Natsu Day 3 Highlights

A big day at the Kokugikan, as several of the Ozeki hopefuls find their first loss. We started the afternoon with the early matches featuring a series of rikishi not keeping their feet set, and getting an urgent Tokyo clay facial. Tough breaks, gents. Mind your toes.

At the same time, the injured pair at the top of the banzuke both toughed it out for another day, and both found much needed wins. I am not sure what can be done for Takakeisho long term, but the guy is going to push through May no matter what. In the Musubi no ichiban, we saw Terunofuji benefit from an unexplainable Endo bad move to remain unbeaten so far. I worry that we still don’t know what he will do when he gets a real challenge.

Highlight Matches

Shonannoumi defeats Oho – Ah Oho, he starts off well enough, getting his hands inside and begins a hazu (armpit) attack plan. But he breaks contact and lunges forward without having his feet set. Its a perfect time for Shonannoumi to step to the side, which he does, and Oho has his face in the clay. Shonannoumi returns to Juryo with a 2-1 record.

Kagayaki defeats Tsurugisho – Kagayaki finally wins his first match of Natsu, but I would not go so far as to say his ring rust problems are done. As he grapples Tsurugisho, his defensive footwork is poor, and he struggles to focus power into Tsurugisho’s chest. The match ends as he falls, but pushes Tsurugisho out a moment before. Ok, good enough. Kagayaki now 1-2.

Mitoryu defeats Ichiyamamoto – A good start from Ichiyamamoto, and for the third match in a row, the early attacker gets his feet out of order and hits the clay. Good, patient sumo from Mitoryu to wait for Ichiyamamoto to get off balance, then finish him with a hatakikomi, improving to 2-1.

Myogiryu defeats Chiyoshoma – The answers is “day 3” for the question of “When will we see the first Chiyoshoma henka?”. It was ill considered as Myogiryu has faced Chiyoshoma enough to know to watch for it. Myogiryu slaps Chiyoshoma in the fact with his right while his left hand finds Chiyoshoma’s mawashi. From there it’s two quick steps to the tawara, and Chiyoshoma is out by yorikiri. Myogiryu now 2-1.

Asanoyama defeats Kotoeko – Solid match, Asanoyama ended a half step out of phase, and as a result fell as Kotoeko moved to throw him down. It was very close, and a monoii was called. But that replay, or lord the replay. Watch Asanoyama gauge the distance to the clay in a split second and pull back his arm to give him a chance to land last. Amazing reflexes. The monoii decided that the match was Asanoyama’s, but personally I think it should have been a rematch. Asanoyama improves to 3-0, and if you don’t think this guy is not going to be in the running for the cup next week, you are not watching sumo.

Hokuseiho defeats Aoiyama – Solid match plan from Hokuseiho, even if his form was abysmal today. He was standing straight up, his feet were lord knows where and he lumbered about quite a bit. But it’s a win, and that what counts. Choosing to go chest to chest with Aoiyama is a solid bet, as his knees can’t really handle that kind of sumo right now. Hokuseiho now 2-1.

Daishoho defeats Takarafuji – Impressive forward power from Daishoho in this match. He rocks Takarafuji back not just at the tachiai, but at the second hit as well. Takarafuji never gets a chance to set his feet, and Daishoho maintains control of the match. It’s his first win of May, and Daishoho is now 1-2 on solid sumo.

Ryuden defeats Onosho – Much better balance today from Onosho, but just look at Ryuden put that win together. Excellent body position, very good defensive foot placement and lower body posture. I liked how he kept his shoulders square to Onosho, and never let Onosho land a full force thrust. Ryuden improves to 2-1.

Hiradoumi defeats Takanosho – Sadly, Takanosho is now 0-3, and it’s looking like a cold start to Natsu for him. It’s not for lack of effort, you can see Takanosho really pouring it on in the opening moments of the match. But once Hiradoumi gets his right hand inside hold, he is relentless, driving Takanosho back for a yorikiri and improving to 2-1.

Sadanoumi defeats Hokutofuji – A classic Hokutofuji tachiai, acres of forward power with that right hand hitting first. He had full force into Sadanoumi’s chest, but Sadanoumi is lightning fast. In the blink of an eye, Sadanoumi deflects Hokutofuji and thrusts down, sending Hotkutofuji twisting to the dohyo. Brilliant move on that hatakikomi, and Sadanoumi advances to 2-1.

Mitakeumi defeats Tamawashi – Normally once Tamawashi has an opponent bracketed and moving back, it’s all over except for the kensho. Mitakeumi manages a brilliant escape, and on the second merge takes control of the match, hustling Tamawashi out in a hurry. I worry that Tamawashi’s body has decided he has had enough sumo for one life time, and we are watching him fade out. Mitakeumi now 2-1.

Meisei defeats Kinbozan – Up to this point, Kinbozan has looked unstoppable. I do like that he is getting tough matches from the joi-jin this basho, as it will hone his sumo. I love that Meisei launches volley after volley of disruptive attacks, sweeping Kinbozan’s arms to the side and then stepping away. He finally disrupts Kinbozan enough to land a few thrusts against Kinbozan’s chest, and it’s oshidashi time. Meisei opening strong at 3-0.

Ura defeats Kotoshoho – Good sumo mechanics from both in this match, but as always Ura was ready to deliver something more. That left hand head grab and twist into the katasukashi was great, but that half shiko finish was one of a kind. Ura now 2-1.

Kotonowaka defeats Nishikifuji – Just how banged up IS Nishikifuji? Going winless after 3 days says, maybe more than his left arm wrap would indicate. Kotonowaka makes easy work of him today, with a swift uwatenage straight out of the tachiai. Kotonowaka is unbeaten at 3-0.

