Haru Day 5 Highlights

Act one is in the books, and we now know that all four of the 4-0 rikishi are looking red hot right now. A few comments

Nishikifuji – This guy was 4-11 in January. We always knew that he was a potent force as evidenced by his 11-4, 10-5, 10-5 sequence earlier in 2022. Now he’s healthy and really wrecking people in the lower half of the banzuke.

Takayasu – Like most Takayasu fans, I keep saying “This time, maybe?”. He’s got a perfect start, and he looks healthy. Ok… maybe?

Midorifuji – Elbow wrap aside, he’s looking strong and healthy. His middling performances for the second half of 2022 may have just been a transient health problem or injury, and he looks back on the path to greatness.

Daieisho – Prior yusho experience, he is my favorite right now to lead the cup derby in week 2. We have seen this level of performance from Daieisho in past basho, and when he gets in a grove with his “mega-thrust” sumo, most of his opponents are going to hit the clay.

Highlight Matches

Ichinojo defeats Hokuseiho – This is the first time that Hokuseiho has ever fought against a Snorlax, and may not have understood his technique. You see, the Snorlax is never more dangerous than when he is asleep, and Hokuseiho’s patience was used against him. After locking up chest to chest, Hokuseiho decided to wait him out. As soon as Ichinojo fell asleep, his power surged, and Hokuseiho lost the match. The way to fight a Snorlax is with a thermos full of high test coffee and marching band music, kid. Ichinojo goes back to Juryo 5-0.

Mitoryu defeats Bushozan – Mitoryu picks up his first win of the basho in this jumble of a match. Mitoryu gets a deep left hand hold at the tachiai, and tosses the already off balance Bushozan to the clay with an uwatenage a moment before he stumbles out. It’s good enough for the shimpan, and it’s good enough for me. Both end the day 1-4.

Kinbozan defeats Tsurugisho – Kinbozan took one big step to the side at the tachiai, and caught Tsurugisho in motion, swinging him around and sending him out by what they decided to call a yorikiri. I call it a henka. Either way, Kinbozan disappoints the crowd and advances to 4-1.

Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – Chiyoshoma had the better tachiai, putting Kotoeko on defense immediately and landing a right hand inside grip. But Chiyoshoma could not square his hips. and was at one point completely off the dirt. Kotoeko’s right hand was around Chiyoshoma’s shoulder, as Kotoeko pivoted and threw. The sukuinage worked, and Kotoeko is now 4-1.

Oho defeats Daishoho – Oho gives up the inside thrusting late to Daishoho at the tachiai, and has to endure a series of tsuppari, and step back. He did continue to fight, applying downward pressure on Daishoho, and got a lucky hit that sent Daishoho to the deck, scoring the win and improving to 2-3.

Takanosho defeats Takarafuji – Takarafuji’s defense looked a bit better today, but he still could not hold ground, or keep his feet as he maneuvered backwards. Takanosho took only a short time to get him out by oshidashi, and is now 4-1.

Kagayaki defeats Azumaryu – Azumaryu’s lack of performance may be down to that taped and bandaged left ankle, which seems to not be able to withstand much pressure. Kagayaki gets him put pressure on that left ankle, and finds he is able to move Azumaryu back, and it was three steps from there to an oshidashi win, leaving Azumaryu winless, and Kagayaki at 2-3.

Nishikifuji defeats Hiradoumi – Nishikifuji has the better tachiai, and is rewarded with a left hand inside grip. A bit of a struggle to place his feet, and then straight into an uwatenage for the win. Hiradoumi looked a little pained getting up, as Nishikifuji accepted the win and a perfect 5-0 score to finish act 1.

Aoiyama defeats Myogiryu – Myogiryu could not quite decide if he wanted to start or not, and maybe that indecision cost him at the tachiai. Aoiyama quickly had him moving back, and a step later off balance. What looked to be a neck grab instead finished the job of putting Myogiryu off balance, and he fell to the dohyo. Aoiyama now 3-2 by oshitaoshi.

