Day 7 – Pressure? What Pressure?

So, as usual, I’ll start with some lower division bouts. Remember Yago (nickname “Ago” – “chin”)? His visit to the sekitori ranks was not as successful as he would have hoped, and he dropped back to Makushita for this basho. However, in Makushita he feels right at home.

This bout marks his fourth straight win – a kachi koshi – and an almost sure return to Juryo, as he is ranked Ms1 at the moment. And he may well repeat the zensho-yusho he got in Makushita back in Nagoya 2017.

My main man, Terutsuyoshi, did not let his loss the other day put him down. Here he faces the same potato, er, rikishi, who defeated Enho yesterday:

Enho, watch and learn!

Terutsuyoshi is also ranked at Ms1, and will probably need just one more win to get himself back to Juryo. Next basho he is likely to meet Takanoiwa there. Wonder how that will turn out.

Toyonoshima attempted to return after he was kyujo on day 4. Unfortunately, Asabenkei is not a pushover, and Toyonoshima got his first Makekoshi in four basho.

OK, up to Makuuchi we go.

Ryuden shows why so much was expected of him. He evades Yutakayama‘s tsuppari attack, gets inside, takes hold of Yutakayama’s armpit, and applies power. Oshidashi, and Ryuden in has a positive balanace.

Abi starts with a tsuppari attack. Tries for a second to grab at Nishikigi‘s mawashi but it looks more like a distraction. It’s actually Nishikigi who is trying to get a grip and can’t. Eventually Nishikigi lunges desparately at Abi’s mawashi, at which point Abi grabs him for a quick sukuinage. So there is more to the young Peter Pan than just tsuppari.

It looks like Asanoyama woke up this morning and thought he was still in Fukuoka. Daieisho overwhelmed him and bang – there goes the zensho. Perhaps this will prevent Asanoyama from being scheduled against joi wrestlers.

Daiamami pulls at his nose no fewer than three times, and then proceeds to rain tsuppari at Takekaze. The veteran has no answer. He is two losses away from a make-koshi, and if he doesn’t start winning somehow, will join many familiar faces in Juryo next basho.

In the battle of the meh, Ishiura gets pushed to the tawara by Kagayaki, but manages to circle and defend. Then he seems to go too low and be in risk of losing his balance, but it is in fact Kagayaki who slips on the dohyo and ends up face down. Tsukiotoshi.

Chiyomaru doesn’t really have to work hard to beat Sokokurai. The man from Inner Mongolia tries a couple of times to get at the mawashi behind that huge belly, but doesn’t even get close. Easiest oshi-dashi in the world.

Kaisei makes short work of Daishomaru, gets him turned around and sends him off the dohyo. Tries to give him a helping hand up, but Daishomaru refuses it and goes up on his own.

Kotoyuki seems to get in control in the bout vs. Tochiozan, as oshi is his game, whereas Tochiozan usually prefers to get a morozashi on his opponents. However, once again Kotoyuki overreaches and find himself getting intimate with the spectators.

Chiyoshoma up to his old tricks. Two mattas. Then starts the bout with a harizashi. Gets several more harite in, but Shohozan is not impressed and pushes the lighter man out.

Chiyonokuni is having a miserable time in this basho. Only one win to his name at the moment, and Endo is not a good place to look for the second one. Chiyonokuni starts with his tsuppari barrage, Endo manages to get a half-grip on his mawashi, nearly loses balance but eventually gets the Kokonoe man out of the ring for an oshidashi.

Ikioi manages to get his left hand inside, but Okinoumi turns this against him as he wraps his arm around Ikioi’s for a kotenage. Okinoumi seems to be on his way back. Ikioi in deep trouble.

Takarafuji and Shodai fight for a grip for a few minutes. It’s Shodai who gets his morozashi, and quickly dispatches of the Isegahama man. This new Shodai is dangerous. Kakuryu better be careful.

Chiyotairyu is yet another Kokonoe man who is in trouble, with his only win a fusen. Kokonoe is only fairing better than Isegahama in that it doesn’t have as many injuries. Arawashi, with or without legs, manages to sidestep and roll the huge Chiyotairyu. Hatakikomi.

Onosho came fast and strong at Kotoshogiku, pushing the veteran all the way up to the tawara. Giku hung on by his tiptoes, moved around, grabbed hold of Onosho’s left arm and took him down for a kotenage. Still has some juice flowing, Kotoshogiku.

I don’t know what’s up with TamawashiHokutofuji could not ask for an easier rival. A henka, Tamawashi running into thin air, and Hokutofuji coming from behind and finishing the job. Okuridashi.

Yoshikaze was hoping he could continue in his giant-toppling routine today, but Mitakeumi had other plans. Yoshikaze tries to pull Mitakeumi down, fails, is driven to the edge, and then tries to launch an attack, when Mitakeumi simply pulls back and pulls him down. Mitakeumi keeps his perfect record.

Takayasu may have had a good record against Ichinojo, but the Mongolian boulder has brought some fighting spirit to this basho. He takes Takayasu’s kachiage with nonchalance and they both grapple, neither getting an overarm grip. Takayasu tries to change the grip, gets the grip he wants and tries to pull at ichinojo, but ichinojo has an underarm grip of his own, pulls at Takayasu’s mawashi and throws him outside as if he was a rag doll. That man is powerful, make no mistakes. Takayasu finds himself with two losses in a row, three in total, and depending on the strength of competition in the second week, a serious chance of kadoban.

Goeido, on the other hand, booted up in the correct version today. Two losses are enough, and despite a weak tachiai, he just grabs and overwhelms Takakeisho, leading him all the way out. Still an Ozeki.

