Hatsu Day 4 Highlights

At the end of day 4, an impressive number of rikishi have managed to start the tournament with 2-2 records. This is not really atypical, but it shows how even the field is yet again in this tournament, and we may see another January with a first time emperor’s cup winner. On that subject, it’s worth noting that Daieisho, Meisei, and Akiseyama are all 4-0, with a pack of 7 rikishi 1 loss behind.

While we are talking scores, Takakeisho at 0-4 is a grave concern. There is no way this is anything short of injury, and he owes himself, his fans and the sumo world the time to heal up. Sure, he is the lead Ozeki for this basho, and he may think he should stay in for the good of the tournament. But we need the grand tadpole back in fighting form, rather than his current underpowered form.

Elsewhere in the sumo universe, it seems NHK has decided to assert their copyrights on sumo youtube channels, and we are seeing everyone take a hit. It’s a shame, as people like Jason are great to listen to discuss the match and the rikishi prior to the match, but maybe NHK can find some accommodation for out favorite youtube channels.

Highlight Matches

Yutakayama defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu gave him a solid fight, albeit low velocity fight. The kimarite (sotogake )was a bit improvised, as Azumaryu and Yutakayama attempted multiple leg trips, Yutakayama finally pushing Azumaryu back over his left ankle. Yutakayama improves to 3-1.

Sadanoumi defeats Hoshoryu – When a rikishi as capable as Hoshoryu goes 0-4, I start looking for evidence of what kind of injury they are trying to muddle through. He is still moving well, but everyone is overpowering him. Typically that indicates an undercarriage problem, so maybe back or knees or ankles. He had a great throwing setup, but Sadanoumi’s overwhelming strength and speed shut him down before he could apply any power. Sadanoumi improves to 2-2.

Akiseyama defeats Midorifuji – Midorifuji put a lot into this match, and you can see him trying just about anything that he can come up with. But Akiseyama’s bulky frame presents quite the load for even the most motivated rikishi. I say pushing, I saw thrusting, I saw an ankle attack in there too. But Akiseyama remained locked onto Midorifuji, and shut it all down. Deadlocked and chest to chest in the center of the dohyo, Akiseyama drained Midorifuji’s stamina, and waited. With Midorifuji tiring, Akiseyama made his move, and improved to 4-0. I give a lot of credit to Midorifuji’s left side ottsuke, which he maintained for almost the entire match, and never let Akiseyama get his right hand in.

Kotonowaka defeats Akua – Akua got a bit off balance at the tachiai, his body too far forward, and Kotonowaka took immediate control of the match. Realizing he was on the fast track to a loss, Akua attempted to rotate into a throw, but did not have his feet set, and collapsed under Kotonowaka’s advance. Kotonowaka improves to 3-1.

Ichinojo defeats Kotoeko – When Ichinojo is healthy, this is what you get. Kotoeko does not have the mass to really do much to the boulder, and although he makes a valiant first step, he is out massed almost 2:1, and scampers for the exit (and not even really under his own power). Ichinojo improves to 3-1.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Aoiyama – Terutsuyoshi attempts a thrusting battle, but Big Dan fires up the V-Twin, and Terutsuyoshi really only has once place to go. He drives forward and buries his face between Asanoyama’s man-boobs and motorboats his way to victory. The expression on Terutsuyoshi’s face following the match underscores his resolve to win. Both end the day 2-2.

Meisei defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi has a very powerful start to Hatsu, but now he’s 2-2 after his day 4 loss to Meisei. Shimanoumi’s plan A and B fell apart, and before he could get plan C started, Meisei chucked him over the bales. Meisei improves to 4-0.

Myogiryu defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru once again applies frenzied intensity to his match. But as with previous days, he attempts a pull and in this gamble fails. Myogiryu presses forward, Tobizaru has no forward pressure, and is out in a blink of an eye. Myogiryu improves to 2-2 by staying calm and staying focused on his opponent’s balance.

Ryuden defeats Kiribayama – I am happy to report that Ryuden won his first match of January on day 4. He got a deep left hand grip at the tachiai, and immediately had Kiribayama reacting to his sumo. Kiribayama’s response was to pivot into a throwing position at least 3 times, but each time he could not rotate and complete the move. Each attempt cost him distance to the tawara, and on the final once, Ryuden pushed him out to improve to 1-3.

Tokushoryu defeats Kagayaki – This is the kind of move an opponent must always guard against when facing Tokushoryu. He does it so well you know he executes it at least daily in practice. Kagayaki takes his eyes off of his appointment, and finds himself slapped down. Both end the day 2-2.

Tochinoshin defeats Endo – We did not see Endo’s battle crouch today. Instead he reaches for a handful of mawashi and attempts to out muscle Tochinoshin. Bold move, but plausible given the former Ozeki’s bum knee. He backs Tochinoshin up to the tawara, and drives to win. But then Tochinoshin remembers that he has the strength of a bear, who has the strength of two bears. With a surge of ursine energy, it’s time for Endo to go, and we see a somewhat painful sky-crane move as Endo can do little to stop anything.

Tamawashi defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi: “Yotsu match!”, Tamawashi: “Oshi match!”, Okinoumi: “I said yotsu match!”, Tamawashi: “Get your grubby hands away from my belt, this is an oshi match!” Thus it went in this match, with Okinoumi crashing into Tamawashi as he rotated and both fell into a sweaty heap, with Okinoumi out first. Both end the day 2-2.

