The first few days of Natsu were each “as expected”, and many of the great fans across the sumo world worried that this basho was going to be boring. Today the Natsu basho tore off it’s salaryman costume in front of everyone to reveal an atomic monster with 18 inch fangs. A reminder that Tachiai is not spoiler free, so stop reading if you don’t want to be exposed to the news.
Typically, we won’t take a look at the yusho race until previewing day 7, but it’s worth noting that Ozeki hopeful Tochinoshin is all alone in the undefeated column, with a mass of rikishi, including both Yokozuna, following at one loss. Tochinoshin has yet to face any serious challenger, so its far too early to begin to consider a Tochinoshin yusho, but today it’s his to lose. But going into the middle weekend, it’s a drunken barnyard brawl at the top.
We will discuss further in the highlight section, but Abi racked his first kinboshi today, much to everyone’s delight. He is still likely headed into a make-koshi as the ultimate reward for his first visit to the joi, but the kid has a bright future. His unusual body proportions coupled with an unquenchable can-do attitude has the potential to take him far.
Kyokutaisei defeats Aoiyama – This match begins with Aoiyama on the offensive, pushing Kyokutaisei around at will. Kyokutaisei persists but gives ground, and at one point I can only assume that Aoiyama decides that he had him out, and ceases his oshi-attack. At that moment Kyokutaisei rallies and drives him out. Kyokutaisei is doing quite well in his first Makuuchi tournament.
Ishiura defeats Daiamami – Ishiura blasts off the shikiri-sen, landing against Daiamami, grabbing his right arm and pivoting. Ishirua then delivers a brutal round-house slap to Daiamami’s face, which only seems to fire Ishiura up even more. Diving in against the now somewhat stunned Daiamami, Ishiura grabs the mawashi and a leg, and carries the now completely disoriented Daiamami to the curb like it’s recycling day.
Chiyonokuni vs Okinoumi – Chiyonokuni cranks it up again today, seizing the initiative straight out of the tachiai, and controlling Okinoumi. When Chiyonokuni is fighting like this, he is tough to beat his combination of offense, drive and sheer speed. His biggest impediment is that he seems to not be able to consistently deliver wins except when he is ranked below Maegashira 7.
Asanoyama defeats Takakeisho – Takakeisho took control from the tachiai, and got slap happy almost at once. It put Asanoyama into a reactive defense mode, but as he frequently does, Takakeisho’s upper body tried to attack while his lower body was not quite under control. Asanoyama reads this and slaps him down. Odd as it may seem, enrollment in a high intensity yoga program would get Takakeisho over that problem in a few months.
Hokutofuji defeats Arawashi – Remarkable because Hokutofuji actually looked strong, poised and in charge of his sumo for once. Please keep doing that.
Yoshikaze defeats Chiyoshoma – Great to watch, as Yoshikaze executes the most leisurely tachiai of the day. I am sure he realized the chances of a Chiyoshoma henka were quite high, so he took his time just inching forward until Chiyoshoma made solid contact. Watch it in slow-motion, it’s almost comical.
Kagayaki defeats Takarafuji – What a fantastic display of two strong, disciplined rikishi executing fantastic sumo fundamentals. I tell you, keep an eye on Kagayaki. He has a somewhat unfortunate body shape, but this man seems driven, and he continues to improve his already solid sumo.
Chiyomaru defeats Ikioi – Impressive bout, once again a clearly injured Ikioi threw any notion of protecting himself to the winds and attacked with everything he could muster against the bulbous Chiyomaru. As indomitable as your spirit might be, Ikioi, that’s a lot of rikishi to move. Chiyomaru kept cool and found a way to deliver a tsukiotoshi as Ikioi pressed the attack, it was a really nice win.
Kotoshogiku defeats Shohozan – Kotoshogiku locks up Shohozan with a double arm-bar hold and then delivers the hug-n-chug for a win. Kotoshogiku is looking surprisingly genki.
Kaisei defeats Shodai – I have no idea why Shodai should suddenly get soft against Kaisei, but he has never managed to beat the Brazilian ever. Today was no exception, Shodai was almost not even trying.
Mitakeumi defeats Endo – This was all Mitakeumi from the start. At one point Endo tries to shift out of oshi-mode, with a right hand grab towards the front of Mitakeumi’s mawashi. Even that amount of weight shift brought him forward enough that Mitakeumi applied the swing down for the win. Mitakeumi got inside early and never gave up advantage, nice work.
Tochinoshin defeats Yutakayama – Winless Yutakayama really made him work hard for this victory, which surprised me. This bout was unusual as Tochinoshin did not even seem to try to grab Yutakayama’s mawashi, but instead went to match him in tsuppari. The final seconds of the match feature Tochinoshin rapidly moving backward trying to pull Yutakayama down.
Tamawashi defeats Ichinojo – We can now worry that his day 5 loss has shattered Ichinojo’s confidence, and it may take him a day or two to regroup. Tamawashi was in control the entire time, with Ichinojo looking a bit lost.
Chiyotairyu defeats Goeido – Its now clear that Goeido 2.1 is a dud, and his technicians are going to try to roll him back to the buggy but highly aggressive 2.0 version over night.
