With Hakuho now out of the tournament with several complaints, we are facing the very real possibility of yet another “Nokazuna” tournament during this transition period. While fans (including myself) are disappointed that The Boss will be sitting out the rest of Hatsu, part of his kyujo filing included a fever. There is a lot of flu like crud going around Japan right now, so if there is a disease in the ranks, we may see a number of rikishi take ill.
A fair number of undefeated rikishi took their first loss today, and a few with no wins finally saw their first white star. Its clear that the yusho will come down to a handful of rikishi from the new generation, and it will mark a further step towards the new era of sumo.
Tokushoryu defeats Kiribayama – Tokushoryu got a left hand inside grip at the tachiai, and that seemed to stymie whatever Kiribayama had planned, and Tokushoryu’s massive forward ballast tank kept Kiribayama fighting for any meaningful grip. Kiribayama kept fighting for any advantage, but Tokushoryu just plowed forward with his belly leading the way. (Yes, there was a monoii)
Tochiozan defeats Daishomaru – Daishomaru picks up his first loss when Tochiozan’s repeated head-grabs finally find their target and allow him to pull Daishomaru to the clay.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Ikioi – Terutsuyoshi completely overpowered Ikioi today, and following a bruising oshidashi, Ikioi was slow to get up and seemed to be favoring his injured ankle. Terutsuyoshi improves to 4-0.
Shimanoumi defeats Kaisei – Shimanoumi achieved a solid left hand outside grip, and used that to pivot against Kaisei’s advance. Kaisei has only forward gears and found himself driving forward against thin air.
Azumaryu defeats Kotoeko – Azumaryu came into this match with a single determination – to grab the back of Kotoeko’s head and pull him down. Every time it failed, he reloaded and tried again. It did eventually work, so maybe he is on to something.
Tsurugisho defeats Chiyomaru – Tsurugisho effectively captured Chiyomaru at the tachiai, but then paid the price as Chiyomaru launched a series of rapid tsuppari at point blank range into Tsurugisho’s face. While some parts of the Ginza district charge a premium for a facial massage, Tsurugisho got his as part of the job today. I bet that hurt.
Kotoshogiku defeats Chiyotairyu – Kotoshogiku got a momentary gaburi-yori attack running, but rolled into a tsukiotoshi that sent Chiyotairyu to the clay. It was great to see.
Kagayaki defeats Sadanoumi – Kagayaki remains undefeated with a masterful win over Sadanoumi. There are times, like today, when Kagayaki reminds me of Kisenosato. That finishing forward thrust was a classic move.
Ishiura defeats Takanosho – Ishiura’s submarine tachiai caught Takanosho a bit by surprise, and by the time he moved to react, Isiura had a left hand inside grip and was running ahead at good speed. Takanosho’s last minute attempt to throw at the bales failed and Ishiura scored his first win of Hatsu.
Yutakayama defeats Aoiyama – Both went full power against the other’s shoulders and neck, but Yutakayama proved the stronger has he overpowered Aoiyama and marched him out.
Ryuden defeats Onosho – Onosho is clearly struggling, and for the 4th day in a row, his opponent helped him to the clay when Onosho brought his weight too far forward. Still no wins for the red tadpole.
Takarafuji defeats Shohozan – Shohozan opened strong and fast with a series of combination attacks. But in true Takarafuji form, he stayed patient and in the match, and exploited his chance when it came.
Tochinoshin defeats Enho – We knew this might be quite a match when it was announced, and Tochinoshin finally unleashed the sky-crane to great effect, complete with Enho’s legs kicking in the air. Sorry, tiny wonder, but sometimes size does matter. Even though Enho is everyone’s favorite, the crowd erupted in cheers when Tochinoshin started his lift.
Okinoumi defeats Meisei – Meisei put all of his energy into his opening gambit, which Okinoumi was able to absorb and deflect. With a deep left hand grip, Okinoumi started his counter attack, and Meisei realized he was caught. Meisei tried a throw, but Okinoumi shut it down and used Meisei’s torque to finish him.
Mitakeumi defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi had control of the match coming out of the tachiai, but Mitakeumi started a see-saw battle of pull down attempts. Back and forth they grabbed and pulled, but neither went to the clay. But one exchange ended with Tamawashi at the tawara, and Mitakeumi took a break from neck attacks to thrust him out.
Abi defeats Asanoyama – An injured Abi picks up his first win in a classic Abi-zumo fashion. Asanoyama presses the attack directly into the double arm thrusts, and finds himself unable to move Abi back. Abi advances and tosses Asanoyama bodily from the ring.
Shodai defeats Takayasu – Two opinions from this match. Takayasu is really struggling, and Shodai is in his best form in a long time. Takayasu’s shoulder blast had minimal effect on Shodai, as his weak tachiai did not bring him close enough to receive full energy from the blow. Takayasu gets a deep right hand grip and tries to set the throw, but Shodai never lets him set the pivot, and rushes Takayasu from the ring. Wow, Shodai 4-0.
Takakeisho defeats Endo – Endo went for his preferred left hand frontal grip at the tachiai, but found only air as Takakeisho rebounded to initiate his thrusting attack. Endo was singly focusing on getting any kind of mawashi grip, shutting down the Ozeki’s thrusts. This probably cost him the match, as Takakeisho was able to disrupt every try, and progressively work Endo’s balance further from true, until Endo rolled to the clay. A first loss for the “Yokozuna Hunter”.
Goeido defeats Daieisho – Goeido finally got his first win, and finally looked like he was doing Goeido-sumo. It was a bit rough when he gave ground after backing Daieisho to the bales, but the Ozeki recovered and loaded a throw which dropped Daieisho to the dohyo with a thud.
Myogiryu defeats Kakuryu – I think we will see Kakuryu go kyujo soon. His injuries were discussed prior to the basho, and he seems to have no ability to generate more than a few seconds of strong forward motion. He was unable to finish Myogiryu moving forward, and his attempt to throw while moving in reverse was sheer desperation. Its now a 1-3 record for the lone Yokozuna.