Daieisho defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi is up for his Ozeki matches, but then Daieisho comes and spanks him. Granted Daieisho has beaten these same Ozeki, but Mitakeumi really had nothing for offense today, and Daieisho got inside at the tachiai and took his thrusting sumo up to “win” power. Daieisho improves to 4-0, and looks like he could be the man to beat.

Takayasu defeats Terunofuji – I was curious if the old advantage Takayasu has had for years over Terunofuji would still hold. Yes, it seems it’s still Takayasu who owns this series. Terunofuji seems to get impatient and try a bit of a pull, and that was the start of Takayasu’s dominance of this match, and Terunofuji never got back in control. Both end the day at 2-2.

Takanosho defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji initial hit left him off balance, and Takanosho immediately slapped him down. Maybe Hokutofuji is not 100% after his broken nose on day 3. Takanosho improves to 3-1.

Asanoyama defeats Onosho – Onosho could not get enough space to set up his legs for his big forward push, and Asanoyama found his preferred grip and stance at the tachiai. Suddenly the strong, genki Asanoyama reappeared, and he shut down any further offense, marching Onosho out for a much needed second win.

Shodai defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho gets a workable grip at the tachiai, but as we saw on day 2, Shodai just shuts down his opponent and advances with unstoppable power. It’s a quite trip to the edge and a dive into the shimpan’s lap for Kotoshoho, who starts January 0-4 while Shodai improves to 3-1.

Takarafuji defeats Takakeisho – We saw Takakeisho attempt his double hand attack, but again the primary weapon, his left, had no power. Takarafuji expertly stays just at the wrong distance for Takakeisho’s thrust to have optimum effect, and focuses on staying upright, on balance and in the match. This pays off when Takakeisho ends up turned away from Takarafuji, and Takarafuji’s left hand finds Takakeisho’s mawashi. Takakeisho is down and ends the day 0-4, and is probably hurt, in my opinion.

18 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 4 Highlights

  1. I remember before Hoshoryu’s makuuchi debut last September it was mentioned he has chronic lower back pain, so his performance now could be related to that.

    Ryuden seems to finally have his new old tachiai timing back and was able to win with it. I’ll miss the pre-bout attempts to charge himself up, though.

    • …. hmmm, I’m not so sure that today’s bout provided evidence of back-pain troubles for Hoshoryu? Were it not for the inconvenient fact that his foot had already slipped out of the dohyo, he pulled off an incredibly athletic twisting mid-air throw!

  2. Akiseyama is the absolute embodiment of that rikishi cliché about “imposing my style of sumo”.
    First they attack me.
    Then they cuddle me.
    Then they lose.

    Every hour that he’s in a share of the lead makes me warm and happy inside. We love you, Grandpa.

    • aaw, i love this comment. I’m gutted that Tobizaru keeps losing but Akiseyama winning makes it better. I’m so happy he’s one of the 3 that are 4-0

  3. What on Earth was Kotoeko trying at the beginning of his bout with Ichinojo? It seemed like he was going to try some trickery, didn’t work, then “fight-or-flight” kicked in and he wasn’t fighting.

  4. Overall, this was a good day when the sumo train got back on track. Although Takakeisho might be well-advised to get off and wait for the next one.

    • I don’t want to see another yoko/zeki have a bad first few days and drop out. I scream internally when that happens because I think that person should have been sitting on a couch for the last two weeks, healing.

  5. “underpowered” is the right word for Takakeisho. He is either a human wrecking ball or he is nothing. And this basho… well… he ain’t no wrecking ball.

  6. Is it only me or does Akiseyama seem incapable of getting his hands down just prior to the tachiai? He seems physically unable.The gyojis never call him on it, so I must be mistaken

    • Is it only me or does Akiseyama seem incapable of getting his hands down just prior to the tachiai? He seems physically unable. The gyojis never call him on it.

      Such things are possible, actually. There was a wrestler in lower divisions who was really unable to crouch, couldn’t get his hands any closer than maybe 20 cm above ground. Referees would let it slide but some opponents would not, leading to some awkward scenes.

  7. Add me to the list of people who think Takakeisho’s gotten too big for what his body can physically handle =-\ He used to have more of a neck than Takarafuji… Even if Keisho yusho’d from here somehow, I can’t see them giving him a rope at 12-3, unless they are THAT desperate and, yeah, Takakeisho does at least show up.

    Daieisho yusho? Midorifuji yusho? 😛 Who knows?

  8. As much as I like Ura, he did not deserve to be awarded a win. You can say that it was close enough for a rematch, but I think he kinda lost actually.

    • It does look like he stepped out before he pushed Tohakuryu out. It probably should’ve been a mono-ii, but I guess they were giving Ura the benefit of being the aggressor.

      • Just re-watched it; I think everyone was so busy watching Tohakuryu’s foot leave the dohyo that they didn’t notice Ura inadvertently step out. Probably not even Ura himself.

  9. Takakeisho is just too darned fat. I’m now wondering whether, when Hakuho handed him the extended punishment a couple weeks ago, the G.O.A.T. wasn’t sending the short-armed butterball a none too subtle message to use a smaller chanko bowl. The guy can barely reach around his own girth!

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