At the top of the news, Ishiura withdrew from Haru, citing a pinched nerve in his neck. It was clear he was fairly wrecked following his day 3 match Kotonowaka, but he is likely to be gone for the rest of Haru. It’s quite a shame as he was fighting well, and at his highest career rank.
The ranks of the winless rikishi shrink again, leaving only Chiyomaru and Shodai. I am not sure what Chiyomaru has going on, but Shodai continues to be a powerless husk thanks to lingering effects of COVID-19. People around the planet have a spectrum of thoughts about COVID, but having witnessed “long COVID” up close, it can be debilitating for those unfortunate to be inflicted with it. Shodai is not doing anyone a bit of good continuing to try to compete in this state, and I have to underscore if he takes the tradition “let it heal naturally” route, he may be Jd23 Shodai before he recovers his strength.
At the end of day 4, there are two men still with perfect records: Takayasu and Mitakeumi. It’s early days, but I maintain a hope that these two are still slugging it out in act 3. Takayasu is looking great right now, and his sumo seems sharp and sure.
Kagayaki defeats Nishikigi – The Kagayaki matta broadcast exactly what he wanted to do, but for some reason Nishikigi was not ready to defend. Kagayaki applied a direct attack center mass, and got solid results today. Maybe his ring rust is resolved? Nishikigi picks up his first loss of Haru while Kagayaki improves to 2-2.
Tochinoshin defeats Ichiyamamoto – That looked more like a street fight to me, but it completely shut down Ichiyamamoto’s thrusting attacks. Not sure why Tochinoshin had decided to become a sumo pugilist, but, hey, seems to be working so far, he improves to 2-2.
Kotokuzan defeats Yutakayama – Offense was all Yutakayama, with appearing to only be capable of standing there and absorbing it. With Kotokuzan’s feed at the bales, Kotokuzan deftly stepped to the side and slapped down Yutakayama just as Yutakayama moved to finish the match. That’s Yutakayama’s first loss of the basho, as Kotokuzan improves to 2-2.
Chiyonokuni defeats Akua – Big tachiai from Akua, and for a fleeting moment he had Chiyonokuni’s right foot on the tawara, inches from defeat. But the Grumpy Badger was not going to give up and surged forward. Akua barred Chiyonokuni’s right arm, I think meaning to throw. But instead Chiyonokuni drove him down and both landed in a heap on the east side. Chiyonokuni improves to 3-1.
Kotoeko defeats Chiyomaru – Strong tachiai from Chiyomaru, who rocked Kotoeko back, but immediately went for a pull down. That loss of forward pressure let Kotoeko get a left hand outside grip, and Chiyomaru was in deep trouble. He tried to dance away and break contact, but Kotoeko had him locked up and put Chiyomaru across the bales, improving to 2-2.
Chiyotairyu defeats Kotoshoho – Zero offense from Kotoshoho today, as Chiyotairyu decided to go back to sumo thunder-god mode finally. Kotoshoho really needs to get his sumo together before he accumulates more losses. Chiyotairyu improves to 2-2.
Shimanoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi just cannot find an attack pattern that works against Shimanoumi, losing to him for the 11th time in his career. Today Shimanoumi pushed forward, then hit reverse gear while maintaining both hands solidly gripping Terutsuyoshi, dropping him to the clay. Both end the day at 2-2.
Myogiryu defeats Aoiyama – Not much offense from Big Dan today. Myogiryu received the first hit, immediately stepped to his left and slapped Aoiyama down while he was still launching forward. Maybe Aoiyama was distracted by the fact that he has secured Japanese citizenship today. Myogiryu improves to 3-1.
Sadanoumi defeats Wakamotoharu – Sadanoumi picks up his first win of Haru by a hearty yoritaoshi that had both men airborne for a moment. With Sadanoumi dominating this match from the tachiai, Wakamotoharu attempted an energetic utchari rescue throw at the bales, but hit the clay first. Sadanoumi improves to 1-3.
