Day 5 – New Hopes, Dashed Hopes

So let’s start at the very bottom.

naya-hoshoryu
Naya and Hoshoryu – didn’t look like maezumo

There are mae-zumo bouts in every tournament. They usually pass almost unobserved, with only the sumo database to recall them from oblivion. But this tournament, we have two sublime scions who promise to make sumo interesting 10 years from now.

These are, of course, Taiho’s grandchild, Naya (who also happens to be Takatoriki’s son, but that fact is not paraded on TV and the press as much), and Hoshoryu, formerly known as Byambasuren, Asashoryu’s nephew.

And today, these two were matched against each other.

Hoshoryu is certainly channeling his uncle there when the gunbai points to his rival. Anyway, this looks a lot better than maezumo usually is.

Moving up a little bit, Torakio suffered his first loss today, after two wins.

The technique is not quite there yet.

And unfortunately, my main man Terutsuyoshi also suffered his first loss, in the battle of the former sekitori with Yago:

A valiant attempt at an ipponzeoi there at the end, but Yago had him from the get-go.

Let’s get up to Makuuchi, then. It was my day off today, so I was able to watch some live sumo for the first time. I caught the stream (Abema TV + VPN) right when Kakuryu was finishing his dohyo-iri. I must say I prefer the NHK broadcasts (which I got to watch recorded, never live). Too much stuff on the screen obscures the view, and the “female guests” that they promised only enhance the image of the “stupid broad who doesn’t understand sports and needs to be told basic things”. Bah.

But all this doesn’t make for bad sumo, right? So let’s go through the bouts:

Asanoyama got a Juryo rival today, Kyokutaisei, who was not really a match for the revamped Asanoyama. Yorikiri within the blink of an eye.

Ishiura was impressive in the first three days but now seems to be slumping back. We’ll have to see if he really improved when the sample size grows a bit. Ryuden did not let him do anything, really, and rebalanced his score a bit.

Daiamami, tells us Abema TV, has a pre-bout routine in which he pulls at his nose. Hmm… I prefer Arawashi’s salty mawashi. His bout with Yutakayama starts with some tsuppari, he follows with a nodowa. Yutakayama overcommits as he pushes him forward, but who got out first? Quite a long monoii ensues, and although Yutakayama was already flying out of control, Daiamami touched first, so Yutakayama gets the oshidashi win.

Nishikigi seemed to be in control of the bout, but Daieisho circled, causing Nishikigi to lose balance and winning by hatakikomi.

Abi and Kagayaki are of the same age. Abi just advanced from Juryo, and Kagayaki has more Makuuchi experience and looked strong in the beginning of the basho. He also has a slight height advantage over the Shikoroyama Peter Pan. But all of this list of advantages doesn’t do much for the buxom rikishi, as Abi moves quickly and pulls him down for a hikiotoshi.

Takekaze‘s game plan has been pulling down Daishomaru. Tried once, didn’t work, tried again. Tsukiotoshi and the old man’s first win this basho.

Sokokurai can’t seem to produce whatever magic he produced in Juryo. Kotoyuki pushes him out very easily for a tsukidashi.

Shohozan and Chiyomaru start with a tsuppari barrage, but Shohozan tries to get a mawashi grip. Chiyomaru evades and evades, but eventually Shohozan catches on and pushes him towards the edge. Chiyomaru only manages to stop himself when his toes are already outside. Hikiotoshi.

Now, the Aminishiki vs. Chiyonokuni battle did not look good. First, there’s Uncle Sumo’s sumo. I mean, it isn’t there. He can’t catch a grip on his rivals nape for one of the pull downs he likes, and he can’t get inside for a mawashi grip. But the worst part is that as Chiyonokuni rolls him to the exactly same corner when he ended up yesterday,  Uncle lands badly and hurts his right leg – the one with the snapped ligament and the brace. He had to go to the shitaku-beya leaning on someone’s shoulder. He will make a decision whether to go kyujo or not tomorrow morning.

aminishiki-hurt
Aminishiki. Couldn’t get back on the dohyo for the bow.

Next to Kaisei, Chiyoshoma looks like a teen. However, after he finishes his Harumafuji-like shikiri, they both struggle for a mawashi grip. Chiyoshoma gets a secure shitate grip, and uses it for a shitatenage. Once Kaisei is on the floor, Chiyoshoma gives him a helping hand up. Now that’s the Chiyoshoma I want to see.

