Natsu Day 5 Highlights

Act 1 comes to a close with 4 rikishi in the undefeated category. We finally get to see Terunofuji face a bit of a powerful test, and the stage is set for the middle weekend and the start of the yusho race. I for one can’t wait to see Asanoyama fight Wakamotoharu. There is no guarantee that it will happen this basho, but we all know its coming some day this year, baring an injury. I still favor Asanoyama as an early leader in this weekend’s yusho race, as he continues to have an easier torikumi ahead of him until act 3, and he has been showing us at least san’yaku if not ozeki sumo in act 1.

Highlight Matches

Mitoryu defeats Kagayaki – Another day where we get to see Kagayaki align his feet left to right, giving up all ability to control forward or backward movement. Credit to Mitoryu for recognizing this and giving Kagayaki a flying lesson, getting him airborne as he flies across the tawara en-route to his 4th loss. Mitoryu improves to 4-1.

Tsurugisho defeats Tohakuryu – Juryo vistor Tohakuryu decides for some reason to see if that “line your feet up and push forward” trick really works to help you lose a match. By golly it does! Tsurugisho knocks him down with a single meaty blow, advancing Tsurugisho to 3-2.

Oho defeats Ichiyamamoto – What is it with these guys and simple physics? Look, place one foot a bit in front or in back of the other one. It works wonders to give you a stable stance. No, Ichiyamamoto tries the “feet in a line” position too, and Oho slaps him down. Oho now 2-3.

Myogiryu defeats Kotoeko – Four matches in, and we finally get competitors who understand the defensive utility of foot placement. Myogiryu does manage to get Kotoeko forward, but has to apply a rather significant pull break his balance. But the hatakikomi sends him sprawling forward into a splits position on the wrong side of the tawara. Myogiryu now 3-2.

Asanoyama defeats Aoiyama – The now customary heavy bandage on Aoiyama’s left knee tells the story of this match, and maybe the Natsu basho for him. Aoiyama did a masterful job of using a forearm at the tachiai to keep Asanoyama from closing the gap and going chest to chest. But under the former Ozeki’s forward pressure, Big Dan folds up and steps out. Asanoyama remains unbeaten at 5-0.

Chiyoshoma defeats Daishoho – Chiyoshoma lands a couple of face slaps to disrupt whatever Daishoho’s match plan was, and ends up with a right hand inside belt grip. It’s at this moment it seems Daishoho decides that Chiyoshoma’s not going to have the muscle to lift and shift him, but oh surprise he does! Chiyoshoma now 2-3 by yorikiri.

Hokuseiho defeats Hiradoumi – A bit more vigorous action from Hokuseiho in today’s match over day 4. But I will be damned if he doesn’t beat Hiradoumi with just one hand for the most part. That finishing double arm thrust put Hiradoumi in the second row. Hokuseiho improves to 4-1.

Takarafuji defeats Takanosho – Takarafuji has a good day, and looks like he was able to hold ground against Takanosho’s forward pressure, a noticeable change from prior days. After a bit of “defend and extend” Takanosho realizes that he allowed Takarafuji to execute “his brand of sumo”, and attempts to break contact and attack. Takarafuji is able to endure this probing attack, and ends the match walking Takanosho out, to improve to 3-2.

Ryuden defeats Sadanoumi – Ryuden’s attempt at a frontal grip from the left at the tachiai fails, but gives him an inside hand placement anyhow. Sadanoumi attempts a pull against this forward pressure, and throws the match to Ryuden who rushes him out. Both end the day 3-2.

Onosho defeats Tamawashi – Good form from both of them, but it seems Tamawashi just can’t generate much forward pressure right now. Onosho overpowers him and escorts him to the tawara for a win by oshidashi, improving to 2-3.

Mitakeumi defeats Kotoshoho – Mitakeumi’s match plan – deliver maximum punishment to Kotoshoho’s face. Kind of brutal, but it worked. I was surprised by just how much punishment Kotoshoho’s face was willing to endure. Turns out to be quite a lot. But Mitakeumi was relentless, and eventually Kotoshoho took a bad step attempting to escape and fell to the clay. Hopefully that knee was not injured in this fight. Mitaekumi now 3-2.

Hokutofuji defeats Kinbozan – Classic Hokutofuji “handshake tachiai” – that right hand leads and finds Kinbozan’s neck early, and ramps up to maximum pressure. To break that hold, Kinbozan pivots and opens his back to Hokutofuji, who happily runs him out to win by okuridashi. Hokutofuji improves to 2-3.

Meisei defeats Nishikigi – Meisei took control early in the match with a double inside mawashi grip, and you can just tell that Nishikigi understood the challenge he had. His attempt to use an arm-bar to hold Meisei back failed, but did manage to swap his grip to a right hand outside. But this only set up the throw that Meisei used to put him on the clay. Meisei remains unbeaten at 5-0.

Nishikifuji defeats Endo – Nishikifuji finally gets his first win for May, putting winless Endo on the clay. Nishikifuji moved to grip Endo’s head at the tachiai, and it seems to have disrupted Endo’s balance. He went down two steps later by something between a tsukiotoshi and a slippiotoshi. But a win is a win, and Nishikifuji is now 1-4.

