Nagoya Day 5 Highlights

It seems to have been matta day. Lots of mattas. Lots and lots of them up and down the torikumi. In fact, I am going to have a matta right now.

(Walks away and gets more tea)

Oh yes! Sumo.. Well, act 1 is complete, and we know that the bulk of the Makuuchi roster is below 50% wins. This is not atypical, but its indicative that a handful of rikishi are dominating, and we will have a strong yusho race, and possibly another highly chaotic promotion / demotion forecast (Sorry, lksumo!). Act 1 MVP would have to be Tomokaze, who really has exceeded expectations in a big way, who has cleaned up against all of the mid-Maegashira. I still stand by my pre-basho prediction that this is likely Hakuho’s yusho, and he might do it with 15 wins once again.

Highlight Matches

Terutsuyoshi defeats Yago – Yago can’t buy a break, and Terutsuyoshi (who is the last man on the banzuke) continues to win. Yago helped him by insisting on trying to pull his opponent, giving up any forward momentum he might have had, Terutsuyoshi looks really solid, and I would expect that next week he will face mid-Maegashira.

Kotoyuki defeats Toyonoshima – I can only assume some injury or physical problem with Toyonoshima, as his sumo looks terrible right now. Kotoyuki again disappointed by not being able to dive into the crowd.

Chiyomaru defeats Kaisei – As long as Kaisei’s right arm is hurt, he won’t be winning many matches. Might this send the mighty Brazilian to Juryo for the first time since 2017?

Enho defeats Tochiozan – It looked like Tochiozan knew he would have his hands full from the start. Tochiozan’s tachiai was super-defensive, and he worked hard to ensure that Enho could not grab a hold of any part of him for more than a second or two. But Enho kept working, and got inside Tochiozan’s defenses, and won the match.

Sadanoumi defeats Nishikigi – Not so much chest to chest as it was chin to chin at the tachiai, with Sadanoumi getting moro-zashi straight away and quickly finishing Nishikigi.

Takagenji defeats Kagayaki – Takagenji won the tachiai, but Kagayaki kept trying to execute his battle plan. While he was doing that Takagenji escorted him to the tawara for the win. Takagenji looking very good thus far, a pleasant surprise.

Daishoho defeats Shohozan – Daishoho spent a good 20 seconds trying to land his right hand on Shohozan’s mawashi, then gave up and won anyhow.

Okinoumi defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko threw everything into this match, but Okinoumi’s experience and sumo efficiency carried the match when both men went out together, but Kotoeko touched first. Kotoeko seemed to expect that a monoii would be called, but got no such favor from the shimpan crew.

Tomokaze defeats Myogiryu – Tomokaze continues to find ways go win. He made a dangerous choice in trying to pull down Myogiryu early in the match, but recovered his forward pressure quickly, and the two men went chest to chest. Myogiryu attempted to pivot into a throw, but Tomokaze instead collapsed the pivot down on his opponent, winning the match.

Shimanoumi defeats Onosho – Excellent sumo from Shimanoumi and more of the ongoing balance problems from Onosho. Onosho’s sumo has really taken a huge hit following his career saving knee surgery last year, and everyone hopes he can get his undercarriage back to good form.

Kotoshogiku defeats Takarafuji – Routine hug-n-chug win for Kotoshogiku, who is 1 win behind the undefeated leader group.

Ichinojo defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu loves to load up huge energy and his impressive mass into his tachiai. For most opponents it’s like being hit by a truck, and they tumble to the clay for a loss. Ichinojo, being something of a truck himself, takes such impacts as a gentlemanly introduction. After receiving the blast, Ichinojo promptly took Chiyotairyu to his chest. Chiyotairyu is not comfortable in this position, and could only struggle pointlessly as Ichinojo has his way with him.

Shodai defeats Meisei – Shodai picked up what turned out to be an easy win, as Meisei seems to be completely falling apart. Tomorrow Shodai faces Goeido.

Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi really seems to he lacking his normal stability and excellent defensive foot placement this basho. As a result he is unable to stay in the match long enough to win, and subsequently has a 0-5 start to Nagoya.

Hokutofuji defeats Mitakeumi – This match turned when Mitakeumi decided to try to pull Hokutofuji down early in the battle. Such moves are always a gamble, but it seems Hokutofuji was ready for the attempt, and used the change in Mitakeumi’s balance to take control and win the match.

Goeido defeats Ryuden – Goeido is not usually very patient, but today he took his time and unraveled Ryuden’s offense. The pivotal moment came when Goeido switched from trying to force his right hand inside and took the grip outside, and find a strong hold on Ryuden’s mawashi. Very nice Ozeki sumo today from Goeido.

Asanoyama defeats Tochinoshin – Asanoyama’s sumo was spot on today, and Tochinoshin clearly can’t maintain any kind of defensive foot placement. As a result, Asanoyama was fully in control, grabbing the Ozeki by his purple mawashi and moving him across the bales. I think its time for Tochinoshin to focus on recovery rather than competition.

Takayasu defeats Abi – Abi’s opening attack was disorganized, and as a result he could offer almost no response to Takayasu offense.

Hakuho defeats Endo – The Boss made it look easy as he frequently does, sending Endo to the clay with a retreating kotenage.