Takayasu defeats Ura – No wild man tachiai today, Takayasu limited his forward motion to ensure he made contact with Ura, and opened up with a volley of thrusts to the upper body. Ura was persistent in getting into attack position, but I have to compliment Takayasu on staying focused, keeping his target, and just delivering the tsuppari by the bucket full. An attempt by Ura to duck in saw him too low and not centered, and Takayasu immediately thrust him down. That’s 5-0 for Takayasu, with some of his best sumo this week.

Hokutofuji defeats Ichiyamamoto – Hokutofuji was low at the tachiai, and connected head first to Ichiyamamoto’s chest. Presented with a wide open opportunity, Ichiyamamoto pulled Hokutofuji’s neck, and triggered some innate reaction from Hokutofuji, who launched Ichiyamamoto from the dohyo in response. A hearty first win for Hokutofuji, and he is 1-4.

Midorifuji defeats Sadanoumi – Sadanoumi was faster into the tachiai, but Midorifuji come out of the initial merge with the better position, including a right hand outside grip. Midorifuji went forward with a lift from that right hand, and three steps later had Sadanoumi out by yorikiri. Midorifuji joins stablemate Nishikifuji in the 5-0 club.

Endo defeats Kotoshoho – Kotoshoho successfully shut down Endo’s attempts to land any kind of grip, but fails to do much more than that. Endo swaps to oshi-zumo style, and delivers blow after blow to Kotoshoho. Kotoshoho does rally, and surges forward as Endo steps to the side, taking the win by tsukiotoshi. Kotoshoho winless at 0-5 as Endo advances to 4-1.

Abi defeats Meisei – Interesting tachiai from Abi, he let Meisei come to him, and in doing so immediately opened up the inside thrusting lane, and dialed up the pressure. Meisei struggled to keep his balance, and was quickly sent stumbling out of the dohyo. Abi now 4-1.

Daieisho defeats Shodai – The hoped for mega-match did not materialize, as Daieisho made certain that Shodai never had a moment to set his feet or bring out his “wall of daikon” technique. Instead, Daieisho switched to his mega-thrust attack and put Shodai away by the 4th step, remaining perfect at 5-0.

Kotonowaka defeats Tobizaru – Kotonowaka had the upper hand for most of the match, but could not do more than harass Tobizaru. Time and again he would deftly move to the side and escape from Kotonowaka thrusting attacks. Kotonowaka did not find any advantage until he was able to briefly grab a hold of Tobizaru’s head, preventing him from moving to freedom as Kotonowaka thrust him back. The oshidashi win puts Kotonowaka at 4-1 to finish act 1.

Wakamotoharu defeats Tamawashi – Tamawashi opened strong with a big combo to Wakamotoharu’s head and neck. Wakamotoharu by grabbing hold of Tamawashi’s shoulder, and pulling him forward and down. The hatakikomi connected well, and Tamawashi tumbled to the clay, giving Wakamotoharu a win to finish the day 3-2.

Mitakeumi defeats Wakatakakage – For a moment, it looked like Wakatakakage came back from a certain loss to score his first win. But a monoii reviewed the footage to determine that as Mitakeumi rushed forward on his second attack that Wakatakakage’s knee had touched down, costing him the match. The kimarite was the non-technique tsukihiza, and Mitakeumi improved to 2-3.

Onosho defeats Kiribayama – Kiribayama could not endure the pressure from Onosho’s forward attack, and lost his balance on the third volley. He nearly recovered, but was just a fraction too far away from his feet, and touched down on the dohyo. Onosho now 4-1.

Nishikigi defeats Hoshoryu – Just when I thought that Nishikigi might go 0-5 for the first act, he finds his sumo and defeats Hoshoryu. Hoshoryu came in fast and targeted at the tachiai, and had a good set up. But Nishikigi was able to bar Hoshoryu’s left arm, immediately converting it to a painful looking kotenage. Nishikigi picks up his first win and is 1-4.

