Natsu Day 2 Highlights

Day 2 was rematch day, and that’s a mighty fine day in any sumo calendar. We had blistering double fights between Mitakeumi and Hokutofuji, and Shodai and Nishikifuji. The Mitakeumi fight was especially excellent, and I am starting to have hope that maybe the Original Tadpole has some health back, and won’t just hop off into the sunset as I had feared.

On the “Future Ozeki” front, Kiribayama, Hoshoryu and Daieisho all have 2-0 starts, as does former and future Ozeki Asanoyama. At some point later in this tournament, all of those hopefuls at the top of the banzuke will begin a round robin brawl that may eliminate some or all of them. This is where the zero-sum game of sumo really gets brutal, as these rikishi fight it out to see who comes out in front. Add in that both Takakeisho and Terunofuji are fighting hurt and at less than full power, the back half of this basho is a powder keg of sumo.

Highlight Matches

Gonoyama defeats Kagayaki – Much better sumo today from Kakayaki. He was able to keep his weight centered over the arches of his feet, and put up a solid fight against Gonoyama. But once Gonoyama got his hands inside at the start of the third volley, Kagayaki was in trouble. A last moment attempt at a hitakikomi by Kagayaki did not pay off, and Gonoyama returns to Juryo with his second win of the basho at 2-0.

Mitoryu defeats Oho – Oho was late to the tachiai, and hopefully was not too upset that Mitoryu had no intention of waiting for him. Mitoryu took early command with thrusts to Oho’s upper body, and three steps later had him over the tawara. Both end the day at 1-1.

Ichiyamamoto defeats Tsurugisho – Ichiyamamoto continues his absolute dominance over Tsurugisho, with a career record now at 8-0. Tsurugisho’s face slap attempt was ill considered, as it left his body wide open for Ichiyamamoto’s thrusting attack. Tsurugisho’s too big to be batted about easily, but not too big to be slapped to the clay by hatakikomi. Both end the day 1-1.

Asanoyama defeats Myogiryu – Its great to watch, but hopefully no one is surprised. Former Ozeki who is not hurt returns to the top division with Ozeki grade sumo. Who could have known? Hopefully he can score well this basho and climb the banzuke quickly. Asanoyama 2-0 with a textbook yorikiri.

Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – I love this flavor of Kotoeko sumo. Chiyoshoma went for a deep left hand grip at the tachiai, and had an early advantage. Kotoeko bar’s Chiyoshoma’s left arm so he can’t let go, then proceeds to haul Chiyoshoma around by that trapped left arm. Some fancy leg entanglement, and it’s kakenage time! Kotoeko now 1-1.

Aoiyama defeats Daishoho – Daishoho had a superb first hit, but his forward rush to follow up was straight into an Aoiyama hold that quickly turned into step out with a tsukiotoshi finish. For such an enormous fellow, Big Dan really can move. Aoiyama now 2-0.

Takarafuji defeats Hokuseiho – This match is a great example of how much further Hokuseiho has to go. I hope he can improve rather than turn into another Ichinojo – plodding along just being huge. He tries the “I dare you to move me” routine on Takarafuji today, and Takarafuji shows him how what to do with that nonsense. Out you go! Takarafuji with a solid 2-0 start.

Ryuden defeats Hiradoumi – Hiradoumi got the better of the tachiai, resulting in a double inside grip. But look at Hiradoumi’s foot placement. He had zero power with his feet aligned like that. Compare to Ryuden’s stance, which was correct. Hiradoumi eventually gets a better stance, but Ryuden waits him out and wears him down, and then walks him out for his first win of Natsu. Both end the day 1-1.

Onosho defeats Takanosho – Nice opening combo from Onosho. He reaches for Takanosho’s belt and can’t reach it. He immediately recognizes that Takanosho is much too far forward, and fluid side step and thrust down move. Onosho improves to 1-1.

Tamawashi defeats Sadanoumi – Tamawashi puts all of his tachiai chips on a right hand nodowa, and wow did it look brutal. I am sure the plan was to reduce or eliminate Sadanoumi’s excellent mobility, and that neck hold took care of that. Sadanoumi responded with a left hand ottsuke that took time to work, but did break the neck hold, and let him drive forward, but a ring’s edge kotenage won the match for Tamawashi. Both end the day 1-1.

Mitakeumi defeats Hokutofuji – Mitakeumi went for a “stand him up, pull him down” combo that saw both men run for the tarawa locked in battle. The gumbai went to Hokutofuji, and a monoii was called, and a rematch was declared. Second fight was a real brawl, with Mitakeumi focusing of hazu-oshi armpit attacks, and Hokutofuji’s lower body doing its usual amazing job of keeping him in the match. With dominance changing multiple times, Konosuke was up, down, left, right with amazing speed keeping an eye on the action. But with his mawashi coming undone, Mitakeumi managed enough power to shove Hokutofuji out of the ring. Fantastic sumo, they are both 1-1.

