While we had some fun with the number of 4-2 head to head matches that cropped up on the day 7 torikumi, a surprising number of 4-2 rikishi are now 5-2, and I am going to guess that the scheduling committee will end up with a day of 5-2 head to head matches as well. Sadly, that now includes Takayasu, who lost his second match of the basho. That leaves 2 Ozeki in contention as we await the tournament’s middle day on Sunday.
Chiyonoo defeats Ishiura – They even imported a 4-2 rikishi from Juryo to help out with what was “4-2 day”. I think we are probably going to see Chiyonoo return to the top division in July, for the first time since 2017 or so. He had his hands inside at the tachiai, beating out Ishiura. Ishiura responded with a left hand outside grip attempt, but went nowhere. They stayed chest to chest, but Chiyonoo kept moving Ishiura back, eventually getting the yorikiri to improve to 5-2 (get used to that, you will see it a lot today).
Chiyomaru defeats Akiseyama – Akiseyama continues to struggle this May, and I would guess he’s going back to Juryo unless he rallies strongly starting now. Chiyomaru got in the first strike at the tachiai, and pressed ahead for the 3 steps to take Akiseyama out. He improves to 5-2.
Okinoumi defeats Kaisei – This was a surprisingly good match. Kaisei did try to just be enormous at first, but Okinoumi had a plan for that. Much like picking up a refrigerator, Okinoumi kept inching his arms around until he found Kaisei’s belt. The Kaisei showed some great sumo chops and shifted grip, shutting down Okinoumi’s attack. But with as much front-loaded mass as Kaisei transports, he was a bit off balance, and Okinoumi pulled him down as Kaisei moved forward. Okinoumi improves to 5-2.
Chiyotairyu defeats Kotoeko – This match was not Chiyotairyu’s standard battle plan, but he did quite well chest to chest against Kotoeko. That big forward rush to finish the match? Kind of magical to be honest. If Chiyotairyu made this a standard part of his sumo arsenal, I think he could go somewhere with it. Chiyotairyu improves to 5-2.
Chiyoshoma defeats Akua – Ok, it stinks when Chiyoshoma henkas every day, but when he pulls out a theatrical whopper like this one, it’s kind of fun. I feel bad for Akua, who picked up his 6th loss, but how can you NOT go into a match with Chiyoshoma looking out for that kind of move? Chiyoshoma goes to 4-3 via flying henka.
Daiamami defeats Kotonowaka – Daiamami ran this match from the tachiai, until the moment where Kotonowaka rallied and shut him down. I did like that big belly slap as the two locked up for what turned into a period of chest to chest struggle near the center of the dohyo. But Kotonowaka ran out of stamina, and Daiamami eased him over the bales to end the day 4-3.
Shimanoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Whatever they transplanted from Terutsuyoshi to keep Terunofuji’s knees working took the better part of his sumo along with it. Shimanoumi was able to shut down all of Terutsuyoshi’s preferred attack routes, and found himself fighting from a crouch for a few moments as Shimanoumi moved him incrementally out of the ring. Shimanoumi has won 4 of the last 5 after a cold 2 loss start to the basho, he is now 4-3 and looking close to expected form.
Tamawashi defeats Tsurugisho – Wow, that was some huge sumo from these two. Tamawashi opened oshi-zumo style, and Tsurugisho used his bigger body to press for a belt grip. He was able to plow through Tamawashi’s attacks and get his grip, and went to work. But just as Tsurugisho looked ready to win, Tamawashi took control of the throw and drove Tsurugisho’s face into the bales with a resounding meaty thud. Tamawashi improves to 5-2, Tsurugisho leaves the dohyo with a bloody gash on his face.
Kagayaki defeats Takarafuji – The reverse of the multiple 4-2 battles today was this 2-4 battle, between two rikishi who are much better than their scores would indicate. Kagayaki successfully shut down Takarafuji’s attack plan, but Takarafuji was unable to switch to “defend and extend”, and Kagayaki took control and brought him over the bales. Kagayaki ends at 3-4.
