Tokyo July Basho Day 7 Highlights

The big news of the day is Abi having dinner after yesterday’s bout, violating the current Covid rules. Ass a consequence, he has been grounded in his heya, and was handed a fusen loss. He’ll stay kyujo until the Covid test results come back.

Kyokushuho v Chiyomaru. Finally a first win for His Roundness! Kyokushuho did not much to avoid Maru’s favorite pushing contest and that’s an easy win. Chiyomaru even gets the luxury of being credited of an unusual (for him) yorikiri win.

Wakatakakage v Terunofuji. The Fukushima born boldly goes for the Mongolian’s mawashi and drives forward. As pointed out by Herouth, this might have been part of the plan for Terunofuji, who catches his opponent in a morozashi, and has no trouble lifting him at the bails. That’s a convincing kimedashi win the Terunofuji, and Wakatakakage’s first loss in four days.

Kotoshogiku v Nishikigi. Well, what to say? That was a bit too easy for the former ozeki, who kind of produced his trademark gaburi sumo. He drove forward until Nishigiki was sent out of the dohyo. That’s a good basho for Giku, who increases to 5-2, whereas Nishikigi, 2-5, will have to quickly turn tables to avoid demotion.

Sadanoumi v Kotoyuki. Kotoyuki gets the upper hand early on, driving Sadanoumi backwards using a nodowa. Unfortunately, as this often happens to him, he is shown the door by Sadanoumi. Kotoyuki does not fall out of the ring, but quickly loses by okuridashi. That’s already his sixth loss, and for former sekiwake’s situation is already critical.

Kotoeko v Tochinoshin. Tochinoshin tries to go for the mawashi after the tachi-ai, which his opponent does not allow. The Georgian’s strength seems to prevail as he drives Kotoeko back, but eventually loses ground after a failed pulling attempt. Kotoeko seizes the opportunity to strike back, cleverly raises Tochinoshin’s center of gravity with his arms. As a result, Tochinoshin is powerless against Kotoeko’s frontal, energic sumo.

Shimanoumi v Kotoshoho. Kotoshoho initiates several thrusts after the tachi-ai, sending Shimanoumi backwards. One failed attack gives the Mie-ken born some respite, allowing him to seize Kotoshoho’s belt. But to no avail : in the ensuing yotsu battle, Kotoshoho produces a strong shitatenage with his right arm. Kotoshoho rebounds after yersterday’s first loss.

Takayasu v Myogiryu. Myogiryu uses an easy but effective strategy: targetting the former ozeki’s weak left arm. Having blocked it with his right arm, Myogiryu used a nodowa with his remaining arm. Takayasu ends up losing balance; he survives for a while but ends up losing the following scramble without too much a fight. Myogiryu’s excellent basho goes on.

Kaisei v Kotonowaka. A day to forget for Kotonowaka, whose strategy was a question mark in this bout. He quickly gets pushed out by the imposing Kaisei. That’s a welcome win for Kaisei, after a couple unlucky loses. Kotonowaka has now lost three of his last four bouts.

Shohozan v Ikioi. A fierce battle between two experiences rikishi. Shohozan sends the first blows, but Ikioi avoids the thrusts and Shohozan eventually loses balance on two occasions. Both times, Shohozan recovers in time and both rikishi reunite in the middle of the dohyo. Shohozan eventually sees an opportunity, and breaches Ikioi’s defence with an oshidashi win.

Chiyotairyu v Tokoshoryu. Chiyotairyu quickly goes for his opponent’s throat, but Tokoshoryu efficiently turns tables with his right hand. It proved sufficient to quickly drive Chiyotairyu to the edge. Tokoshoryu finished the job with a few pushes. Oshidashi win.

Ishiura v Ryuden. I firstly thought of a henka. But Ishiura goes frontal, tries to work on Ryuden’s belt, sitting low. But Ryuden breaches his opponent’s defences, seizes his mawashi by the side, and he is the one performing a death spin on the Miyagino resident. He concludes with a clean uwatenage. Quite a paradoxical bout!

Enho v Tamawashi. Enho produces yet another unusual tachi-ai, staying on his feet and waiting for the Mongolian to come. He ends up under Tamawashi’s chest. The former sekiwake tries to pull him down, then a kotenage, but Enho somehow keeps his balance thanks to his trademark agility. Tamawashi’s defences fade as he seeks his way to victory, and ends up being send out of the dohyo. Classic Enho!

