Some truly fantastic sumo today in Nagoya. We got to see Ryuden take on Takayasu in an endurance contests (always a questionable move), and we had the highlight bout between Hakuho and Natsu yusho winner Asanoyama.
I would not that Aminishiki, whom we fondly refer to as Uncle Sumo, may have finally damaged his fragile knee in a bout with Ryuko. He was clearly in pain following his match, and was wheeled away in that enormous wheelchair, which is sometimes a sign of big trouble. While this is terrible news for everyone, Aminishiki does own a Kabu, or sumo elder status, and when he finally decides to hang up the knee brace, he will continue to be a part of sumo for many years to come.
Kotoyuki defeats Yago – True to form, Kotoyuki leaps from the dohyo, but can’t quite find the momentum to get into the crowd. Yago allowed Kotoyuki to get inside at the tachiai, and really failed to generate any real offense.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Toyonoshima – Toyonoshima got the better of the tachiai, but after Terutsuyoshi stopped Toyonoshima’s advance, Toyonoshima tried to pull, and Terutsuyoshi made him pay. After shin-maku jitters last basho, is Terutsuyoshi back in form now? That would be wonderful.
Enho defeats Kaisei – As Kaisei discovered, the sumo mechanics are difference when you have someone small, fast and compact as Enho. Kaisei found himself a right hand reaching all the way over Enho’s back and grabbing his mawashi knot. In many cases this would have been a commandingly dominant position, but all it did was ensure that Enho had ample room to swing around and get behind Kaisei. Even banged up, Enho is quite an amazing rikishi.
Tochiozan defeats Chiyomaru – This one was all attributable to Tochiozan’s depth of experience, his ability to remain in control of his body, and wait for Chiyomaru to lose his balance. With that enormous pot-belly in front of him, it is in fact only a matter of time before Chiyomaru naturally leans forward.
Sadanoumi defeats Kagayaki – Solid sumo from both, and Kagayaki had control of the match. But as Kagayaki backed Sadanoumi to the tawara, his shoulders and hips were not square to Sadanoumi. Sadanoumi deftly used this to deliver a seldom seen kimarite, an amiuchi (fishermans throw), with Kagayaki as the catch of the day.
Kotoeko defeats Nishikigi – Simple nodowa to stand Nishikigi up at the tachiai, and a pivot to the rear for a push out. Where has the mega-genki Nishikigi of earlier this year gone?
Takagenji defeats Daishoho – The two go chest to chest at the tachiai, and this seems to play well for Takagenji. Daishoho puts up a good fight, but Takagenji has better position, better foot placement and all around better sumo.
Onosho defeats Shohozan – Greatly improved balance from Onosho today, but it was also true that Shohozan gave him a stable platform to push against. We did not see Onosho favoring his damaged right knee today, which is a hopeful sign.
Tomokaze defeats Okinoumi – To me it looks like whatever plan Okinoumi had going into the match got blown at the tachiai, and he was more or less along for the ride. Okinoumi’s attempt to throw down Tomokaze at the bales was too late, as Okinoumi’s heel was out. Tomokaze continues to execute well, and if he has the stamina to stay strong into week 2, this could be a break out basho for him.
Chiyotairyu defeats Myogiryu – Chiyotairyu’s canon ball tachiai finds its mark today, and Myogiryu gets an express trip out of the west side of the dohyo. Chiyotairyu looks genki right now, and his sumo works well at this rank, but seems to falter much higher up the banzuke.
Takarafuji defeats Shimanoumi – Takarafuji’s sumo is skilled, patient and effective. Today Shimanoumi found his attacks blunted, stalemated and ultimately defeated. True to form, he waited Shimanoumi out, and when Shimanoumi charged forward, Takarafuji converted his energy into the power for a match winning uwatenage.
Kotoshogiku defeats Meisei – Meisei did masterful work to keep Kotoshogiku from squaring his hips and applying his lethal hug-n-chug attack. In fact Kotoshogiku fought most of the match one one foot, but still managed to keep a solid grip on Meisei’s mawasshi. This payed off as Meisei over-extended, which Kotoshogiku read instinctively and triggered the match winning throw.
Ichinojo defeats Daieisho – Today, rather than shutting down and giving up, Ichinojo rallied when Daieisho put him under pressure. Dare we hope that day 1 was just a slow start?
Mitakeumi defeats Endo – Day 1 Mitakeumi looked terrible. His normal high energy, high impact sumo was not even attempted. It seems he resolved to put that behind him, and he come out strong against Endo. Mitakeumi got inside early, and never gave up the advantage.
Aoiyama defeats Tamawashi – Look out, it seems Aoiyama is genki this July. Knowing that Tamawashi is going for maximum forward pressure, Aoiyama resists, and resists until he expertly times a step to the side, sending the Sekiwake to the clay.
Goeido defeats Abi – Abi always rushes powerfully into the tachiai, and if his opponent does not meet him with full pressure to catch his opening attack, this is the result. Compliments to Goeido for this useful demonstration.
Shodai defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin is an absolute mess right now. We all hope that he gets his sumo together and starts dominating some of these “warm up” week 1 matches.
Ryuden defeats Takayasu – I am starting to appreciate Ryuden now. He took on a man with nearly unlimited stamina and made it work. The first match ended with both rikishi touching out at the same time, and a torinaoshi was called. Ryuden took the rematch, and picked up a fantastic win. Go get ’em Shin-Ikioi!
Kakuryu defeats Hokutofuji – Textbook reactive sumo from Kakuryu. Hokutofuji attacks strongly from the tachiai, with a predictable focus on landing a nodowa. Kakuryu is a master at giving ground on the dohyo to his advantage, and collapses Hokutofuji’s opening gambit with skill.
Hakuho defeats Asanoyama – This match did live up to the hype, as the Natsu yushso winner gave The Boss a solid fight. But the Yokozuna’s immense experience allowed him to wear down Asanoyama, and wait for his opening. It came when Asanoyama repeatedly tried to lift Hakuho, and as a result raised himself up, giving Hakuho the correct position to unleash his much favored uwatenage. Solid effort from Asanoyama, and I think he did as well as anyone might do with their first match against the most dominant rikishi in recorded history.