Day 1 began with Shonanzakura facing Tatsunami’s recruit, Byakuen. It’s amusing to see a bit of nerves from young Byakuen pre-tachiai. Standing 171cm and weighing in at 67kg, Byakuen is 9cm shorter and nearly 19kg (~40 lbs) lighter than the more experienced Shonanzakura. Shonanzakura actually gets the jump on his opponent. But despite the physical disadvantage and complete lack of timing, Byakuen shot out like a bullet and blasted Mr. Futility off the dohyo.
My apologies while I work on the logistics here. My videos of the next bouts were terrible, which is unfortunate because the next couple of bouts featured a few nice throws. I will work out the glitches. Shunrai easily won his first bout against Tamatensho with a sukuinage. He drove Tamatensho back to the tawara while seeking a belt grip with his right hand. But when Tamatensho’s foot reached the bales, Shunrai quickly twisted him down from the left. It will be interesting to see how quickly the Sakamoto brothers rise up the banzuke, and which one makes it further.
Hitoshi followed that up with a kakenage, tripping up Nobehara. This was a great bout with both rikishi of similar, solid build. Hitoshi was “cornered” at the bales but twisted to throw Nobehara. I think it was actually Nobehara who initiated the “kake” but Hitoshi used the leverage to push Nobehara over. Kyonosato put in a valiant effort but Arikawa escorted the Isenoumi-beya taste tester out of the ring for the yorikiri win.
This victory started an Eastern rout as the next five gunbai also pointed stage left. Fujimusashi, Mihonoumi, Abe, Asasorai, and Kirinohana all claimed victory. The best of these bouts was Asasorai’s uwatedashinage win over Takashoki. Kirinohana caught out Higohikari’s henka attempt, easily. I anticipate a poor showing from Higohikari during this tournament, and possibly kyujo as he did not seem close to 100%. Lastly, Sawanofuji and Shiraishizakura put together a great bout with Sawanofuji winning with a kotenage.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch the second half of the action which occurred tonight, July 4. I’d hoped to get back earlier from the cookout…but it was a good cookout. If I find any footage, I’ll post it. Kiryuko replicated his brother’s success by defeating Daitensho.
Veteran Kokuryunami was able to get to rookie Daitenshin’s mawashi and defeated him with a sukuinage. In the headline bout, Mukainakano defeated Miyagi by tsukitaoshi and Takatairiku followed that up with another tsukitaoshi against Kato. Tamanotora and Kyokutaiga defeated fellow classmates, Yoshinofuji and Takabaho, respectively. Taniguchi and Mogamizakura bested their veteran opponents, Sawaisamu and Moriurara. Lastly, Asahimaru beat Matsugi.
The “Winners bracket” after Day 1 is:
The first half of Match Day 2 will actually offer the bulk of the yusho race bouts. Eight bouts, involving 15 of these men will happen tonight. First up, young Byakuen will be thrown into the fire now. If his timing was off against Shonanzakura, he may want to be better prepared for Mukainakano. Next, Kiryuko will fight Hitoshi. Shunrai will likely face Arikawa tomorrow, but that’s it for the “rookie” bouts tonight.
The other winner bracket bouts are:
- Fujimusashi vs Kokuryunami
- Abe vs Tamanotora
- Asasorai vs Kyokutaiga
- Kirinohana vs Taniguchi
- Mogaizakura vs Sawanofuji
- Asahimaru vs (Jonidan) Kirimaru
Along with the likely Shunrai/Arikawa bout, tomorrow’s schedule will likely put Takakairiku against Mihonoumi. Unfortunately, since I couldn’t see the second day matches I can’t really pick a complete list of favorites but I must say Shunrai and Hitoshi definitely impressed me during the Day 1 action. Asasorai also had a great throw but I can’t see him being competitive against some of the top recruits but it should certainly be interesting.