Tokyo July Basho Day 3 Highlights

Is the ring rust off yet? For some, not quite. Several wrestlers still appear to be gathering their bearings but a few are really shining. I love to see the start that Myogiryu has gotten, along with Terunofuji. With the exception of Kotoyuki, who does not seem his sanyaku-self, The Great Wall of Kotos is performing very well. But the story of the tournament so far has to be the shin-Ozeki, Asanoyama, and his excellent performances so far.

Highlight Matches

Meisei defeated Kotoyuki: The visitor from Juryo weathered the barrage of blows, landed a number of his own body blows, and pushed Kotoyuki out quickly. Kotoyuki falls to 0-3. Oshidashi. Meisei is 3-0 and starting to make a good case for promotion.

Terunofuji defeated Chiyomaru: Chiyomaru shoved Terunofuji and attempted a hatakikomi pull but Terunofuji wasn’t falling for it. He went right in for a belt grip and as soon as that left hand found purchase, he pulled Chiyomaru’s card. Uwatenage. Terunofuji is undefeated at 3-0.

Kotoshoho defeated Nishikigi: Kotoshoho dominated Nishikigi from the start, landing solid body blows and completely overwhelming his opponent. Oshidashi. A great 3-0 start. Nishikigi backed straight out to his second loss.

Kotoeko defeated Wakatakakage: Wakatakakage hit strong with his tachiai, forcing Kotoeko back to the tawara. Kotoeko used the tawara to arrest his backwards movement. He then took the opportunity to secure a right-handed belt grip of his own and force Wakatakakage to exit, stage left. Yorikiri. Wakatakakage falls to 0-3, Kotoeko 2-1.

Takayasu defeated Kotoshogiku: Kotoshogiku gets off to a great start, pushing Takayasu back at the tachiai. Takayasu worked his way into Kotoshogiku’s belt and from there owned things. He pushed Kotoshogiku across the dohyo and out. Yorikiri. Kotoshogiku picked up his first loss while Takayasu improved to 2-1.

Kotonowaka defeated Shohozan: Kotonowaka kept his cool after Shohozan’s staredown and then the introductory slap at the tachiai. He pivoted, using Shohozan’s momentum to bring him to the straw barrier. Another quick shove and experience bowed to youth. Oshidashi. Kotonowaka undefeated while Shohozan’s third straight loss has put him into quite the hole at the start of this tournament.

Sadanoumi defeated Shimanoumi: Sadanoumi started with some strong thrusts but Shimanoumi weathered the intial tempest. Sadanoumi abandoned the thrusting attack and reached in for Shimanoumi’s belt. Belt grip nicely secured he quickly worked the orange mawashi back out and over the edge. Yorikiri. Shimanoumi’s still seeking a win while Sadanoumi improved to 2-1.

Myogiryu defeated Tochinoshin: A quick one from Myogiryu. Myogiryu allowed Tochinoshin no time to try anything, immediately securing a left-handed grip, shifting to the side. The force of the tachiai carried Tochinoshin forward and Myogiryu added pressure to keep Tochinoshin moving forward and out. Yorikiri. Myogiryu remains undefeated while Tochinoshin earned his second loss.

Tamawashi defeated Kaisei: Kaisei knew this would be a pushing thrusting bout, getting great movement backwards from Tamawashi. Tamawashi’s own thrusts were ineffective against the bigger Kaisei, so he shifted left and then right, slapping down Kaisei as he tried to give chase. Hatakikomi. Tamawashi 3-0 and Keisei got a hard-fought second loss.

Chiyotairyu defeated Ikioi: Chiyotairyu’s powerful tachiai forced Ikioi to cede ground. More forceful thrusts as Ikioi tried to hang on but Chiyotairyu blasted Ikioi out. Tsukidashi. Chiyotairyu is now 2-1, Ikioi 1-2.

