Hatsu Day 3 Highlights

It was oshidashi day today, as the fontal push out seemed to be everyone’s favorite for day 3. We got to see Shodai score his first win of Hatsu with and oshidashi. Tamawashi employed a nodowa to set up his oshidashi, and everyone enjoyed Onosho’s oshidashi so much, they made him do it twice.

For the third day in a row, Hoshoryu dominated his match, today against a resurgent Mitakeumi. I am not sure if Hoshoryu is having a good tournament, or if this is his new normal, but it looks very good and is working wonderfully well. The only knock I have against him today is he did not read the fax before coming to the Kokugikan, and won by yorikiri rather than the default oshidashi.

Highlight Matches

Takarafuji defeats Azumaryu – Its great to see Takarafuji back in some manner of fighting form. Ranked this low on the banzuke, he is going to do a lot of damage. In addition, he is not using his “defend and extend” approach, he is taking the fight to his opponents and hustling them out of the ring. He took care of Azumaryu with out much trouble, and is now 3-0.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru brought nothing but a sore foot to today’s match. He deployed a half hearted attempt at a head slap to try and set up a pull, but he found Ichiyamamoto ready to engage, quickly landing volleys of thrusts into his chest, rapidly sending him out. Ichiyamamoto picks up his first win and is 1-2.

Mitoryu defeats Kotoeko – Kotoeko tried for a right hand face slap at the tachiai, leaving his chest wide open for Mitoryu to grab a hold, and toss him out like a bag of potatoes. I am not sure Mitoryu took more than two steps. Both end the day 1-2.

Kotoshoho defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho was in a hurry to put Kotoshoho out, preferably with something along the lines of an oshitaoshi. But it looks like Tsurugisho needed one more step forward to make it work, and instead he dropped slightly faster than Kotoshoho, hitting the clay before Kotoshoho stepped out. Had they been spherical rikishi in a vacuum, they likely would have landed at the same time. A monoii was called to confirm this, and it was verified by the Center for Computational Science in Kobe that because Tsurugisho is more spheroid, he did in fact hit first. Kotoshoho unbeaten at 3-0.

Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – Three words to define this match: Left hand outside. Tochinoshin got his favorite grip, and went to work. Okinoumi shut him down at the tawara for a rather impressive length of time, but to no avail. Tochinoshin now 2-1.

Kagayaki defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma had this match won, but stepped out at the moment he cleared Kagayaki. Poor execution at the edge cost him his first win, as Kagayaki picks up the white star by oshidashi, and is 2-1.

Endo defeats Hiradoumi – Nice switch to plan B by Endo when his initial mawashi grab went wide of the mark. The initial attack may have failed, but it caused Hiradoumi to change his focus, momentarily leaving the inside lane wide open. Endo took that gift, and pushed Hiradoumi across the bales for a win. Endo now 2-1.

Aoiyama defeats Takanosho – Big Dan is looking healthy, and so we are probably going to see him in the mix in week 2. Currently unbeaten, he has not looked this good since May of last year when he finished 10-5. Normally, pulling is a big gamble, but for some reason Takanosho was not quite able to charge forward and exploit that move. As a result he is knocked about, tossed off balance and ends up on all fours. Aoiyama now 3-0.

Ura defeats Oho – An early start for Oho, he grabs Ura’s head and pulls back with all he can muster. What the hell was that? Of course Ura thanks his lucky stars, puts his hands into Oho’s chest and runs him out of town like a bank robber on Sunday morning. Oho needs better tactics. Ura now 2-1.

Onosho defeats Myogiryu – GUYS! Stop pulling Onosho, I know its a trope that he’s got some kind of “cab forward design” that makes him front loaded and ready to fall over in the slightest breeze. But that’s now three days in a row his opponent has tried to pull him, and been basted into the zabuton. There is a monoii that decides they want to see if Onosho can do it again. He’s happy to oblige, and a quick three step charge forward puts Myogiryu across the bales in short order, advancing him to 3-0. He has Endo on day 4, who hopefully will try something else.

Sadanoumi defeats Ryuden – Sadanoumi finally gets his first win of Hatsu, he beat Ryuden off the mark at the tachiai, got his hands inside and rushed forward. Three steps later Ryuden is out, and Sadanoumi is 1-2.

Hokutofuji defeats Nishikifuji – I really like Hokutofuji’s sumo today. You can see him start by both pushing and pulling Nishikifuji at the same time, which breaks his stance and gets him moving. Hokutofuji continues to the disruption, until Nishikifuji drops his hands, opens his chest, and Hokutofuji switches to attack. Two steps later Nishikifuji is out, improving Hokutofuji to 2-1.

Nishikigi defeats Midorifuji – I am not sure what Midorifuji had in mind, but the tachiai went poorly for him, and he found himself without any defensive foot placement at the exact moment Nishikigi applied the pressure to his chest. Quick and effective, he’s out by oshidashi and both end the day 2-1.

