I am starting to really enjoy Ichinojo’s daily bouts. At least for now, being enormous is a valid sumo strategy for him. But it’s not just the fact that he could be classified as “mega fauna”, he actually can move well, and has enough sumo technique to win matches. Taking the basho off really helped him out. He seems to have gotten past the problems with his back and his hips, and he is taking the fight to the san’yaku in week 1. Good show sir! He faces Terunofuji on day 5, and frankly its easy to see that Ichinojo is intimidated by the Yokozuna. It will be interesting to see if he can set that aside on Thursday.
Further down the torikumi, everyone who had not yet won a match, picked up their first win, except for hapless Terutsuyoshi. We are once again looking at an impossibly broad swath of rikishi at or near the center of the score rage, and we may again see the funnel group overlap the leader group in week 2.
Onosho defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru never had a chance to try his pulling combo, as Onosho had a nodowa at the tachiai, and drove him back and out in 3 steps. Both end the day 2-2.
Myogiryu defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji had a strong tachiai, but then inexplicably decided to pull. This was Immediately exploited by Myogiryu, who rushed forward and drove Nishikifuji out. Both men end the day at 2-2.
Yutakayama defeats Tsurugisho – A bit of a dud of a match. The tachiai was a solid hit from both, and Tsurugisho collapsed to all fours. Instant Yutakayama win to improved to 3-1.
Oho defeats Chiyoshoma – Long running power vs power match, Chiyoshoma took an early advantage going chest to chest and landing a left hand inside grip. Oho countered, and it was bulky power vs agility. No surprise that it evolved into the two men in the center of the ring, battle-hugging it out. Oho’s right hand held a single strand of Chiyoshoma’s loose mawashi, and Oho was robbed of any real way to transmit power to overcome Chiyoshoma’s defense. Eventually Chiyoshoma tired, and Oho was able to move forward, collapsing Chiyoshoma as he moved to make a last stand at the tawara. I think one of his knees gave out, and he was walking a bit tenderly following the match. Both end the day at 2-2.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Kotoshoho – Ichiyamamoto remains undefeated after slapping down Kotoshoho. The two traded blows at the tachiai, ramping up the forward power. Ichiyamamoto timed a pull to match Kotoshoho’s forward thrust, and brought him down. Ichiyamamoto 4-0.
Chiyotairyu defeats Takarafuji – Chiyotairyu made it work today, he got a solid hit at the tachiai, which knocked Takarafuji back, breaking his balance. Chiyotairyu switched to a series of pulls to get Takarafuji moving uncontrollably forward, and finished him with one last pull that sent him tumbling into the shimpan. Chiyotairyu improves to 2-2.
Meisei defeats Terutsuyoshi – Terutsuyoshi put everything into staying low and attacking from underneath. He left himself open to Meisei’s thrusting attacks. Terutsuyoshi was unable to hold position, and as he moved to break contact and re-try, he caught a right hand push fully in his chest, which put him on the clay. Meisei improves to 2-2.
Midorifuji defeats Kotoeko – Midorifuji scores his first ever win against Kotoeko. He was able to get a double inside grip in the opening moments of the fight, and then simply stayed low and overpowered Kotoeko, which is no small accomplishment. Midorifuji now 3-1.
Shimanoumi defeats Hokutofuji – Shimanoumi gets his first win of the basho, and he used a very nice approach to get there. He did not let Hokutofuji square his hips, by constantly moving just a bit to one side. Repeatedly doing this, he “trained” Hokutofuji to expect the move, and then on one exchange, Shimanoumi moved in the opposite direction. It worked perfectly, and Hokutofuji surged forward into the open air and a face full of Nagoya clay. Shimanoumi improves to 1-3.
Nishikigi defeats Aoiyama – Both men came into today with no losses, it was certain that this match would drop one from the perfect score group. Aoiyama gets the better of the tachiai, but immedately changes gears and begins to pull Nishikigi down by his left shoulder. Aoiyama manages to get Nishikigi airborne, but not before he himself steps out of the ring. Nishikigi remains unbeaten at 4-0.
Tobizaru defeats Tochinoshin – Tobizaru continues his tough to explain dominance over the much larger and stronger former Ozeki. Today it was a Tobizaru side-step at the tachiai that put Tochinoshin on the deck, advancing Tobizaru to 3-1.
Endo defeats Okinoumi – I counted three attempts by Endo to land that right hand on Okinoumi’s mawashi, each one failed. He discarded that idea and used what he could find, which were Okinoumi’s broad shoulders. With a working hold, he delivered a hatakikomi to send Okinoumi tumbling to the clay. Endo improves to 2-2.
Sadanoumi defeats Tamawashi – Sadanoumi picks up his first win of July by continuing his dominance over Tamawashi. Tamawashi gets a big first hit, but can’t maintain pressure on Sadanoumi, who rallies and returns in kind. Catching Tamawashi off balance, Sadanoumi runs him out to improve to 1-3.
Ura defeats Wakamotoharu – There are days when Ura does such unexpected things. He charges ahead at the tachiai, sets his hands to grapple, and then backs up. Wakamotoharu seems to thing “That’s good for me!” and charges ahead. Ura maintains contact, drives his hands deeper and swings around. Now Wakamotoharu has nobody in front of him. A solid push from the rear sends him out, and elevates Ura to 2-2.
Abi defeats Wakatakakage – With heartfelt apologies to the Wakatakakage fans who were hoping for a big red fish and an Ozeki promotion for the rising star, he’s not quite ready yet. My compliments to Wakatakakage for trying to break that blistering Abi-zumo attack. But once he locks onto your face, it’s going to take a beating. Out goes the Ozeki hopeful, and Abi improves to 3-1.
Daieisho defeats Takanosho – Daieisho opened strongly, Takanosho countered with more power and broke Daieisho’s offense. Daieisho then tried to pull, and fought the remainder of the match in reverse gear. A Daieisho hatakikomi took the win, and he improves to 2-2.
Shodai defeats Hoshoryu – Shodai finally picks up his first win, after starting 0-3. It was a sloppy match with Shodai breaking contact three times, and nearly going down or out twice. But he stayed in the ring, stayed in the fight and exploited Hoshoryu getting too far forward or too eager to purse the retreating Shodai. The Ozeki improves to 1-3.
Mitakeumi defeats Kiribayama – Sort of a mini-henka today from Mitakeumi. He did receive Kiribayama’s charge, but moved aside just enough to get his left arm deep behind Kiribayama, and used that hold to pull Kiribayama forward and down. Both end the day 2-2.
Ichinojo defeats Takakeisho – I saw two Ichinojo left hand slaps “Upside da’ head” to Takakeisho. The second one was part of a combo that netting Ichinojo a left hand outside grip deep on Takakeisho’s mawashi. From there it was just a formality as Ichinojo walked to Ozeki back and took the match to remain unbeaten at 4-0. Yes, Takakeisho was looking for a hair-pull disqualification against “The Boulder” but no dice Grand Tadpole. Fight it out next time.
Terunofuji defeats Kotonowaka – Clever half forward tachiai from Kotonowaka, attempting to get the Yokozuna off balance and too far forward. Instead he found a monster latched on to his right arm. Terunofuji wasted no time in pivoting and delivering the tottari to put Kotonowaka on the deck. Terunofuji improves to 3-1.