Aki Day 4 Highlights

A number of rikishi picked up their first win of the tournament today, as the law of averages starts to kick in. In Ozeki-land, we saw Tochinoshin have a much needed win evaporate due to poor hand placement, Goeido continues in good form, and opponents really need to stop trying to pull Takakeisho down, you are just handing him white stars when you do that.

Match Highlights

Takagenji defeats Azumaryu – It was bound to happen at some point, Takagenji pulled himself together enough to win. Takagenji’s win was his first in over a dozen matches, and hopefully signals that he’s back to sumo.

Yutakayama defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho tries a leap to the sider at the tachiai, but Yutakayama is having none of it, and opens up a vigorous slapping attack at the retreating Tsurugisho. With his opening gambit blown, Tsurugisho was left disadvantaged and at the mercy of Yutakayama’s oshi-attack.

Tochiozan defeats Kagayaki – The old veteran has some life left after all! The post tachiai match was a brutal “battle of the armpits” where both rikishi traded armpit attacks, each trying to raise the other up. I think Kagayaki got higher and rather tired of it quickly, and backed away, letting Tochiozan attack.

Ishiura defeats Nishikigi – Power sumo from Ishiura! He drove straight into Nishikigi’s chest at the tachiai and lifted, then moved forward. Nishikigi was working to wrap him up and contain him, but Ishiura was too strong, and too fast.

Toyonoshima defeats Daishoho – A good, square tachiai that Toyonoshima converted into what looks like an under shoulder swing down, using Daishoho’s forward pressure as a power source. Toyonoshima has a number of injuries, and father time to fight off each match, but some of them hard won skills are great to see.

Shohozan defeats Enho – Fans who have loved their jungyo scrimmage matches were excited to see this come up in the day 4 torikumi, and they did not disappoint. Both men through everything, including the kitchen sink into their match. Ehho tries to go so low and so inside, Shohozan practically envelopes him, and then Enho gets to work. The closing move, where Enho attempt to channel Ura was great to see, even if he could not quite pull it off. Oh, word in sumo fan-land is Ura can now bench press over 400kg. We may see him on the dohyo for Hatsu.

Meisei defeats Onosho – Onosho has been susceptible to lateral changes in pressure, and Meisei uses that to great effect. As a mild Onosho fan, I want to see him get it together, but he’s still a mess from having his knee rebuilt.

Kotoyuki defeats Sadanoumi – Kotoyuki kept relentless pressure on Sadanoumi’s center mass through a train of well timed thrusts to the chest. Solid oshi-sumo from Mr 5 by 5.

Okinoumi defeats Takarafuji – In the battle of the senior technicians, it was all Okinoumi. He set up an arm lock through immediately in the tachiai, pulled a couple of dance moves and put Takarafuji on the clay. Okinoumi has started 4-0, some great work.

Kotoeko defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi opened strong, and it looked like Kotoeko might once again be letting his opponent call the terms of the match. But Kotoeko made a choice to hold and dominate the center of the ring, and the fight was on. Both men were on their sumo, but Kotoeko kept his balance and prevailed for his first win of Aki.

Kotoshogiku defeats Chiyotairyu – Kotoshogiku was able to absorb the somewhat weaker than normal canon-ball tachiai from Chiyotairyu, and quickly went to work with his preferred hug-n-chug attack.

Myogiryu defeats Ryuden – Watching this match, you can clearly see as the two rikishi stalemate in the center of the dohyo that Myogiryu’s hips are low, and square against his desired line of force, where Ryuden is high and his hips are at an acute angle to where he wants to attack. This was the key to the match for Myogiryu, as it gave him a route to break Ryuden’s stance for the yori-kiri.

Shodai defeats Shimanoumi – Shodai does sumo today, and does it well. This fellow has skill and an incredible ring sense when he decides its a sumo day. He even had a discernible tachiai today that resulted in a double inside grip on Shimanoumi. Shodai remains an enigma to me.

Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – Frantic ball of sumo energy, Daieisho, finally gets his first win. While Tamawashi wasted time and effort slapping Daieisho in the face, Daieisho put all of his force against center-mass and pushed. You can see the moment when Tamawashi figures out that indulging in that face-slap probably cost him the match, and his improvised move to recover falls short. I love that in spite of 3 straight losses, Daieisho came ready to win each day.

Endo defeats Asanoyama – An example of masterful yotsu-zumo defensive work by Endo in the opening moments of this bout. Asanoyama came in with a lot of strength and a solid attack plan, getting Endo to the tawara, and high. But as Asanoyama upped his forward pressure, Endo turned him and pushed him over the bales. Fantastic match.

Mitakeumi defeats Aoiyama – Mitakeumi stays low as Aoiyama keeps trying to pull, and that is a formula for a loss. Aoiyama is clearly not doing well this September, probably due to some injury.

Takakeisho defeats Tomokaze – Did you catch it? We had our first “wave blast” from Takakeisho today. Again Tomokaze looked like he wanted to pull / slap down his opponent. Not only is that fairly sloppy sumo to do it multiple days in a row, but Takakeisho has had every opponent thus far try that, and it’s not working. He’s clearly improved his balance and he keeps his weight centered. Takakeisho starts 4-0.

Goeido defeats Hokutofuji – Beautiful sumo from Goeido today, speed and power in a straight line, with a relentless focus against Hokutofuji’s shoulders and center-mass. I love it when Goeido is healthy.

Abi defeats Tochinoshin – Heartbreaking match that was a Tochinoshin win with some good sumo mechanics but was overturned via monoii because Tochinoshin had a firm and long lasting grip on Abi’s hair. I can tell you it was not part of the plan, but it was still disqualifying. Setting aside the foul, Tochinoshin’s sumo looked better today, a bit more fluid. There is still hope for his 8 wins.

