Mock Natsu Day 8 Highlights

Welcome to the results for nakabi, the middle day of the mock Natsu basho. With this tournament past its half way point, we take our first look at the yusho race, and we can start to see who is going to be in trouble, who might contest for the cup, and who is likely to earn their kachi-koshi. Today is also the first day that a rikishi might earn their 8th win, and secure their winning record. The only rikishi to do that in this tournament is none other than our sole leader, Ishiura, who continues to win against all challengers. With the closest challenger 2 wins behind him, including his stable mate Yokozuna Hakuho, this is Ishiura’s tournament to lose. His sumo has been aggressive, sharp and overpowering day after day. But I expect the scheduling committee will being to give him greater challenges going into the second week. I am eager to see his tour of the San’yaku, and a vigorous test of his bonafides to hoist the cup. I note with great interest that two time yusho winner Mitakeumi is just one win behind.

At the other end of the spectrum, both Okinoumi and Tochinoshin are 1 loss away from make-koshi. Both men have only 1 win each thus far, and it’s possible that if Tochinoshin does not find some way to win in spite of his injuries that we might see him vanish from the top division.

Mock Natsu Leaderboard

Leader – Ishiura
Chaser – Mitakeumi.
Hunt GroupHakuho, Kakuryu, Asanoyama, Tokushoryu, Chiyotairyu, Sadanoumi, Takayasu, Nishikigi

7 Matches Remain

Day 8 Matches

Meisei (8-0) defeats Kotoyuki (3-5) Oshidashi – Meisei visits from Juryo to fill the banzuke hole left by Terunofuji’s kyuju, and promptly hands Kotoyuki his 5th loss and likely sealing his re-ascension to the top division next tournament. Meisei lined up well behind the shikiri-sen, but Kotoyuki was first off the line, claiming the inside position and putting his left hand on Meisei’s chest before Meisei could finish his tachiai. Kotoyuki was pushing with strength, but could not keep his shoulders or his hips square with Meisie, who overpowered Kotoyuki and forced him from the ring.

Kotoshoho (5-3) defeats Takayasu (6-2) Oshitaoshi – A couple of impressive moves by Kotoshoho today against a fairly genki Takayasu. The former Ozeki missed the timing on his forearm strike at the tachiai, and left himself wide open for Kotoshoho to land a right hand inside grip. Takayasu countered with a left hand outside grip, but that left elbow seems to still be not quite 100%. Takeyasu surged forward to turn Kotoshoho, but Kotoshoho countered by stepping aside Takayasu’s stance and pushing with his left hand. The former Ozeki was sent sprawling to the clay. Hopefully neither Takayasu’s elbow or knee were injured or degraded in this match.

Kotonowaka (4-4) defeats Nishikigi (6-2) Yorikiri – The second 1 loss rikishi picks up their second loss (Takayasu was the other). Kotonowaka never touched either hand down at the tachiai, but I am guessing no call no foul. Many of Nishikigi’s tachiais are a bit tentative has his eyesight is terrible. Kotonowaka landed a right hand inside position, and Nishikigi rapidly attempted to change his grip. But that moment of change was the moment Kotonowaka surged forward and drove Nishikigi over the bales.

Sadanoumi (6-2) defeats Kotoeko (3-5) Oshitaoshi – I really like how low Sadanoumi kept his feet and his hands at the tachiai. He may have expected Kotoeko to go high at the tachiai, and he was ready to exploit that opening. Kotoeko was able to get a right hand inside position, but no grip. As Kotoeko planted his feet, Sadanoumi pumped his hips once and reached deep outside with his left. Having his preferred grip, Kotoeko dropped his hips to advance only to catch another hip thrust from Sadanoumi. With Kotoeko’s heels on the tawara, Sadanoumi broke Kotoeko’s left hand grip by raising his right shoulder, and delivered a forceful thrust with his hand, winning the match. Nice combo move from Sadanoumi today.

