Nagoya Day 7 Highlights

Day 7 sees the Ozeki hopefuls continuing to maintain their push to double digits. Mathematically, they won’t all hit their goals, but it would be thrilling to see at least one new Ozeki minted this month. Let’s face it, Terunofuji’s knees left the building some time ago, and we are just counting down the months until he can’t maintain his position. So it’s time to warm up more Ozeki to fill in the top of the banzuke for a change.

Tonight we will take out first look at the yusho race, and we will find that we no longer have a sole leader in Nishikigi. My compliments to Kotonowaka for choosing a great strategy to nullify Nishikigi’s primary attack mode. That does not drop him from serious consideration at a yusho contender, but it has made the race quite interesting.

Highlight Matches

Hakuoho defeats Endo – Endo’s grab attempt at the tachiai misses it’s mark and he finds Hakuoho at his chest with a working hold on Endo’s body. Endo had to choose to counter or to try and break the hold, he chose to try and break via a series of hip twisting moves that Hakuoho completely bracketed (look at his stance), allowing Endo to reduce his forward pressure to zero. With Endo turned to the side, Hakuoho shoved him out. I hope this guy can stay healthy, he has outstanding defensive footwork. Hakuoho takes the win to end the day 5-2.

Takarafuji defeats Shimazuumi – The second first ever match in a row, Shimazuumi got a small taste of Takarafuji’s defensive sumo. I counted at least 4 attempts by Shimazuumi to reach in and get any kind of hand placement, just to find himself blocked. When he did get his hands in some kind of working position, his hips were already too high, with Takarafuji hustling him out. Takarafuji now 5-2.

Ryuden defeats Aoiyama – This was really a fight over the inside pushing lane. As Aoiyama ages out of the top division (he’s 37) we don’t get to see him really swing those enormous arms for the round house blows that would wreck an opponent’s focus. So he and fellow vet Ryuden work to push center mass, mixing in pull attempts as they go. Completely stalemated, Aoiyama tries a leg pick that fails, but leaves him unable to repel Ryuden’s next push. Good endurance and persistence from Ryuden as he advances to 3-4.

Kotoshoho defeats Bushozan – The key to this match was Kotoshoho not letting Bushozan square his hips. A bit at a time, Kotoshoho worked to get Bushozan off angle, which set up the tsukiotoshi that got him his 3rd win, now 3-4.

Shonannoumi defeats Gonoyama – Gonoyama’s tachiai was quite good, and netted him both hands inside against Shonannoumi’s chest, but he broke contact with the left just in time to receive a thrust to the head. With Gonoyama’s balance broken, Shonannoumi pulled him forward and across. I am kind of surprised that Gonoyama fell for this combo, but Shonannoumi played it well. Both end the day 5-2.

Kotoeko defeats Daishoho – There are days when Kotoeko really does some superb sumo, including today. Daishoho supplied the power and moved forward while Kotoeko gave ground and stayed mobile. It did not take long for him to get an opportunity to slip behind Daishoho and move for an okuridashi. Kotoeko now 4-3.

Chiyoshoma defeats Myogiryu – No trickery today from Chiyoshoma, they two exchanged head grab-n-twist moves,b ut setttled in for left hand inside yotsu. Myogiryu’s left hand grip was not strong, and Chiyoshoma took advantage, pulling Myogiryu forward into a katasukashi. Nice combo executed well, Chiyoshoma now 4-3.

Hokutofuji defeats Tsurugisho – Hokutofuji got a working grip at the tachiai and had control of the match from the second step. But for whatever reason he was not happy with his hand placement, allowing Tsurugisho to rally has Hokutofuji tried to change. It seems Hokutofuji realized he had flubbed it, and tried to pull Tsurugisho down. Only Hokutofuji’s impressive lower body skills kept him inside long enough for Tsurugisho to hit the clay, improving to 6-1.

Takanosho defeats Kinbozan – Delighted to see Takanosho pick up his second win. He opened with a nodowa to raise Kinbozan and push him back, and followed with a quick push to center mass to send Kinbozan out. Good combo work for Takanosho, now 2-5 by oshidashi.

Nishikifuji defeats Takayasu – Did anyone else see Takayasu turn his face to the right at the tachiai? That turn of the head was all it took to miss Nishikifuji slipping to the side, taking advantage of the subtle weight shift to Takayasu’s body and hurl him down. Super clever move, as Takayasu likes to look away at the moment of contact. Nishikifuji improves to 4-3.

Tamawashi defeats Hokuseiho – Tamawashi has been around forever, and while his potency has faded a bit with age, his skill and sheer combativeness is not diminished at all. In his time, Tamawashi used to nodowa the crap out of everyone. Neat to see him bring it out today to make sure Hokuseiho’s lug nuts are sufficiently torqued. It prevented Hokuseiho from setting up any kind of grip, and allowed Tamawashi to raise him up (how can you tell?) box him in and walk him back for a yorikiri. Excellent effort for the veteran now at 6-1.

Onosho defeats Sadanoumi – Onosho has now won 2 in a row, and I am starting to have hope that he has gotten rid of his ring rust and is in fighting form. Sadanoumi had no speed, mobility or stability today, and was an easy mark. Kind of tough to watch him struggle. Onosho applies a hatakikomi to improve to 3-4.

Hiradoumi defeats Oho – This match highlights my frustrations with Oho. The guy is clearly capable, and can bring some solid if unexciting sumo to the clay the marjority of the time. But what the hell was that? He let Hiradoumi inside, and had no real counter. I guess I should just chalk it up to status quo as Hiradoumi does tend to dominate him. Fine – both end the day 2-5.

Meisei defeats Midorifuji – A well choreographed Midorifuji step to the side nearly works, but Meisei is able to pivot and go right hand inside. Midorifuji had neither the mass or the muscle to shut down Meisei yotsu, and walked him out for a yorikiri, now 3-4.

