A suggestion for the sumo association. You should be lining up about 2000 doses of one of the vaccines. Do it now so you have them in November. Then just vaccinate the whole association – everyone. Initial priming dose after the basho, booster shot 3 or 4 weeks later. Your COVID drama is done, and you can at least make sure your athletes are able to train, compete and interact. It would set you back some money, but when you think that your primary product is getting these giant guys to fight it out on TV, it’s really just a way to make sure your big names show up and compete. Plus it would set a great example for the rest of Japan that the vaccine is safe, effective, and is a pathway back to some restoration of normal life.
Hoshoryu defeats Nishikigi – Good news (if you like Hoshoryu), he has finally scored his first win. As is traditional, Nishkigi went for a double arm bar lockup at the tachiai. It seemed to set Hoshoryu back for just a moment, but then he used Niskikigi’s iron grip to pivot and throw. Hoshoryu looked to my eye to be moving a bit tenderly following the match.
Midorifuji defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi was useless today, Midorifuji had this match won from the second step. He succeeded in getting his hands inside and on Sadanoumi’s chest, then a big push forward against center-mass. Midorifuji improves to 4-2.
Kotonowaka defeats Ichinojo – Ichinojo had his hands inside at the tachiai, but could not keep the dominant position. Kotonowaka reached around Ichinojo’s chest and found he had both hands inside. Suddenly in control of the match, Kotonowaka drove forward before Ichinojo could rally. He improves to 5-1.
Akiseyama defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi starts low and gets a double hand frontal grip at the tachiai, and transitions into a battle hug around Akiseyama’s chest and enormous belly. As Terutsuyoshi is rushing forward to drive Akiseyama out, Akiseyama pivots and sends Terutsuyoshi to the clay. Wow, Akiseyama starts Hatsu 6-0. Terutsuyoshi’s left arm looks like it’s not doing well.
Yutakayama defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko put a lot of energy into this match, against a much larger opponent to boot. But Yutakayama seemed to be just too heavy today to be moved. Kotoeko lost when he tried to escape at the tawara and put a foot over the bales. Yutakayama 4=2 now. If he is healthy, he should be cleaning up at this rank.
Aoiyama defeats Akua – Traditional Big Dan sumo today. He stood Akua up and slapped him down. Aoiyama seems to be dialed into his sumo now, and will also likely be quite the wrecking ball at this rank.
Shimanoumi defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru can’t buy a win right now. He had the better of the tachiai, took control of the match, and was dominating Shimanoumi. Shimanoumi worked hard to stay on balance, stay in the ring and just endure all that Tobizaru was producing. It worked, and Tobizaru lost stamina, then lost his balance, then lost the match. Shimanoumi improves to 3-3.
Myogiryu defeats Ryuden – Myogiryu’s tachiai gambit paid off. His grip on Ryuden’s face raised him up, and Myogiryu slapped him down. Quick and brutal, Myogiryu improves to 3-3.
Kiribayama defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki has been really high for most of the tachiai thus far in January. It immediately puts him in a tough position, and we see it again today that Kiribayama requires less effort to control the match. Kagayaki got a nice rally in, but was still too high. A well timed side step, and Kagayaki was ripe for a slap down. Kiribayama improves to 4-2.
Endo defeats Tokushoryu – Another match with a super low Endo battle crouch. He tried hard for his much desired frontal grip, but Tokushoryu’s big belly was just too much to reach around. A nod to Tokushoryu for working hard to keep Endo centered, and his own hips low. But once Endo gets a hold of you, it’s not going to go your way. He improves to 3-3.
Okinoumi defeats Meisei – Great job of stalemating from Okinoumi. Meisei started the match looking to dictate a tsuppari battle, but Okinoumi focused on batting him away. This progressively put Meisei more off balance, and set up the tsukiotoshi. Meisei takes his first loss, and Okinoumi improves to 4-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho is the only man left in the tournament without a win, as Hokutofuji grapples, jostles and muscles Kotoshoho out with a body slam worthy of a rodeo. Good to see Ol’Stompy pick up his second win, but I remain convinced he will once again rack up the “most powerful make-koshi in all of sumo”.
Takayasu defeats Mitakeumi – Takayasu continues his dominant streak over Mitakeumi, now 16-6. Mitakeumi opened strong, and nearly put Takayasu away in the first moments of the match. But a Takayasu right hand outside grip gave him a shot to swing Mitakeumi around, and it worked to improve Takayasu to 3-3.
Daieisho defeats Terunofuji – Much as team Tachiai loves some Kaiju sumo, there was no stopping the run away freight train that is Daieisho at the moment. My bigger concern is Terunofuji tends to defeat himself in his own mind when things get rough. Daieisho improves to 6-0, and remains the man to beat. He has one san’yaku rikishi left to fight, in Takanosho, which will happen day 7.
Tamawashi defeats Takanosho – What year is it? That was 2016 style Tamawashi in full glory. I am not sure Takanosho even had time to try plan “B”, as Tamawashi rushed him off the dohyo. Both end the day 4-2.
Shodai defeats Tochinoshin – I really liked Tochinoshin’s lightning fast attempt to throw Shodai at the tachiai. Sadly it did not work, and it was just a few steps later that Shodai had Tochinoshin pinned against his body, and marched him across the bales. Shodai at 5-1 now, leading the Ozeki pack.
Onosho defeats Takakeisho – I love both of these wonderful tadpoles. But anyone who thinks Takakeisho is healthy and just having a string of bad matches should be convinced now. That’s not the same rikishi who won in November. He’s got no forward power, and he’s really not bringing much to any of his matches. Onosho just powers up and launches him deep into the zabuton zone. Onosho improves to 4-2, Takakeisho now 1-5.
Takarafuji defeats Asanoyama – We saw good sumo from Asanoyama the past couple of days, but then he fell into a bit of a Takarafuji trap. Its quite easy to anticipate that once Asanoyama gets into fight mode, he’s going to try for that left hand outside grip. Today, Takarafuji used Asanoyama’s drive to reach in as the start of an uwatenage. As Asanoyama moved his left shoulder, Takarafuji just continued the motion and rolled the Ozeki to the clay. That was some masterful sumo from Takarafuji, who improves to 3-3.