After two thrilling days of action, the first half of Day Three offers the sumo fan a chance to catch up on their Z’s. What a snooze fest! But wait until the second half of action. I was rather surprised to hear from Josh’s report on the action in Kyushu that it appears people had left early. After watching the first half of today’s Makuuchi bouts, though, I could see why. But past performance does not always predict future results.
Back in the late 1990’s, I was an undergrad at UNC. We had a good football team and they were having a solid year. UVA came to town when we were ranked 5th in the nation. They quickly racked up 20 points on us. I had school work to do, so I left. As I’m walking from the stadium, I hear a cheer. I get almost to the student union and I hear another big cheer. So, I go into the student union and watch the rest of a 48-20 comeback victory. I didn’t leave early, ever again. We actually stay late because I really don’t like crowds.
When I’m at sumo, I stay until well after the bow-twirling ceremony. On senshuraku, you’ve got to be there for the gyoji toss and the sanbonjime. But even on quiet days like today, any people who left early would have missed out on a lot of great action and an absolute classic bout. Which one? Read on. Oh, okay. It was Kitanowaka vs Meisei. Absolute gem.
Nishikifuji (1-2) defeated Roga (0-3). Nishikifuji met Roga with a strong tachiai, forcing him back several feet. He then executed a quick pull, with Roga falling to the floor. Tsukiotoshi
Churanoumi (2-1) defeated Kitanowaka (2-1). At the tachiai, Churanoumi locked in on Kitanowaka’s maemitsu, the front part of his mawashi. Kitanowaka then spent the rest of the bout backing up and trying to shove Churanoumi’s hand away. Churanoumi separated for a bit when Kitanowaka’s fundoshi began to unravel, but largely kept pace with the retreating wrestler. Kitanowaka eventually stumbled over his own feet., Yoritaoshi
Tomokaze (2-1) defeated Tohakuryu (1-2). Slapfest here. The big difference between the two slappers was that Tohakuryu’s slaps were largely ineffective at budging Tomokaze. On the other hand, Tomokaze’s tsuppari was very effective at forcing Tohakuryu to move around the ring. Tohakuryu seemed to grow more and more annoying to Tomokaze and Tomokaze’s shoves gained more intensity and he shoved Tohakuryu to the ground. Tsukidashi
Ichiyamamoto (3-0) defeated Tsurugisho (1-2): Ichiyamamoto’s tsuppari was a little bit more effective than Tohakuryu’s. So he gave up on the tsuppari and just wrapped up Tsurugisho and drove forward. When Tsurugisho pivoted at the edge, appearing to attempt a sukuinage, his knee buckled and he fell to the floor. Tsurugisho needs a lengthy kyujo to fix that knee. Yoritaoshi.
Takarafuji (1-2) defeated Oho (1-2). Another slapfest here as Oho wailed away at Takarafuji. But Takarafuji slipped to the side and used Oho’s forward momentum to help throw him to the floor. A disappointing bout from Oho. Tsukitoshi.
Tamawashi (3-0) defeated Hiradoumi (0-3). Tamawashi and Hiradoumi slammed into each other like rutting goats, over and over. Tamawashi slipped to the side and pulled Hiradoumi forward and down to the clay. These early bouts have largely been rinse and repeat. Hikiotoshi.
Ryuden (3-0) defeated Sadanoumi (2-1). Finally, something different. We had a great yotsu lesson here from Ryuden. Both men locked in on the opponents’ mawashi with a left hand inside grip. Sadanoumi took the initiative, yanked up hard on Ryuden’s belt and charged forward, hoping to force Ryuden out. But pivoted, Sadanoumi pitched forward a bit too far and Ryuden used Sadanoumi’s momentum to help throw him over. Uwatenage.
Mitakeumi (1-2) defeated Kotoeko (1-2). Mitakeumi seemed to wake up for the first time this tournament. He met the smaller Kotoeko strongly at the tachiai and then charged forward, driving Kotoeko completely across the ring and out. Oshidashi.
Myogiryu (1-2) defeated Endo (0-3). Endo stumbled forward before the initial charge, forcing a matta. He collected himself and came back for a solid tachiai. The two threw hands for a little bit before deciding to lock in for a belt battle instead. Endo found leverage to throw Myogiryu to the floor…but the gunbai to Myogiryu? As Endo threw Myogiryu, his foot went over the straw bales, touching outside the ring. Myogiryu wins. Kandayu is on the ball today. Yorikiri.
Atamifuji (3-0) defeated Kinbozan (1-2). Atamifuji put his head down and bulled forward, driving Kinbozan back to the edge and out. Yorikiri.
