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.
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.