Tokyo July Basho Day 6 Highlights

One third of the way through the tournament is really far too early to start comparing this tournament to the performance of the simulation tournament. We’ll do that much later on as we see what it got right versus where there’s need for improvement. What matters to me at this point is that this tournament is contrasted from that one by featuring such strong starts from our leadership.

In the mock basho all sanyaku stumbled out of the gates early to chase a rank-and-filer, in sole ownership of the lead after Day 5. We start Day 6 of this tournament with three sanyaku undefeated. The joi-jin took a bath in the simulation and they’re getting pummeled in real life. But crucially, they’re not picking off as many big wins so early on. They’re definitely getting a few but the meat grinder is in fine form.

For me, this old-school, dominant Hakuho paired with the youth and promise of Asanoyama at the top of the table is a whole mood (as the kids are fond of saying lately). Confidence, patience, strength, authority…it just feeds my optimism for where we are now versus where we were at this point in May. And as we see on Day 6, my optimism has reason to grow by the end of the day.

Highlight Matches

Azumaryu defeated Nishikigi (2-4): Nishikigi wrapped up Azumaryu and started him moving backwards with both arms outside Azumaryu’s arms. However, he wore himself out trying to lift the Juryo visitor, Terunofuji-style, over the bales. Azumaryu took over and pushed Nishikigi out. Yorikiri.

Terunofuji (5-1) defeated Kotoshoho (5-1): Kotoshoho began with a slight advantage of position after the tachiai but Terunofuji’s size and strength reigned this bout. Kotoshoho allowed Terunofuji to get a mirror belt-grip and that was a huge mistake. As Takayasu showed, use all your might to keep him off. From here Terunofuji took over the bout and quickly worked Kotoshoho back and out. Yorikiri.

Takayasu (4-2) defeated Kotoyuki (1-5): Kotoyuki tried a few slaps and a nodowa at the tachiai, and twisted around for a change of direction but all attempts in the opening volley had no effect on Takayasu. With one shove, Takayasu demonstrated who was boss, forcing Kotoyuki out. Oshidashi.

Kotonowaka (4-2) defeated Chiyomaru (0-6): Chartreuse vs Emerald. Chiyomaru gave it his all, but like Kotoyuki before him, all attempts had no impact. Kotonowaka walked Chiyomaru out easily. Oshidashi.

Wakatakakage (3-3) defeated Sadanoumi (2-4): Henka! Sadanoumi fell for it. Wakatakakage pushed down with both hands on Sadanoumi’s back and Sadanoumi fell to the clay. Hatakikomi.

Shohozan (1-5) defeated Kotoeko (4-2): Shohozan landed a weak harite slap that served to piss off Kotoeko. Kotoeko’s slaps and thrusts took over the bout, forcing Shohozan into retreat, circling ‘round and ‘round. Kotoeko was too aggressive, though, as Shohozan needed only one sidestep to push Kotoeko out. Oshi—wha..? Hatakikomi? Huh.

Tochinoshin (4-2) defeated Kotoshogiku (4-2): Kotoshogiku IS keeping his knees straight at what amounts to an awkward tachiai. The first attempt was out of sync, so matta… Ross called the henka at the next tachiai, as Kotoshogiku rolls across the dohyo… but mada matta! Tochinoshin, pissed at the gyoji more than anything, lands his left-hand overarm grip after a solid tachiai, and worked Koshogiku to the edge. Rather than try to power the former ozeki over the edge, Tochinoshin wisely chose to throw him back to the center of the ring. Uwatenage.

Tamawashi (5-1) defeated Myogiryu (5-1): Matta fest today. Tamawashi started things out way early. Once they got going for real, Tamawashi seemed interested to see what Myogiryu would be able to do and let Myogiryu try some thrusts but not enough to move Tamawashi back. Tamawashi decided it was time to act and shoved Myogiryu back. Another shove and Myogiryu was out. Surprise, surprise, Oshidashi.

Shimanoumi (2-4) defeated Ikioi (2-4): Ikioi was determined to keep Shimanoumi at arms length, pushing his opponent’s arms. He tried a pull but a balanced Shimanoumi followed well, stayed upright, pushing Ikioi out Oshi—Yorikiri? Okay.

