Haru Day 8 Highlights

The middle day of the basho brought a welcome change in tone, as some long-suffering upper Maegashira finally got relief from the san’yaku pounding that was their daily lives. In response, we saw some rikishi score their first wins of the basho, and begin their long trek towards a more respectable final tally.

Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu visits from Juryo, and Chiyoshoma abandons any hopes of forward motion and pulls him down.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Yutakayama – Terutsuyoshi gets his second win of the tournament, and gets Yutakayama moving faster than I have ever seen before. I would guess that Yutakayama is headed back to Juryo.

Kotoeko defeats Tomokaze – Tomokaze seems to have the stronger opening, even batting Kotoeko’s head around a few times for good measure. But while Tomokaze was busy doing all of this, Kotoeko lands a solid grip and takes control. The much larger, stronger Tomokaze gets suprised when Kotoeko “Hulks out” and employs some Kotoshogiku style offense, driving Tomokaze from the ring. Kotoeko is having a really good basho, and if he can keep this form he may be destined for a posting up the banzuke.

Yoshikaze defeats Daishoho – Yoshikaze seems to have turned a corner now, and is once again mustering at least enough power to win matches. Daishoho, for no reason I can think of, decided he was going to try to pull Yoshikaze down. A veteran like Yoshikaze can read your weight shift before you can apply force, Daishoho. Yoshikaze advances strongly into the pull, and wins.

Ryuden defeats Toyonoshima – Toyonoshima continues to struggle in his return to Makuuchi. I really like Ryuden’s tachiai today, and you can see he lands that right hand grip immediately, and turns Toyonoshima to the side. Toyonoshima is never able to square his body, and is left trying anything to establish any offensive sumo.

Shohozan defeats Ishiura – Ishiura has returned to a low, “submarine” tachiai, which can work. But it’s a very narrow range between an advantageous body position, and a venerable one that surrenders any offensive sumo. Today Ishiura was too low, and Shohozan capitalized on his mistake.

Kagayaki defeats Yago – Kagayaki seems to have overcome his ring-rust, and is back to solid fundamentals. Yago seemed to have no answer to Kagayaki’s relentless drive forward, and strong pressure center-mass.

Meisei defeats Ikioi – Go to the hospital, Ikioi, you are too injured for proper sumo.

Aoiyama defeats Sadanoumi – Aoiyama’s sumo is right in his “butter zone” now, and he is sort of unstoppable at this level of the banzuke. A win tomorrow will net him a kachi-koshi.

Okinoumi defeats Kotoshogiku – Okinoumi’s technical library on display again today, as he masterfully shuts down Kotoshogiku’s offensive gambits, and shows his superior balance and footwork. Kotoshogiku did get his hug-n-chug running, but Okinoumi is an old hand at defending against it, and was able to shift the match back in his favor by holding ground against the Kyushu Bulldozer.

Asanoyama defeats Abi – Abi again opens with his typical thrusting attack, and Asanoyama counters by moving closer and grabbing Abi’s mawashi. You can literally see Abi go slack as Asanoyama goes through a series of hip swings that keep Abi dancing to Asanoyama’s tune. Abi, you have a lot of potential, sir – we hope you can diversify.

Takarafuji defeats Onosho – “Ice Man” Takarafuji absorbs Onosho’s powerful opening attack, and focuses on getting himself in position to counterattack. Onosho can be counted on to over-commit, and Takarafuji takes him apart the moment his balance is too far forward. For Onosho backers, remember he just needs 8 wins.

Nishikigi defeats Chiyotairyu – Oh yes! Nishikigi gets his first win, with smart tactics against a pulling Chiyotairyu. When the Kokonoe man goes for the pull down (easy to anticipate), Nishikigi shows superior balance and footwork, and drives the big man out.

Daieisho defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu has nothing in this match, and Daieisho makes him pay for trying to pull him down.

Kaisei defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi’s kryptonite strikes again, and Kaisei racks up his first win of the basho. A combination of a lot of pent up sumo offense on Kaisei’s part, and that knee injury on Mitakeumi’s part made this fairly one sided, but its good to see Kaisei get a win at last.

Takakeisho defeats Endo – I almost think Takakeisho is getting stronger, more aggressive. I am eager to see his week 2 matches really test him out, with most of the top-rankers now looking to be in good form.

Takayasu defeats Shodai – Ok, now I am starting to feel sorry for Shodai. Somebody shoot me. He has a pride-obliterating 0-8 make-koshi on day 8. Again we see a more “grab” focused Tachiai from Takayasu, and points to Shodai for a solid escape as the Ozeki can’t secure his grip. This moment of “escape” is where Shodai really shines, but Takayasu maintains focus and wins with an oshidashi.

Tochinoshin defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo picks up his first loss of the basho, as Tochinoshin affirms he can still lift Ichinojo. Tochinoshin sidestepped the tachiai, and landed his left hand “doom grip” at the start. From there it was obvious that he was going to use his “lift and shift”, and he took several swings at that gambit before it finally payed off.

Goeido defeats Tamawashi – When Goeido gets like this, you are in for a rough ride, no matter who you might be. Tamawashi has a strong start, which includes a slap to the face. But while Tamawashi is focusing on Goeido’s head, his hands have found their mark in a mae-mitsu grip, and it’s all over for Tamawashi. Goeido’s little flourish at the end, as if he has taken the trash to the curb, is a nice touch.

