Some time in the early hours of Saturday, the memo went out – day 7 is hatakikomi day, make sure everyone at least tries to win by hatakikomi. Before the hatakikomi fest could get started, it was announced that Endo had withdrawn from the Hatsu basho with injuries to both knees. He had been winless up to today, and was in no condition to compete. Hoshoryu gets the default win, which oddly enough is a problem for him. Yes, it improves his score, but as a rikishi looking to make the case for Ozeki promotion, the “quality” of the wins matter in the deliberations to recommend promotion to Ozeki. Hoshoryu is now 5-2.
Myogiryu defeats Enho – I do hope that nobody was hoping that Enho was going to win. He decided to go straight on against Myogiryu, and he’s not able to push back against Myogiryu’s forward pressure. Its quite sad to see him one loss from an 0-8 make-koshi, but that’s where he is. Myogiryu improves to 5-2.
Asanoyama defeats Ichiyamamoto – Poor Ichiyamamoto does not even know where to start. He tries a grapple? Then changes his mind and puts both hands on Asanoyama’s face, and then it’s time to step out. Asanoyama remains unbeaten at 7-0.
Chiyoshoma defeats Mitoryu – Chiyoshoma does struggle for a moment with Mitoryu’s enormity, but quickly gets a right hand frontal grip. Attempts to lift the bulky Mitoryu are largely pointless. until Chiyoshoma hooks his left leg outside for a sotogake, bringing Mitoryu down. Both end the day 4-3.
Kagayaki defeats Kotoeko – Kagayaki lines up well be hind the shikiri-sen, it looks like to give a bit more room to launch into Kotoeko. That big first step pays off by breaking Kotoeko’s balance, allowing Kagayaki to move him back and eventually out. Both end the day 2-5.
Tsurugisho defeats Hokuseiho – In this battle of the mega-fauna, Tsurugisho takes the fight to Hokuseiho, and I think surprises him. Maybe Hokuseiho is not used to another rikishi being able to move him, or break his stance. Tsurugisho’s big belly does make for an effective ram. Once Tsurugisho gets Hokuseiho in motion, he walks him back for a yorikiri, and improves to 4-3.
Oho defeats Takarafuji – Another day where we see Takarafuji struggling to hold ground. We also see Oho struggling to generate much forward pressure or move ahead in an aggressive manner. But it looks like for at least today, Oho is in slightly better condition, and he gets Takarafuji out by oshidashi to advance to 4-3.
Daishoho defeats Ryuden – Daishoho gets an arm bar hold at the tachiai, and there was nothing Ryuden could do but go for the ride as Daishoho puts him out Terunofuji style. Daishoho finds his second win and is now 2-5.
Hiradoumi defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama had about 8 seconds of power in his body, where he was able to attack. Once that was exhausted, Hiradoumi rallied and drove him back. These guys with damaged legs really make for poor matches. Hiradoumi now 5-2.
Onosho defeats Hokutofuji – It is an odd day indeed when Hokutofuji is more off balance than Onosho. Typically Hokutofuji’s lower body acts almost independently to keep him in the match, but not today. Onosho applies a quick thrust and an immediate pull, sending Hokutofuji to the clay by hatakikomi. Onosho improves to 4-3.
Mitakeumi defeats Takanosho – Another day that we get to see classic Mitakeumi sumo. This form, with much higher power output, is what took him to Ozeki. It’s a shame that whatever is out of order for Takanosho prevents him from really generating the power needed to overcome this kind of situation. Mitakeumi now 5-2.
Meisei defeats Sadanoumi – My compliments to Sadanoumi for showing excellent balance in the face of serial tsukiotoshi attempts by Meisei. But one of them finally took care of business and Sadanoumi rolled to the dohyo. Meisei remains perfect at 7-0.
Tamawashi defeats Kotoshoho – I saw one big hit from Tamawashi today, but it was enough to knock Kotoshoho off his balance and set up the hatakikomi that followed. Tamawashi finds his second win and is 2-5.
Tobizaru defeats Nishikigi – Nishikigi is quite predictable, he will maniacally drive to get some kind of body or belt hold from the tachiai. Tobizaru uses this well known preference to his advantage, first blocking Nishikigi’s efforts to reach in, and then when Nishikigi leans in to make it more pronounced, brings Nishikigi down by hatakikomi, improving to 3-4.
Midorifuji defeats Abi – Abi sidesteps the tachiai, and tosses Midorifuji down. A monoii ensues and calls for a rematch as both men went out together. Abi tries to sidestep the second tachiai, but this time Midorifuji is better positioned, and is able to connect to Abi’s body, sending him out by oshidashi three steps later. Midorifuji finds his second win and is now 2-5.
Shodai defeats Kiribayama – Was Kiribayama somehow surprised by Shodai’s tachiai? Maybe he thought it was a matta, but the fight was on, and Kiribayama found himself without any positioning, defense, or options. He did try a rescue hatakikomi (he did get the memo, you see), but Shodai had him bracketed and ready to go out. Kiribayama picks up his second loss to drop to 5-2 while Shodai advances to 3-4.
Wakamotoharu defeats Nishikifuji – A surprisingly sloppy match, where it looked to me that Wakamotoharu lost track of where he was in the ring, and assumed his shove was potent enough to send Nishikifuji out. It was not, and Wakamotoharu had to re-engage and finish the job. It was good enough to improve his score to 6-1, but quite out of character for his normally very careful sumo.
Daieisho defeats Kotonowaka – Kotonowaka opened strong, capturing Daieisho and getting a working hand hold straight from the tachiai. He moved Daieisho back but could not finish him. Daieisho took control with a series of counter attacks, using oshi to get Kotonowaka turned, moved back and out. Daieisho stays near the leaders at 6-1, and some nice recovery.
Takakeisho defeats Ura – Not quite the orchestration and arrangement that we might see from a fully healthy Takakeisho, but he brought a lot of intensity. I think the plan was to make contact before Ura could position himself for his opening gambit. It worked well and Ura was left trying to react, which failed and Takakeisho pushed him out two steps later. Takakeisho improves to 5-2.
Terunofuji defeats Kinbozan – Sadly, it seems that Kinbozan was in fact defeated before the tachiai by the novelty of fighting the Yokozuna. His first step was soft, and he allowed Terunofuji unfettered access to attack in any form he chose. The choice of the day was hearty uwatenage, and it propels Terunofuji to an unbeaten 7-0 to end the day.