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