Shimanoumi (5-3) defeats Kotoshogiku (5-3) Uwatedashinage – Kotoshogiku got the better of the tachiai, but his early drive to get his hands inside powered Shimanoumi’s Uwatedashinage, as Shimanoumi grabbed Kotoshogiku’s right forearm, pulled and twisted. The big former Ozeki was just starting his first hip thrust as he lost balance and crashed to the clay.

Chiyomaru (3-5) defeats Tochinoshin (1-7) Oshidashi – Fairly standard Chiyomaru action today – he was slap happy, keeping Tochinoshin away from his mawashi by constant thrusting against the former Ozeki’s chest. But Tochinoshin’s balance is delicate now, and it was only a few steps into the fight, and he was on the clay. Really worried about Tochinoshin now.

Kaisei (3-5) defeats Wakatakakage (4-4) Oshidashi – Wakatakakage is no stranger to fighting massive, bulky men. His dominance over a fading Gagamaru attests to that. But I think Wakatakakage’s attempt at a henka in the tachiai may have really gotten Kaisei fired up. The henka was clumsy and poorly timed, and saw Kaisei chase him down and swat him like a fly. Better luck next time, Wakatakakage.

Shohozan (4-4) defeats Myogiryu (3-5) Uwatenage – Shohozan’s mobility has been slowly dropping in the past 18 months. We see him go more chest to chest, and fewer brawling battles that roam across the dohyo. Myogiryu had the superior tachiai, and deflected Shohozan’s opening attack. Rather than keep distance and try again, Shohozan lunged inside with his left, while blocking Myogiryu’s right. Myogiryu immediately moved to change up his grip, and Shohozan pivoted into a throw that Myogiryu suddenly found he was assisting. They both went down but Myogiryu touched down first.

Ishiura (8-0) defeats Terutsuyoshi (2-6) Hatakikomi – A battle of the power pixies, Ishiura thrust upward at the tachiai, catching Terutsuyoshi’s jaw before Ishiura’s left hand immediately slapped him down. Lightning fast win for Ishiura, his 8th, and that’s kachi-koshi on day 8. Terutsuyoshi may have hurt his left ankle in the match, and was limping as he made his way back to the shitaku-beya.

Tokushoryu (6-2) defeats Ikioi (2-6) Oshidashi – My hoped for Ikioi rally was nowhere to be seen today, as Ikioi struggled to overcome Tokushoryu’s comically low center of gravity. Ikioi had a solid tachiai, and set to work with tsuppari from an inside position. Tokushoryu tried two separate pulls, but could not break Ikioi’s balance. Switching to return thrusts, Ikioi found a right hand grip on Tokushoryu’s arm. As Ikioi moved to throw, he ran out of dohyo, and ran into a finishing thrust from Tokushoryu.

Enho (3-5) defeats Tamawashi (3-5) Shitatedashinage – This first ever match between these two was full of questions. With Tamawashi being high mobility and high power thrusting, would Enho have much offense that would work against him? Enho had to endure two big hits to get inside, but he managed to find his mark and latch onto Tamwashi’s belt. Achieving his attack position, he held tight while Tamawashi scrambled and shifted his hips to try and break Enho’s grip. But his moves were too predictable, allowing Enho pulled forward and down, dropping Tamawashi for a loss.

Chiyotairyu (6-2) defeats Ryuden (2-6) Tsukidashi – No shenanigans from Ryuden today, just a straight away tachiai. Chiyotairyu did not launch out at full power, perhaps hedging against a henka. Ryuden pushed hard into the initial clash, but found himself forced back and standing upright as Chiyotairyu launched a rapid combo of thrusts to Ryuden’s shoulders. Ryuden tried to stick a nodowa, but could not set his feet to push it in, and a tightly blow to the chest from Chiyotairyu ushered Ryuden out of the ring.

Hokutofuji (5-3) defeats Kiribayama (2-6) Oshidashi – Hokutofuji exploded into the tachiai, both arms bent at the elbow and connected to Kiribayama’s chest. Both arms shoved forward together and Kiribayama staggered back, his arms flailing. He managed to regain his balance and set his feet just for a split second before a second massive right hand blow connected to his solar plexus. A loud “oooof” echoed through the empty Kokugikan as Kiribayama collapsed, completely winded. I love seeing Hokutofuji’s excellent manners, as he was down on the clay helping his opponent up immediately. Fortunately, it looks like Kiribayama is just fine.

