Fascinating day of sumo. So many rikishi who were doing poorly in act 1 suddenly found their sumo, and turned in winning performances today. It was not just one valiant fellow, but it seems the whole top division crew took their vitamins today and showed up ready to fight. That includes nearly every winless rikishi picking up their first white star today. Amazing rally across the board.
This carried over to the musubi-no-ichiban, where Tamawashi surprised undefeated Yokozuna Terunofuji. His loss sends the emerging yusho race into the hands of Mitakeumi and Abi, who managed to end the day with their perfect scores intact. I still fully expect Terunofuji to compete for, and likely win, the emperor’s cup. But he’s going to need to tear through one or both of those two in order to get there.
Then there is poor struggling Chiyonokuni, who is the last rikishi on the torikumi who has yet to earn a single win. He’s a tough, fast fighter, but he’s lacking the undercarriage to transmit power to ground, which limits his ability to move forward, and leaves him little more than hitting people without winning matches.
Kaisei defeats Bushozan – Bushozan got an early advantage, and managed to get behind Kaisei. It looked to me like an okuridashi was next, but Bushozan suffered a tragic slippiotoshi, bringing 200kg of Kaisei down on his head. Such is the power of Kaisei’s broad, hairy Brazilian backside, I do suppose. He improves to 4-2.
Tsurugisho defeats Wakamotoharu – I am surprised by Tsurugisho today. He has looked just terrible at the start of this basho, and now he has won 2 in a row. He dominated his match today with Wakamotoharu, and maybe he’s going to find a way to stay at least minimally competitive. Tsurugisho improves to 2-4.
Oho defeats Tochinoshin – Tochinoshin worked for a left hand inside grip at the tachiai, and got it. Usually Tochinoshin will work for a left hand outside, and I think the shift left him more than a little off tempo. Oho responded in kind, and was able to out muscle Tochinoshin at the edge to finish the day 4-2.
Kotonowaka defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto connected early in the tachiai, preventing Kotonowaka from closing in and going chest to chest. It looked like Ichiyamamoto was going to dominate the match, but Kotonowaka caught Ichiyamamoto with his head down, and his chest open. One combo sent Ichiyamamoto sprawling back, and gave the win to Kotonowaka, who is now 4-2.
Kotoeko defeats Yutakayama – Its official, something has happened to Kotoeko, and he’s actually not just fighting with vigor now, he’s winning matches too. Yutakayama had the upper hand to start, but was focusing on Kotoeko’s face and neck. Kotoeko responded by driving to open up an inside route to Yutakayama’s chest, and eventually found it. Now hitting center mass, Kotoeko put Yutakayama in motion, and then over the bales to improve to 4-2.
Chiyotairyu defeats Ishiura – Ok fine, it’s act 2 and a bunch of the “cold start” crew seem to have found their sumo. That was a two hit match. A big one at the start sent Ishiura from the shikiri-sen to the bales, and a second on sent him out over the east side. Wow! Chiyotairyu now 2-4.
Aoiyama defeats Sadanoumi – Even Aoiyama managed a win today! Though it was not quite at his normal power level, we did get to see elements of his normal sumo, and he did dominate Sadanoumi, so a good match for Aoiyama. He is now 3-3.
Terutsuyoshi defeats Chiyomaru – It’s been a while since we saw Terutsuyoshi employ a kirikaeshi, but today was that day. He robbed Chiyomaru of the wonderful agility we have seen over the previous days by going chest to chest at the tachiai, and then Terutsuyoshi carefully worked to get his hands and his body to bring Chiyomaru down with the leg trip. Terutsuyoshi improves to 3-3.
Akua defeats Chiyonokuni – This match was constructed to let one of these winless rikishi pick up their first white star. I admit I am surprised that out of this match up, it was Akua with the win. But Chiyonokuni was caught too far forward by Akua’s hatakikomi, and down he went. Akua now 1-5, Chiyonokuni still winless.
Tobizaru defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu picks up his second loss of the basho as Tobizaru finds him off balance while Myogiryu is moving forward. A moment before, Tobizaru was losing ground, but his agility and speed contributed to a solid rescue move at the bales that put Myogiryu face down on the clay. Tobizaru improves to 3-3.
Abi defeats Shimanoumi – Points to Shimanoumi for disrupting Abi’s double arm thrusting attack. Shimanoumi rallied after that and pressed forward, but Abi employed a bit of the “grab and tug” sumo technique to swing Shimanoumi out to remain perfect at 6-0. Please, get this guy some tougher opponents.
Chiyoshoma defeats Onosho – Excellent match plan from Chiyoshoma. He immediately captures Onosho, shutting down his “mega-thrust” attack. As Onosho struggles to escape, Chiyoshoma drives him forward and puts him down with a resounding yoritaoshi. Nicely done! Chiyoshoma improves to 3-3.
Okinoumi defeats Hoshoryu – I really need to wonder now. Not that Okinoumi is not capable of beating Hoshoryu, but it seems everyone who was winless or doing poorly in act 1 has now, on day 6, found their sumo. Hoshoryu was on his game, but Okinoumi had just a bit more power today, and it was enough to put Hoshoryu away. Okinoumi picks up his first win and is 1-5 now.
Hokutofuji defeats Takarafuji – Hokutofuji had both hands inside Takarafuji’s defenses by the second step. Presented with this position, Hokutofuji knows exactly what to do, and rammed himself forward, applying maximum force to Takarafuji’s chest. It was a fast path to the edge, and Hokutofuji improves to 3-3.
Ura defeats Kiribayama – I can’t image Kiribayama’s disappointment. He was doing so well, you can see him initiate the finishing move to win the match, then suddenly Ura disappears, and the next moment he is behind Kiribayama, lifting him and carrying him out like a 4 year old who was not ready to leave the playground. Resounding okuridashi win for Ura, who is now 2-4.
Wakatakakage defeats Meisei – Brilliant back and forth oshi match, and I think it came down to Wakatakakage’s superior footwork. At no time did he take 2 steps that were off balance, where Meisei eventually got off his center-line, and became a target for Wakatakakage’s thrusting attack. Wakatakakage improves to 2-4.
Mitakeumi defeats Endo – Endo put all of his chips on that left hand grip at the tachiai. Easy to predict. It did him no good at all, as by the time his fingers had a hold, he was over the bales. Mitakeumi looking very strong right now, excellent sumo of the denshamichi variety as Mitakeumi is 6-0.
Takanosho defeats Daieisho – Daieisho never really set up a good position for attacking, and thought he landed a couple of combos, he left his chest wide open for Takanosho’s counter attack. When Takanosho rallied, he connected well, and pushed Daieisho out with very little fuss. Takanosho improves to 3-3.
Ichinojo defeats Shodai – Shodai, come on man. Ichinojo boxes him up, stands him up, and walks him across the bales. Not sure why Shodai lets the Boulder push him around, but Ichinojo improves his career advantage over the Ozeki to 11-4. Both end the day 3-3.
Tamawashi defeats Terunofuji – Tough moment for a slippiotoshi from the Yokozuna. But Tamawashi is a master at forcing his opponents off balance, and capitalizing on even the smallest problem during the match. A quick tsukiotoshi sends Terunofuji to the clay for his first loss of Hatsu as Tamawashi improves to 5-1 with a kinboshi.