Natsu Day 3 Highlights

With day 3 in the books, its time to wonder if we will see fans in the Kokugikan starting day 4 as the NSK plans, or if the blanket state of emergency will keep people home, and the stadium eerily quiet. While I am enjoying the boom camera, I am among the people who find the empty hall unsettling. Sumo is meant to be enjoyed with thousands of screaming fans, including some extra loud school kids up in the rafters calling out the names of rikishi. Having been blessed with a few chances to watch sumo in person, I have to admit that I love it all. The aussies with the case of brews two rows down, the tourists there for the first time who show up early (around the start of Sandanme) and wonder what all the fuss is about, all of it. I hope and pray sumo comes back to its natural form before everyone forgets how.

Oh, and whomever was calling the kimarite today was clearly drunk or phoning it in.

Highlight Matches

Akua defeats Ishiura – Ishiura makes the bold decision to engage chest to chest against Akua, who is not a mawashi fighter. He finds a good hold, but can’t muster the moves to really turn it into a win. After a short time, it’s clear that Akua is the one controlling the match, and Ishiura then tries but cannot find a way to escape. Both finish the day 1-2.

Chiyomaru defeats Kaisei – Another fast win from Chiyomaru. He was able to completely disrupt Kaisei’s balance with an opening nodowa. He converted that by moving beside Kaisei and rolling him along tawara. Chiyomaru improves to 2-1.

Chiyotairyu defeats Akiseyama – Chiyotairyu went full force into the tachiai, as is his custom. Akiseyama was looking to get a mawashi grip in response, but came away with nothing. Although Chiyotairyu had a clear route to center-mass, he could not move Akiseyama. Chiyotairyu converted to a left hand inside, Akiseyama tried to set up a throw, and the release of pressure was enough for Chiyotairyu to run him out. Chiyotairyu is unbeaten at 3-0 to start Natsu.

Okinoumi defeats Daiamami – Daiamami had control of the match early, but lost advantage when Okinoumi changed up his grip, resulting in moro-zashi, and moments later a yori-kiri. Okinoumi joins the 3-0 club for the start of May.

Kotonowaka defeats Chiyoshoma – Kotonowaka picks up his first win of the basho, smoothly converting an off balance tachiai from Chiyoshoma into a kotenage. Both end the day 1-2.

Kotoeko defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi drove hard against Kotoeko’s “stand up” tachiai. Clearly he was worried about a Terutsuyoshi henka. The two exchanged pull down attempts, with Kotoeko’s pull finding its mark, sending Terutsuyoshi tumbling out. Kotoeko improves to 2-1.

Shimanoumi defeats Kagayaki – In the contest of the zero-win rikishi, it is Shimanoumi who comes out on top. Kagayaki had a strong tachiai, and was attacking well. Shimanoumi managed to get a right hand inside, and converted that into a win. Once again Kagayaki looks to be fighting well enough, but can’t find a way to win.

Tamawashi defeats Endo – Any time I see Tamawashi go for a kotenage, I just want to stop the match. Here he takes a turn attacking Endo’s face, gets frustrated and goes for the “arm-breaker”. Luckily I think nothing bad happened to Endo. Tamawashi remains in the 3-0 club.

Takarafuji defeats Tochinoshin – Takarafuji normal pattern of letting the match evolve was nowhere to be found today. The two were fighting for control of the match in the early moments when Tochinoshin reached forward to grab Takarafuji’s head, and pull. Takarafuji responded with a strong advance that ran Tochinoshin out of the ring. Takarafuji improves to 2-1.

Tsurugisho defeats Ichinojo – The match started with a rare event, an Ichinojo false start. This seemed to really throw whatever plan he had out of mind. In the second attempt, Ichinojo rushed forward, but not strongly. Tsurugisho caught him almost tenderly and swung him around to escort him out. That’s Tsurugisho’s first win, improving to 1-2.

