Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

Act 2 is now complete, and its clear that we have 5 rikishi who are likely to compete for the cup. Right now Shodai and veteran Tokushoryu are dominating their matches, and are the ones to beat in the final 5 days. Tokushoryu will start to get harder opponents on day 11, but given that Shodai has faced the upper ranks already, its and open question on who might put dirt on him before senshuraku. I am sure lksumo will have a prospective opponent list for Shodai at some point, but it looks like he still has both Komusubi yet to fight. Over in other corners of the sumo universe, the term “Yushodai” has been coined, generating much mirth and amusement in your author.

Highlight Matches

Tochiozan defeats Shimanoumi – Another day marveling at Tochiozan’s efficiency. It breaks my mind to compare him to someone like Enho who dances about. I actually saw Tochiozan take 2 steps today. 2.

Kiribayama defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho’s left side remains smoldering wreckage of bandages and damaged joints, but he gives Kiribayama a solid fight. Now that his left knee is properly mummified, he was able to generate a bit of forward pressure to hold back Kiribayama, but not quite enough.

Tokushoryu defeats Chiyomaru – Co-leader Tokushoryu takes the Hatsu 2020 belly-blitz. He lures Chiyomaru into charging him down, and deftly guides him past. Unable to slow his rush forward, Chiyomaru rumbles out to visit the west size crowd in the zabuton section. This is especially fun as Chiyomaru has won every top division match against Tokushoryu before now.

Ikioi defeats Chiyotairyu – Chiyotairyu’s bandaged left arm tells the story of that day 9 kotenage from Ryuden. Ikioi dispatches him without too much bother, and I would guess that Chiyotairyu’s damaged arm is going accelerate his slide to a deep make-koshi.

Kagayaki defeats Kotoeko – Kagayaki picks up win #8 with his usual display of straight-ahead, fundamentals based sumo. He is seldom exciting, but he is always effective.

Sadanoumi defeats Kotoshogiku – Sadanoumi’s superior speed gives him the inside position at the tachiai, and Sadanoumi goes to work putting Kotoshogiku out. Kotoshogiku manages a throw attempt, but Sadanoumi’s stance is too stable, and he maintains control.

Takanosho defeats Kaisei – The two start chest to chest, but Takanosho’s gets rolling when he breaks contact and changes to a thrusting attack. I am still looking for Kaisei to hit 8 wins this basho, and remain in the top division for Osaka.

Yutakayama defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu attempt at a mawashi hold during the tachiai falls apart and he finds Yutakayama pressing a thrusting attack center mass. Azumaryu never has a moment to recover, and he’s out in a hurry. That’s kachi-koshi for Yutakayama.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Aoiyama – The match had a false start, and Aoiyama gave Terutsuyoshi a pretty solid shove, and I think that put Terutsuyoshi into kill mode. Aoiyama repeatedly goes for a pull down and attacks to Terutsuyoshi’s head, which may have included a hair pull. Terutsuyoshi decides he’s had enough, and grabs Aoiyama and throws him about repeatedly, sending him face first into the clay.

Ishiura defeats Ryuden – Ryuden got the jump on the tachiai, Ishiura got inside and for all purposes grabs a hold of Ryuden by the nipple. Now deeply disturbed and uncomfortable, Ryuden is an easy mark for Ishiura’s shitatedashinage. Odd attack technique, but very effective. I credit Tamawashi.

Okinoumi defeats Onosho – Onosho gets superior position in the tachiai, but Okinoumi simply overpowers Onosho and takes him to the bales for a fairly straightforward win.

Shodai defeats Shohozan – Co-leader Shodai trades blows with Shohozan, and comes out on top (no easy feat). Shohozan realizes he’s not going to be able to hit his way to victory, and grabs Shodai’s mawashi. That too seems to be a miscalculation, as Shodai tosses Shohozan up and out in a heap. Not sure what Tokitsukaze is putting in the chanko, but its working! Shodai up to 9-1.

Mitakeumi defeats Endo – It bothers me a bit to see Endo fading a bit in week 2 after such an amazingly strong start. Endo struggles for a mawashi grip at the tachiai, and that struggle gives Mitakeumi enough time to back Endo up to the tawara. Endo manages to rally, but Mitakeumi puts him in the spin cycle and flushes him away. Endo hits the clay and he’s still spinning.

Tamawashi defeats Myogiryu – This is Tamawashi’s favorite kind of match, an all out shoving contest where both rikishi try to push each other out. Of course when you take that route with Tamawashi, he’s likely to win.

Hokutofuji defeats Daieisho – Daieisho dominated this match until the very last moment. Hokutofuji’s relentless focus on attempting a pull down / slap down kept him from generating much forward pressure, and Daieisho marched him around the dohyo under a barrage of thrusts. But a smart move to grab Daieisho’s arm and hurl him past netted Hokutofuji win #7.

Tochinoshin defeats Asanoyama – Tochinoshin attempts a pull down during the tachiai. Some fans saw it as a henka, but it was not a very solid side, step and the pull down attempt failed. But what was interesting is he went chest to chest with Asanoyama and won. Asanoyama as now lost 2 of the last 3, and I hope we are not seeing a week 2 fade from him.

Takayasu defeats Abi – I am going to be most put out if Takayasu rallies now that he has flushed Ozeki down the tubes. He looked really solid today against Abi, and I wished he could have fought like this on some of the days he lost in the past week.

Takakeisho defeats Enho – Credit to Takakeisho for working out a formula for shutting down Enho’s busy/grabby sumo. Takakeisho picks up win #8, and we can finally bank on someone holding on to Ozeki for May.

