Nagoya Day 6 Highlights

Nagoay Day 6

We open act two with the crazy dial set to extreme, and everything turned on its head. It’s likely that the Nagoya basho is going to be the most brutal tournament in a while, with everyone’s favorites for the yusho ending up in puzzling places in the final yusho arasoi. Let’s break it down.

Yokozuna Kakuryu – Announced he was kyuju at the start of day 6. To Tachiai readers who have been able to keep up with the information firehose, this comes as no surprise, as we had noted that his body mechanics and his sumo were telegraphing that he was injured. Thanks to Herouth, we now know it was an injury to his elbow.

Ozeki Tochinoshin – Following Day 6 action, it was announced that the shin-Ozeki and pride of Georgia had suffered a strain to his right knee. That is the knee that is always mummified on the dohyo, and is perpetually threatening to send him to the barber. His fall to the lower ranks and struggle to climb to Ozeki revolves around earlier damage to that knee. I am going to guess they are going to take no chances with it.

Ozeki Takayasu – He strained his left elbow on day 5, and seemed to really be impacted by it on day 7. He is 4 wins away from the safety of kachi-koshi, and is the second highest man on the banzuke. I am going to guess he will gamberize.

Where this one is going now is anyone’s guess, but suddenly Mitakeumi and Endo are the ones to watch. But before anyone things this is the end of sumo, I will say I think we have 2 new Ozeki and 2 new Yokozuna in the upper division today. They just have to work out who they are, and the old guard needs to fade a bit more for it to happen.

Highlight Matches

Meisei defeats Ishiura – Ishiura starts with submarine sumo, and Meisei doing his best to fold him in half for easier recycling. Although Meisei seems to have the better position, Ishiura is comfortable folded in half, and battles with the conviction of angry origami. Realizing that origamikiri is not going to win, Meisei starts trying to raise Ishiura up. Hell, that’s not working either. The harder Meisei attacks, the more Ishiura folds himself up. It’s Jinki-zumo on full display! Everyone out of the water now! But Meisei knows the best way to defeat a turtle is to roll him on his back, and that is what he proceeds to do. Wonderful match. Hey, Ishiura – MORE Jinki-zumo please!

Okinoumi defeats Ryuden – As mentioned in the preview, there are basically the same rikishi 5 years apart. It was no surprise that the match featured an extended chest-to-chest stalemate at the shikiri-sen. As a wise man once said, “Perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything!”. Multiple times they both tried to defeat the other with more or less mirror image sumo. But eventually age won out and Ryuden had to settle for the kuroboshi.

Asanoyama defeats Tochiozan – Another highly symmetrical fight, but Asanoyama is a bit more genki, and was able to dispatch his elder with an uwatedashinage.

Hokutofuji defeats Sadanoumi – Watch that tachiai! Hokutofuji goes Ukiyo-e with a classic left hand at center mass, right hand at the chin of Sadanoumi. Nearly perfect mechanics to that attack, and Sadanoumi was on defense, and it was all responding to Hokutofuji’s sumo. Maybe Hokutofuji’s ring-rust has been scrubbed clean now, and we are going to see some of his rather excellent sumo.

Arawashi defeats Kotoeko – Notable that Arawashi finally has his first win of the tournament. It was short, direct and over in a hurry.

Onosho defeats Chiyomaru – Ok, that’s more like it. Onosho launches into the tachiai, goes chest to chest with Chiyomaru and pushes with conviction. It’s over fast and Onosho looks like he’s found some of his sumo once more.

Kyokutaisei defeats Nishikigi – Hokkaido man Kyokutaisei gets his first win of the basho at last, converting Nishikigi’s attempt at a throw into his own sukuinage.

Takarafuji defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma put forth the effort, but this was Takarafuji’s style of sumo. The two were chest to chest early, and Takarafuji seems to have a lot of endurance, and absorbed everything Chiyoshoma tried, and tried again. When Chiyoshoma began to wear down, Takarafuji went deep with a left hand inside / right hand outside and advanced into a spread-leg uwatenage.

