Aki 2019 Day 2 Highlights

Day 2 was all about balance, I would guess. Many matches were decided when an opponent focused on working to pull down a rikishi who kept his weight centered, and his stance wide. The pullers overwhelmingly paid the price today.

With Hakuho out of the tournament with a broken finger on his right hand, the idea of what a week 2 yusho race might look like gets a lot more interesting. It’s clear that Goeido’s ankle is not bothering him right now, and Tamawashi seems to be back to his super-genki form. For a host of reasons, Aki tends to be my favorite basho, as frequently everyone seems to be healthy and in fighting form.

Highlight Matches

Yutakayama defeats Takagenji – Takagenji threw everything he had into this match, but extended his string of losses as Yutakayama was relentless. Yutakayama got his hips squared and his forward pressure centered early, and although Takagenji did a masterful job of trying to pivot for a throw, but Yutakayama kept driving forward and controlled the match.

Daiamami defeats Tochiozan – Tochiozan continues to look tenative. He’s lost none of his excellent sumo skill, but cannot muster the strength and stamina to match the young, fresh talent right now. Daiamami showcases this by staying in the fight, wearing Tochiozan down.

Ishiura defeats Tsurugisho – Fluid shift to the left at the tachiai by Ishiura, beautifully executed, puts Ishiura behind Tsurugisho. Ishiura hits the spin cycle and Tsurugisho has no chance to do anything but try to enjoy the ride.

Azumaryu defeats Toyonoshima – Another battle where I think stamina played a role, with Toyonoshima running out of energy following a drive to take Azumaryu to the edge. Azumaryu played it cool, waited out Toyonoshima and rolled him to the clay.

Kagayaki defeats Shohozan – Kagayaki matches (at least the good ones) are masterful displays of disciplined sumo fundamentals. Then there is today where he had to contend with Shohozan, where the focus was to keep Shohozan as close to in front of him as possible and keep moving.

Nishikigi defeats Daishoho – Endurance match, which Nishikigi seems to have a knack for. He wore Daishoho down in a protracted yotsu battle, and claimed his second straight victory.

Sadanoumi defeats Onosho – Onosho has lost none of his frantic form of oshi sumo, but it seems his knees are far from back to healthy. At least twice he could have finished Sadanoumi, but just could not transmit enough power to ground to move Sadanoumi out. This could be a rough basho for Onosho.

Enho defeats Meisei – As a sumo fan, I feel spoiled now watching Enho. It’s a daily dose of WTF sumo, where for the second day in a row we get to see Enho use his entire body as an integrated combat system. The finishing shitatenage was a thing of beauty, once again demonstrating angular momentum exquisitely.

Okinoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi perhaps thought he could do the same, but Okinoumi was having none of it. He kept Terutsuyoshi centered and focused center-mass. The finishing move was a forceful thrust to the chest that put Terutsuyoshi in the crowd. Nicely done.

Kotoyuki defeats Takarafuji – I am starting to thing there is something to this rebuild Kotoyuki. Granted, Takarafuji can be hit-or-miss, but Kotoyuki looked stronger, more focused than I remember previously.

Shimanoumi defeats Kotoshogiku – In the roster of “can’t generate forward pressure”, we find dear old Kotoshogiku, whose knees are likewise an ad-hoc collection of damaged tissue. Kotoshogiku gets the inside position at the tachiai, but can’t make anything of it due to Shimanoumi’s excellent hand position, and Kotoshogiku’s lack of pressure.

Myogiryu defeats Kotoeko – It’s over in an instant, all down to Myogiryu’s superior tachiai and forward drive.

Tamawashi defeats Chiyotairyu – Where was this version of Tamawashi in Nagoya? This looks like that same fellow who took the Natsu yusho.

Shodai defeats Ryuden – Shodai yet again turns in another “what the hell was that?” win. Yes, weak tachiai from Shodai, but he somehow turns a bad body position into a left hand inside grip. As with day 1, break and escape from Shodai confounds his opponent, and somehow leaves Ryuden on the defensive. It’s messy, odd-ball sumo but it somehow got the job done.

Endo defeats Tomokaze – Tomokaze twice tried to pull Endo, which was a big rookie mistake. Endo was expertly keeping his weight centered over the arches of his feet, and Tomokaze was simply giving ground to a highly skilled opponent.