Halftime. Time to swap out shimpan.
Shonannoumi (3-0) defeated Hokuseiho (2-1). Hokuseiho is happy to lean. He wrapped up Shonannoumi’s right shoulder in an arm bar. Shonannoumi, on the other hand, held onto Hokuseiho’s belt with his right hand. Shonannoumi wormed his left hand inside as well and landed a morozashi. Hokuseiho’s expression changed. “Uh-Oh.” The lean transformed into frantic but subtle tussling. You could tell Hokuseiho was worried as the two made subtle adjustments. Shonannoumi gathered up his strength for a charge and pulled up on Hokuseiho’s mawashi, driving forward and forcing Hokuseiho out.
Midorifuji (2-1) defeated Takanosho (1-2). Ah, Takanosho lost this bout. They’re calling this an arm pulldown from Midorifuji but it’s really a bit of sloppy sumo and poor footwork from Takanosho. He met Midorifuji well at the tachiai and forced Midori back with a strong blast about the shoulders. But as Midorifuji moved back, Takanosho didn’t step forward. Instead, he launched out…falling to the floor. Takanosho’s hand touched the ground before Midorifuji fell on his but. Dude. Just put your feet, one in front of the other, and walk forward. Hikiotoshi.
Gonoyama (1-2) defeated Onosho (1-2). Gonoyama took out all of his frustrations from the last two days on poor Onosho. Fantastic power sumo from ex-Goeido’s youngster. He drove forward with all his might, pushing Onosho clear from the dohyo. Onosho had no time to counter. Oshidashi.
Nishikigi (1-2) defeated Abi (1-2). Nishikigi weathered tropical storm Abi, with Abi’s tsuppari thus downgraded from hurricane strength. Nishikigi stepped inside and wrapped up Abi with both hands inside, then drove forward. Yorikiri.
Wakamotoharu (2-1) defeated Tobizaru (1-2). Wakamotoharu was up for the chase today. Tobizaru ran around the ring, trying pulls, and slapdowns, hoping to seize on any sense of misdirection. The patient Wakamotoharu waited him out, corralled Curious George at the center of the ring, wrapped him up, and ushered him over the bales. Yorikiri.
Daieisho (3-0) defeated Takayasu (1-2). Takayasu tried to match Daieisho’s enthusiasm today but Daieisho was locked on with his sumo. Since Takayasu couldn’t force him backwards, he retreated, pivoting here and there. But Daieisho did not fall for any of the changes in direction. He kept his balance (barely at times) and pushed Takayasu out. Oshidashi.
Kotonowaka (3-0) defeated Meisei (0-3). FANTASTIC bout. Meisei took it to the bigger Kotonowaka with Power yotsu-zumo, deserving of a win. He certainly had the aggression and took the bout to Kotonowaka. The pair tumble into the crowd… Gunbai to Kotonowaka? What? Mono-ii. Shimpan confirm that as the pair fell out, Kotonowaka twisted Meisei’s body and Meisei’s foot touched out before Kotonowaka fell on his back. Is that a sukuinage? No, apparently it’s Osakate.
What the hell is Osakate? Whatever it is, it was worth the price of admission. It’s in the hineri, or twisting, group of kimarite. Apparently, one reaches over their opponent’s shoulder (thus uwate, or “over arm”) and twists in the direction of that arm. Yodo earned his keep by spotting this. I thought Meisei had this won. Despite Meisei’s record, he’s been fighting well. But wow, Kotonowaka found a way to win. Keep your eyes on this kid.
A rare kimarite, Osakate been used three times previously in Makuuchi. Once, way back in 1951. Of course Aminishiki has pulled one of these off against Takamisakari in Kyushu, way back in 2005. Baruto used it against Kakizoe in 2010. But just this year, Wakatakamoto has used it against Nishinoryu in Makushita.
Kirishima (3-0) defeated Shodai (0-3). Shodai blocked Kirishima’s grasp of the front of his mawashi. So Kirishima changed tack. A strong nodowa had Shodai looking for the exits. Yorikiri.
Takakeisho (3-0) defeated Ura (0-3). Ura had nothing to show today as Takakeisho chased him from the dohyo. Tsukidashi.
Hoshoryu (3-0) defeated Hokutofuji (0-3). Hokutofuji drove forward, his ottsuke effective at keeping Hoshoryu back and off his belt. Hoshoryu is a tactician, though. When one door is closed, he goes and looks for another. As Hokutofuji kept his head down and moved forward, Hoshoryu seized upon the top of Hokutofuji’s head and thrust him down. Hatakikomi.