Osaka Day 3 Highlights

Its only day three, but I am amazing by how many rikishi are at either 3-0 or 0-3. For the moment, it seems that most of the top division is running quite hot, or stone cold. Maybe the biggest surprise to me is 0-3 Wakatakakage. Reports are that he was injured some time after Hatsu, and really did not train much until his heya reach Osaka. So he’s hurt, and out of condition it seems. As he was one of my hopefuls for the next Ozeki, this set back is a real blow to his career, and I hope he can find a way to get healed up prior to May’s Natsu basho in Tokyo.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tobizaru and Ura in the 3-0 crowd are unexpected front runners among the nine rikishi with perfect scores. I know Ura is now permanently banged up via his reconstructed knees, but he still manages to exhibit a dramatic amount of mobility in his sumo.

Highlight Matches

Tsurugisho defeats Mitoryu – Mitoryu continues to look completely out-classed in the top division, getting himself overwhelmed by Tsurugisho today. Its not that his sumo mechanics are bad, but in the case of fighting Tsurugisho, he just does not have the power to move that guy. Tsurugisho picks up the win by yorikiri and is now 3-0.

Chiyoshoma defeats Tochinoshin – A right hand frontal group by Chiyoshoma at the second step sealed Tochinoshin’s fate. Once captured and unable to really do anything with his left, he was forced to take steps back toward the bales. A final effort to lift Chiyoshoma off the clay to put himself back in the match failed, and it was time to step out. Chiyoshoma up to 2-1 now, but Tochinoshin returns to Juryo without his first win at 0-3.

Bushozan defeats Oho – Well, at least one of these guys got a win. It might be time for Oho to go back to Juryo and get his sumo together. He delivered some workable oshi-zumo for a time today, but Bushozan had the superior stamina, and wore Oho down. Bushozan picks up his first ever top division win, and is now 1-2.

Hokuseiho defeats Kinbozan – Hokuseiho is really in a sweet spot with his sumo right now. He’s big, strong, and patient. He’s not trying anything complex or risky, he just grabs a hold of his opponent and takes control. I wonder how he is going to do if they give him some tougher opponents. Hokuseiho has a perfect start at 3-0.

Kotoeko defeats Takarafuji – Kotoeko did a masterful job of hand placement at the tachiai. He not only had his right hand raising Takarafuji up by the arm pit, but he blocked Takarafuji’s left at the same time. By the time Takarafuji reset and had a chance to grapple, he had his heels on the tawara, and had no choice but to step out. Kotoeko advances to 2-1.

Daishoho defeats Kagayaki – Daishoho with a bit of a “arm breaker” hold on Kagayaki early in the match, more or less sealed his win. Kagayaki’s long arms were a bit misdirected at first, and it cost him the match. Daishoho at 3-0.

Nishikifuji defeats Takanosho – Nishikifuji continues to be Takanosho’s kryptonite. Nishikifuji attacked first, and attacked well. Takanosho responded by trying a pull while off balance, and twisted. Nishikifuji was on his game and finished him off with a hearty shove, improving to 3-0.

Myogiryu defeats Azumaryu – Prospects are looking dim for Azumaryu to hit his second consecutive top division kachi-koshi, as he takes his 3rd loss today. On the positive side, Myogiryu got his first win today, as it seems Azumaryu can’t really withstand much forward pressure. Myogiryu now 1-2.

Ura defeats Hiradoumi – Some great sumo from Ura again today. I really liked his escape move in the middle of this match to reset against Hiradoumi’s attack. It worked, and gave him offensive initiative, and he went to work immediately. Hiradoumi did not want to go out, and we saw Ura respond with a rapid volley of thrusts to Hiradoumi’s chest. Ura with a perfect start at 3-0.

Aoiyama defeats Ichiyamamoto – Ichiyamamoto still can’t find his first win, and it was rapid fire tsuppari from the tachiai, like two cats jacked up on weapons grade catnip. In the face of even thrusting power, Aoiyama deployed a pull that found it’s mark and set Ichiyamamoto out. Aoiyama advances to 2-1.

