Nagoya Day 4 Highlights

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.

Highlight Matches

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.

14 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 4 Highlights

  1. My favorites mostly had a bad day.

    Onosho won over Chiyomaru, but that was expected due to their history. Hokutofuji losing to Shimanoumi is worrying. The crowd, too, didn’t seem too enthused by the result, either. But that Midorifuji/Kotoeko bout right before was great even though Kotoeko lost; I could watch that kind of sumo all day. Tochinoshin took a quick tumble, but at least Ura came through. Finally, Kotonowaka lost to Terunofuji, again an expected result. So, my favorites in the top division only went 2-4. Really, at this point I should just be cheering quality sumo over boosting certain rikishi.

  2. I am eating my words: Ura is entertaining and unpredictable again. But I was right on Ichinojo: the man is a force of nature when He is turned on.
    I would love to see Him loosing tomorrow after a strenuous battle, only to come back for a play off after regulation matches. And there, I would hope for the strongest, more violent tachiai ever propelling a shock wave traveling all the way to Ulaanbaatar!!!! And may the biggest, meanest monster win!

  3. Takakeisho going immediately for the hairpull ploy is pretty cheap. Clean bout from Ichinojo but he seems caught out by hair pulls with his style.

    • It did look like a very clear hair pull on there replay though (and one that would Takakeisho would have definitely felt). Maybe he just stopped as an automatic reaction rather than a ploy (that was my take anyway). What I don’t understand was why the judges didn’t call it.

      Unless that was Ichinojo’s sagari tangled up in Takakeisho’s hair? But surely even he’s not that tall…

      • The commentator on NHK explained that, although Ichinojo was clearly tangled in Takakeisho’s hair, it wasn’t his top knot. Therefore, no foul. He added they also probably considered it wasn’t material to the outcome.

        • Thanks for the explanation. So hair pulling in general is OK it seems. In which case presumably they then have to judge intent which is tricky.

  4. Chiyoshoma looked like his knee was under him and but had the weight of his opponent directly on top of him to strongly flex the knee.

    Speaking from my personal experience, this could cause some structural damage or it could just hurt like a sumbitch right away and can be walked off and iced and it’s all good. I’d guess the latter since there was no twisting to it, all the force was straight line to his leg. Not much fun either way.

  5. Takakeisho seems to have no way of defeating this healthy, mobile version of Ichinojo. I suspect that, if they fought ten bouts, the Mongolian Mountain would win every time!

    • Takakeisho just doesn’t seem as dominant after his injury. He used to be able to shove people at will, even Ichinojo’s size.

  6. I think the conditions are ripe in Nagoya for a maegashira to take the yusho. Ichinojo often struggles with stamina and tends to fade in days 10-15, but perhaps the rest will do him well and he’ll be in contention until the end or even win his first yusho! Terunofuji and Takakeisho don’t look 100% to me, Mitakeumi doesn’t look 50% healthy to me, and Shodai is sho-dead. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ichiyamamoto in contention until the end, especially since at M13 he’s unlikely to fight anyone in Sanyaku until day 13 at the absolute earliest.

      • If Nishikigi and/or Ichiyamamoto keep winning, they’ll face each other, and then get bumped up the banzuke, and I don’t think they can hang with upper maegashira. In May, Ichi got off to a 5-0 start, and ran it to 8-2 against opponents ranked M9 and lower. On the last 5 days, he fought those ranked M8 and higher, and went 0-5.

  7. Ura ‘victory arms’ after his bout? Balance arms? Looks to me like a balance fake so he could sneak in some non hinkaku victory arms after his slick move! I was so surprised to see that out of Ura. Usually, it’s me doing victory arms on his behalf!

    (Yes, I know. With everything going on today, I pick out ‘victory arms’.)

    Happy to see ichinojo doing so well. Tomorrow we’ll see the ‘Bout of the Day’!

    I hope Chiyoshoma is not injured.


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