Hatsu Day 11 Highlights

Day 11 featured some of the best sumo action of the basho thus far, as the Ozeki – with their backs against the wall – found the strength to put up a good fight at last. Lower down the torikumi, many fan favorites are starting to reach the safety of their 8th win. But day 11 was marred with kyujo, as both Chiyonokuni and Kotoyuki withdrew with leg and knee injuries.

Highlight Matches

Daiamami defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki is make-koshi yet again (now 4 times in a row), and we have to wonder what kind of chronic problem this lad is battling to overcome. His usually excellent sumo mechanics have been hit or miss this basho, and he seems to have lost confidence in his approach. In a perfect world we could see Araiso oyakata work with Kagayaki for a time, as their approaches are quite similar, but Kagayaki seems to have lost faith in his ability to prevail, something Araiso (Kisenosato) never lost, even in the depths of his injury.

Daishomaru defeats Ikioi – Daishomaru finally wins one, from Japan’s top ICU candidate Ikioi. How this guy keeps going, I will never know.

Chiyoshoma defeats Takarafuji – Readers know I am not fan of henkas, but when Chiyoshoma unloads his “Flying Henka” the entertainment value is off the charts. Takarafuji rolls out into the zabuton zone, and gets “encouragement” from an enthusiastic fan.

Asanoyama defeats Yago – Yago seems to have stalled 1 win from the kachi-koshi line. Yago also seems to be following the route of going soft at the bales, is it an approach to avoid injury? Asanoyama’s win keeps his kachi-koshi hopes alive.

Ryuden defeats Meisei – The two go chest to chest and it quickly evolves into both men trying to finish a throw of the other first. Both go down in tandem but Ryuden touches last. Ryuden stays away from make-koshi for another day.

Onosho defeats Yutakayama – Onosho got the better of the tachiai, and focuses on a series of nodowa, which Yutakayama seemed able to withstand, and waited for Onosho to release, then took Onosho to his chest. Now outside his comfort zone, Onosho continues to try to thrust, and find some way to break contact. Yutakayama moves to the edge and throws, but the gumbai goes to Onosho.

Kaisei defeats Chiyotairyu – Great example of Kaisei-zumo. Chiyotairyu puts so much power into the tachiai, but Kaisei absorbs it all, and works to land his left hand outside grip. Once hooked, Kaisei advances and escorts Chiyotairyu out. Kaisei is kachi-koshi.

Endo defeats Yoshikaze – Rather the ghost of Yoshikaze. Whatever that sad remnant of Yoshikaze has going on, he has my sympathy. But with this rather disappointing match did give Endo his kachi-koshi.

Shohozan defeats Ichinojo – Shohozan does a great job of executing a Harumafuji style mini-henka, and Ichinojo’s combination of mass and forward velocity do all of the work.

Tochiozan defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi is fading toward make-koshi, and the surprisingly genki guy from Kyushu and the first half of Hatsu is just a fond memory. I suspect we will see him again, and he will turn up throughout the coming year.

Myogiryu defeats Shodai – If Shodai goes make-koshi and stays in the joi-jin I am going to be outraged. This puffball rikishi gets an insane amount of banzuke grace applied to him, and frankly it’s hurting his sumo. Make him grind through the bottom, or take a trip back to Juryo. It’s the only way he’s ever going grow into his potential.

Tamawashi defeats Kotoshogiku – For an old timer with bum knees, Kotoshogiku shows remarkable agility and persistence. Tamawashi throws the kitchen sink into this match, and responds with skill and strength when Kotoshogiku lands his grip and begins to push. Holding Kotoshogiku’s head down, Kotoshogiku breaks off and rallies, but Tamawashi has him on the run, and knocks him out. Good sumo from both.

Takakeisho defeats Hokutofuji – As good as the prior match was, this match took things a notch higher. Both rikishi were blasting away with tsuki and oshi attacks, with advantage shifting every moment. Most opponents succumb to Takakeisho’s wave action attack after a few cycles, but Hokutofuji took them all, and kept fighting. Hokutofuji’s big weakness is his reliance on a nodowa, and Takakeisho defended against that with great skill, and it kept Hokutofuji from getting into a winning position. Meanwhile Takakeisho focused center-mass, and carried the day. Dare I hope for a long running rivalry between these two?

Takayasu defeats Okinoumi – Takayasu is back in form, and makes quick work of Okinoumi. Takayasu is now above the .500 line, and I am getting hopeful he can rescue a kachi-koshi out of this basho.

Goeido defeats Aoiyama – It was clear that Aoiyama was nervous going into this match, and Goeido knew what to do. Aoiyama has a habit of being very far forward the step after his tachiai, ands Goeido used that problem with Aoiyama’s balance to bring him down. Dare we hope Goeido can avoid going kadoban, even with that manky arm?

Mitakeumi defeats Hakuho – Day 11 had one more gift to offer. Coming back from kyujo, fans noted that injured Mitakeumi was given Hakuho for his first match. Thoughts of body parts being torn asunder and landing in the balcony came to mind. Instead we saw Mitakeumi come in low, hard and fast – he took the fight to the Yokozuna and kept control of the match. Hakuho immediately found himself in trouble, as Mitakeumi stayed Kisenosato low, and advanced. Normally Hakuho would have have an emergency exit move or two he could deploy, but Mitakeumi gave him no room to work with. Damn impressive effort from Mitakeumi, think I will go watch it again…

Nope, it’s even better the 4th time

24 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 11 Highlights

  1. What a difference a day makes. Not only did Hakuho give up the zensho today, he also gave up his comfortable two win lead. And the guy he fights tomorrow, Tamawashi, is looking very, very good this tournament.