Tochiozan doesn’t manage to get any grip on Ikioi, and starts to back away as Ikioi pushes, but then manages to catch at Ikioi’s neck and pull him down for a hatakikomi.

In the battle of the “Ikemen” (manly men), Okinoumi just can’t repeat his success from the previous basho. Endo fights him for the grip, and they end up in a hidari-yotsu, but apparently Endo’s hold is stronger and he pushes relentlessly for the yori-kiri.

Takarafuji, however, is back in the land of white stars. Arawashi doesn’t seem to even pose a problem for him. A harite, a nodowa, and an oshi-dashi. This despite the TV team (Kasugano oyakata commentating) speaking at length about the type of yotsu each of them prefers.

Shodai gets a good grip on Ichinojo, and proves to him that even mountains can be moved. Losing to Shodai, Ichinojo? Ichinojo gets his favorite grip first, but Shodai manages to switch grips without penalty, gets him all the way to the edge, and then dances a bit on the tawara and lets Ichinojo’s momentum do the rest. The Yokozuna must be thinking “Is it that easy?”.

BTW, In the “fun facts” box on Abema TV, they wrote that Ichinojo can sleep on the back of a horse. The TV team – especially Kasugano oyakata – start to crack jokes about the poor horses in Mongolia and Ichinojo’s weight…

What was supposed to be the highlight of the evening, the tadpole battle, ended up with Takakeisho doing the splits within seconds, and Onosho with another easy win.

Mitakeumi and Tamawashi get into a pushing battle. But Mitakeumi is the stronger one of these two, and Tamawashi can do nothing but retreat until he’s out.

Although he lost to Hokutofuji twice already, in addition to one fusen, Takayasu is fearless as he comes to the dohyo today. Takayasu combines a mawashi grip with oshi, and expertly gets Hokutofuji out in an oshidashi. Keeps himself within one loss of the leader group.

Now, Tochinoshin‘s bout with Goeido is one for the history books. Kasugano oyakata at the commentator seat looked like a cat who swallowed a bowl of cream. At first, the two battled for a grip, each denying the other his hold and looking for his own opening. Tochinoshin managed to secure a firm grip, and started pushing Goeido relentlessly towards the tawara. Goeido didn’t go out without a fight, though, and tried a leg trip. Tochinoshin maintained perfect balance, and kept applying his unbelievable force. Goeido joins Takayasu in the “1 behind” group. Great match.

tochinoshin-goeido

Kakuryu keeps sailing from one bout to the next with poise and hinkaku… Chiyotairyu is really no match, as Kakuryu gets a grip on him right off the tachiai and lifts and pushes, lifts and pushes until the Sumo Elvis passes the bales. I was relieved to see that Kakuryu’s attempt at gaburi-yori yesterday vs. Ichinojo (didn’t work, he had to change tactics and move the mountain sideways to win) did not cause him to wake up this morning with his back wrecked again. Keep up the good work, Yokozuna!

And now, to the musubi-no-ichiban. The last bout of the day. Yokozuna Kisenosato vs. Yokozuna bane, Yoshikaze. And the man in the green mawashi was not giving the crippled Yokozuna an inch of slack. Yoshikaze tried a pulldown at first, then got into a morozashi, and dropped him unceremoniously off the dohyo. He went down to offer him a hand up, which Kisenosato rejected. Things are not looking good for the one-year-old Yokozuna.

yokozunameter-hatsu-2018-day5

So Hakuho is out for repairs, Kisenosato has a serious kinboshi leak, and only Kakuryu is in a state of “Need a Yokozuna? I’m right here!”.

Yusho Arasoi

The leader list is now down to four:

  • Yokozuna Kakuryu
  • Sekiwake Mitakeumi
  • M3 Tochinoshin
  • M16 Asanoyama

(Asanoyama? “Been there, done that, got the sansho”)

21 thoughts on “Day 5 – New Hopes, Dashed Hopes

  1. Lot of good fighting today. I was wondering if they’d give Daiamami the win on dead body, but I guess that only applies going out of the ring?

    Endo looked great. Onosho got his opponent to slip for once. Mitakeumi looking ozeki-strong. Kakuryu obliterated Chiyotairyu, who didn’t even show up for that tachiai. And Yoshikaze moved Kisenosato one day closer to intai.

