I could bang on about the Ozeki, and maybe I should. Or maybe I should stop the stream after the Wakatakakage match and just pretend the rest was not happening. But, it is happening. We continue to have problems with the top rankers. I can hear the crabby old men of the YDC now, raining disapproval via faxed documents. Whatever the cause, it is making for a nerve wracking basho.
Word came during Friday morning in Japan that Onosho had broken a rib in his day 6 loss to Takakeisho, and will be out for the rest of the basho. That must hurt quite a bit, we hope he can heal up and be ready for Nagoya in July. His day 6 opponent Tobizaru gets a fusensho and improves to 5-1. With the banzuke no longer balanced, we will have visitors from Juryo until someone else goes kyujo.
Midorifuji defeats Oho – Quick win for Midorifuji, he caught Oho by the elbows at the tachiai, and immediately slapped him down. Midorifuji now 3-3.
Chiyotairyu defeats Yutakayama – Chiyotairyu seems to be getting into his simple yet effective favorite combo now. Today he stood Yutakayama up, gave him one good tsuppari blast to center mass, them moved out of the way and slapped Yutakayama down. Chiyotairyu improves to 3-3.
Azumaryu defeats Meisei – Meisei was off balance at the moment of contact in the tachiai, but he quickly settled into a jab-and-move pattern, keeping Azumaryu on defense. Meisei drove inside to get a right hand grip, and Azumaryu pulled him forward and down to pick up the win, now 3-3. Meisei’s footwork was not quite right today, maybe that’s why he is struggling to find wins last basho and now in May.
Myogiryu defeats Kagayaki – Myogiryu got right hand inside at the tachiai, and shut down Kagayaki’s oshi-zumo from the start. Locked up in the center of the dohyo, the two struggle for hand position, with Kagayaki putting everything he could muster into an arm-bar hold. A quick series of shifts freed up Myogiryu left hand, which found Kagayaki’s shoulder, and the resulting katasukashi dropped Kagayaki to the clay. Myogiryu advances to 4-2.
Sadanoumi defeats Kotokuzan – Another day, and another loss for now 0-6 Kotokuzan. Its quite puzzling because when you watch the match, Kotokuzan is just blasting away at Sadanoumi, and is controlling the match. But Sadanoumi absorbs the punishment, waits for his chance and then drives Kotokuzan from the ring. Sadanoumi now 5-1.
Aoiyama defeats Ichiyamamoto – The much anticipated battle of the two remaining undefeated, there is a moment where Ichiyamamoto tries a pull, and you just know its all over. His balance is now disrupted, and Aoiyama delivers a quick stand up / pull down combo that puts Ichiyamamoto on the dohyo. The hatakikomi win leaves Aoiyama the sole leader of the Natsu basho with a 6-0 score.
Kotoshoho defeats Okinoumi – I am not sure where Okinoumi’s sumo was today, but after a few mild pushes to Kotoshoho’s upper body, Okinoumi seems to decide to take the loss. The yorikiri moves Kotoshoho to join the large 3-3 crowd that enter the middle weekend.
Tochinoshin defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma spent the entire match struggling to find a workable grip. Likewise Tochinoshin had his favored left hand outside grip on Chiyoshoma’s mawashi but could not maintain it. The ended was rather rough, with Tochinoshin having a right hand arm bar on Chiyoshoma, but Chiyoshoma losing footing and tumbling to the clay. Tochinoshin improves with the win to 3-3.
Nishikigi defeats Terutsuyoshi – The sad story of Terutsuyoshi wanting to fight as low as possible, ending up being too low to do anything, repeats itself today. Nishikigi simply applied enough pressure from above to further crush Terutsuyoshi toward the clay, and Terutsuyoshi tried to back away, but was walked across the bales for his efforts. Nishikigi advances to join the ever growing horde at 3-3.
Shimanoumi defeats Takarafuji – Wow, Takarafuji can’t buy a win. He and Kotokuzan should be granted special dispensation to just take the rest of the basho off and go fishing in Fuji-goko. No? Well, more crummy sumo then. Today was like the prior five, Takarafuji did set up his defense, could not hold ground, and was an easy mark for Shimanoumi, who joins the 3-3 crowd.
Kotoeko defeats Wakamotoharu – If you let Wakamotoharu get his hands on you, and take up anything resembling a yotsu stance, he is one tough competitor. I like that Kotoeko kept him moving just enough that he could not dig in his toes, and managed to break Wakamotoharu’s balance, setting him up for the tottari that came three steps later. Both end the day at 4-2 after what was a fine match.
Endo defeats Ura – Ura goes for some fine grab and tug sumo today, and it immediately puts Endo into a reactive mode. Even when Endo gets a left hand under Ura’s shoulder, he’s still very careful, knowing Ura just needs on stray body part to fling you out of the ring. But Endo finds an opening, and delivers a few well placed pushes to take Ura out. Both end the day 3-3, and join the burgeoning crowd that enter the middle weekend ready for the funnel.
Kiribayama defeats Kotonowaka – Kiribayama set up a left hand inside grip early, and never gave up that hold on Kotonowaka’s mawashi. The rest of the match was Kiribayama trying to consolidate his position, and Kotonowaka trying to break his hold. Kiribayama never did release his grasp, and took the match. Both end the day at 3-3, and the crowd who will enter the funnel this weekend grows.
Hoshoryu defeats Daieisho – Daieisho’s opening gambit falls completely flat, as Hoshoryu closes the distance before Daieisho can push him away. Now completely upright and with Hoshoryu at his chest, Daieisho cannot stop being run out and into the shimpan. Both end the day at 4-2.
Wakatakakage defeats Takayasu – Wakatakakage set up a right hand outside grip, and used that to keep Takayasu from generating any real offense. Likewise Wakatakakage could not really find any route to break Takayasu’s defense, and the two stalemated at the center of the dohyo. A quick move to the side by Wakatakakage got the leverage he was looking for, and he walked Takayasu out from the side for an okuridashi win. Wakatakakage joins the crowd at 3-3.
Takanosho defeats Shodai – Traditional Shodai sumo – crummy tachiai, body upright, weight on his heels. He let Takanosho run the match, and really had very little sumo to show today. I am not sure where the real Shodai is, but please do come back soon. Takanosho advances to 4-2.
Mitakeumi defeats Hokutofuji – This match was over at the tachiai, as Hotkutofuji swan dives into the dirt with a little help from a Mitakeumi uwatedashinage. Mitakeumi, with the best score among the Ozeki group, is now 3-3. Grim.
Abi defeats Takakeisho – Abi puts pressure into Takakeisho at the tachiai, then pulls away and down to immediately drop the Ozeki. Abi improves to 4-2, while Takakeisho joins team 3-3.
Tamawashi defeats Terunofuji – As mentioned in the preview, Tamawashi has a solid record of defeating Terunofuji, and can defeat anyone in sumo on the proper day. Terunofuji was never able to set his feet or arrest the rearward slide that came from Tamawashi’s opening combo. A quick three steps and the Yokozuna was out on the east side, and Tamawashi is 5-1, scoring a kinboshi in the process.