Aki Day 1 Highlights

Opening day of Aki, and so far nobody looks to have too much ring rust. For some reason there was a huge streak of oshidashi today, and everyone and their deshi decided to shove the other bloke out. Two out of the three Ozeki won their opening day match, with Hoshoryu shutting down Abi-zumo in quick fashion and Kirishima staying steady against flying monkey sumo.

Oh yes, the much revered Satanofuji is back to perform the yumitori-shiki, let there be much rejoicing.

Highlight Matches

Kagayaki defeats Daishoho – This was a race to see who could get hand placement first, and it was Kagayaki by a mile. Leading with his right hand, he was able to get a double inside body grip while Daishoho was applying a few tepid thrusts. Straight walk back yorikiri once Kagayaki got the grip, he starts Aki 1-0.

Chiyoshoma defeats Tsurugisho – Excellent sumo mechanics from Chiyoshoma today. Note his tachiai is low, and strikes upward at the initial merge. He manages to get his left hand on the front of Tsurugisho’s belt and lift while his body is still pressing upward to the tachiai. Given their massive weight difference, this is a perfect attack strategy. It unweights Tsurugisho enough to let Chiyoshoma move him back, into the yorikiri. Chiyoshoma is 1-0.

Atamifuji defeats Kotoshoho – Bold opener from Kotoshoho, who wanted to immediately apply an under shoulder throw against Atamifuji. It nearly worked but Kotoshoho’s right hand could not maintain grip. Unfortunately this opening gambit gave Atamifuji a right hand inside grip, and he was on the attack. While the right hand shut down Kotoshoho’s offense, it was Atamifuji’s right hand outside that did all the work. Solid sumo by Atamifuji, keeping his hips square in spite of Kotoshoho trying to deflect. The yorikiri starts Atamifuji at 1-0.

Myogiryu defeats Aoiyama – Start of another basho, and Bruce gets to worry about Big Dan. It’s not because he’s a fellow extra tall, over weight, pasty white guy, nah! It’s because when you have such an unlikely athlete get this far into his life and still able to compete in the top ranks, you kind of want to see it keep going. But Aoiyama has just a fraction of his former power, and Myogiryu makes quick work of him for a 1-0 start to Aki.

Sadanoumi defeats Nishikifuji – Nishikifuji put all of his hopes on that arm bar hold on Sadanoumi’s left arm. It was a solid hold, but he decided he was going to use it to upend Sadanoumi with some sort of throw. Sadanoumi was able to break the hold, and get Nishikifuji turned around for a quick okuridashi, he is now 1-0.

Takarafuji defeats Hokuseiho – Hokuseiho falls for one of the classic blunders. The most well know of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia”. Only slightly less well known is, “Never use a neck attack against Takarafuji”. While mile-high Hokuseiho was getting a 404 trying to wrap an arm around Takarafuji’s neck, Takarafuji was walking him out. A winning start at 1-0.

Mitakeumi defeats Endo – Mitakeumi put a lot of power forward, but like most of Mitakeumi’s sumo in the past year, it seems to only be at about 60% power. Endo has a good counter, but loses his footing to Mitakeumi’s forward pressure. Thus began the festival of oshidashi, with Mitakeumi advancing to 1-0.

Kinbozan defeats Midorifuji – Kinbozan got the first attack move, relegating Midorifuji to trying to counter, and having to settle for reacting to whatever Kinbozan chose to do. What he wanted to do was join the oshidashi club, which he did three steps later, putting his day 1 score to 1-0.

Kotoeko defeats Hiradoumi – Kotoeko has always been his own sort of rikishi. Although he knew it was oshidashi day, he went his own way. Hiradoumi certainly was on board with the overall plan, and delivered a potent hit at the start that could have turned into an oshidashi had Kotoeko not been able to counter, change grip and set up the sukuinage. Excellent rotation gets Kotoeko an opening day win at 1-0.

Takayasu defeats Oho – With the amount of pressure Takayasu was putting on Oho’s upper chest, there was only one way this was going to end. An oshidashi, and 1-0 for Takayasu.

Onosho defeats Ryuden – There are so many different ways this match could have ended. Ryuden fought quite well, and applied several disruptive pulls and moves that nearly brought Onosho down a few times. But Onosho kept his feet, and eventually had a clear route inside to push Ryuden out for a (you guessed it) oshidashi and a 1-0 start.

Gonoyama defeats Shonannoumi – Shonannoumi had better position out of the tachiai, but Gonoyama hit while he was still pushing his body upright. With Shonannoumi holding firm, Gonoyama was able to lift Shonannoumi and attack from underneath. For a minute it looked like Shonannoumi would be able to brute out a win, but Gonoyama broke contact, got his hand center-mass and pushed forward. Points to Gonoyama for being careful to keep his hands from getting a body grip, and thus he preserves the oshidashi streak.