Endo defeats Tochinoshin – Endo chose to go chest to chest with Tochinoshin, a bold move indeed. Tochinoshin quickly gained superior body position, but his damaged right knee removed any ability for Tochinoshin do to anything offensive. Endo used his body to move Tochinoshin back, and take the match by sending the former Ozeki out. Endo improves to 5-2.
Ichinojo defeats Hidenoumi – Ichinojo opened strong, but Hidenoumi stayed calm, and worked his hands to a double inside grip. At that point, Ichinojo shut him down by simply being enormous, and staying in one place. Truth be told, holding Ichinojo up is a job his on body struggles to do, and Hidenoumi quickly ran out of stamina. Ichinojo improves to 5-2.
Onosho defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru flubbed the tachiai by going high, and allowing Onosho to bring more of his weight forward. But he quickly gained advantage and a left hand deep hold, and set up an over-arm throw. But in the process of being rotated down, Onosho imploded the throw, and Tobizaru went down with him. The gyoji pointed to the East, giving the match to Onosho and a monoii ensued. They touched down together, and a rematch was called. The second match was a high-energy slapping and thrusting battle that sent Tobizaru into the 4th row for some fansa. Onosho improves to 5-2.
Meisei defeats Wakatakakage – Meisei almost rammed Wakatakakage straight out of the ring at the tachiai, but Wakatakakage showed lightning reflexes and escaped Meisei’s finishing push. Wakatakakage rallied and took at least partial control of the match, taking the fight to Meisei. He was moving Meisei back, but got off balance and Meisei put him face down on the dohyo. Meisei improves to 3-4.
Mitakeumi defeats Daieisho – Daieisho got the inside lane at the tachiai, but he could not overcome Mitakeumi’s mass in motion forward pressure. Realizing he was moving back at an alarming pace Daieisho tries a pull, and in doing so surrenders the match to Mitakeumi. Mitakeumi improves to 5-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Takayasu – I love seeing a Hokutofuji like what he brought to today’s match. I marvel at how such a massive fellow can lunge forward with such speed and aggression. It does Hokutofuji some good, but Takayasu rallies and goes on the attack. Hokutofuji realizes he’s in trouble and attempts a pull as he is losing ground, and it succeeds in sending Takayasu off the dohyo for Hokutofuji’s first win of May.
Takakeisho defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu side stepped the tachiai, hoping to land a mawashi grip. But given how vulnerable Takakeisho is to that attack route, I am sure he practices what happened next multiple times a day. With Hoshoryu nearly doubled over to the side, Takakeisho grabs a handful of his neck and slaps him to the clay. Valiant effort from Hoshoryu, but that was going nowhere. Takakeisho improves to 6-1 and remains one win behind Terunofuji.
Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu – Asanoyama yotsu is not quite as strong as it has been recently, and it seems to be inviting opponents to battle him chest to chest. Today he struggled to overcome some fairly solid attack sumo from Myogiryu. But overcome he did to hurl Myogiryu down with a sukuinage that took some time to put together. Asanoyama improves to 4-3, but everyone has a way to shut down his left hand grip now, it seems. He either needs to improve his right hand attacks, or improve his defense so he can stretch matches out while he gets his left hand attack in place.
Terunofuji defeats Takanosho – Takanosho successfully keeps Terunofuji at arm’s length with a spot on thrusting attack. After three attempts to get inside, Terunofuji abandon’s any try to get a hold of Takanosho, steps back and slams him to the clay. Terunofuji remains unbeaten at 7-0, and in sole possession of the lead.
Shodai defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama opens strong, but finds he cannot move Shodai back, even with a nodowa driving Shodai’s head back. Once he exhausts that opening gambit, Shodai maintains contact and advances to drive Kiribayama out. Shodai improves to 5-2.