Nagoya Day 1 Highlights

I had some fine words to put here, but Josh said it better. Go read his post – I concur 100% percent.

Highlight Matches

Ichiyamamoto defeats Ishiura – Ishiura was very low at the tachiai, and actually got under Ichiyamamoto’s opening attack. But his chance to convert it into some kind of mawashi grip failed. In response, Ichiyamamoto pulled Ishiura forward and past while pushing him down for his first win ranked as a Maegashira. Kimarite was listed as the seldom seen harimanage.

Tokushoryu defeats Chiyonokuni – Chiyonokuni put a lot of energy into getting Tokushoryu off balance, but the man was simply too stable today. Chiyonokuni continued to work center-mass, but Tokushoryu kept expertly giving ground and re-centering his weight on his feet. Tokushoryu let Chiyonokuni flail away, but worked to get his hands inside. Once Tokushoryu did, the match ended 3 steps later. Impressive defensive sumo today from Tokushoryu. If he gets another yusho from the bottom end of the banzuke, I am going to be required to eat both my own buttocks again.

Tsurugisho defeats Chiyonoo – This came down to the enormous mass difference between the two. Tsurugisho shut down Chiyonoo’s opening gambit, and just waited for his moment. He landed that waiting right hand and twisted in a throw to start Nagoya 1-0.

Ura defeats Daiamami – Ah, welcome back indeed to Ura, no rikishi will be able to dethrone you as the prince of “What the hell was that” sumo. Daiamami attacks with power and focus, in what should be winning form. But no, Ura is moving and deflecting and Daiamami just can’t convert. At the moment Daiamami thinks hes got it ready to finish, his forward rush gets a boost from Ura’s left hand, disrupting his charge and sending him to the clay. Ura struggles to regain his balance and leaps from the dohyo into some lucky fan.

Kagayaki defeats Chiyomaru – In yesterday’s preview, I fretted that Kagayaki had lost his solid form and excellent fundamentals. I am delighted to see them return in Nagoya. Chiyomaru opened well with a right hand inside grip at the tachiai. But Kagayaki broke that grip and had the moxy to belly bounce Chiyomaru back and out.

Kotonowaka defeats Tochinoshin – Not sure what Tochinoshin had in mind today, but it did not come together at all. Kotonowaka got the double inside grip straight away and completely dominated the former Ozeki to start Nagoya 1-0.

Terutsuyoshi defeats Kaisei – In the day 1 preview, we sized up this match as Kaisei being enormous and immobile, and Terutsuyoshi employing mobility and speed. Speed and maneuver won the day as Kaisei found himself unable to land a mawashi grip against Terutsuyoshi, and was incrementally turned and walked out by Terutsuyoshi.

Tamawashi defeats Shimanoumi – Tamawashi’s deep experience was on display in this match. Shimanoumi brought more power and energy into the match, but Tamawashi focused center mass and kept the pressure up against his opponent. If you are inclined to such things, watch how Tamawashi used a combo oshi-hazu attack to the same point where Shimanoumi’s arms join his body again and again. Each time it lands, it moves Shimanoumi back and shifts his balance higher. Brilliant work.

Aoiyama defeats Hidenoumi – Well, Aoiyama seems to be starting Nagoya up in good health. He fired up the big V-Twin attack straight away and gunned the throttle just a bit, and out goes Hidenoumi.

Chiyoshoma defeats Takarafuji – I loved this match, first we got a bit of the old, tricky, Chiyoshoma with a partial flying henka. But he seems to have not banked that his acrobatics would not win the match at the start, and it was used to set up a deep right hand grip on Takarafuji’s belt. Chiyoshoma put all of his strength and momentum into converting that into an immediate throw, but the master of “Defend and Extend” was ready. The match went chest to chest, and there it stayed for a while, as Takarafuji worked to wear Chiyoshoma down. Normally this is Takarafuji “brand of sumo”, but its Chiyoshoma who consolidates his grip, and finishes the match. Well done sir!

Kiribayama defeats Myogiryu – Kiribayama used his opening combo to keep Myogiryu from ever setting up any real offense. He took the fight to Myogiryu, and gave him no time to consolidate either offense or defense, and simply powered him over the edge. Real “meat and potatoes” sumo from Kiribayama, and he made it work.

Hoshoryu defeats Onosho – There are many who became irritated by comparisons between Hoshoryu and his uncle in the early days of his career. But there it was – a flash of that explosive sumo, where for a moment Hoshoryu seemed to multiply the force he was using in the match and suddenly Onosho found himself over whelmed. That’s really not easy to do, especially when Onosho has about 20kg more mass than Hoshoryu.

Okinoumi defeats Chiyotairyu – Yes, I talked up Chiyotairyu’s improved sumo in the preview, and it was nowhere to be found today. Straight ahead win for Okinoumi today. Chiyotairyu focused his attacks high, and left himself wide open to Okinoumi’s offense.

Tobizaru defeats Kotoeko – Was the 5-10 result from Natsu for Tobizaru just nerves? A bad basho? He reverted to the good form from March today, and was a ball of sumo lightning today against the capable Kotoeko. That kick imploded Kotoeko’s defensive foot placement, and gave Tobizaru an opening day win.

Hokutofuji defeats Wakatakakage – Long time readers may recall that I sometimes refer to Hokutofuji being comprised of two, separately controlled sumo modules: The upper offensive fighting unit, and the lower stompy defensive engine. Today, Wakatakakage beat the upper unit early and repeatedly, but Hokutofuji’s lower body was having none of it, and refused to go down or out. It’s just uncanny that the top half can be losing a match, but the lower body keeps him in it. I liken it to the late 80’s to early 90’s Chicago Bears. The offense can throw interception and just be miserable, but the defense comes on the field and wins the game. Great sumo from both, but amazing balance and defense from Hokutofuji.

