Haru Day 10 Highlights

Ichinojo Once Again Shows Us How To Deal With A Bad Pony

What a fantastic close to Haru’s act 2. Exiting act 2, the yusho race solidifies, and it seems that Hakuho will be the man to beat to take the cup. We also have a vast swath of devastation in upper Maegashira, and the churn between the top and the middle ranks will be impressive for May. Many capable rikishi are headed for make-koshi, some of them could see double digit losses. The Yokozuna and Ozeki are all kachi-koshi save Tochinoshin, who will probably struggle well into act 3 to clear kadoban.

Headed into act 3, we will see matches with an increasing banzuke gap, as the schedulers work to sort the winners from the losers, and try some rikishi likely due for a big move (up or down) out in something closer to their new slots. Will fans get to see Kotoshogiku face Toyonoshima? Many of us are hoping we do.

Tomorrow (day 11) will see Tachiai’s “man in foreign lands”, Josh, return to the EDION arena for another day of sumo. Looking at the Torikumi, it’s a full day of action, including lower division yusho battles featuring many of our “ones to watch”.

Highlight Matches

Chiyomaru defeats Daishoho – Chiyomaru, visiting from Juryo and wearing his “Safety Green” mawashi overpowers Daishoho to move one win away from kachi-koshi. Chiyomaru has a lot of fans around the world and on Tachiai, and his return to the top division will be welcome.

Chiyoshoma defeats Tomokaze – Chiyoshoma’s superior mobility was the deciding factor. Chiyoshoma fought quite a bit of this match in reverse, but his agility made it work.

Kagayaki defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi’s opening gambit was blown by multiple mattas, and as a result he had nothing to bring to the tachiai. Terutsuyoshi is now make-koshi and at risk of returning to Juryo.

Meisei defeats Yutakayama – This match was carried by Meisei’s superior speed and mobility. The match unfolded at a blinding pace, and the injured Yutakayama could not react quickly enough to counter Meisei’s attacks.

Toyonoshima defeats Yago – Toyonoshima won the tachiai, and never gave up the initiative, maintaining an inside position that forced Yago to react to Toyonoshima’s sumo.

Yoshikaze defeats Ikioi – Yoshikaze turns a ripe 37, and picks up a win against Ikioi, who is a little more injured each day. Already with 9 losses at Maegashira 9, could this mainstay of the top division be headed to Juryo?

Asanoyama defeats Ishiura – Ishiura had this one for a win, but could not maintain his grip on Asanoyama. I have to compliment Ishiura for an inventive and effective offensive plan, and Asanoyama for having the strength and mobility to escape it.

Aoiyama defeats Shohozan – Shohozan never gets close enough to really start landing blows on the Bulgarian man-mountain. Aoiyama employs his overwhelming strength to toss Shohozan around, and then off of the dohyo. Aoiyama remains 1 win behind Hakuho.

Abi defeats Sadanoumi – Abi finally gets another win, and does it with Abi-zumo. It looks like Sadanoumi did not get the memo…

Kotoshogiku defeats Onosho – Kotoshogiku is kachi-koshi, and Onosho is still struggling for balance nearly every day. Kotoshogiku’s 8th win, coupled with the obliteration in the top Maegashira ranks, signal a possible big move higher for May.

Shodai defeats Nishikigi – Shodai got his first win, and actually used good sumo to get there. The look of relief on his face at the end of the match gave everyone a happy feeling inside. Go ahead and watch that part… It’s like when they rescue a puppy who fell down a well.

Myogiryu defeats Kaisei – Its hard to know if Kaisei is injured or completely demoralized, but his sumo has gone sour, and the speed and power of Myogiryu made quick work of him today.

Mitakeumi defeats Endo – Mitakeumi is only at about 80% right now, but he managed to piece together a win against Endo. Endo’s opening move, a left arm bar pull, was premature, and opened him to Mitakeumi’s attack. When you watch this match, note how Mitakeumi holds ground at the center of the dohyo, and it’s Endo who is moving around. This is a solid strategy for someone with a bad knee.

Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – Both men are flailing franticly, and the whole mess is going nowhere. But as is his custom, Hokutofuji obliges by sloppy footwork and poor balance, and Daieisho seizes his chance to slap down the Komusubi.

Goeido defeats Tochinoshin – Excellent yotsu-zumo from Goeido today, and he takes the risk of going chest to chest with Tochinoshin, and wins. Did anyone else wince as Goeido rolled Tochinoshin left, forcing him to pivot on that bad knee during the throw? Goeido gets his 8th win for a kachi-koshi in Osaka.

Ichinojo defeats Takayasu – Takayasu brought the shoulder blast back for his day 10 match with the Boulder, and he paid for it. It was worth a try, but Ichinojo in his Boulder form is too solid, too massive and too strong to be pushed around by Takayasu. The two go chest to chest, and Takayasu has an excellent grip. But he miscalculates in trying to raise Ichinojo, and instead brings his center of gravity too high. Ichinojo expertly reads the situation, and swings the Ozeki around and thrusts him down. Quality sumo, excellent execution and a well deserved with for Ichinojo, who persists in the 1 loss group.

Hakuho defeats Tamawashi – Once again, Hakuho gets his body into a losing position, just to turn it to his advantage in the blink of an eye through sumo that would be tough to believe if it were not recorded to video. I had to watch it a few times just to sort it out myself. Tamawashi manages to get The Boss turned to his side, and is applying force from behind the Yokozuna. But Hakuho’s super-human agility and ring sense kick in, and he pivots as Tamawashi pushes forward, ending up behind Tamawashi. Hakuho faces Takakeisho tomorrow. What kind of unthinkable sumo will come from that?

Takakeisho defeats Kakuryu – This win puts a big bold line under Takakeisho’s bid to become Ozeki. This was a “quality” win. Kakuryu went toe to toe in a oshi-battle with the Tadpole, and finds himself overpowered. Takakeisho gets his 8th win, and will be seeking out at least 2 more to once again claim the credential for promotion.

17 thoughts on “Haru Day 10 Highlights

  1. there must be some formula that can describe how to calculate hakuho’s spin index, increasing basho by basho
    is he boning up on tasmanian devil skills, to further deploy as he ages his way to olympics?

  2. Man, it almost looked like Hakuho went ‘I dont give a damn!’ mode and won either way. So good. Also Ichinojo and Aoiyama seem pretty unstoppable too. I really hope Hakuho gets at least 1 loss so the race will remain close.

    • aye valaki
      all you describe is what i see too

      with his nearly impossible accomplishments, i think the champ has gotten past giving a damn about a lot, and is in ‘let’s play and experiment a little’ mode
      together with hulksters ichi’ and big dan, nice to see the real talent out there getting to shine for a change

      with a recent enough zensho already pocketed, hak’ will likely throw out a bone or two (if not the whole cup) to keep things interesting, as we’ve seen so often
      li’l ‘keisho is effectively appointed ozeki already, so takayasu or goeido getting it would put the fans right over the top and position either of them for the bump up to yokozuna that we keep hearing about

  3. Highlight of the day: Tamawashi & Hakuho’s staring match across the shikiri-sen. Yeesh!

    I always find their relationship really interesting. Hakuho has always seemed to treat Tamawashi a little more harshly than other rikishi. It’s like he’s being a hard taskmaster for his “next, great Mongolian hope”.

    • While since Tamawashi and Hakuho are the same age, I’d say that 25 yo Ichinojo would be the front runner for the “next Mongolian hope” (especially considering the extra love taps the Boss gives him whenever they meet on the dohyo.) However, It does seem like Hakuho has a spot in his heart for Tamawashi, probably because he’s not afraid to play mind games with the Yokozuna.

