Takanoyama vs. Kokkai
The newbie from the Czech Republic faced off against Makuuchi returner Kokkai. Kokkai returns after lackluster bashos in Juryo at 5-10 and 8-7 last basho. Takanoyama is the lightest rikishi in Makuuchi currently. Beanpole attempted an arm grab at the tachi-ai but the Georgian easily brushed the lightweight and pushed him out the ring.
Daido vs. Shotenro
Shotenro jumps the gun on the tachi-ai. The two men reset. Shotenro’s tachi-ai was too low and Dido easily slams him into dohyo.
Tosayutaka vs. Tamaasuka
I know Tosayutaka will likely never go beyond his previous best of M1 in the rankings, but I sure like his spirit out there. I was a bit worried that we’d never see him again after the wild sumo Kotooshu displayed the day he injured the guy. Anyways, glad he’s back. After watching this match though, I am concerned his knee is still in rough shape. This was all Tamaasuka but Tosa is able to pull out a slap down victory.
Aminishiki vs. Gagamaru
Aminishiki looks better than last basho but I think his days are numbered. Today Sneaky withstood Lady Gaga’s thrusts and was able to twist the Georgian Goliath to the dohyo for the victory.
Kitataiki vs. Kyokutenho
Great veteran move by the Mongolian. The first match was all Kitataiki which appeared to be a solid and fast yorikiri victory. Upon looking at the replay however it was clear that Kyokutenho had caught his balance on the straw bales just long enough so that both men stepped out at the same time. A rematch was called and Kyokutenho henkaed out of the way of Kitataiki’s faster tachi-ai and managed to easily push the man from Tokyo out of the ring. Kita was clearly pissed at himself for the loss today. Dude looks better than last basho though so hopefully it translates into better sumo to come.
Masunoyama vs. Toyohibiki
New big man Masunoyama runs over Toyohibiki. I liked what I saw here. Kid is legit.
Tochinowaka vs. Kaisei
Tochinowaka caught the Brazilian standing far too tall. An easy yoritaoshi for Tochinowaka. Both these kids have some talent.
Fujiazama vs. Wakakoyu
Damn Fujiazama walks all over Wakakoyu for an easy yorikiri win.
Takayasu vs. Goeido
Four young guys in a row walk on the dohyo and completely dominate. The advantages of ridding the banzuke of some members are the last four winners including Takayasu. Certainly there are other rikishi who are bringing things down a bit but these guys are making some statements. The young’n slaps former Japan hopeful Goeido via oshitaoshi.
Tochinoshin vs. Miyabiyama
Miyabi had a decent tachi-ai but dude is going to struggle this high up the banzuke. Tochinoshin gets a hold of the mawashi and easily takes Jaba out.
Kakuryu vs. Takekaze
Kakuryu needs a win over Hakuho and eleven wins total to earn the Ozeki rank. Today he faced Takekaze of Akita. Slipper Kaze tends to pull out all the stops to get his wins these days. Kakuryu showed great pose here by calmly keeping Moriyoshi’s son in front of him for an oshidashi win.
Kisenosato vs. Yoshikaze
Kisenosato needs so make somethings happen this basho. He needs to stop losing to jokers like Kaze #2. Kise stays patient here and does just that. Announcers are saying if he gets 14 he has a chance at Ozeki. That would make for a great tournament, but I will believe it when I see it.
Kotoshogiku vs. Wakanosato
Two men man up here in the center of the dohyo. Neither guy could move the other until Giku threw one of the last of our friends from Aomori to the ground. Kotoshogiku needs about 12 wins this basho to have a shot at the Ozeki rank.
Okinoumi vs. Kotooshu
If you read the comments, you’ll note that I have said on more than one ocassion that I think Okinoumi is greatly improved since his return after the baseball betting scandal. Tachi-ai and general quickness. Don faced off against Kotooshu today: a man he has never lost to. Today was more of the same. Oki keeps Oshu off the belt and when the Ozeki forced the issue Don just moved out of the way. Oshu goes flying off the dohyo. Nice win for Okinoumi.
Homasho vs. Baruto
Homasho stayed tight as the two rikishi tsuparied the hell out of each other. Baruto went for a pull down but had zero follow through. Homasho stays on his feet and powers the Ozeki out of the ring.
Harumafuji vs. Toyonoshima
Bout of the day without a doubt! Tachi-ai leaves Toyonoshima with a stiff nodowa from the Ozeki. Toyo somehow withstands it however and gains a solid grip. At this point Haruma looked to be completely at the disadvantage. Ama continued to work to get a better position but Toyo wouldn’t give it up. At this point Harumafuji pulled a throw move unlike any I have ever seen. He literally did a front flip to pull it off, but the Ozeki’s hand looked to have touched the ground even though the gumbai award him the victory. A mono-ii was called and after a review of the video Takanohana Oyakata declared that Toyonoshima’s top knot (mage) had touched the dohyo prior to Haruma’s hand. Ozeki on a mission, Harumafuji wins a close call via kakenage.
Hakuho vs. Aran
Alan is a tough & strong SOB, but Hakuho is still a ridiculously awesome Yokozuna. I hope the yokozuna wins this basho in fact. Today he got a solid grip on Alan’s mawashi, picked up the Russian, and ran him out of the dohyo in seconds.
Great first day of sumo. Lot’s of stories worth following. Who are you cheering for? Let us know in the comments?
It’s not February yet but no matter, Valentine has got all the sumo lovin’ action you can handle tomorrow.