Kakuryu defeats Daieisho – Really worrisome because Kakuryu seems to have just given up and decided he is going to win every match by pulling. The good news for him is that as soon as someone puts dirt on Tochinoshin, the yusho race is wide open again.
Abi defeats Hakuho – Yes, it was time to let the zabuton fly in the Kokugikan, and with good reason. The gangly stick insect with a heart of gold overwhelmed the dai-Yokozuna, and the roar from the Kokugikan was likely heard in Tsukiji. Hakuho looked unprepared, off balance and perhaps a bit disoriented. Abi’s first kinboshi, and it was great to see him achieve it. The look on Abi’s face has he takes the mountain of kensho from the gyoji’s gunbai is priceless, in fact it is my computer desktop’s background picture for the remainder of the day.
13 thoughts on “Natsu Day 6 Highlights”
Abi! Abi! Abi! Abi!
He will still likely Makekoshi but that win will probably make that completely alright with him. Good for you rookie.
The big bear looked a bit panicked in his match with Yutakayama but manages to save it with some impressive agility. I have a feeling he might take another Yūshō if his knee stays healthy.
I took a screenshot of that Abi Kensho Mountain gaze Too! I was trying to get it with the fan in the background clapping hands above his head. Pretty good day of Sumo after not being excited too much seeing the schedule beforehand. Shodai’s Sumo blind spot of Kaisei, Mitakeumi showing Endo to the dohyo , Tochinoshin … I don’t know what to make of that performance, I thought he got caught too high and Yutakayama is fairly large, I think Tochi got fortunate. Pulling down, especially multiple efforts in one match is not his game. And then Abi! I watch both Kintamayama and nattosumo broadcasts before work. Kinta has great insights shared and natto has a ton of stats, but also the best ending Abi meme to end today’s video. Abi! Nothing but an Abi thing Baby!
Tochinoshin was definitely fortunate to win today. I think he’s trying to use new skills when he isn’t low and he’s off-balance. He was doing tsuppari last basho, with varying levels of success, so my assumption is that he’s expanding his sumo and giving his opponents different things to deal with that they haven’t practiced against him.
Abi! Abi! Abi! Let us now praise a very surprised spider-man! And Ikioi — heart of a lion, even if his knees are borrowed from some other, less committed creature.
I watched the Kintamayama video and could’ve sworn the Yoshikaze-Chiyoshoma tachiai was in slow motion, lacking only “Chariots of Fire” playing underneath as a soundtrack. Too funny.
Tochinoshin did indeed look a bit rattled early today — is there some danger of this yusho / ozeki run getting in his head? is he that sort? — but his intensity level is off the charts this basho. He’s out there like a man with the strength of (bear+[two bears]) and the expectations of a small country on his shoulders.
Meanwhile, Hakuho, who normally strikes me as someone who might simply eat an opponent out of sheer dominant focus…was not checked in today. Anyone who’s been through profound grief has been through those moments where you just sort of lose the thread of what you’re doing for a moment or two. Call me crazy, but I could swear that was the expression he had at the end of the bout.
And now I’d like a word with Goeido’s software developers. Patching matters, people!
I liked Mitakeumi’s win was cool and it was nice to see a good Ishiura bout. Abi’s cool, I love the fist bump he gives his assistants in the tunnel, todays was a little more enthusiastic than the usual of course.
My stable of favorite rikishi really took a hit today! Aminishiki, Ryuden, Shodai, Yutakayama, Endo, Ichinojo, and Hakuho all hit the clay on Day 6, while Kyokutaisei, Asanoyama, and Kagayaki won.
I agree with you Bruce, Ichinojo seemed to lack confidence today and he was way too high throughout his bout. Hopefully he can right the ship tomorrow, but knowing him he may continue this little loosing skid for another day or two.
Also, it seems like Chiyotairyu’s might sideburns have restored his powers and he is fighting like the rough and tough bruiser that he is. The Boss will have his hands full tomorrow.
I really wanted to grow sideburns as a teenager (it was the mid 90s and they were ‘in’). More than 20 years later I still can’t grow them but wear them vicariously through Chiyotairyu!
Good to see Tamawashi emerge from his difficult schedule with a deserved win. I would back him for 8 wins now if my sumo predictions weren’t so rubbish!
What an exciting end to Day 6 – the sounds of OMG OMG OMG resounded off the walls
My boys have had some wonderful days with Yoshikaze now 4-2 Kyokutaisei now 5-1 and down in Juryo Yago 6-0, tomorrow I’ll be at a rugby league game but I’ll have my iPhone so I can sneakily check up on things 😉 but this round definitely belongs to Abi as all the wanted to do was call his mum coz it was her birthday the day before ♥️
I just watched the NHK coverage with that interview at the end, and I promise you I was laughing and shouting “I CANNOT LIVE!” at the television. That was adorable. Someone did a great job with that kid.
I know! I was trying to explain it to hubby but it’s hard when u can’t stop reacting to the interview itself 😂😂
With their 4th victories today, M8 Yoshikaze and M8 Kagayaki have punched their Makuuchi tickets for Nagoya. So has M11 Chiyonokuni with his 5th win, the lowest ranked rikishi to do so this basho.
One of the things that elevates top rikishi over maegashira journeymen is their increased skill at pulling out the win in a desperate situation. Hakuho managed it against Mitakeumi in their match and today Tochinoshin showed he’s got it too.