Hatsu Day 7 Highlights

With today’s win, Daieisho is alone at the front of the yusho race, and he has dispatched the entire san’yaku in consecutive days. Absolutely brilliant tournament so far from Daieisho, and the rest of his schedule is all rikishi from the rank and file. A win tomorrow would give him a stellar day 8 kachi-koshi, and he has to be the man to beat in the yusho race. The only credible challenge is Shodai with one loss, but that one loss was to Daieisho on day 3. Some Maegashira is going to have to put dirt on Daieisho if anyone is going to try and catch him.

The quality of sumo today was excellent, and with the first six matches being really outstanding. I think my favorite of the basho is Hoshoryu’s win over Kotoeko. Both of them fought with strength, speed and stamina. Shame you could not give a win to both of them. Also, I am not sure when I am going to get tired of Midorifuji dishing out katasukashi, but it won’t be any day soon.

Highlight Matches

Churanoumi defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi only got one good attack to land, right at the tachiai. Though he got in first, it was more or less the end of offensive action in this match, as Churanoumi took over and completely disrupted everything Sadanoumi tried. Churanoumi returns to Juryo with a 4-3 record.

Midorifuji defeats Kotonowaka – Midorifuji was so dialed in this match, he got two attempts at his katasukashi. The first one did not have quite enough power behind it, and Kotonowaka could not stop him from resetting and trying again. Both end the day at 5-2.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama had the advantage at the tachiai, and Terutsuyoshi gave ground. But it was all to get Yutakayama moving, and setting up a very nicely executed arm bar throw. 4 steps later and Yutakayama hits the clay, as Terutsuyoshi improves to 3-4.

Ichinojo defeats Akiseyama – Akiseyama takes his first loss in this battle of the bigs. He takes the fight to Ichinojo, and both put a lot of power against the other. Akiseyama attacks and moves forward, but finds Ichinojo not quite where he expected. Akiseyama takes a fall with a well placed shove from Ichinojo. Ichinojo improves to 5-2.

Hoshoryu defeats Kotoeko – Wow! A raging battle that was some of the best battle sumo of the tournament so far. I am not sure if Hoshoryu overcame whatever injury he is nursing or just gamberized the heck out of that match, but wow! Both end the day at 2-5.

Shimanoumi defeats Akua – Akua attempted a bit of a henka or hit and shift at the tachiai, but Shimanoumi re-engaged with vigor, and dominated the match. Akua continues to seriously struggle to rack up wins, picking up his fifth straight loss falling to 1-6 today while Shimanoumi improves to 4-3.

Kiribayama defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama launched a bit early, and went to work on Kiribayama’s face and neck. The trouble with this facial attack focus is it leaves your chest and body quite open for your opponent, and Kiribayama went straight for center mass. It only took a few solid thrusts to disrupt Aoiyama’s attack, and moments later when Aoiyama misses a big hit from the V-Twin, Kiribayama put him down for a 5th win.

Myogiryu defeats Kagayaki – After Kagayaki’s matta, his timing was off at the tachiai, which gave Myogiryu superior position. With Myogiryu inside an underneath Kagayaki’s arms, Kagayaki found himself too high, and unable to stop Myogiryu’s advance. Myogiryu finishes day 7 4-3.

Ryuden defeats Tokushoryu – Tokushoryu had advantage for the briefest moment at the tachiai, but his opening gambit attempting to pull Ryuden down failed, and left himself open for Ryuden to take control of the match. Ryuden took his time, got his hands in the right spot and dropped the front-heavy Tokushoryu. Both end the day 2-5.

Tobizaru defeats Okinoumi – Cheering today from the monkey kingdom as Tobizaru finally gets his second win. It looks like Okinoumi’s approach to the match was to keep his body solid and quiet, minimize his movements and let Tobizaru spend all his energy early. But instead of dancing about the dohyo, Tobizaru’s hands found center mass, and a moment of poor foot placement from Okinoumi, and charged ahead for a much needed win.

Endo defeats Meisei – Really nice deflect and disrupt sumo from Meisei today, but Endo shows great stability and patience, and waits to get his hands on Meisei’s mawashi. This pays off as he gets Meisei turned about and push-carries him out. Endo improves to 4-3.

Takarafuji defeats Tamawashi – Bold move from Tamawashi, attack Takarafuji’s neck. We all know that Takarafuji’s neck was only a myth, and that opening gambit fell apart in a hurry. A couple of vigorous pushes from Tamawashi, but Takarafuji was able to set up his defense, and he waited Tamawashi out, found a mawashi hold, and threw him down. Both end the day at 4-3.

Takayasu defeats Hokutofuji – I am really impressed by how low both of these guys were the whole match. Hokutofuji gave up the inside position at the tachiai, and that was all it took for the win. Takayasu improves to 4-3.

Daieisho defeats Takanosho – Absolutely perfect tachiai, with both men near mirror images of the other and they clashed. But Daieisho threw his arms up, and all of that energy was translated into Takanosho’s body. The force of that lifted him and threw him almost to the tawara, and that was more or less the match. Daieisho closed the gap, and finished him with a quick combo to the chest, and Takanosho stepped out. Wow! Daieisho maintains his perfect score at 7-0.