Kiribayama defeats Wakamotoharu – Kiribayama performed an important clinical service today, making sure that Wakamotoharu’s head was securely fastened to his neck. After a brutal inspection, it was deemed well connected, and Kiribayama used the entire head-neck assembly of Wakamotoharu to hurl him to the clay. Get that guy to a chiropractor. Kiribayama now 2-1.

Abi defeats Meisei – I give credit to Meisei, he had a couple of good disrupting attacks in the opening moments of the match that degraded Abi’s thrusting attack. But Abi is good enough at this point he recovered quickly, dialed up the power and put Meisei into the front row. Abi improves to 3-0, and is one to watch for the middle weekend.

Hoshoryu defeats Mitakeumi – The kanban bout of the day was brief but excellent. I was impressed by Hoshoryu’s ottsuke today, as he kept Mitakeumi from getting any kind of working hold on Hoshoryu’s body. Hoshoryu countered with a front grip outside, and it was enough to lift and move the former Ozeki back. Outstanding sumo today, and he is 3-0.

Wakatakakage defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru and Wakatakakage exchanged right hand inside grips at the tachiai, but Wakatakakage’s was a bit deeper, and more useful. Tobizaru realized this, and quickly tried to find some way to employ his superior mobility, but was caught. A second move to break contact instead disrupted Tobizaru’s stance, and Wakatakakage threw him out. Wakatakakage now 2-1.

Shodai defeats Kotonowaka – I am glad to see Shodai finally win a match, and against an opponent who had dominated him in the past. Perhaps there is hope after all? Kotonowaka initial set up in the tachiai and on the second step was poor, and Shodai was able to take charge and command the match. A glimpse of the old Ozeki in there? Good… Oshidashi win for a shonichi and he is 1-2.

Tamawashi defeats Takayasu – A lot of fans had hopes for Takayasu this tournament. All of you (including myself), please put them back in the box, and put the box back in the closet. After a couple of back to back strong performances, we will be lucky if he can reach kachi-koshi this time. His opening move missed its mark, and he conceded the initiative to Tamawashi. Tamawashi applied a nodowa, and walked Takayasu back, shoving him out at the bales. Tamawashi perfect at 3-0.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Takakeisho and Daieisho have been competing against each other in sumo since they were children, and Takakeisho read this one from across the room. Yes, Daieisho will get a cascade of “mega thrusts” going, yes, it can move mountains. But his attack tempo is so regular and so predictable, and Takakeisho so used to it, he stepped clear at the worst possible time, and Daieisho hit the clay. Both end the day 2-1.

4 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 3 Highlights

  1. It has been my theory that in the November basho Takayasu suffered a compression of the cervical spine. Takayasu’s reaction after that brutal Tamawashi nodowa supports my view. The man is fighting with a neck injury. Let’s hope it doesn’t become more serious.

    I suspect that Asanoyama is benefiting from being able to fight every day in Juryo. Those days off in the lower ranks gave him too much time to think. Now he is in the familiar flow of daily action and looking sharp.

    Alas, poor Terutsuyoshi. 19 straight losses in tournament action.

  2. Todays bout by Hoshoryu was great he is really strong for his size as Mitakeumi learned quickly. When his gameplan works, he looks fantastic. That also has been the cast the last few tournaments. He tends to be streaky. So far he is probably looking the strongest.

    Takayasu has me a bit worried. There is just this little something of with his sumo so far. The way he fell of the dohyo look akward, but luckily he seemed ok afterwards.

    Someone needs to slap Oho so he finally wakes up. Save the bout against Endo (which was just superior skill by Endo), he just acts super dumb. He must either be totally resistant to advice or have the worst coach ever.

    Tamawashi seems to have rested enough last basho for a strong tournament and Abi continues strong, albeit he didn’t meet anyone yet that looked strong so far. Tomorrow he meets Shodai … interesting … not sure if Shodai is up to the task yet … even winning today, he looks like he is still shaking off rust.

    No one in the bottom half looks primed for a stand out tournament this time. I’m still a bit skeptical about Aoiyama. He also looked hot in July for the first 3 bouts. Takarafuji finally looks like he got some power back, but I doubt he is going for much more than 10 wins somehow.

    I wonder if Kotoshoho can finally turn things around or will end up as Yutakayama 2.0 . He is 3-0 again like last basho, but didn’t look too convincing.

    Sad thing, Tomokaze is now 0-2 in Makushita. He needs a strong finish. Really hope he can make it back to salaried ranks.

  3. I loved Nishikigi’s tactics against Midorifuji. He anticipated the right armpit underhook (for Mdf’s signature Katasukshi) and kept his left palm square on Mdf’s chest as he walked him out.

    Good, smart sumo from a guy who has felt the exquisite pain of a Midorifuji katasukshi (in July or Sept I think)


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