Aki 2019: Day 5 Highlights

The Gladiators Enter The Arena

Ishiura defeats Takagenji: Ishiura continues to do well this tournament by fighting his opponents. It was not a strong tachiai, but not a henka, as Ishiura ducked and deflected Takagenji’s attack upward. Then Ishiura drove through from his submarine position and ushered Takagenji out. Ishiura improves to 4-1, Takagenji falls to 1-4.

Tochiozan defeats Toyonoshima: Tochiozan got the better of Toyonoshima with a slick little shift in the middle of the ring. It that threw Toyonoshima’s balance off enough to steamroll out for the win. Tochiozan is 3-2 while Toyonoshima falls to 1-4.

Tsurugisho defeats Azumaryu: Tsurugisho met Azumaryu well at the tachiai, got a great grip with his right hand. With superior position from below, and Azumaryu’s right arm flailing in the air, Tsurugisho drove forward and pushed him out for the yorikiri win. Both men are having a decent tournament at 3-2.

Ki defeats Yutakayama: A great endurance battle between the big men where Kagayaki out-lasted Yutakayama. The crowd really got going when Yutakayama was pitched up on one leg but somehow recovered to drive Kagayaki back to the tawara. The two settled to the middle of the ring, Kagayaki caught Yutakayama dozing and drove him back and out. Both men are 3-2.

Shohozan defeats Nishikigi: Shohozan keeps the East winning streak alive, driving both hands up into Nishikigi’s neck at the tachiai. Shohozan never relented, steady with the pressure, continuous attack while Nishikigi was doing everything he could just to hang on and stay upright, but Shohozan forced him out. Shohozan improves to 3-2 while Nishikigi falls to 2-3.

Enho defeats Daishoho: Enho ends the Eastern dominance with a last second Houdini vanishing act. Daishoho had clear advantage and went for the finishing shove…when Enho disappeared and reappeared behind him, and added enough force to Daishoho’s momentum to push him out. Amazing. Enho is 4-1 while Daishoho is still seeking his first win.

Onosho defeats Terutsuyoshi: Terutsuyoshi went on the attack, head down, and bulled through his opponent. Onosho slipped to his left to escape the pressure and managed to dance inside the tawara to stay in while Terutsuyoshi flopped to the dohyo. Terutsuyoshi falls to 1-4 and needs to turn things around in the second act. Onosho improves to 2-3.

Meisei defeats Takarafuji: Starting from a stance a yard behind the line of scrimmage, a genki Meisei took the initiative and played aggressor in this bout while Takarafuji played defense. The two tussled at the center of the ring but a quick shift to the right, he got his left hand up behind Takarafuji’s back, pressured him off down and balance. Katasukashi.

Okinoumi defeats Kotoyuki: A good tachiai and Kotoyuki on the slap-happy tsuppari attack but Jason’s man from Shimane-ken used his arms effectively to deflect the bulk of the attack. When Kotoyuki over-committed, Okinoumi ducked to the side, letting Kotoyuki fall and remains undefeated! The Penguin falls to 2-3.

Sadanoumi defeats Kotoeko: Sadanoumi prevailed in a high-octane back and forth bout. The tachiai was well met and the two set a frenetic pace of steady action as they tried to get the upper hand. Kotoeko twisted the pair precariously on the tawara but Sadanoumi didn’t want to take the tumble into the crowd and drove back to the other side of the ring where he gained the advantage and flung Kotoeko out.

Kotoshogiku defeats Ryuden: This was a straight-forward Kotoshogiku bout of old, well met tachiai with Ryuden wrapped up and driven backwards. Ryuden attempted to resist to the left but Kotoshogiku’s gabburi was too much. Yorikiri. Giku improves to 3-2. Ryuden slips to 2-3.

Shimanoumi defeats Chiyotairyu: Chiyotairyu met his opponent with a strong right hand at the tachiai but when he foolishly tried a hatakikomi attack with inadequate real estate behind him. Why would anyone do that 6 feet from the bales? When he executed the pull he was virtually out already. Shimanoumi gladly obliged and helped Chiyotairyu out.

