Haru Day 13 Highlights

What? Commentary? No! On to the good stuff….

Highlight Matches

Terutsuyoshi defeats Kotoyuki – As anticipated, Kotoyuki ends the match half way to the shitaku-beya, and with a make-koshi to boot. Terutsuyoshi’s high mobility was the deciding factor in the win.

Chiyoshoma defeats Ryuden – Ryuden looked downright lethargic in this match. Chiyoshoma’s failed pull down led to a rather nice deep right hand grip near the knot on Ryuden’s mawashi. Much as all of the little old ladies across Japan thrilled at the chance of a wardrobe malfunction, Chiyoshoma is a consummate professional, and the mawashi stayed firmly in place.

Shohozan defeats Yutakayama – This match really showed where Yutakayama’s problem lies. He could produce no forward pressure against Shohozan, and it’s going to be that knee and that foot acting up. Until he can get them in better condition, Yutakayama is going to continue to slide down the banzuke, which is a real shame as he has solid sumo skills.

Meisei defeats Kotoshogiku – Fantastic showcase for Meisei’s speed and lighting quick reactions. Kotoshogiku gets the hug-n-chug started, but Meisei kept fighting to get his right hand on Kotoshogiku’s mawashi. Meisei’s patience and staying calm once the bumpity-bumps get cranking pays off, and that right hand not only takes Kotoshogiku out of attack mode, but provides the leverage for the uwatedashinage that wins the match.

Tomokaze defeats Asanoyama – One sided match that favored Tomokaze all the way. Tomokaze picks up his 8th, and Asanoyama is still shopping. [Tomokaze has still never had a losing record since entering professional sumo! He likely needs two more wins for a special prize, and is the only top-division debutant who can feel good about his chances of staying there. -lksumo]

Takarafuji defeats Kagayaki – What makes this one interesting is that Kagayaki is so methodical, and that comes up against Takarafuji’s approach of being patient and waiting for his opening. The result is a fairly slow moving match that showed a lot of thinking and calculation from both.

Yoshikaze defeats Aoiyama – Both men are now 10-3, which is really impressive given the devastation in the lower ranks this basho. Aoiyama lands a couple of big hits, but Yoshikaze lights him up and takes him down.

Abi defeats Ikioi – Ikioi has the right idea, attack Abi’s arms from underneath, but no strength to do it. Sad times.

Shodai defeats Okinoumi – Shodai surprised Okinoumi, and frankly surprised me. The pounding he took in the opening days of the basho seems to have not caused him to just give up. Good stuff!

Nishikigi defeats Tochiozan – Nishikigi’s “sumo style” is starting to become distinctive. He locks his opponents arms, and then uses his good leg strength to take control. Today’s match is one of the better examples of it in action, and while simple and not flashy, it really does seem to work.

Daieisho defeats Onosho – Onosho opened strong, but lost contact when Daieisho side-stepped his advance. Daieisho rallied, stuck Onosho with a potent nodowa and tossed him out. Onosho is still regrouping following his surgery, but is now make-koshi and will work from lower on the banzuke.

Endo defeats Kaisei – After the first match resulted in both rikishi stepping out together, the second was all Endo, who showed much better sumo the second time around.

Hokutofuji defeats Myogiryu – Hokutofuji, when he is healthy, can generate so much forward pressure that any loss of traction is more or less an instant loss for his opponent. Myogiryu could not maintain his footing and hit the clay.

Ichinojo defeats Mitakeumi – For most of this basho, Ichinojo has just been swatting down everyone. In hindsight it makes total sense, he is already higher than all of his opponents, with plenty of strength and leverage. So he may as well drop them in place. He made Mitakeumi look like a bag of potatoes. He faces Takakeisho on day 14, and I am going to be very curious to see what happens then.

Chiyotairyu defeats Tamawashi – Chiyotairyu exceeds expectations, and stays in the fight past the tachiai, and survives Tamawashi’s pull down attempt. Chiyotairyu rallies and drives Tamawashi from the dohyo, giving him his 8th loss.

Takakeisho defeats Takayasu – Like so many great moments in sports, this all came down to a split second. If you watch the match in slow motion, you can see Takayasu roll that left shoulder forward, while he reaches for the mawashi with his right. Takakeisho is lower and faster, and is inside and underneath that shoulder with his first push before that right hand can find its mark. That was, in fact, the match. Once Takakeisho launched the wave action attack, Takayasu could not recover his footing, and could not generate any offense. As mentioned in the preview, the outcome of this match was likely the decider on Takakeisho’s Ozeki bid.

