in a flurry of tsuppari, then breaking off and diving back in time and again. This seemed to throw Tamawashi completely off his sumo, and the end was fairly sedate.

Mitakeumi defeats Onosho – Onosho came out strong and had Mitakeumi moving backwards. But Mitakeumi used Onosho’s forward momentum at the edge of the dohyo to slap him down for the win. Onosho really having a crummy start to Hatsu.

Takayasu defeats Chiyotairyu – Takayasu continues to employ his shoulder-blast off the tachiai, and it successfully disrupts Chiyotairyu’s battle plans. From there it’s an Oshi-battle with Takayasu controlling the short match.

Goeido defeats Kotoshogiku – It’s very painful to watch Kotoshogiku fade away, but he is fading quickly. Goeido on the other had seems to have his sumo together this basho, and is fighting well. He may not face a real challenge until week two.

Ichinojo defeats Kisenosato – Much as I want Kisenosato to be healthy, it’s nice to see Ichinojo grab a kinboshi. But really, Kisenosato is not even fighting at Ozeki level right now. Again. Ichinojo completely overpowered him, and Kisenosato could do nothing to stop it. I am going to assume we will be losing another Yokozuna soon.

Hokutofuji defeats Hakuho – The second kinboshi of the day, Hokutofuji has now taken a gold star from four different Yokozuna, quite an achievement so early in his career. After a false start, Hokutofuji took the fight squarely to The Boss. Hakuho seemed to be searching for an offense, while Hokutofuji kept moving forward. One of the great things about Hokutofuji is that you can beat his upper body to a pulp, but his lower body keeps moving forward. Great sumo from a rising star today.

Kakuryu defeats Yoshikaze – Something is seriously amiss with Yoshikaze. Is it the flu? It’s almost as if he’s not got any strength at all. Kakuryu simply rolls him in the first few seconds. I hope whatever the Berserker has going on, he can overcome and return strong.

36 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 3 Highlights

  1. There was that issue with Hakuho’s toe, that I mentioned in my day 1 coverage. Miyagino oyakata said he hurt the same toe that bothered him in the past, and it had swollen up and needed icing. So he may be having trouble with that, though I think in this bout his trouble was that he couldn’t make his grip. Whatever followed was adlib.

    • I was looking at right foot/toe in the Day 3 slow-mo. Did seem to be not-right but might be my imagination. Wanting to go look at the first three days and compare to some of the November bouts.

  2. Funny to c takakeisho trying to face slap tamawashi w/ his little alligator arms and totally wiffing every time.
    Tochinoshin has tree trunks 4 legs to match his upper body muscles and he’s a worthy contender.
    Ichinojo finally showed sum offense and maybe he’s also a force now

    • I’m going to give Takakeisho the benefit of the doubt and say that it was a deliberate tactic. Every time he “waved the claw” Big Tam flinched a bit and Takakeisho followed up with a big, chomping charge.

      The Tyrannosaurus Rex had very short arms, but he was pretty good in a fight.

  3. I agree that Kisenosato is in big trouble.Retirement inbound (unless he finds a way to regroup, somehow) .Also,Tamawashi’s ” come out me bro” strategy backfired totally .He left Takakeisho a lot of room to reset his slap/push festival.

    • Someone needs to send them both down to do some keiko with the guys in sandanme. I was wondering if I was accidentally watching the new shokkiri team instead of a tournament match.

      I did need a bit a bit of a mood booster after the Terunofuji news, so I do appreciate Takakeisho’s hard work at being entertaining. 🙂

  4. Could we see a yusho for Kakuryu?! It’s only the third day and already we’re seeing a lot of fantastic sumo and a lot of competition on the leaderboard! I am intrigued that a much more “serious” Asanoyama is more successful in this basho. I wonder if he learned presence and mental calmness during the Jungyo.

    • I’m really happy to see Kakuryu having a successful return to competition. I hope he can keep it up for the rest of the competition.

      And of course I was jazzed to see Ichinojo manhandle Kisenosato out of the ring. I’ll never forgive that guy for March 2017. 😛 Though Kotoshogiku is equally miserable right now, so he’s probably safe tonight.