Hakuho defeats Tochiozan – I call Hakuho the “Michael Joran of Sumo” for good reason. Like Jordan, Hakuho will at times do things that defy explanation except to chalk it up to overflowing natural ability that is beyond anything a typical human could expect. Tochiozan had him boxed up, labeled and on the loading ramp. But somehow Hakuho used his poor body position (sideways, being pushed out) to form a leverage point and throw Tochiozan via kotenage. I had to watch this several times, Hakuho is probably the greatest rikishi of my lifetime.

Kakuryu defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji opened strong, with a lot of energy in his pushing attack, and it was great to see the Yokozuna’s opening pulling attack defeated by Hokutofuji. But its very tough to outmaneuver Kakuryu, and he is a master at taking whatever you throw at him and waiting for you to make even the smallest mistake.

20 thoughts on “Haru Day 8 Highlights

  1. “Hakuho is probably the greatest rikishi of my lifetime.”

    If I was an editor, I would remove the “probably” and “of my lifetime.” Might add an “ever” at the end for clarity.

    • Yeah, some absolute statements bring out the trolls and the nit-pickers. So I put them aside, even though the original sentence looked like what you describe.

      Too busy this basho with real life to play “Troll Hunter”

      • I actually agree with the sentences like they are. Cross generational comparisons are always difficult. Ofcourse it’s easy to figure out that LeBron will never be close to be in the same league as Michael Jordan, but how would you compare Michael and e.g. Bill Russel? There is truly no need to diminish the achievements of those further from the past, just because we didn’t witness them first hand.

  2. Tochinoshin is really puzzling me. He looked completely broken the first 3 days, but sits at 5-3 now, beating Ichinojo today, but losing to Endo yesterday (for whom I’m at a loss of words after todays no show).
    Hakuho for the second basho in a row gets completely destroyed by Tochiozan – just to pull out a win at the edge.
    Takayasu looks soo much better, when he is not trying to break his shoulder at the tachiai. Mitakeumi (after a great start) is back to his enigma state, where he just seems to lack determination. Could ofcourse be after effects of his injury.
    I feel a little sad for Toyonoshima. Doesn’t look like he will get a bout vs Giku with his current string of losses.

    Down in Juryo Shimanoumi is on a mission. Could we see a repeat Yusho? Aminishiki has also nicely rebounded from a slow start. Arawashi also greatly recovered with a 6-2 record so far, even though he lost to Kiribayama today (the only newcomer who seems to have properly arrived in Juryo).. Even Sokokurai looks like he could aim for a return to Makkuuchi. Enho looks like he has a real shot for a Makuuchi debut as well

  3. I really liked Ryuden’s sumo today. Toyonoshima’s great advantage is the fact that his center of gravity is very low – he is a short man, thick around the middle, and knows how to bend his knees. However, Ryuden still managed to keep his own mawashi lower than Toyonoshima, which is an impressive feat for a man 21cm taller. I want to catch all the guys suffering from koshi-daka, like Takayasu and Ichinojo, put them in front of the video and say “Watch this! Again! Now you do that!”.

  4. Hello everyone, first time commenting, semi-long time reading the blog. Thank you for your continued efforts to cover this wonderful sport.

    To stay on topic, it’s such a joy to watch Hakuho’s sumo. I really don’t see anyone matching his style, finesse and technique anytime soon. If only Enho were a bit larger…

    • Also, rare kimarite (susoharai) by Sokokurai! There must be a term for when your shikona almost matches the kimarite :)

    • This channel is pretty cool. I’m watching it since quite some time and has been linked here too quite a few times. The guy takes a lot of effort to make his videos accessible for English audience, so keep supporting him;)
      If you understand Japanese, here is a cool video from last year, when he visited Baruto.

  5. There were a lot of discussions in several forums about Takakeishos Ozeki promotion, like: would 33 be enough or what else does ist take… but a Japanese friend told me he read in some pre-basho newspaper articles that the NSK would make it extra difficult for him because he was a Takanohana deshi – does that really make sense…? Anyway, I hope he will get it.

    What happened to my Tokitsukaze beya boys?? I wonder about their training methods. I feel sorry for Yutakayama. No problem for Shodai, he would not fall down the banzuke too deep ;-))

    What do you think about Meisei – it’s interesting to watch him, he might also be another rising star in the near future.

    • Takakeisho can’t do it with 33 this time, as that would be 9 wins, and double-digits wins are required in the final basho before promotion. But 10 wins, giving him 34 over 3, should do it.

  6. I’m compiling a spreadsheet this basho that offers ‘bonus points’ for fight, control, technique, patience and genius. Losing bonus points up for grabs. Entirely subjective and purely for my entertainment. Hakuho got a genius bonus point today – the first of the basho so far. Anyone interested in the other scores?

  7. and that’s why we keep calling Hakuho ‘The Boss’!! what amazing reactive sumo – and he knows he just produced a miracle !! Love him or not, there’s no denying the man’s abilities both natural and learned

  8. I am a huge fan of Tochinoshin and am glad to see he is getting back in the game. I have been pulling for Enho this year too and he is doing ok. I am a smaller senshu in amateur sumo (86kg) and I love seeing the little guys win a few.

    • Do you wonder whether, when Hakuho found himself with his back turned to Tochiozan, the GOAT thought to himself, “Now I’ve got him right where I want him!”

  9. Since I can only watch the DVR from one room in the house, Mom was watching with me, (she’s starting to recognize rikishi 😉 ) and even she was impressed with Hakuho’s win.

  10. Watching Hakuho have to think and dance his way out of trouble is so so much more amazing to witness then watching him dunking on chumps.

    I am forever amazed at how fast he gets moving from a standstill, at times it seems like he is moving twice as fast as his opponents.

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