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.
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.