    • I also don’t buy the “next, great Mongolian hope”. Hakuho has said he has high hopes of Ichinojo several times, but not Tamawashi. I think Hakuho simply looks down on oshi wrestlers in general, and may be annoyed at a Mongolian whose style is so antithetic to Mongolian wrestling.

  4. Hakuho is shaky and not dominant at all. His superior ring sense and quick movement are old news and this win doesn’t surprise me. But last basho he tried the same shenanigans and Tamawashi easily pushed him out, this time he again got him in a bad position but failed to profit on it.
    And to be clear, I’m not hating on Hakuho, he is still very much one of my favourites. But to me it’s obvious that most of his wins are very hard fought battles and that he has to do his very best to prevail. I still wish him the best of luck and hope he can win the yusho.

  5. I’m happy to see birthday boy Yoshikaze get the win. Kotoshogiku is still looking strong.

    As the newest member of the ‘I feel sorry for Shodai’ club, I was thrilled to see Shodai get the victory. But unfortunately, I’m also a member of ‘I feel sorry for Nishikigi’ and so I have mixed emotions about that bout. But Shodai really, really, really needed a win.

    When Hakuho touched the ground and crossed the shakiri sen, he actually bumped his belly into Tamawashi’s forehead. Watch his facial expression as he does so. Very intentional. Sumo code for ‘Knock off the mind games, dude’?

    Hakuho has some tough matches coming up: Ichinojo, Takakeisho, Goeido, Takayasku, Kakyru.

    And by the way, something’s definitely amiss in Envelope land. Mitakeumi, who frankly isn’t doing all that well, wins a lordly stack of envelopes. That Darwinian Ichonojo vs Takayasu battle for the leader board, and the Hakuho vs last yusho winnner match, barely got any envelopes. I would have thought those would be exciting matches for sponsors as well as fans.

    • I don’t think Hakuho will be matched with Ichinojo, as he has to face Tochinoshin. And it seems like kensho is a popularity contest…

    • Sorry for the null post, but my browser? the web site? is in a weird state such that the first post doesn’t show up until I post a second time.

  6. Is it common to go 10 days without a single mono-ii? We usually get one or two at this point in the competition.

  7. I really can’t figure out what happened in the Ichinojo- Takayasu match. Takayasu has a solid migi-yotsu grip; Ichinojo has a solid belt grip with his right hand and his left arm is wrapped around Takayasu’s right arm with his hand in Takayasu’s armpit. (Victory requires many sacrifices.) Takayasu moves forward and pulls himself into Ichinojo; Ichinojo let’s go of the belt and puts his right hand in the middle of Takayasu’s back. Takayasu lifts his right foot and kind of jumps into a heavy pull on the belt, sticking out his belly, attempting to make Ichinojo light enough to move. Ichinojo uses the upward pressure to do a kind of see-saw maneuver, bouncing up a bit and landing back and to his left.

    Here’s what I don’t understand: Ichinojo’s maneuver is enough to utterly destroy Takayasu’s posture and balance! It almost looks like Takayasu does a whole-body flinch. His right leg jerks up and it seems like he just let’s go of his left hand grip on Ichinojo’s mawashi and pitches forward. Ichinojo leans away to break contact and steps back with his right foot, making room for Takayasu to stumble forward, and then executes the rest of the push-down.

  8. After Hakuho slipped Tamawashi’s kotenage and landed with flank exposed, Tamawashi had time for two unsuccessful attacks: he grabbed at Hakuho’s butt strap and only caught a few sagari, and then he threw a shove with his left hand at the back of Hakuho’s right shoulder that Hakuho evaded. If he’d managed to land a solid grip on the mawashi or if he’d kept his left hand lower when he extended it then he might have been able to keep the yokozuna in the pocket and drive him out.

  9. I thought Ryuden had a good win from a losing position against Kotoeko and am a little puzzled not to see it mentioned here. I like Ryuden, though he often seems to underperform. His sumo has been better this basho.

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