Yutakayama defeats Daieisho – Oshi-oshi-oshi-oshi-oshi… OUT! Yutakayama extends his winning streak over Daieisho. Yutakayama seems to be getting the hang of his bulkier form.

Daishomaru defeats Yoshikaze – I see Yoshikaze going to the barber soon.

Endo defeats Kaisei – With Kaisei’s mass, if you get him falling backward, he does keep falling for a while. I am sure the ladies swooned as Endo kindly gave a hand to help haul the giant back upright. Keep an eye on Endo, with the top end of the banzuke in tatters, he smells opportunity.

Chiyotairyu defeats Kagayaki – An excellent bout from Chiyotairyu. He has correctly identified that Kagayaki gets worried when going up against a large opponent, and will juice his tachiai. This leaves him unbalanced for a moment following the collision, and susceptible to being turned, dislodged and generally run amok.

Ikioi defeats Shohozan – After a matta, Shohozan was a bit slow at the tachiai the second try. Ikioi got close and kept one hand pushing against Shohozan at all times. Classic Ikioi winning sumo.

Kotoshogiku defeats Ichinojo – The Kyushu bulldozer is NOT intimidated by this boulder. Ichinojo works hard to keep Kotoshogiku from squaring his hips and starting his preferred attack. What impressed me about the early portion of this match was how low Ichinojo was for a part of it. I am quite sure this kept Kotoshogiku busier than he expected. Kotoshogiku loaded a throw, but had nowhere near the leverage needed to rotate the Mongolian giant. With Kotoshogiku dangerously off balance, Ichinojo advanced strongly but lost his grip on his opponent. Then he seemed to just give up.

Mitakeumi defeats Shodai – The Mitakeumi fan club was on hand to watch the undefeated Sekiwake take full advantage of Shodai’s weak tachiai, landing a shallow left hand grip immediately, and swinging Shodai to the side. With his balanced ruined, Shodai was easy to move to the west side and dump him over the edge.

Takakeisho defeats Takayasu – Takakeisho has thus far looked very disorganized, his sumo was uncoordinated, reactive and lacked his usually aggressive edge. That was gone today as he overpowered Takayasu and blasted him from the dohyo. Takayasu started with that ridiculous and pointless shoulder-blast, which Takakeisho absorbed, waited for the Ozeki to recoil, and gave him a wave-action tsuppari. This rocked Takayasu to his heels, and Takakeisho blasted forward. Takayasu was little more than clumsy dead-weight today. Delighted we had genuine Takakeisho sumo today.

Goeido defeats Abi – Goeido came off the shikiri-sen low and fast, and Abi, to his credit, attempted to counter. But the Ozeki contained, restrained, and applied the uwatenage.

Tamawashi defeats Tochinoshin – Tough match for Tochinoshin. He opened oshi-style, but it was not getting him any advantage. He then tried for a pull, which left him high. Of course Tamawashi sensed the pull coming, and grabbed the Ozeki center mass and pushed forward. Tochinoshin recognizes he is in trouble and circles away. But now he is hideously off balance, and he has handed control of the match to Tamawashi. Tochinoshin reaches for Tamawashi’s belt, but his feet are set at an odd angle, and he is still off balance. Tamawashi plays this perfectly and rolls the Ozeki forward and over for a clean kotenage. I think that Tochinoshin’s attempt to lunge for a grip with his feet not set was the moment he put his injured right at jeopardy. Hopefully he can get it addressed.

18 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 6 Highlights

  1. Fingers crossed Tochinoshin isn’t hurt too. Not winning the yusho in as shin-ozeki would be ok, getting hurt not.

  2. I went back and gave a very close look to Takayasu’s Day 6 bout against Ikioi, from which it had appeared to me that Takayasu came away with a bad forearm bruise. I was wrong. Upon review, one can see that, after the end of the bout, Takayasu ended up with both hands flat on the clay. After he got up, he grabbed the upper inside area of his left forearm, leaving behind a clay handprint on that forearm. That handprint is what I mistook for a bruise. So, no bruise, but it is clear that Takayasu was feeling discomfort in that upper forearm area.

