Natsu Day 5 Highlights


With Act 1 in the books now, we can start to look forward to Act 2, where we sort the strong from the struggling, and a lot of hopes and dreams get crushed. While it may seem brutal to put it that way, each basho is a clean slate, and each rikishi has a chance to be completely different than the time before, if they have the means to do so. I would say the biggest surprise for me thus far is Shodai. How or why Shodai is 5-0 at the end of act 1 is a complete mystery to me, but I congratulate him on the effort and the achievement. I have always maintained the man has seeds of greatness within him, if he could just fix some of the mechanics of his sumo.

A close second place would be Ikioi. He was a force of nature in Osaka, in spite of what looked like the kind of injuries that might require hospitalization. Nope! He’s at it again. He has one loss but he is in “badass” mode every day. Today he dismantled Kotoshogiku in a wild “kitchen sink” match that delighted and entertained. I swear he has decided that playing it safe is no way to close out a sumo career, and he’s just going to throw caution to the winds and fight like a angry swan. For those of you who have never had a swan attack you, let me tell you, don’t try it.

Highlight Matches

Aminishiki defeats Takekaze – Uncle sumo finally wins one. It has been awesome to see him battle his way back up to Makuuchi once again, but he’s a poor broken fellow with more courage than fortitude remaining.

Aoiyama defeats Nishikigi – The giant Bulgarian wins by getting an armpit grip on Nishikigi and forcing him out. It’s painful watching Aoiyama fight, as it’s clear he is in a bunch of pain, but pushing to keep himself in the top division. Nishikigi’s position is even more precarious, so any loss must be a worry for him.

Tochiozan defeats Asanoyama – Asanoyama, featuring a massive elbow bandage, had the initiative for the bulk of this match. Tochiozan, to his credit, waited for an opportunity. Asanoyama continued to thrust against Tochiozan’s chest but eventually went off balance, and Tochiozan converted that quickly into a win. Experience pays.

Chiyonokuni defeats Daiamami – Wow, what a match! The start out with some oshi, punctuated with Daiamami taking a round house slap to the face. Having had enough of that he latches onto Chiyonokuni’s mawashi. Chiyonokuni struggles for a bit, but responds in kind. At one point Daiamami gets the deep double inside grip, but Chiyonokuni blazes ahead, forcing his opponent backward and out. Great match.

Takakeisho defeats Arawashi – This was won at the tachiai. Take a good look at how Takakeisho lands his first thrust against Arawashi’s shoulders before Arawashi can finish lunging forward. There was no recovering from that.

Kagayaki defeats Okinoumi – Kagayaki’s battle plan was simple, powerful and effective. He got under both arms of Okinoumi and marched forward. This guy keeps reminding me at times of a young Kisenosato, and I think if he can keep working upward and stay free of injury, he may follow a similar trajectory. Never glamorous, just solid sumo fundamentals.

Ryuden defeats Chiyomaru – Ryuden picks up his first win, much to his relief. Chiyomaru really made him work for it.

Yoshikaze defeats Takarafuji – I am starting to get hopeful. Yoshikaze looked stronger and faster today, and maybe a touch genki. The match was all about battling for grip, until Takarafuji lunged forward, and Yoshikaze instantly converted to exploiting his off-balance stance.

Ikioi defeats Kotoshogiku – Ikioi comes in low and goes chest to chest with the Kyushu Bulldozer straight out of the tachiai. When Kotoshogiku flexes to lift him up, Ikioi declares he will have none of that, and moves forward strongly, causing them both to lose their grip. After a failed attempt to throw Kotoshogiku, the resulting mess was completely off balance, but under Ikioi’s control, which he kept in motion until Kotoshogiku found the edge of the ring. Great work by Ikioi today, but once again post match he can barely walk.

Shodai defeats Chiyoshoma – Another mediocre to lame tachiai from Shodai, but then he takes over and just fork-lifts Chiyoshoma at the edge of the dohyo. Undefeated Shodai? I am going to make a bet that the scheduling team has some fun with him in act 2.

Mitakeumi defeats Tamawashi – Mitakeumi took a head butt as the price to get inside, but he got his preferred offensive stance and went to work. Tamawashi immediately gave ground, but rallied. In his aggressive forward attack, he put his balance too far forward and Mitakeumi pulled him forward. His own momentum carried him out. Tamawashi is looking poorly right now, and I wonder if he is hurt. Mitakeumi ended the match dripping blood from his right eye, ouch!

Endo defeats Ichinojo – The big outcome of the day, and it was not an easy match for either man. Ichinojo gave Endo the inside grip immediately and went chest to chest, I am going to assume that his superior size and strength would carry the day. While Endo latched his right hand on Ichinojo’s mawashi, Ichinojo could not find a reciprocal grip. Finally getting deep with his right hand over Endo’s back, Ichinojo tried repeatedly to load an uwatenage, but Endo countered with some very impressive footwork. Stalemated, Ichonojo locks up Endo and works out a stage 2 plan, but Endo lands a left hand frontal grip for his third attack. Ichinojo realizes that his size is not going to stop this onslaught, and he is too high, with Endo buried in his chest, he has no room to lower his hips. Endo gives it all he has, and advances, winning a fantastic match. Complements to both rikishi on some outstanding sumo. The roar in the Kokugikan must have been deafening.

Tochinoshin defeats Kaisei – Kaisei was completely out-classed. No one can match the intensity of Tochinoshin right now, it’s a think of beauty.

Goeido defeats Yutakayama – Goeido almost attempted a pull against today. Someone fit that guy with a shock collar and give his oyakata the button to set it off.

