Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story of how many who were winless have won, and how many who were lossless have lost.
Hokuseiho defeats Mitoryu – This match is yet another great example of how, at least for now, Hokuseiho is one of the best rikishi in the top division. My compliments to Mitoryu for being able to catch Hokuseiho too far forward with his feet aligned, and unable to maintain traction. He pushed Hokuseiho back to the bales before Hokuseiho could reset his feet. Did Hokuseiho switch to a pull or some other “rescue” move? Oh hell no. He waited it out, recovered calmly, and then took Mitoryu apart and walked him out. Size? Check, Strength? Check, Confidence? Check, An Odysseus like calm in battle? Big check. Hokuseiho 4-0.
Oho defeats Chiyonokuni – Let the bells ring out, Oho finally has his first win of March. Of course it would come at the expense of perpetually damaged Chiyonokuni, who once was going to be a big deal. It was a simple, match, that was mostly Oho slapping Chiyonokuni around, finishing with an oshidashi to end the day 1-3.
Chiyoshoma defeats Daishoho – A big hit, and a big bounce from Chiyoshoma at the tachiai. But he effectively cleared Daishoho’s defenses with that opening, so he lunges in and gets a right hand inside grip, and walks Daishoho out. That’s how it should be done folks! Chiyoshoma. 3-1.
Kotoeko defeats Tsurugisho – That Tsurugisho tachiai was full of problems, but I think he was trying to avoid any slippery moves that Kotoeko might have tried to use at the opening. Instead it cost him body position and hand placement. Kotoeko caught him upright with his chest exposed, and immediately went right hand outside. Tsurugisho realized he was in trouble at the second step, and could really only use his ponderous bulk as defense. But Kotoeko’s initial attack was dead on, and there was no escape. A yorikiri sealed his fate, and they both end the day 3-1.
Kagayaki defeats Bushozan – Not sure why Bushozan decided he needed to put so much effort into repeated pulling attempts against Kagayaki. These motions opened his chest to the full attack power that Kagayaki could deliver, which eventually broke Bushozan’s stance, and it was oshidashi time. Both end the day 1-3.
Kinbozan defeats Takarafuji – Another example of Takarafuji no longer being able to hold a defensive position and defend territory. Kinbozan did a masterful job of mixing up the tsuppari attack, and never letting Takarafuji set his feet. Kinbozan advances to 3-1.
Takanosho defeats Aoiyama – Takanosho led with his face and a lot of forward pressure, and pushed straight into an Aoiyama pull which boring Takanosho to the clay. I think Aoiyama is likewise having problems holding ground, and I would suspect some damage to his suspension system. A monoii was called because Aoiyama had stepped out early, and the gumbai was reversed to give the win to Takanosho, improving his score to 3-1.
Hiradoumi defeats Azumaryu – Nearly perfect from from Hiradoumi today at the tachiai, he landed his left hand and never gave any quarter. Azumaryu’s sumo was good today, but there was not overcoming Hiradoumi’s initial combo. He picks up his second win and is now 2-2.
Nishikifuji defeats Ichiyamamoto – If you ordered a wild and chaotic match for the middle third of today’s action, your order is here! Some tsuppair, some grappling, multiple changes of who is on the attack, this one had something for everyone. Ichiyamamoto chose to go chest to chest, and I think quickly regretted his move. Nishikifuji quickly consolidated to a double inside grip, and it was soon, giving Nishikifuji a score of 4-0.
Myogiryu defeats Ura – Myogiryu chose a short tachiai, catching Ura too far forward, and dumped him onto the clay with a single, fluid move. The look from Ura as he landed was, “What?” Good tactics from Myogiryu, and he improves to 2-2.
Takayasu defeats Kotoshoho – Compliments to Kotoshoho, he correctly anticipated a Takayasu “wild man” tachiai, and played the impact for maximum disruption of Takayasu’s balance. It nearly won him the match, except that Takayasu was able to get his feet back under him before Kotoshoho could square his hips. Once Takayasu had his feet set, it only too two thrusting volley to send Kotoshoho out, and Takayasu improves to 4-0.
Midorifuji defeats Hokutofuji – Another match where Hokutofuji cannot maintain forward pressure. Without his ability to defend, his excellent lower body skills cannot help him win matches. Midorifuji absorbs the tachiai, sets up his attack, and quickly overwhelms Hokutofuji for a quick win to improve to 4-0.
Onosho defeats Sadanoumi – A rather brutal combo attack from Onosho. He started by grappling Sadanoumi at the tachiai, broke contact by just a few inches, and shoved Sadanoumi out. Onosho now 3-1.