Ishiura (2-4) defeated Kaisei (2-4): I thought the matta foretold a henka but I was wrong. Ishiura hit Kaisei head on! Both men settled at the center, fighting for belt grips. Ishiura secured a left hand grip and with a little sidestep pulled Kaisei forward. This is the Ishiura of the simulation. Unafraid of bigger guys, getting things done with skill and strength rather than games. Please bring it like this more often. Shitatedashinage.

Enho (3-3) defeated Chiyotairyu (3-3): A little submarine work from Enho at the tachiai diverted Chiyotairyu to the side. With the larger man off balance, Enho tugged on Chiyotairyu’s belt to bring him to the floor. Whattaya know? The Miyagino beya brings us twin Shitatedashinage.


Ryuden (2-4) defeated Abi (3-3): Abi’s slaps and pull attempts forced Ryuden into chase mode. Ryuden kept his balance at the pull so Abi drove forward again, slapping and keeping Ryuden upright but this time the pull never came. Instead Ryuden ducked to the side and Abi fell in a heap on the floor. Tsukiotoshi.

Tokushoryu (3-3) defeated Hokutofuji (4-2): Hokutofuji bulled forward with his head down. Tokushoryu moved to the side to let Hokutofuji pass. With both hands on Hokutofuji’s back, Tokushoryu shoved Hokutofuji down onto the tawara. Hataki— Tsukiotoshi.

Aoiyama (3-3) defeated Terutsuyoshi (2-4): After a solid tachiai and a few exchanges of slaps and shoves, Terutsuyoshi tried a change of direction and Aoiyama almost fell for it. But as the man mountain threw his arms out to maintain his balance, his right arm connected with Terutsuyoshi’s head. Aoiyama kept Terutsuyoshi in front of him and wrangled him out. Tsukidashi.

Kagayaki (3-3) defeated Yutakayama (0-6): Kagayaki was all business today. Solid tachiai. Poise, control, forward movement…Yutakayama had no chance. Oshidashi.


Takanosho (3-3) defeated Daieisho (3-3): A solid tachiai from both men but Takanosho shifted to the right and pushed Daieisho past. Daieisho lost his balance while trying to turn around to meet Takanosho, landing on his butt. Oshitaoshi.

Shodai (5-1) defeated Endo (1-5): A strong tachiai and some off-balance flailing sumo from Shodai as Endo grabbed the left arm, pulling him forward to the bales. Shodai slipped his left arm in and tried the same tightrope walk throw from yesterday but he was too out of control. Endo tried a trip but missed. As Shodai reclaimed his arm, Endo lost his balance. This gave Shodai an opportunity to wheel back around and pushed Endo out. Oshidashi.

Mitakeumi (6-0) defeated Okinoumi (3-3): A solid tachiai from Okinoumi forced Mitakeumi half-way to the bales but it was not enough. Try as he might, Mitakeumi would not move back and farther. Mitakeumi mustered his strength and drove Okinoumi back to the edge. A final shove back to the center of the ring brought Okinoumi to the dirt. Tsukiotoshi.

Kiribayama (2-4) defeated Takakeisho (4-2): Takakeisho started off with some standard thrusting. The agile Kiribayama lept and got his hands up to the back of Takakeisho’s head, shoving down forcefully. This negated Takakeisho’s advantage as the Ozeki fought to maintain his balance. Kiribayama got his hands into the mawashi and drove Takakeisho backwards and out. Yorikiri.

Asanoyama (6-0) defeated Onosho (0-6): Onosho forced Asanoyama’s head back but it was not enough to get the Ozeki moving backwards. Instead, he quickly secured an left-overarm belt grab, and used his superior footwork to usher Onosho over the edge. Yorikiri.

Hakuho (6-0) defeated Takarafuji (2-4): A straightforward win from the master. Strong tachiai and he drives Takarafuji back. Takarafuji tries to move left along the edge but the master kept him in front and continued the forward pressure until Takarafuji stepped over the bales. Yorikiri.

20 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Day 6 Highlights

  1. When I watched the Miyagino practice session, I was wondering why Hakuho chose Enho, the smallest guy in his heya, to do his tachiai practice with.

    Then there was that time in Aki 2017, when Harumafuji prepared his tachiai for the decider with Goeido. He picked Terutsuyoshi for that.

    So now I have a theory: practicing your tachiai with a pixie forces you to keep your hips low. Hakuho’s tachiai looks better this basho and he doesn’t needs tricks and shticks to accompany it.

    • Your theory makes sense. The pixies are also usually shorter, which means everything about them is literally lower to the ground. To get an advantage against them, you have to drop your entire body down farther than normal.