    Hakuho pays the price for complacency. I hope we see dai-Yokozuna sumo tomorrow from The Boss.

    • P.S. Mitakeumi was limping away from the dohyo. Please take care, MItakeumi.

      And oh yes, Congratulations, Mitakeumi, on defeating the Yokozuna.

      • Did anybody see how Mitakeumi was walking and squatting before the bout? After, he was hurting when squatting to receive the money, and hurting while limping out leaning on an assistant.

        If he was that bad before the bout, I’m surprised they sent him. If not, then how much additional damage did he do?

          • I was thinking “they” were his master and any coaches or doctors the master wished to consult.

            “Let him go” might be a better phrases than “sent him”. Either way I hope that Mitakeumi hasn’t been permitted to assume unilateral decision making.

            Viewing the complete Abema replay now. Looks like the left leg is significantly worse after the bout.

  2. Having paid careful attention to the banzuke making, I don’t think Shodai has gotten preferential treatment. It’s just been good banzuke luck—his 7-8 and 6-9 records came when most rikishi ranked above him performed even worse, and there were not enough sufficiently strong records below him, so that his MK resulted in minimal demotions simply because there weren’t better candidates to rank ahead of him.

    • Your insight is better than mine, but I think having to fight his way back up might be the catalyst he needs to improve. Without outside forces, some organisms never are forced to evolve.

      • I’m not arguing about what might be good for him, just noting that the banzuke makers have very limited discretion. If his record indicates (say) demotion to M5, they can’t demote him to M10. But over the longer term, rikishi generally end up in the part of the banzuke appropriate for their skill…

  3. You saw a beautiful oshi bout. I saw a CTE outbreak. Seriously, I counted at least 9 head collisions in the Takakeisho-Hokutofuji bout. My own head aches in sympathy. Hokutofuji kind of reeled on his way out.

    “Encouraging” Takarafuji, eh? That fan just seized the opportunity to touch the best gluteus maximus in Grand Sumo.

    When did we last see Yoshikaze with such a poor performance? Ah yes… last time he was ranked M5W. I think perhaps his relatively good performance last basho (a minimal make-koshi) is an outlier, and he is doomed to look like this if he is ever at this part of the joi.

    In other news: Hoshoryu is kachi-koshi. And Terutsuyoshi is kachi-koshi [does a little dance].

  4. I’m finding Yago’s giving up at the edge (or yesterday the middle) somewhat disappointing after his spirited start

  5. Yago has done this before, looks like going kachikoshi, then drops a couple, then boom he’s back and a 9-10 winning record – c’mon my little dragon fly – do you senpai (Takekaze) proud! Mae Mae Mae!!!! Mitakeumi’s knee – not even that heavy taping could help him off the dohyo! fingers crossed he hasn’t made it worse with his fabulous win over the boss. aaaaaagh….. Yoshikaze……. sigh………

    and sign that ‘encouraging’ fan up to the Takarafuji Gluteus-Maximus Appreciation Society…!!!

    • “Encouragement” clearly has a very different meaning in sumo: 1) to be imminently forced to retire or 2) unwanted smack on the arse

  6. Meisei and Yutakayama looked unlucky to me. I would have called them both winners from the live view but we didn’t even get a mono-ii.

      • In slo-mo, Meisei clearly touched before Ryuden, and I’m pretty sure Yutakayama’s shin touched the dirt a couple of frames before Onosho’s foot went out, though how the gyoji called it in real time, I don’t know.

  7. ‘Mitakeumi defeats Hakuho – Day 11 had one more gift to offer.’
    you said it, and well put

    was the gift just losing zensho?
    or will the boss be extra generous, as in moving over for a tamawashi cup?

  8. Hakuho had that ‘What the F just hit me’ expression after the match. Priceless!

    Win the win over Hakuho, Mitakeumi makes a clean sweep of all 3 Yokuzunas in the tournament. I wondered when was the last time this happened. And with Kisenosato’s retirement, it’s probably not going to happen for a long time.

    Hmm.. has any Rikishi swept 4 Yokuzunas when Harafafuji was still active? Probably not. Consider how many tournaments Kisenosato sat out.

    What happens if Takakeisho fails in his Ozeki run but makes KK? If his record is worse than Tamawashi, technically he would be demoted to the West Sekiwake for the Haru Basho right?

    • Kisenosato as ozeki did a clean sweep of three yokozuna at Kyushu 2016; he also beat Goeido and Terunofuji although neither of them were having a great basho. Kisenosato himself finished 12-3 after dropping three matches to maegashira; I recollect that at least one commentator (Murray Johnson maybe) was unhappy about that. Kakuryu got his third yusho with a 14-1 record; Hakuho and Harumafuji both went 11-4.

  9. Day 11 was the best sumo so far and made me glad I hadn’t posted my whiny little thoughts about how Day 10 had been so pathetic and sumo was dying.
    It seemed pretty clear that Hakuho wasn’t mentally up for the bout, probably expecting it to be an easy pushover. Very rare to see him caught out like that. He’ll be ready tomorrow.

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