Natsu Day 4 Highlights

Abi-Head

Up until now, everything was happening as expected. But as we draw closer to the end of act 1, we are starting to get some rikishi at their full tournament strength, and the surprises are starting to flow. While the first three days of Natsu were enjoyable, they were bland and lifeless like a dried squid. Tough and chewy, but oh so much better than no rubber squid at all when you are hungry. Then day 4, the giant double hand sized bowl of spicy miso ramen. Nutritious, satisfying, and perhaps a bit dangerous.

In Juryo, Onosho, Takanoiwa and Yago remain unbeaten. Takanoiwa and Yago won’t be candidates for promotion to Makuuchi, but if Onosho can keep rolling he will be back for Nagoya in July. Enho is struggling at the top end of Makushita, and it might be a while before he can claw his way back to Juryo.

Highlight Matches

Kyokutaisei defeats Nishikigi – After a matta, Kyokutaisei takes advantage of Nishikigi’s poor vision to side-step a poorly timed charge, and get Nishikigi off balance and out.

Aoiyama defeats Myogiryu – Aoiyama finally wins one! It was a rapid pull down of veteran Myogiryu, but at least he has his first shiroboshi.

Chiyonokuni defeats Takakeisho – An excellent tachiai, and some fierce double-arm thrusts to begin, but it seems that Chiyonokuni can read Takakeisho like a copy of Fox in Socks. By the 3rd exchange, Takakeisho is too far forward, and Chiyonokuni helps him to the clay. Takakeisho is looking very rusty right now.

Daishomaru defeats Okinoumi – Daishomaru once again fighting well, strong, forward sumo from this guy, and he’s going places with his approach. Okinoumi is always hit or miss, but Daishomaru is good at Maegashira 9.

Hokutofuji defeats Kagayaki – The first moments of this match, I can’t help but notice Kagayaki’s sumo. He’s low, he’s moving forward strongly and it’s working. Then something lights in Hokutofuji and he battles back… and wins! Very happy that Hokutofuji can finally get a white mark on the board. Kagayaki is starting to remind me of a young Kisenosato.

Yoshikaze defeats Ryuden – Yoshikaze goes to the mawashi and wins. But this is a great match as Ryuden gives it everything he has and maybe a bit more. Usually Yoshikaze will thump his opponents around quite a bit before shoving them out, so it’s fun to see him grab the belt. The match ended with both men sailing off the East side into Takanohana’s lap, and a monoii was called as Yoshikaze’s foot touched down while Ryuden remained airborne. Excellent work by Ryuden staying off the clay while in flight, by the way. Oh fine – let’s have a re-do. Second match is notable in that Yoshikaze suspects a henka, and just stands up at the tachai. He grabs Ryuden’s belt and picks up where he left off on match 1, this time winning without question. Excellent sumo from these two today!

Kotoshogiku defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma throws everything at the Kyushu Bulldozer. We start with a flying henka, second is a solid attempt at a leg trip, but Kotoshogiku absorbs all of this and battles on. Backed to the tawara, Chiyoshoma is pushing with everything he has. But Kotoshogiku has his feet wide and his heels against the bales, good luck moving him. Chiyoshoma pivots to load a throw, but the Dozer is ready. With Chiyoshoma now sideways, Kotoshogiku advances, and try as he might, Chiyoshoma can’t get that throw started. Outstanding sumo.

Shodai defeats Ikioi – The first shocker of this fantastic match is that Shodai did NOT blow the tachiai. He looked really good launching into Ikioi – low, powerful, ready to attack. And attack he did! He took Ikioi to the edge, but with his heels on the tawara, Ikioi flashed with aggression and launched back at Shodai. Battling back, he nearly slaps down Shodai who somehow keeps his feet. The two go chest to chest for a moment, and then Shodai raises Ikioi up and marches forward. Fantastic wonderful sumo. Ikioi looks hurt afterwards.

Abi defeats Endo – Some pretty good sumo in mid-Maegashira today, but now the fun increases. Abi has no wins coming in, but his youthful enthusiasm keeps him from considering it anything other than a traditional joi beating. In fact, facing such skilled opponents at full battle strength may have tuned him up a bit. Straight from the tachiai, Endo learns that those ridiculously long arms are a serious problem, as Abi drives him back and Endo struggles to find any body to attack. Twice Endo grabs an arm and pulls, throwing Abi off balance, but Abi remains on his feet. The second pull is over-done, and Endo is moving backwards, and off balance. Abi seizes the moment and pushes Endo out. Wow! Abi is very much a diamond in the rough, but Endo needs to work out the mechanics of how to beat this guy.

Tochinoshin defeats Mitakeumi – Very straightforward. Tochinoshin gets inside and marches forward. Mitakeumi needs to crack this puzzle as he and Tochinoshin are going to be facing off every tournament for a while.

Ichinojo defeats Yutakayama – With some courage, Yutakayama chooses to go chest to chest with the boulder straight out of the tachiai. Ichinojo barely notices, and advances Yutakayama to the edge for an easy yorikiri.

Tamawashi defeats Goeido – It seems that Goeido 2.1 has rolled back to an earlier version, but without properly installing the control driver again. Goeido showed almost no offense today, and let Tamawashi control the match. Hopefully there will be an over the air update overnight.