  5. Asanoyama having a gr8 start it’s like he’s mentally grown – his spirit exudes calm and his focus spot on! Big congrats to Hokutofuji and Ichinojo- very exciting!! But Yoshikaze has me seriously worried- I know he’s reknown for slow basho starts but seems his fighting spirit deflated & that has me worried- and today he faces Hakuho – I’d love to see Yoshikaze unsettle Hakuho again 😉💚💚

      • that’s a shame, was always something to look forward to.the thought ran thru my head when watching last night that maybe it might be something that will reappear when he goes up the banzuke again, so at least i was on the right page! 🙂

    • Some would say the back to back yusho would indicate that he was Yokozuna worthy. But injured and unhealed he certainly cannot compete at the level needed to maintain his rank.

      • Right before Kise was promoted, a person could run the win-per-basho stats, Say do a moving average over prior six basho, and see that he was by-far the next-best contender for Yoke.

        After promotion he stepped up with confidence, physicality and determination. I see it as having the right stuff, but with a terribly unfortunate injury, and maybe similarly unfortunate decisions about how to treat the injury.

    • Kisenosato was totally worthy of the rope .He was a great ozeki (The best of the then ozeki corps ,in my opinion),always putting ozeki numbers,avoiding the kadobanland .Also he achieved something that the other 3 yokozuna didn’t achieve ,a yusho as Shin-Yokozuna.

    • The promotion standard is “two consecutive Yusho or equivalent performance as Ozeki.” Kisenosato gained his Yokozuna rank by completing two consecutive bashos at Ozeki with a 12-3 record (taking the jun-yusho) followed by a 14-1 record (taking the yusho). That’s the same record as Kagamisato in 1953 and Kitao in 1986, and they were both promoted to Yokozuna as a result of it. People have been promoted to Yokozuna with worse records – the first Wakanohana Kanji, for example, managed a 12-3 jun-yusho followed by a 13-2 yusho, and got the rope on the strength of that.

      In fact, the only person ever to turn in an equivalent pair of performances as Ozeki and *not* get the rope was Musashimaru Koyo back in 1944, and he was very new to the rank of Ozeki at that time. See http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Query.aspx?show_form=0&columns=3&form1_rank=Ozeki&form1_wins=%3E=12&form1_y=on&form1_yd=on&form1_jy=on&form2_rank=Ozeki&form2_wins=%3E=14&form2_y=on

      Say what you like about his current performance, but there was nothing wrong with his promotion to Yokozuna.

    • I’d move the yellow bars up one, in honor of Harumafuji’s “10-5 is Yokozuna kachi-koshi.” And shouldn’t the 8th loss be in the red?

      • That’s exactly why they are there. With 10, you’re in the green. With 9 or 8, you’re in the yellow, as it is a kachi-koshi but not a yokozuna kachi-koshi. With 7, prepare your intai-todoke.

    • The YDC mentioned it got a lot of public complaints about his tachiai style – the famous slap to the face (harite), and using a kachiage with his elbow, in the vicinity of the opponent’s face, which is dangerous, and they added “Ugly, not Yokozuna sumo”.

      He announced that he will try to improve his tachiai and cure himself of the bad habits, and has since refrained from doing the above, but has not found a good alternative so far.

        • Most western fans don’t get it. As far as they are concerned, if it’s not against the rules of sumo (it isn’t), and it wins, it’s legitimate.

          The problem is, he is a Yokozuna. That carries a lot of cultural significance that relates to behavior and image both off and on the dohyo. Sumo is not pure sports. It’s a religious and cultural asset of the Japanese people, and Yokozuna are essentially walking shrines.

          So different rules apply to Yokozuna, and to a certain degree to Ozeki as well (who are Yokozuna candidates). That rope weighs more than the 14 physical kilograms it is.

  6. I was wondering if Hakuho wasn’t a bit depressed. He breaks all sorts of records and gets complaints about his sumo and how he does it, what he says and how he says it, who he is (Mongolian) (and a winner), and Harumafuji (and Takanoiwa), whom he says he wants restored, gets 15 years or so of his life thrown out like so much garbage for doing what I hear often occurs in stables. He may wonder what a future in sumo offers him.

  7. So I think we can assume the slow start Onosho had last basho was not, as previously thought, down to the ill advised mawashi change. He’s just young and inexperienced which shows up in the repeated over commitment that gets exploited when you’re rolling full time in Sanyaku. Hopefully as he gets more experience and the first week blues against the big boys dissipate.


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