      • Yeah, I am not at all athletic but I took a women’s judo class when I was younger and the hip throws were really hard for me to perform. I was much taller than most of my partners and I couldn’t get my center of gravity low enough.

  2. Did you notice that extra shove Shodai gave Endo’s shoulder as he was spun around? That was a brilliant move, and I think it’s what won the match. Without that, Endo could have followed up and thrust him out, instead of being forced to spin himself to reengage with Shodai- an admittedly still off-balance and still flailing Shodai, but one who was at least facing the right direction. And once again, from there Shodai’s ring sense and reactive sumo saved him. I have to think that all that time spent as Kakuryu’s crash test dummy has tightened the focus of his sumo because he’s showing some really smart reactions this basho. I’ve never been a Shodai fan, but something has changed in him since the start of the year, and it’s hard not to admire it.

    • You and I must have been on the exact same wavelength, I was just extolling the genius of that shove over on twitter!

  3. I really miss takakeishos dominance he has shown in his ozeki run. I don’t know which injury it is, but something is not right with him. Back then the only question was how far his opponents would fly out of the ring, now he often lacks the power to even push them out, resorting to pulls and slap downs. I hope there is no “kisenosato-level” injury at play here…

    • Back in the day, Takakeisho would use a low, powerful, lightning-quick tachiai to rock his opponent back on his heels. That would give Takakeisho the space he needed to unleash the wave action tsuppari, which kept the opponent backing up and out of the ring. Now he seldom seems able to create that space he needs for the wave action.

  4. That’s the Shohozan we know! What a great match! Kotoeko is definitely fighting with spirit in this basho too.

    I am now wondering if Nishikigi as an issue with his back. He pushed Azumaryu to the bales, but literally couldn’t even keep him there.

    Cheeky henka attempt by Tochinoshin there. Too bad he was caught by a matta! Hahahaha!

    Nice win by Ishiura today! I hope he turns his form around for the rest of the basho.

    Abi is still trying to win by running away. Terrible sumo! How are you supposed to win a match when it looks like your main goal is “I don’t want you touching me!”?!

    The Shodai/Endo bout needs to have Yakety Sax as background music! Good grief!

    KIRBAYAMA! A thunderous win today! Bravo!

    Hakuho had won his match as soon as he looked at Takarafuji. Wow.

  5. Having had the chance to catch a lot of the lower division action this tournament, it’s astonishing how much the percentage of mattas increases in the top division. I’ll leave the comment at that.

    I feared for Chiyomaru at the start of the tournament with the very unusual murderer’s row of strong veterans and highly regarded prospects at the low end of the division, and unfortunately I can’t see a way back from 0-6. Hopefully he can find something in juryo.

    Happy that Kiribayama found a way to beat Takakeisho. He’s a really good wrestler to watch. Always creative, the gears always turning.

    The Tochinoshin fight was comedy. I got a good kick out of him winning the match twice though, no matter what the gyoji says.

    I hope Takayasu can keep rolling along. A lot of people wanted to hold a funeral for the guy 4 months ago. Maybe the extra time off saved his career.

    I think today also showed off why I’m a Shodai fan. He will do some really strange things, but he’s fun to watch. Something is going to happen.

    • Yay! I managed to catch them on karla_marxist’s twitch. it is fun to see some Makushita and a bit of Juryo before bed. If I try to stay up for Makuuchi I usually regret it in the morning.

  6. Hokutofuji made a mistake he doesn’t typically make. He attempted to swat down with both of his arms on Tokushoryu’s left arm. He missed by a mile, which left him head down staggering forward, completely vulnerable.

    I believe Onosho’s failed nodowa against Asanoyama was a similar miscalculation, as it allowed the bigger man easy access to his belt. That’s all Asanoyama needed for a swift win.

  7. They’re calling it shitatedashinage, but Chiyotairu tripped. I’m OK with Enho getting a needed win.

    Unbelievable recovery of the day: Shodai! Great stuff!

    Effort of the day: Krirbayama! He has won me as a fan!

    You have to feel bad for Onosho. Wonder what ails him?

    Always good to see The Boss in command. Has he even broken a sweat this basho?

  8. Waiting for the day someone combines the Wakatakakage (6 syllables) and Kotonowaka (5 syllables) shikonas into Kotonowakatakakage (9 syllables). I have no idea what that means in Japanese. Anybody?


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