Hakuho defeats Daieisho – I am going to assume that Hakuho is bored right now. No one has really given him even a decent warm up.

Kakuryu defeats Abi – Much as I assumed, Kakuryu found those long arms a bit of a problem, but they also are great leverage if you can grab one. Big K pulling again, but he got the win.

30 thoughts on “Natsu Day 5 Highlights

  1. As the 15th placed active rikishi on the banzuke, Shodai was already slated to face the top guys at some point this basho. That being said, he’s already been given Kaisei which is a bit of a departure (should have been Kaisei – Shohozan), but it shows that they’re pushing him up a bit already. I think he’ll get Tamawashi on Day 7.

        • I’m curious to see how that slap — are we not supposed to be rid of Hakuko’s tachiai slap at this point? — goes over with the the man with the strength of a bear that has the strength of two bears. It worked in the past, but as noted elsewhere, TochinoshIntense is not the same rank-and-filer of yore.

          • I’m wondering how long the YDC will let Hakuho revert back to slapping… IIRC, they already dinged him on it once. But yeah, even if Hakuho wins, Tochinoshin is going to make the man WORK for it.

            • Given the state of the top ranks at the moment, I think Hakuho can feel safe telling the YDC to go kick rocks.

  2. Someone in the comments on Kintamayama’s PROPER video noticed something interesting about Hakuho’s win: after getting the deep left hand grip at the tachiai he breaks Daiesho’s balance by shoving him over with his head! Extraordinary technique — I’ve never seen that before.

      • This basho was going to be a good one for Hakuho to get back into. After a couple of potential banana-skins on days 1 and 2 in Tamawashi and Mitakeumi, he gets to face a string of inexperienced and not quite top-level rikishi in the joi. After today he might well still have Chiyotairyu, Yutakayama, Kotoshogiku and Shodai before closing up with Ichinojo, Endo, Goeido, Tochinoshin and Kakuryu. Whatever Maegashira they end up giving him, he’ll probably still be undefeated and have shaken off any ring rust by the time he gets to the tougher part of the slate.

  3. Anybody know what Ishiura’s record is after Day 5? My man never gets much TV time, but NHK treats him these days like The Invisible Man?

  4. Would add a thought for our guy Kyokotaisei who picked up a 4th in a match it didn’t initially look like he would win

    Re: Yoshikaze, Hiro mentioned on yesterday’s commentary how Yoshikaze said “you call me Mr. Feisty and I like that, but I’m not so feisty anymore” and says he is feeling his age and the recovery time (but that he will do his best to stay feisty).

    Ikioi, just wow. Leg was bleeding after that again, I saw it was bleeding through a bandage yesterday and it didn’t look like he had the bandage all the way down today.

    Shodai – this one was interesting because clearly he’s not a guy where Chiyoshoma can try that flying henka he loves. At least Shodai’s tachiai defuses that play from the playbook!


    And I still think Abi could have had Kakuryu but he does just have that tendency to slip/slide all over the place. At least after Hakuho it gets easier for him.

    • It really is bleeding? I thought I saw that yesterday, too. Dude. Is his bone coming out or what?

    • another fabulous win by Kyokutaisei – he’s really got his head in the game and is impressing me more than usual (i can hear you chortling!) – but that’s an interesting aside from Hiro re Yoshikaze not feeling so feisty anymore with age catching up – sadly it had to happen – but if he likes the fact he’s been christened Mr Feisty then that’s a good thing that he’s going to try to live up to the tag! bless my little berserker – and yes, that’s all that one can say WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW – he more than earned that!

  5. I think the difference for Shodai this basho is that he’s worked on his recovery tactics when he’s off-balance or in a bad position. His tachiai still isn’t great, but he seems “lucky” because he quickly resets when something doesn’t go well and he continues to attack and adjust during his matches. He definitely didn’t do that, or wasn’t doing that as fast, and that improvement is definitely a game-changer.

    Abi has Onosho’s previous problem with over-commitment. He could have won his match with Kakuryu if he slowed down a bit and was a bit more controlled. It’s his first Yokozuna match, so I’ll give him some leeway here. But, once he figures that out, he’s going to be much more difficult for everyone to defeat.

    • Shodai’s tachiai tactic basically is just to act as a shock absorber and move on from there. It’s purely defensive which I guess shows zero confidence in his own ability to pull off an attacking tachiai

      • wasn’t that Hak’s strategy for a long time? We must give him credit for his ability to scrap and claw and adjust thru a match

  6. It looks to me as though Abi could have recovered from that slap down, but he tripped over the tawara. I don’t know that that would have changed the outcome, but I was sorry to see him go down without so much as a hand on him.

  7. Some quick thoughts on today’s matches:

    You’d think, after 35 head-to-head matches, Takekaze would be the last person to fall for pretty much the only move Aminishiki still has left.

    Daiamami vs. Chiyonokuni: Wow!

    In the “that’s more like it” department: Takakeisho and Yoshikaze.

    Ikioi vs. Kotoshogiku: Wow!

    Between Ikioi and Mitakeumi, that’s a lot of blood today, and by the victors, at that.

    I like this Shodai.

    Endo vs. Ichinojo: Wow! Wow! Wow! Incredible technical sumo by Endo, countering a strong effort by Ichinojo. Endo’s defense against Ichinojo’s attempts at a grip was awesome, as was his balance in eluding the throw attempts. And then he levered out 225 kg of rikishi!

    Nice work by Tochinoshin.

    Kakuryu vs. Abi: LOL.

      • I was really looking forward to Endo vs. Inchinojo today and it didn’t disappoint. Abi vs. Hakuho tomorrow I’m really looking forward to.


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