Hatsu Day 7 Highlights

Who Can Stop Him?

We enter the middle weekend with no Yokozuna, one Ozeki in the yusho chase and the other just trying to survive. The pall of injury seems to hang over the tournament and it may yet have claimed another key player in this drama.

The Bouts:

Kaisei defeated Tochiozan. Tochiozan had the more aggressive tachiai and was the instigator. It evolved into a belt battle. Tochiozan worked the pair over to the edge and forced the issue by tipping over but Kaisei was able to maintain his balance for a split second longer as they both fell. Kaisei is credited with an uwatenage but it seemed more like Tochiozan lost by gravity from his own throw attempt.

Azumaryu defeated Nishikigi with a quick pull after the solid tachiai. He put his arm on Nishikigi’s back and pushed down as he pulled back, text book hatakikomi.

Terutsuyoshi defeated Kiribayama in their first ever meeting. As Kiribayama charged at the tachiai, Terutsuyoshi pivoted in the direction of the gyoji, grabbing Kiribayama’s arm and wheeling Kakuryu’s protege around and out. Kotenage.

Tokyushoryu defeated Kotoeko. Kotoeko seemed very genki at the tachiai, appearing to want to drive things but Tokyushoryu wrapped Kotoeko up very quickly easily securing a belt grip and forced the lavender mawashi back and out for the yorikiri win.

Kotoshogiku defeated Ikioi. Ikioi met Kotoshogiku head on with a solid tachiai but Kotoshogiku was able to charge forward through the injured Ikioi who offered little resistance. The tawara provided no help, either as Ikioi stepped out. Yorikiri.

Chiyomaru defeated Shimanoumi with a Missy Elliot-themed pivot and pull. Chiyomaru sent blast after blast aimed at Shimanoumi’s face, forcing Shimanoumi high, then quickly “Reversed It”, pulled to the side while pushing down for a nicely executed hatakikomi.

Tsurugisho defeated Ishiura. Despite being carted off the dohyo yesterday, Tsurugisho showed up for his bout with Ishiura…only to vanish after the tachiai, leaving Ishiura to fall forward. Tsurugisho braced against Ishiura’s shoulders and pushed down while pulling away, using Ishiura’s forward momentum but aiming him at the clay, hikiotoshi.

Chiyotairyu defeated Yutakayama. Chiyotairyu attempted to follow Chiyomaru’s game plan with the upward blasts leading to a pull but Yutakayama snuffted it out, maintaining his balance and advancing toward the tawara. However, Chiyotairyu unleashed another powerful thrust from the side that sent Yutakayama sprawling. Tsukiotoshi.

Takanosho defeated Kagayaki by keeping his balance. Kagayaki really lost this one by ceding ground with a pull. He tried to push Takanosho down but stepped out first.

Sadanoumi defeated Aoiyama. Big Dan got the tsuppari engine going, laying into Sadanoumi but Sadanoumi grabbed hold of his right arm and pulled, forcing Aoiyama off balance. Another gentle shove sent Aoiyama over the straw bales and out for the hikkake win.

Ryuden defeated Shohozan. Shohozan was the aggressor, laying into Ryuden raining blows right to the head, preventing Ryuden from any sort of belt grip. But his follow-on pull was poorly executed as he seemed to forget to actually pull Ryuden with him…so Ryuden just stayed standing in the middle of the dohyo. Shohozan re-engaged but this time Ryuden grabbed Shohozan and flung him forward and out. Okuridashi.

Tochino-henka defeated Takarafuji. Hatakikomi. Let us move on.

Onosho defeated Meisei with raw power. Meisei locked up at the tachiai but Onosho dug his head right into Meisei’s face. That seemed rather uncomfortable and did the trick. Putting all that weight into Meisei got the pair moving forward. With Meisei effectively wrapped up there was nowhere to run but backwards and out. Yorikiri.

Okinoumi defeated Enho. Okinoumi led Enho back to the tawara and then squished him. At the start, Enho tried to keep Okinoumi away but Okinoumi continued to advance. Once he wrapped up Enho at the armpit, he moved forward, forcing Enho onto his back. Oof. Yoritaoshi.

Purple Endo defeated Tamawashi. Endo met Tamawashi with a weird, weak tachiai. As Tamawashi put his head down to drive forward through Endo, Endo shifted to the side and let Tamawashi bull himself forward over the bales. Is this the Imperial Roman purple? Tottari.

