To my delight, this tournament it turning into a bit of a coming out party for a couple of promising rikishi, as they are squarely in the joi-jin for Natsu, and seem to have found a formula that lets the credibly compete. in the case of Wakatakakage, he beat two Ozeki and two Sekiwake. That’s potent sumo from a Maegashira 1, who typically end up with deep make-koshi their first time ranked at the top of rank and file. Likewise, Hoshoryu now has 2 wins against Ozeki, but has yet to face the rest of the San’yaku. My advice to them is to be on your toes, as Hoshoryu is a credible competitor. Hoshoryu suffers a bit from being in the shadow of his Yokozuna uncle, Asashoryu. Usually the first thing that comes up with discussing Hoshoryu is his connection to his uncle. For myself, I am well past that one, and I am now far more interested into how his sumo develops. He has even found himself the topic of interest by sumo association chief, Hakkaku Oyakata:
Plus, look at that banner picture – a strong “Clark Kent” vibe all over this guy.
Chiyotairyu defeats Hakuyozan – I really like that Chiyotairyu has been showing us yotsu-zumo this tournament. As a guy primarily known for explosive tachiai followed by thrusting, this variation makes him tougher to fight, as opponents don’t know what quite to defend against. Today he improves to 7-2 by grabbing a hold of Juryo visitor Hakuyozan and walking him out.
Akua defeats Kotoeko – Massive effort by Akua gets him his 3rd win of the tournament. Kotoeko was fighting with all he could muster, but I saw him lose his balance at least twice in that match. Akua used almost the entire length of the dohyo to execute that hatakikomi, teetering on the bales as it finished. He improves to 3-6.
Ishiura defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma got the better of the tachiai, and was initially in control of the match. But Ishiura closed in and got a left hand grip, which served as the basis for a shitatedashinage which won the match. Both end the day at 5-4.
Chiyomaru defeats Tamawashi – Chiyomaru gave up a lot of ground at the tachiai and immediately following. Tamawashi advanced with gusto, chasing him down to secure teh win. But Chiyomaru is a wily fellow, reversing Tamawashi at the bales and delivering one massive shove to center mass to recover the win. He improves to 6-3.
Daiamami defeats Shimanoumi – Daiamami left Shimanoumi no room to work, bundling him up and moving him back and out for his 5th win, he ends the day 5-4. This match turned when Shimanoumi gave up his inside hand position, and let Daiamami take offensive control.
Endo defeats Kaisei – There are days when Endo is healthy and fighting well, it’s fun to just pause video of him in random spots and examine his body position. Normally he wants to go left hand shallow at the tachiai, but today you can see him bring that right hand in first. Kaisei is higher and has both hands low to guard against such opening gambits. But it left him completely invested in a lot of forward pressure, which Endo does not supply. He tumbles forward and Endo picks up his 7th win.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Tsurugisho – Great big man / little man sumo. Tsurugisho is a bit resereved in the tachiai, not knowing what kind of sumo Terutsuyoshi was going to start with. It turns out it is a left hand frontal grip. Terutsuyoshi tries to overcome Tsurugisho’s mass advantage with a surge of strength, but Tsurugisho is just too heavy. When force won’t work, leverage will have to do. Terutsuyoshi lifts a foot, set up the kakenage, and advances to 3-6. Great match from Terutsuyoshi today.
Kotonowaka defeats Takarafuji – One of the worst matches I have seen from Takarafuji, pretty much ever.
He chooses a turn to the side, allowing Kotonowaka to circle behind and drive him out from the rear. Kotonowaka improves to 5-4.
Ichinojo defeats Okinoumi – In the preview, I had guessed that Okinoumi would benefit if the two went chest to chest at the tachiai. But Ichinojo seems to be dialed in an strong right now, and he made fast work of Okinoumi to advance to 7-2. When that much Mongolian is on the move, there is little that anyone can do to stop him.
Kagayaki defeats Hidenoumi – Kagayaki seems to have found his sumo at last. He was focused and strong today, fighting Hidenoumi, whose toes are still causing him visible pain. Kagayaki advances to 4-5, and may be able to end an acceptable score from this basho.
Myogiryu defeats Tochinoshin – Its a little heartbreaking to see Tochinoshin serve as ballast for the likes of 3-6 Myogiryu, but that’s what we have now. Today we saw him struggle to keep his feet following the match after Myogiryu stampeded him over the bales in a shockingly easy win. Myogiryu improves to 3-6.
Aoiyama defeats Kiribayama – Welcome back to Big Dan, nice to see you ready with your go-to sumo: stand him up, slap him down. It took just a second or two, and Kiribayama got a face full of clay.
Meisei defeats Tobizaru – Interesting to watch these two start a frantic slapping match, and gradually watch the intensity fade ad both of them start to fade. As both continue to tire, Tobizaru ends up too far forward, and Meisei slaps him down, giving him his 8th loss and make-koshi. Meisei improves to 4-5.
Mitakeumi defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage seems to have been expecting a huge body slam at the tachiai, and was ready to absorb Mitakeumi’s big hit. Instead Mitakeumi shifted to his left, grabbing Wakatakakage’s mawashi with his left hand and spinning him down to the clay. Henka? more or less, yes. But it’s still a win and Mitakeumi improves to 7-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Takanosho – Hokutofuji really has me worried now. Unless he picks up 2 more losses, he’s not going to get his make-koshi at all. The big difference is that Hokutofuji’s nodowa seems to have worked today, and he used it to shut down any offense that Takanosho might have had in mind. Both end the day with 3-6, but Takanosho has now lost 5 in a row.
Terunofuji defeats Takayasu – Takayasu was focused on keeping Terunofuji away from his belt, which led Takayasu to batter the Ozeki’s head and face repeatedly. It worked for a time, as Terunofuji could only endure the attacks and work to open a gap to switch to offense. But Takayasu’s focus on Terunofuji’s head lead to his hand getting tangled in Terunofuji’s mage. It would have been called as a hair pull, but moment’s later Takayasu hits the clay from a Terunofuji hatakikomi. The Kaiju remains perfect at 9-0.
Hoshoryu defeats Shodai – Wow, two days in a row for Hoshoryu and a second Ozeki scalp. He may end this tournament with a make-koshi, but we have now seen what he is capable of, and it’s a matter of him refining his sumo now, and gaining constituency. Shodai was high and soft at the tachiai yet again, and put up strong resistence to Hoshoryu’s attacks. But as with yesterday, Hoshoryu’s agility was on display as today he used an outside leg trip (sotogake) to topple the Ozeki, as Hoshoryu improves to 4-5.
Daieisho defeats Takakeisho – Sadly, Takakeisho went down today at the hands of his friend, and picked up his second loss. This leaves Terunofuji 2 wins ahead of everyone and everything for May. Hopefully Isegahama put his order in at the fish market on the way home. Takakeisho put himself out of position and off balance today, in stark contrast to his high efficiency sumo from the past week, and Daieisho made him pay. Daieisho improves to 4-5.
Asanoyama defeats Onosho – Asanoyama struggled to recover this one, after he was too high at the tachiai, and not ready to defend against Onosho’s mega-thrust. But you can count on Onosho to be off balance during these attacks, and Asanoyama was able to grab his arms and keep him from centering his feet. The rest was sumo mechanics, and a win for Asanoyama. He improves to 5-4.