Hatsu Day 4 Highlights

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.

Highlight Matches

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.

23 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 4 Highlights

  1. I REALLY don’t feel like Aoiyama is fighting well at all, he just goes limp like Ichinojo does when he is injured. I don’t think we will see much from Big Dan honestly. As much as I like him.

    Asanoyama ran straight into a gambit that’s been the SAME since Abi started, you’d think he would have tried something a little different. Oh well, lesson learned future Ozeki.

    Juryo: Big T is lookin good, I’m curious to see how he does further up the Banuzke.

    • Agree about Aoiyama – i always thought of him as a formidable pusher-thruster, but actually I can’t really remember the last time he won with convincing oshi attack.

  2. Myogiryu’s second kinboshi (equaling Endo) leaves me wondering whether Hokufofuji is feeling cheated of his chance to join the two-per-basho club.

    I attempted to use sumo db to search for these answers, but lack to skills to make the query:

    Has anyone ever collected three or more kinboshi in one basho?

    Who else has collected two in a basho?

      • Thank you Corey, i found the video, and now recall seeing it before. Spinning like a merry-go-round gone wrong.

        Did some research and the feat is not as rare as I would have thought. Among Active Rikishi:

        2020.01 Endo and Myogiryu
        2019.01 Ichinojo
        2017.11 Takakeisho
        2017.01 Arawashi and Mitakeumi
        2016.09 Okinoumi
        2014.11 Takayasu,

        Retired:
        Akinoshima “the giant killer” achieved the double-gold 4 times.
        Takamiyama once
        Tochinonada once
        Tosanoumi four times
        Kitanonada twice
        Haguroyama once
        Tsurugamine once
        Dewanishiki once
        Ōzutsu twice
        Mitsuneyama once
        Tamanoumi three times
        Hasegawa once
        Fujizakura once

        There are likely more, I just don’t know how to find them.

    • A few rikishi have managed three in one basho but of course it’s rare as it a) requires at least three Yokozuna on the banzuke and b) that you meet and beat all of them as a Maegashira. The full list (as far as I’m aware):

      Wakanohana I at Hatsu 1953*
      Asashio at Hatsu 1955
      Tochiakagi at Kyushu 1979
      Onokuni at Kyushu 1983*

      *indicates a clean a sweep of all Yokozuna on the banzuke

      Bonus fact 1: Asashio also managed two kinboshi in the very next tournament because despite his 8-7 record at Hatsu ranked at M1e he didn’t get promoted to sanyaku.

      Bonus fact 2: in September 1999 M1 Tamakasuga “beat” three of the four Yokozuna but only got one kinboshi, on day one. He got back-to-back fusen wins against the other two on days three and four, which it itself quite unusual.

  3. GO ON ABI YOU BEAUTY!! Even with a sub-optimal right leg, he can still smoke a big fish like Asanoyama when his blitzkrieg lines up correctly.

    Mitakeumi v Tamawashi was brutal and beautiful.

    Much respect to Goeido who totally had his hands full with Daieisho, but pulled off a great bit of rear-guard improvisation to produce that lovely throw. (Though down in Juryo, Hoshoryu’s throw against Takagenji was perhaps even more pleasing on the eye…)

    Shodai v Terutsuyoshi play-off on the final day for the yusho?!

    • Hoshoryu’s was beautifully timed. As soon as Takagenji reached for a right-hand grip, Hoshoryu read the weight shift and used the momentum for his throw.

  4. There are two things that I knew were going to happen: Hakuho going Kyujo and Tochinoshin using the sky crane against Enho. And I don’t think we will see this technique that often anymore but lifting a 100kg guy should be a fair lot easier than someone at 150+ kg, even if Enho works hard to not get lifted up.

  5. We are seeing multiple rikishi employ the same tactic against Ikioi: They sidestep him in a way that forces him to pivot to the right. His balky right ankle hinders that pivot.

    Takakeisho put on an impressive display of upper body strength in his bout against Endo; he batted Endo from side to side, blunting Endo’s forward momentum, until Endo’s right knee gave way under the assault.

    • To me it looked more like the smaller toes on Endo’s right foot got tangled up (stub-like) in the clay. But I was watching the foot. When replaying and watching the knee it does look different. I guess Endo would know for sure.

      Either way, the timing corresponded to that right had push from Takekeisho.

  6. The crowd didn’t really cheer that hard when Tochinoshin won. If Enho had won they would have brought down the ceiling with their cheers.

  7. I read an opinion yesterday that matches are being fixed in Kotoshogiku’s favor. His match from day 3 got me thinking, but today when I saw that odd matta and Chiyotairiyu’s clear lack of force, not to mention the easy win at the end, it got me thinking even more.

    • I’ve seen cellulitis in his heel listed as a factor, and cellulitis can cause a fever. But this is just me spinning wheels, nothing like an actual informed medical opinion.

    • HI think I heard them include “fever” on the NHK English sumo highlights broadcast, when announcing the kyujo. But I’d have to listen again once it goes to on-demand.

  8. It’s sad to see the old guard fade but I am SUPER excited to see the younger guys rise and to see who shakes out to the top.

    Fingers still crossed Shodai gets his chance to shine before even younger people move in. As you said he looks great. And I don’t think his soft tachiai is as big an issue as the occasions (none so far this tourney) where he doesn’t immediately engage after the tachiai. This tourney he hasn’t been letting people railroad him.

  9. Interesting with Takayasu and Shodai as they were both youngsters tipped for great things about 4 years ago. Could Takayasu be the hare to Shodai’s tortoise?

  10. Shimanoumi is now the only non-kyujo wrestler who has not appeared on NHK World’s Grand Sumo Highlights daily show. yet Yutakayama finally made his first showing today. Ishiura got dropped like a hot potato after day one. I wish Onosho would be shown the same mercy; something is clearly troubling that young man. As is true with Kakuryu, too, but his bouts will be shown regardless until he withdraws.

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