And then, the musubi-no-ichiban, the one we have been waiting for. Truth be told, Tochinoshin had a miserable score against Kakuryu, 20-1 before today, with that one victory being somewhere in 2010, when Kakuryu was still sekiwake. Still, Tochinoshin looks great in this basho, as strong as a grizzly bear. And Kakuryu is only back from injury, and is smaller than the big Georgian.

For the blink of an eye I could have sworn I saw Harumafuji there

But we have a Yokozuna here, and he wasn’t letting Tochinoshin anywhere near his mawashi. He speedily got a strong mawashi grip himself, and just drove forward, in a determined de-ashi that reminded me very much of Harumafuji. Tochinoshin looked pretty frustrated there at the end, but there you have it. A yokozuna is a yokozuna.

And this yokozuna is now 7-0.


No point in keeping track of Hakuho and Kisenosato anymore, so we are down to a Kakuryumeter. So far, so good. Despite the pressure to perform, being the only yokozuna in attendance, and not being paid for this basho other than those mountains of kensho, Kakuryu shows amazing resilience to pressure.

Yusho arasoi:

  • Yokozuna Kakuryu
  • Sekiwake Mitakeumi


  • M3 Tochinoshin
  • M9 Shohozan
  • M13 Daieisho
  • M16 Asanoyama

The san-yaku is really doing miserably this basho. Tomorrow Kakuryu is going to meet the dangerous Shodai. I hope he realizes that Shodai no just stands up at the tachiai. Mitakeumi is facing an equally dangerous Ichinojo. And I’m going to be rooting for the boulder. Go go Mongolian geography!

19 thoughts on “Day 7 – Pressure? What Pressure?

  1. Tochinoshin was obviously nervous and his pelvis was unusually high. He still fought pretty well, but there’s no stopping Kakuryu this basho.

    Genreally, I don’t mind “wily veteran tactics”, but whenever Chiyoshoma pulls something out of his bag of tricks, I don’t like it. I’m not entirely sure why, but his disrespectful behavior at the last basho definitely didn’t help to soften my opinions.

  2. Absolutely phenomenal sumo yet again from Kakuryu. To withstand that barrage from Tochinoshin and to maintain composure in order to both get a grip and execute the kimarite, particularly against somebody who is so tall, strong and who has such enormous arms – unreal sumo.

  3. Kakuryu’s game plan for that fight was awesome. Such a technician.

    Hard to believe Takayasu was strong enough to force Ichinojo back at the tachiai, but a disappointing follow up. Not even he is strong enough to just brute force the boulder, and the ease with which the big guy threw him out was comical.

    Disagree that Hokutofuji started with henka. It was even more direct that most Harumafuji Specials; he definitely went straight into Tamawashi to start. He planned and executed that slide-around perfectly.

    That K-M2 bracket will be interesting to watch over the next week…still hope for all of them with the worst of the meat-grinder in the rear-view mirror.

    • Takayasu is one the strongest rikishi nowdays .A real big bear))).He can force back anyone.He just messed with that throwing attempt.Wrong decision.

  4. Whether by accident, or deliberate, I liked seeing Ichinojo use his right leg when throwing Takayasu. Doing his best impression of a Mongolian wrestler!

    Loved the way that Kak immediately moved forward as soon as he had the grip advantage. No delay that might give his opponent a chance to regroup and improve his position. Smart, or maybe just automatic after so much experience.

  5. At the beginning of this tournament, I thought Tamawashi was going to be the one gunning for Ozeki. It is clearly Mitakeumi. Looking back at their records for the past year, this should not have been such a surprise. Mitakeumi has been solid at sekiwake. This is the first tournament in which he has not lost the first week since he was back in Juryo. This tadpole may be the first with legs.

    • It’s a massive boost to Mitakeumi that he’s not limping around the dohyo – his returns last year were impressive considering he was often fighting injured!

    • Based on Tamawashi’s results, I’m wondering if he’s nursing an “invisible” injury. Something is definitely going on for him to have the record that he does currently.

      • It wouldn’t surprise me. That’s the thing about injury reform. If they decide to implement it next tournament, half of makuuchi would qualify to sit out.

  6. I’m surprised that Abi and Ishiura weren’t called for mattas. Really close calls there and both of their opponents hesitated and weren’t ready for the second push off the tachiai. That’s an advantage in my opinion, but I’m not a gyoji.

  7. Recently someone in comments mentioned finding Tochiozan’s tachiai ritual annoying. It occurs to me that one effect it has is to make matta very unlikely.

    After the tachiai Chiyonokuni was bent so far forward that Endo could have slapped him down easily, but Endo don’t play that way — not today at least.

    Not sure what turned Onosho’s body away from square for the throw; it doesn’t seem like Kotoshogiku should have had adequate leverage from that position.

    Agree with robalspaugh re Hokutofuji.

    Ichinojo shows a bit of technique with that throw, bumping Takayasu’s left leg with his right calf to make it happen. (Looked deliberate to me!)

    Wave-action tsuppari won’t work on an ozeki who slips in a left-hand grip on your mawashi.

    Really impressed with Kakuryu’s yotsu sumo; he gets his right hand inside grip in and keeps Tochinoshin from securing a left hand outside grip to match. Watch how he twists away when Tochinoshin gets close.

    • I want to revise my opinion of the Ichinojo fight. I was not giving him proper credit for that win; I thought Takayasu just went for a bad throw. But now that I’ve watched it a few times, the throw was Ichinojo’s. As soon as Takayasu tried to step forward and walk him back to the edge, big ol’ Ferdinand turned for the throw. Takayasu was just trying to save it, and failed because no one on earth is that strong.


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