Meisei defeats Kotoshoho – Meisei had the better tachiai, and I am not sure what Kotoshoho had in mind, but you can see that his idea was disrupted and he immediately goes into a “try something” mode. Meisei is already thrusting center-mass, and has Kotoshoho on the move by the time Kotoshoho starts to rally. As Kotoshoho leans into a counter attack, Meisei brings him down with a hikiotoshi, improving to 2-0. Yeah, I am surprised that Meisei was able to get Kotoshoho off his sumo for that crucial moment.

Kinbozan defeats Nishikigi – Kinbozan does a masterful job of keeping Nishikigi away from his belt, robbing Nishikigi of his favorite offense. As they spar, Nishikigi does open a route to go chest to chest, but as he lunges in to grapple, Kinbozan slaps him away with a masterful tsukiotoshi. Nicely done, and he is now 1-1.

Shodai defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji gets a hold of Shodai early and stands him up, and runs him out. The final moment was a bit messy, and a monoii resulted in a rematch. The second run through was very similar to the first match, except that we saw Nishikifuji try to load a throw, and step out as Shodai was dialing up the forward pressure. Shodai improves to 1-1 thanks to Nishikifuji’s foot.

Kiribayama defeats Endo – As mentioned in the preview, Endo is a highly skilled, competent sumo technician. He can beat you so many different ways, it’s kind of amazing. But is also, at least now, quite predictable. The oft-seen left hand grab at the tachiai was met with a Kiribayama block that flowed smoothly into a right hand outside hold to balance a left hand nodowa. It was three quick steps to the launch point, where Kiribayama encouraged Endo to go talk it over with waiting gyoji Kimura Tamajiro. Kiribayama continues the march toward Ozeki at 2-0.

Wakamotoharu defeats Tobizaru – Things to love about Tobizaru: 1) Win or lose he seems to be having a wonderful time. 2) Every time he gets tossed off the dohyo, he spends a moment to be nice to the fans. 3) He’s always ready for more sumo. All of these points were important for today’s match, as Wakamotoharu took him out to the curb like the green glass on Tuesday in Sumida. Wakamotoharu now 2-0.

Daieisho defeats Ura – I applaud Ura for trying the grab-and-tug offense, but Daieisho was ready for that, and kept him arms under control for the whole match. When Daieisho is like this, he can really crank up the forward pressure. Daieisho now 2-0.

Hoshoryu defeats Midorifuji – Hoshoryu went into the tachiai very quickly, and that seems to have given Midorifuji a double inside moro-zashi grip. Only excellent defensive foot placement and solid lower body work kept Hoshoryu in that match at the initial merge. Midorifuji could have waited Hoshoryu out for much longer given his set up, but an attempt to change grip gave Hoshoryu the opening he wanted, and he quickly brought Midorifuji down by tsukiotoshi. Hoshoryu improves to 2-0.

Kotonowaka defeats Takakeisho – You could tell this match was going to hell when Takakeisho was not thrusting against Kotonowaka, only trying to hold his ground. Once he had Kotonowaka gain a body hold, it was only a question of how he was going to lose. Kotonowaka improves to 2-0.

Terunofuji defeats Abi – Fans on social media have already noted that we still really don’t know what kind of condition Terunofuji is in. This match had good potential, but ended in a hurry thanks to an Abi slippiotoshi. Terunofuji will gladly take the win, and is now 2-0.

5 thoughts on “Natsu Day 2 Highlights

  1. I just can‘t imagine how Takakeisho could reach his eight.
    The same for Hokuseiho, he is so very lame.
    We haven‘t learnt much about Terunofuji‘s shape today, but Shodai, who he had beaten on day 1, looked not so bad against Nishikifuji (twice). So there is still hope for a good basho by the Yokozuna, I guess.

    • Agree 100%. Takakeisho’s undercarriage is clearly damaged, zero forward moving power, and he won moving backwards on day 1 which won’t get you to 8.

      On the other hand, IMHO Terunofuji is wrestling smart. He let Shodai do all the work on day 1 and then at the right moment just tossed him aside. As for today with Abi, slippiotoshi win with no stress on the knees.

  2. There are a lot of matches that have been won at the tawara already. I suspect that trend will continue throughout the basho since a lot of rikishi are evenly matched.

    Not a lot of surprises so far outside of Abi slipping today which was unfortunate. It seems like a dominant group of rikishi is establishing itself and it’s possible this basho is where all of that starts. The second week of the basho is going to be a barn burner if that’s the case.

    The more results like today’s match that Aoyiama gets, the more brilliant his work to learn arm attacks and throws becomes apparent.

    The look of pride on Mitakeumi’s face after his win today says a lot about his struggles on the dohyo. I hope this win boosts his confidence and encourages him to maintain that level of effort.

    I agree that Takakeisho is definitely injured. Him gulping air like a fish out of water after his match today isn’t a good indicator either.

  3. Hokuseiho: „ok, so I’m fighting an old guy with no oshi–sumo, who rarely ever uses a throw. What could go wrong?…“

    Already looks like one of those basho, where I regret routing a bit for Oho…

    Aoiyama has done this trick so many times and it still works. A lot of those guys apparently have a super flat learning curve.

    Sanyaku generally with a good start. Looks like this basho we could end up with very few kachikoshi in the joiin.


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