Welcome to the results for nakabi, the middle day of the mock Natsu basho. With this tournament past its half way point, we take our first look at the yusho race, and we can start to see who is going to be in trouble, who might contest for the cup, and who is likely to earn their kachi-koshi. Today is also the first day that a rikishi might earn their 8th win, and secure their winning record. The only rikishi to do that in this tournament is none other than our sole leader, Ishiura, who continues to win against all challengers. With the closest challenger 2 wins behind him, including his stable mate Yokozuna Hakuho, this is Ishiura’s tournament to lose. His sumo has been aggressive, sharp and overpowering day after day. But I expect the scheduling committee will being to give him greater challenges going into the second week. I am eager to see his tour of the San’yaku, and a vigorous test of his bonafides to hoist the cup. I note with great interest that two time yusho winner Mitakeumi is just one win behind.
At the other end of the spectrum, both Okinoumi and Tochinoshin are 1 loss away from make-koshi. Both men have only 1 win each thus far, and it’s possible that if Tochinoshin does not find some way to win in spite of his injuries that we might see him vanish from the top division.
Mock Natsu Leaderboard
Leader – Ishiura
Chaser – Mitakeumi.
Hunt Group – Hakuho, Kakuryu, Asanoyama, Tokushoryu, Chiyotairyu, Sadanoumi, Takayasu, Nishikigi
7 Matches Remain
Day 8 Matches
Meisei (8-0) defeats Kotoyuki (3-5) Oshidashi – Meisei visits from Juryo to fill the banzuke hole left by Terunofuji’s kyuju, and promptly hands Kotoyuki his 5th loss and likely sealing his re-ascension to the top division next tournament. Meisei lined up well behind the shikiri-sen, but Kotoyuki was first off the line, claiming the inside position and putting his left hand on Meisei’s chest before Meisei could finish his tachiai. Kotoyuki was pushing with strength, but could not keep his shoulders or his hips square with Meisie, who overpowered Kotoyuki and forced him from the ring.
Kotoshoho (5-3) defeats Takayasu (6-2) Oshitaoshi – A couple of impressive moves by Kotoshoho today against a fairly genki Takayasu. The former Ozeki missed the timing on his forearm strike at the tachiai, and left himself wide open for Kotoshoho to land a right hand inside grip. Takayasu countered with a left hand outside grip, but that left elbow seems to still be not quite 100%. Takeyasu surged forward to turn Kotoshoho, but Kotoshoho countered by stepping aside Takayasu’s stance and pushing with his left hand. The former Ozeki was sent sprawling to the clay. Hopefully neither Takayasu’s elbow or knee were injured or degraded in this match.
Kotonowaka (4-4) defeats Nishikigi (6-2) Yorikiri – The second 1 loss rikishi picks up their second loss (Takayasu was the other). Kotonowaka never touched either hand down at the tachiai, but I am guessing no call no foul. Many of Nishikigi’s tachiais are a bit tentative has his eyesight is terrible. Kotonowaka landed a right hand inside position, and Nishikigi rapidly attempted to change his grip. But that moment of change was the moment Kotonowaka surged forward and drove Nishikigi over the bales.
Sadanoumi (6-2) defeats Kotoeko (3-5) Oshitaoshi – I really like how low Sadanoumi kept his feet and his hands at the tachiai. He may have expected Kotoeko to go high at the tachiai, and he was ready to exploit that opening. Kotoeko was able to get a right hand inside position, but no grip. As Kotoeko planted his feet, Sadanoumi pumped his hips once and reached deep outside with his left. Having his preferred grip, Kotoeko dropped his hips to advance only to catch another hip thrust from Sadanoumi. With Kotoeko’s heels on the tawara, Sadanoumi broke Kotoeko’s left hand grip by raising his right shoulder, and delivered a forceful thrust with his hand, winning the match. Nice combo move from Sadanoumi today.