Myogiryu defeats Shodai: This Myogiryu is a beast this tournament. Shodai absorbed the tachiai and started to push his opponent back but Myogiryu kicked it into a higher gear, forcing Shodai into reverse and out. Myogiryu is in the chase at 4-1, Shodai slips to 2-3.

Ichinojo vs Tamawashi: The bout didn’t happen. Ichinojo is kyujo with a shoulder injury. Tamawashi gets the walkover win.

Endo defeats Aoiyama to the delight of the crowd. Winless Aoiyama tried the hatakikomi pull at the tachiai, without setting up any kind of tsuppari or slapping attack. It was just “pull” mode from the start. With momentum going the right way, Endo obliged and chased Aoiyama, pushing him out for a fourth straight win.

Takakeisho defeats Hokutofuji: There was a decent stack of kensho riding on this one. A great oshi bout, both got the tsuppari going. Hokutofuji tried a pull but that wasn’t going anywhere since aite simply didn’t follow. Hokutofuji went back to re-engage with some tsuppari, and this time Takakeisho slipped backwards, pirouetting just inside the tawara as Hokutofuji flopped to the clay. Hokutofuji ends act 1 with the one gold star win he managed to snag off Hakuho on day one. Takakeisho is undefeated and on cruise control to meet that 10-win mark.

Mitakeumi defeats Abi: Abi launched forward into his slapping attack. Mitakeumi put up some strong resistance, drawing Abi deeper and further forward on his toes, then executed an excellent pull down that everyone in the building saw coming. Well, maybe everyone but Abi. They’re calling it a tsukiotoshi but it may as well have been the hatakikomi that Abi is so vulnerable to.

Tochinoshin defeats Tomokaze: The youngster was over-eager. A strong tachiai but apparently the Ozeki learned from his hairpull mistake yesterday to keep that hand flat. He went straight for Tomokaze’s topknot and forced him down. Both men are 2-3.

Goeido defeats Daieisho: Damn it. Bad Goeido! No pulling! This win will serve as positive re-enforcement that you can sometimes win with a pull so you’re going to do it again, and again. But those bouts, you’ll lose. This one was done against an unprepared Daieisho. Please move forward from now on. You got lucky this time.

Asanoyama defeats Kakuryu! Zabuton nagatte kudasai! The Yokozuna had settled on the idea of winning by a throw. So he tried it once after the tachiai, then he worked Asanoyama over to the straw bales where he tried again. Didn’t work. Maybe the third time is the charm? No. The third time he Asanoyama gives a gentle shove and the Yokozuna is out.

Act one ends with a two-horse race between Takakeisho and Okinoumi! The hunt pack is now led by Kakuryu, and includes Goeido, Mitakeumi, Endo, Myogiryu, Meisei, Enho, and Ishiura. It’s still far too early in this drama for yusho race talk as we’re one third of the way in but that’s an exciting group of folks. Several sharks in these waters smell blood and a shot at a title! It is a bit disappointing that Ichinojo won’t be able to feast but he’ll be back!

13 thoughts on “Aki 2019: Day 5 Highlights

  1. Bout of the day absolutely goes to Kagayaki and Yutakayama! Wow!

    The more I watch rikishi bang heads together at the tachiai, the more I’m convinced that Shodai’s “poor tachiai” is a way to protect his face and brain. If that’s the case, I don’t blame him at all.

    Takaeisho! Halfway there already!

    If Goeido is pulling already, I fear that he’s already losing the mental battles that trip him up on a regular basis. Either that or he has a hidden injury. Or both perhaps.

    Asanoyama! It’s been great to watch him learn and grow over the past year. Calm, authoritative sumo from the youngster today. I look forward to continue to watch him improve!

    • I think Shodai might be more vulnerable than other rikishi to getting dazed by head blows, and, being aware of that fact, does more to protect his head.

