Hatsu Day 5 Highlights

To start the day, we note that Tochinoshin is kyujo from the Hatsu basho. This likely means he would drop to Juryo. It would be a mistake to count Tochinoshin out, he seems to excel at survival, but something is going to send him out of the top division sooner rather than later. Takarafuji gets the freebie win today, and is now 4-1.

We have now ended act 1 of the 2023 Hatsu basho. I am surprised to see that Hoshoryu took his first loss, but I don’t think it ends his position to contend for the cup, if he can bounce back and continue to fight well. With him out of the undefeated club, the next question is Abi, who finished the day with a win thanks to a bit of slippiotoshi from Wakatakakge. Likewise Onosho found his first trip to the clay thanks to Ryuden knowing what do to to stop a rampaging tadpole.

Is it just me, or has the action this January been quite good? The matches have been fairly balanced, and most of the rikishi seem to be able to bring a good fight, even if they are not winning. No matter the reality, I find myself enjoying this tournament a lot.

Highlight Matches

Ichiyamamoto defeats Tsurugisho – Tsurugisho kept pace with Ichiyamamoto, until he got too far forward reaching to make contact on a thrusting attack. Not one to pass up a gift like this, brought him forward, changed his hand placement to Tsurugisho’s shoulder, and swing him down. Nice to see Ichiyamamoto use a katasukashi, and it takes him to 3-2.

Kotoeko defeats Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru attacked high, Kotoeko attacked center-mass. I am sure that Kotoeko knew that Chiyomaru’s focus telegraphed that the pull was coming. The eventual pull only served to give Kotoeko a free push, which he used to send Chiyomaru back. A moment later, Chiyomaru was out, and Kotoeko is now 3-2.

Kotoshoho defeats Mitoryu – Mitoryu seemed happy to take Kotoshoho to his chest, and wait. Kotoshoho paused a bit too long, letting Mitoryu get a right hand over the shoulder grip on Kotoshoho’s belt. As Mitoryu then lifted and tried to pivot, Kotoshoho advanced, and collapsed the throwing attempt. Kotoshoho remains perfect at 5-0.

Azumaryu defeats Okinoumi – I am going to guess that Okinoumi is running on empty right now. I hope he picks up a few wins this tournament, but I would not be surprised to see him already make-koshi early next week. I can only assume that Azumaryu was delighted to pick up his 4th win, and may be on his way to his first ever top division kachi-koshi at 4-1.

Hiradoumi defeats Kagayaki – Kagayaki looked to go for Hiradoumi’s head, which left his chest wide open for Hiradoumi to attack from below. Kagayaki quickly found Hiradoumi grappled into him with both hands inside, lifting him out. A short shove with the left hand from Hiradoumi finished him off, and Hiradoumi advances to 3-2.

Endo defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma tried his henka, and it went exactly nowhere. Endo recovered, regained contact, and maintained balance under Chiyoshoma’s thrusting attacks. Chiyoshoma seems to have not been at all ready to actually fight today, so when it was clear he was in a tight spot, he tried a pull. This managed to get Endo off balance and tumbling forward, but it also sent him out of the ring. A monoii confirmed it, and Endo advanced to 3-2, leaving Chiyoshoma winless at 0-5.

Aoiyama defeats Oho – I compliment Oho for enduring Aoiyama’s bludgeoning attacks, but ultimately that was more than anyone could take, and he ended up face down in the clay. Twice Aoiyama opened the door with a pull, and twice Oho could not employ any offense to turn the tables on the Bulgarian giant. Aoiyama remains unbeaten at 5-0.

Takanosho defeats Ura – Ura came in low, Takanosho caught him about the neck, and helped him continue lower still. Onto the clay. Too clever by half today for Ura, and Takanosho gets a much needed win to advance to 3-2.

