Haru Day 7 Highlights

I think we are starting to see a shift / reversion in Takayasu’s sumo. If so, it could spell some great things for the Ozeki. I credit the nearly non-stop training with ex-Kisenosato since January, I see elements of Kisenosato’s style re-emerging in Takayasu’s sumo. Let’s hope it works for him.

I would also encourage readers to go check out Josh’s write up on his day 6 adventure in Osaka: A Day Out at the EDION Arena: Haru 2019. Josh and I will be recording a video podcast later today, watch for it to pop up on your feeds early Sunday!

Highlight Matches

Kotoeko defeats Daishoho – Kotoeko continues to impress, and he had his work cut out for him with Daishoho, who was not surrendering any portion of the match to the man from Miyazaki. Kotoeko withstood Daishoho’s efforts to use his larger body and a painful arm-bar grip to wear Kotoeko down – good sumo from both.

Ishiura defeats Toyonoshima – A great day for Ishiura – no stunts or cheap moves, he takes small-man sumo to Toyonoshima with energy, mobility and speed. Toyonoshima sought to overpower Ishiura at the start, but superior footwork, and unwavering focus kept Ishiura in the match. This is the same sumo Ishiura used when he first broke into Makuuchi, and it’s why he became a fan favorite in a hurry.

Takagenji defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi seems to have lost his sumo, and Takagenji is happy to encourage him to look for it. In the clay. With his face. Much as I joined everyone else in hoping Terutsuyoshi would hit and hold in the top division, it’s clear that he’s not quite ready yet.

Kagayaki defeats Chiyoshoma – Kagayaki seems to have broken through the ring rust and is starting to operate like he should. A mawashi match today was great to see, and as always solid fundamentals.

Tomokaze defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama’s knee gave out today, and fans have to be concerned that the one time leader of the Freshmen is no where close to being healthy. Tomokaze showed some good oshi-zumo today, but his foot work is still a bit wild. Hopefully to former Takekaze will help him with that.

Meisei defeats Ryuden – Sumo fans around the world beg Ryuden to not emulate Ikioi that closely, as Ryuden exits todays match with a wound to his forehead. Meisei tachiai was excellent, and he was patient with his arm placement, which got him the grip he needed to win. Fantastic execution today by Meisei.

Yoshikaze defeats Shohozan – Yoshikaze’s fans savor any day an even partially genki Yoshikaze can take to the dohyo. Today he carefully picked his way through Shohozan’s tsuppari storm, and waited for a chance to apply force to Shohozan’s chest. Shohozan seldom puts his feet in a defensive stance, so getting a solid shove into his sternum is typically all that is needed to win.

Sadanoumi defeats Ikioi – The REAL Ikioi cannot generate forward pressure, but he did make Sadanoumi work for grip. Not much this poor, broken rikishi is going to be able to do until he can get his wounds repaired.

Kotoshogiku defeats Yago – Kotoshogiku is dialed in right now. Again I have to watch this match several times, and just savor that tachiai. Much respect to Yago, who withstands the hug-n-chug better than most, and rides the Kyushu Bulldozer like a rodeo champ. Watch Yago’s hip work, as he keeps shifting Kotoshogiku’s axis of force to either side. But Kotoshogiku knows his odd craft like no other, and he keeps Yago on defense, and backing away.

Aoiyama defeats Takarafuji – Aoiyama looks to have enough sumo to take down anyone at his ranking. Today’s match was all Bulgarian Man-Mountain.

Okinoumi defeats Asanoyama – As a long-serving veteran, Okinoumi has a library of technical skill. Sadly as his age advances we don’t see it as frequently as we did even 4 years ago, but today he gives newer fans of why he’s been in the top division since 2010. That makikae gambit after Asanoyama had stalemated him is worthy of framing.

Chiyotairyu defeats Onosho – Some days, Chiyotairyu’s sumo are a fascinating study in physics. He’s enormous, he’s strong and his stamina is not huge. But he understands force and momentum. He applies a massive blow at the tachiai to Onosho, who knows it’s coming, and meets it with sufficient force to remain upright, but Chiyotairyu uses that forward pressure from Onosho to supply the drive for an immediate hatakikomi. Stand him up, swat him down.

Ichinojo defeats Abi – If we can cite a day when Abi-zumo (in its current form) was declared ineffective, it could be today. Abi’s frantic arm thrusts have no effect on a genki Ichinojo, who frankly seemed a bit bored. Ichinojo takes to batting Abi’s hands away, and then the look of “bad pony” crosses Ichinojo’s face, and Abi is bodily taken to the clay.

Myogiryu defeats Tochiozan – Tochiozan is having one of his periodic bad tournament. Myogiryu show fantastic focus, dead on foot work and excellent balance today.

Tamawashi defeats Kaisei – It continues to look like the moment that Tamawashi rallied against Hokutofuji on day 6 is when his sumo came back to him. Kaisei fought hard, and stuck with it, but Tamawashi is back to angry Sekiwake mode.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Takakeisho is continuing to rack up wins. While his sumo is fairly one dimensional, that dimension aligns very well with a sumo fundamental. Thus he continues to win. He is introducing some useful variations on his theme, and I am going to be curious how his test match with Hakuho will go this time.