Mitakeumi defeats Daieisho – Another match where balance was the deciding factor. Daieisho put massive amount of energy into his attack and controlled the match, keeping Mitakeumi on the run. But Daieisho progressively kept extending his balance further and further forward, allowing Mitakeumi to apply the tsukiotoshi at the edge.

Takakeisho defeats Aoiyama – Huge credit to Takakeisho for knowing what to do here, and executing it. Aoiyama tried at least three times to pull down Takakeisho, but Takakeisho kept his hips low, his weight centered, his feet wide. Still no “wave action” attack from Takakeisho, but I think has he gains confidence we may see his primary weapon.

Goeido defeats Ichinojo – oh yeah, Goeido looking sharp in September. Hakuho benched. I have good feeling about this basho possibly turning into a multi-way barnyard brawl. If we have a strong / wide leaderboard coming out of the middle weekend, I expect Goeido (if he can keep that ankle healthy) to be in the thick of the hunt.

Asanoyama defeats Tochinoshin – It’s painful to watch Tochinoshin right now. It’s clear that knee is trashed, and he’s probably in no shape to compete. Asanoyama’s sumo continues to mature, and if he can stay healthy we can expect some good things from him in 2020, I predict.

Kakuryu defeats Hokutofuji – As expected, Big K waits for Hokutofuji to over-extend and over-commit, then puts him down. Hokutofuji went 1-1 against Yokozuna for Aki, an excellent mark.

24 thoughts on “Aki 2019 Day 2 Highlights

  1. Excellent match from Azumaryu. It was my favourite match so far aside from maybe Daieisho vs Takakeisho. Daieisho also looked very good against Mitakeumi, I am quickly becoming a fan of him.

    Enho is an unbelievable person. Wow.

    Terutsuyoshi looked graceful even in his defeat. This guy is one to watch.

    Endo vs Tomokaze was a surprisingly straightforward battle, and even more surprising to me was Endo overpowering Tomokaze. If Tomokaze was as easy to overpower as Endo made him look, it will be difficult for him to keep his streak. Not really sure what to make of the match, honestly. Wasn’t bad, though.

    Finally, I am very concerned for my man Aoiyama. He didn’t look genki at all against Takakeisho, and he has to fight Kakuryu tomorrow. Still keeping my fingers crossed for that kinboshi though!

    • Yeah, normally Daniel is hitting hard at this point (Aoiyama), I have to worry if maybe he has some kind of mechanical injury right now.

      • I’m happy you guys are talking about this match because I thought it was really interesting. I thought Big Dan came with a plan in that he was going to let Takakeisho establish the thrusting and then pull at the edge. Credit to him because he sort of sees it coming together, but then when he goes to pull there’s nobody there, and Takakeisho is still back in the middle of the dohyo where he gets a free run at him.

        It kind of looked to me like Aoiyama is just doing that from muscle memory, he’s going “ok, this is my plan and if i stick to this i might win” and he just does it no matter what but Takakeisho is just more intelligent than to bite on a rudimentary strategy. It’s sort of a weird thing for a veteran to stick on that with no Plan B.

        • During the match, it definitely felt to me like Aoiyama did not expect Takakeisho to blast him away like he did. My guess is that Aoiyama was expecting Takakeisho to hit him with less power since he logically should still be reeling from his injury. I have not given up hope for Aoiyama posting an impressive score though, since his opponents on the first 3 days are definitely the toughest fights he’s going to face.

  2. Asanoyama – really notable thing for me was how fast he got the winning grip. Very much reminiscent of the person he was beating at his best. Straight in, lands the left hand, opponent neutralised. He will have tougher matches but something to be said for winning fast and winning really well with a good technical move.

  3. Today was as much of a day of quick, efficient wins as yesterday was of wild, back-and-forth matches. I suspect this is the first announcement of some of the older rikishi making their final tour of bashos. They can still compete, but not at the level they used to achieve.

