Some oddities today, with Tsurugisho once again trying to go “au natural” during his match, and Ura finally showing us the kind of finger twiddling spells he casts to win matches. Any guesses what his patronus would be?
The leader board took an absolute beating today, leaving Takakeisho in sole possession of the lead, with just Onosho and Kotoshoho one win behind. With his kachi-koshi in place, it’s time to see if he can run up the score and take home the hardware for the first time in about 2 years. There are rumors of a rope for him if he can take the cup, so I think it’s easy to predict he is going to shoot for 14-1 at this point. While I love Onosho’s sumo, I don’t see him keeping pace with Takakeisho if the Grand Tadpole is in good fighting form for all of week 2.
In Juryo, former Ozeki Asanoyama is 9-0, and it’s time to start wondering if he will be back in the top division for Osaka. That would almost be too much to ask of the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan, but I do hope it can come to pass.
Chiyomaru defeats Mitoryu – Chiyomaru avoids make-koshi, and finally finds his second win today. He was able to disrupt Mitoryu early, and kept Mitoryu from setting his feet or setting up any kind of counter attack. Chiyomaru now 2-7.
Tsurugisho defeats Atamifuji – Second day in a row, Tsurugisho tempts fate by mounting the dohyo with a terribly loose mawashi, then initiating a yotsu-match. Look, if you have a strong desire for public exhibition of your naked form, please don’t do it on a world wide broadcast. Someone needs to cinch that guy up before they let him out of the dressing room. Atamifuji seems to share this view, and wastes precious focus trying to change his left hand grip to prevent an imminent wardrobe malfunction, but it costs him the match. Both end the day 3-6.
Kagayaki defeats Azumaryu – That was a better match from Kagayaki than we have seen in a few days. He had a good tachiai, got his hands inside early and put all of his force center-mass. The effect was immediate at Azumaryu was unable to keep his stance, and was quickly moved back and out. Kagayaki now 5-4.
Chiyoshoma defeats Takarafuji – Chiyoshoma employing a henka-like leaping move at the tachiai? Is anyone surprised? Sir, it gets old. But there you have it. He was able to get the oshidashi win against Takarafuji, and is now 3-6.
Hiradoumi defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho looked to be in control in the opening moments of this match, with his strong right hand inside grip. He looked to set up a throw at the exact moment Hiradoumi pivoted to his left, putting him terribly off balance and on one foot. Hiradoumi immediately took advantage and put him on the clay. Excellent reaction from Hiradoumi, and the win knocks Kotoshoho out of the lead. Hiradoumi now 6-3.
Ichiyamamoto defeats Aoiyama – A much anticipated battle of the long arm thrusters went to Ichiyamamoto, as he was able to break Aoiyama’s balance before he could fire up the V-Twin and take control. My compliments to Ichiyamamoto for taking out a tough opponent today, both are now 6-3.
Endo defeats Kotoeko – Endo’s left hand finds Kotoeko’s mawashi early, and is able to grab and hold. When Endo can land his grip at the tachiai, he’s quite likely to control the match. He does so today, immediately setting up a throw and putting Kotoeko down with a shitatedashinage. Endo advances to 5-4.
Myogiryu defeats Takanosho – Takanosho gets in one good combo at the tachiai, before Myogiryu breaks Takanosho’s stance and puts him off balance. Myogiryu wastes no time, and presses his advantage, putting his head down and ramming Takanosho back. Takanosho attempts a last minute pull down at the bales, which connects but he is out before Myogiryu tumbles from the ring. Myogiryu up to 3-6.
Onosho defeats Hokutofuji – Another highly anticipated match, Hokutofuji looks like he thought he could stand firm against Onosho’s second step. It almost worked, but only almost. Onosho had Hokutofuji lined up, his shoulders and hips square, and it was time for some tadpole power. By the time Hokutofuji’s heels hit the bales, it was too late for him to recover, and he was out. Onosho stays one behind the leader at 7-2.
Nishikigi defeats Oho – Oho launches early, should that have been a matta? Simply put, did not matter, as something is really different with Niskhikigi, who turns on the traction motors and drives Oho out in a hurry, handing him his make-koshi, and improving to join the growing crowd at 6-3.
Ura defeats Nishikifuji – In the category of “What the hell was that?”, we have the most unusual match of the basho so far. First off, While Ura and Nishikifuji are wailing away on each other, Konosuke looses a sandal. Not breaking his focus on the match, he calmly fetches it, and puts it back on his right foot. Ura and Nishikifuji are at it hammer and tongs. Nishikifuji tries to a brutal twisting pull on Ura’s head, but instead twists himself, stumbling away. Ura wants to slap him down, but Nishikifuji is already on the clay, and the net effect is Ura performing some sort of arcane spell or voodoo curse on Nishikifuji’s prostrate form. Ura conjures himself up to 6-3.
Midorifuji defeats Abi – Hopefully nobody was sad as Abi was eliminated from the leader group, and thrust into Darwin territory by a henka. Its a crummy excuse for sumo, but Abi employed it in November in a high stakes match, and as we all know, what comes around, would seem to go around. Both end the day 5-4.
Tamawashi defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru puts up a strong early offense, but once Tamawashi gets his hands against Tobizaru’s chest, he moves Tobizaru back, and tosses him deftly from the ring. Solid Tamawashi brand sumo there, and he’s now 6-3.
Mitakeumi defeats Meisei – I am glad to see that once in a while, Mitakeumi can still summon that level of power for his sumo. He had a right hand inside on Meisei at the tachiai, and Meisei barred that arm, and tried to rotate into a throw. Mitakeumi just rammed forward with all the strength and momentum he could deliver, and bodily forced Meisei from the ring. Nice work to the former Ozeki, Mitakeumi now 4-5.
Kotonowaka defeats Daieisho – Daieisho seemed solidly intent on his hazu-oshi today (armpit attack), even when presented with two opportunities to open up the gap with Kotonowaka and apply his mega-thrust. Kotonowaka broke the hazu, slapped Daieisho on the head and pushed him out as Daieisho struggled to reset his feet. I am certain Kotonowaka was happy for that win, and he is now 4-5.
Wakatakakage defeats Ryuden – A good amount of back and forth with this match, with control changing hands at least once. I was interested to see that Wakatakakage’s well constructed pull down attempt did not finish Ryuden, but left him off balance enough that he was easy to force out. Not sure where the other 10% to 20% of Wakatakakage’s sumo is, but I hope it comes back soon. Both end the day 5-4.
Shodai defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama went into this match looking for an early advantage and maybe a fast win. He was surprised when a stronger, more confident Shodai was not really moving back in the face of a strong tsuppari volley. Kiribayama put too much power to the front, and found himself in front of his toes at the moment that Shodai applied the hikiotoshi, sending him to the clay. Shodai now 3-6.
Wakamotoharu defeats Hoshoryu – Hoshoryu has worked hard for the past few days to avoid this 3rd loss. I am sure only he knows why, but today his luck ran out when Wakamotoharu was able to set up a sukuinage in response to Hoshoryu’s throw attempt, and flattens him into the clay. Worse yet, Hoshoryu seems to have been injured as a result (foot?). Wakamotoharu now 5-4.
Takakeisho defeats Sadanoumi – Perhaps I have been looking at Sadanoumi all wrong. Given what has happened the last 3 days, he may in fact be a human salt seeking projectile. The prior 2 days, it was the east side salt baskets. Today it was nearly the west side one. I am almost certain that “Crap, not again!” Goes through his head at the moment the oshidashi connects. Takakeisho now sole leader at 8-1 as he secures his kachi-koshi for Hatsu.