One of the goals of act 2 is to shape the field for the yusho race. But damn, did we have to do it all in one day? The crew of 1 loss rikishi nearly all became 2 loss rikishi today, leaving just Myogiryu at 6-1, within range of Terunofuji. All the way down at Maegashira 10, there is really no chance that Myogiryu would face the Yokozuna in a normal torikumi. This leave Terunofuji with a 2 win lead over any reasonable competitor, and his yusho chances are elevated.
Given just how excellent Terunofuji’s sumo has been over the first 7 days, I am sad we won’t see him face Hakuho on day 15 to to Miyagino being COVID kyujo. Terunofuji’s yokozuna style seems to be overflowing with confidence with the skill and drive to back it up. Calm, focused and determined so far at Aki, and I really like it.
Tokushoryu defeats Mitoryu – About as straightforward a match as you might want. Tokushoryu gets his right hand under Mitoryu’s chin, and uses that hand to put him in motion. On big shove at the tawara, and Tokushoryu picks up his second win of Aki, improving to 2-5.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Tsurugisho – I am surprised that Ichiyamamoto’s bum knee had enough strength in it to allow him to push 400kg Tsurugisho back. It helps that Tsurugisho almost immediately attempted to pull, doing a good portion of the set up work for Ichiyamamoto. Ichiyamamoto improves to 2-5.
Chiyomaru defeats Kagayaki – Chiyomaru got his hands inside, past Kagayaki’s defenses, which is not easy to do. From there it was a well known Chiyomaru formula: raise them up then step to the side and slap them down. Both end the day 4-3.
Kaisei defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin got his left hand outside at the tachiai, but given Kaisei’s enormity, it was not going to be easy for him to do much with it. Both of them got some lifting in against the other, with Kaisei calmly working Tochinoshin out. Kaisei improves to 3-4.
Yutakayama defeats Kotoeko – Yutakayama’s thrusting attack landed early, and both evasion attempts I saw from Kotoeko were not able to get out of the line of fire. Yutakayama improves to 4-3.
Endo defeats Chiyonokuni – I had guessed this might be the highlight match of the day, and they did not disappoint. Endo could not set up any offense, as his capture attempts kept missing. Chiyonokuni was eager to pound Endo mercilessly as Endo worked to stay in the match, with Endo absorbing quite a bit of punishment to his shoulders and his head. But his sacrifice paid off with first a left hand hold, followed by a right. Then Endo was in business, and Chiyonokuni lost his ability to hit and move. But he fought on, with the blows continuing until Endo put him over the bales, Awesome match, both end the day 5-2.
Hidenoumi defeats Chiyonoo – Yotsu-zumo match from the start, it was all Hidenoumi after the tachiai. Both are now 3-4.
Chiyotairyu defeats Terutsuyoshi – I like that Chiyotairyu was locked in on Terutsuyoshi, and when the obligatory hit and shift came at the tachiai, Chiyotairyu followed. Terutsuyoshi was off balance and too low for him to be effective, and Chiyotairyu crumpled him to the clay for a quick win. Chiyotairyu now 4-3.
Myogiryu defeats Shimanoumi – Myogiryu quickly got Shimanoumi contained and pushed out, with Shimanoumi only rallying for a brief moment after his heels touched the tawara. Myogiryu at 6-1, and could reach kachi-koshi as early as day 9.
Aoiyama defeats Onosho – Aoiyama proved big enough and stable enough to absorb everything Onosho could produce today, and deftly swung him to the clay. Another 5-1 rikishi takes a loss, as Aoiyama improves to 3-4.
Okinoumi defeats Ura – What a great move by Okinoumi to shut down Ura’s back bend throw. Few if any can escape that once he gets that far into the lift, but Okinoumi seems to have worked with the heya-mates to overcome that, crushing Ura in mid-throw and sending him down. Okinoumi improves to 5-2.
Takarafuji defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru yet again finds Takarafuji’s defend and extend sumo to be his kryptonite. I do love watching this one, Tobizaru trying anything to get his hands inside, Takarafuji calmly standing strong and deflecting every move. When Tobizaru starts to look tired, Takarafuji executes a few probing attacks, and Tobizaru rallies. Fine, back in stalemate for a while until you are tired out, says Takarafuji. On and on and on it went! Tobizaru tired first, and could no longer match Takarafuji’s efforts. Amazing endurance match.
Daieisho defeats Kiribayama – After not seeing Daieisho produce much power on the clay for several tournaments, its almost surprising to see it back and in full effect, taking Kiribayama down with a hikiotoshi that saw hikiotoshi spinning in the air before landing on his back. Another 1 loss rikishi down as both end the day 5-2.
Takayasu defeats Takanosho – Takayasu big start groaning tachiai pays off today, blasting whatever match plan Takanosho had completely out of his head, and crumpling him to the clay 4 steps later. Happy to see some effective offense from Takayasu today, and he improves to 3-4.
Meisei defeats Chiyoshoma – Its really making me sad to see Chiyoshoma unable to win a single match in the first half of the basho. I am going to guess a combination of over-ranked and some injury. Meisei improves to 3-4 and keeps hope of a kachi-koshi alive a bit longer.
Ichinojo defeats Mitakeumi – The genki Ichinojo showed up today, and another one-loss rikishi goes down to defeat. Given his size and innate strength, once Ichinojo gets a solid hold, he can do just about whatever he wants to most opponents. Ichinojo improves to 3-4.
Takakeisho defeats Wakatakakage – Takakeisho was in danger of losing for a brief moment when he was too far forward against a Wakatakakage side step, but he just re-engaged and hit all the harder. A final mighty double hand shove sent Wakatakakage down and gyoji Tamajiro leaping for safety. Takakeisho improves to 3-4 after a much needed win.
Shodai defeats Tamawashi – Well, it was “good” Shodai today. A big hit at the tachiai from Tamawashi, into an arm lock, but by that time Shodai was rampaging ahead and Tamawashi was out of clay. Shodai improves to 5-2.
Terunofuji defeats Kotonowaka – What strikes me about these Terunofuji matches this basho is his absolute confidence. So far, no matter what his opponent does, he moves as if it’s an absolute certainty that he will overcome and win. I think it may rattle some or all of his opponents. I see other sumo fans describing it as patience and “calm”, and that’s not wrong. But to me it’s just total dominance of the match. Yokozuna style through and through. Terunofuji undefeated at 7-0.