Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

With a thunderous kyujo, act 2 comes to a close. I do mean Takakeisho, yes. While he has had poor performance from the start, he was was the center of attention in the days before the basho, as he had taken the cup in November and had an opportunity to make a bid to be promoted to Yokozuna. It seems at some point early in the tournament he injured his ankle, but frankly I think there may be more than that. He has looked unwell since the joint practice in the basement of the Kokugikan. I hope that he can get his body together a bit later this year and try again.

In the rikishi still active, there was no change at the top of the leader board as both Daieisho and Shodai won their matches today, and remain #1 and #2 respectively. This only gets interesting if someone can drop Daieisho at least once during act 3, which starts tomorrow. Personally I like the chances of another loss (at least 40%) due to the mental pressure of considering the yusho may cause some loss of focus during the daily bout. The chance is high we won’t know who will take the cup until day 15, and that is how it should be.

Highlight Matches

Azumaryu defeats Akiseyama – Akiseyama has now lost 4 in a row, and is on a genuine cold streak. He had been tied for the lead at one time, and is now struggling. Is it a cold streak, or did he pick up an injury? Either way, Azumaryu picks up a much needed win to improve to 3-7.

Hoshoryu defeats Kotonowaka – Ok, Hoshoryu seems to have found his sumo for real! He beats Kotonowaka for the first time in 4 attempts by slamming him to the clay after a leg trip attempt. He has won the last 5 in a row after losing the first 5 from opening day.

Ichinojo defeats Midorifuji – You have to admire Midorifuji’s courage, he has to have seen Kiribayama’s day 9 attempt to grapple Ichinojo, and he somehow said to himself, “I am going to try that too!”. Well, it was just as pointless as once you get a hold of Ichinojo, he gets a hold of you, and you realize you have no way to let go. So you try to bide your time, but Ichinojo is quite comfortable and possibly napping. You then realize that you are simply going to have to make it look good. Ichinojo advances to 7-3 to remain at the edge of the group chasing Daieisho.

Sadanoumi defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama had the early advantage, and fired up his thrusting attack. Sadanoumi took the punishment and got inside and them got Aoiyama moving back. I notice that Sadanoumi’s leg was not as heavily wrapped today as it had been in earlier matches. Maybe that gave him some of his speed and mobility back. Both end the day 5-5.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Myogiryu – Well, they traded push back mattas, and it was clear they were annoyed with each other. When they got underway on the 3rd attempt, Myogiryu attempted a double hand slap down, but could not make it stick. Myogiryu found himself without any defensive elements to the match, and Terutsuyoshi blasted him out to improve to 4-6.

Akua defeats Tokushoryu – Sharing is caring, they say, and today Akua gave Tokushoryu the gift of make-koshi, which he received on day 9 from Tobizaru. This was another extended chest to chest match, though nothing on the scale of Ichinojo’s long duration endurance challenge. I did not like the way Tokushoryu’s left knee / leg collapsed at the end. I hope he is not injured. Both end the day at 2-8.

Meisei defeats Kiribayama – It was a battle of the slap / pull down attempts, and while it was not pretty, it all worked out for Meisei. Meisei tried one first, giving the advantage to Kiribayama who responded moments later and that loss of forward pressure was all Meisei needed. Why do these guys try to respond to a dumb move with their own version of the dumb move? I see it far too much in sumo. Meisei improves to 7-3 and stays 2 behind Daieisho.

Kotoeko defeats Tobizaru – Another day with a flying hands of fury match involving Kotoeko. He has the right partner for that activity in Tobizaru, and they two went at it like a pair of tabbies jacked up on catnip. Sometimes I do love a good “kitchen sink” match, and this was pretty close to that, with Kotoeko ultimately giving Tobizaru a powerful shove over the bales for the win. Both end the day 4-6.

Ryuden defeats Yutakayama – Ryuden did a fantastic job of robbing Yutakayama of his offensive tools. He locked him up early and drove him back and out within 5 steps, leaving Yutakayama no room to maneuver, and no room to push back. Ryuden has won 3 of is last 4 and improves to 4-6.

Kagayaki defeats Shimanoumi – Possibly the best sumo from Kagayaki so far this tournament. He stayed low, kept his stance wide, kept his feet heavy and his shoulder square. Shimanoumi battled back well, but once Kagayaki gets into this mode, he’s quite powerful. Kagayaki improves to 5-5.

Takarafuji defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho continues his relentless drive toward a 0-15 result, which is slightly easier to obtain than a zensho result. Its heart breaking, as the guy really has some excellent sumo. Kotoshoho came close today when Takarafuji fell out of the ring with Kotoshoho, but it was clear that Takarafuji’s hand touched down after Kotoshoho’s foot it the janome. Takarafuji improves to 6-4.