Kakuryu defeats Tochinoshin – Masterful sumo from the Yokozuna today, as Kakuryu successfully prevents Tochinoshin from ever getting his working grip set up. The fact that Tochinoshin is always going for the “one thing” makes it easy for a reactive sumo master like Kakuryu to confound, frustrate and distract Tochinoshin, all the while moving him steadily towards defeat. Tochinoshin must win the remainder of his matches to preserve his rank.

Hakuho defeats Goeido – Team Goeido was out in force, and the EDION arena was rocking as Goeido mounted the dohyo to face off against the undefeated Hakuho. Excellent tachiai, and Goeido’s opening gambit was to go for mae-mitsu, and his hand could not maintain contact. Goeido stays with Hakuho, and they trade blows, and settle down chest to chest. Goeido held the center of the dohyo, but Hakuho’s superior body position drove Goeido back and won the match. Great sumo from both. As with Takayasu, the whole match hinged on that opening move that failed.

9 thoughts on “Haru Day 13 Highlights

  1. I would be very shocked if Hakuho doesn’t end up with a zensho-yusho. I keep expecting him at 34 to begin showing signs of age, but when healthy his sumo is just as dominant as it was 5-10 years ago.

    • The “signs of age” are exactly that tendency to be injured a lot more frequently. But it’s also intelligence covering for declining physical ability. He can no longer force his right hand inside, and ends up many time without a mawashi grip, resorting to plan B, C, and D. But it’s a fact that he has plans B, C, and D.

    • Well if you look at his past 10 basho he had to sit out 3 of them entirely, had to pull out of 3 and only managed 5 winning records, claiming 3 yusho. Now when Hakuho is participating for the whole 15 days he’s still perhaps the main title contender every time, but the way he wins now is different to when he was younger and his body less banged up, at least to my eyes.

  2. That’s more like the Terutsuyoshi I was hoping to see this basho. He is still far from his confident self, though.

    Chiyoshoma is a consummate professional?🙄

    Takarafuji tried again and again to slip his left hand inside, and Kagayaki was doing a classic ottsuke to deny him that. When they got to the tawara, it was as if Takarafuji suddenly remembered he had this ani-deshi called Aminishiki. What would Uncle do? Ah yes – pull at the other arm as if it has bells on. Very surprised kagayaki finds himself outside.

    Nishikigi went into that kime lock right off the tachiai. That was so good!

    And what was surprising about Shodai was that he did a proper tachiai. Not his usual “crouch like a good boy with both fists on the ground and your ass up in the air and then stand up”, but a proper, barely-if-at-all touching the ground 45º tachiai. The prize for that was his favorite morozashi, and the win.

    Ichinojo looks as if he is just swatting people down. But that’s not exactly the whole story. He starts this bout with a slap. And that slap makes Hakuho’s harite look puny in comparison. Mitakeumi’s skull rattles on his neck and instead of hitting at the middle of Ichinojo’s chest ends up on his right hand with a thud. I’m pretty sure at this stage Mitakeumi doesn’t remember his mother’s name. And it’s then that Ichinojo lands that tree-trunk he calls an arm on the back of the dazed Komusubi’s skull. If Mitakeumi didn’t end with a concussion in addition to his knee troubles he can call himself lucky.

    Tamawashi has regressed to the mean. And Tochinoshin seems to be doing the same.

    I’m still not sure why Takayasu seemed so helpless against Takakeisho. I would have expected more from his new found confidence and style.

    It was fun to watch Kakuryu. He doesn’t have any Mongolian Sumo experience, so all those leg trips and kicks are things he learned from observation in Japan. Very different flow than Hakuho in that respect, but he knows Tochinoshin’s weak point is his legs and works that very well.

    • Takayasu went for his shoulder blast and that pretty much decided the bout. He was really high and that sealed his fate. Takakeisho had done his homework and came in low (almost at Takayasu’s hips!) and strongly went straight forward. I also have no idea why Takayasu abandoned his previously successful sumo. One would think that this type of lesson would have previously taught Takayasu his lesson, but apparently that’s not the case.

    • The “consummate professional” remark was in regards to his ability to avoid causing public nudity during a sumo match. For this we are all thankful. While I am sure Ryuden / Shin-Ikioi is a well formed and aesthetically pleasing fellow, that is best left for personal time.

      • Oh, I have no doubt that, like any well-bred Mongolian (Chichiwashis excepted), he has a sense of modesty. I just think that for a guy who slaps opponents after a matta and plays pranks on his tsukebito, that sense of modesty is not professionalism-related.

        But I agree that the finer points of Ryuden’s anatomy should be kept strictly between himself, his wife, and that huge teddy-bear he can’t fall asleep without cuddling.


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