Shimanoumi (5-3) defeats Kotoshogiku (5-3) Uwatedashinage – Kotoshogiku got the better of the tachiai, but his early drive to get his hands inside powered Shimanoumi’s Uwatedashinage, as Shimanoumi grabbed Kotoshogiku’s right forearm, pulled and twisted. The big former Ozeki was just starting his first hip thrust as he lost balance and crashed to the clay.
Chiyomaru (3-5) defeats Tochinoshin (1-7) Oshidashi – Fairly standard Chiyomaru action today – he was slap happy, keeping Tochinoshin away from his mawashi by constant thrusting against the former Ozeki’s chest. But Tochinoshin’s balance is delicate now, and it was only a few steps into the fight, and he was on the clay. Really worried about Tochinoshin now.
Kaisei (3-5) defeats Wakatakakage (4-4) Oshidashi – Wakatakakage is no stranger to fighting massive, bulky men. His dominance over a fading Gagamaru attests to that. But I think Wakatakakage’s attempt at a henka in the tachiai may have really gotten Kaisei fired up. The henka was clumsy and poorly timed, and saw Kaisei chase him down and swat him like a fly. Better luck next time, Wakatakakage.
Shohozan (4-4) defeats Myogiryu (3-5) Uwatenage – Shohozan’s mobility has been slowly dropping in the past 18 months. We see him go more chest to chest, and fewer brawling battles that roam across the dohyo. Myogiryu had the superior tachiai, and deflected Shohozan’s opening attack. Rather than keep distance and try again, Shohozan lunged inside with his left, while blocking Myogiryu’s right. Myogiryu immediately moved to change up his grip, and Shohozan pivoted into a throw that Myogiryu suddenly found he was assisting. They both went down but Myogiryu touched down first.
Ishiura (8-0) defeats Terutsuyoshi (2-6) Hatakikomi – A battle of the power pixies, Ishiura thrust upward at the tachiai, catching Terutsuyoshi’s jaw before Ishiura’s left hand immediately slapped him down. Lightning fast win for Ishiura, his 8th, and that’s kachi-koshi on day 8. Terutsuyoshi may have hurt his left ankle in the match, and was limping as he made his way back to the shitaku-beya.
Tokushoryu (6-2) defeats Ikioi (2-6) Oshidashi – My hoped for Ikioi rally was nowhere to be seen today, as Ikioi struggled to overcome Tokushoryu’s comically low center of gravity. Ikioi had a solid tachiai, and set to work with tsuppari from an inside position. Tokushoryu tried two separate pulls, but could not break Ikioi’s balance. Switching to return thrusts, Ikioi found a right hand grip on Tokushoryu’s arm. As Ikioi moved to throw, he ran out of dohyo, and ran into a finishing thrust from Tokushoryu.
Enho (3-5) defeats Tamawashi (3-5) Shitatedashinage – This first ever match between these two was full of questions. With Tamawashi being high mobility and high power thrusting, would Enho have much offense that would work against him? Enho had to endure two big hits to get inside, but he managed to find his mark and latch onto Tamwashi’s belt. Achieving his attack position, he held tight while Tamawashi scrambled and shifted his hips to try and break Enho’s grip. But his moves were too predictable, allowing Enho pulled forward and down, dropping Tamawashi for a loss.
Chiyotairyu (6-2) defeats Ryuden (2-6) Tsukidashi – No shenanigans from Ryuden today, just a straight away tachiai. Chiyotairyu did not launch out at full power, perhaps hedging against a henka. Ryuden pushed hard into the initial clash, but found himself forced back and standing upright as Chiyotairyu launched a rapid combo of thrusts to Ryuden’s shoulders. Ryuden tried to stick a nodowa, but could not set his feet to push it in, and a tightly blow to the chest from Chiyotairyu ushered Ryuden out of the ring.
Hokutofuji (5-3) defeats Kiribayama (2-6) Oshidashi – Hokutofuji exploded into the tachiai, both arms bent at the elbow and connected to Kiribayama’s chest. Both arms shoved forward together and Kiribayama staggered back, his arms flailing. He managed to regain his balance and set his feet just for a split second before a second massive right hand blow connected to his solar plexus. A loud “oooof” echoed through the empty Kokugikan as Kiribayama collapsed, completely winded. I love seeing Hokutofuji’s excellent manners, as he was down on the clay helping his opponent up immediately. Fortunately, it looks like Kiribayama is just fine.