Ishiura defeated Terutsuyoshi: Henka from Ishiura to get a grip but Terutusyoshi snuffed it out and turned around, getting a piece of Ishiura’s belt in return. But Ishiura used the belt to keep up the attack, over powering Terutsuyoshi, and pushing him out over the edge on the other side. Yorikiri. Terutsuyoshi handed his first loss, Ishiura picking up his first win.

Tokushoryu defeated Ryuden: Yushoryu quickly dispatched Ryuden. A left hand grip and he was able to snap Ryuden forward. Losing his balance, Ryuden instinctively put his hands down to catch himself. Hikiotoshi. Both men are 1-2.

Abi defeated Enho: Enho lost his balance at the tachiai with help from Abi’s right forearm to the chin. Enho tumbling out backwards to the front of the dohyo. Oshitaoshi. [Copy/Paste] Both men are 1-2.

Hokutofuji defeated Aoiyama: Aoiyama was off-balance from the beginning. Strong tachiai from Hokutofuji who keeps his head down and the thrusts coming, backs Aoiyama up and out. This bout was about footwork. Hokutofuji moved with a purpose. Controlled steps. Aoiyama’s feet were all over the place and eventually swept over the side as he was trying to keep his balance. Oshidashi. Aoiyama is 1-2. Hokutofuji improved to 2-1.

Kiribayama defeated Kagayaki: Pushing thrusting attack from Kagayaki forced Kiribayama into retreat. Kiribayama weathering the blows as he throws a few, ineffective ones of his own. Kiribayama used his left to deflect Kagayaki high and get back into a belt grip. From there, Kiribayama turned the tables. With Kagayaki’s center of gravity up too high, Kiribayama used the leverage from the belt to push him backwards and out. Yorikiri. Kiribayama 1-2 while Kagayaki picked up his first loss.

Takarafuji defeated Daieisho: Daieisho worked Takarafuji back with a strong tachiai. Powerful thrusts gave Daieisho the advantage but wild, off-balance footwork cost him. One missed thrust which Takarafuji parried successfully turned Daieisho around. Takarafuji seized the moment to push Daieisho out from behind. Okuridashi. Daieisho stumbled to his first loss while Takarafuji is now 1-2.

Mitakeumi defeated Onosho: Onosho had an excellent tachiai, getting in under Mitakeumi, and forcing him back. Mitakeumi knew he was in trouble so as he got forced back he brought his arms up around Onosho’s head. With a sudden twist he threw Onosho down as they both tumbled out. Excellent adaptation from Mitakeumi. Kubinage. Mitakeumi undefeated, Onosho hopes for a first win tomorrow.

Takanosho defeated Shodai: Shoulder blast from Shodai at the initial charge. Shodai put his head down and revved the engines, full steam ahead…but before tying down his cargo. In the tumult, Takanosho got lose to the right and as Shodai passed, Takanosho gave a final shove from behind. Okuridashi. Shodai picked up his first loss and Takanosho earned his first win.

“Kinki is a region, not a way of life.”

Murray Johnson, the Legend

Asanoyama defeated Yutakayama: Through tears of laughter, I composed myself in time for the tachiai. Asanoyama, on the other hand, was composed from the beginning of this bout. Yutakayama’s thrusts were many but fizzled in the bosom of Asanoyama. Asanoyama earned his position at center stage with great power and excellent footwork, forcing Yutakayama to the edge, looking in. While he wasn’t able to land a belt grip, he had control under Yutakayama’s arms and forced the junior Sekitori back and out. Yorikiri. The Ozeki is undefeated. Yutakayama 0-3.

Okinoumi defeated Takakeisho: Takakeisho gained the advantage at the tachiai with a strong blast. Okinoumi staggered back a step but not as far as the tawara. Takakeisho was unable to get much wave action going. An ill-advised pull by Takakeisho was met with a solid blow to the head by Okinoumi. The cumulative effect meant Takakeisho fell down. Oshitaoshi. Both men are 2-1.