Endo defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin tries for a pull, and the change of momentum is all Endo needs to stuff the Ozeki into a box and send him away. I think Tochinoshin clearing kadoban is going to be a nail biter right to day 15.

Goeido defeats Mitakeumi – I suspect Mitakeumi’s attempt to power though his injuries are starting to fail. Goeido is back to “awesome” mode, and shuts Mitakeumi down. Relegated to little more than plump baggage, Mitakeumi crosses the tawara after a valiant struggle.

Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – Once again, the shoulder blast was not used. What’s great about this match is that Hokutofuji is throwing the kitchen sink at the Ozeki, and Takayasu is absorbing it all. Hokutofuji keeps trying anything, and its clear he is running out of steam. Takayasu, with is freakish stamina, is not even starting to feel it. As Hokutofuji fades, the Ozeki takes over and tosses him for a loss. Commentator Murray Johnson remarked, “Not Takayasu’s best work”, but I would say that this match, and the way Takayasu executed his plan, is a glimpse at a significant change (or reversion) to his sumo. Watch Takayasu’s foot work, he is so heavy today. I now can’t wait to see if he uses this against the Yokozuna and Ozeki week two. We may be seeing the start of some higher performance Takayasu sumo, and I am damn excited at the prospect.

Kakuryu defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi keeps his footing for most of the match, but Kakuryu’s mobility and balance are so good, it was just a matter of how and when.

Hakuho defeats Shodai – Shodai is looking especially pathetic this basho. I am done making fun of him for now. I think even Hakuho felt sorry for him for a moment after the match.

23 thoughts on “Haru Day 7 Highlights

  1. I am happy. Both Enho and Aminishiki won.
    I have a soft sport for the old guys and the small guys who dare face the monsters.

    • He supposedly hurt his neck in one of the practice bouts before the basho—not sure if that’s the issue.

  2. Ichinojo’s game plan has been “be immovable and wait for overcommitment” and it’s been working really well for him so far, but if it keeps working then he’s going to face rikishi either strong enough to move him or clever enough to try to get him off center. I’m really interested to see how he takes on those challenges.

  3. That Hakuho-Shodai finish was bizarre. In the broadcast, viewed from Shodai’s back, it looked like Hakuho dealt him a massive blow. But the replay from the side shows Hakuho barely touched him. He went flying out of the dohyo, but I’m not sure why.

    It’s nice to see Kotoshogiku come back to life. It seems his balance is better this basho. In prior bashos, he was easy to tip over if you applied lateral pressure. This basho, not so much.

    And also … go, Ichi, go!

    • Shodai was flinching strongly from Hakuho’s slaps; just before their final clash Hakuho feinted with his right and saw Shodai’s reaction. Hakuho threw a left slap just as Shodai advanced his left foot, moving it slightly inside in line of Hakuho’s right foot. Hakuho’s slap caused Shodai to flinch hard again, leaning to his left and bringing his right shoulder up much higher than his left. At the same time Hakuho took a small gathering step with his left foot, bringing himself more on line and into a better stance for delivering power. At this point virtually all of Shodai’s weight was awkwardly placed over his left leg; his right heel was actually in the air a bit. Hakuho delivered his shove and it moved Shodai’s weight even further to his left. To understand what happened next it is essential to pay attention to Hakuho’s left hand; it delivered a lot of power to Shodai’s raised right shoulder, keeping it up high, and it was still in contact with Shodai after Hakuho’s right arm had disconnected. This ensured that Shodai would be unable to get his center of mass back over his legs. Shodai stepped back with his left foot but couldn’t get it under him, and over he went.

        • Forgot to mention: Shodai’s right arm windmilled while Hakuho pressed on his right shoulder. This is a reflex reaction to losing one’s balance; the sumo combat reflex would be to try to knock Hakuho’s arm away. Also, one can stand in the awkward stance Shodai was in just before the final clash to get a feel for how vulnerable it is.

  4. For the past year or so, the prevailing narrative has been that a massive generational shift was underway. Predictions foretold how Juryo standouts and strong young Maegashira were soon to overwhelm the greats of late Heisei. However this basho seems to put such a sea change on hold. Hakuhou, despite giving constant post bout grimaces intimating “I’m too old for this” has remained perfect. Veterans known for their trips aboard the struggle bus of late, the likes of Takayasu, Ichinojo, Aoiyama, Kotoshogiku, appear, though neither especially young nor Genki, to be powerful, wily, and mean. In any physical sport, the young must ultimately overcome the old. But from what I have seen in Osaka this spring…まだまだ

  5. Ichinojo has a real sweet spot of a rank having not faced any of the sanyaku yet. Compare that to Kaisei’s schedule to date.

    Great to see the positive sumo from Ishiura, he’s really got his mojo back!

  6. Fun fact—this is the 48th time that Hakuho has started a basho 7-0. In second place: Chiyonofuji with 28.

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