Haru Day 2 Highlights

A Cake Worthy of a Yokozuna

A hearty “Happy Birthday” to perhaps the greatest rikishi ever to mount the dohyo – none other than Yokozuna Hakuho. Now a ripe 34 years old, Hakuho is the man to beat for any tournament he enters. That he can maintain this level of performance in spite of the rigors and injuries of sumo is a fantastic tale of someone who always seems to find a way to overcome. He has been sidelined several times in the past few years, and has had at least 4 medical procedures to keep his body together, but he keeps coming back. Truly one for the history books.

Highlight Matches

Yutakayama defeats Chiyomaru – Visiting from Juryo from the day, former Makuuchi ballast stone Chiyomaru shows off that amazing green mawashi, and gives Yutakayama some fierce competition. But in Chiyomaru style, he runs low on stamina against Yutakayama, who seems up to the challenge of taking that much force repeatedly to the upper body. As Chiyomaru fades out, Yutakayama attacks. Yutakayama gets high marks for surviving Chiyomaru’s initial attack, and staying patient.

Ishiura defeats Terutsuyoshi – These two have a 4 match history, and one would have to imagine that Terutsuyoshi was aware of Ishiura’s tendency to sidestep a tachiai. But for whatever reason, Terutsuyoshi launched strongly into Ishiura’s henka, and had nothing to show for it.

Kotoeko defeats Toyonoshima – Outstanding tachiai from Toyonoshima, but Kotoeko reads it perfectly, and sidesteps at the edge. It might seem like a small thing, but that move from Kotoeko was a thing of beauty.

Kagayaki defeats Yoshikaze – Yoshikaze had the better tachiai, with Kagayaki ending up high, and Yoshikaze having his hands inside. But Mr. Fundamentals kept moving forward, and quickly left Yoshikaze no room to work. It’s tough to see Yoshikaze unable to generate much if any forward pressure. His mechanics are still excellent, but the strength is absent.

Meisei defeats Tomokaze – Great attack power from Tomokaze, but Meisei was simply faster, and was able to grab Tomokaze’s right arm and move to the side. With his opponent no longer in front of him, Tomokaze is in trouble, and Meisei quickly applies force to send him out. Very nice escape move for Meisei, and he made it work.

Ryuden defeats Shohozan – Shohozan decides he is willing to go chest to chest with Ryuden, and in doing so gives up his mobility advantage. Ryuden controlled the match after the first few seconds, and patiently worked to get a winning grip.

Yago defeats Ikioi – And just like that, Ikioi looks broken again. Ikioi got the better position at the tachiai, and was inside Yago’s reach in a blink of an eye, but Yago was able to catch Ikioi off balance and slap him down, which seems to have aggravated Ikioi’s extensive list of injuries, miseries and pains.

Asanoyama defeats Sadanoumi – Even though Sadanoumi clearly had control of the match at the tachiai, he let Asanoyama set up a rather lethargic hatakikomi that evolved over several seconds. Less than amazing sumo from these two today.

Kotoshogiku defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji moved to bring his arms across his body to block Kotoshogiku’s grip, attempting to thwart the inevitable hug-n-chug deployment. But this is Kotoshogiku’s forte, and he repeatedly broke contact with Takarafuji, attempting to get him to reach out, which he eventually did. Inside got Kotoshogiku, and the Kyushu Bulldozer gets to work. Really nice, low tachiai from Kotoshogiku. I like how he has his eyes fixed on Takarafuji’s center-mass, and lands with maximum force. Now if only he could teach that to Shodai…

Aoiyama defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi had the upper hand at the start of the match, but failed to keep Aoiyama in front of him. Once Aoiyama got to the side, he wasted no time in getting Okinoumi off balance and moving sideways for the loss.

Onosho defeats Abi – Once again Abi finds his opponent attacking his outstretched elbows from below, disrupting his double arm thrust attack. With Onosho’s freakishly large hands, he breaks Abi’s offense and moves inside, and it only takes a moment for a couple of quick thrusts to Abi’s mawashi to propel him across the tawara.

Chiyotairyu defeats Tochiozan – Tochiozan jumps early for a matta, and it appears to completely disrupt any offensive plans he brought to the dohyo. Chiyotairyu raises him up, then slaps him down.

Ichinojo defeats Shodai – Lethargic tachiai from both, but once you get a Ichinojo on your chest, your options are limited. After a moment of trying to move Ichinojo, Shodai appears to start working on a way to break the Mongolian’s grip, but finds he is surrounded by acres of muscle and flesh. Ichinojo calmly moves forward, and takes the win. Solid sumo for two days from Ichinojo. Let’s hope the “mighty” version is in attendance in Osaka.

Takakeisho defeats Nishikigi – A straightforward “wave action” win for Takakeisho, as Nishikigi really had no counter-strategy ready for Takakeisho’s preferred sumo.

Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – Daieisho surprised Tamawashi at the tachiai, getting inside and starting to thrust against Tamawashi’s neck before he could set up any kind of offense. Tamawashi did rally for a moment, but was unable to keep Daieisho in front of him. With Tamawashi turned to the side, Daieisho pushed him down for the win.