Hakuho defeated Endo: A strong shoulder blast from Hakuho. No extracurriculars on the initial charge, just power. Right arm secured under Endo’s left armpit, Hakuho shoved his opponent to the point that Endo’s left leg came up off the ground. The Yokozuna then drove through the rank-and-filer to finish him off. Endo collapsed in a heap while Hakuho took a celebratory lap down the hanamachi. Extraordinary. Oshidashi. Endo falls to 1-2 while Hakuho leads the pack at 3-0.

31 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Day 3 Highlights

  1. Can we take a moment for appreciation of the fact that Terunofuji went chest to belly with Chiyomaru, and actually had enough reach to get a belt hold on the Bulbous One? Terunofuji is admittedly new to me, unlike many others on here (I started watching after the injury that sent him plummeting down the banzuke), but in that moment I could see the hype. Big enough to reach around that swollen belly, and strong enough to throw the big guy down (and make it look fairly easy, too)- I’ve got to say, that’s impressive stuff.

    Mitakeumi and Asanoyama both look dangerous this basho, but Hakuho appears to be a man on a mission. There’s none of the sloppiness he was showing in March; he seems to be in command, and is clearly the one to beat. I’m sure the other two are thinking hard about their strategy for him. I wonder if Hakuho is having to seriously think about their threat to his supremacy, too.

    • Agree with your observation about Terunofuji. Unlike you, I was fortunate enough to watch him fight as an Ozeki (but unfortunately not his Ozeki run). That also means I witness his slid down the top division.

      I was following his progress back up the divisions and one thing I observed for this busho is that some of his Ozeki swagger is back. He used to have this fierce stare down pre-bout that was noticeably absent when he was fighting in the lower division. Now that he’s back fighting in Makuuchi, I noticed a bit of that fierce stare down has come back.

      He certainly looks impressive and is fighting well. I hope he makes it to the Joi by the end of the year. I doubt another Ozeki run is realistic but if he managed that, that would be epic.

      Another ex-Ozeki Takayasu is also fighting reasonably well. Hope he is all healed up and can make another Ozeki run. Of the 4 ex-Ozeki, I think he has the best chance of making Ozeki again.

  2. On the risk of hijacking the comment section:

    Please come up with the reason why Hakuho decided to jog down the west hana-michi.

    I’ll start:

    – He parked his car closer to the west exit.
    – He saw an unbroken record right down the hall.

    • He wanted to liven things up and/or show off. Brief moment of levity? I was curious about what would happen if he just went home. How long would they wait? Would they switch the gumbai to Endo? It was funny but I think it was just his version of the end zone dance. Spiking the ball instead of spiking Endo.

    • – He really, *really* needed to pee.
      – Obligatory fanservice.
      – Heard the ice cream truck going past the Kokougikan.

      • The ice cream truck gives me two images: one great and childish, one adult and hilarious featuring Big Worm from Friday.

  3. Mitakeumi might be undefeated, but he just looks slow. I do not see the intensity that he normally displays.

    • ‘Determined’ is what comes to my mind, when I watch him. He’s grimly determined to fight to the end, unlike other tournaments where he comes across half-hearted and soft. For what it’s worth, he’s the only sekitori in his stable (next closest is upper Makushita), so he may just have some serious rust to knock off before he’s back in full form.

  4. Meisei is MOTIVATED this basho! He wants back into the top ranks!

    I’m not sure what’s up with Nishikigi. He’s not in top form, but I don’t know if that’s because he hasn’t had a chance to train against other top level rikishi or its just ring rust. Kotoshoho, on the other hand, looks absolutely dialed in right now.

    Apparently Migoryu has also been studying videos of Haramafuji! Nice win!

    Sumo Elvis wins today! Thangya, thangyaverramush.

    Should have expected the henka, Terutsuyoshi. It’s Ishiura. C’mon now.