Endo defeats Meisei – This match was all Meisei until he decided to pull an off balance Endo, and put himself out of step. Endo wasted zero time in taking charge, and running Meisei to the nearest exit. A sterling example of how Endo can turn the tables in a blink of an eye, he is now 3-1.
Daieisho defeats Mitakeumi – We got our one “good” match out of Mitakeumi, and that may be all we see for a while, it seems. Daieisho was in full “mega-thrust” mode today, and quickly put Mitakeumi in a position where all he could do was try to keep his feet. Daieisho advances to 4-0.
Kotonowaka defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi is so very predictable, that high skill rikishi like Kotonowaka can and do play his insistence on immediate right hand inside position against him, as Kotonowaka did today. It was a quick grapple into an almost immediate katasukashi, which dumped Nishikigi to the clay. Kotonowaka improves to 3-1.
Ryuden defeats Tobizaru – Tobizaru gets lured into fighting Ryuden chest to chest. This sets up Ryuden to use his superior size to contain and constrain Tobizaru’s best weapon, his agility. Ryuden works for a moment to get Tobizaru posed correctly, then swings him to the clay with a smooth uwatedashinage. Ryuden picks up his first win and is 1-3.
Kiribayama defeats Wakamotoharu – Wakamotoharu was intent on getting a yotsu-sumo match started, and Kiribayama used that to his advantage. It a variation of “stand him up, slap him down”, Kiribayama instead got Wakamotoharu pressing forward, then moved to the side and pushed him out from behind. Kiribayama now 3-1.
Hoshoryu defeats Tamawashi – A great match to watch, it had Hoshoryu largely attacking, and Tamawashi largely defending. I liked Hoshoryu’s attempt at a leg sweep, though it was no where close to Tamawashi’s feet. The match ended with a Tamawashi pull attempt, with an immediate thrusting response from Hoshoryu. He’s now 2-2.
Shodai defeats Wakatakakage – I don’t recall Wakatakakage looking so ineffective in recent memory. But against Shodai! Shodai? We somehow got the “good” Shodai back, and this guy is cleaning house. It was big-body sumo from the start, and the injured Wakatakakage could do little but go along for the ride. Shodai improves to 3-1.
Abi defeats Takakeisho – Takakeisho continues to struggle in his fights against Abi, underscoring that his efforts to reach Yokozuna are not yet complete. Normally a pull is so very risky against someone like Takakeisho, but Abi’s timing is superb, and sends the Ozeki staggering for balance. A single push on the shoulder, and Takakeisho is out. Abi takes an Ozeki scalp and is now 3-1.
19 thoughts on “Osaka Day 4 Highlights”
I haven’t enjoyed the start of a basho so much in quite a while, as evidenced by my outpouring of words below. Even though personal favorites of mine like Hokutofuji and Wakatakakage are looking poor, others like Onosho and Kotoeko are humming along. Having the cheering back certainly helps, too. This is sumo, just a more polarized (by records, anyway) version of it.
Kotoeko looking genki this time out. Maybe a special prize coming his way later?
Every time Bushozan pulled, he got a little closer to losing. Kagayaki finally took advantage.
Aoiyama similarly fell victim to the trap that is pulling. A doubly self-inflicted loss for him. Meisei, later, followed his unenviable example.
Azumaryu (and Mitoryu) seem to be taking the shinkansen route back to Juryo.
Nishikifuji and Ichiyamamoto… long names, long fight. Fun times!
What a letdown that Ura fight was, especially after the barn-burner right before. Ura out-thought himself.
Takayasu went all wild-man sumo today, getting himself off balance. But Kotoshoho was rattled, too, and Takayasu is simply too strong right now. Kotoshoho might’ve been over-promoted and is now reaping the “rewards.”
Even landing the “handshake tachiai” couldn’t save Hokutofuji today. Heavy or not, he had no weight against small fry Midorifuji.
Onosho destroyed Sadanoumi. More like that, please! Sadanoumi, too, seems to be breathing the too-thin air of a too-high rank.
Mitakeumi survived Daieisho’s onslaught a lot longer than I thought he would. Even if he’s hurt, he’s gutting it out quite well. Daieisho, meanwhile, looks set to be a second week contender. Give me a Takayasu vs. Daieisho bout!
Kotonowaka calmly rebounding from a loss for what looked like an easy win. Nishikigi, you’re breathing the rarest air of all.
Ryuden with a little bit of monkey business versus Tobizaru. Nice technique there; he felt the slaps to his belt and decided he wanted no part of that and finished things quickly.
Kiribayama for the second day running displays outstanding sumo ring sense, bamboozling a very worthy foe with a humiliating kimarite (okuridashi). Wakatakamoto will recover, it’s just Kiribayama is better at the moment.
