Nagoya Day 5 Highlights


As a result of today’s action, we have to wonder about Kakuryu, and if he may have injured himself along the way to the end of act 1. He has given off two kinboshi in two days, and both times it was while trying to pull an opponent down in reverse gear. In the past this has correlated very well to Kakuryu having problems with his lower back or his drive train, and it could well be true now.

Having a portion of Nagoya go to a “Nokazuna” status would not be a tragedy, or even more than a footnote. But it once again underscores that the current crop of Yokozuna are all over 30 years old, and their bodies are banged up thanks to a lifetime of competition in a physical sport. Fans should be warned that we are in the middle of a large scale transition in the top division. Many of the “Stars” of Makuuchi are reaching the end of their careers. The team at Tachiai had expected a wave of retirements earlier this year, and we expect that there are quite a few fence sitters who are waiting for some larger event (Kisenosato retiring?) to decide their time to bow out and exit the stage has come.

Highlight Matches

Ishiura defeats Ryuden – Ishiura had a plan, and executed well. Thank you for an excellent reminder that you have excellent sumo skills, and can win when you apply them. Ryuden gave him quite the fight, but could not prevail.

Kotoeko defeats Meisei – Another great battle that ended when Meisei started a throw, but Kotoeko finished it. Meisei starting to look like he’s headed back to Juryo.

Tochiozan defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi opened strong, but Tochiozan rallied and had control of the match shortly after the tachiai.

Hokutofuji defeats Arawashi – Arawashi can’t seem to buy a win, and today was no exception. Hokutofuji jumped early on their first attempt, resulting in a matta. The second saw Arawashi apply a solid nodawa, but then go for a pull, which only resulted in his own defeat launching backward from the dohyo.

Aoiyama defeats Onosho – Onosho was only able to generate any offense for the briefest moment, and it did not seem to really slow down Aoiyama’s overwhelming attack. Onosho needs to regroup, as he’s in a bit of a losing streak now. Aoiyama’s extra shove once Onosho was already out seemed gratuitous.

Myogiryu defeats Nishikigi – After a matta, the two launch into a tachiai that leaves them chest to chest, and there they stay for a moment. Myogiryu, after seeming to think it through, executes an underarm throw which rolls Nishikigi across the dohyo. A simple bout, but a near textbook shitatedashinage.

Chiyomaru defeats Kyokutaisei – Sadly, Kyokutaisei starts Nagoya 0-5 as Chiyomaru finishes him with a somewhat flabby yorikiri. I am going to assume that Kyokutaisei is probably hurt.

Yutakayama defeats Chiyoshoma – To my eye, Chiyoshoma won the tachiai, and established clear advantage early in the match, but as Yutakayama started a shoving match, Chiyoshoma focused on trying to land massive round-house blows to Yutakayama’s face. This single targeting ignored Yutakayama’s center-mass, and Chiyoshoma was driven from the ring.

Chiyotairyu defeats Daieisho – Chiyotairyu shows us excellent form for an oshi fighter. Note how he focuses his thrusts against Daieisho’s chest and shoulders. A solid win, with the sideburns of Chiyotairyu leading the way.

Takarafuji defeats Daishomaru – Takarafuji seems to have found his sumo, and is fighting well. Daishomaru throws half the menu at him, and Takarafuji absorbs it with stability. Once Daishomaru starts to fade, Takarafuji advances and finishes the match with a win.

Endo defeats Kagayaki – Endo was lower at the tachiai, and Kagayaki got his preferred inside spot, but Endo forced him high. Thus he could only push against Endo’s face, while Endo was able to respond closer to center mass. Endo reaches for a right hand inside grip, and gets to work. Kagayaki masterfully broke Endo’s grip, but now chest to chest, there is no way for Kagayaki to stop Endo’s advance. Some really solid sumo today from these two.

Kaisei defeats Yoshikaze – The sadness that is Yoshikaze sumo for Nagoya 2018 continues.