Onosho (3-5) defeats Takanosho (5-3) Tsukiotoshi – Takanosho has been fighting very well, with enough skill and energy that I consider him a good candidate for San’yaku regular in 2021. I get nervous when I see Onosho spread his feet wide and put all of his weight on the balls of his feet, but when he has a mass to push against like that, he can deliver a lot of force. When Takanosho found his grip and returned pressure, Onosho released his right hand and thrust downward, ending the match.

Yutakayama (2-6) defeats Endo (2-6) Hatakikomi – Endo would not give up the notion of putting that left hand on Yutakayama’s mawashi, and on Endo’s third attempt to latch on, Yutakayama caught him too far forward and slapped him down. My compliments to Yutakayama’s solid but improving stability, it showed a lot of discipline.

Shodai (5-3) defeats Daieisho (5-3) Shitatenage – I wild blast of a match, Shodai’s tachiai was high and soft, and Daieisho was fast and low, his head like a torpedo into Shodai’s neck. But to my surprise, Shodai held fast and Daieisho deflected back, only to lunge forward into Shodai’s waiting arms. Realizing he has been captured, Daieisho applied a volley of double arm thrusts, breaking Shodai’s grip and pinning him with a nodowa. Shodai stepped back, breaking contact and Daieisho lunged in with an even more brutal nodowa. A lateral arm sweep by Shodai broke Daieisho’s grip, but seconds later the right hand was at Shodai’s throat again. Again Shodai broke off and Daieisho closed to engage, but this time Shodai again captured him, holding him close. Shodai’s hips pivoted and his left hand pulled down, sending Daieisho flying. Ok, I was impressed with Shodai’s sumo today. Please more of that, sir.

Mitakeumi (7-1) defeats Okinoumi (1-7) Oshidashi – My heart goes out to Okinoumi, who today was stampeded from the ring by a raging Mitakeumi, who did not slow down on bit from the tachiai. Okinoumi was swept up, and carried out in the blink of an eye.

Abi (4-4) defeats Takakeisho (2-6) Oshidashi – I am officially saying it’s time to worry about Takakeisho. He had almost no offense against Abi, who pinned him with a double arm thrust at the second clash, and just kept pouring it on. He took a hard tumble from the dohyo, and seemed to be flexing that pectoral muscle again and wincing in pain.

Asanoyama (6-2) defeats Takarafuji (4-4) Oshitaoshi – I am quite keen to see what happens next week when Asanoyama faces the Yokozuna. Given that Hakuho lost in a surprise match to Takarafuji, I note with interest that Asanoyama played every part of this fight in “safe mode”. Low pressure tachiai, no aggressive move to close the gap with Takarafuji, and Asanoyama really took his time. I think Takarafuji was really for Asanoyama to go chest to chest, but it never happened. Asanoyama waited him out, and stuck about 1 arms length from his opponent until Takarafuji found himself on the wrong foot far too close to the tawara. Asanoyama reached in for a grip, but rather than go for the belt, simply bodily threw Takarafuji down. Ozeki sumo there.

Hakuho (6-2) defeats Kagayaki (5-3) Hikiotoshi – Kagayaki, as much as I love his sumo, is no match for Hakuho in any sense of the word. The Boss played with him for all of 6 seconds before Hakuho had an arm on Kagayaki’s shoulder and blasted him to the clay. I still think Hakuho is not moving right, and that left big toe is not right.

Kakuryu (6-2) defeats Aoiyama (4-4) Hatakikomi – Yokozuna Kakuryu did not want to give Big Dan even a moment to start any sumo. Kakuryu brought both hands up from underneath at the tachiai, catching both armpits, then brought his right hand down to slap Aoiyama down. Big Dan should be familiar with this up then down combination, he executes it with great skill.

