There was some late breaking news yesterday – that one of the rikishi in Dewanoumi heya had tested positive for COVID, and the entire stable was now kyujo for the rest of the tournament. This has an immediate impact on kadoban Ozeki Mitakeumi. He had been unable to train prior to the basho, and was rapidly on his way to losing his Ozeki rank. Now forced to sit out the rest of the tournament, his status as an Ozeki is likely spared, at least until September. In general, if the stable is forced to sit out due to COVID infections, everyone’s rank is preserved. This is what happened for Ichinojo last basho. We hope none of the cases in Dewanoumi are serious, and everyone makes a speedy recovery. Hoshoryu picks up a much needed win by default and is now 3-4.
It should also be noted that Takanosho is also kyujo with a shoulder injury. Wakatakakage got the free win to improve to 4-3.
Nishikifuji defeats Yutakayama – I was a little surprised by this match. I thought Yutakayama would be able to put more together for defense than he did. He quickly let Nishikifuji get his hands inside, and the shin-maku rikishi skillfully dialed up the trusting power. Yutakayama could not defend and was quickly pushed out. Nishikifuji improves to 5-2.
Oho defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki focused his thrusting at Oho’s neck and face. This left his chest more or less open for counter attack, and Oho was happy to supply. Points to Kagayaki for countering with a hazu-oshi – nice move in this case. It was working well enough that Oho decided to try and end the match with a slap / pull down, which hit just in time as both tumbled to the clay. Oho improves to 4-3.
Tsurugisho defeats Chiyomaru – There was so much belly-meat in this match, it was tough to think through the amount of force that was being delivered. Chiyomaru could not generate enough forward pressure to overcome Tsurugisho, and found himself quickly pushed back over the bales. Tsurugisho improves to 3-4.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Daiamami – Daiamami opened strong, and had control of this match by the second step. But an inspired rally from Ichiyamamoto turned the tables, as he advanced, Daiamami lost his footing and fell while taking a backward step. Daiamami is still looking for a second win after coming back from an ankle injury (I think his ankle gave out today), and Ichiyamamoto improves to 5-2.
Onosho defeats Takarafuji – This match was a bit of a puzzle. It looked to me that Takarafuji had stopped Onosho’s charge, and had gotten into his defensive stance. But he almost immediately releases pressure and tries to pull Onosho down. This was a complete disaster as Onosho rushes forward into the pull, ejecting Takarafuji into the west side rikishi. Onosho improves to 4-3.
Midorifuji defeats Myogiryu – Midorifuji delivers a henka to immediately bring Myogiryu down, he is now 5-2.
Kotoshoho defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma was fighting well until Kotoshoho broke his balance on the 5th exchange. With his feet out of position, Chiyoshoma was an easy mark for Kotoshoho to apply full force to a push that sent Chiyoshoma into the front row. Kotoshoho improves to 4-3.
Chiyotairyu defeats Meisei – It took two big hits for Chiyotairyu to stand Meisei up, and move him back. Chiyotairyu Then switched to pull and barely got Meisei down before he stepped out of the ring. A monoii confirmed it, and Chiyotairyu improves to 4-3.
Kotoeko defeats Terutsuyoshi – This match was clearly going to be Kotoeko’s win, but it was interesting to watch how long Terutsuyoshi could keep up enough defense to prevent Kotoeko from pushing him out. At least Terutsuyoshi still has some stamina working for him. Kotoeko improves to 4-3.
Nishikigi defeats Okinoumi – Nishikigi is back in the win column after 2 straight losses. Once Nishikigi got his left hand inside grip, he had superior body position, and worked Okinoumi back a piece at a time for a yorikiri win. Nishikigi improves to 5-2.
Aoiyama defeats Shimanoumi – Aoiyama started with facial attacks using his big “V-Twin” thrusts. Shimanoumi rallied for a moment, and Aoiyama switched to a left hand outside grip. With that firm hand hold, he was able to move forward smartly, and walked Shimanoumi to improve to 4-3.
Tochinoshin defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi established a grip first with a left hand outside, but Tochinoshin’s mawashi was so loose, I thought we were going to have a wardrobe malfunction. As it was, Sadanoumi could not find any way to transmit force to Tochinoshin’s body, and was an easy mark for the former Ozeki’s counter attack. Tochinoshin improves to 4-3 by yorikiri.
Hokutofuji defeats Endo – Hokutofuji tried an immediate pull following the initial merge, and it actually worked a bit. Not enough to send Endo out, but enough to leave him off balance and in poor position. Hokutofuji attacked again with a massive shove that send Endo into the front row, giving Hokutofuji the win to advance to 3-4.
Wakamotoharu defeats Tobizaru – Impressive sumo from Wakamotoharu today to knock Tobizaru out of his position as the #2 man in the basho. I liked that left hand to the chest right hand to the face combo, I also think it broke Tobizaru’s focus long enough that the rest of what Wakamotoharu did worked. He finished with a well timed step to the side against Tobizaru’s charge that sent Tobizaru to the clay. Wakamotoharu improves to 4-3 by hatakikomi.
Kotonowaka defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi on offense at the tachiai, and he looks to have this won. But a brilliant lateral thrust from Kotonowaka puts Tamawashi on the deck just a heartbeat before Tamawashi could finish Kotonowaka off. The gyoji points his gumbai the wrong way, and a monoii ensues to clean up the botched call. Kotonowaka improves to 5-2 by expertly timed tsukiotoshi.
Daieisho defeats Kiribayama – Daieisho opened strong, and had Kiribayama struggling to hold his ground. A quick shift of position left Kiribayama off balance as he tried to get his right hand on Daieisho’s belt, and a single hit sent Kiribayama to the clay. Daieisho advances to 4-3 by hatakikomi.
Shodai defeats Ichinojo – Ozeki Shodai showed up today. Ichinojo tried to win by being enormous again, and it nearly worked. He failed to land a hand hold at the tachiai, opening the door for Shodai to break contact and circle away. Shodai attacked with vigor, and Ichinojo had no defense. Ichinojo tries to pull, and that opens the door for the push that finished the match. Shodai needed that win, and Ichinojo needed that loss. The Ozeki finds his spark to finish the day 3-4 by oshidashi.
Abi defeats Takakeisho – Takakeisho does a strange stand and squat tachiai, and it sadly plays directly into Abi’s mini-henka. Abi lands a left hand on Takakeisho’s belt and pivots Harumafuji style. He gets 180kg+ of Takakeisho airborne, and for the first time in a long time, Takakeisho really IS a bowling ball with legs. Abi improves to 4-3 by uwatenage.
Terunofuji defeats Ura – Ura does not try anything evasive at the tachiai, attacking Terunofuji directly, and succeeds in getting a double inside grip. The bad news about achieving such a position against the Yokozuna is that he also has his favorite hold on you. Now arm locked an unable to move, Ura tries what he can to escape, but he is little more than ballast at this point at Terunofuji keeps a hold of those arms and walks Ura out. Terunofuji improves to 5-2 by kimedashi.