Mitakeumi defeated Daieisho. Mitakeumi used his considerable power to drive Daieisho to the bales but instead of redoubling his efforts to force him over, Mitakeumi tried for a pull. Daieisho kept his balance but his position was bad as he was half turned. Mitakeumi used that to then push Endo’s Oitekaze stablemate out the other side. Yorikiri. Mitakeumi seemed to tweak the knee in the win and was not able to squat with it, instead squatting with one leg, keeping the left out to the side. He also needed Yobidashi assistance to climb down from the dohyo.

Takayasu defeated Myogiryu. Myogiryu brawled and tried real hard to keep Takayasu away from his belt which was a smart idea, had he followed through. After Myogiryu wore himself out, he stood at the center of the ring, keeping Takayasu at bay. Takayasu seemed content to just wait him out and perhaps Myogiryu should have just let the stalemate continue, awaiting Takayasu to advance? Instead Myogiryu got bored and drove into Takayasu. This body contact allowed Takayasu to counter by getting a belt grip and as they tussled, Takayasu shifted his grip and improved it to the point where he was holding onto Myogiryu’s belt near the knot. Since Myogiryu was now sideways into Takayasu, the Sekiwake ushered Myogiryu forward and out. Oshidashi.

In this bout, Takayasu reminded me of fly paper or of those sticky mouse traps. As Myogiryu would wriggle to try to get free, Takayasu would envelope more of his opponent until he had him in that extremely awkward, sideways position.

Asanoyama defeated Hokutofuji. Solid tachiai. Asanoyama got a quick grip with the right hand in the front of Hokutofuji’s belt and simply drove forward through Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji tried to peel him off by thrusting at Asanoyama’s glowing face but power sumo prevailed. Yorikiri.

Goeido defeated Shodai. Bruce’s departure from Tokyo broke the enchantment Shodai had over this tournament. Shodai was the aggressor, pursuing Goeido throughout the bout. But at every turn Goeido thwarted Shodai’s advance and kept his balance at the straw bales. Goeido parried Shodai’s final charge, getting in behind and then pushing the leader over. Okuritaoshi.

Takakeisho defeated Abi. Abi’s slaps are often just a prelude to a pulldown. They’re not threatening or powerful on their own. After an initial slapfest from both, Takakeisho thrust out knocking Abi to the right and close to the bales. I do not know why Abi would choose this terrible position to try his hatakikomi pull but he did. With zero space behind him he effectively backed out. Oshidashi.


After a week of action, Shodai stumbles early in his prospective yusho run. So, to answer my question from the photo? Goeido can stop him. Goeido plays the hero in today’s drama. Wait, what? Anyway, now a crowded field of five leads with one loss, headed by Takakeisho. This pack includes Endo and Shodai from the Maegashira joi and Terutsuyoshi and Tokushoryu from the bottom of the banzuke. Sekiwake Asanoyama heads up a chase group of five more competitors one win back. Asanoyama is accompanied by a merry band of Okinoumi, Yutakayama, Kagayaki and Azumaryu.

23 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 7 Highlights

  1. Excellent week and with so many 6-1 and 5-2 its anyone’s basho – almost a taste of what its going to be like when both yokozuna go intai. Glad to see both Tsurugisho and Kizakiumi on the dohyo following their wheelchair exits yesterday.

    After 24 consecutive wins and 3 yusho under his belt, Motobayashi recorded his first loss in his 25th bout – against Kotodaigo (who himself is so far unbeaten with 4 wins)

    And what about Terunofuji’s run in Juryo…

  2. There are 10 at or near the top, but if we base prediction on quality, it looks to be between Takakeisho, Endo and Asanoyama. I’d be surprised if Shodai wins, but he has already surprised by doing so well thus far!

  3. Enho truly is going to get big-time, injury-squished one of these days. Just like today except he won’t be able to spring up afterwards.

    Endo is really having a tremendous tournament. He made short work of Tamawashi today.

    Mitakeumi vs Daieisho: I know I sound like a broken record but Mitakeumi needs to drop 20 kg. He may have won but, to me, he looks sluggish.

    Takayasu vs Myogiryu: Man, I was cringing and hurting (on behalf of Takayasu) as I watched. Myogiryu battering his useless left arm until suddenly Takayasu decided he’d see if maybe the arm had a bit of regained strength . And it did. I’m happy for Takayasu.

