Natsu Day 4 Highlights

The Tadpole War Took An Unexpected Turn

A surprising match that came late in the day’s torikumi – we got to see a pair of tadpoles go chest to chest, with a unexpectedly good yotsu-zumo battle from… Takakeisho?

Highlight Matches

Chiyoshoma defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi comes in low, but can’t generate any forward pressure against Chiyoshoma, who grabs a shoulder and swings him down to the clay.

Tokushoryu defeats Ishiura – Ishiura attempts a hit-and-shift mini henka, and Tokushoryu is having none of it. After Ishiura’s opening gambit fails, he spends the next few moments dodging Tokushoryu who runs him down and tosses him out.

Kotoeko defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage took the tachiai, and got inside to take initiative and dictate the match. But he took too low of a body position, and while Kotoeko’s attempt at a pull down failed, it did disrupt Wakatakakage enough for Kotoeko to go on offense. Kotoeko kept his head, stayed focused and seized his chance.

Enho defeats Daishoho – It looks like Enho attempts another leg-pick, but Daishoho keeps moving, and so Enho settles for a unique shoulder-to-mawashi hold that he converts to a shitatenage. It’s almost an entirely different form of sumo that most of the giants are completely helpless to stop.

Sadanoumi defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi continues to struggle, to the dismay of his fans. Although Shimanoumi seems to get the better for the tachiai, Sadanoumi gets a shallow left hand inside grip that he uses to carry the match.

Yago defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru picks up his first loss after Yago puts him on the clay. Chiyomaru had a number of problems this match, including a soft tachiai, an inability to finish Yago once his heels were on the tawara, and getting that giant belly too far forward to enable Yago’s slap down.

Tochiozan defeats Kagayaki – Tochiozan was the model of calm efficiency in dismantling Kagayaki in this match. He kept pushing inside Kagayaki’s defenses and driving forward. Mr Fundamentals defeated by excellent fundamentals from Tochiozan.

Shohozan defeats Onosho – Shohozan went chest to chest with Onosho, and rolled him around with great effect. The biggest knock against Onosho is that he focused his osha-attack against Shohozan’s head and shoulders, rather than center-mass. When they grapple, Shohozan had the superior body position with his hips lower and primed for offense. Onosho had only a tentative grip on Shohozan’s mawashi, and there was little he could do to prevent the throw.

Kaisei defeats Tomokaze – Tomokaze wisely tried to get Kaisei off-axis, and succeeded. But the Brazilian was low enough and stable enough that the attempt to convert that body position to a throw failed, and Tomokaze attempted to pull Kaisei down. It was successful, but Tomokaze fell / stepped out first, handing Kaisei his second win.

Asanoyama defeats Nishikigi – Watching Asanoyama today is a great visual study in excellent sumo mechanics. This version of Asanoyama is strong, confident and winning without fail. With his brother from another mother, Yutakayama, in the Juryo bush-league getting rebuilt, Asanoyama has stepped up and started to shine.

Meisei defeats Takarafuji – Meisei picks up his first win of the basho with a tottari, sending Takarafuji sliding belly first.

Yoshikaze defeats Myogiryu – Yoshikaze is finally showing some offensive sumo and forward pressure, though the start was quite tentative. The match was mostly fought chest to chest after a separation following the tachiai. Fans hope that Yoshikaze brings more vigor to his sumo for the rest of the basho.

Shodai defeats Ryuden – Once again Ryuden can’t seem to find a way to beat Shodai, even though Ryuden seemed to have superior body position, foot placement and higher energy. Shodai’s sumo somehow took over and carried the match. I have watched it three times and I am still not sure what happened.

Abi defeats Daieisho – Traditional Abi-zumo match here, but ended with a ballet pull-down kimarite that was listed as uwatenage. In spite of his fairly one dimensional sumo, Abi is tough to beat at this rank and when he is on his game.

Chiyotairyu defeats Aoiyama – A surprisingly soft tachiai from these two, I think both suspected the other of a henka, or side-step. But once Aoiyama pushed forward, Chiyotairyu’s side-step took place sending Aoiyama diving for the west side clay. Chiyotairyu’s first win of the basho.

Ichinojo defeats Okinoumi – Ichinojo’s hiji-yotsu (elbow lock out) really paid off as Okinoumi found himself unable to do anything offensive or defensive. Is Ichinojo’s ring rust fading yet?

Tochinoshin defeats Tamawashi – Great hazuoshi (armpit attack) from Tamawashi shut down Tochinoshin’s early efforts to get his left hand grip in place for the sky crane. But land it he did, although Tamawashi continued to dance around, not letting the Ozekiwake plant his feet for the lift. Tochinoshin kept tight cover and moved forward, getting the white star to reach 4-0. If he can stay healthy he is on course to re-take his Ozeki rank.

Takakeisho defeats Mitakeumi – Some readers may have noted that I pointed out that in the run-up to Natsu, there was video of Takakeisho going chest to chest with Ozeki Takayasu, and winning. Some folks on Twitter tried to downplay this video evidence that the tadpole was at least trying to diversify, but here we are again. This may be the most interesting match in the next few months, so let’s break it down. Takakeisho tries to start the wave-train at the tachiai, but loses traction and falls into Mitakeumi’s chest, and finds he cannot push. Much to the crowds surprise, Takakeisho settles into yotsu fighting position and proceeds to get to work. I am sure Mitakeumi is surprised at this point, and they stand leaning on each other for a moment as if to say, “ok, this is odd – what do we do now?”. Takakeisho takes the initiative and lifts Mitakeumi from the clay, the crowd loses its mind, but Takakeisho can’t find any advantage. The two continue to dance atop the shikiri-sen, and Mitakeumi seems to decide to lean in and make the shin-Ozeki support his massive body. Again Takakeisho lifts, and advances – to win! But immediately following he drops to a crouch, and it’s clear that the effort caused at least a minor injury. But yes, Takakeisho won via Yorikiri, and did it well, and made it work. I think this is only the 3rd or 4th time in his sumo career he has done that. I am even more impressed with him now.

