Kyushu Day 2 Highlights

Ugly, brutal day in the top ranks as day 2 shows that in transitional eras, you can’t count on rank to indicate how a match is going to play out. Furthermore, we saw two big men stunned or injured in their matches today. But it was a feast of great sumo, and I credit the new generation of rikishi for really knowing their craft and executing it with skill, strength and purpose. While there is still plenty of ring rust hanging around, its clear that some of the “double wide” Komusubi corps are going to be contenders at least until day 10.

I note with great sadness that Goeido did in fact go kyujo from that ankle twist on day 1. While normally this kind of injury might be ranked as minor, given the amount of medical reconstruction he has had on his ankle, this might be the kind of injury that puts Goeido in a position to retire. While I do give Goeido a hard time, please note its mostly because we know he can be a complete badass, but many times he can’t quite bring himself together enough to do it. I hope his injury is not serious, and he can make a return.

Highlight Matches

Wakatakakage defeats Daishoho – Wakatakakage shows some fine form as he grabs Daishoho’s right arm and takes him for a spin. I am still trying to put my finger on why Wakatakakage’s sumo seems to be higher energy than most of the other top division rikihsi.

Nishikigi defeats Daishomaru – Straight ahead match where Nishikigi got the better of the tachiai and just kept advancing. We are still deep into ring rust territory it seems.

Chiyomaru defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi does literally bounce off of that enormous beach-ball belly of Chiyomaru, and never really recovers control over his feet. Chiyomaru’s thrusting technique is good enough that he can keep you moving off balance if you ever lose your footing.

Kagayaki defeats Takanosho – Kagayaki keeps his hands low at the tachiai, which makes it look quite odd, but it seems to work well today as he briefly establishes a right hand inside grip. While Kagayaki is not intent on a yotsu match, its enough to make Takanosho react to the situation, and just like that Kagayaki is controlling the match.

Shimanoumi defeats Ishiura – High marks to Ishiura’s evasion techniques here, but it’s not fooling Shimanoumi for a moment. In spite of getting maemitsu, Ishiura can never get his feet set, and Shimanoumi wears him down.

Shodai defeats Chiyotairyu – No cartoon sumo today, just solid defense. Shodai absorbs Chiyotairyu’s big tachiai and gets to work. Still encrusted with ring rust, Chiyotairyu’s follow on attempt to pull him down goes nowhere, and its Shodai’s match.

Yutakayama defeats Kotoshogiku – Kotoshogiku tries again and again to set up the hug-n-chug, but Yutakayama’s defensive form is excellent. He keeps his hips lower that Kotoshogiku’s, and continually deflects to Kyushu Bulldozer’s forward thrust away from center.

Tsurugisho defeats Shohozan – “Big Guns” Shohozan starts a brawl, delivering blow after blow to Tsurugisho’s face. But Tsurugisho keeps backing Shohozan up, until he can finally interpose his enormous fleshy chest to stop the pommelling from Shohozan, and forces Shohozan out. Tsurugisho did not look quite right following, and took a moment to get his wits back.

Sadanoumi defeats Kotoeko – Sadanoumi kept pushing straight ahead and gave Kotoeko no room to set up any kind of thrusting attack. This was probably the way Sadanoumi had hoped the match would go.

Onosho defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama tried for some kind of haymaker blow during the tachiai, and it left him hideously off balance. Onosho took the gift that was offered and helped Aoiyama continue the motion all the way to the clay.

Enho defeats Ryuden – Enho’s low tachiai folded straight into a circle to the left, and Ryuden tried to meet him head on. This left him balanced on only his right leg, and an easy pick off for Enho, as Ryuden had very little distance to get his footing.

Tamawashi defeats Takarafuji – Like so many of his matches where he is out gunned, Takarafuji’s approach seems to be to stalemate, absorb the attacks, but stay upright and in the ring. This was working very well until Tamawashi lost his balance and Takarafuji went in to finish him. No longer focused on defense, Takarafuji was not able to square his hips, and Tamawashi pushed him out.

Kotoyuki defeats Tomokaze – Again we see Tomokaze work almost exclusively for a pull, and Kotoyuki knows its coming. But Kotoyuki focuses center-mass and just keeps attacking in the face of Tomokaze’s focus on Kotoyuki’s neck. Sadly Tomokaze may have injured his knee in the bout, and we saw him taken back to the dressing room in that giant wheelchair.

Meisei defeats Endo – Endo twice put everything into landing a shallow right hand grip on Meisei’s mawashi, both times he missed. But his left him wide open to Meisei’s counter attack, sending Endo out and into the zabuton. Solid sumo from Meisei to score his first ever win against Endo.