Onosho defeats Hoshoryu – Onosho has had a few deep make-koshi in the past, and tends to come roaring back the following tournament. Today he takes that overflowing genki energy and blasts Hoshoryu out of the ring into one of the shimpan. Onosho stays with the 3-0 group, and looks to be in some of his best form in a while. Look at his foot placement as he drives Hoshoryu out…

Hidenoumi defeats Myogiryu – This is the first time that Hidenoumi has ever beaten Myogiryu. The match started with a lot of power from Myogiryu, but Hidenoumi was able to stalemate him at the center of the ring. A nice makke-kai from Myogiryu gave him a double inside grip, and Hidenoumi went on the attack, winning with a yoritaoshi as Myogiryu dropped to the clay.

Mitakeumi defeats Chiyonokuni – Mitakeumi opened strong, and Chiyonokuni found he had no answer. The only thing that seemed to present itself was to pull, and Mitakeumi responded by rushing forward and taking the match. Mitakeumi improves to 3-0 while Chiyonokuni remains winless, and possibly hurt.

Takanosho defeats Kiribayama – Points to Kiribayama for opening large, taking a vigorous opening combo to Takanosho at the tachiai. But Takanosho is just too balanced for the attack to work, and responds with a right hand inside. Kiribayama stays winless as Takanosho improves to 2-1.

Takayasu defeats Meisei – Another day of Takayasu running around wild on the dohyo. But hey, he’s 3-0 and its working for him. I would be tempted to say wait until he faces the Ozeki, they will tune him up, but it seems the Ozeki are once again hit or miss this basho.

Takakeisho defeats Hokutofuji – Without a doubt, Hokutofuji is on course for “The Most Powerful Make-Koshi In All of Sumo” once more. He was strong against Takakeisho, who pushed and shoved him with a lot of power, and took him over the bales after a valiant last stand by Hokutofuji. Hokutofuji is winless at 0-3 while Takakeisho improves to 2-1.

Wakatakakage defeats Asanoyama – I admit, prior to the tournament, I thought Asanoyama had his act together. I picked him for the yusho (see, they really are regrettable predictions!) but he’s a hot mess right now, just as he has been at the start of other basho in the past year. Wakatakakage opened with a henka, then boldly attacks the Ozeki on the mawashi. Asanoyama surprised me by not being able to overcome the smaller Wakatakakage on a yotsu-zumo battle. Lead Ozeki down to 1-2 as Wakatakakage picks up his second Ozeki scalp.

Terunofuji defeats Tobizaru – I have no idea what kind of awesome match plan Tobizaru mounted the dohyo with today. But Terunofuji was having none of it. I think my the 3rd step, Tobizaru was airborne and the match was done. Terunofuji remains perfect at 3-0.

Shodai defeats Daieisho – Another fine example of Shodai’s cartoon sumo, and it again earns him a win. Truth be told, Daieisho looked to only be about about 75% of normal attack mode, and really failed to keep the pressure on. I did like how both of them stood atop the tawara hoping the other one would fall first. Shodai improves to 2-1.

12 thoughts on “Natsu Day 3 Highlights

  1. That bout told me a lot about Asanoyama, none of it good. I was surprised too. An ozeki simply shouldn’t be losing from that position where he and Wakatakakage were locked up. At that point, there’s no trickery, no mobility differences involved. It’s straight sumo skills, strength, and will to win, and he couldn’t get it done. At his level, he needs to be able to impose his brand of sumo on lower rankers, and he just isn’t doing it.

    • Sadly my ability to use the like button seems to not be working, but you are dead on. I know Asanoyama has a Yokozuna career in him, he just needs to clear the decks of whatever BS is keeping him away from his sumo. That match today should be a wake up call to himself and his Oyakata.

  2. My main concern today was not in the top division, but down in Juryo. What was Enho doing not going kyujo? He’s injured from the Ura bout yesterday, even if he’s doing the typical thing in the sport and not showing it. But he could jeopardize his longevity by fighting through whatever his poor elbow/forearm went through.