Terunofuji defeats Mitakeumi – Terunofuji completely overpowers Mitakeumi, who can do little more today than serve as ballast for the yorikiri. Terunofuji really looks like he is terribly sore. He needs 4 more wins to reach his 8 (now 4-3), and I do hope his knees can hold up into week 2.

Asanoyama defeats Kotoshoho – Asanoyama got his favorite grip, his favorite stance but still struggled to take care of the winless Kotoshoho. I don’t know if it’s injury or everyone has him figured out, but the fact that Asanoyama struggled with Kotoshoho’s defense today has me concerned. Asanoyama improves to 4-3.

Shodai defeats Onosho – Onosho’s opening gambit falls flat, and he finds himself encased in a meaty wall of Shodai. Shodai advances and takes win number 6. I continue to see signs of reactive sumo in Shodai, and its working better for him than it did for Kakuryu. Possibly because he does not have Kakuryu’s bad back. Shodai improves to 6-1. A nod to the lady in zabuton land who points at Onosho’s arse and discusses it with her friend.

Takakeisho defeats Tochinoshin – We saw one wave action blast today, but did anyone else catch that it was right-hand dominant? Something going on with Takakeisho’s left, and that’s his primary weapon. Tochinoshin simply cannot put enough power to earth through that damaged knee to hold up under a tadpole blast like that. Takakeisho picks up a much needed second win to advance to 2-5.

10 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 7 Highlights

  1. That Hoshoryu/Kotoeko bout was great. I’m quickly becoming a Kotoeko fan. He’s become a solid rank-and-filer.

  2. I was trying to think of what animal Daieisho reminded me of, badger, fighting cock, wolverine, ratel and then it clicked. Daieisho is the human embodiment of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, right down to the ugly but adorable face. He the man now dog!

    • I used to think of him as the Fighting Cupid (Takakeisho being the Fighting Dumpling); something about the way Daieisho perched on the dohyo in his red mawashi waiting for the tachiai looked cherub-like. Now I wonder if he wakes up with the goofy cheerful energy of the pit bulls I have known. Happy to see him doing so splendidly.

  3. The scrum of this brass ring basho is settling a bit now with wins-losses peeling the pack apart. Not that Daieisho is any calmer. Good fighting spirit across the board!

    “Meaty wall” of Shodai is right. I figured he’d be okay against Onosho’s tachiai because of his upright style. We’re all clear that Onosho is headbutting powerfully with his tachiai, right? I know it’s a tactic but Terunofuji’s broken tooth, Tamawashi grabbing him by the face at the outset of the bout – how he’s not got a giant bruised egg on his head, I don’t know. And he’s putting up the charm offensive in his winner interviews. All I can gather is that with the NHK Welfare show canceled, he’s angling to sing on mic eventually…

    Ah, Akua. He did have COVID and was isolated most of December. Though he’s gathering losses, I do appreciate his effort considering his situation. The Tatsunami trio are a scrappy bunch -disappointed in Meisei’s loss, but his record so far has been a very pleasant surprise.

    Asanoyama did struggle and it is concerning, though some matches he’s had a strong win. To be fair, Bruce said he didn’t show up to joint degeiko practice and he had. There’s a photo where he’s sporting some rope rash on his face and getting advice from Kakuryu.

    Regarding Takakeisho, I’ve been thinking about the end of a September bout when his supporting arm to get up wasn’t shaking – it was spasming. I think it was his left. He said it was nothing and there was no sign of it again, but I’ve been recalling it this basho.

  4. Daiesho correctly calculated that he wouldn’t see a henka from any of the sanyaku guys. He’ll need to revise that calculation against the lower rankers. Someone definitely needs to try one on him.

    I saw the Kiribayama-Aoiyama bout differently than Bruce. Kiribayama’s focus appeared to be on grabbing the meaty undersides of Aoiyama’s extended upper arms and shoving them aside.

    Early in the basho, I thought I saw Shodai wincing with pain from a re-injured ankle. Andy read the expression as Shodai exalting in victory. Andy was correct; Shodai’s ankle seems fine.

    Akiseyama’s primary strategy is to absorb rikishi into his unsightly belly, then suck the life out of them. He knew that approach wouldn’t work against Daimajin, er, Ichinojo. Alas, Akiseyama’s tsuppari was equally ineffective.

  5. Is Mitakeumi perhaps another rikishi to add to the pile of gained too much weight and now can’t function as well? Takakeisho is exhibit A, injury non-withstanding, and we saw it with Ichinojo a couple basho ago.

    Terunofuji has not looked this good since he has his full compliment of teeth. And Endo’s battle crouch is spreading to other wrestlers to great effect.

  6. Re Asanoyama form: ‘I don’t know if it’s injury or everyone has him figured out’. Injury or perhaps a problem inside his head in my opinion. His style is too varied for being figured out (unlike a certain other Ozeki who has a predictable style and is also injured).

  7. Pardon me for going out on a limb here, but Daieisho is beginning to remind me a little bit of Hokutoumi in his pomp. But then again I’m the idiot who said that Ishiura was the second coming of Chiyonofuji.


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