I sincerely hope that Tatsunami heya has a nice hot tub or masseuse or something to deal with their athlete’s post competition aches and pains, as Hoshoryu took the full weight of Ichinojo falling on him, and lived to tell the tale. There are horses in the wilds of Mongolia that cannot say the same.
Sadly, any chances that Takakeisho had when he entered Hatsu at being considered for promotion to Yokozuna are now gone, and frankly I think he’s possibly hurt. He is not fighting well, he is not moving well, and he’s not using his double arm thrusting attack, which is what got him promoted to Ozeki. He injured a pectoral muscle a couple of years ago, and never really had it treated. It’s possible that is impacting his sumo, but we will likely never be told what is happening with his body, or if the trouble is all inside his head.
Hatsu day two served up a steaming pair of katasukashi (under shoulder swing down) kimarite for our enjoyment, and some good quality sumo all around. While I miss having the Yokozuna in the tournaments, there is some steady improvements in sumo from the rank and file, and they are putting pressure where it belongs – the named ranks.
Akiseyama defeats Shohozan – Juryo visitor Shohozan works hard to get inside, but he is shut down by Akiseyama really stellar defensive efforts today. Check out his stance and foot placement, that huge fellow is going nowhere except where he chooses. Eventually Shohozan manages to get chest to chest with Akiseyama, and drives forward. But Akiseyama pivots and sends dear old Shohozan out. 2-0 for Akiseyama to start.
Kotonowaka defeats Sadanoumi – Kotonowaka gets a right hand inside at the tachiai, keeps his hips low and just drives ahead. Both end the day with 1-1.
Midorifuji defeats Yutakayama – Lightning fast match with a spicy ending, Midorifuji stands Yutakayama up, and then grabs and armpit and hauls Yutakayama forward and down. Its a glorious katasukashi, and a 2-0 start for Midorifuji.
Ichinojo defeats Hoshoryu – What is it like to have 200kg or so of Mongolian meat land on you? I hope none of us ever find out, but Hoshoryu got a pancaking today from the Boulder. Hoshoryu opened strong, and for a moment I thought he would finish driving Ichinojo out, but the Boulder rallied, stood around for a while (his super power) and then went for a drive and smash after Hoshoryu started working to get a controlling mawashi grip. 2-0 start for Ichinojo.
Akua defeats Terutsuyoshi – Unexpected tachiai from Akua, as he turns to his left and presents his side to Terutsuyoshi, who ends up over extended and gets dropped with a hikiotoshi. It’s over in a flash, so don’t blink. First win for Akua, now 1-1.
Shimanoumi defeats Kotoeko – A rare Shimanoumi win over Kotoeko, and I think maybe Shimanoumi is going to have a strong start to this basho. Shimanoumi had his hands inside and forward at the tachiai, and got enough power against Kotoeko’s chest to push him back, and drive forward. Shimanoumi starts 2-0.
Aoiyama defeats Tokushoryu – Big Dan Aoiyama bounces back strong from his somewhat baffling day 1 loss, and gives Tokushoryu zero chance to do anything other than react. Some nice combos in there, and for a moment I thought Aoiyama might try to throw Tokushoryu. Both end the day with 1-1.
Kiribayama defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu dominated this match at the open and pushed Kiribayama and his injured knee wherever he wished, but some brilliant foot work and a well timed side step set up the second katasukashi of the day, and Myogiryu hit the clay to start Hatsu 0-2.
Tobizaru defeats Ryuden – Tobizaru needs to be careful with his new habit of putting his head down, and taking his eyes off of his opponent at the tachiai. It worked ok today, as he was able to get Ryuden off balance and disrupted at the second step. But from then on it was Tobizaru’s brand of hit and shift sumo. He left Ryuden no chance to set up any real defense or any kind of effective counter attack.
Meisei defeats Kagayaki – That tachiai was a great snapshot, with Meisei’s body position nearly perfect, and Kagayaki’s normally good form nowhere to be found. His feet were poorly placed, his back was bent and his hips were quite high. As a result, Meisei had his hands inside in an instant, and Kagayaki was immediately on defense. Kagayaki tried to battle back, and for a moment had control of the match, but he could never consolidate and switch back to his sumo, and ultimately gave Meisei his second win.
Okinoumi defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin chose to accept Okinoumi to battle it out on the belt. I suppose old habits die hard for the former Ozeki. Okinoumi took control of the match and turned Tochinoshin 180°, pinning him to the bales. Tochinoshin delivered a powerful defense at the bales, but Okinoumi switched to gaburi-yori and Kotoshogiku’d Tochinoshin away for a 2-0 start to Hatsu.
Endo defeats Tamawashi – Impressively low tachiai from Endo. Plenty of rikishi can get that low, but few can deliver effective offense from that position. Tamawashi took a step back, and in that moment Endo attacked, prying him off balance and down for his first win of Hatsu.
Takarafuji defeats Mitakeumi – For both of these guys, it’s quite a change up from day 1. Mitakeumi is stalemated for a second day, but for day 2 he’s up against a man with huge stamina. Once Mitakeumi is tangled up in his arms, Takarafuji is in control of the match, and it was only a matter of time before he wore the original tadpole down, and sent him to defeat. I love the patience and measured sumo from Takarafuji today, masterful!
Onosho defeats Terunofuji – I was quite surprised with this match, and I think Terunofuji was too. I think Terunofuji decided to let Onosho expend his energy in an initial attack, rally and win. But damn, can Onosho apply the forward power when he gets his body set up for it. Note to Terunofuji, those crummy knees are not going to hold this guy back, next time just blow him out at the start, and you can take him down. Onosho starts 2-0.
Takanosho defeats Kotoshoho – Takanosho was clearly not effected in the least by my battle chant (see the day 2 preview). He stayed low, and kept his feet surprisingly heavy as he chased a retreating Kotoshoho around the dohyo. I am starting to think that Kotoshoho is hurt, as he’s got nothing for the first 2 days. Takanosho starts 2-0.
Daieisho defeats Takakeisho – Did you hear that wet thud, followed by sad noises? That was Takakeisho’s tsuna bid evaporating at the hands of his best sumo buddy, Daieisho. Something is not right with Takakeisho, he seems to be only fighting at about 70% normal attack power, and both of his opponents have been able to extend their matches with him, and wear him out. Daieisho starts 2-0.
Asanoyama defeats Hokutofuji – A seriously messy and chaotic match between these two, with Hokutofuji looking more focused and in control than the Ozeki for the bulk of it. But Asanoyama finds just enough room to crank up part of a throw, and heaves Hokutofuji bodily from the ring. First win for kadoban Ozeki Asanoyama, 7 to go!
Shodai defeats Takayasu – To his credit, Takayasu did try to go for a yotsu battle with Shodai, which I thought would be his best chances. But his lower body was never stable, and his feet were far too busy to be effective. Shodai, on the other hand, seemed to be in control of his lower body, and keenly aware of where on the dohyo his next foot step must go. 2-0 start for Shodai, and he is looking rather genki.