Mock Natsu – Day 9 Torikumi

Courtesy of Grand Sumo Breakdown and Tachiai – Day 9 matches for our mock Natsu basho

Mock Natsu Day 7 Highlights

We regret to inform our readers that former Ozeki Terunofuji withdrew early today from the mock basho. We had seen it coming since day 1, as the kaiju was clearly hurt, and unable to move with any strength at all. He is reported to have injured his ACL, and we hope it was just minor damage. The kyujo certificate only reads 2 weeks rest, so maybe it was only inflamed.

Further up the banzuke, in current Ozeki territory, Takakeisho is in serious trouble now. A loss today puts him at 2-5 for the tournament heading into the middle day on Sunday. His odds of taking 6 of the last 8 are not good, and I fear we may be seeing him once again as an Ozekiwake, as he was last September. A combination of opponents getting a belt grip, and apparent loss of power from his primary pushing weapon set has left the Grand Tadpole vulnerable and a fairly easy mark.

Day 7 Matches

Nishikigi (6-1) defeats Wakatakakage (4-3) Oshidashi – Nishikigi seems to have found his Cinderella mawashi from 2 years ago, and it’s working wonders. He’s change up his style quite a bit from always going for the double arm bar. Wakatakakage came in hard and low, but he was surprised to find that Nishikigi hand dropped his hands and thrust upward at the moment of contact. With one hand on Wakatakakage’s face and a second on his chest, Wakatakakage found himself without offensive position. Nishikigi converted his left hand to an inside hold as Wakatakakage hopped back in an effort to escape, but Nishikigi kept that left hand against Wakatakakage’s body. Realizing he had made a second mistake, Wakatakakage tried to pull, but his move only powered Nishikigi’s charge to win. Nice sumo today from the man in the green belt.

Chiyomaru (2-5) defeats Kotonowaka (3-4) Oshidashi – Chiyomaru led into the tachiai, his arms up and his palms forward to halt Kotonowaka’s somewhat tepid charge. Chiyomaru immediately unleashed a volley of thrusts to Kotonowaka’s face and neck, and he was forced to give ground. Kotonowaka reset and reached in to get both hands tentatively around Chiyomaru’s enormous body. Although Kotonowaka is on big fluffy, doughy guy, Chiyomaru was out to prove the power of the belly, and Kotonowaka found he could gain no purchase. A second volley of thrusts and Kotonowaka lost his footing, and hopped out of the ring. Chiyomaru had been on a cold streak since day 1, so it was good to see him get his second win.

Takayasu (6-1) defeats Terunofuji (0-7) Fusen – Takayasu winner by default. I am sure he does not mind the win, but we all hope Terunofuji recovers.

Kotoshoho (4-3) defeats Shohozan (3-4) Yorikiri – I really liked Kotoshoho’s position at the tachiai. As Shohozan drove inside, Kotoshoho kept his right leg back, kept his hips low and concentrated on ottsuke, which frankly I am starting to notice he has a bit of a gift for (as did Kisenosato). Frustrated by Kotoshoho’s blocking technique, Shohozan launched into a blistering combo attack, a dive in with the left hand – blocked by Kotoshoho’s ottsuke, immediate slap from the right to Kotoshoho’s face. Much admiration as Kotoshoho took Shohozan’s blows with strength and just kept moving forward. Shohozan found himself out mid-slap, and Kotoshoho took home the win. Great technique today.

Sadanoumi (5-2) defeats Kotoyuki (3-4) Yorikiri – Kotoyuki went for the face, as Sadanoumi focused center-mass at the tachiai. The two exchanged rapid-fire combination thrusts to the upper body, neither man yielding position at the shikiri-sen. As Kotoyuki amplified his thrusts, Sadanoumi’s lightning speed and some spectacular timing saw him drive inside. The gamble paid off (Kotoyuki could have pulled at that moment and put Sadanoumi on his face), with Sadanoumi getting a right hand inside grip. Kotoyuki attempted an arm bar against that right hand, but the move caused him to release forward pressure, and Sadanoumi drove him from the ring.