    As for the top division, Mitakeumi looks locked in now. But I can easily see another second week slide befalling him. Terunofuji, too, looks unbeatable, but there’s a real possibility he drops out once he’s kachi-kochi. That would leave another random rikishi to take the title, so why not one who’s already done so? May I present the under-ranked Tamawashi, whose schedule will allow him to keep racking wins and won’t get brought up to fight higher rankers until later if he keeps up this form.

  3. I think today was the end of Asanoyama for this basho and he will be lucky, if he avoids kadoban. Yesterdays loss was already not encouraging, but today he parried the henka and then lost a a belt battle to lightweight Wakatakakage … don’t think he will mentally manage that well.

    Terunofuji … was that sumo today or di he mix up Tobizaru with a bowling ball? ;)

    Mitakeumi looks strong and promising so far, but he has folded so many times in week 2. The good thing about him being a komusubi is that he should almost be finished with the tough part of his schedule after week 1.

    Takayasu is fighting wild and successfull so far. I hope that will give him so confidence to fight strong and controlled for the reminder of the basho. He already took revenge on Meisei and Tobizaru and if he can overcome Wakatakakage tomorrow, that could be all the moral boost he needs.

    The shodai vs Daieisho bout … I don’t get how this wasn’t a torinaoshi. I mean if there was something like synchron sumo … the both jumped out of the ring perfectly at the same time.

    I feel a bit sad for Kiribayama. I really like his technique and his versatility, but he always seems to be a bit too light so far. Tomorrows match against Hoshoryu will be interesting … I hope we won’t see a henka.

    I don’t see Onosho that strong yet. He still has the tough part of his schedule ahead of him. Hoshoryu wasn’t really up to the challenge today though. He is however slowly transforming into a more well rounded rikishi. I’m curious to see how he will match up with the sanyaku guys this basho.

    The ozeki aside from Terunofuji all don’t look like they are gunning for the yusho, but Takakeisho can always get hot. Takayasu … I will root for him to beat his demon tomorrow and take the strength to march for the yusho. Mitakeumi … please … for once surprise us and stay consistent. Funny side not … Mitakeumi only ever topped 11 wins in Makuuchi two times in his career … both times he won the yusho.

    I think o0ne of those 3 will win the Yusho. Maybe Shodai will find his genki … he has only one loss so far, but just doesn’t look convincing. Maybe Takakeisho will get on fire too, same story. I don’t think one of the rank and file will stay on top. The banzuke is mixed quite well this time.

    Also happy that Oho got his first win down in Juryo today. Hope he doesn’t dig himself as deep as a hole as last time before warming up. Kotoshoho looks strong down there and probably has overcome whatever plagued him. He already looks like a lock for promotion. For the rest of the crowd, I’m holding my judgement ;) I wonder if Bushozan can follow through with his strong start. He is looking good so far, but he also started strong last basho and then barely saved himself from demotion by luck and a win on senshuraku.

    Down in Makushita Hokutenkai beat Roga today. My memorie might be fading, but that reminded me a lot of Takanoiwa … stand up the opponent and then a quick pull down. He already looked strong yesterday. I’m looking forward to his match with Abi. I guess they both have to go 3-0 for this to happen though. It’s really great that Nattosumo makes Makushita available as well now.

    • We’ve seen Asanoyama start bashos like and still get his Ozeki kachi-koshi. He’s a strong Ozeki. Give him time. Kisenosato went 8 straight tournaments after his promotion without getting 12 wins.

      • We will see. I don’t think that he is bad or anything. It’s not being 1-2, but the way he lost today. Schedule is kinda nice to him with Hokutofuji tomorrow, whom he normally dismantles easily. We will see.
        I actually like him a lot and hope he can take the next step within a year or two, but this tournament I’m very doubtful.

  4. I wouldn’t worry about Asanoyama, he’s had a tendency to open up poorly even going down 5 at one pint, then closing out with 10 or so wins in a row. Something about the first few days he really struggles, then he hits his stride.

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