Ichinojo defeats Mitakeumi – Hometown favorite Mitakeumi provides little more than practice ballast for Ichinojo, who clearly came to Dolphins Arena to win today. At once point he had Mitakeumi completely upright, and walked his 175kg tadpole body out in short order.

Shodai defeats Takanosho – Maybe Shodai can have a good basho this July. He looked to be in reasonable form today, and some of this sumo mechanics were less terrible in the opening moments of this match. He was strong on the left, and kept his feet wide and heavy. He opens with a win and I have a sliver of hope he may be competitive over the next 2 weeks.

Takakeisho defeats Daieisho – Daieisho did very well at the tachiai, but spent two precious attacks on Takakeisho’s face and head, while the Ozeki was focusing center mass, and disrupting Daieisho’s defense. The finish left from Takakeisho was expertly timed and sent Daieisho tumbling to the clay.

Terunofuji defeats Endo – I don’t get tired of saying this, Terunofuji’s sumo of the present day is so different that his prior form. I wonder if maybe Endo has a bit of ring rust, or was planning to fight generation 1 Terunofuji today. If you watch it in slow motion, you can see at least 3 solid attack gambits from Endo, and Terunofuji blocks or dismantles them all. That left hand pull on the first step after the tachiai almost worked, but that was the last real moment Endo had any effective offense.

Hakuho defeats Meisei – My compliments to Meisei for a solid fight, but at the moment Meisei looked to be having some offensive power, Hakuho’s sumo kicked to plan b. That pivot on the bandaged knee was a moment of sheer worry, but he seems to have come through it well enough. Down goes Meisei and Hakuho opens with a solid win in good form.

Ura Will Compete in Kyushu

Herouth tweeted this on my way home from work and I needed to share! The last time we saw Ura on the dohyo was at Hatsu, being wheeled away with yet another devastating knee injury. That injury occurred during a big matchup with Hoshoryu in Makushita.

In 2015 and 2016, the pint-sized acrobatic phenom took the sumo world by storm, cleaning up the lower divisions with his Matrix-inspired victories. He reached a peak rank of Maegashira 4 in 2017 where he claimed a kinboshi from Harumafuji. Sadly, in a loss to Takakeisho he suffered a terrible knee injury and fell back to Sandanme as he recovered. His comeback was put on hold in the fore-mentioned Hoshoryu bout. We eagerly anticipate the return of the Swole pixie.

Ichinojo Tops Kyujo Waitlist

Before Hattorizakura kicks off shonichi this Sunday, our eyes will be glued to the papers and social media for early indication of who’s on the Kyokai Not-Genki list, and thus kyujo for Kyushu. Though not officially on the list yet, we fully anticipate Ichinojo will be on it by the weekend, as Herouth notes below.

Given the state of Takakeisho, and more troublingly, Takayasu, one would expect the kyujo ranks to swell…though it may not be until after salt meets clay. We’re also keeping our eyes peeled for whether Ura will be listed or not. If he competes, he will be restarting his career at Jonidan 106 West. Having seen recent pics of Swole Ura, if I were Daishojo, I think I’d sleep in that day.

Hatsu Day 3 – Lower Division Ones To Watch


Day 2 was a non-stop feast of some bright young stars of sumo. We got to see Ura blast someone off the dohyo, we saw Hoshoryu struggle, and we saw Akua stuff Chiyonoo into dumpster. Onward to day 3, it’s another great night of lower division action, with may of the rikishi we are tracking back on the dohyo for more battles.

Wakamotoharu vs Takanofuji – All three Waka* brothers will fight on day 3, with Wakamotoharu just withing reach of joining his brother as a Sekitori. Takanofuji’s only trip to Juryo was interrupted with an injury that pushed him back down the pile. He’s hungry.

Akua vs Seiro – It’s steak, and lobster with both Akua and Wakamotoharu in action. It will be worth staying up just to see this match. Seiro is a former lower Maegashira, a Mongolian from Shikoroyama heya. He dropped out of Juryo in September following an injury, and like most of the “Wall” crew, he is ready to tear his opponent’s head off to return to Sekitori status.

Ura vs Chiyosakae – Ura submarined and ejected Takakento like a JMSDF torpedo, and on day 3 he draws Chiyosakae, a Makushita veteran from Kokonoe heya. He has been ranked as high as MS7 last year, but has been struggling to produce much above a 4 win kachi-koshi.

Wakatakamoto vs Hokutokawa – Another Waka* brother on the dohyo! this time he faces off against Hakkaku heya’s Hokutokawa. Hokutokawa as been unable to rank above mid-Makushita, and will provide a fairly solid opponent.

Naya vs Dairaido – Former Juryo Sekitori Dairaido will be quite a test for young Naya. This opponent will be no easy push over, in spite of the fact that he sufferd a significant injury in 2016 that saw him drop back down to Jonidan.

Shoji vs Okinoiwa – Okinoiwa is a mid-Sandanme mainstay, and I will be interested to see of Shoji can bounce back from his first match loss.

Torakio vs Kotonoumi – Torakio takes on a young rikishi from Sadogatake heya, who has never ranked above Sandandme.

Wakaichiro vs Miyakogawa – Wakaichiro looked strong and confident in his day 1 win, and we are all hoping that he has overcome the mechanical injuries he had been nursing at Kyushu. Day 3 he’s against Miyakogawa, from Isenoumi heya. Another newcommer, Miyakogawa has yet to break out of Jonidan, and had a fairly rough time of it in Kyushu.