    Kinda hard to duck when someone shoves a forearm in your throat. Right, Enho? Ooof.

    What a save at the bales for Mitakeumi! WOW!

    • A healthy Meisei is at least a solid mid-maegashira, so it’s not too surprising to see him cleaning up in Juryo.

      • Every so often, I think I see sparks of brilliance in Meisei. I get really excited, and then he has a 3-12 basho or something immediately after, and all the air goes out of me again. So I definitely hope it’s just a case of injury management, as I would be very interested to see what happens when he puts it all together. Not necessarily saying I could see him going on to become yokozuna, but I could absolutely see him being a joi mainstay if he really hits his stride.

  5. If you were told before the matches started that one guy would push out his opponent and then go jogging down the runway, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US would have said Hakuho. The guy is entertaining as hell. It was like Bo Jackson running into the tunnel after that 90 yard touchdown run. He’s basically saying, ‘ Sorry but’I’m going so fast and moving so powerfully that it takes a while for me to stop”,

    • The part that I found vastly entertaining is that he finally stops and goes back only when he encounters Tochiozan… and both have to contend with the idea that Tochiozan, er, Kiyomigata oyakata, now outranks him.

    • Yup. The March payback was not enough for Endo’s tongue-handing-out swagger in January. Hakuho’s going to find new ways to humiliate him every. single. match until one of them retires. And he’ll get creative with it too. He’s probably already got something even more special planned for September.

      • I have to concur. It’s been a while since Hakuho didn’t let up on his opponent once the match ended. That was the Hakuho of old out there today.

  6. A) Asanoyama is making this look way too easy. He has been in total control of all three bouts. Gosh, I hope he stays healthy because he rapidly is developing into a great one.

    B) Ichinojo continues to look (less) large and very much in charge. I expect him to earn his way back to the top division soon, along with Meisei.

  7. Well, he had to stop at SOME POINT. After all, he had to retrieve his pay envelopes. Blessedly, he didn’t see Tochiozan, stop and slap him on the chest like he did after their bout a few years back. That wouldn’t have been well-received at all.

  8. I thought Takayasu showed a wonderfully smart ‘inside game’ (to use a boxing phrase) today – he was constantly wriggling and adjusting and using his elbows so as to deny Kotoshogiku a grip on the belt.

    I am not sure that I would describe Ishiura’s tachiai as a full henka – it was more like Terutsuyoshi got a taste of his own henka-no-henka medicine.

    Super-pleased with Kiribayama’s win – he had to work hard to constantly prevent Kagayaki lining up with his own centre line, until he established that excellent grip on the belt and then marched the bigger man out of the ring.

    Super-relieved to see my beloved Abi finally get a win, even if it was not the most aesthetically pleasing. As the learned WulfTrax notes above, Enho tried his standard opening gambit of initially making an upwards movement and then ducking back down to try to get under and inside his opponents arms. But here the arms in question were long enough to have already planted themselves around Enho’s neck, so he just collapsed backwards in a squat.

    I hate to disagree with Andy’s analysis but I feel that Takakeisho was not attempting a pull – rather, he was trying to execute his own favourite move of suddenly shifting to his left and throwing something like a short-arm left-hook that very often results in his opponent crashing to the floor. Today, just as tried to shift left, Okinoumi landed a big right-handed shove and it was game over. I have watched the replays a few times now and i’m still not entirely sure whether Okinoumi cleverly read and anticipated or if he just happened to stick his arm out at the crucial moment… I guess I should give him credit for it.

    • Kintamayama on sumo forum:

      Okinoumi, beating Takakeishou with a powerful right thrust to the neck: “I got lucky. The Ozeki happened to pull exactly at the right timing so that was good..”

  9. Was just hoping that Hokuho didn’t slip, fall and bust his arse on the way to the airport. Bare feet, covered in damp clay sure makes for a Yogi Bear moment when you are 35 years old.

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