Young Mongol vs. old Mongol, showing off their homeland’s style (see the foot sweep attempt?). Hoshoryu came out on top, but Tamawashi made him sweat it out.
Wakatakakage in shambles, Shodai ascendant. I kinda want WTK to withdraw, even though that will ruin his promotion hopes for at least a year. Shodai, the former (and maybe future?) Ozeki?
Takakeisho still cannot figure out Abi, even when most of the other top division rikishi have. Kudos to Abi for having a successful game plan, and demerits to Takakeisho for not expecting it. Future Yokozuna hopes now iffy at best.
Takayasu wouldn’t have recovered in any recent, previous basho. That he did today shows that he’s back in fighting form. It’s good to see.
Takakeisho had already lost the match before it started. You can literally see it on his face during the preparations for the match. Too much thinking and putting all of his eggs in one basket. Both he and Wakatakakage need to hang out with Hakuho and learn more about confidence and mental strength.
Yes, Hokuseiho stayed calm and won the match. But his opponent was Mitoryu and that demotion candidate had him on the ropes.
This seems to indicate there is still a long was to go for the youngster and that he is not yet „one of the best rikishi in the top division“. He will get there very probably, though.
If that obvious injury of Takakeisho won‘t heal very fast, he will unfortunately turn from almost Yokozuna to kadoban Ozeki in one tournament.
Wouldn’t be a first, even for him: Takakeisho 2020.11 O1e 13-2 Y 2021.01 O1e 2-8-5
2021.05 O1w 12-3 D
2021.07 O1w 1-2-12
Of course, but has there ever been a jun yusho, then a yusho and next thing a kadoban?
By almost Yokozuna I meant that if one or two of the old men who turn their thumbs up or down had been in a friendlier mood when the council decideded, Takakeisho would now be a Yokozuna and could sit out his injury without consequences.
I guess this requires extending Iksumo’s stats about Takakeisho: 2020.9 O1w 12-3 J, 2020.11 O1e 13-2 Y and 2021.1 O1e 2-8-5.
Yup, Takakeisho was 12-3 J in September of 2020, so he’s done that before too.
From what I’ve read, it wasn’t that there was a close vote after Hatsu—there was no discussion held at all, so his “bid” got no traction whatsoever.
Well, that‘s incredible!
Any known reasons for why the powers that be are hating Takakeisho?
they’re not, look up what it’s taken to get to yokozuna in recent years
If so, my prediction about the NSK and their solution to their “Ozeki Problem” might come true sooner than I would ever want.
Please, please, please, please, please Bruce. Don’t jinx us with Ozeki Shodai Part Deux. I know his fans would be thrilled but we’ve already seen that movie and it wasn’t so good the first time around.
Remind us what your predicted solution was?
Nishikifuji has a slippery, intelligent style that kinda looks like how the best Pixies fight, yet he is a perfectly respectable middleweight size. Sign me up as an official fan.
Kinbozan’s methodical, low-risk yet dominant win today impressed me – and after a defeat yesterday.
OK, with the benefit of hindsight Meisei’s attempted pull against Endo did not work. But it so nearly did! I kinda feel like it may have been the rational thing to try in that split-second situation, even though it turned out unsuccessful.
Ryuden vs. Tobizaru – today the Boa Constrictor defeated the monkey for once.
I guess at this point we have to assume that WKTKKG’s poor performances are due to injury – but there is nothing manifestly observable he is doing wrong other than the fact he keeps losing! I suppose that is how it is at elite levels in any sport – even a 2-3% diminishment in power/speed is fatal when the margins are so small.
It’s never wise to say, “I like Takayasu’s chances.” But I like Takayasu’s chances.
Butterball’s rope run is over, no way he wins out and takes the yusho. On top of that, when you weigh slightly over 363 lbs (according to the Nihon Sumo Kyokai bio) and one of your wheels is less than 100% it’s tough sledding. Compound that with limited belt skills, at best, and it’s all up hill.
Wakatakakage was hurt during training session in a fight against Asanoyama. It did not look like much then, but he’s obviously still nursing it.
On a side note Asanoyama dominated his fight vs Ichinojo today, but once again fell for a counter move at the tawara. While we still have 5 rikishi with perfect records in Makuuchi, its down to Ichinojo and Shonannoumi in Juryo already. Have to say I’m impressed by Shonannoumi. He has been in Makushita forever. Last basho his Juryo debut with 12-3 would have been a Yusho in most tournaments, if it wasn’t for Asanoyama being there on his way back and now he is 4-0 again. He started Sumo in 2014, but is only turning 25 in April. Can he skip Juryo in two tournaments after spending 8 years in Makushita an below?