Takayasu defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi quickly found himself overwhelmed by Takayasu’s thrusting attack. Takayasu was hitting well, but Sadanoumi managed to have his hands inside and first, and that proved an effective defense. But Takayasu was able to break through, and in response Sadanoumi tried to pull, ending the match with a hasty exit by oshidashi for Sadanoumi. Takayasu joins the perfect crew at 3-0.

Endo defeats Hokutofuji – Hokutofuji is so far off his sumo that I have my doubts about the utility of having him compete right now. He was in quickly at the tachiai, but immediately tried to pull on Endo before he could even stand up. This tossed any advantage into the bin, and we saw Endo race forward to drive him out. Endo improves to 2-1.

Midorifuji defeats Meisei – This was won thanks to Midorifuji’s relentless focus on center-mass. He was countered by Meisei attacking anything he could from every direction, but Midorifuji stayed focused hitting Meisei’s chest. Once he was able to break Meisei’s balance, each blow upped the power, until Meisei launched from the dohyo into a waiting Mitakeumi. Midorifuji joins the perfect club with 3-0.

Onosho defeats Kotoshoho – Onosho may have surprised Kotoshoho by initiating a chest to chest fight, rather than a thrusting battle. A quick grapple, followed by a half throw / half push down combo from Onosho left Kotoshoho on all fours in the center of the dohyo, still trying to find his first win. Onosho now 2-1.

Mitakeumi defeats Wakamotoharu – Just when I think that Mitakeumi is too banged up to really compete, along comes day 3. Outstanding hand placement by Mitakeumi at the tachiai shattered Wakamotoharu’s defensive stance, sending him stumbling back, only to find Mitakeumi nearly airborne at his chest. Mitakeumi continued to attack past the edge of the ring, with both of them landing full force in the lap of the east side shimpan. Mitakeumi’s first win, now 1-2.

Tobizaru defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi’s magical mystery tour rolls on, picking up another loss to this basho’s man to beat in the named ranks, Tobizaru. I have to wonder about the choice of a flying henka against Nishikigi today, but at least he delivered it with style. Tobizaru joins the 3-0 crowd.

Daieisho defeats Ryuden – Daieisho decided to make sure Ryuden’s head was firmly attached to his body today, and we are all grateful it did not fly off into the crowd. Vicious nodowa left Ryuden little to do but step out, and Daieisho is 3-0.

Hoshoryu defeats Kotonowaka – Hoshoryu finally picks up his first win of the tournament. He had to overcome Kotonowaka’s solid tachiai and superior hand placement. But Kotonowaka was too high, and had his feet nearly aligned, giving Hoshoryu a broad opportunity to break his stance. A blown throw by Hoshoryu gave Kotonowaka a brief chance to win the match, but Hoshoryu rallied and put him out to advance to 1-2.

Abi defeats Wakatakakage – Wakatakakage’s pre-basho injury continues to take its toll, with him picking up a third consecutive loss. He manages to withstand a hearty ration of Abi-zumo, but loses his footing when he rallies and tries to counter attack. Abi finishes the job with a hatakikomi, improving to 2-1.

Kiribayama defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi opened strong, and had Kiribayama moving back. Kiribayama responded by pivoting into a sukuinage, tossing Tamawashi out. Excellent counter attack by Kiribayama, and he is now 2-1.

Takakeisho defeats Shodai – Takakeisho had the better tachiai, and quickly took control of this match. I did like that Shodai tried to bring out his big-body defense, but Takakeisho just had too much forward power, and blasted Shodai out of the ring on the second volley. Both end the day 2-1.

15 thoughts on “Osaka Day 3 Highlights

  1. Has Hokutofuji always worn knee sleeves? He seems short of forward power and sore knees would do it.

    It seems that Chiyotaryu willed his sideburns to Bushozan. It’s a look.

    • He’s had one grubby-looking knee bandage for years, I don’t remember when the second one appeared though.

  2. Hokuseiho is rapidly rising up my mental power rankings. He looked like a steady veteran rather than a starstruck rookie.

    Hokutofuji might be hurt or out of sorts now, but if he comes back healthy in May he should be a wrecking ball near the bottom of the banzuke (if his current poor form in March holds).

    I really want to see Ura and Onosho fight. Can physics handle them meeting, though?