Tamawashi defeats Takakeisho – Takakeisho looks unfocused and unaggressive. He was able to move Tamawashi back, but in the process lost his balance and Tamawashi tipped him over with a single, one-arm shove. I think at least one of the tadpoles is going to be in the top ranks of sumo in the year to come, but the two younger ones need to settle into their sumo, and overcome their injuries.

Mitakeumi defeats Shohozan – Meanwhile, Mitakeumi as grand tadpole (Ōkato / 大蝌蚪) appears to be king of this puddle. Shohozan focused on slapping Mitakeumi’s face, meanwhile Mitakeumi focuses on applying massive force to Shohozan’s body. Don’t blink or you will miss it. Mitakeumi finishes act one 5-0, tied with Tochinoshin for the lead.

Ichinojo defeats Shodai – Ichinojo shows some signs of life after a 3 day break. Shodai nearly bounces off Ichinojo at the tachiai, and persistently tries to get a hand on Ichinojo’s mawashi. The Boulder is having none of it, and blocks Shodai’s every attempt. Good to see Ichinojo not go soft and give up today.

Goeido defeats Chiyonokuni – I am relieved that Goeido was able to boot up in 2.1 mode today. Chiyonokuni rose from the tachiai to find Goeido latched onto him, and Chiyonokuni was never able to get any offense started. When Goeido is running well, this is how he operates. You don’t get a chance to attack because the match is already over.

Tochinoshin defeats Kotoshogiku – Tochinoshin did a great job of forcing Kotoshogiku to shift his weight from foot to foot every few seconds. This stopped the hug-n-chug while Tochinoshin set up his mawashi grip. Try as he might, Kotoshogiku continued to block his left hand. So Tochinoshin worked with what he had, which was a deep right hand grip and the strength of a bear that has the strength of two bears. The look of overwhelming exertion on Kotoshogiku’s face tells the story as Tochinoshin gives him a belly bump at the tawara for good measure, and finishes him.

Takayasu defeats Ikioi – Ikioi launched with surprising force into Takayasu at the tachiai, and the Ozeki found himself struggling to block Ikioi’s right hand. Takayasu broke contact, and the match shifted to oshi, with Takayasu struggling to maintain pressure. As Ikioi moved forward, Takayasu pulled him down. Somewhere in the process, the Ozeki seems to have hurt his left elbow, I am guessing in that struggle to block Ikioi’s attempt to land a right hand outside grip.

Abi defeats Kakuryu – The lone surviving Yokozuna gives up his second kinboshi in 2 days. Abi, of course, attack with his double arm thrusts high against Kakuryu’s body. As is Kakuryu’s style, he works to stalemate Abi and disrupt his sumo. For a time it works, and Abi retreats. But Abi summons his fighting spirit with his heels at the edge, and catches the Yokozuna trying to pull, and make Kakuryu pay for his mistake. Abi advances and drives the Yokozuna from the ring. For the second day the cushions fly.

21 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 5 Highlights

  1. So it’s just me who saw a sneaky no two hands touching the clay Goeido?
    Was sure it wss a matta .

    • Goeido has an invisible,etendable, extra finger on his left hand which brushes the clay at the square-off and renders everything legal. Either that or he’s been allowed to get away with blatant cheating for years.

  2. I always like watching Ishiura wrestle guys not TOO much bigger than he is. He really is incredibly strong and athletic; when he’s not giving up 100+ lbs, he can do some neat stuff.

    Tochinoshin and Mitakeumi better be careful or they’ll be taking the first step toward promotions later this year. LOT of confidence in that sumo. Hope they keep it going.

  3. This member of the Tachiai team is going to respectfully dissent from “the wave of retirements” :-) I’m going to guess it’ll be a trickle rather than any sort of coordinated event, with each rikishi (obviously, Yokozuna excepted) trying to hang on to Makuuchi for as long as possible (even if it takes some trips to Juryo: see Aminishiki and Takekkaze).