Kakuryu defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo gave him a good fight, but i think hurt his right arm as the Yokozuna swung him to the clay. Kakuryu watchers might be starting to have concerns that he is winning most of his matches in reverse-gear. Many times this is his “tell” that he has a lower body injury.

29 thoughts on “Aki Day 4 Highlights

  1. Was that Enho/Shohozan bout epic, or what? I have often wondered, when Enho gets low under the body like that, why his opponent doesn’t simply lie down on top of him and crush him to the ground. Well today I found out, that’s because it would be futile! Enho is composed 100% of superhuman fast twitch muscle, coupled with bionic knees! The camera angle of the winning move wasn’t great, so I’m still not exactly sure how Shohozan did it. Great bout!

    How does a veteran like Tochinoshin make a basic error like a hair pull? Probably not intentional, but from what I saw, it was a clear hair pull. It’s easy to sit here in my chair wondering why Tochi didn’t pull his hand away sooner, but that’s the breaks I guess. Too bad for Tochi, nice kensho for Abi.

    And Ichinojo, NOOOOOOO! I hope the injury is not serious, but that’s a lot of weight on that arm. I wonder if Kakuryu will sleep well tonight?

    • Enho was the initiator; he was going for one of the sorite (backward body drop) kimarite. The key thing, I think, was that Enho was unsuccessful in blocking Shohozan’s right leg. You can see Enho reaching for it with his right hand (https://youtu.be/MGMIUXE1neI?t=330), but he’s unable to block it strongly enough. If he had, he would have kept Shohozan from getting square over him and would have had mechanical advantage. But Shohozan reacted by spreading his legs and dropping his hips; Enho pushed as hard as he could but the position was wrong. I think Enho hit his face on the tawara — ouch!

    • The rookie mistake was not the fact that he didn’t pull his fingers out fast enough. It’s the fact that they were bent! In sumo, away from the mawashi, fingers have no business being bent. If his fingers in Abi’s hair were straight, nobody could call it a “pull”.

      Enho was, in fact, in trouble for a long time before the bout ended. It wasn’t that Shohozan did something – it was Enho who did the something. He tried a sori. He admitted to Mainoumi a couple of days ago that he has nothing but his shitatenage. So Mainoumi taught him a bit of tripping. But if he wants to be able to do a proper sori, he should go get a lesson from Ura. Shohozan simply didn’t go along.

  2. Enho: I was half expecting the pixie to power squat Shohozan for an epic win. Incredible match none the less ,

    Ishura: You’ve got the raw strength to be potent. You’re a beast with muscles out rivaling Tochinoshins. Do what you did today more often and you might get some more respect from those who only see you as a Henka artist.

    Ichinojo: My boy landed 500+lbs onto that right arm in a really awkward way. I’m fairly certain that he hyper extended that elbow, hopefully he didn’t tear anything. Speedy recovery big man!

    • I am so eager for Ura to get back to the top division. During rehab it seems he got bored and has been doing nothing but pumping iron. I can’t wait to see what kind insane crap he can manufacture now.

  3. Quite excited about Endo this time – Rolls Royce sumo from the man in gold. I joined sumo in 2016 so i think i missed his early work – did he attract a big buzz in those days?

      • I think it was in early 2015, I think Ozaka, when Endo injured his knee. He was looking quite promising at that time, however he decided to let that heal, never properly sitting out. After that every Jonidan thruster was pushing him over. He probably lost at least 2 or 3 years in which he was never really healthy, never could defend even the softest oshi attacks. I’m not sure if he ever fully recovered from that injury, but for the last year or so, he seems at least to be in some stable condition. You see a lot of great technique and here and there you can guess why he was hyped early in his career, but I think this injury/the treatment robbed him of a lot of his ceiling.

  4. Ishiura looked like a Goeido mini-me in today’s bout, while Goeido looked like … himself. Great stuff from both of them.

    Takakeisho is the round mound of rebound (from injury) this basho. He’s just picking up steam!

    Abi most definitely has the softest 3-1 record in the field. He must be living right to have such luck. Can you imagine how Tochinoshin will be kicking himself if he winds up 7-8? Going 7-4 the rest of the way is looking like a tall order, given that he has yet to face a genki Goeido and a very determined Special K.

    My guess is a shoulder injury for Ichinojo. His weight and momentum was forcing his upright upper arm into the shoulder socket.

  5. Not a good day for the guys I cheer for. Aoiyama, Takarafuji, Azumaryu, Ryuden…

    Frankly, I’ve really started to hate Abi. First he henkas Kotoshogiku on the last day, making my man Ryuden drop out of Sanyaku first when 100% I believe Ryuden is a better wrestler than Abi. Their rivalry is not over!

    Now, it’s day 4 and the dude already has 2 free wins?! If he gets kachi-koshi because of those I’ll be pissed.

    • I think his two free wins were pretty legit. Much worse it would be to win a goddamn yusho based in a non-legit free win. Just imagine if something like that ever happened.

      • Oh, Tochinoshin, you and your controversies…

        Of course I don’t disagree with the decision to rule the hairpull. However, as a Ryuden fan I simply can’t abide with his rival finally overshadowing Ryuden in (on-paper) accomplishments due to his free wins.

  6. Ura benching 400 kg? Are people sure? The world record is 487.6 kg. That’s an insane number, even for a professional athlete in a strength sport.

    • Agreed. The bench world record without a bench compression shirt is 336kg, and I highly doubt sumo wrestlers are having bench shirts pulled onto them before attempting world class competitive 1RM lifts.

      He’s clearly a very strong and nimble dude, but 400lbs for reps would seem more believable.

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