So introductions are required are they, Mr. I’ve-got-the-biggest-profile-picture? Well then, here it goes so…. This morning I woke up with an awful hangover, in a city over an hour away, in a hotel that was overpriced, in a double bed, with exactly no one beside me. I struggled through today, watching the clock at least every 15 minutes and when I eventually got home, to my extremely cold house, I depressed at the realisation that I won’t be able to come home to a warm house for another 5 months. I then sat on the cold tatami floor, in an awkward position in front of my computer which is on a table that that was obviously designed for small dwarfs, and waited my heater to get going. I look right to where the TV is, and there is a bout between bandy legged snake at the tachi-ai. My first thought is, “Oh please, please loose!” But he doesn’t, and that does absolutely nothing for my present state of mind. I’ve had better days.
Now how about we review some sumo… and I say some, because I’m only going to detail the upper half of today’s bout.
Takayasu vs. Yoshikaze
This was the second best fight of the day! Takayasu came prepared for a tsuppari attack today, and boy did he carry it out well. He opened with a nice right hand harite to Yoshi’s face from the tachi-ai which he followed with tsuppari. Yoshi tried to defend the slaps, by slapping on the outstretched hands and arms, but to no avail. After planting a nice few slaps Taka correctly went for a pull down and stepped to the side. Yoshi went stumbling forward but recovered at the edge. And then offered up his face for a few more slaps, but then Taka slipped and Yoshi got right behind and gripped the G-string part of Taka’s mawashi with both hands (which I thought was illegal?). From here it should have been over in a second or two, but it took Yoshi 10 seconds of wiggling and waggling, and avoiding a great leg trip attempt, to finally get Taka over the bales. He finished him off with a nice dame-oshi. Yoshi then turned around to face the cameras, and we could see the damage that was inflicted by the 30+ slaps that were thrown at him. He earned that win! Here is a replay for your viewing pleasure, this is in slow-motion and reverse, just for the laugh!!
Aran vs. Gagamaru
Aran hit Gaga fast but with what appeared to be little power and was pushed back by the beast. The two then put their foreheads together and held caressed each other’s shoulders before Aran beautifully tugged on Gaga’s arm and with speed that I haven’t seen from Aran before, got around Gaga’s large 4×4 and spooned him out. Great win for Aran who picks up his……… first win of the tournament.
Tochinoshin vs. Kyokutenho
Both men got deep right hand inside left hand outside grips and things quickly turned into power versus power, which should have given Tochinoshin the advantage. But the vetern Kyokutenho spun the much younger Georgian around and up to the edge. Tochi danced around the ring, but he was always gonna lose it from that point anyway. Kyoku moves to 3-8 while Tochi is now 1-8.
Okinoumi vs. Homasho
Okinoumi hit Homasho hard at the initial charge. Homey worked on pushing laterally but it was all very defensive stuff. When he found himself nearing the outer lines, Homasho got low to trying to defend. Okinoumi easily raised his opponent and then forced him out. So much for Homasho extending his winning total to two!
Toyonoshima vs. Goeido
Goeido is really hit and miss isn’t he! He is often really impressive, demonstrating great skill and potential. And other times he is pure shite… as he was today. Toyonoshima kept Goeido off his belt and kept moving forwards, Goeido stumbled backwards and that’s about it really..
Kitataiki vs. Kotoshogiku
The fans are really getting behind the shin ozeki, which is great to see. The undefeated Kotoshogiku has impressed me. I really didn’t expect him to do even nearly as he is doing. I’m delighted to see it. Kotoshogiku came in fast and got his arms around Kitataiki. He wasted no time in launching an all out assault, and as Kitataiki went out Kotoshogiku hit the clay. It looked more close than it actually was, and the replay clearly showed that Koto won. But it was a little risky, as Kita attempted a last ditch throw, which almost worked. Anyway… with that 9th straight win the new ozeki moves to fifth place of all time for most consecutive wins in an ozeki debut basho. Kotoshogiku vs. Baruto tomorrow.
Kotooshu vs. Tochiozan
A strange, rather slow tachi-ai between these two guys. You’d think that Kotooshu, having lost the last three times these guys met, and more importantly needing to get his 8 wins, would have been a little bit more prepared coming into the fight today. But I guess he has 6 wins now, and with 6 days left, he is sure to pick up 2 gifts… I mean.. wins before next Sunday. Anyway, an easy win for Tochiozan he easily pushed the Bulgarian back, and Kotooshu then steped backwards and out to make it as awfully disgraceful as it really was.
Kisenosato vs Harumasuji
On the TV broadcast replays of a few previous meeting between these two rikishi was shown. Wow they have had some great fights in the past, really interesting sumo to watch. It wet my appitite and really had me excited to watch them fight. And little did I know that the fight that was to follow, all 53 seconds of it, was going to be better than all the previous fights put together!!
Kissey blinked one time too many at the tachi-ai, and when his eyes were open again, Harumafuji was in his face and pushing him backwards. Kissy was pushing back, but Harry got a vital grip on the mawashi that prevented him being slapped down. He used that grip to pull the red belt towards him and get his other hand on the front of the mawashi. From here Kissy was in trouble, and Harry took a moment to consider what to do. He moved to a rear grip, but that gave a grip to the wanna-be ozeki. Harumafuji then tried a few trips that were defended, and then Kissy tried his own throw but because of his outside grip didn’t have enough power to pull it off. Harumafuji won it with a beautiful leg trip that my words can’t do justice for. The kimarite was called as komatasukui but please watch the video for you here
Baruto vs. Kakuryu
Kakuryu got an inside grip on Baruto who was struggling to contain the much smaller rikishi. He ended up with an awkward left arm head lock and right hand outer grip. It was enough to keep Kakuryu close and prevent him from doing his type of sumo. Baruto then got his double outside overhand grip thingy. I’m sure at this point he thought of lifting and walking, but from being unsuccessful with that move against Kak in the past he decided against. Instead he patiently waited for the right moment and beautifully lifted and spun the Kak around and out.
Hakuho vs. Tochinowaka
Apparently Tochinowaka’s goal before this bout was to see how long he could last on the dohyo before the dai-Yokozuna beat him. I guess that is a realistic goal for the M4, though probably he should have had some form of more structured plan. It’s possible that he could see absolutely no weakness in Hakuho’s sumo. Perhaps the rikishi, or actually their managers, should analyze Hakuho’s fights and find out where his weakness is. Like the way Joe Frazier figured out how to beat Muhammad Ali. Although I guess is it quite possible that they have done this, but the lesser rikishi simply can’t exploit whatever weakness he has.
Tochinowaka tied his mawashi loosely today to try make it less easy for Hakuho to throw him. It definitely helped, as he lasted 11 seconds. Hakuho was throwing him around like a rag doll though, eventually pulling on the loose mawashi and smaching him to the ground.
I’m feeling better.