Onosho (3-5) defeats Takanosho (5-3) Tsukiotoshi – Takanosho has been fighting very well, with enough skill and energy that I consider him a good candidate for San’yaku regular in 2021. I get nervous when I see Onosho spread his feet wide and put all of his weight on the balls of his feet, but when he has a mass to push against like that, he can deliver a lot of force. When Takanosho found his grip and returned pressure, Onosho released his right hand and thrust downward, ending the match.
Yutakayama (2-6) defeats Endo (2-6) Hatakikomi – Endo would not give up the notion of putting that left hand on Yutakayama’s mawashi, and on Endo’s third attempt to latch on, Yutakayama caught him too far forward and slapped him down. My compliments to Yutakayama’s solid but improving stability, it showed a lot of discipline.
Shodai (5-3) defeats Daieisho (5-3) Shitatenage – I wild blast of a match, Shodai’s tachiai was high and soft, and Daieisho was fast and low, his head like a torpedo into Shodai’s neck. But to my surprise, Shodai held fast and Daieisho deflected back, only to lunge forward into Shodai’s waiting arms. Realizing he has been captured, Daieisho applied a volley of double arm thrusts, breaking Shodai’s grip and pinning him with a nodowa. Shodai stepped back, breaking contact and Daieisho lunged in with an even more brutal nodowa. A lateral arm sweep by Shodai broke Daieisho’s grip, but seconds later the right hand was at Shodai’s throat again. Again Shodai broke off and Daieisho closed to engage, but this time Shodai again captured him, holding him close. Shodai’s hips pivoted and his left hand pulled down, sending Daieisho flying. Ok, I was impressed with Shodai’s sumo today. Please more of that, sir.
Mitakeumi (7-1) defeats Okinoumi (1-7) Oshidashi – My heart goes out to Okinoumi, who today was stampeded from the ring by a raging Mitakeumi, who did not slow down on bit from the tachiai. Okinoumi was swept up, and carried out in the blink of an eye.
Abi (4-4) defeats Takakeisho (2-6) Oshidashi – I am officially saying it’s time to worry about Takakeisho. He had almost no offense against Abi, who pinned him with a double arm thrust at the second clash, and just kept pouring it on. He took a hard tumble from the dohyo, and seemed to be flexing that pectoral muscle again and wincing in pain.
Asanoyama (6-2) defeats Takarafuji (4-4) Oshitaoshi – I am quite keen to see what happens next week when Asanoyama faces the Yokozuna. Given that Hakuho lost in a surprise match to Takarafuji, I note with interest that Asanoyama played every part of this fight in “safe mode”. Low pressure tachiai, no aggressive move to close the gap with Takarafuji, and Asanoyama really took his time. I think Takarafuji was really for Asanoyama to go chest to chest, but it never happened. Asanoyama waited him out, and stuck about 1 arms length from his opponent until Takarafuji found himself on the wrong foot far too close to the tawara. Asanoyama reached in for a grip, but rather than go for the belt, simply bodily threw Takarafuji down. Ozeki sumo there.
Hakuho (6-2) defeats Kagayaki (5-3) Hikiotoshi – Kagayaki, as much as I love his sumo, is no match for Hakuho in any sense of the word. The Boss played with him for all of 6 seconds before Hakuho had an arm on Kagayaki’s shoulder and blasted him to the clay. I still think Hakuho is not moving right, and that left big toe is not right.
Kakuryu (6-2) defeats Aoiyama (4-4) Hatakikomi – Yokozuna Kakuryu did not want to give Big Dan even a moment to start any sumo. Kakuryu brought both hands up from underneath at the tachiai, catching both armpits, then brought his right hand down to slap Aoiyama down. Big Dan should be familiar with this up then down combination, he executes it with great skill.