With the start of the second act, some rikishi who looked moribund found new life, and suggested maybe they were going to be able to must some power for the rest of the basho. Some rikishi who had not yet tasted Osaka clay, had their first loss. Act 2 is all about sorting the survivors from the doomed, and shaping the yusho race for act 3.
Chiyoshoma defeats Ishiura – The double-henka failed to materialize, as both decided to engage in a proper tachiai. Ishiura was a bit too low, and left himself open to a thrust down, which Chiyoshoma was happy to supply.
Daishoho defeats Terutsuyoshi – A large number of sumo fans were quite excited when it was announced that Terutsuyoshi would be joining the top division, but he has struggled since Haru day 1, and has only been able to count a single with thus far. Now at 1-5, he is facing a very real threat of a deep make-koshi and a return to the deeper regions of Juryo.
Daiamami defeats Toyonoshima – Toyonoshima also attracted a lot of attention with his return to the top division. Once a Makuuchi mainstay, the nostalgia factor coupled with the story of a battered veteran fighting his way back to the big leagues is compelling. But Toyonoshima continues to product wins. Today one of his former Juryo rivals puts him out with a large thud.
Kagayaki defeats Yutakayama – Yutakayama took control of the match at the tachiai, but put himself too far forward to control his body. Kagayaki read this expertly and sent him to the clay. The video match suffers from the “Osaka camera” phenomenon.
Yoshikaze defeats Kotoeko – Perhaps Yoshikaze is not quite ready for the boneyard yet. He showed a flash of power, keeping Kotoeko from generating much offense, and then marching him in reverse to the bales. Yoshikaze improves to 3-3.
Ryuden defeats Tomokaze – Shin-Ikioi did not open strong, as Tomokaze clearly had the better of the tachiai, and took control of the match, landing his tsuki center mass. Ryuden backs to the tawara, and finds Tomokaze has pre-set his body to be thrown. Ryuden complies and pulls out a win by shitatenage.
Shohozan defeats Meisei – Meisei foolishly decides he wants to trade blows with “Big Guns”, and ends up with a black star. Nobody is surprised.
Sadanoumi defeats Yago – I admit that I cracked a smile when I saw Sadanoumi actually moving with strength and skill today. He had been flagging since day 1, and it was a welcome change. After trading tsuppari, they went chest to chest, which would tend to favor Yago, but Sadanoumi surges and gives Yago a trip across the tawara.
Asanoyama defeats Ikioi – Tough match, as you can tell Ikioi just can’t get above about 70% power thanks to his injured leg. On top of that, Asanoyama was in good form. Maybe a touch of Kotoshogiku hip action there? I would not be displeased to see that tradition carry forward.
Aoiyama defeats Kotoshogiku – The much feared confluence of pendulous man-boobs swinging and muscular hip thrusting did not come to pass, as Aoiyama knew exactly what to do to win. Both arms on Kotoshogiku’s shoulders and as much forward motion as he could muster. While not the epic clash of styles it could have been, it was great to see Aoiyama execute crisply with great effect.
Okinoumi defeats Takarafuji – Great tachiai from Okinoumi, and he remained confident and focused, even when Takarafuji had a grip advantage. Two highly skilled vets performing nearly textbook sumo.
Abi defeats Chiyotairyu – Abi execute a flying henka, bringing down Chiyotairyu and sending the gyoji (none other than Konosuke the Red) flying into the front row.
Onosho defeats Tochiozan – Basic match where Tochiozan was simply overpowered. Onosho continues his march towards kachi-koshi, and I am looking forward to him joining the rest of the tadpoles in the top slots.
Ichinojo defeats Endo – Ichinojo continues to show winning sumo on day 6. Endo was little more than the ballast for the giant Mongolian’s sumo today. The NHK commentary cited that he has won primarily by pulling moves, but at the moment it looks to be effective. Given the obliteration in the top 3 Maegarshira ranks, Ichinojo may have a nice boost for Natsu.
Takakeisho defeats Kaisei – An effective variation on Takakeisho’s preferred osha-attack now features a double arm thrust that is heavy to one side, and pivoting opposite of the thrust. Many times the effect is to turn his opponent as he swings around to the side, giving him flank exposure and leaving (in the case Kaisei) wide open to a broad side from the wave action canon.
Tamawashi defeats Hokutofuji – The hoped for double nodowa was not to be seen today, but what caught my eye was watching Tamawashi rally once Hokutofuji had him in trouble. This may in fact represent the point where Tamawashi arrested his lackluster start for the Haru Basho and reverts to a winning form.
Daieisho defeats Goeido – Goeido sumo is not without its flaws, if he gets stalemated, he can and will resort to dubious stratagems, such as today when Daieisho was able to withstand his opening gambit, and Goeido went for a slap down. Daieisho was ready for this and made the Ozeki pay.
Takayasu defeats Myogiryu – Again we see Takayasu not trying to resort to an overpowering collision at the tachiai, instead relying on his overwhelming strength to carry the match. It looks good, it works better and it wins. I credit endless practice hours with Araiso Oyakata. I hope he has the nerve to maintain this form against the Yokozuna, as I think it could be a strong formula for week 2.
Tochinoshin defeats Mitakeumi – Tochinoshin fans are maybe starting to feel a bit less anxious now. Mitakeumi is no easy contender, and Tochinoshin was able to shut down Mitakeumi at the tachiai. He did not need to try and use any lift-and-shift sumo, and he showed mobility that may have come as a surprise to Mitakeumi.
Hakuho defeats Nishikigi – Impressive match from Nishikigi, as he was able to get an arm-bar hold on Hakuho that left the Yokozuna waiting for his Maegashira opponent to make the next move. Nishikigi’s attempt to convert that hold into a throw was a solid effort, but Hakuho’s stability and stance made it a long odds gamble. Great sumo from Nishikigi today.
Kakuryu defeats Shodai – I teased that Shodai was fairly useless up until now, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the level of effort and skill he put into this match. That escape at the tawara was a solid escape move, but Shodai could not convert that into any meaningful offensive opportunity.