Hatsu Day 2 Highlights

There has been a fair amount of reporting over the past year that the sumo association had revised their rikishi injury response protocols. This was augmented by a fair amount of training among the yobidashi, gyoji and the oyakata team. Today Ura took a backward fall off the dohyo that produced a near perfect knock to the back of his head that left him dazed and unable to move properly. Rather than let him stumble and maybe fall again, there were two yobidashi there almost at once. The response was crisp, immediate, and a vast improvement over past horror shows that have played out on global video streaming.

We dearly hope that Ura is ok, but concussions can have lingering effects, and we hope that his stable master, and the NSK take precautions to ensure that whatever head injury he has is properly treated. That being said, Ura seems to be some kind of serious injury magnet with his sumo. Get better soon, sir.

Highlight Matches

Oho defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko was on the attack from the start, at first using a double inside hand position to control the match. It was great form, but watch Oho bring his right hand inside, set up his left hand outside, then deliver a tsukiotoshi as he pivots aside. A bit off balance, but he made it work. 2-0 for Oho.

Kaisei defeats Tsurugisho – The battle of the mega-fauna saw about 400kg of rikishi stand each other up, with Kaisei finding a way to move forward. It’s starting to look like Tsurugisho continues to compete injured, and is probably going to be struggling for the next 13 days. Kaisei improves to 1-1.

Aoiyama defeats Wakamotoharu – Also in the list of “what happened to the forward power”, we find Aoiyama. He was unable to stop Wakamotoharu’s forward pressure, but took the win by hatakikomi. This mostly worked because hatakikomi played the eager rookie card and got too far forward. Note to Big Dan, that’s only going to work a couple of times this basho.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Tochinoshin – Impressive that Ichiyamamoto went for a left hand outside grip once Tochinoshin shut down the thrusting attack. After consolidating his position, he put what was left of Tohinoshin’s knee to the test with a powerful drive. Of course Tochinoshin could offer little resistance, and Ichiyamamoto took the match via yorikiri. Both end the day 1-1.

Chiyomaru defeats Yutakayama – Classic Chiyomaru sumo, he got Yutakayama revved up and pushing hard. When Yutakayama went to move forward, Chiyomaru was already to the side applying a thrust down. Yutakayama actually got airborne, so bonus points for style today. Chiyomaru improves to 1-1.

Kotonowaka defeats Chiyotairyu – A couple of days now of uncharacteristically hesitant tachiai from Chiyotairyu. True, Kotonowaka had a false start so maybe Chiyotairyu was playing it safe. But now Chiyotairyu has an 0-2 start, and he’s already in the hole. Kotonowaka improves to 2-0 with a rather sloppy win.

Ishiura defeats Sadanoumi – Impressively fast start from Ishiura today, he was inside against Sadanoumi before Sadanoumi could do anything to counter. He tried to tangle up Ishiura’s right hand, but it could do nothing to stop the shitatenage from the left. A solid 2-0 from Miyagino’s top ranked man.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Akua – What was that, an ashitori attempt? Terutsuyoshi’s opening gambit did not impress Akua in the least. But it still gave Terutsuyoshi a working advantage, which he converted to a rapid run to the bales for an oshidashi win. Terutsuyoshi improves to 1-1.

Myogiryu defeats Chiyonokuni – Chiyonokuni gets a bit too far forward on the third step, presenting Myogiryu with an opening he could not refuse. He takes a right hand inside hold and bodily forces Chiyonokuni from the ring. Myogiryu with a 2-0 start, and he looks to be bouncing back nicely after a disastrous November tournament.

Tobizaru defeats Shimanoumi – Tobizaru had his hands inside first, delivering a quick upward thrust combo followed by a pull. He caught Shimanoumi mid stride, breaking his balance. Shimanoumi never had a moment to recover as Tobizaru kept up the pressure to force him out. That was lighting fast, and quite well done. Tobizaru with a 2-0 start to Hatsu, and in fine form.

Takarafuji defeats Hoshoryu – Takarafuji looked much better today. But rather than blunt Hoshoryu’s attack and waiting, he presses forward. Fantastic body position from Takarafuji, he makes himself a wall that sweeps Hoshoryu out of the ring. Both end the day 1-1.

Abi defeats Chiyoshoma – I saw Chiyoshoma try to reach in first and connect before Abi could get his arms up. Gutsy move, sir! But other than points for moxie, Chiyoshoma got a face full of Abi-zumo as thanks, and quickly hit the exit. Abi with a 2-0 start.