Terutsuyoshi v Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji catches Terutsuyoshi at his own game, shifting to the side after the tachi-ai and powerfully driving him back. At the edge, Terutsuyochi remarkably performs an amiuchi. As a results, the pixie flies out of the dohyo, but Hokutofuji lands first. The gyoji awards the Isegahama man the win, and a mono-ii logically materializes. Former Asahifuji, now Isegahama oyakata, announces gumbai dori: a much needed win for his protégé.

Takanosho v Onosho. Takanosho botches the tachi-ai and sees Onosho straight at him. But the former komusubi looks out of confidence and does not manage to push back Takanosho by any means. That’s a quick oshidashi win for Takanosho, now 4-3. Onosho is yet to win.

Endo v Yutakayama. These two hold terrible records: apart from Endo’s initial win against Kakuryu, their scoresheets only contain black stars. Endo wins the tachi-ai, staying firmly on his legs and driving Yutakayama backwards. His opponent has to lean forward to avoid being driven out, an dit ends up with a welcome hatakikomi win for Endo. Yutakayama looked distraught after that loss.

Daieisho v Okinoumi. The komusubi battle, both fa      ring decently at 3-3. Daieisho cannot send Okinoumi backwards at the tachi-ai. As a result, a yotsu battle takes places, which favours Okinoumi’s sumo. Curiously enough, Daieisho is the first to seize his opponent’s mawashi, as Okinoumi cannot do the same. And that’s Daieisho twenty second yorikiri win of his career!

Abi v Mitakeumi. Fusen win for Mitakeumi, now 7-0. He is more than ever in the yusho race, and will prepare tomorrow’s sekiwake battle.

Shodai v Aoiyama. This is weird stuff from… the gyoji. He asked Kiribayama to move his hands behind the marks yesterday, but did not ask the same to Aoiyama, who did the same… Anyway, Shodai is slow at the tachi-ai yet again, and quickly has to face his strong opponent. Aoiyama pushes hard, and it’s impossible to say how Shodai stays on the dohyo… Aoiyama insists, and the inevitable comes: Shodai finds a quarter second to recover and shows the Bulgarian the door. A hard fought tsukiotoshi win for Shodai, who stays one off the pace.

Takarafuji v Asanoyama. Takarafuji, a solid yotsu wrestler, was promised a hard time facing the strong ozeki. Asanoyama drives forward, stays on his feet despite Takarafuji’s tricky shifts, and cleanly wins by yorikiri. He stays undefeated, while Takarafuji sees his fifth loss of the basho.

Takakeisho v Kagayaki. Takakeisho has not been taken out of his comfort zone at all. Some pushes exchanges saw the ozeki staying calm on his feet. Takakeisho shifts to his left, and Kagayaki falls to the clay. Three more wins, and the ozeki erases his kadoban status.

Hakuho v Kiribayama. For his first musubi no ichiban, Kiribayama quite understandably looked a bit nervous. He was caught napping by Hakuho at the tachi-ai. Curiously, neither the yokozuna’s attempted face slap, nor the attempted shoulder blast worked, as Kiribayama was still in his bed. Anyway, in the blink of an eye, the yokozuna wins by yorikiri. Hopefully, tomorrow will allow Kiribayama to settle down more conveniently. I twill be quite a challenge, though, as he will face another Miyagino resident, namely Enho.

20 thoughts on “Tokyo July Basho Day 7 Highlights

  1. “Ass a consequence…” best typo I’ve seen in a while. All the effort to buckle down and stay safe, cast aside for an evening out.

  2. A bunch of quality sumo today!

    For all of our talk about strategy and specific tactics, it still surprises me that “lowest hips wins” is the determining factor in so many sumo matches. Whenever I see it happen, I always think of Herouth yelling, “GET LOWER!” and agreeing with that ideology.

    I wonder how many, if any, problems Terunofuji will have because of his strategy in today’s bout. That’s Old School Terunofuji, but that’s also why his knees are shot and the reason he’s taking painkillers. Terunofuji should be looking at Tochinoshin as an example for why he should change things up to extend his career.

    I continue to be impressed by the vigor and spirit that the younger rikishi bring to their bouts. Kotoeko literally threw everything including the kitchen sink into today’s match and that’s great to see.

    Takakeisho won today, but it is worrying that he struggled like he did against Kagayaki. He’s on track to get his 10 wins, but the difficulty of his matches will only increase over time.

