With day 3 in the record books, we finally got to see first wins of Aki from a number of rikishi, including the long suffering Kotoeko. The guy has been coming up a step short since Nagoya, but his sumo mechanics remained solid the whole time. I am very happy to see him rack his first white star in 15 attempts.
But in a day of first wins, we get Takarafuji hitting the record for consecutive appearances. If you look at his match record going back to 2009, the guy has never been kyujo. Ever. 1026 consecutive matches without sitting even one of them out. He has been a top division mainstay since Hatsu of 2013. The man is a solid rock of sumo, and we salute his endurance and commitment to his sport.
It’s clear on day 3 that kadoban Ozeki Takakeisho is in deep trouble. He needs 8 wins to hold on to his Ozeki rank, and that looks increasingly unlikely. Whatever the nature of his injury in July, he is nowhere close to his normal sumo power now, and may be considered an easy mark from his remaining 12 opponents. Should he withdraw or fail to get 8 wins, he will be Sekiwake in November, leaving us with one Ozeki. None other than.. Shodai? As the banzuke requires at least 2 Ozeki, the lower ranked Yokozuna will take the role of Yokozuna-Ozeki. Given that Hakuho is out with COVID-kyujo, it would fall to him. What kind of crazy sumo world is this?
Tokushoryu defeats Daiamami – Man, that upward thrust at the tachiai really knocked Daiamami’s head back, and probably hurt like anything. Daiamami never got a chance to apply any offensive sumo, as Tokushoryu kept hammering forward and thrusting from below. First win of September for Tokushoryu, he is 1-2.
Chiyomaru defeats Ichiyamamoto – Chiyomaru first win against Ichiyamamoto, it came down to Chiyomaru getting inside and hitting first, and with enough power to take control of the match. Ichiyamamoto up’d his power in response, and got too far forward. Chiyomaru is a master of reading that situation, and kindly stepped out of the way, converted to a shoulder / arm hold and threw Ichiyamamoto to the clay. Chiyomaru remains unbeaten at 3-0.
Chiyonokuni defeats Yutakayama – That kind of power is what I expect from Yutakayama, but he was out played by Chiyonokuni, who was happy to let YUtakayama do most of the work of getting him to the tawara, and then stepping clear of one of Yutakayama’s big double arm shoves. Chiyonokuni also undefeated at 3-0 as Yutakayama take a jog down the hanamichi.
Chiyonoo defeats Kaisei – Chiyonoo picks up a double inside grip immedately at the tachiai, and even Kaisei’s enormous size could not stop the yorikiri. Chiyonoo improves to 2-1.
Tsurugisho defeats Tochinoshin – Very fluid side step at that tachiai from Tsurugisho gave him excellent grip and body position to escort Tochinoshin immediately from the dohyo. Tsurugisho improves to 1-2, scoring his first win.
Kotoeko defeats Kagayaki – Kotoeko also picks up his first win, when Kagayaki’s armpit attack falls apart and leaves him off balance thanks to a pair of well placed thrusts. A left right combo to Kagayaki’s center-mass and the match ends with Kotoeko improving to 1-2, breaking at 14 match losing streak.
Endo defeats Chiyotairyu – Blink and you will miss it. Not sure where Chiyotairyu’s forward power was today, but it was no on the dohyo. Perhaps it’s on loan to a Ichinojo, leaving Chiyotairyu to pull immediately in the tachiai. Endo improves to 2-1.
Myogiryu defeats Hidenoumi – Clearly Hidenoumi was looking for a matta, but instead just caught the tachiai full in the chest and was propelled out with no resistance. Gyoji did not see it that way, and Myogiryu is unbeaten at 3-0.
Okinoumi defeats Aoiyama – I am going to assume that Aoiyama is still struggling with that injury that kept him out of most of the tournament in May, which also assisted with his Nagoya make-koshi. His sumo is underpowered, and he can’t really generate more than a few seconds of offense. Okinoumi out lasts him, and waits for Aoiyama to try and pull to finish him off. Okinoumi ends today at 2-1.
Tobizaru defeats Terutsuyoshi – Welcome back to the “good” Tobizaru! This is the guy who I think is going to be a big deal for the next couple of years. Maybe his sumo only works in mid-Maegashira, but it’s great to watch. Terutsuyoshi tries to get as low as he can and still execute sumo, but ends up wrapped, stacked and tossed in the bin by Tobizaru, who is now 3-0.
Onosho defeats Ura – Ura is at least having a cold start, and at worst nursing some kind of injury. Onosho goes full power from the start, given that Ura lined up far behind the shikiri-sen. A the initial merge, Ura immediately goes to pull, and finds himself blasted over the side of the dohyo. Onosho perfect at 3-0.
Takarafuji defeats Shimanoumi – If you are going to fight while moving backward, this is how you do it. Takarafuji gets Shimanoumi lower and lower, then sets a back-step cadence, waits for Shimanoumi to follow it, then drops him with a thud. Takarafuji improves to 2-1.
Daieisho defeats Tamawashi – Finally we get to see some power from Daieisho! That’s been largely missing for many matches since his yusho. Tamawashi likes to attack high, and Daieisho showed superb thrust timing, and hand placement, completely disrupting any attempt at offense from Tamawashi. Both end the day at 2-1.
Kotonowaka defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma had a solid start, went for a big leaping pull down, which failed, and that completely shattered his balance and stance. Kotonowaka was there to clean up the mess and take Chiyoshoma down, giving him his second win to finish today at 2-1.
Kiribayama defeats Takayasu – I am very concerned that Takayasu has lost at least 2 stamina matches thus far at Aki, and remains winless after today. My compliments to Kiribayama for going the distance (over 3 minutes!) against Takayasu and still having the focus to seize the opening to bring Takayasu to the clay when it was presented. Kiribayama remains undefeated at 3-0.
Meisei defeats Wakatakakage – Meisei finally gets his first white star by a well timed escape move that sends Wakatakakage flying past and onto the clay. Wakatakakage made the mistake of not keeping his shoulders square to his opponent, and lost. Meisei now 1-2.
Mitakeumi defeats Hoshoryu – There has been plenty of well deserved hype around Hoshoryu, but today he faced the original tadpole and found himself on the wrong side of the lily pad. A couple of missed gambits from Hoshoryu, and he was in deep trouble. Mitakeumi employed that massive belly to plow sumo’s “Clark Kent” into the waiting Shodai. Mitakeumi at 2-1.
Ichinojo defeats Takakeisho – What the hell was that? Ichinojo with the big tsuppari, Takakeisho going chest to chest? Anyone surprised this match was a complete and absolute mess? Ichinojo finishes Takakeisho with a beltless arm throw. Kadoban Ozeki Takakeisho with a 0-3 start, and he is in deep trouble. Ichinojo picks up his first win in an unexpected fashion, improving to 1-2.
Shodai defeats Hokutofuji – Shodai is sumo’s most reliable source of crappy tachiai, and today was especially bad. But somehow he’s almost straight upright, but still shuts down Hokutofuji’s offense, and then overwhelms Hokutofuji’s forward pressure and just walks him out of the ring. Ahem… ok… Shodai 2-1.
Terunofuji defeats Takanosho – Is it just me, or is Terunofuji noticeably improved from July? I mean he was clearly at Yokozuna grade for this whole year, but damn, sir! Terunofuji starts strong, stays incredibly stable and works to get his opening. Like a expert, he dismantled Takanosho’s match plan a piece at a time and threw away what was left. Terunofuji unbeaten at 3-0.