  4. Once again Kakuryu sets his opponent up to fail. The yokozuna opens with right-left-right tsuppari combination. His last strike pushes Hokutofuji’s head up and back, shoving Hokutofuji back from a left-foot forward stance into a square-on stance. Hokutofuji’s center of mass is high; he senses that he must drop his hips and move forward to regain this lost ground. He begins to step forward, but Kakuryu changes up: rather than cycling his arms on to another tsuppari, the yokozuna has reset his right hand against the left side of Hokutofuji’s head. Hokutofuji is shoved to his right as he steps forward with his left leg and is instantly wrong-footed.

  5. The only reason I’m bringing this up is because Ryuden was my pick in the Chaingang game. Why was there not a monoii for that match? Takamisakari (I think it was him and I don’t know his elder name) was sitting right there. With that being said, I think I know why Shodai won, he was the aggressor and I guess Ryuden was a dead body. This despite Shodai stepping out first. As an aside, if the dohyo was bigger, Ryuden would have stepped out first.
    Sorry, just venting… Great write up for the day.

  6. After just 2 days I hereby climb aboard the Yutakayama hype-train and gleefully honk the hype-horn! He looks big and strong and genki and at M16 I see him racking up a lot of wins. (I hope I haven’t jinxed him now!)

    I was totally supporting Ryuden, but one has to give respect to Shodai. Ryduen had one hand solidly gripping the belt and his head planted in Shodai’s chest and I was convinced it was just a matter of time from there until Ryuden would prevail, but Shodai kept moving and fussing away at Ryuden’s other hand and pulled off a classy throw to snatch victory at the edge.

    Endo seemed to have learned from yesterday’s defeat to Kakuryu – he stopped focusing so exclusively on getting a shallow grip on the front of the mawashi and showed his versatility to get an oshidashi win.

    Mitakeumi v Daiesho was the most exciting bout of the day. In real time I was not at all sure who went out first, but watching the replays Daieisho’s elbow hits the ground just before Mitakeumi steps out.

    • Shodai has an entirely unknown universe of sumo. To me he seems to just start doing random stuff that turns into offensive openings that he has the skill to then exploit. The net result is that he does wired stuff when he gets into trouble, and more often than not he can turn it into a win. The guy is like a bizzaro-rikishi at times.

    • I actually thought Mitakeumi’s heel went out first, but by that point Daieisho was fully airborne and presumably “dead”…

  7. This is for those of you who may not have access to NHK Premium, or our Japan TV channel in the US.

    This time, in addition to Juryo coverage, I will try uploading all Makuuchi coverage from the Japanese feed. Although we simulcast in Japanese with the same English feed we put on NHK Premium in Japan, I only have access to share the Japanese language feed only. As we just finished downloading Day One, my wife noticed that we are also offering lower-division coverage starting at 1PM JST on one of our other channels. I would be happy to upload this if there’s any interest. Due to demands on my time and internet network, it may be within one or two days I can get these uploaded.

    Due to the time constraints of doing this on my part, would there be any interest in this? I’d be happy to if so. If not, no problem.

  8. Today I wasn’t able to concentrate on the bouts, it was more fun watching Dr. Takasu, enthusiastically applauding for Nishikigi and Enho. But the highlight was when Shodai landed right at his feet and he was so happy about it…

    • Yeah, that was kind of fun in a bizarre “I watch too much Abema” sort of way. BTW, still no Tapple commercials so far, which is a blessing.

  9. Poor Takarafuhi got Meisei thrown on his feet by Enho ;)

    Some interesting battles today. Of all rikishi I wouldn’t have expected Endou to dispatch Tomokaze so easily. He usually has huge troubles with oshi sumo.

    So far Kakuryu and Asanoyama look great. Goeido will find a way to mess things up, as always. Tamawashi looks on form as well. The rest of the sanyaku doesn’t look like they can compete. Mitakeumi looks off, Takakeisho was very lucky day 1 and had a very not genki opponent today. With how poorly some other top rikishi perform so far, he might get his 10, but i doubt much more.
    I’m curious to see, where Hokutofuji, Ichinojo and Endo go from here.

    • Tomokaze is quick to resort to hatakikomi if he’s not moving forward. It’s a pretty good move for him — six of his last twelve wins (including five of his last six wins) have come by that kimarite, including his almost insouciant victory over Kakuryu. But Endo probably watched those matches and figured that if he just stood his ground then eventually Tomokaze would give up his. Tomokaze went for the hatakikomi twice and it was his downfall.


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