Takanosho defeats Ura – This match came down to Ura trying hard for yet another oshidashi, but getting a bit to eager and lunging past Takanosho into the front row. The little push from Takanosho made it an okuridashi, which was ruled “close enough” for the streak to continue. Takanosho now 1-0.

Nishikigi defeats Tamawashi – I saw that the kimarite was oshidashi yet again, but Tamawashi was not the winner. It’s not every day you get to see Nishikigi eschew his battle-hug sumo for a good old push out. His choice of attack styles may have caught Tamawashi a bit by surprise. Nishikigi get an opening day win on his first basho in san’yaku, and is 1-0.

Kotonowaka defeats Shodai – Kotonowaka put in a good effort to get to oshidashi, but Shodai insisted on a body hold, resulting in Kotonowaka winning by yorikiri. Shodai’s opening move was unable to find enough contact to dial up the forward pressure, as Kotonowaka had already deflected and moved to capitalize on Shodai’s poor foot placement. Yorikiri win, and 1-0 for Kotonowaka. Thus the oshidashi streak was broken.

Asanoyama defeats Wakamotoharu – Wakamotoharu’s opening move was an attack to Asanoyama’s face, which certainly delivered some pain, but Asanoyama was able to get his left hand inside during the tachiai. Wakamotoharu was not again able to make an effective sumo move, as Asanoyama bundled him up and walked him out. 1-0 for the former Ozeki.

Meisei defeats Daieisho – I think Daieisho was eager to put a lot of power forward and rapidly move into his preferred mega-thrust attack. Meisei delivered a henka, and put Daieisho on the clay, for a 1-0 start to Aki.

Hoshoryu defeats Abi – Abi continues to try and make the most of Abi-zumo, in spite of the fact that most of the rikishi in the joi-jin have figured him out, and know where to attack while he is busy trying to work their face over. Hoshoryu gets an opening day win and a first win as Ozeki, and is 1-0.

Hokutofuji defeats Takakeisho – Anyone else worried about our Grand Tadpole? He showed good thrusting attack sumo today, but fell to poor footwork, and well placed thrus from Hokutofuji. The judges decided a monoii was needed, and declared a rematch. In the second fight, Hokutofuji got a hold around Takakeisho’s head and flung him to the clay. No question this time, Hokutofuji starts 1-0.

Kirishima defeats Tobizaru – As expected, Tobizaru tried to throw the kitchen sink into this match. I give credit to Kirishima for setting up a hold, not letting Tobizaru break contact, and progressively containing him to the point he could hurl him across the bales. Brilliant effort by Tobizaru against the Ozeki, with Kirishima now 1-0.

10 thoughts on “Aki Day 1 Highlights

  1. Gonoyama fight was very good.
    Takarafuji normally passive or defensive sumo, but still overpowered Hokuseiho, not sure how he is able to do that.
    Impressive sumo from Hokutofuji, though dad for Takakeisho, as he has to clear his Kadoban.

  2. There are a number of rikishi lower on the banzuke who are already banged up and hurt. Daieshoho’s arm, Atamifuji’s shoulder, and Aoyiama’s and Miyogiru’s knees are examples. Daieshoho seems to have the biggest hill to climb at this point. It’ll be really hard for him to stick around in the top division with this injury.

    Kagayaki looks motivated from day 1. That’s good to see because that “extra gear” has been missing from his sumo recently.

    Hokuseiho is going to lose a bunch in this basho (and perhaps the next basho) because he’s trying new things and improving his sumo. His Tachiai, along with his entire approach, was completely different today. He might go back to the “one arm reach over the top” sumo sometimes, but that’s okay. Doing different things is good for his long term progress.

    Mitakeumi looks healthy which is good for him and bad for all of his opponents. It’ll be interesting to see if he avoids a second week fade.

    Kotoeko is getting a bit crafty these days! I once again wish there was another word for a “hit and shift tachiai” other than “henka” because he didn’t dodge the initial collision. A lovely sukuinage too!

    Calm sumo from Takayasu today. I hope he consistently performs this way for the rest of the basho.

    Unsurprisingly, there was muted applause for Meisei’s win today from the crowd.

    HOKOTOFUJI! Quality stuff from him and Takakeisho today.

    There are cuts or burns(?) on Ura’s left shoulder. Does anyone know why they’re there?

  3. I watch it myself, but your analysis helps me see it. Thank you, as always.

    Yay for Takarafuji and my man in lilac, Kotoeko.

  4. Takarafuji/Hokuseiho: Size may or may not be an effective sumo strategy, but not having a neck definitely is.


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