Tobizaru defeats Shodai – The Ozeki sumo is still in Shodai. I know there are fans who think he was never worthy, but this guy can fight and is quite potent when his sumo is working. It was not working today. You can see him try to summon his power, but it never lasts for more than 2 steps and he’s on to something else. The net result is a chaotic mess of reaction to Tobizaru’s chaos. A bit of a surprise that Konosuke got tangled up in the scrum, he tends to stay clear. Tobizaru improves to 4-3.

Kotonowaka defeats Nishikigi – We all knew that this day would come, when the inexplicable unbeaten run of Nishikigi would come to an end. I adore that Kotonowaka did it by applying a more potent battle-hug to the master of that move. The key was that Kotonowaka took his second step before Nishikigi could stiffen up his back foot. Superb! Kotonowaka now 5-2.

Wakamotoharu defeats Abi – Only the second time that Wakamotoharu has been able to overcome Abi-zumo in 7 tries. Maybe he’s getting a recipe down to nullify Abi’s attack? The fundamental seems to be enduring the double arm thrusting volleys, wait for Abi to make a lateral move, and slap his wildly unbalanced hide down. Wakamotoharu improves to 5-2.

Daieisho defeats Ura – Pure Daieisho sumo here today. He hit hard at the tachiai, and never gave Ura a chance to set up any kind of defense. You can see Ura try for at least one grab in there, but there is just too much forward power coming from Daieisho’s mega-thrust sumo. He keeps his Ozeki dream happy by advancing to 5-2.

Hoshoryu defeats Asanoyama – You know Asanoyama wants back in the named ranks, and he’s working hard to get back there. But it’s been a few years since he fought the men who are the current san’yaku, and all of them have improved quite a bit. Evidenced today against Hoshoryu as both men execute “their brand of sumo” against each other. Asanoyama did not quite have the power to brute Hoshoryu out, but Hoshoryu had the balance and patience to set up that throw until it connected. Hoshoryu also keeping his Ozeki dream happy at 6-1.

Mitakeumi defeats Kirishima – Mitakeumi is in a crummy portion of his life. His father died, he lost Ozeki and he’s probably in daily pain from his sumo injuries. That’s what make’s today’s match even more enjoyable. Pure Mitakeumi top drawer sumo. For a man that wide and round, it amazes me how narrow a force vector he can produce when all the pieces come together. Unstoppable power into the middle of Kirishima popped the lone Ozeki on his heels and ran him out of the ring. First win for Mitakeumi, and he is 1-6.

7 thoughts on “Nagoya Day 7 Highlights

  1. Four matches stood out for me today, two for surprise and two for admiration, and I’ve realised by reading your highlights that they came in pairs!

    Surprise: Nishikifuji beating Takayasu. I did not expect this given their current forms. Interesting that you feel it was a tactic by Nishikifuji, that’s quite hard to judge in a short bout.
    Admiration: Tamawashi’s win against Hokuseiho. It’s really cool to watch these new match ups. A triumph for experience, perhaps?


    Admiration: Hoshoryu beating Asanoyama. It seemed like well thought out sumo from Hoshoryu and it looked great in the slow motion replays!
    Surprise: Mitakeumi’s win over Kirishima. I assumed this would be a walkover even for a not-quite-right Kirishima, but I was wrong. I still hope he gets his kachi koshi but thanks to your background information about Mitakeumi, I’m really pleased about today’s result.

    I wonder if what all four bouts have in common is that the winners went in with a clear game plan which they then succeeded in executing?

  2. Tamawashi was insistent on not giving Hokuseiho any room with his right arm to prevent him from getting his standard grip. Excellent stuff and we’ll see if other people pick up on that as well. Hokuseiho had no answer for that strategy either.

    I can definitely say that everyone, including the people with losing records, are definitely showing motivation to win in each bout this basho. It’s good to see, honestly. Also, this leaderboard is wild and I love everything about it.

  3. I’d say it’s highly unlikely that all three ozeki hopefuls won’t all make it – but I’m confused about how it’s “mathematically” forbidden that they can all reach their goals (Assuming by this you’re only talking about hitting their 33, where Daiesho needs 11, while Hoshoryu and Wakamotoharu need 12). None of them has fought the other two, but all three of them can certainly hit their 33, though it isn’t likely that all will. Hoshoryu can lose twice more, as can Daieisho. Wakamotoharu can lose only once. But with that, there are several ways in which they can each hit their targets (e.g. Wakamotoharu beats each of the other two, and Daieisho beats Hoshoryu or vice versa, and they win out otherwise… that would leave Waka with 13, Daieisho with 13 or 12, and Hoshoryu with 12 or 13 (depending on the Hoshoryu-Daiesho outcome). So they actually don’t even need to win out to all hit their 33 – but again, I don’t expect that to happen… but it CAN.

      • I seem to remember your taking Kiribayama „mathematically“ out of the jusho race, when he was two or three wins behind Midorifuji, but he still took the title.
        Maybe U‘d better use another term in such circumstances… what about something like „according to my own maths“?

  4. For me the stories of the basho promised to be the three rookies on the one hand and the three Sekiwake on the other. After the first week they are all 5-2 except for Hoshoryu who is even 6-1 (and had a very convincing win today).
    It seems that all the rookies will remain in the division and probably improve their ranks, which is great for Sumo.
    The Sekiwake will hardly all reach their goal though it still is possible. Daieisho and Hoshoryu are at 27 wins in three basho now and Wakamotoharu is at 26. That means Wakamotoharu may lose at least once more and the other two twice. Difficult, but not impossible as the Yokozuna and one Ozeki are out and Kirishima is obviously not at 100 percent.


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