Sumo is back on our televisions, and is splattering itself across social networks. It’s a joy to have it return, and I am delighted with the first day’s worth of matches that are now online for our global enjoyment. A really rough start for the surviving Ozeki today, as both of them drop their opening day matches. Takakeisho when he decided to try to pull against Hokutofuji, and Shodai for being Shodai. My vote for outstanding performance of the day goes to Wakatakakage, who seems to have studied all the ways that Takayasu likes to lose sumo matches, and was ready for the former Ozeki to unweight his left foot, as seems to be his custom.
Chiyonokuni defeats Mitoryu – Chiyonokuni’s opening combo was a hit, shift left and pull down on Mitoryu’s arms. It had no useful effect, and handed Mitoryu the upper hand. Mitoryu had plenty of power, and excellent defensive foot placement. In fact, it was all Mitoryu until he opened his chest to Chiyonokuni just a moment before he could finish him. Chiyonokuni rallied, and put everything against Mitoryu’s chest. Good enough! Back he goes in a hurry and exits the dohyo, giving Chiyonokuni the win.
Chiyomaru defeats Tokushoryu – Chiyomaru had a right hand inside at the tachiai, and stood Tokushoryu upright. As both of them are super-heavy types, the ratio of mass to foot area is tenuous at best, and any misplacement can rapidly become a loss in sumo. Chiyomaru waited for Tokushoryu to dial up the forward pressure, and then stepped aside and thrust him to the clay.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Chiyonoo – Sloppy match that found Chiyonoo struggling to nullify Ichiyamamoto’s long arms and superior reach. Chiyonoo threw everything he could think of, but Ichiyamamoto stayed low, kept his shoulders and hips as square as he could to his opponent, and drove forward. Excellent sumo fundamentals in this win.
Yutakayama defeats Kaisei – Painful nodowa, forever. I am sure Kaisei’s still feeling that tonight.
Kagayaki defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho put all of his chips on that left hand outside mawashi grip at the tachiai, and only got a handful of segari instead. Kagayaki drive his hands inside and went on the attack against Tsurugisho’s neck, and then thrust him down for a quick win.
Tochinoshin defeats Kotoeko – Points to Kotoeko for putting a lot of effort and fighting spirit into this one. He lasted longer than I thought he would against Tochinoshin, who holds a nearly 50kg advantage over this Kotoeko. As we saw in Nagoya, Kotoeko can bring everything he has most days, fight like he means to win, and still come up short. Tochinoshin gets his hands set and delivers an uwatedashinage to roll him to the clay.
Myogiryu defeats Endo – Endo wanted a hand hold at the tachiai, but found Myogiryu’s ottsuke instead. It seems that at this point Endo was not quite clear about plan B, and yielded the inside lane to Myogiryu, who happily went to work. About this time, Endo figures out this is not practice, and puts forth some effort to take control of the match. But every move is a bit more off balance, and Myogiryu helps him find a face full of dirt.
Chiyotairyu defeats Hidenoumi – Sumo fans know that Chiyotairyu front-loads his matches, and tends to burn through his stamina in the first few seconds. Rikishi who can beat him find ways to survive the initial surge and stay upright. Hidenoumi caught a broadside in the chest on the second volley, and found himself scrambling in reverse for a fast loss.
Tobizaru defeats Aoiyama – Tobizaru had a miserable July in the Nagoya heat. Few and far between were the days where he could muster good sumo, and win with gusto. I am delighted he was able to get close enough to nullify Aoiyama’s primary weapon, and proceeded to latch on and just keep chipping away. The look on Tobizaru’s face at the end of the match reminds me of some poor fellow who just had to lift a refrigerator.
Okinoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi opening gambit was predictable, and clearly anticipated by Okinoumi. Okinoumi captured him mid-henka and proceeded to crumple him in an progressively more compact space as he marched him out of the ring. Points to Terutsuyoshi for attempting to channel Ura, but Okinoumi never gave him enough space to pull that one off.
Onosho defeats Shimanoumi – Onosho landed his right hand inside at the tachiai, and set up for his big push, which he delivered with gusto against a shabby Shimanoumi defensive stance. Three steps later, Shimanoumi was across the tawara and it was all except for the rei.
Takarafuji defeats Ura – Ura attempts for a zero-contact tachiai, which seems to suit Takarafuji just fine. They make tentative contact, and Takarafuji dials up his defensive sumo, and waits. Ura seems lost at this point, and I frankly can’t believe that he is letting Takarafuji control this match. It seems this dawns on Ura, and he switches to attack, only to find that Takarafuji has his feet set, his defense is strong, and he is ready. Ura gets in one combo before Takarafuji drops his hips and moves him back and out.
Daieisho defeats Chiyoshoma – Things went wrong for Chiyoshoma when on the second volley he tried to finish his attack with a pull. Daieisho was ready for this move, and it robbed Chiyoshoma of any defensive position at all. Daieisho pressed the attack, put Chiyoshoma in motion, and ran him out for the win.
Tamawashi defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka put all of his hopes on a right hand frontal mawashi grip that never paid off, but left his upper body and easy target for Tamawashi’s superb oshi-zumo. The thrusting attack broke Kotonowaka’s grip, then broke his balance, and finally sent him off the dohyo to open Aki with a loss.
Wakatakakage defeats Takayasu – I know I am hard on Takayasu, mostly because I have been a huge fan of his, and love it when he brings his good sumo to tournaments. His worst habit of the past few years is to keep his weight mostly on one foot, making him an much easier target for a crafty opponent. Is it being too eager to load up a throw? He did it today on the second step past the tachiai, and Wakatakakage was primed for the move, and cashed it in a moment later to start Aki with a win.
Kiribayama defeats Meisei – Meisei had the clear advantage for most of this match, but could not keep his weight centered and his feet planted with a mis-timed high right hand slap. My complements to Kiribayama for staying in the match, and looking for any advantage.
Mitakeumi defeats Takanosho – We have not seen the navy blue mawashi on Mitakeumi in a while, maybe it can change his fortunes. Mitakeumi had excellent control of his balance today, and kept himself focused on forward power against Takanosho’s center mass. Great, if simple, sumo from Mitakeumi today.
Hokutofuji defeats Takakeisho – I sometimes joke about Hokutofuji being two independently operating battle-units. When he can do that trick, its a wonder to behold. Today, they were working in concert and completely dominated kadoban Ozeki Takakeisho with great effect. Takakeisho opened strong, but by the third step he reached his left hand around the back of Hokutofuji’s neck to pull. That release of forward pressure opened the door for Hokutofuji to attack with overwhelming power.
Hoshoryu defeats Shodai – Shodai high at the tachiai – check! Hoshoryu reached for a left hand outside grip, but found Shodai’s massive body pressing him back in a hurry. A tidy weight shift and side step at the tawara reversed his fortunes, giving him a double inside hand placement. Shodai had no answer except to go rather soft and let Hoshoryu rampage across the dohyo to deposit the Ozeki over the side of the dohyo.
Terunofuji defeats Ichinojo – As is sadly the case with Ichinojo, he lost this match a couple of days ago about 5 seconds after the torikumi was published. Not to take anything away from Terunofuji, but you can really see when Ichinojo has psyched himself out of a match.