  4. Glad that you guys agree with me about the Kagayaki v Endo bout,which I thought was an absolute cracker. Also loved Chiyoshoma’s teeth-loosening slap attack, shame he still lost. The lowlight for me was Ikioi’s somewhat dubious looking flop to the clay against Takayasu. Kakuryu seems to have reverted to his 2017 form and may have aggravated a injury.

  5. Kakuryu is breaking my heart. I realize the Four Yokozuna Era was hardly sustainable over the long term, but Nagoya truly seems to wish to be a broom unto the top level. Feels as if there are a lot of could-have-been matches we will never see now. sigh

  6. In the Myogiryu – Nishikigi bout, Nishikigi loses his patience very early, and extends his arm for a mawashi grip he was never going to reach. Myogiryu feels him go off-balance and encourages him forward. Calmness prevails.

    Chiyonokuni has the bandage back on his left knee, and favours that leg while leaving the dohyo. Something was damaged to some degree yesterday despite his suppleness. I really hope it’s not serious. We need Feistiness!

  7. While I see Kakuryu’s vulnerability this past couple of days, I’m not quite ready to write him off completely; he is going for his third consecutive yusho, and though it seems like that may be out of reach,, March and May still count for something.

    • Kakuryu is still viable, and for a time soon may be the only active Yokozuna. But I suspect he’s hurt. When he’s hurt he starts pulling because he can’t deliver much forward pressure. We saw him lose power when he had Abi at the edge. Every previous time he acts this way, its injury time.

  8. I believe that Takayasu’s injury may be to his left forearm, not to the elbow. There were some nasty, purple-ish bruises on that forearm.

    • I am watching the sumo press twitter feed for any news about Takayasu. As he is kadoban he’s not really presented with many options.

    • From what we saw, it looks like it may have been a hyperflex from the arm-bar. Noted that he was holding his arm just below the elbow, and in obvious pain. Fingers crossed that it is not enough to stop our TakaBear.

    • If he gets those 8 wins being hurt.

      He’s in a crappy position at the moment like all hurt rikishi, go kyujo and be demoted or don’t go kyujo and risk aggravating the injury. And that could lead to even further fall in the banzuke.
      If he really is badly enough hurt for it to influence his sumo, that is

    • Same; I’m hoping whatever happened today, Ibuprofin can fix and he doesn’t go the “heal naturally” route his senpai has….

  9. Covered a lot of my thoughts, thanks again for the great coverage Bruce!

    I think Yoshikaze is going to be the first to go, both from his comments (something along the lines of his lacking energy ie “i don’t feel like mr feisty anymore”) and obviously results. But I would guess he holds on through the end of the year as he’s making good money with all those kinboshi plus his makuuchi salary

    I know this is superstition but can’t help but notice also when mawashi color changes signal a massive change in a rikishi’s fortune as well (i also don’t think green is a good look on ichinojo)

    • Sadly i agree with you Josh, although i just don’t want to admit it to myself re Yoshikaze. He’s already told us about his lack of genki/feisty, but it’s still very hard to watch. I like to think of my favourites as immortals… but it just ain’t so…. Fully agree re mawashi colour change – the only 2 it seems to be working in favour of atm is Tochinoshin and Chiyotairyu!

  10. I was glad to see Chiyoshoma in his black mawashi today; I’m not at all superstitious about colors, but I thought the blue one looked like it was physically too big for him, and he moved like he was more uncertain when he wore it. He may have lost today, but he looked more in-control of his sumo, if that makes any sense?

    And AOIYAMA! Don’t be Hakuho like that, man DX

  11. after watching the daily Highlights

    My opinion of the Shin Ozeki rose when I saw his bout. At the end, when Kotoshogiku was balanced on the edge of the dohyo, Tochinoshin retained hold of the former Ozeki’s mawashi until he regained his balance – preventing him from falling and risking injury. That is class and sportsmanship.


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