A massive crowd of 0-2 rikishi picked up their first wins today, dropping the ranks of 0-3 competitors to just 4. On the other side of the spectrum, 9 rikishi has flawless 3-0 starts to Kyushu. A lot of rikishi are looking very sharp and dialed into their sumo at the start of this tournament, and I think we are going to see some fierce competition just behind Terunofuji’s run to the yusho.
I know I have mentioned it already this basho, but I am marveling at Chiyoshoma. Its like the friend who lost 60 pounds over the course of a summer, and now you are not quite sure you recognize them. A short time ago, he set the global standard for cheap tricks and crummy sumo. But presently, he looks like a serious rikishi. He’s fighting well, with solid and effective sumo. I am hoping he can continue this run, and become a much needed journeyman rikishi on the top half of the banzuke.
Wakamotoharu defeats Kaisei – Today was not a day where being enormous was an effective sumo strategy. Kaisei filed to defend against Wakamotoharu’s left, and allowed him to get a deep mawashi grip. It was 3 steps to the bales, and over he went. Wakamotoharu improves to 2-1 on the hunt for kachi-koshi and a top division debut.
Abi defeats Shohozan – I would have liked to see more hitting from Shohozan in this one. But instead he absorbed a couple of volleys of Abi-zumo, and had no room to back up. Abi improves to 3-0 for Kyushu, and seems to be continuing his roll from September.
Sadanoumi defeats Chiyomaru – Sadanoumi seldom beats Chiyomaru, mostly because Chiyomaru is tough to get your hands around, but Sadanoumi landed right hand outside, left hand inside and gave Chiyomaru no space to escape Sadanoumi’s forward run to the edge. Sadanoumi has a blistering 3-0 start for Nomvember.
Akua defeats Chiyonokuni – Akua finally picks up his first win, when Chiyonokuni unwisely attempts an immediate pull just after the tachiai. The release of forward pressure by Chiyonokuni opened the door for Akua to move forward, and move he did. Akua improves to 1-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki put a lot of his attention on a right side ottsuke, and it more or less worked to prevent Hokutofuji from getting a right hand inside grip. But while Kagayaki was working to defeat Hokutofuji’s upper body, his lower body was moving forward, and winning the match. Hokutofuji with a 3-0 start, and his over demotion is looking rather silly right now.
Ishiura defeats Yutakayama – Ishiura finally showing “his brand of sumo” today. That rapid shift and grab outside was flawless, and Yutakayama never recovered. That double arm shove to finish the match was likewise well timed, with great hand placement. Superb sumo today. Ishiura picks up his first win, and Yutakayama gets to hurdle the salt basket.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Chiyotairyu – Terutsuyoshi showed fantastic reactions today, reading that Chiyotairyu was not going for the cannon ball tachiai, but instead wanted an immediate slap down. Chiyotairyu’s lack of forward pressure at the tachiai cost him the match, with Terutsuyoshi clear to push center-mass, and run Chiyotairyu out. Terutsuyoshi improves to 2-1.
Hidenoumi defeats Kotonowaka – Both men were looking to go chest to chest, and quickly settled into their favorite grip. But once entangled, neither had enough power to overwhelm the other, and the match devolved into a chest-to-chest endurance test. About a minute went by before Hidenoumi began to gradually move Kotonowaka back, and finally out, scoring his first white star of November, improving to 1-2.
Aoiyama defeats Kotoeko – Aoiyama fired up the big V-Twin straight off the shikiri-sen, with great effect. I counted two times Kotoeko tried to break in close enough to attack, each time to catch a meaty hand to the body that pushed him back. When Aoiyama is on his sumo, like he is right now, he’s tough to beat this far down the banzuke. Aoiyama improves to 3-0.
Chiyoshoma defeats Tobizaru – Well now, for the first time in 6 attempts, Chiyoshoma scored a win against Tobizaru. He took his time, kept his feet solid, and just dismantled Tobizaru a piece at a time. This is some solid, mature and well executed sumo. From Chiyoshoma? Where is the real Chiyoshoma? (checks under the cushions). 3-0 starting score for him.
Tamawashi defeats Shimanoumi – Shimanoumi eats another loss for a stone cold 0-3 start to Kyushu. He caught the first Tamawashi volley square in the chest, and had no path to recovery. The second one took him out, and that was 3. Tamawashi improves to 2-1.
Ura defeats Hoshoryu – Ura used his traditional submarine tachiai, with the hit and hop to the right variation. This left Hoshoryu without a leaning buddy, and Ura gave him a forceful shove to the back of the neck to send him to the clay. Sadly the hoped for wild sumo never had a chance today from this pair. Ura improves to 3-0.
Takarafuji defeats Endo – Endo went high rather than low, and found no proper grip against one of the best defensive sumo rikishi on the planet. Endo responded by putting a lot of motion into his sumo, trying everything to find a gap in Takarafuji’s defense. But none was found, and by the time Takarafuji took a hold of him, Endo had little stamina left, and was an easy mark. Takarafuji picks up his first win of November.
Myogiryu defeats Takayasu – A Takayasu match that goes into endurance mode? No surprise there, but what was a nice surprise is that Myogiryu came out of the 90 second strength contest with enough mojo to press the attack once again. The two broke contact, and when the clashed again, Myogiryu was able to collapse Takayasu’s throw attempt to hand the former Ozeki his first loss. Both end the day 2-1.
Ichinojo defeats Takanosho – When Ichinojo gets like this, the only think you can really do is feed him to Terunofuji. Takanosho comes in strong at the tachiai, and sets up an arm bar hold, but did not mind his feet. He was forward, and an easy target for Ichinojo’s thrust down. The boulder improves to 2-1.
Meisei defeats Okinoumi – Another first win, and this was the first success in 8 attempt by Meisei to defeat Okinoumi. Meisei got advantage early, with multiple escape and rescue attempts by Okinoumi never quite succeeding. A final pivot at the bales met a Meisei leg trip attempt, and robbed Okinoumi of his balance. Both end the day 1-2.
Mitakeumi defeats Daieisho – Mitakeumi’s solid defense, and unassailable lower body / foot placement kept him in this match until the point that Daieisho lost his balance. Mitakeumi rapidly converted to attack mode and scored his 3rd victory to maintain his perfect start to Kyushu. Great effort from both. But if you want to see a rock solid defense, check out the effort Mitakeumi put into today’s match to stay upright and in the fight. Top level stuff.
Takakeisho defeats Kiribayama – You just know that Takakeisho reherses that combo at least twice a day with the deshi at Tokiwayama. That was too fluid, too sharp to be a random attack. Hit-Hit-Hit-pull and move. Kiribayama has a lot of potential for the future, but he’s going to have to come up with ways to beat these higher ranked men to get there. Takakeisho maintains a perfect 3-0.
Shodai defeats Onosho – Onosho opened big, with a nodowa and then a shapr thrust combo. These things don’t always have the desired effect on Shodai. who uses his huge “wall of daikon” body to absorb the offense. Onosho can be counted on to put so much effort into his initial attack that he is not well balanced for defense, and Shodai took full advantage of this, brining Onosho swiftly down to the clay. Onosho still looking for his first win at 0-3, Shodai improves to 2-1.
Terunofuji defeats Wakatakakage – I counted three times Wakatakakage rushed in to push against Terunofuji’s chest with a meaty slap of hands, and each time the Yokozuna did not move back. Well, about that time Terunofuji decided he had seen enough, and launched Wakatakakage into the east side zabuton section. Perfect 3-0 start for the Yokozuna.