Late word is that Takakeisho did in fact strain his knee, and that Chiganoura Oyakata is saying that they will decide Thursday morning if the shin-Ozeki will go kyujo.

Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – Takayasu seems to have recovered his sumo. He gets a thrusting attack going against Hokutofuji’s chest while Hokutofuji is still trying to get his hands on the Ozeki. Hopefully Takayasu’s ring-rust is under control now.

Goeido defeats Kotoshogiku – With 30 wins over Kotoshogiku, Goeido has a formula for shutting down the Kyushu Bulldozer, and he employed it with great effect on day 4. That shallow right hand grip was the key, as it gives Goeido leverage right at the focus point for Kotoshogiku’s “Hug-n-chug” attack.

Kakuryu defeats Endo – Reactive sumo strikes again. The pull down attempt against Endo fails but the Yokozuna follows up against Endo’s disrupted balance and gives him the propulsion needed to exit the dohyo. Not the best sumo from Kakuryu, but his 4th white star to remain undefeated.

17 thoughts on “Natsu Day 4 Highlights

  1. Shodai’s win looked pretty straightforward to me. He got inside for morozashi right out of the tachiai, drove forward, and there was nothing Ryuden could do.

    Enho’s unique brand of sumo is going to cause a serious wardrobe malfunction if he keeps grabbing that part of the mawashi 😳

    Kaisei vs. Tomokaze is yet another bout where I was surprised nobody called a monoii.

    • Daishoho had a very funny look on his face when Enho finished with him. Either he is not used to young men fumbling around his anus, or his family jewels were mightily compressed.

  2. Daishoho smiled with an “Aw, shucks” look on his face after his loss today. I don’t blame him! Sneaky Pixie Enho!

    The main reason that Takayasu won today is that Hokotofuji played right into his shoulder blast tachiai. Takaysu caught him right under the chin with his forearm. CLONK!

    Abi definitely needed his ballet shoes to win today and his reaction was quite a desperation move that paid off.

    Ugh. I’m sad to hear about Takakeisho’s knee, but I’m curious to see what they decide to do.

  3. It would be a shame if Takakeisho’s injury dissuades him from doing this in the future – he did it really well!
    Also, pleased to see Yoshikaze awaken from a deep slumber. Hope he stays that way.

  4. Really disappointed in Mitakeumi Day 4.

    According to sumo DB He becomes only the third ever to lose to Takakeisho by Yorirkiri.

    Granted is it was double inside, but Mitake had no answer and looked like the most surprised person in the Kokugikan..

    • Especially given that he initiated the yotsu himself, knowing that getting Takakeisho’s mawashi is a sure way to… get forced out? Very surprised indeed.

  5. Is Ichinojo back in gear? Don’t disappoint me, Big Guy!

    Tamawashi came so close to knocking Tochinoshin over! What an exciting bout!

    Hopefully Takakeisho can recover his knee quickly, even if it means skipping a day or two.

    • There seems to be a good chance he may take a day to get ready to return. I think Chiganoura Oyakata is playing it safe, which is very good news.

  6. Poor Enho – by any measure he must be built like a brick outhouse to pack almost 100kg into a small frame. In sumo terms – he’s, well, a pixie as stated above. Love watching his sumo!

  7. Daishoho picked a very bad tactic against Enho. He started his Tachiai almost a meter behind the shikiri-sen. I don’t really know what he was planning to do there – perhaps he thought he will be able to hatakikomi Enho, as his reach is better.

    He didn’t reckon Enho’s speed into that tactic, though. He just stood up, did not protect his abdomen, and Enho was all like a dog seeing a humpable leg 10 feet away. He was on it within a second.

    Tamawashi was doing great as long as Tochinoshin didn’t get that “sashi”. He kept himself close to the Ozekiwake, to prevent Tochinoshin from activating his rather effective tsuppari. But he couldn’t keep his own armpits locked.

    Kakuryu was asked about that pull, and said he had his eyes on Endo the whole time. I guess he meant to say it wasn’t a blind pull like the ones that are usually his undoing.

    Amazingly, Kakuryu’s wad, combined from both his and Endo’s lots (and I think there are also envelopes pledged specifically for the Musubi-no-ichiban, regardless of who’s fighting), was still thinner than Takakeisho’s.

    • and Enho was all like a dog seeing a humpable leg 10 feet away

      attempts to simultaneously Like and unsee

      Question re those fat stacks with regard to kyujo (and, yes, I should know this already) — with Takakeisho out for however long, does this work out to Tamawashi getting not just the half of the kensho in the envelopes tonight, but to a nice little oomph for his retirement fund as well?

      • It works out to Tamawashi going home empty handed. The fat stack evaporates when a kyujo is declared. The flags aren’t paraded before a bout that doesn’t take place.

        • Oh, excellent point. (Like I said, should’ve been able to think my way through, but… cannot brain today, haz the dumb.) Thanks!

  8. There are pull downs and then there are FLYING PIROUETTE ABI PULL DOWNS! Love it!!

    Also: when Hokutofuli was shoved forcefully out of the ring, there was a little old white-haired lady in the front row whose life flashed before her eyes. Her expression of ecstatic terror was priceless! If I make it to that age there are many worse ways to go than being crushed by a rikishi….

  9. How strong is Kakuryu!? His first pull misses so he gives Endo’s left shoulder a swat while moving backward and Endo is knocked off course with balance completely disrupted.

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