The big news is that Asanoyama withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday morning in Tokyo. It seems he injured his shoulder on day 1, which was only compounded on day 2 when Terunofuji decided to see how far he could heave an Ozeki this November. Injury is listed as “deltoid muscle contusion requires treatment for about 4 weeks”. Wakatakakage picked up a default win to get his first white star of November.
His day 2 opponent, Terunofuji, appears to be more genki than I have seen him in at least 3 years. This means we are going to get a lot of kaiju sumo, and that will be interesting to watch him clash with the Ozeki. In kaiju form, he is a credible opponent for any of them.
Lastly, what kind of day must you be having if you get thrown by Takakeisho?
Akua defeats Midorifuji – Akua gets his shonichi (first win) against compact Juryo visitor Midorifuji. Midorifuji was a bit too low, and was easy to slap to the clay right at the tachiai.
Shimanoumi defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma’s shows some excellent combo slaps to Shimanoumi’s face, but he’s unable to really put Shimanoumi down or out. After taking a fair amount of punishment, Shimanoumi get his hands to Chiyoshoma’s chest and pushes hard for the win. Shimanoumi remains lossless at 3-0.
Chiyonokuni defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka appears to favor some manner of tug-and-slap attack, which only slows Chiyonokuni down a bit. Chiyonokuni finds Kotonowaka’s chest and rapidly finishes the match to join the 3-0 club.
Chiyotairyu defeats Ichinojo – That’s the third day in a row where chiyotairyu did not launch into the tachiai with his normal break-neck speed. Change of tactics? Or maybe just working around an injury. Whatever it is, it finally worked for him today with his first win of November. Ichinojo seemed committed to getting a left hand frontal grip, and it left him too far forward, and easy to slap down.
Kaisei defeats Yutakayama – The match ended with both men leaving the ring together, and frankly I thought that Kaisei may have touched down with his elbow first. But it was a close call and the gumbai went to Kaisei. I did like the knee / leg pick at the end by Kaisei, gutsy move.
Hoshoryu defeats Enho – Enho continues to struggle, and Hoshoryu over torques a kotenage. The result is a hearty game of “Roll out the barrel” with Enho playing the part of the beer. Given his run of commercials on Abema, this is fitting. Hoshoryu picks up his 3rd win in 3 days.
Ryuden defeats Meisei – Ryuden had a generous butt wiggle going on pre-bout. Given his propensity to disrupt his opponents tachiai, I think it’s an interesting attempt. It worked well as it provoked a matta. The second time out, Meisei did get a launch, but it seems that Ryuden’s butt wiggle threw the timing off, and Ryuden had better body position almost at once. This came into play as the match evolved into an endurance leaning contest, with each rikishi bent nearly horizontal at the waist for a long time. Meisei, fighting with everything he could, ran out of endurance and succumbed to a throw. Ryuden needs to get his mawashi checked for one of Kisenosato’s much feared fire ants.
Kotoeko defeats Sadanoumi – A big, vigorous match today with the rikishi going chest to chest at the tachiai. Sadanoumi is fighting with power and speed, but still is coming up short as he drops to 0-3. It’s still early in the basho, but I hope that Kotoeko, now at 3-0, can muster a strong showing this November.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Aoiyama – My hoped for henka did not materialize today. Instead Terutsuyoshi achieved a left hand grip at the tachiai, and Aoiyama count not really counter the hold. Aoiyama still without his first win, as Terutsuyoshi advances to 1-2.
Endo defeats Tokushoryu – Endo showed outstanding sumo mechanics today. When he can get his left hand grip, he is tough to beat. Tokushoryu tried some of his usual moves, but Endo kept his hips square to his opponent, and marched Tokushoryu out for his 3rd consecutive win.
Tamawashi defeats Takarafuji – Tamawashi’s tachiai was as close to perfect as he might want. It resulted with him having a tight grip under Takarafuji’s armpits, and his opponent with no real way to counter. Both end the day 2-1.
Tochinoshin defeats Kotoshoho – I wondered in the preview if we might see Tochinoshin resort to some of his amazing strength this basho, and today was that day. It’s clear that knee cannot support the power needed for a full sky-crane lift, but he did give it a shot today. But that throw at the bales, with Tochinoshin pivoting on that damaged right leg made me cringe. He picks up his first win of the tournament.
Tobizaru defeats Myogiryu – Tobizaru tried an opening combo at the tachiai, and found that Myogiryu was well prepared to bash him around the face and shoulders. Tobizaru retreated, but kept working to create an opening. A well timed pivot against Myogiryu’s advance dropped Myogiryu to the clay, and Tobizaru has his first win of the tournament.
Hokutofuji defeats Daieisho – Daieisho got the better of the tachiai, and placed both hands behind Hokutofuji’s, apparently looking to pull him down with maximum force. Instead it launched Daieisho upward, and left him an easy mark for Hokutofuji to run out of the ring. Hokutofuji advances to 3-0.
Terunofuji defeats Onosho – Onosho’s open attack was almost enough to run Terunofuji out at the tachiai. Onosho had excellent and placement, and explosive forward power. But Terunofuji was able to set his feet, lock up both of Onosho’s arm and turn him into a struggling chunk of ballast. Unable to plant his feet for any meaningful defense, he was bodily carried to the bales and then tossed out for quick visit to a waiting Mitakeumi. Terunofuji maintains membership in the “perfect” 3-0 club.
Okinoumi defeats Takanosho – Takanosho had a late start at the tachiai, but set up a nodowa that took Okinoumi back 2 steps. With the space in the ring running out, Okinoumi counter attacked by pulling the same arm that had pinned his neck, and swinging Takanosho to the clay. Okinoumi advances to 3-0.
Mitakeumi defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki’s opening gambit, a double armpit attack, falls apart shortly after the tachiai. It leaves Mitakeumi with both hands inside, and his hips lower than Kagayaki. Really no way to defend against that, especially with a compact tadpole like Mitakeumi. Kagayaki remains winless.
Takakeisho defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama landed a mawashi grip at the tachiai, and typically that is a death knell for Takakeisho. Kiribayama backed the Ozeki up to the bales, and it looked like the win was all but secured. But Takakeisho loads.. a throw? And executes? Wow, unexpected! He improves to 3-0 while Kiribayama remains winless.
Shodai defeats Takayasu – Brilliant see-saw match, both of them were aggressive, throwing everything they could think of into this fight. They broke contact multiple times, and each time they re-engaged, the battle plan changed. With victory a heartbeat away, Takayasu saw Shodai reach into his bag of sumo, and once again pull out the pirouette we have seen him employ before. With nothing but air in front of him, Takayasu tumbled forward as Shodai watched him fall to the clay. Amazing bout. Shodai advances to 3-0.