    The difference in Hakuho in yesterday’s match and today’s match is fascinating! He was very intimidating and aggressive before the tachiai with Takarafuji and today he was more relaxed and regal. It really shows that sumo has a mental side of things and that Hakuho is very aware of it.

    • Did you find Takakeisho struggled? For me, that was a call victory. A couple pushes, Kagayaki did not pay attention, and the ozeki showed him the door. Easy and efficient. Takakeisho is not a Hakuho guy that impresses by throwing everybody out of the ring.

      For Terunofuji, I think already damage has already been done. He might as well go on like that.

      I thought exactly the same about Hakuho. He makes sure nobody comes on the dohyo with too bold ideas. He’s not the kind guy who will gently send Kiribayama outside the limits. If someone wants to beat him, he will have to endure severe punches. I guess this is how he keeps some rikishi from emerging, and how he intends to stay on top for a while.

      • I guess I feel that Takakeisho “struggled” because I am used to seeing him exert his authority by moving forward. I tend to feel that a rikishi isn’t “in control” of the match when they’re being pushed backwards. I could be wrong with that line of thinking, but when a rikishi sidesteps (even when it’s planned) I feel that’s more of a reactive style of sumo that has less advantages and higher risks.

        The reason I made the comment about Terunofuji is his age. He is still young in “rikishi years”, so anything he can do to prolong his time on the dohyo is wise in my opinion. Of course, the reason he was so gravely injured is he didn’t rest or listen to any doctors in the first place.

        Hakuho has shifted his strategy to relying on his presence and his agility. The reason he won so easily today is Kiribayama was intimidated and didn’t take action. Any time that Hakuho gets a chance to be a step ahead of his opponent, he will most likely win. Hakuho has lost recently when his opponent hasn’t cared about “The Mighty Yokozuna” and they have proactively brought the fight to Hakuho when he doesn’t expect it. That doesn’t mean he automatically loses, it is Hakuho after all, but taking away that “first step” advantage is a huge factor in all of his matches.

    • Takakeisho only needs 8, not 10, to clear kadoban. And I thought Tochinoshin looked in control against Kotoeko until he tried to pull, which seems like an odd approach during a yotsu battle.

      • That was my thought too. I suspect he overthought it, perhaps trying to change his style for the sake of it. Who knows? He seemed in control and then suddenly he handed the bout over to Kotoeko. Credit to Kotoeko though for having the gumption to take the chance when he had it.

  3. How can anyone not like Asanoyama? I thought Takakeishos rise was impressive but Asanoyamas progress since his surprise yusho is just insane. The guy fights like a seasoned Ozeki yet it’s his first basho at this rank.

        • A French expression says: all tastes can be found in nature. Sure, I prefer Ichinojo’s former greenish blue or Kaisei’s orange, but everyone thinks differently, eh.

  4. What was up with Takakeisho’s tachiai? He just took a small hop and waited for Kagayaki to do something. It was entirely unlike his customary style, which I suppose may have been the point of it.

    I have to disagree with Timothee’s assessment that Hakuho’s face slap didn’t work. He uses that slap to slightly redirect his opponent’s momentum, and it worked like a charm. (But kudos to you, Tim, for a fine report.)

    Down in Juryo, Ichinojo’s habit of just standing up at the tachiai is costing him multiple bouts. Show some aggression, big fella! Who picked Wakamotoharu as the sole Day Seven Juryo leader? Not me.

    • Thanks for your opinion! I researched Hakuho’s bout, actually he managed to slap Kiribayama with the end of his phalanx. That’s why I’m thinking it was half a success: his target was a bit deeper – still in the starting blocks, actually. That combined brought him an easy victory. I wonder if Kiribayama was relieved that his torture was already over 😁
      In any case, I may be wrong and am always open to listening to different opinions!

      • I figure that the initial light slap, which lots of rikishi employ, both prevents the two rikishi from knocking heads at the tachiai and slightly deflects the opponent. By making it a light slap, it doesn’t much affect the forward momentum of the rikishi who employs it. But I’m no expert, so I’m happy to hear the opinions of others.

  5. I don’t know why Hakuho’s getting so much credit for a pretty blatant matta. I was looking forward to seeing how Kiribayama fared but we were denied an actual bout.

  6. I like Abi a lot–his enthusiasm, his smile, his skill, but this was a selfish act that endangers the other Rikishi (many of whom are morbidly obese and at extra risk of a bad outcome should they contract the virus) as well as the Basho itself being able to be completed. The JSA calling his actions “unpardonable”, may mean more punishment (expulsion?) may be coming his way…..

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