Tobizaru defeats Hoshoryu – Tobizaru with the henka-non-henka against Hoshoryu, who bought it at full retail. Hoshoryu tumbles to the clay in his first defeat of the basho, as Tobizaru finally wins one. He is 1-2. Maybe Hoshoryu could ask Harumafuji to work with him a few times on that one.

Abi defeats Kiribayama – Another Ozeki hopeful gets a face full of clay, thought points to Kiribayama, he closes the gap on Abi and attempts to power him out. Sadly Kiribayama is a half step out of phase, and has nothing to support him as Abi steps to the side and slaps him down. Abi gets his first win of Natsu, and is 1-2.

Wakamotoharu defeats Shodai – Wakamotoharu delivers so much power from below on his tachiai against a nearly upright Shodai, that it does in fact lift Shodai completely off both feet for a moment. Impressive rally from that by Shodai, who powers straight into a Wakamotoharu tsukiotoshi. Wakamotoharu, and seem to be doing better each basho he remains unbeaten at 3-0.

Daieisho defeats Nishikigi – I give credit to Daieisho for trying to change things up and go chest to chest at the start of this match. But he rapidly figured out that it’s not going to pan out. He breaks contact and gets his thrusting attach underway, and then quickly dispatches a hapless Nishikigi. Daieisho now 2-0.

Takakeisho defeats Midorifuji – A lot of readers and sumo fans on, Facebook, and Twitter are on to the apparent struggles Takakeisho is now having with not just his left knee, but perhaps his right one too. Watching this match, I have to really respect that he mounted the dohyo, and bested Midorifuji today. It was not clean, it was not pretty, but he got it done. Takakeisho now 2-1.

Terunofuji defeats Endo – Endo, what the hell was that. There was this out of place spin after the initial strike that left Endo completely defenseless. At least Terunofuji has enough strength and stamina left to be able to attack while Endo was discombobulated. Terunofuji improves to 3-0.

12 thoughts on “Natsu Day 3 Highlights

  1. The sun rises, the wind blows, and Chiyoshoma does a henka. Some things never change.

    Really disappointed in Big Dan today. He was aware enough in the clinch to not let Hokuseiho really grab him, but going belt-to-belt really gave up too much of his advantage.

    Kotoeko had some hard luck today. I agree that should have been a torinaoshi. There are a lot of comments under various videos that agree. One wonders if the Yokozuna and Ozeki were healthy that the result would have stood. Maybe, maybe not.

    Even though he’s losing, Kinbozan is challenging his opponents which is a good sign. That means he’s farther along with his sumo than someone who simply would get flummoxed and tossed off the dohyo.

    I suspect that Hoshoryu is susceptible to shenanigans like what Tobizaru did today is because he hasn’t learned to expect that strategy yet. He’s similar to Onosho in that once he puts his foot on the gas there aren’t any brakes at this point. I think he’ll figure it out (a la Meisei versus Chiyoshoma today), but the look on his face today after he lost said it all. He got played.

    Today showed that Kiribayama is still learning too. I suspect that he thought Abi would move forward with guns blazing which is why he ended up where he did. Good to see that Abi is varying his strategy and his sumo too.

    Daiesho is definitely continuing his form from the last basho. It’s great to see.

    I still think Takakeisho can get 8 wins even in his current condition. Some matches are going to be close, though.

    Endo’s spin move happened because he realized he was shoulder-deep into Terunofuji’s grip and that was the last place he wanted to be. In other words, he panicked. Which sums up a lot about Endo and his mental abilities when he’s under pressure.

    My current Cup contenders are Asanoyama and Daiesho unless someone puts clay on them. I do think that everyone who is on an Ozeki run has a quality shot at it including Daiesho who will probably end up at that rank in the next basho unless something causes his wheels to fall off or he wins the yusho and he’s just tossed up there. Is there a precedent for that happening?

  2. Nine times out of ten a torinaoshi would have been called on that Asanoyama-Kotoeko bout. I really don’t like that a do-over wasn’t declared.

    • Robbed is too strong a word, but I’m struggling to not apply that label to Kotoeko. At the minimum, that was a simultaneous touch-down/exiting of the ring, so a rematch was warranted and deserved. Everyone involved seem to take a second and digest the announcement once the reversal of decision was revealed. Having the crowd noise accentuated this – everybody was expecting a do-over match rather than an Asanoyama win.

  3. I´m not so sure of Asanoyama. Since his return to juryo his results were there, but to my eyes, he struggled to imposse his will and (for lack of a better term) “his style of sumo” on his opponents. He doesn´t form his stance with the last bit of determination, he doesn´t get his favored belt grip nearly as often as one would expect, and today he was punished for it, and then saved by an mono-ii that should have been a torinaoshi.

  4. Asanoyama defeats Kotoeko = 100% fraud and robbery by the black robes!!!

    Kotoeko won, period.

    Now the cat is out of the bag, the NSK will do anything to prop up Asanoyama because he’s the only top division Japanese wrestler the public really cares about and is into at the moment.

    • Asanoyama still has a foot on the clay inside the dohyo when Kotoeko goes flying. I would have preferred a torinaoshi, but Kotoeko only won if you call it based on Asanoyama touching first even though Kotoeko was fully airborne and going backwards, which they don’t tend to do.

  5. I’m not a fan of Takakeisho’s sumo, but every time he has an injury, mounts the dohyo, and then adapts his sumo enough to hold his ozeki rank, my respect for Takakeisho the competitor increases. Now if someone could magically merge Takakeisho’s fighting spirit into Shodai’s body we might see another Hakuho.


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