With great relief, we have seen Takayasu and Kaisei have both withdrawn from the tournament to address their injuries. Neither rikishi was really up to competing at this point, and both were risking more serious complications to their injuries. A number of rikishi showed up hurt (Kaisei, Tochinoshin) or did not show up at all (Yoshikaze, Takakeisho) coming from 2 months where there was no jungyo, and the rikishi were free to get themselves healthy.
The question begs to be asked: Is the state of treatment so poor, so haphazard that these athletes, who are worth millions of yen to sumo’s bottom line, left to fend for themselves when they get injured? Fans have noted the caviler attitude taken to injuries around rikishi like Ikioi, Kisenosato, Ura and Terunofuji. What the hell, sumo? I know Japan is not the US, but maybe it’s time for the NSK to take a look at how the NBA, NFL and other pro sports leagues keep their stars and mainstays healthy and on the field.
Sadanoumi defeats Enho – Enho throws the kitchen sink at Sadanoumi, but Sadanoumi will not go down. While this is a fantastic example of just how much energy Enho puts into a match, it’s also the most wide ranging display of Sadanoumi’s defensive skill that I have ever seen. Sadanoumi improves to 7-4.
Kagayaki defeats Yago – Yago continues to struggle with his lower body, as he achieves a position to over power Kagayaki a couple of times, but he’s not able to deliver any power or pressure against Kagakayi’s relentless attacks. Yago is another future bright star, but he needs some repairs.
Tochiozan defeats Toyonoshima – Toyonoshima opens strong with a lot of forward pressure against Tochiozan, but as has been the case this whole basho, he gets too far forward to sustain his balance. Tochiozan reads this, and steps back for the win.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Nishikigi – Terutsuyoshi gets inside at the tachiai, and grabs Nishikigi’s armpits and pushes upward. With his center mass raised that high, Terutsuyoshi pushes him out for the win. Nishikigi is now make-koshi as Terutsuyoshi rack up win #9.
Chiyomaru defeats Takagenji – Takagenji committed to finding a belt grip out of the tachiai, and while he struggled to get a hand of Chiyomaru’s mawashi, the round one was pushing him around and finally out. This was a lack of plan B for Takagenji, and that will come in time.
Tomokaze defeats Kotoyuki – Kotoyuki tries a hit and shift, but Tomokaze is too “dialed in” to over commit, and is able to pivot and attack. Kotoyuki’s shift was on the clumsy side, and his feet were poorly placed. Tomokaze reads this with great skill, calmly grabs Kotoyuki’s head and pulls.
Okinoumi defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu brought the intensity, Okinoumi brought his patience and overflowing sumo skill. It is in fact a valid (though not widely used) sumo skill to not initially go for the winning move, but rather stalemate your opponent and wait for them to make a mistake. Of course Yokozuna Kakuryu has perfected this ability, but it was nice to see Okinoumi employ it today.
Kotoeko defeats Shimanoumi – Kotoeko got the better of the tachiai, and put Shimanoumi into a reactive mode. This worked brilliantly as Shimanoumi could not get his offensive plan together, and Kotoeko dominated the match.
Daishoho defeats Chiyotairyu – Daishoho takes full advantages of the slippery Nagoya dohyo and Chiyotairyu’s innate compulsion to blunder ahead at ramming speed.
Takarafuji defeats Shohozan – Shohozan had control of this match, but could not finish Takarafuji. Both of these vets look surprisingly worn out for men who have had 2 months (without Jungyo) to prepare.
Daieisho defeats Shodai – Shodai once again blows the tachiai, giving Daieisho a perfect mawashi grip, and the foot position to make it work. Shodai does advance Daieisho to the tawara, but it was really only to set up the uwatenage that put Shodai on the clay. Great sumo execution from Daieisho today.
Asanoyama defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji preferred handshake tachiai missed its mark, and he was left wide open to Asanoyama’s opening gambit against center-mass. The Natsu yusho winner did not even pause for a moment as he scooped up Hokutofuji and shoveled him out.
Endo defeats Ryuden – Both rikishi engaged in a tactical battle over grip and stance, and we once again saw Endo employ that right hand shallow / mae-mitsu grip, even if it was just for a moment, to unbalance Ryuden. Both of these guys are excellent technicians, but all too frequently fail to win. But they produce some really great technical sumo!
Aoiyama defeats Abi – Battle of the “Big Oshi” came down to footwork and balance. Here, Aoiyama can really shine as he repeatedly gave ground to Abi, who kept putting his balance further and further forward, until Aoiyama had him extended and could easily shove him across the bales.
Ichinojo defeats Tamawashi – Whatever injury Tamawashi is nursing, he has very poor stability on his feet this basho. Ichinojo plays with him for a time before he uses his enormous strength to dunk him into the clay. Tamawashi now has double digit losses.
Mitakeumi defeats Meisei – Meisei but up a huge fight for a rikishi who has only won 2 matches this July. He coaxed Mitakeumi into a mawashi battle, but quickly found the mechanics of holding up that tadpole to be exhausting. Points to Meisei for keeping his hips lower than Mitakeumi for the whole match.
Kakuryu defeats Kotoshogiku – Kotoshogiku threw everything he had at the Yokozuna, and had the advantage at least twice. But as Kakuryu is prone to do, he kept his cool, stalemated Kotoshogiku and waited for his opening. The opening came with Kotoshogiku did not have his weight evenly on his feet, and went to shift his stance. That momentary easing of forward pressure opened up the gap between the rikishi, and Kakuryu pushed hard and drove Kotoshogiku back and out. Great effort by the former Ozeki, and masterful display of Kakuryu’s sumo style by the Yokozuna.