Onosho defeats Okinoumi – Very basic oshi tactic from Onosho, he used a stiff arm to stand Okinoumi up, then slapped him down. Its a bit disappointing to see Okinoumi start 0-2, but he tends to rally after the ring rust is scraped away. Onosho improves to 2-0.

Hokutofuji defeats Endo – Hokutofuji in much better form today, he was in fast at the tachiai, and managed to shed Endo’s early left hand frontal grip. Taking Endo to his chest, he took advantage of Endo’s body position (he was too low) to swing him down to the clay. First win for Hokutofuji, improving to 1-1.

Tamawashi defeats Daieisho – I have to wonder about that tape on Daieisho’s knee. That’s twice in two days that he has lost his balance favoring the left side. His opponents are aware of it, and it makes it hard for him to press his thrusting attack. Tamawashi was able to use it to get him moving laterally, and propel him out, improving to 2-0.

Mitakeumi defeats Ichinojo – The low speed attack and counter attack was a bit comical to my eye. Ichinojo would square his hips, and Mitakeumi would move to the side. They repeated this cycle a few times, until Mitakeumi was able to get his hands against Ichinojo’s chest for the final push to send him out. Mitakeumi with a solid 2-0 start.

Takanosho defeats Kiribayama – this was all Kiribayama until the moment that Kiribayama’s right knee gave way. Points to Takanosho for maintaining contact and staying in the match until he got his opening.

Meisei defeats Takakeisho – Meisei found an arm to tug, sending Takakeisho off balance. He expertly converted that into a thrust down while moving to the side, and allowing Takakeisho’s own momentum do the majority of the work. Both end the day at 1-1.

Shodai defeats Ura – The big news here would be Ura’s concussion. That was a tough fall both men took from the dohyo, and it was pretty clear to Shodai that Ura was not quite right. But you know what was good? They did not let him flop around and stumble. Two yobidashi immediately mounted the dohyo to assist. Much better NSK, good show. I do hope Ura is going to be ok, head injuries are a serious matter. But I am happy to see that the new policy to intervene is in effect.

Terunofuji defeats Wakatakakage – Love the enthusiasm from Wakatakakage. He came on strong, brought his best attack and had a moment where he put the Yokozuna on defense. But as was the case yesterday, Terunofuji’s battle mode was to weather the initial onslaught, consolidate his position and counter attack with the most likely response. Terunofuji with a 2-0 start, but looking a bit rusty.

9 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 2 Highlights

  1. I know this is often disputed but it’s obvious that the raised Dohyo adds to the dangers
    of what is a contact sport with substantial risks. If the Dohyo was not raised
    probably Ura would not have been injured at all.

    • The dohyo is raised so that the feet of the competitors, and the clay, are at eye level for the judges. They won’t ever change it.

  2. Watching the replay of Ura’s head going back was awful; glad they responded quickly. I’m not sure that Terunofuji is rusty, I think that’s how his bouts tend to go. Whereas Hakuho aimed to dominate the dohyo and win quickly, Terunofuji seems to be more like “show me your sumo then I’ll show you how I’ll defeat it” I think everyone feels they have a chance to show what they can do against him, which wasn’t true of Hakuho. I like it.

    • Agreed it’s fascinating to see what his opponents throw at him. Often in the last two bashos I’ve watched the highlights and thought “he was in trouble there”, but then when you watch on slo-mo he looks in control at all times.

    • The yobidasgu response to Ura’s clear injury is improved, but not quite ready for prime time. Even the English commentator was saying they rushed him onto and off the dohyo too fast.

  3. Terunofuji now has a “tell” when he’s on defense. He’ll rock back and balance on his right leg. If I can notice it, you can bet all of the rikishi and their oyakata have noticed. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone can create a strategy to exploit it.

  4. Tochinoshin had Ichiyamamoto tied up at the armpits, never Tochi’s preferred tactic. Ichi simply waited for Tochi to break the armpit lock and go for his inevitable belt grip. As soon as Tochi tried that move, Ichi drove into Tochi with everything he had. Game over.

    It appeared to me that Meisei had studied Takakeisho’s Day One strategy and came up with the perfect plan to counteract it when the Round Mound rolled it out again on Day Two.

  5. Let’s pray for a speedy recovery for Ura, whose body was crushed by The Great Wall of Daikon.


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