Ryuden defeats Onosho – That, dear readers, is how you beat Onosho when he’s on a hot streak. Ryuden absorbs the initial thrusts, and holds his ground, grappling Onosho with a right hand inside position. No longer able to thrust, Onosho squirms and flails as Ryuden walks him back, and drops him off the edge of the dohyo. That’s Onosho’s first loss, as Ryuden is now 3-2.

Sadanoumi defeats Hokutofuji – In keeping with the theme, Sadanoumi likewise closed the gap on Hokutofuji, keeping him from using either his thrusting attacks, or his nodowa today. Hokutofuji realized that Sadanoumi was latched in, and that he was too high to really counter. Out of ideas, he tried a pull with Sadanoumi tight to his chest, and released all forward pressure. Two steps later, Hokutofuji was landing on the nearest shimpan, and Sadanoumi scored his second win to improve to 2-3.

Nishikigi defeats Nishikifuji – I can only assume that Nishikigi had spent time over the Christmas break studying earthmoving equipment. His sumo has taken on some effects that one would consider common for a Komatsu D39EXi-24. The industry literature describes the D39EXi-24 as “powerful, versatile and nimble”. Seriously, the amount of forward power Nishikigi has shown in week one is impressive, I would rank it up near Kotoshogiku. He pushed Nishikifuji around easily today, and is now 4-1.

Midorifuji defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu worked to dictate the form of this match, but a swipe at Midorifuji’s head left him standing tall, with Midorifuji holding his chest with a double inside grip. Myogiryu then worked to stalemate the match, holding steady near the center of the dohyo, and slowly worked to break Midorifuji’s grip. Midorifuji settled for a right hand ottsuke and a left hand outside belt grip. Myogiryu continued to work to free himself, Midorifuji pulled forward and twisted, unleashing a seldom seen uchimuso by simultaneously sweeping the leg. Wow, brilliant move. Midorifuji now 3-2.

Wakamotoharu defeats Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi’s power peaked early in this match, running Wakamotoharu back, but it was not enough for him to win. Wakamotoharu rallied. Squared his hips and advanced. It was three steps to the bales, and Mitakeumi was out. I have to guess that whatever robbed him of his performance the last two tournaments is still in force, as he just can’t fight at a rank appropriate level right now. Wakamotoharu now 2-3.

Tobizaru defeats Kiribayama – Henka? Henka-non-henka? Micro-henka? When Kiribayama came rushing forward, Tobizaru was not there. Kiribayama went flying off the dohyo, giving himself a bit of a sore knee. Monkey sumo bags Tobizaru an upgrade to 2-3.

Meisei defeats Shodai – Wow, Shodai looked completely lost. Maybe he thought there should have been a matta at the tachiai, which I thought as well. No excuse not to fight with everything you have. Meisei finally gets his first win as both men end the day 1-4.

Kotonowaka defeats Takayasu – Continuing the theme, Kotonowaka found his first win today, overcoming the frantic yet surprisingly underpowered Takayasu in a lengthy oshi/tsuki battle. At least twice, Takayasu had a winning position, but did not force Kotonowaka out. They spent a moment chest to chest in the middle, before reverting back to oshi/tsuki long enough for a stumbling Kotonowaka to push Takayasu out. Both end the day 1-4.

Daieisho defeats Hoshoryu – It was bound to happen sometime, and now we get to see if Hoshoryu has the mettle to be a champion. Rikishi can get on a hot streak, and it seems they keep winning. The greats can take a loss or two and come back and continue to be dominant. Hoshoryu found himself bracketed early by Daieisho’s thrusting attacks, and missed block left him wide open for a pair of “mega-thrust” volleys that sent him out. Solid work by Daieisho to improve to 4-1.

Abi defeats Wakatakakage – Abi-zumo came to play, and Wakatakakage could not get out of the way of those pulverizing double arm attacks. Wakatakakage was in trouble early as his right foot lost traction, sending him off balance. Abi blasted him to the side, complicating things, and finished him with a final push. Abi remains perfect at 5-0.