Kakuryu defeats Aoiyama – A healthy Kakuryu can be quite amazing at times. The amount of force that Aoiyama can deliver could be categorized as catastrophic, but Kakuryu endures it all and keeps his feet, and keeps working to deflect and turn his opponent. Solid Yokozuna sumo today from Kakuryu.

15 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 5 Highlights

  1. It seems to me ichinojo has been cannily planning his approach to his matches: yesterday, keeping Takarafuji off the belt and delivering the sort of harite he can’t ignore; today, insisting on the shallow belt grip on Chiyotairyu, thereby putting him firmly outside of his comfort zone.

    Perfect conditions for a storm of matta in the Goeido-Ryuden match: Goeido likes to wait and Ryuden seems to have the philosophy that since matta aren’t penalized there’s no reason not to try to get a jump on the competition. But only two matta; I guess even these guys have their limits. I think Ryuden decided to try a little endurance sumo on Goeido and the ozeki was having none of it.

    I disagree about Abi’s opening attack being disorganized: his plan to blunt Takayasu’s shoulder blast was to hit and shift to the right and go for the belt. It would have been a good plan if it had come off — very unexpected for Abi to go to the belt, I think the plan was nage — but Takayasu reacted so quickly that Abi couldn’t get his grip. When Takayasu is on his reactions are lightning quick — his reaction in this tachiai reminds me of the time when Takanoiwa tried a henka and Takayasu reacted so fast that he was set to re-engage before Takanoiwa was.

    Hakuho did some Kakuryu-like reactive sumo, and Kakuryu showed Hakuho-like awareness of the vulnerabilities in his opponent’s stance. Freaky Friday came a day early.

  2. Agree with Cory about Ichinojo upping his game plans. That pep talk from Hakuho during Jungyo must be paying off! Wouldn’t we like to know how the Boss advised Ichinojo!

    Today, I counted five unsponsored Makuuchi bouts. For the sake of the wrestlers, I hope things pick up this weekend.

    • You know kensho money is arranged before the basho. It could be that some additional bouts will be covered because of the additional TV coverage, but it’s more likely that there will just be more envelopes on the usual suspects.

  3. Four men are in the 5-0 bracket. While we should expect nothing less from the two Yokozuna, it’s interesting that both of the other ones – Terutsuyoshi and Tomokaze – have a senior heya member they deeply respect who is kyujo. In fact, Terutsuyoshi said explicitly he was winning for Aminishiki.

    Interesting that we all got different impressions from the Takayasu bout. What I saw was the Ozeki untypically moving diagonally into the tachiai, thus preventing Abi from getting his favorite morotezuki, and completely disrupting his plan. In any case, it seems Abi-zumo is an equation with more than one solution, and each san-yaku member is deploying a different one.

    Enho’s match was like a fast-forward chess game. Tochiozan keeping his eyes on him carefully. Enho surprising with a slow tachiai. Going in, going out, moving here and there, and Tochiozan answering every move. Enho gets his grip. Tochiozan deploys the arm lock to neutralize it. Enho retreats, tries again. Eventually Tochiozan fell one step behind in the fast flash of tactics. This bout has to be watched in slow motion, several times.

    Another source of matta was Konosuke deciding to give Meisei some prime time education insisting that he put both hands down before starting. Shodai was no problem – he always has a “good boy” tachiai with both fists down.

    I think Takarafuji is still trying to get his brain to stop rattling inside his skull from the series of harite he received from Ichinojo. Ichinojo, by the way, said those harite tired him, because he is not used to dealing them.

    Hakuho failed to get any kind of sashi – hand inside – at the Tachiai. He switched to plan B so fast that some people didn’t notice there was a plan A. But pulling sumo is never Hakuho’s first choice. Don’t let that 5-0 confuse you – Hakuho is looking almost grim at the end of each bout because he is playing a serious survival game and it’s only week 1.

    And Kakuryu maintaining a fixed position right on the shikiri-sen despite those huge tree trunks Aoiyama likes to call arms hitting him on both sides was really awesome.

    • I’ve seen that look too, he hasn’t had a bout this week that has elicited that wry smile and confident swagger from Hakuho. The Yokozuna is not happy with his performance thus far.

      • I wonder how many people realize the significance of him wearing supporters on both arms, or are aware that he has had to ice his left elbow at least since mid-June.

      • Conversely, there haven’t been lucky wins. Sometimes the smile comes from a Houdini bout where he knows he was done for but somehow gets out in the nick of time.

        • But have you noticed that he doesn’t wave his kensho about, which is something he does whether the win was lucky or not?

          • I hadn’t. Now that you mention it I’ll pay more attention. Another theory popped into my head. Maybe he’s trying to “un-rock” the boat with his citizenship and dai-Yokozuna name in the works. Demonstrate less emotion… I saw an interview with a One To Watch recently and they played a clip of him winning an amateur bout and celebrating. The interviewer immediately mentioned how, “the rules in the amateur game are obviously different regarding celebrations….”

  4. when will my Oguruma boys realise trying to pull down your opponent just does not work! it rarely pays off but they still insist! it does my head in!!!!

  5. Word on the street (AKA the Sumo Forum) is that press reports have Tochinoshin going kyujo today/tomorrow, giving Abi the freebie, though I haven’t seen it officially posted yet.

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