Shohozan defeats Kakuryu – It looked to me like Kakuryu lost patience and went to pull. Shohozan knew this would happen, and was ready. He certainly turned the tables on Mr Reactive Sumo today. Big K, stay in charge, when you do, you win.

Hakuho defeats Kaisei – As expected, The Boss rolls the Brazilian dumpling in short order.

18 thoughts on “Natsu Day 4 Highlights


  1. Takanoiwa and Yago may not get to Makuuchi this time, but they are still candidates for Juryo yusho. Yago may finally win a shikona – he seems to have finally found his sea legs in the sekitori ranks. Takanoiwa wants his place at the top division back, and while he won’t get it this time, he will work on getting it next time. Amazing how fast he recovered from that PTSD, though. 🙄

    Wakatakakage finally got his “shonichi” (the same word is used for the first day of the tournament and for the first day in which a given rikishi has won), against the hapless Asabenkei who seems to be on his way to yo-yo back to Makushita.

    Hakuyozan, the other shin-juryo, beats Mitoryu surprisingly. I am guessing Mitoryu has still not fully recovered from his ankle injury.


    • Takanoiwa or Yago could conceivably get promoted, though it would take something like a 13-2 yusho or better to pull this off.


    • Takanoiwa is doing some great sumo down in Juryo and it’s wonderful to see – fast PTSD recovery aside.. 😉
      and as for Hokkaido-born Yago – oh happy days! u can’t half tell i’m a Hokkaido-rikishi cheer squad hehehe
      Yago’s definitely found his mojo and displaying very strong sumo, as in Haru basho, consistency is key, and with Takekaze as his Oguruma-beya senpai i think he’s learning and absorbing as much knowledge as he can from one of the masters.


  2. Everyone settled in the first few days, but now things get interesting! I hope Ikioi isn’t hurt too badly. He has had really poor luck on that front recently. I think today’s Abi/Endo match was a wakeup call for the entire Joi. It’s obvious that Abi’s learning from every match and everyone is going to need a solid strategy to beat him. I think Kakuryu lost today for exactly the reason you stated, Bruce. Everyone knows Kakuryu pulls as the main part of his offense, so if they wait him out he’s going to do that.
    Goeido continues to show that he mentally can’t reset after losing with his bout today. Tons of doubt, no pressure forward, and a loss. We’re back to Goeido 1.5 or so. Terribly unfortunate.
    Will Mitakeumi fall from the San’yaku? It’s an honest question at this point given his results this week. We’re building up to quite the second week for the basho with Hakuho, Tochinoshin, and Ichinojo all undefeated with Kakuryu with one loss.


  3. I can tell you that spicy miso ramen is VERY DANGEROUS!!!!

    On the full NHK broadcast today Hiro said something very interesting, which is that you know you will get the best and ultimately most exciting tournaments when both sekiwake are in good form. I think that tempers the “no surprises” start to the tournament a little bit, because it will create the tension we haven’t had in many tournaments towards the end of the tournament: if you have a sekiwake (or two) in the yusho race, probably some other rank and filer and at least one yokozuna, then things are going to get very high stakes and interesting towards the end.

    I think Goeido is now on course for a make-koshi and kadoban, because frankly I have a hard time seeing him beat either sekiwake and at least one of the yokozuna, and that would be 5 losses right there (watch him now go 13-2 and win the damn thing, haha).


  4. Another quick note here per your point on Tochinoshin/Mitakeumi that I’ve gleaned from a couple recent NHK broadcasts:

    Hiro mentioned today that Tochinoshin and Mitakeumi frequently do keiko together, as they are in the same ichimon. He speculated that this makes it harder for Mitakeumi to work out how to beat him, as when you know many things that someone can do it is more difficult to predict which one he will do.

    John Gunning also mentioned on Day 1 coverage with Raja that Mitakeumi looked very poor in training, during jungyo and the run up to the tournament (can’t remember whether that was something he said he heard or saw). Hiro reiterated today that Mitakeumi typically does not go 100% in keiko to order to avoid injury, then turns up the intensity for the basho.

    I think Mitakeumi might be the sort of practise charm for Tochinoshin finally that Takayasu was in tuning up Kisenosato for his promotion. Goeido is also in the ichimon (and apparently has been tuning up Endo, who doesn’t usually do that kind of thing as Oitekaze guys don’t usually leave their stable), so perhaps they can strike a similar partnership where Tochinoshin is able to help Mitakeumi as he himself gets stronger/better as well?


    • Hello Josh,

      Sorry to bug you on an off topic question, but would you be able to acquire A Hakuho trading card? I’m a big fan of him and would love to have one and graded for myself. I also wouldn’t mind a couple of packs as it seems fun to open them. Thank for your time.


  5. Thanks for getting back to me Josh. I realized in the past 10 minutes since I stepped off, how over excited I was from the trading card picture and must’ve came off as too excited. I would totally be willing to pay for the card /card packs and shipping. I can only imagine how popular a Hakuho card would be. whatever you could and thanks for your time I really appreciate it. Of course if not I understand as well.


  6. If anyone wants to buy original signed handprints (not a print or copy) of rikishi send me a message through twitter. Like any collectible prices vary and change depending on rarity / popularity but generally speaking most are between 10,000 and 30,000.


  7. After watching Hakuho bounce over the side of the dohyo with that peculiar flat-footed gait I’ve come to think that he’s physically sound but is desperate not to re-injure his toes (and also had a fair bit of ring rust to knock off in the first few days).

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