Wakamotoharu defeats Midorifuji – Excellent tachiai from Midorifuji, he had Wakamotoharu on defensive for two steps, but Wakamotoharu stayed balanced, calm and found a couple of strands of Midorifuji’s belt. From there it was all down to Wakamotoharu’s superior yotsu-zumo technique, as he lifted the smaller Midorifuji and walked him out. Yorikiri win for Wakamotoharu, he remains perfect at 5-0.

Abi defeats Daieisho – Daieisho knew better. Abi side steps the tachiai, but Daieisho was ready for it. But Daieisho was never able to really recover his match plan and succumbed to Abi’s second side step as Daieisho lunged to try and finish Abi off at the bales. I wondered about a hair pull at the tachiai, but I guess the judges were not going to review it. Abi now 2-3, handing Daieisho his first loss of May.

Hoshoryu defeats Shodai – Well played, Hoshoryu. He attacks Shodai to the point that Shodai tries to use his go-to defense, the “Wall of Daikon”. But for some reason, he stands almost upright when he employs it. Standing tall with a firm grip on his opponent, Shodai is perfectly placed for the uwatenage Hoshoryu was ready to deliver. Hoshoryu now 4-1.

Kiribayama defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka opens strong, and owns the offense at the start of the match. But he’s a bit too eager to finish Kiribayama off. Kiribayama waits for him to get forward over his toes, and counters with a beltless arm throw to bring Kotonowaka down. Kiribayama stays hot at 4-1.

Tobizaru defeats Takakeisho – Tobizaru manages to capture Takakeisho’s mawashi, and endure the Ozeki’s attempt at a throw to land last and take the match. For folks who want to see Takakeisho endure as an Ozeki, this is going to be a white-knuckle basho, as I think he will struggle all the way to senshuraku. Tobizaru heads to the interview room 2-3.

Terunofuji defeats Ura – Oh Ura, you must know to never go morozashi against the kaiju. He loves it when people do that. Ura gives Terunofuji a double arm battle hug, and the Yokozuna counters with a double arm bar against the man in pink. Everyone knows where this one is going, but points to Ura for giving it one really energetic surge to try and break the hold he worked so hard to achieve. No sir, up and out you go by yet another Terunofuij kimedashi. He remains unbeaten at 5-0.

11 thoughts on “Natsu Day 5 Highlights

  1. Daishoho had ZERO plan other than to react to Chiyoshoma. That’s a terrible idea as he promptly learned.

    I wonder if Hokuseiho was told to put in more effort after his match yesterday. Quite a difference. Also, you’re not the only person who’s noticing that Hokuseiho is using one arm a majority of the time, Bruce. There were comments about that yesterday that were wondering if he’s injured. Probably not, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

    There is definitely something going on with Takanosho. He didn’t have much forward power at all today.

    I’m not sure if the result of Mitakeumi/Kotoshoho was a lack of power from Mitakeumi, bad sumo from Kotoshoho or both. Mitakeumi is definitely applying a “kitchen sink” strategy this basho, but if it’s working that’s fine with me.

    Was Kinbozan expecting Hokotofuji to step forward more at the tachiai? He literally just stood up and ate that nowada. The result was pretty much decided right then and there.

    I am really tired of Abi becoming Chiyshoma 2.0. A henka won him a Cup, so I guess I’ll have to get used to him doing it at least once a basho. Perhaps I’ll update my sumo basho BINGO card and add “Abi does a henka” to a square.

    Kudos to Takakeisho for going chest to chest and trying the throw. Tobizaru just has the skills to stay upright longer there. The Ozeki won’t be criticized for going down without a fight if that’s what happens.

    The road to the Cup definitely runs straight through Yokozuna City. Those matches are going to be pivotal to the entire basho in the second week.

  2. There were zero healthy knees in that battle between Terunofuji and Ura, but it is remarkable how sharp Teru looks after his long lay-off from tournament action. If his knees hold up, he should only improve as the tournament progresses.

  3. No torinaoshi today?! Not even for Nishikifuji?! An actual win today at last! That cheered me up no End(o).

    I will be interested to see how he does against Takakeisho tomorrow. Will they repeat or reverse their results from today?

    Poor Midorifuji. As mentioned on Sumo Mainichi, his streak is now ten losses after ten wins. Will we see the first of ten wins from him tomorrow against Endo? That would be third loss to Isegahama for Endo at Natsu.

    More interesting from Hokuseiho today, in my opinion. Maybe he’ll pull something like this once per Act?

    I liked the way Abi judged the end his bout today, if not the way he started it.

    Strong stuff from Kiribayama and Hoshoryu. Mostly a good day for Sekiwake.

  4. Sad news – Tochinoshin is about to announce Intai after today’s defeat … He is no longer able to fight at professional level anymore

  5. I know he won today, but can someone here describe/define Oho’s sumo style for me?

    He’s like a kid in a chemistry lab who doesn’t know what chemicals he’s mixing or what the result of the experiment will be. “Hmmm, let me try this and see what happens.” Unpolished skills, never a plan, no go to move(s), and always surprised when the latest experiment doesn’t yeild results.

    As I’ve stated before, I’m not an Oho fan and I hope he’s on the Juryo Barge this basho. He doesn’t belong in Makuuchi. He’s taking up a slot that should go to a better and far more deserving rikishi who might actually have a real future at the top level of the sport.

    Meanwhile, it appears that Hokuseiho is learning how to be a giant among men. Last 2 days have looked like he’s just playing with his food.


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