Takakeisho defeats Tamawashi – This match was matta central, as both struggled to get off the shikiri-sen together. Once underway, Tamawashi got a few solid blows in before Takakeisho’s wave action took over. The turning point was a failed grab for Takakeisho’s head, possibly to set up a pull down. Tamawashi was side open, and caught a a pair of double arm blasts in the chest. Nobody’s coming back from that. Takakeisho now 4-1.

6 thoughts on “Hatsu Day 5 Highlights

  1. The action has been great. I’m always particularly happy when a henka gets caught out and beaten. (I am a henka appreciater but I don’t think those sentiments contradict.)

  2. Tochinoshin is likely not returning this basho, separated shoulder is the word, 2 weeks to heal at least. Maybe he returns in March, maybe not. His fighting spirit is strong but physically he is not as strong as he used to be.

  3. Just love watching Midorifuji at the moment. I’m hoping he doesn’t get over promoted and just stays where he is, doing his thing.

  4. Totally agree that the action has been great – but then I think that about pretty much every basho, so my opinion has pretty much 0 bits of information!

    And if we are gonna start grading degrees of henka using real numbers between 0 and 1 then Tobizaru’s today against Kiribayama was at least 0.83333… of a total henka.

    My private mental nickname for Ryuden is ‘The Boa Constrictor’. I feel that his win today against the lesser tadpole Onosho vindicates this label.

  5. By far Ohos best bout today. Unlike Bruce I think he also managed some offense. It’s just that Aoiyama for a guy of his that is quite numble in dodging out of the same. The end was a bit dissapointng. To me it seemed like Oho was simply running out of steam from chasing Aoiyama.

    I’m a bit worried abpout Ura. His two wins were basically gifted to him. and his 3 losses were disastrous. His sumo didn’t work last basho and it still hasnt improved much.

    Mitakeumi looked just weak today. He totally won the tachiai and had Wakamotoharu at the bales, but lacked the strength to finish. following that with some sort of throwing and after that he was completely empty. 10 seconds in the bout or so he folded and just had Wakamotoharu walk him out.

    Kiribayama’s nosedive was a thing of beauty. curious to see how he does against Daieisho tomorrow. He still looks solid and I hope he can reach 10 wins this basho.

    Not surprised by Daieisho winning today. The real test for Hoshoryu will be tomorrow when he faces Midorifuji against whome he is 1-5. Can he bounce back or does he start streaking in the opposite direction.

    Takayasu was a bit dissapointing in a way. He used to have that super human strength and endurance that made prolonged belt battles an auto win, but thats gone for a while. Maybe a reason why he resorts to this wild man oshi sumo. I don’t think he had necessarily a winning position, but he surely wasn’t at a disadvantage. Camera ankle was a bit unfortunate at last in Nattos video.

    Wakatakakages Ozeki run seems over. He would have to win out now and need some generous treatment. He got off balance today with his first step. Abis easiest win so far. He still can string together a strong tournament, but he will probably be starting anew.

    Takakeisho looked strong today and seems at the very least on his way to defend his Ozeki title.

    Oh and of ourse Shodai is the one guy who doesn’t bring a good fight. He litterally brings no fiht at all no for the first time this basho.

    Down in Juryo Asanoyama and Roga won again. Both will meet tomorrow, so there will only be one undefeated rikishi remaining.
    Terutsuyoshi picked up another loss by applying probably the worst henka fail I have ever seen. He seems to be on a fast track to Makushita.
    Gonoyama vs Kitanowaka was agreat belt battle. Kitanowaka opened with a perfect HNH (Harumafuji Non Henka) and the fight went back and forth for over a minute before Kitanowaka decided it with a counter with his back at the tawara. Those kind of bouts are why i like to watch Juryo.
    Enho did Enho things again. Todays victim is Daiamami and he is 4-1 now. Of the young guns only Hokuseiho loses. Oshoma, Atamifuji and Kinbozan win, so Kinbozan is 4-1 too. This shapes up to be a very interesting basho

  6. I had to watch Midorifuji three times in slow motion to figure out how he dropped Myogiryo! Like magic!


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