Takarafuji defeats Goeido – Speaking of which, Goeido is one loss away from following his fellow relic Ozeki down the ranks. Takarafuji successfully employs his defend and extend tactic to stalemate Goeido, and true to form once the first 10 seconds of the match elapse, Goeido starts getting frantic. This is the time when Takarafuji takes control and wins matches. This is not Goeido not wanting to execute good sumo, or not being in the game, this is likely down to that reconstructed ankle failing after 2 additional years of abuse.

22 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

  1. Shodai vs Shohozan: Ha! A tricky tachiai by Shohozan that caught Shodai by surprise. Then Shodai kicked some butt. Good.

    Mitakeumi vs Endo: Finally, Mitakeumi looking good.

    Tochinoshin vs Asanoyama. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing as there didn’t seem to be a thing wrong with Tochinoshin. He just flat out beat Asanoyama in an old-school, classic sumo bout.

    Takayasu vs Abi: yep, you said it perfectly, Bruce.

    Takakeisho vs Enho. Everybody respects Enho now. But one swat and there he goes. I was glad he wasn’t crushed.

    Takarafuji vs Goeido. Takarafuji is one heck of a rikishi. And Goeido is going down.

  2. It is absolutely on brand for Shodai to stub his toe on Shohozan’s foot after heaving him across the dohyo.

  3. I am loathe to disagree with Bruce… but I would not describe Tsurugisho v Kiribayama as ‘a good fight’. To me it once more looked like some kind of tacit gentlemen’s agreement to go softly at the Tachiai into a chest-to-chest position and kind of take it from there.
    I also think that we should not read too much suddenly regained ‘solidity’ into Takyasu’s victory today. Abi will always lose some matches in this manner – as he will always fully/over commit to his thrusting. Takayasu still has enough Ozeki wisdom and savvy to take a thrust-down opportunity when it presents itself. But before that he was being consistently shoved around all over the place – something that he would not have allowed to happen vs Abi in his uninjured prime.

    I expect I am not alone in having fallen in love with Terutsuyoshi today.

    Until now I was trying to stay cautious and agnostic about Shodai given his past inconsistencies. But the way he dismissively squashed Shohozan today just seemed (dare I say it) to ooze Ozeki level confidence and class.

    • “ But the way he dismissively squashed Shohozan today just seemed (dare I say it) to ooze Ozeki level confidence and class.” Yes!

    • The best way to get Terutsuyoshi to san-yaku is to annoy him. I’ve seen him get angry before – in a match I described here in 2017. When he gets in the I’ll-show-you-what-I-think-of-your-attitude zone, he’s a very scary wrestler.

      • exceptional link

        to these eyes, terutsuyoshi is the biggest man on the banzuke, including champ
        lionhearted, his fight is for something more important than what the others are up to

        he exemplifies what remains beautiful and valuable in sumo, at least so far

        formally now my favorite,
        (even with this requiring me to shift ichinojo to second chair; no mean feat)

  4. I have to question Enho’s opening gambit in his bout with Takakeisho. The Round Mound launched with arms extended high, looking to blast the pixie. The door was open for Enho to duck under Takakeisho’s arms, grab ahold of something, and thereby eliminate the Ozeki’s usual array of tactics. Instead, Enho chose to swat those extended arms down. This left Enho relatively upright and exposed to Takakeisho’s charge.

    • For once, Takakeisho’s lack of stature paid off, as he’s hard to duck under. I had a scary flashback to the bout in which he blew out Ura’s knee with a similar thrust.

  5. Ishiura’s win today illustrates the “game theory” value of the henka. Ryuden was fully expecting one, and basically stood up at the tachiai instead of charging forward. This gave Ishiura the opening he needed to launch his attack.

  6. Kiribayama was also gentle on Tsurugisho once the result was known. Good to see.

    In Juryo, Kotoshoho, a 20-year old, is making a strong statement.

  7. I don’t know if Takakeisho suffers imposter syndrome but I really thought thought he LOOKED like an Ozeki today in his preparation – the passive confidence was there and he dispatched the Enho banana skin with ease.

  8. Shodai would likely face guys like Abi, Endo, Myogiryu, Mitakeumi after tonight’s bout with Daieisho. Those aren’t cake walks. I think his biggest chances for losses are Daieisho, Abi because of their persistent oshi attacks and Myogiryu because of his versitility. He’s lost 4 of 8 against Abi and 3 of 5 against Daieisho. He’s also lost 5 of 6 against Myogiryu. If the Kyokai really want him to lose, they’ll replace Endo or Mitakeumi with Tamawashi.

  9. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like both Goeido and Takakeisho forced a matta in their respective Enho matches. Enho solidifies a strategy during all the salt throws and such, then gets ready for the attack and…matta matta matta. (Of course, that’s kind of AFTER his opponent gets an idea of what he was going to do. He’s so much smaller and wily (Aminishiki is retired so it’s time someone else is the wily one!) I think they worry what he’s going to do.
    Then Enho has just a few moments to rethink his strategy KNOWING that his opponent now has an idea of what his initial strategy was going to be. Overthinking and a sudden deflation of confidence makes it harder to win. (Though he pulled it off against Goeido.)

    Like I said, maybe it’s just me, and I didn’t watch it over and over to check, but it sure looked like both day’s mattas were no fault of Enho.

    So happy to see Shodai performing up to the level I always hoped he would. I hope he keeps it up!

    Go Terunofuji!!!

    Finally, Ura and Wakaichiro are making me happy this basho, too. I hope they finish strong.

  10. Takakeisho was playing defense while Enho was attacking. It was Enho’s hand slipping off the belt that sent him stumbling backward and not a strategic swat by Takakeisho.


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