Kotoeko (3-4) defeats Tochinoshin (1-6) Oshitaoshi – How bad are Tochinoshin’s knee? So bad that Kotoeko was able to thrust him down for an Oshitaoshi win. I know Tochinoshin, as a former Ozeki, makes good money every time he steps on the clay, but this is just too much to witness.

Kotoshogiku (5-2) defeats Myogiryu (3-4) Tsukiotoshi – Every time Kotoshogiku mounts the dohyo, I always hope I can see him in his genki form. The full power Kyushu bulldozer, with the hug-n-chug offense in all of its glory. But today we got a deft step to the side and thrust down. I guess this is what you get when your knees are shot and you still want to be kachi-koshi on day 15.

Ikioi (2-5) defeats Shimanoumi (4-3) Oshidashi – Long time fans have been looking for Ikioi to rally. Injury aside, the man is a sumo machine and has a warrior spirit through and through. Ikioi ramped up the pressure post tachiai, and drove Shimanoumi back. But Shimanoumi had no intention of losing to Ikioi today, and drove him back, training thrust for thrust. Ikioi reverse his lead hand and forced Shimanoumi to go chest to chest to shut down the attack. Locked up at the center of the dohyo, each man drove forward with all of their strength. Ikioi’s hands were inside, but too high to constitute a grip of any kind. Realizing that Shimanoumi was working to drain his stamina, Ikioi thrust upward twice with his right hand, breaking Shimanoumi’s hold and causing him to stumble. Ikioi advanced and took the match. I don’t know where he gets it, but I am glad it’s still there.

Chiyotairyu (5-2) defeats Kaisei (2-5) Oshidashi – When two men of this size face off, their tachiai is recorded on seismometers across the globe. Kaisei’s tachiai is slow but massive. Chiyotairyu’s violent and explosive. Today’s clash resulted in a meaty crack that must have echoed through the empty Kokugikan. A quick inside thrust to Kaisei’s chest as he moved to step forward started his reversal, and Chiyotairyu fell forward, both men stumbled to the west size and fell out. The gumbai went to Chiyotairyu. But the Shimpan decided to review the results, or maybe just talk about who was going to flush Goeido’s (Takekuma Oyakata) head down the toilet that evening. The verdict stood and Chiyotairyu improves to 5-2.

Tokushoryu (5-2) defeats Tamawashi (3-4) Okuridashi – Tamawashi opened with a strong tachiai and a great follow up combo. But Tokushoryu deftly deflected the final push of Tamawashi’s combo, and the strength of that thrust was enough to turn the former Sekiwake. Tokushoryu wasted no time in applying maximum force from behind and launched Tamawashi over the bales.

Ishiura (7-0) defeats Ryuden (2-5) Yorikiri – Ah, traditional Ryuden: matta, matta! Plus a bonus cheap shot against the sole leader of the basho going into the middle day. It did not seem to rattle Ishiura one bit. After a tentative tachiai (I think Ryuden was looking out for an Ishiura henka..), Ryuden tried to keep Ishiura at arms length with wide, sweeping thrusts. But one swing went wide, and Ishiura dove in, grabbed a right hand outside grip and drove forward for the win. 7-0 to start the mock basho, and I am damn impressed. His sumo has been tack sharp, and I hope he gets higher ranking opponents in week 2.

Hokutofuji (4-3) defeats Terutsuyoshi (2-5) Tsukiotoshi – Hokutofuji’s handshake tachiai missed its mark, but his right hand arrived suddenly on the back of Terutsuyoshi’s neck. Terutsuyoshi had lost his balance at the tachiai, and Hokutofuji took the gift of gravity in stride and pulled with his right, and Terutsuyoshi went face first into the clay.