    But DAMN did Takayasu blow up Hokutofuji on the tachiai. I don’t remember ever seeing the little rock get stunned that badly, and he did a nice job keeping his feet for a while. Takaysu was a relentless rage dragon chasing him down though. The ozeki is looking mighty strong…

    Tochinoshin def. Goeido was amazing. Just awesome sumo by both.

    • The “dead body” rule is really tricky, apparently ,and I’m assuming it’s only used in very specific situations due to how infrequently it’s used. I was expecting that Daiamami and Yutakayama to have to re-do their bout, but the shinpan apparently disagree with me.

  2. The increase in quality sumo in this basho is almost jaw-dropping when compared to the recent bashos of the previous year. I’m not entirely sure why, either. Having younger rikishi participate in the highest division helps, to be sure, but could the increased involvement of the YDC be causing the rikishi to perform better as well?

    Torakio was definitely nervous today and it showed in his body language. He wasn’t mentally there and he assuredly wasn’t as aggressive as he normally is when he’s on the dohyo. Perhaps he’s realizing he’s taking on more skilled opponents, so he knows it won’t be as easy for him to win?

    Thanks for the lower division videos! They’re always a welcome addition!

    I’m glad Asanoyama won, but I think that Kyokutaisei should have been given a matta because that tachiai was really wonky. I hope we get to see more of Kyokutaisei soon.

    I think Ishiura and Sokokurai have the same problem. They’re effective when they’re facing rikishi that don’t have a lot of experience fighting them. When that happens, they can use their full “bag of tricks” and have a bigger advantage. When they’re on the dohyo against familiar opponents, their “tried and true” attacks are expected, so they aren’t as effective. My assumption is that they either don’t have a large enough variety of sumo to adjust or they have some mental issue where they panic and attempt to perform sumo that is obvious and easily dealt with by their opponents.

    I am hopeful that Endo will be more consistent based on his current performance. I’m wondering if he had small, nagging injuries (along with the more obvious problems he had) that he has now healed, so he can perform at a higher level.

    I really don’t like that Chiyoshoma is so dependent on the henka and the HNH to win. Goeido was disparaged for similar behavior in previous bashos, so I’m hoping that Chiyoshoma relies less on this type of sumo to garner more white stars.

    Holy Tochinoshin, Batman! Apparently, the new father is healthy and motivated to perform! Kudos to Goeido too for not reverting to his retreating sumo and attempting his utmost to defeat his opponent.

    Mitakeumi is definitely attempting an Ozeki run and it’s good to see. Having a bunch of hungry, skilled rikishi below him has defintely motivated him to keep his place and work towards promotion. Takayasu has also shown similar motivation now that he’s healthy.

    Bless you, Kakuryu. A lot of people have previously disparaged your promotion to Yokozuna, but the poise, skill, and power you are showing definitely shows that you deserve your rank. May you continue to gambarize and teach others how to perform as a Yokozuna!

    I am really sad for Kisenosato. The pressure he has placed on his shoulders is immense and it is mentally screwing him up. Add that on top of his physical issues and it’s too much for him. I’m sadly accepting that he won’t return to his previous form and will go intai in the coming months.

    • I guess it has something to do with a short jungyo tour and a long regeneration/training period before the basho. I am enjoying the quality of the bouts immensely.

  3. The collision between Shodai and Inchinojo at the tachiai rang through the Kokugikan. I wold also remark that the Goiedo Tochinoshin match was quite epic. Goeido took him head on, rather than trying to back up and pull. Fantastic sumo from those two today. Excellent defense from Goeido.

  4. Kise’s worst record this basho as a yokozuna.At least he got some wins during the previous championships.It is just so sad …

      • Just watched that bout on Kintamayama’s Youtube channel and that fall looked and sounded awful. I fear you’re right and I’m sorry; Uncle Sumo has been a joy to watch. I hope that full healing is part of whatever’s next for him, competition or otherwise.

      • I had the same thought. I’d be shocked if it’s not a bad injury and more shocked if he tried to rehab from it and make yet another return. Time to carry him out on his shield.

  5. I can’t remember if I wrote this before or just started to and got distracted, but it looks to me like Abi would be a monster if he could just put on about thirty pounds of muscle.

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