Daieisho defeats Hokutofuji – Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with (once again) The Most Powerful Make-Koshi in Sumo! Hokutofuji had a couple of good hits, but this was all Daieisho, and he improves to 9-1 and maintains sole possession of the lead.

Takayasu defeats Tochinoshin – Takayasu had some great hand placement, catching Tochinoshin under the armpits with a meaty shove that ruined his balance and left him wide open to be attacked and moved out. Takayasu improves to 6-4.

Mitakeumi defeats Onosho – Ok, maybe Mitakeumi has his act together now. He takes down fellow tadpole Onosho and knocks him out of the group 2 losses behind Daieisho. Mitakeumi guessed that Onosho would bring his center of balance as far forward as he could, and timed his release of pressure and pull down superbly. He improves to 5-5.

Takanosho defeats Terunofuji – I am gobsmacked by this one. On what planet was Takanosho the winner. Oh well, anyone surprised that Terunofuji got the short end of another monoii? I sure am not. Takanosho’s gymnastics to stay airborne as they both went out were spectacular. Both end the day 6-4.

Asanoyama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi opened with a powerful combo, which Asanoyama absorbed well, got his hands around Tamawashi and took control of the match. He improves to 7-3 to remain 2 behind Daiesho.

Shodai defeats Endo – Endo is a master tactician, and had a great formula for today’s match against Shodai. He had the Ozeki off balance and dancing around to maintain footing, and then the cartoon sumo kicked in. Shodai’s in the middle of being thrown, and suddenly he pivots and its Endo thats off balance. Shodai continues the rotation and they both crash over the bales. The gumbai goes to Shodai, and I am left wondering what I just saw. Of course there was a monoii, as they all say in unison “What the hell was that?” But no, the cartoon sumo worked once again, and Endo lands first, and it’s kachi-koshi for Shodai.

13 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 10 Highlights

  1. On the replay is was very clear that Terunofuji lost. Takanosho’s foot didn’t touch the sand at all. He balanced well on the tawara. I think Isegahama-oyakata was the head shimpan on duty so I don’t think there is foul play. Murray Johnson also said it was a clear Takanosho win.

    • Yes, the replays are in Takanosho’s favor. It’s not the first time he has managed such balance: Day 14 vs Onosho last September. Murray refers to Takanosho’s “twinkle toes” on the tawara.

  2. That heel again! It’s like the May 2019 Tochinoshin-Asanoyama bout all over again. This time, I think the heel really was out and Terunofuji should have been declared the winner over Takanosho. Would have been Terunofuji best “win” of the tournament so far.

    • Nope. I’m an avid Terunofuji fan and it was Absolutely Takanosho’s win. He kept his heel off the sand, you could see the light beneath it.

  3. I watched the very hi def NHK live broadcast, saw the replays multiple times, and it sure seemed clear to me that Takanosho managed to stay balanced on the tawara with his heels off the ground. It was close, but Terunofuji lost.

    This is the second straight bout in which Tochinoshin tried an ineffective forearm to his opponent’s neck. He could generate much more power with a nodowa. Retire that move immediately, big guy!

    Hokutofuji would have racked up an easy win with a henka against Daiesho, who wouldn’t have anticipated it. “The Most Powerful Make-Koshi in Sumo” don’t pay the bills.

  4. After seeing the match and reading Bruce’s comment on Midorifuji vs Ichinojo match, it really felt like seeing Ash Ketchum trying to grab and move Snorlax. >_<

    It was like seeing Midorifuji just after the Tachiai saying: ” Ok….now that i’ve done that…..then what ? Where do i go from there ? ”
    All while Ichinojo/Snorlax was just leaning and “slumbering” more and more on him…crushing him.
    Ichinojo: ” Zzzzz…..”
    Midorifuji: “Hum…you ok all the way of there buds ?”

    All that until ours dear Ichinojo/Snorlax finaly had a wake up spasm and just move his arm to flung and swat around the poor little guy down the dohyo effortlessly.

    • Ichinojo may be the sleeping beauty, but his good looks is not his only weapon. He knows exactly when his opponent is worn out enough to wake up and sweep them out of the dohyo while they are still dripping with lactic acid. Mean lean machine (“lean” as the verb, not the adjective).

  5. You call it “cartoon sumo,” I call it having better balance, agility, strength, and countering-capabilities than your opponent.

    I think we’re both accurate.

    And I love it.



    Another classy win for Hoshoryu. Personally I wouldn’t call it a ‘leg trip attempt’ but simply a successful leg trip.

    Midorifuji sure has some fight in him. But seeing him ever so slowly being crushed closer and closer towards the clay, I began to wonder if he might get transmuted into some kind of semi-precious gemstone due to the relentless tectonic forces he was being subjected to.

  7. No reason to invoke an injury for Akiseyama, who after a fluky 6-0 start simply reverted to the form of a career Juryo-Makushita shuttle rikishi.


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