Enho (2-5) defeats Abi (3-4) Shitatedashinage – Dare we hope Enho has found a path through whatever injury has been plaguing him in the first 6 days? Or did he suddenly recover his mojo? Abi succeeded in getting his hands up early, and in Enho’s face, but after receiving one set of blows to the face, he took a big step back, and Abi lunged forward. At the moment he was in motion, Enho ducked under and latched his right hand firmly onto Abi’s belt. A quick push from the left and pull to the right, and Abi tumbled to the clay. Only the second win for Enho thus far, but it’s the first day he really executed his preferred techniques. Fingers crossed he can keep it up.

Endo (2-5) defeats Takanosho (5-2) Uwatedashinage – Much like Ikioi, long time fans knew Endo would probably rally. Takanosho has been on a hot streak that included dropping Yokozuna Kakuryu. But the master tactician dismantled Takanosho like a junker car with rare parts. Endo drove hard at the tachiai and found his preferred shallow grip, and quickly loaded the throw. Takanosho caught air as his feet left the clay, and he landed with a wet thud just shy of the tawara.

Daieisho (5-2) defeats Yutakayama (1-6) Oshidashi – Yutakayama threw the kitchen sink into this match, and in spite of having the upper hand for most of it, found himself on the wrong side of the tawara at the end. Daieisho as able to get the inside hand position, and kept working at Yutakayama’s upper body. But the “Big Unit” applied double arm lateral thrusts to rock Daieisho off balance, and then drove forward. As the two continued to trade blows, Yutakayama attempted to pull Daieisho down, but that moment he released forward pressure was just the move that Daieisho had anticipated, and he pushed forward into Yutakayama and pushed him into an Oyakata.

Mitakeumi (6-1) defeats Aoiyama (4-3) Oshidashi – Big Dan Aoiyama could not find enough room to keep his arms swinging, as Mitakeumi went belly to belly with Aoiyama, and it seems may have surprised him. With his arms trapped over Mitakeumi’s shoulders, Aoiyama could do little as Mitakeumi advanced, and applied a forceful “goodbye” shove to send him bottom first over the edge.

Shodai (4-3) defeats Okinoumi (1-6) Yorikiri – Shodai set up shop on the second step after the tachiai, getting his left hand inside and past Okinoumi’s attempt at ottsuke. The two struggled for grip, and suddenly Shodai had a double inside / morozashi grip. Now completely in control of the match, he worked to pacify Okinoumi, before driving him out at a trot. It was apparent that Okinoumi was only really able to generate a fraction of his normal power, but Shodai was on top of his sumo today.

Asanoyama (5-2) defeats Onosho (2-5) Tsukiotoshi – Ack! As an Onosho booster, I just can’t abide seeing him get so far forward early in the match, before he has his feet set. Asanoyama dispensed with his normal yotsu style, and just slapped him down.

Takarafuji (4-3) defeats Takakeisho (2-5) Oshidashi – Takakeisho is now in real trouble, as he picks up his 5th loss for the basho, and his 4th loss in a row. My compliments to Takarafuji for ducking and evading with exquisite timing, he was able to keep Takakeisho from connecting with any real force until Takarafuji had drained him of stamina. A poor step by the Ozeki left the door open for Takarafuji, and a well placed shove sent him down. Takarafuji is in the midst of a hot-streak against the named ranks right now…

Kakuryu (5-2) defeats Kagayaki (5-2) Okuridashi – Kagayaki was completely outclassed today, in spite of superb defensive footwork. He was no match for Kakuryu’s mobility and skill at keeping his opponent guessing what comes next. What came next was a glancing thrust that sent Kagayaki to the size, and gave the Yokozuna a clear path to get behind Mr Fundamentals and drive him from the ring.

Hakuho (5-2) defeats Kiribayama (2-5) Yorikiri – Hakuho’s done playing, it seems. Kiribayama had never faced the dai-Yokozuna before, and Hakuho gave him his traditional welcome gift of a rapid loss. The face slap from the left, a shove from the right, and Kiribayama was launched back to the bales. Hakuho drove forward and managed to get both hands around Kiribayama as he powered him out of the ring.

Mock Natsu – Day 8 Torikumi

Courtesy of Grand Sumo Breakdown and Tachiai – Day 8 matches for our mock Natsu basho