Takakeisho defeats Ryuden – Takakeisho’s off tempo tachiai looked to have caught Ryuden off his timing, and he may have though it was going to be a matta. But the fight was on and Takakeisho was at full power, finishing Ryuden off three steps later for an oshidashi win, and a 3-2 score.

6 thoughts on “Haru Day 5 Highlights

  1. Four rikishi who haven’t gotten a white star after 5 days?! Ay carumba! I feel like we can already start punching tickets for the Juryo barge either because of injuries or because it’s obvious that certain rikishi aren’t going to get enough wins to stay up.

    Once Ichonojo locked up with Hokuseiho, I immediately noticed that Ichinojo had his head, and weight, on top of Hokuseiho’s shoulder and right arm. I knew who was winning at that point.

    Poor Kotoshoho. Endo has been winning more matches by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat these days. Wins are wins, although I’m not sure how long he’s going to be able to keep that up and be successful.

    Am I mistaken or did I see Onosho use his brakes and slow down to win today? More of that, please.

    What a fun match between Tobizaru and Kotonowaka! Very cerebral and strategic. Love to see it!

    Wakatakage can’t buy a break. He’s only going to have a tougher row to hoe as this basho goes on if he’s injured too.

    Hoshoryu is definitely injured if he wasn’t before. It’s either a shoulder or elbow injury or both. Congrats to Nishikigi for his win, though! I hope he can get a kachi-koshi as the opponents he faces are going to be from farther down the banzuke.

    Ryuden was a limp noodle in his match today. You might be right about timing and I hope so based on how little he fought back. Takakeisho is essentially a “tachiai or nothing” fighter right now which is why Abi won yesterday. I’m guessing it’s his bum ankle. If other rikishi figure that out, he’s in real trouble.

    • I’m not so forgiving to Ryuden. He wasn’t the only rikishi not trying particularly hard to win his match, but he was the only one basically just doing exhibition sumo out there. Unless Takakeisho stole his lunch money or something, there’s no call for that.

  2. Gotta disagree and say that Nishikigi’s win had nothing to do with him “finding his sumo”. Once again Hoshoryu was in too much of a hurry and clutched defeat from the jaws of victory. Someone, anyone, PLEASE!!! Sit that boy down and teach him the concept of patience.

    I’m beginning to wonder if we’re going to see 2 Sekiwaki (Wakatakakage and Hoshoryu) fail to hold rank this basho. Hoshoryu may squeak by with and 8-7 because he needs to go 6-4 (60% wins) down the stretch but Wakatakakage has to go 8-2 (80% wins) down the stretch. The 60 percenter is just doing stupid sumo so he may find a way to wise up and recover but the 80 percenter is clearly injured and it’s doubtful he can survive.

    Lastly, if Butterball can’t prevail over this weak banzuke then he for sure is not worthy of the rope. He has no Ozeki or Yokozuna in his path to deal with and overcome and yet at the end of Act I he’s only 3-2 and still can’t solve for ABI.

    Even the Japanese fans aren’t very interested in him and his current run. Look who’s creating all the buzz, Asanoyama (again), Ichinojo, and Hokuseiho. That’s 2 guys in Juryo and a newbie. In motorsports parlance this woud be the equivalent of:

    Takakeisho – Hey, look everybody, I just won the Indy 500. Isn’t that cool?
    Everybody – Yeah, yeah, whatever T. But look at those guys who finished 5th, 8th, and 10th. Soooooo exciting!.

    • I think Hoshoryu‘s problem is his mindset. Someone has to tell him he‘s not Asashoryu (yet?)!

  3. That was classic Nishikigi today. That was the move that took him on the magical mystery tour as Bruce calls it. Never let that guy lock up your arms!


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