Tobizaru defeats Okinoumi – Tobizaru met Okinoumi’s tachiai head on, then immediately released pressure and stepped back. In response Okinoumi charged, running them both to the east side of the ring, where Tobizaru beautifully timed his hatakikomi to bring Okinoumi down moments before Tobizaru was forced out. Tobizaru improves to 2-2.
Hokutofuji defeats Chiyoshoma – I can only assume that Chiyoshoma discounted Hokutofuji’s legendary lower body stability when he chose to attempt a pull against Ol’Stompy. Instead, it was a fast route to an oshidashi as Hokutofuji thundered forward, sending both men over the West side salt box. Hokutofuji improves to 2-2.
Takayasu defeats Kotonowaka – Excellent exchange of facial oshi power to start, and then chest to chest with right hands inside. Oh dear, Kotonowaka, did you want to test a well-rested Takayasu’s stamina? Well, he literally can do this all day and well into the night, and still be enjoying himself. It takes him some time, but Kotonowaka figures out he’s in trouble, and begins to try and change the form of the match. But has he wiggles to escape, Takayasu stands him up a bit at a time. Takayasu finally lets Kotonowaka get his left hand on Takayasu’s belt, but he’s completely worn out, and almost seems relieved when Takayasu’s uwatenage slams him to the clay. Takayasu remains unbeaten at 4-0.
Onosho defeats Takarafuji – This match was always going to be about which rikishi could setting into their mutually incompatible mode of sumo first. The answer today was Onosho, who disrupted both attempts by Takarafuji to set his feet and pivot his upper body. Driving strongly forward, Onosho made the yorikiri work, and picked up his second win of Haru.
Hoshoryu defeats Tamawashi – These two are basically the same guy, about 12 years apart. The difference of course is speed and accumulated damage, and Hoshoryu can out react Tamawashi in every category that matters. Hoshoryu made quick work of the veteran, getting behind Tamawashi and driving him out from behind, improving to 2-2.
Kiribayama defeats Wakatakakage – This match surprised me a bit, as I expected Wakatakakage’s speed advantage to carry this fight. But one mistake is all it takes, and after the two them to evenly exchanged blow and oshi attacks, Wakatakakage found him self slightly off balance and turned to the side. Kiribayama used his hold of Wakatakakage’s left hand to strongly pull him forward, and Wakatakakage went face down to the clay. Kiribayama improves to 3-1.
Abi defeats Meisei – Hey, Abi won a match without his signature double arm thrust attack! I would love to see him mix things up a lot more, as it will make his opponents more susceptible to his primary attack form. I don’t think Meisei expected that at all, and was completely bamboozled by Abi’s kotenage, improving his score to 3-1.
Mitakeumi defeats Takanosho – Outstanding tachiai from Takanosho, he had the inside path and put Mitakeumi back on his heels. It looks like Mitakeumi lost his nerve for a moment and tried a pull, which threw away all of his forward power for a brief moment. That’s all it took for Takanosho to advance to the bales, and was a heart beat away from victory. But Mitakeumi had enough sumo left pull Takanosho forward while stepping to the side, sending Takanosho to the clay while Mitakeumi danced away. Mitakeumi remains unbeaten at 4-0.
Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – If you wanted to see two guys push the stuffing out of each other, this is your match. The early phase was a see-saw battle where each man had advantage for a moment, but could not maintain. Matters turned when Takakeisho latched on a nodowa and forcefully tossed Daieisho out of the ring by his neck. Takakeisho improves to 2-2.
Ura defeats Shodai – Its nice to see Ura pick up his first win, but Shodai is just a giant daikon shaped shell of an Ozeki right now. Please, sir. Go seek treatment for the lingering COVID effects, and come back strong. Ura improves to 1-3 via traditional grab and tug sumo resulting in okuridashi.
Terunofuji defeats Ichinojo – Simply put, Ichinojo is intimidated by Terunofuji, and has more or less lost before the tachiai. Ichinojo does attempt a belt grab at the tachiai, but Terunofuji powers forward, taking 200kg of pony tossing bolder with him. Terunofuji still does not look quite right, but improves to 3-1.