A surprising leg kick, an expanded leader board, and one of the best henka shut-downs in a long time.
Shimanoumi defeats Ichinojo – Shimanoumi did a great job of standing up to Ichinojo, and key to that was an ill considered attempt to pull by Ichinojo early in the match that allowed Shimanoumi to get inside and underneath with his right. Thought Ichinojo had a solid left hand grip, Shimanoumi was able to convert that to his advantage and took the big Mongolian on a rough ride to a loss.
Tobizaru defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu took the tachiai, but his foot position was poor and could not move Tobizaru, who seems to have decided to open with defense. Hoshoryu obliged with blistering tsuppari, but still could not move Tobizaru. Tobizaru responded with a double hand shove which lifted Hoshoryu, and set up the thrust down that came a moment later. These two are going to be tossing each other around for the next few years, and that makes me quite happy.
Kotoshoho defeats Shohozan – Shohozan has no sumo. I don’t know where it went, but it’s gone. It was good to see him generate some offensive pressure against Kotoshoho, but Shohozan is not the fearsome force he was even a year ago.
Kaisei defeats Meisei – Kaisei was mobile today, and a tad aggressive for him. I don’t think that Meisei was being passive, but if Kaisei is moving forward, and stays in motion, you are going to need more mass than 1 Meisei Unit (MU) to effect him.
Kotoeko defeats Sadanoumi – I really like Kotoeko’s opening combo today. Sadanoumi applied more force, but Kotoeko got his right hand inside, and his left hand in good position. Sadanoumi quickly found that winning the tachiai left him in Kotoeko’s grip, and there was no chance to escape.
Chiyotairyu defeats Onosho – There was always going to be a first loss for Onosho, and it came at the hands of another power-front rikishi, Chiyotairyu. The two exchanged pre-bout matta, clearly they were trying to figure each other’s opening moves out. When they got underway, Chiyotairyu got his hands inside, and never gave up the inside lane to pushing hard on Onosho’s chest. Unable to get proper defensive footing, Onosho was unable to answer, and quickly exited the dohyo. He drops to 5-1, and the leader board broadens considerably.
Wakatakakage defeats Ryuden – Another matta exchange (this sure does get old fast) as the each tried to figure out the other one’s fight plan. Wakatakakage took control early, but could not finish Ryuden off, and Ryuden rallied. As Ryuden was driving forward, Wakatakakage manage to get to his left side, and the lateral attack proved succesful for Wakatakakage’s 4th win.
Takayasu defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu wanted a thrust down at the tachiai, Takayasu wanted a belt grip. Both men came up empty and had to settle for a chest to chest battle of strength. I had a moment of worry when Tokushoryu took Takayasu’s previously injured left arm and pulled it around his body. Takayasu escaped, and as Tokushoryu moved to re-engaged, he found himself slapped to the clay.
Kagayaki defeats Enho – Enho tachiai attempt to get underneath was only partially successful, and his grab at Kagayaki’s mawashi missed, leaving him low and vulnerable. Kagayaki attacked with gusto, and Enho never had another moment where he could generate any offense.
Aoiyama defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji wisely closed in to prevent Aoiyama from getting any kind of thrusting or bashing attack set up. Twice Aoiyama tried to twist and pull Takarafuji’s head down, but Takarafuji’s foot placement and balance were excellent. A 3rd pulling attempt from Aoiyama went nowhere, and you really have to be impressed by Takarafuji’s defense. Then came Aoiyama’s attempt at a leg kick, that was a gutsy move! Takarafuji advances, and Aoiyama delivers a sukuinage. Damn, that was impressive sumo from both.
Kiribayama defeats Tamawashi – I would call this the decade mirror match. We have the venerable Tamawashi facing off against his direct replacement Kiribayama. Let’s face it, these are more or less the same rikishi in a number of ways, about a decade apart. Tamawashi got some offensive thrusting in, and Kiribayama answered in kind.
Hokutofuji defeats Takanosho – All I can think of is that Takanosho got distracted. Maybe he was trying to focus on what he wanted to do following the tachiai? Hokutofuji hit hard, moved to his left and thrusted hard. Takanosho did not keep Hokutofuji in front of him, and was left with no defense to Hokutofuji’s lateral attack.
Terunofuji defeats Okinoumi – With Onosho’s loss, we know the yusho winner will have at least 1 loss. Terunofuji is fighting well, and it’s not outside of reasonable consideration that he might be in a position to contend for the yusho in week 2. Okinoumi got his favorite grip at the tachiai, but that left hand outside grip of Terunofuji, it just seems to be unstoppable right now.
Mitakeumi defeats Endo – How the hell did this happen? A clean tachiai, with neither man getting their preferred starting grip. Mitakeumi just reaches up and pulls Endo down? There are days when I just wonder about Endo.
Shodai defeats Tochinoshin – This was a bit painful to watch. Tochinoshin attempts to reach for his favored left hand outside grip at the tachiai, nearly gets it, but finds that Shodai is already moving him back. Shodai never let up the pressure, and Tochinoshin was run out of the dohyo in reverse. Shodai maintains his share of the lead.
Daieisho defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama continues to struggle, and Daieisho looks to be setting in a bit now that act 1 is done. To my eye, Yutakayama can only apply partial force to the front, and this makes him much easier to move back than would normally be the case.
Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu – Might have been a candidate for a matta call, but Myogiryu’s early start gave him a left hand shallow grip, and stood Asanoyama upright at the tachiai. But both hands were outside, and Asanoyama had what he needed to attack. Realizing he had been stalemated, Myogiryu attempted a pull, and that was the moment the match was lost.
Takakeisho defeats Terutsuyoshi – Oh what a match. Takakeisho’s really crummy and aggressive matta was designed to set Takakeisho up for a henka. The look on Takakeisho’s face is priceless, and easy to read, “Who do you think you are trying to fool here?”. Sure enough, a hit and shift from Terutsuyoshi at the tachiai, but Takakeisho was having none of it, and ejected Terutsuyoshi with prejudice. I counted 4 big shoves to send him flying over the edge. G’bye!