Bruce got happy seeing Takayasu revert to his earlier, yotsu-centric form of sumo against Shodai. This was once his stock and trade, and coupled with his nearly infinite endurance, it’s what made me a Takayasu fan. That sumo took him all the way to Ozeki. But almost as soon as he assumed sumo’s second highest rank, he began the use of a wild, unbalanced oshi-form that packed a lot of power, but was difficult for him to manage. His consistency suffered, and he could not predictably deliver winning matches. This arrested his climb up the banzuke, and in time, injury dislodged him from the Ozeki rank. As a Takayasu fan, I would be delighted if we saw more of this kind of sumo from him, as it plays to his natural strengths.
Would you like to see an example? This one has all the elements of Takayasu’s excellent form
Akua defeats Azumaryu – Neither one of these two looked like they wanted to compete today. This was a low velocity “going through the motions” kind of match, but I did like the odd arm-length side-nodowa from Akua that set up his win. He advances to a less miserable 4-6.
Okinoumi defeats Ishiura – Ishiura seemed to have the advantage at the tachiai, but a flying pull attempt gave Okinoumi everything he needed to send Ishiura out for a loss. Okinoumi improves to 7-7.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Chiyomaru – At the tachiai, Chiyomaru attacked high, Terutsuyoshi attacked low, and that made all of the difference. With Chiyomaru attacking his head, Terutsuyoshi got a frontal mawashi grip and used Chiyomaru’s spherical shape to roll him to the clay. Terutsuyoshi improves to 4-6.
Kaisei defeats Shimanoumi – Kaisei was somehow roused today from his typical torpor, giving chase to Shimanoumi, and driving him from the ring. Shimanoumi had one brief opening to turn the tide of the match, but could not turn his arm hold into any effective offense. Kaisei improves to 5-5.
Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki’s tachiai was completely out of sorts, standing nearly upright when Kotoeko connected and drove his hands inside for an immediate grip. From that moment on, Kagayaki was on defense and struggled to prevent Kotoeko from finishing what he started at the tachiai. Kotoeko improves to 6-4.
Tsurugisho defeats Chiyotairyu – Yet again today, Chiyotairyu chooses to go chest to chest. But he lumbered into Tsurugisho’s arm bar hold that quickly transitioned to a kotenage. In a moment, Tsurugisho had Chiyotairyu tossed from the dohyo to improve to 3-7. Chiyotairyu’s kachi-koshi will need to wait for another day.
Endo defeats Kotonowaka – To me, it looked like Endo won this match well before the tachiai. Kotonowaka clearly was only prepared to defend, allowing Endo to just push him around and out without too much work. Endo picks up his 8th win and is kachi-koshi for May.
Tochinoshin defeats Daiamami – Much to my surprise, Tochinoshin managed to get enough life back in that right knee to return to the dohyo today, and won against Daiamami. It was a head lock tsukiotoshi immediately at the tachiai that did the bulk of the work for Tochinoshin, but I am sure he was happy to pick up his 3rd win.
Tamawashi defeats Hidenoumi – Tamawashi established a nodowa at the tachiai, and just walked Hidenoumi directly out. Not sure where Hidenoumi was today, but he was not ready to compete. Tamawashi improves to 6-4.
Chiyoshoma defeats Ichinojo – I really liked Chiyoshoma’s opening combo, a push / pull / push series that completely disrupted whatever Ichinojo had in mind. Finding himself upright, turned about and a bit off balance, Ichinojo went soft and walked over the bales, as is his custom. Chiyoshoma improves to 6-4, and looks like a serious rikishi.
Takarafuji defeats Aoiyama – Big Dan Aoiyama cranked up the forward pressure from the tachiai, but Takarafuji mounted enough of a defense to stop his advance. With Aoiyama continuing to push, Takarafuji stepped to the side and assisted Aoiyama’s drive forward over the bales with a jaunty shove. Takarafuji pick up a much needed win to advance to 4-6.
Myogiryu defeats Tobizaru – A tsuki-battle supreme, we managed to see Tobizaru switch to offense twice. But the match favored Myogiryu from the start, and it ended with Tobizaru taking another excursion into the zabuton. Myogiryu improves to 4-6, Tobizaru down to 1-9, and I have to wonder how many losses he is going to rack up.
Hoshoryu defeats Hokutofuji – I was hoping we would see some big effort from both in this match, and they did not disappoint. Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai found Hoshoryu’s neck and delivered a brutal shove. Both of them went into nearly picture perfect battle crouches, and attacked. Hokutofuji put all of his chips on that right arm neck attack, leaving his body open. Hoshoryu attacked Hokutofuji’s arm underneath three times, and on the third broke that neck grip. Switching to attack, he opened his stance, grabbed the back of Hokutofuji’s head and pulled with everything he could muster. Hokutofuji lost balance, and Hoshoryu circled behind and drove him out. Hoshoryu improves to 5-5 while Hokutofuji takes another step toward his expected make-koshi.
Wakatakakage defeats Daieisho – Daieisho had his hands inside at the tachiai, and converted it to a solid opening combo. Wakatakakage kept his feet, and minimized the ground lost while he tangled up Daieisho’s arms. With Daieisho neutralized, Wakatakakage advanced and drove him from the ring. Wakatakakage improves to 6-4.
Takanosho defeats Meisei – Takanosho takes his first ever win over Meisei in 7 attempts. Meisei started, and Takanosho answered at about 2x power. The match finished quickly with Takanosho landing face down as Meisei fell. The monoii upheld the gyoji’s call, and Takanosho walked away with his 4th win as both finish the day at 4-6.
Asanoyama defeats Mitakeumi – excellent mawashi defense today from Asanoyama, as Mitakeumi did a masterful job of taking the fight to the Ozeki in a solid chest to chest battle. He was able to get his left hand outside grip on his third grab attempt, and that made all the difference. Asanoyama improves to 6-4.
Terunofuji defeats Kiribayama – Much respect to Kiribayama for putting up a valiant effort, but Terunofuji took Kiribayama to his chest, and it was then just a question of how Terunofuji was going to finish him. The camera did not really show it, but it looks like Terunofuji’s right hand kept a hold of Kiribayama’s mawashi while his left hand thrust upward. The result was a lifting, blend between yorikiri and okuridashi. Terunofuji remains perfect at 10-0 while Kiribayama is make-koshi at 2-8.
Takayasu defeats Shodai – I like that Takayasu went for a left hand outside at the tachiai. Far too frequently he would lead with a left arm or shoulder strike, which just seems to leave him off balance. With Shodai captured, it removed about 70% of possible cartoon sumo moves. Shodai gyrates a bit, but can’t break Takayasu’s grip, which moments later is leads to Shodai’s ejection from the ring. Why don’t we see this Takayasu mode more frequently? This is the kind of sumo that took him to Ozeki. Takayasu improves to 7-3. Shodai needs to win 3 of the last 5 to clear kadoban, he has now lost 3 in a row.
Takakeisho defeats Onosho – Takakeisho brought twice as much power to this match as Onosho did. This was made worse when Onosho attempted to leap to the side just before the 3rd volley, catching Takakeisho’s double arm blast mid-flight and sailing over the tawara. The win delivered Takakeisho’s kachi-koshi.