Hokutofuji defeats Mitakeumi – This match did not disappoint. Mitakeumi opened strong with a rapid thrust combo that had Hokutofuji turned to the side an off balance. Hokutofuji unwisely went for the neck and a pull down, but had no room and no leverage. But it did leave him with a solid grip opportunity, and Hokutofuji took it. Mitakeumi pushed with everything he could muster, but Hokutofuji held his ground. If you can freeze-frame this match, you can see the point where Mitakeumi is pushing so hard he lifts himself up against Hokutofuji’s iron strong defensive footing. This is what makes me think Hokutofuji has a lot of room to move higher on the banzuke. Some of his sumo is just wonderful to watch. Mitakeumi continues to push, but Hokutofuji just keeps nibbling away, and it’s working; Mitakeumi starts yielding ground. Mitakeumi realizes he’s losing ground, and rallies directly into a second Hokutofuji pull down attempt, which finishes the match. Nice sumo from the Komusubi.

Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin – Once again we see Tochinoshin set up the left hand outside “Sky crane” grip, but unable to square his hips for set his feet. Myogiryu slowly duck walks in reverse, denying Tochinoshin to platform to lift him, but keeping the former Ozeki increasingly off balance. A twist to the right and Tochinoshin is on the clay, with a heartbreaking 0-2 start to a basho where he needs 10 wins.

Asanoyama defeats Takakeisho – The clash of styles payed off as Asanoyama is able to set the terms of the match, and Takakeisho is unable to delivery any meaningful offense. Once Asanoyama had a hold of Takakeisho’s body, the Ozeki was solely focused on escape while Asanoyama put him on the clay. I still have hopes that Takakeisho will make his 8, but Asanoyama once again shows why he’s a rising star.

Abi defeats Takayasu – Day 1 Takayasu looked like Takayasu from a year ago. Day 2 Takayasu looked like Takayasu from last week. Disorganized, right hand only sumo that Abi dismantled and sent packing. Bad day for the Ozeki corps.

Daieisho defeats Hakuho – Sure, it can work on the Yokozuna too! I am really not sure what happened here. Hakuho had a solid start, but he bared his chest to Daieisho, and Daieisho obliged by applying a surprising amount of force, knocking the boss back to the tawara. To me it looked like Hakuho decided that was it, and stepped out. Most unusual. Congratulations to Daieisho for the kinboshi! I hope this is not an indicator that Hakuho’s gamey big toe is acting up again.

27 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 2 Highlights

  1. I don’t see Tomokaze returning, I don’t see him returning for several basho and dropping out of the top division and maybe more.

      • Yeah. I agree. That knee of his didn’t look right on the zoom in though. I’m afraid he is about to take the route of Ura :/

    • am devastated re Tomokaze, this is NOT the way to break his bad habit of trying to pull down his opponent! felt sick when he couldn’t rise unaided, then out came the chair…. am not a happy camper today

        • it’ll be a slow, long, hard road to recovery. OgurumaBeya seems to be under some kind of black cloud lately, first Yoshikaze intai, now Tomokaze. Yago now needs to overcome the Oguruma tendency for backward/pull-downs which always fail – i know Oguruma Oyakata does not teach this to them (insert memory here of Oyakata instructing Yago ‘Mae Mae Mae’!!! sigh, what to do? what to do?

  2. Ditto on Tomokaze. My guess: a badly dislocated knee, with all the usual ligament damage. That leg was just dangling when they hauled him to his feet.

    It speaks volumes, both of Asanoyama’s skills and Takakeisho’s condition, that Takakeisho thought his best chance of defeating Asanoyama was a hit-and-shift.

    I believe Hakuho realized that he was balanced on the tawara in an upright position and totally helpless, with Daieisho poised to launch him off the dohyo. Hence, he voluntarily surrendered the bout.

    Aoiyama tried to brace himself on his left foot, which just skidded on the clay. Was that a slippiotoshi?

  3. Wakatakakage. Try saying that three times fast. Even twice. Nice, efficient sumo, though.

    I’m really impressed with Yutakayama. Terrific sumo against Kotoshogiku.

    Tsurugisho vs Shohozan. As you said, a brawl. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. A stunned Tsurugisho finally had enough and let loose with his own roundhouse right. I’m happy that he won.

    Tomokaze…and then the antiquated, circa 1950s wheelchair hauls him off.

    Meisei. Looking good!

    Hokutofuji. Yes, yes, yes!

    Tochinoshin: Two days in a row. Starts off strong and then gets pulled down.

    Asanoyama: easy, peasy.

    Takayasu was much too high..and this time I did notice that his left arm lacked strength. Abi did well.