    Asanoyama vs Hokutofuji: A match between two of my favorites and Asanoyama didn’t mess around. There weren’t any scary moments for Asanoyama as he took care of business very efficiently. Very good sumo.

    Goeido vs Shodai: Shodai had this in the bag. Three times. And Goeido pulled out the win, turning the third time, when he was in the midst of doing the splits, into an offensive push move. My respect for Goeido went up a notch.

    Takakeisho: He’s not messing around. I think his sumo is improving every time he steps onto the dohyo.

      • It was a trashy tachiai by Takarafuji. He dove toward Tochinoshin’s stomach with his eyes on the ground. Tochinoshin reacted and thus stepped forward and to the side and pushed him down. I see an unsportsmanlike Henka as a premeditated jump to the side. I had no issue with this one.

        • as to henka-

          easy to make a case that all henkas are good
          henka is the ameliorative to numskull blind charging

          without henka, we’d have many more and far worse crashing head-on coconut collisions, meaning more and worse concussions as well as other significant injuries
          already far too many such completely unnecessary foolish and too often serious, possibly lifelong or life-shortening injuries, a la hidebound ‘tradition’

          further, henka misapplied leaves the deliverer at disadvantage
          its misuse is inherently pretty limited

          a good henka is generally rewarded
          a poor one, often punished

          hooray for henkas
          the smarter ones slowing down the more ignorant

  4. I’m no expert, but looking back at the Takayasu Myogiryu match, something looked odd to me during the standoff. The crowds reaction has confirmed that they saw what I did. Myogiryu should have won that bout. You see him reduce forward pressure,
    and consciously give ground to Takayasu to force a stalemate. My theory is that he didn’t want to be the one who cemented an Ozekis’ fate.

    • sshhh
      we’re not supposed to notice, or at least not make mention

      next step is getting called conspiracy theorist
      must be careful on delicate sumo forums

    • If Myogiryu had won, Takayasu would have had a 2-5 record and needed to win out to recover his ozeki rank, but the loss would not have “cemented” his fate.

      What I see is Myogiryu being the aggressor and being countered well, and so pausing to look for a better opening. He is the one that resumes the attack, and I think he was giving a sincere effort.

  5. Decent sumo today, but a number of rikishi seemed “weaker” (for lack of a better term). I’m not sure if that’s because they’re nursing injuries or it’s just because we’re at the mid-point of the basho.

    Goeido flat out got lucky and was saved by the bales against Shodai. If this is his best sumo, he’s doomed to lose his rank.

  6. A modest proposal. Might we promote Terunofuji mid-basho? Like tomorrow? His juryo wins could be halved so he’d be starting at 3.5-0, Admittedly he only has half a knee whereas two is more customary, but I can’t imagine that his eyes would glaze over in abject terror at the prospect of being matched against the current crop of “titans”. If, if, if he can come back at 90% of what he was in 2015 the makuuchi division will act like the goldfish in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life when Mr Creosote enters the restaurant.

    • I’m still of the “ease him back into prime time” mode. Even if he gets a yusho, I think another basho in Juryo would be good rather than to throw him to the wolves.

      • i think tigerboy more suggests a tiger thrown into wolves
        our concerns are for weathered wolves and wolf pups

        still 100% with you on not rushing back to the top, andy
        so far so good for terunofuji 2.0; hang steady, kid

      • Atm it looks like Terunofuji is going 15-0 and even a stumble to 14-1 could probably see him go up straight back to Makuuchi. He is like a complete different rikishi this basho. He has back his mobility or maybe just his confidence. The bout vs Kotosho would have probably been over last basho in 5s with a Terunofuji loss, but this time he easily withstood those wild attacks. There is always the chance of a henka, but none of the other juryou guys looks that strong atm.

  7. Excellent job on the write-up, Andy. A few observations:

    This new shoulder flex thing that Kotoshogiku is doing immediately before the tachiai is like a pitcher balking in baseball. By varying the rhythm of his shoulder flexing (as he did today), he makes it nearly impossible for his opponent to properly time the tachiai.

    There was absolutely no excuse for Ishiura to lose to Tsurugisho today. The bigger man’s knee is badly damaged. Ishiura simply needed to use his vastly greater mobility to force Tsurugisho to move around.

    There is a reason why Meisei now owns the worst record in this basho. It is dangling from his left shoulder.

    Hokutofuji got his favored nodowa grip and Asanoyama powered right through it. Frontal assaults on the Mountain Man are doomed to failure.


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