With act 1 in the record books, there are a few things that are clear. We are going to have a messy act 2 is the biggest thing of note. None of the prior yusho winners are in the unbeaten group. With the exception of Yokozuna Terunofuji and Komusubi Daiesho, many of the named ranked rikishi are riding the make/kachi-koshi line, and may struggle to get their 8 wins in May. This is double true for Shodai, who is at 1-4 right now, and is a big mess of an Ozeki.
You know who really is over-performing right now? Tamawashi. Today he bested Mitakeumi, he last was able to do that at Aki 2020, and has had six consecutive losses against him since then. He has one prior yusho, and it would be just completely nuts if he were to be in a position to challenge for the cup next week.
Azumaryu defeats Midorifuji – Once Azumaryu had a double arm-bar on Midorifuji, there was only one way this was going to go unless Midorifuji could break Azumaryu’s grip. What impressed me is how long Midorifuji was able to stay in the ring and in the match. But Azumaryu throws him out with a kotenage, and both end the day at 2-3.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Oho – Ichiyamamoto uses a very straightforward “stand him up then pull him down” combo at the tachiai, and catches Oho too far forward. He advances to 5-0, with a perfect score for act 1.
Meisei defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki had the better tachiai, and quickly put Meisei back. Kagayaki squared his hips and moved forward. Meisei had a ready move for this, getting to the side, turing Kagayaki then driving him out. That’s Meisei’s second win, and he is now 2-3.
Chiyotairyu defeats Kotokuzan – Chiyotairyu was able to put a bit more power in this tachiai today, and took charge of the match. A brief rally by Kotokuzan was short of what was needed, and Chiyotairyu shoved him out from behind. Chiyotairyu now 2-3, and Kotokuzan still winless at 0-5.
Sadanoumi defeats Yutakayama – No bursts of super human speed today, just straight ahead full contact sumo. Given Yutakayama’s higher mass, I was impressed by how well Sadanoumi was able to move forward. Sadanoumi now 4-1.
Aoiyama defeats Chiyoshoma – Aoiyama had the advantage in this match from the tachiai, and nearly gave it all up with a half hearted head pull about 15 seconds into a fight. Fortunately he did not throw too much into it, and was able to recover before Chiyoshoma could power into the pull. With his attack high getting him into trouble, Aoiyama found Chiyoshoma right arm, and gave Chiyoshoma a kotenage. Aoiyama finishes act 1 at 5-0.
Myogiryu defeats Nishikigi – Myogiryu wasted no time setting up a throw, placing his hands by the second step, and by the third step Nishikigi was tumbling to the clay. Kimarite was listed as tsukiotoshi, but it looked like an under shoulder swing down to me. Myogiryu improves to 3-2.
Tochinoshin defeats Kotoshoho – Tochinoshin continues his dominance (4-0) over Kotoshoho. Tochinoshin’s opening combo failed, and he transitioned immediately into a neck pull. As dangerous as that move is, today it worked, knocking Kotoshoho off balance. Tochinoshin finished him wiht a shove from the side, and both are now 2-3.
Okinoumi defeats Terutsuyoshi – Straight up quality sumo mechanics from Okinoumi today. Terutsuyoshi made contact lower than what I think he wanted, then found himself with no good route to attack. Both end the day at 2-3.
Kotoeko defeats Takarafuji – This was hoped to be a “gimme” match for Takarafuji, who is clearly not up to his normal fighting power. Takarafuji was able to set up the “defend and extend” gambit. I am not sure what injury has him operating in a degraded mode, but its a disappointment for his fans. Today, after controlling the match for about 30 seconds, Kotoeko breaks contact one step before Takarafuji has him out. Kotoeko pushes him out from the rear, finishing 3-2. Takarafuji finishes act 1 winless at 0-5.
Wakamotoharu defeats Ura – Wakamotoharu was able to grapple Ura, and channel the match into a chest to chest yotsu battle. This favored Wakamotoharu, and he was able to walk Ura around the ring. But everyone knew Ura was going to try and escape or counter attack at the bales, and he pivoted to throw Wakamotoharu out. The gumbai went to Ura, but they fell together and a rematch was proscribed. Second match was Ura attempting a back bend, and Wakamotoharu throwing that mess into the 5th row. Wakamotoharu improves to 4-1.
Shimanoumi defeats Tobizaru – Putting a big damper on my Tobizaru yusho story, Shimanoumi endured the frantic attacks of Tobizaru and stayed on his feet. Tobizaru kept up a very effective rolling set of disruption moves, but none of it did anything more than move Shimanoumi about. As Tobizaru started to run low on stamina, Shimanoumi attacked center mass and drove him out, improving to 2-3.
Takanosho defeats Kotonowaka – Takanosho had a really strong tachiai, and I think Kotonowaka was struggling to find a good route for his hands. While he worked to sort out his hand placement, Takanosho was moving him steadily out. Both end the day at 3-2.
Kiribayama defeats Takayasu – Fantastic defense today from Kiribayama kept Takayasu from ever really able to do much more than try to out power Kiribayama with his lower body. They lock up in the center of the ring, and it’s stamina check time. With his energy draining away, Kiribayama breaks Takayasu’s balance, and starts a combo of disruption moves that ends with Takayasu on the clay. Kiribayama picks up his second win of the basho to advance to 2-3
Daieisho defeats Abi – Abi had a solid opening combo, but Daieisho has been studying his match footage. As Abi moves his arms back to consolidate, he opens his chest, and Daieisho moved in to attack. With his blows landing center-mass, Abi was forced back, and three steps later out of the ring. Daieisho now is at 4-1.
Hoshoryu defeats Wakatakakage – Hoshoryu gets behind Wakatakakage immediately, and drives him out of the ring. Not sure if that was a micro-henka Harumafuji style or what, but it worked well. Hoshoryu now 3-2.
Tamawashi defeats Mitakeumi – Tamawashi prevailing over Mitakeumi is quite rare, this is only the 4th time he has won in 31 career matches. He simply out muscled Mitakeumi, eventually breaking his footing, and proceeding to tear right through him. A last minute pull down attempt by Mitakeumi did not work, and out goes the Ozeki. Tamawashi improves to 4-1.
Takakeisho defeats Onosho – Glad to see Takakeisho able to dial up the power today, in this battle of the tadpoles. I even saw him use his right arm with great effect in that final shove. Takakeisho now 3-2.
Endo defeats Shodai – Shodai, you puss bucket. Your tachiai was terrible, and it gave Endo free access to set up any kind of grip he desired, and Endo always desires a frontal grip. Shodai tried a bit of a rally at the edge of the ring, but this guy is Sandanme 23E Shodai, as opposed to the Ozeki Shodai. Endo advances 2-3.
Terunofuji defeats Hokutofuji – Terunofuji looked solid today, capturing Hokutofuji and bringing him to his chest. Hokutofuji did not have much sumo at that point, but tried a throw at the edge of the ring. Terunofuji collapsed that throw, sending Hokutofuji to the clay in a heap. Terunofuji remains at 1 loss with 4-1.