As Daly noted yesterday, Kissy’s first crux bout (against Kakuryu) was well won. As Kissy moves into his crux over the coming days, I hope we see more of this sort of Sumo coming out of him. To try to steal a peak into what we might see out of him, lets take a look at his pocket performance so far this basho.
Shonichi: Daly does a nice job here of reminding us the Kissy has not always had the strongest pocket performance. Daly also mentions that Kisenosato could promote with 14 wins. Daly did such a good job summing it up on shonichi that all I can do here is repeat what he already wrote. As to believing it when he sees it, I say to you, Daly, we might just be seeing it…. but I get ahead of myself.
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.
Day 2: Nothing like a good bitch slap to say confident sumo. Kissy is looking strong through Day 2.
M3E Takekaze vs. S1W Kisenosato, history 10-4 in Kissy’s favor: nothing to report really. Ross Mihara called it “paddy cake,” though I for one prefer this bout of paddy cake. Start with a bitch slap by Kissy, who drove forward, and thrust out the butterball. Kissy advances to 2-0 while Takekaze is 0-2.
Day 3: The strength in this basho is becoming a consistent theme. Kissy is in good shape and he is using it to win all the bouts.
Toyonoshima vs. Kisenosato
Kissy showed us a glimpse of the strength in his left arm as he completely pushed Toyo off balance with a great left trust. From there he easily pushed back the flexible Toyo back to the rings end. Good stuff from Kissy who has been fighting well so far this basho.
Day 4: At Komusubi, a different rikishi might be considered to be at the lower end of Kissy’s crux. For obvious reasons, this basho, Aran is in Kissy’s pocket. (more on determining cruxes and pockets in posts to come). Now this is why you hate to see other rikishi performing badly. We can’t tell anything much from this bout. Just have to go on the impressions to date: strong, confident and kicking ass.
Aran vs. Kisenosato. Aran didn’t really seem like he was in the game. He was all over the place, not really landing any push. Kisenosato gets this! 4-0 tsukidashi
Day 5: This was a great bout. We are seeing not only a strong, kick-ass Kissy, but also a Kissy whose confidence isn’t easily shaken. He kept his head throughout this bout and got the win. Nice controlled sumo coming from Kissy.
Okinoumi v Kisenosato – Kissy had better position at the start and turned into a nice hidari yotsu, Oki managed his own hidariyotsu, with both fighting desperately for the right hand on the outside of the belt. The first to the belt with the right was Kissy, and that sealed the deal. 2-3, 5-0. That’s Kise’s best start in over a year, ending up with a 9-6 that time, and landing a 13-2 with the same start 2 years ago.
Day 6: Again, we are seeing a constant theme of strength coming through here.
M1E Homasho (3-2) vs. S1W Kisenosato (5-0): eight times meeting, 5-3 in Homie’s favor, but Kissy has won the last four. Tachiai – harite by Kissy as they came in, and neither rikishi went for a belt grip but Kissy had absolutely no resistance in driving forward on the Cigar Store Indian, who forgot to bring his game today. Kissy advances to 6-0, and looking prime this basho. Homasho falls to a pretty damn respectable 3-3…wins to Baruto, Kotooshu, Harumafuji: losses to Hakuho, Kotoshogiku, and Kisenosato—should tell you something right there.
Day 7: This was the crux bout against Kakuryu mentioned above. It was great, but it isn’t what we’re interested in in this pocket performance report. Thanks to Creswell, nonetheless It was nice to see all the qualities we’ve been seeing so far in the pocket carried right over into the crux.
Nakabi: Kisenosato’s pocket performance has been so strong this basho we have Daly speculating about a win over Hakuho. Let’s hope this Daly speculation turns out as well as Daly’s speculation back in Day 1 about Kissy needing to improve his consistency in the pocket.
Kise is on a roll. Yesterday’s win over Kakuryu was enough for me believe that he is the only other guy in the division right now that could give Hakuho a run for this basho. If you didn’t see yesterday’s bout go here. Today he easily beats Old Man Yama and moves to 8-0. Can his focus last the rest of the basho? For sumo’s own sake let’s hope so!
Pocket Performance Analysis
So to cap it off, we are seeing a calm, collected, strong, and confident Kisenosato this basho. We’ve already seen a hint that he plans to carry that performance over into the crux. Between Kotoshogiku and Kisenosato, I have higher hopes for Kissy in the crux than I do for the Geek. I hope he doesn’t get 14 wins this basho. I would like to see him keep his pocket performance strong in the next basho just to make sure he is suited for the Ozeki promotion, but as things stand this basho, Kisenosato is sure as hell looking more Ozekish than any of the Ozeki.