      Look at how he reacts to Hakuho’s slaps here: https://youtu.be/lytJPv-Oa-4?t=289

      Those slaps do not seem like power blows to me, and yet he’s very shy of them and they seem to have outsized effect.

  2. https://youtu.be/WT-aJPCGfcs?t=53

    Enho is in a left-foot forward stance, left hand on Daishoho’s torso under the right armpit; his right foot is within two feet of the tawara. Daishoho shoves with his right arm, bouncing Enho back onto the bales, but Enho has the answer. He drops his (already low) hips and pushes up and over with his left hand on Daishoho’s extended arm very close to the armpit. That’s all it takes — the pressure comes at just the right moment to break Daishoho’s balance a bit and add to his momentum toward the edge of the ring, and Newton’s second law means that pressure also helps Enho escape to the side.

    It’s amazing to me how little it takes to change the course of a sumo match and how precise one’s game has to be in the midst of all that frenetic action.

  3. It is indeed an exciting leaderboard. I’m really looking forward to Endo-Takakeisho and Asanoyama-Goeido tomorrow.

  4. Asanoyama continues to impress me, I truly think he will become something special in the future. I’m excited to see him grow.

    Enho also continues to impress me further and further. I really appreciate that he’s showing the world that you don’t have to be a 400lb tank of a human being to be able to execute absolutely brilliant sumo. Even if he doesn’t go on to become an Ozeki or higher I really think he will be an icon in the sumo world.

    Aoiyama my man, please go take care of your undercarriage. There’s clearly something wrong with it and if you don’t get it handled you’re going to be in a rough spot next basho.

  5. The secret of Myogiryu’s success: he established a left hand mae-mitsu grip at the tachiai and used it to keep in close and keep Shodai high. Shodai even got both hands inside but couldn’t do anything anyway.

  6. I was swooning with pleasure at both Onosho and Takakeisho performing exquisite tippy-toe pirouettes right at the edge today – Beautiful!
    The Takakeisho v Hokutofuji match was brutally compelling. Yet again, he wins with that deceptive short arm left hook that somehow functions as a slap down (though it took another second or so before Hokutofuji actually hit the deck).

    I feel that it is good for the dramatic arc of this tournament that Kakuryu took a defeat today, throwing it all wide open.

    That Endo yusho is no longer looking like quite such an improbable scenario!

  7. I’d bet that, in his last 20 honbasho bouts, Aoiyama hasn’t unleashed his dual-jackhammer tsuppari attack more than three or four times. His opponents seem to be having an easy time getting inside on him, which leads to the Bulgarian Blue Mountain resorting to pulls.

  8. This time around, Tochinoshin seems to move his hand the F away from opponent’s hair at top speed as soon as he touched it.

  9. Been watching the Juggernaut Kotoyuki’s change in style with interest. He used to barge forward at all costs and a simple stde-step sent him to the 5th row, but for the last two bashos he has curbed that forward movement and shown that he can dance side to side. Today, that shyness to move forward cost him as his center of gravity got too far forward with the feet lagging behind and he got smacked down. His sumo is a work in progress – to go or not to go?

    The other Koto moved his jumpy feet well and got so close to Ryuden from the get-go that Ryuden’s significant other would have been jealous.I hope he keeps this up and gets 10 wins like the old times.

  10. even thought it was on a knife’s edge, first bout this basho that Takakeisho actually looked good to me. He still has Kakuryu, Mitakeumi, Goeido, Endo and Tochinoshin and I think he will probably lose at least 3 of this 5, but he looks very well on the way to 10 now.
    The yusho picture gets more and more cloudy with Kakuryu falling today. No really clear favorite, but nice recovery from Asanoyama. I can see anything from Takakeisho powering through to Endo going 14-1 for the first time. I don’t think the two veterans looking very strong right now (Okinoumi&Miyogiryu) will conserve this all the way to the end, but who knows?
    To me it looked like Tomokaze was crying when he fell down?

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