    • Agreed,. If we could slow down time there would have been 0.3 seconds when I was yelling “Crikey O’Riley, Ishiura is going to beat him with that over the shoulder crazy judo throw, oh yes he can, oh no he can’t, just maybe, oh bugger it”. In real time sounded like “OhWahAwwh”.

    • Yes, he attempted a tasukizori. Meisei surprised me by having the presence of mind to release his own hands from Ishiura in the last moment, and keep them close to his body to avoid touching the ground first.

      By the way, I didn’t notice all of this myself – the NHK reverse-side commentator, Tanigawa oyakata, certainly knows his sumo. He is the one who pointed this out.

  3. The latest news from Japan is that Tochinoshin’s knee is not an issue. The injury is with his big toe. As of late last night in Nagoya he wasn’t expected to withdraw, but obviously it depends on how he feels when he wakes up in the morning.

    • I’ve only been a sumo fan for two or three years, so I will never ever pretend to know a great deal about fighting techniques and such. But it seems to me so many upsets in the sport occur when a better wrestler, while backing up, will try to grab the opponent’s nape of the neck in order to slap him down. It appears to me if the opponent isn’t off balance, the better wrestler is almost doomed as he is backing up just a couple feet from the straw bales with his adversary right on top of him and having all the momentum in his favor. I realize I’m simplifying a very technical move far too much, but the ”slap down” seems to be an extremely risky maneuver, especially on an inferior opponent. My two cents.

    • I think that unless he wakes up and finds he can’t perform the shikiri at all, he will swaddle his toes and try to get his kachi-koshi before going kyujo. He wouldn’t want to become kadoban right off his ozeki debut.

  4. Shohozan seems to have lost his fire in the past couple of days. I hope he recovers it tomorrow.

    Ichonojo’s struggles are all mental. He really did give up today. I wonder if he suffers from depression?

    Mitakeumi looked great against Shodai. Excellent, low tachiai for the win.

    Oh, Takayasu! GET LOWER ON YOUR TACHICAI! Good grief!

    Goeido will get to 8 wins because there aren’t any Yokozuna to scare him anymore. But, I think the “horse to bet on” at this point is Mitakeumi. Tochinoshin is obviously not out of the race, but as we’ve seen from Hakuho, big toes are important. Endo is also a decent choice for runner-up, but I don’t see him beating Mitakeumi, Goeido, or Tochinoshin at this point. He’ll have to beat at least two of them, and Takayasu, to nab the yusho.

    • If Tochinoshin is really injured and just limps to 8 wins then this one really is Mitakeumi’s to lose. He certainly looks capable of beating the other 2 ozeki.

      Looking a bit further down the banzuke Chiyotairyu, Endo and the quondam sanyaku regular Myogiryu are all going great guns. I’m hoping for a big burn-up next weekend and a multiple 12-3 playoff… but I always say that.

  5. So no Yokuzuna!

    There was no need to lose Harumafuji and Kisensato may well have returned good as new if he sought proper medical help.

    I love sumo but unless they wake up it’ll be gone. With weights and most likely drugs these guys are getting stronger and faster. Sumo has to value its best and enter the 21st century.

  6. I rate Tamawashi as a good performance barometer: beat him and chances are you are having a good basho and vice versa. I’m backing this up on a hunch with absolutely no evidence by the way.

  7. Tamawashi, wow. It just goes to show you how unpredictable sumo can be!

    Ichinojo … is it possible he just can’t handle the heat? As in, Nagoya is hot this time of year? He’s rather large and I have known a few large persons seem to have extra trouble dealing with it.

    I am totally cool with a Mitakeumi yusho.

  8. I think that might now be 3 times Ichinojo has just given up in this basho

    Which is crazy because here he’s been presented with a golden opportunity to start a proper ozeki run in a tournament in which he would have to face very few rikishi higher than him in the second week (potentially as few as two or even one if Takayasu/Tochinoshin go kyujo after grabbing their KK)


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