    Murray Johnson called what Mitakeumi did “excellent sumo,” but to me that wasn’t sumo at all. It was a man pushing against a blocking sled, no technique involved. But why was Wakatakamoto mere ballast today after looking great the first two days? It can’t just be Mitakeumi being under his armpits.

    Hoshoryu and Kotonowaka are going to have a long, close rivalry. Very entertaining match.

    Kiribayama looked like some sumo savant today; his winning move was pure instinct, and it looked amazing.

    Takakeisho really didn’t want his rope run to end, blowing through whatever defense Shodai could muster. Still think Shodai has a true title shot this time out, though.

    • Perhaps you’re suggesting that Wakamotoharu might be either injured or suborned but I’m inclined to think that he just whiffed the tachiai — he did a creditable attempt at a thrust-over, albeit too little too late. On Mitakeumi’s side I’d call that classic densha-michi sumo.

  3. This basho feels like part of a Big Reshuffle (i.e. there will be a lot of changes in who is on the banzuke this year) based on the 3-0 and 0-3 records we’re seeing in the top division. Juryo and even Makushita are going to be overhauled because of younger rikishi growing and improving too. This is the most competitive Juryo I’ve seen in years, for example. I don’t know if Mitoryu will stick around there or follow Terutsuyoshi down to Makushita promptly. There’s already a logjam of talent between Makushita and Juryo. I think we’re going to end up with a similar situation between Juryo and Makuuchi if we’re not there already.

    I’m convinced Oho is “trying not to lose” instead of “attempting to win” during his matches. You can see that he takes things to a second gear when he realizes he has an advantage, but otherwise doesn’t go at 100% in his matches right now. He’s another one I’m not sure will stick around Juryo if/when he ends up there.

    Anyone in the top division who has experience fighting Ichinojo will have an advantage against Hokuseiho. Ichinojo has more agility and experience and they both fight in similar ways.

    Takayasu is getting low, low, low and I love it. He’s staying on his heels, even during the tachiai, and it’s making a HUGE difference.

    I’m glad Mitakeumi got the win, but that was a cannonball, I’m-Putting-All-Of-My-Eggs-In-This-Basket attack. Zero finesse and all brute effort. If Wakamotoharu was able to get one steady foot on the dohyo, Mitakeumi was doomed. That’s worrying when considering Mitakeumi’s long term career. It’s an attack of desperation versus a planned out attack with alternative options.

    I’m not sure if Wakatakakage is injured, but I’m pretty convinced that he’s suffering from an acute case of “Goeido-itis”. He’s trying too hard and thinking too much instead of trusting himself and just going to work on the dohyo. If you watch today’s match, he’s tense the entire time. Just waiting for something to go wrong. So, it does and he loses.

    My favorite part of today was the “Aw, shucks. You got me!” reaction from Tamawashi after his match and Kiribayama desperately contorting his face while Tamawashi returned to the dohyo so Kiribayama didn’t smile at him. Absolutely fantastic stuff to watch.

    Apparently, Takakeisho is serious about winning the Cup. It definitely won’t be easy, though. Which is probably the way he prefers things.

  4. Even Shodai looks serious this time out. Today’s loss was an acceptable blemish. Takakeisho’s Day 1 doozie, however…

  5. I’m curious to see how Hokuseiho steps up when he meets the top div. Fighters with a few tricks in their bags…

    • Agree Mac

      So far Hokuseiho’s first 3 opponents are a collective 3-6 and he’s wrestled two M14s and one M15. In my book, anything below M12 is the dumpster of the Makuuchi division so really not impressive.

      He may still become the next star and of course you have to start somewhere in the top division but I’ll wait a bit to see if he has the “It Factor” or if he’s just another hyped flop like Oho.

    • Already last basho in Juryo I feel like he was fighting from a losing position atleast half of his bouts, but somehow managed to make himself large enough to stop the push out. It’s only a matter of time till his opponents figure out the right angle to attack. Like day 1 against Oho he should have lost.
      If he can fix his tachiai, he can climb quickly, if not I think he will hit a wall.

  6. I’m curious…Did Hokuseiho and Enho ever meet ?????…That would have been something to see…

    • No. They are both from Miyagino heya, so they do not fight against each other, except in playoff. I do not know about the one day tournaments, where them fighting each other is possible.


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