    Daieisho: wow. Hakuho didn’t seem to know what happened. I bet that was one of the easiest kinboshi made off of Hakuho. A bewildering performance by the Yokozuna.

  4. So after 2 days, of the expanded 11-man sanyaku,only one of them is unbeaten. And with Asanoyama drawn against Hakuho tomorrow, it may soon be zero. It’s already looking like another wide-open basho.

  5. So Enho was not henka in your book? ;)

    For Tomokaze I don’t think he will return this basho, but I’m not sure he dislocated the knee. it looked like he had a hefty effusion on that knee and also some marks like he had crushed on something. Maybe its just a knee contusion.

    Hakuho looked like he wanted to pull, but didn’t get out of the fast enough or was surprised that Daieisho kept balance well enough.

    some really nice matches today. Shimanoumi vs. Ishiura, Shohozan vs. Tsurugisho and ofcourse Hokutofuji vs. Mitakeumi.

    Sadanoumi also fell of the dohyo quite hard, but luckily seemed unfaced afterwards.

    • I gather we all must have radically different ideas of what a good sumo match is as I would never include the Shohozan vs Tsurugisho bout in such a category. It would be my Exhibit A of Appalling Sumo.

      • ‘Appalling Sumo’?!, Seriously??!!
        No disrespect intended, but it seems like you may have a rather narrow, doctrinaire view of what counts as ‘good sumo’. It would be a strange prejudice to think that only yotsu sumo requires technique and skill. For Tsurugisho to weather that storm of slaps to the face and still pull out the victory, displays great courage under fire, surely one of the key virtues that fans appreciate in any combat sport (indeed in life generally).

        • :) I absolutely applaud Tsurugisho for standing up to that assault. My issue isn’t with him at all and I’m pleased that he came out on top by executing some good sumo. Like I said, we all have different opinions of what would be trotted out as an exhibit to newbies. My exhibition would not include that bout. (But I’m happy that yours would!)

          • i loved the fact, and no disrespect to ShohoGuns, that Tsurugisho wasn’t intimidated in the least and took the same methodology right up to him and didn’t back down for a second. Well done big fella

      • I’m definitely more a fan of a good Endo yotsu battle that he wins be technique and strategie rather than raw power or a well executed throw, but if it has to be a yotsu battle, i like it going back and forth and if the belt guy overcomes that barrage of slaps, all the better. COmpare it to a standard Abi bout, I found it much more entertaining ;)

    • Enho’s tachiai today is why the definition of “henka” is vague. While he did avoid the charge of his opponent, he did so to attack his opponent’s legs instead of jump out of the way.

  6. Hakuho thought that Daiesho was going to fall over, so he didn’t work hard to protect himself from going out of the ring. That’s why he was caught off-guard when Daiesho recovered and pushed him just enough to have Hakuho’s foot land outside the ring. Hakuho got complacent. That was the mistake.

    Sad to see what happened to Tomokaze. His knee is ruined. I am worried that he’ll have to retire like I am worried about Goeido. Fingers crossed that I’m wrong on both counts.

    Everyone else is struggling and there’s Asanoyama just chugging along and still winning. His match tomorrow with Hakuho might be the one that decides the basho. Crazy to say, but highly possible.

    • He is young, he will recover. I’m just thinking it will be more the way of Ura where he gets his knee rebuilt, goes and recovers and does rehab forever then fights back from Jonidan. Sad, but at least he would still be in sumo. Look at Terunofuji and Chiyonokuni and Ura. I’m confident that he can recover, I’m just also coming to terms that it may be a LONG journey back for such an incredible rikishi.

  7. Sad to see the expanding list of rikishi with major injury question marks:

    Tomokaze
    Goeido
    Kakuryu
    Tochinoshin

    And I don’t think the question marks over Takayasu are fully answered yet either

  8. Poor poor Tomokaze.. The way his knee locks, all that weight coming down from the height of the dohyo..I fear we may never see him again.. Sickening images.

  9. What a day to remember!! – and well done to Hokutofuji, Daeisho, Abi, Asanoyama and Meisei for getting better of the higher ranked opponents. Hokutofuji’s and Asanoyama’s strength is quite amazing.
    Sad to see Goeido’s bad luck and with Tomokaze – before the bout I said that if he walks back and pulls down again then he is either dumb or lacking technique or both – must have jinxed him but most likely not the only one – very disappointing though. ACL? That is 12 months off for mortals. Jonidan and Sandanme yusho in 2021

  10. I really do hope Tomokaze can come back…stronger than ever. I watch the match…and I was like “GASP!” Jesus. SMH. That kind of knee damage is going to take MONTHS of rehab, for sure. My heart goes out to the young man, and I do want him to take his time trying to mount a return to the world of Sumo.

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