Takayasu defeats Mitakeumi – A fantastic match, with both men putting forth a maximum effort to win. Mitakeumi anticipated and absorbed Takayasu’s shoulder blast, which left the Ozeki in poor position (as it usually does) with Mitakeumi inside and at his chest. Takayasu quickly switches to defense and puts everything towards blocking Mitakeumi’s grip, but his body remains high and he is clearly in poor position. But then the match because an endurance test, and Takayasu has nearly inhuman endurance. Standing on a dohyo applying nearly a quarter ton of force against your opponent seems to be something Takayasu does with ease, and in Mitakeumi’s degraded physical condition, it was all about the Ozeki waiting him out. Running low on stamina, Mitakeumi broke his grip and Takayasu seized his chance and drove forward for the win.

Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin – Excellent, match winning strategy by Myogiryu. He rushed the tachiai then kept his arms in front of him and close to his body, blocking any chance of Tochinoshin landing his deadly “sky hook” grip. With Tochinoshin’s arms pinned, Myogiryu moves forward and the Ozeki is out of room to counter.

Goeido defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji seems to be a bundle of nerves so far, and has not really been able to deploy his sumo. The matta really blew his rhythm, and against Goeido that’s more or less an instant loss, as the Ozeki is so fast and so strong in the first 5 second of any match that any mistake will equal your loss.

Hakuho defeats Endo – It was a rough win, but The Boss picks up a white star for his birthday. Endo was surprisingly slow at the tachiai, but Endo managed to keep his hips lower, and had good pressure against the Yokozuna. But Hakuho has so many change-up moves, and broke contact with Endo, giving him a face slap and re-engaging on his terms. Endo was never able to mount much of an offense after that, and Hakuho took the win.

Kakuryu defeats Kaisei – No way to say this other than Kakuryu managed to out-power Kaisei, and that’s quite an achievement. His fans are happy to see Kakuryu bounce back from his day 1 loss, and to do so in solid form.

11 thoughts on “Haru Day 2 Highlights

  1. That Mawashi on Chiyomaru … what was he thinking? That’s just not right!

    Quite dissapointed in Ishiura, but it’s another win on his way to 8. Things look really grimm for Tochinoshin. I was worried after day 1 and have even less confidence now.
    I know Mitakeumi was injured in Tokyo, but to be frank .. I don’t see any lingering injury. He seems to be perfectly mobile and have power in both legs. Maybe he lacks a bit of conditioning, but even that wasn’t at display. Takayasu would wear him down in such a situation 9 out of 10 times.
    Hakuho looks vulnerable. Endo did a great recovery, but this obviously completely messed with his judgement, as his next action was an almost unprovoked face dive.

    • Given how little training Mitakeumi did in the run up to Osaka, his ability to stand up to Takayasu was doubly impressive. That injury is there, but I am going to suggest that Mitakeumi is just toughing it out right now.

      I also think that returning to calm, patient sumo is likely to be Takayasu’s key to higher performance. It was what got him to Ozeki, and I think it can take him far.

    • Sad to say, I agree with your assessment on Tochinoshin (I am very down about his kachi-koshi chances–he does not look even close to dominant Rikishi we saw early last year).

    • I get that Ishiura shouldn’t need to pull out the henka against someone his own size, but Terutsuyoshi should really have known better than to duck his head like that at the tachiai—you gotta watch your opponent, especially one known to sidestep.

  2. Two days, two henkas, complete and total silence from the crowd each time.

    I think both Toyonoshima and Kotoshogiku are genki this basho because they have the chance to face each other. More of this from both of them, please!

    I was waiting for someone to realize that they way to beat Abi is to close the distance and don’t let Abi dictate it for a second. Abi has no answers when people get inside of his arms like Onosho did today.

    I’m wondering if Takayasu is calm and focused because the retirement saga with his heya mate is over. Takayasu can now focus on what he needs and his own sumo while still being able to battle with his training partner.

    At this point, I have suspicions that Goeido is deliberately causing his opponents to matta to help himself win. He’s done the same “I’m ready…wait, no I’m not” shenanigans at the tachiai two days in a row.

    If Hakuho had that much trouble with Endo, then he’s really going to struggle against his later opponents. Takakeisho and Takaysu, never mind anyone else, isn’t going to give him an inch to easily win the basho, so it’ll definitely be interesting to see what happens in the coming days.

    • I have watched that Kotoshogiku match about 7 times now, and he is incredibly dialed in right now. I do hope that match with Toyonoshima comes to pass, I think the fans will lose their minds. Doubly so if we can get a big back-bend from Kotoshogiku!

    • The English announcers implied just the same about Goeido and his matta strategy. I think you are onto something.

  3. My dear wife and I have often (probably unfairly) compared Chiyomaru to the green ghost from Ghostbusters. This mawashi choice was a dream come true!

  4. 0) (I’m a programmer and we count from zero, dangit!) DST needs to die in a fire because now the top division doesn’t come on until ~3am my time and, being older than Hakuho, I can NOT stay awake that late x.x , 1) As I said on Twitter, I think they can probably see Chiyomaru’s mawashi from space, 2) As much as Ishiura is known to henka, I put the onus on his opponents if they don’t have a plan for when he does it, (especially someone who fought him in Juryo on two previous tournaments…) 3) The losses from Tamawashi and Tochinoshin broke my little heart, 4) Herouth’s Twitter reaction to Ishiura’s henka might’ve made my night 😹

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