And thus begins Heisei 24 in sumo. Juryo wasn’t a bad watch today, but nothing amazing to report on. Chiyotairyu picked up his first sekitori win, Sotairyu won in a relatively impressive fashion, Russian Amuru also snagged sekitori win #1, Takamisakari squeezed one out too. Most impressive though was Ikoi’s double win over Masunoyama. 1st go round was given to Ikioi then monoii-ed, and round two went again to Ikoi, which seems to be the way with Masunoyama bouts, who with his lung condition is not very effective in torinaoshi situations.
Now for Makuuchi.
Kaisei v Nionoumi – Kaisei had some trouble getting momentum going today, and underdog Nionoumi tried his best to move forward. After a few failed thrusting attempts Keanau realized that guile might work better. So he back pedaled a bit and took the win via tsukiotoshi.
Asasekiryu v Kyokushuho – Asa Jr. seemed to have a bit of advantage from the tachiai with a lower position (not to mention experience). But Shuho bit back with a seemingly strong right hand ouside grip. Shuho went for the throw attempt, but Asa’s inside left and lower position kept things fair. After a few seconds of grappling for position, Asa brought the right hand up, and shifted his weight to set up as nice a hatakikomi as one could ask for.
Takanoyama v Sagatsukasa – Saga’s left appears to be HEAVILY taped up. Which would explain the pseudo-henka-kotenage-tsukidashi we saw today. Not the best sumo ever… not even good sumo. Seeing that, I can predict a lack luster basho from Saga. None the less, he is 1-0.
Chiyonokuni v Tenkaiho – The momentum of this bout was all Chiyonokuni. Tenkaiho was on the defensive from the word go, and a morozashi bemoaned the yoritaoshi win for this member of the wolfpack.
Yoshiazuma v Tosayutaka – Tosa slammed into Yoshi, getting a loose migiyotsu and, after a shaky throw attempt, what looked like the yorikiri win. but yoshi rallied at the bales, securing his own migi yotsu, resisting another throw attempt, and using his free left hand as an otsuke effectively neutralizing Tosa’s inside right hand at the elbow. After a few second of sizing each other up, Tosa went for an uncharacteristic ketaguri, allowing Yoshi to take the balance advantage to move forward for the yorikiri win.
Fujiazuma – Sadanofuji – This started out as a slap fight, and looked like it would end that way, but somehow both parties secured a tenuous belt grip which ended up in Fujiazuma’s favor.
Tokitenku v Gagamaru – Gaga’s biggest challenges here are lateral movemnt and danger of leg sweeps. Unfortunately, Gaga made the horrible mistake of slightly over stretching himself. Tenku capitalized by pulling the uchimuso twist down for the win.
Tochinoshin v Daido – Noshin should be able to KILL from this rank, and although he won via shitatenage, it took a bit too long. Noshin has to get his shit together if he wants to make it back to joi.
Shohozan v Tochiozan – Props to Shohozan for a good thrusting attack. Tochiozan couldn’t find a defense that would work.
Aran v Aoiyama – After 2 Aran false starts, the Russian halted the Bulgarian onslaught with a stiff left arm, then locked up with Aoiyama with matching right hand inside grips. Aran used some good strength and good footwork to grab and early win. I didn’t see a henka, nor did I see any other nasty shenanigans. So maybe Aran has turned his act around.
Kyokutenho v Toyohibiki – Beeker got the morozashi and Tenho locked up Beekers arms. Tenho was driven back and tried for the uchari at the bales, but apparently his foot broke the plane of the dohyo before beeker crashed to the earth. Personally I thought a monoii was needed here, but the men in black have the final word.
Myogiryu v Yoshikaze – Giryu came in with an oshi attack to the face, Yoshi did his usual erratic movements, overwhelming the senses of Giryu, all it took from there was a hand pull to seal win # 1 for Yoshi.
Homasho v Tochinowaka – Homasho came in a bit lower than Waka, but Waka got his left hand right up in Homey’s pit. Homey could not keep Waka from moving him backward, but at the brink, Homey pivoted to his right put slapped a paw in the overly eager Tochinowaka’s shoulder for the tsukiotoshi win.
Takayasu v Toyonoshima – Takayasu used some tsuppari and kept Toyonoshima from getting his favored morozashi right off the bat. However, a bit of carelessness on Taka’s part allowed Toyo a deep left hand inside. Taka decided it was time to go for the belt and moved forward using a tsuri to get Toyo a bit off balance. Toyo turned things around and moved Taka up against the tawara, where Taka tried for a shitatenage, which Toyo smartly countered with and outside leg trip.
Kakuryu v Kitataiki – Kaks got in right away with a thrusting attack, keeping Taiki on the move. Taiki managed to move Kaks back, but was too over stretched to take advantage. Taiki regained and got Kak back on the bales, but Kak rebounded, locking up Taiki’s right arm and moved him back while trying to keep Taiki’s left hand off the belt. Right hand nodowa sealed the deal for Fishface.
Goeido v Kisenosato – Kise powered into Eido keeping constant downward pressure on the back of Eido’s right shoulder. Kise was on the brink of winning, when Eido slipped out, but failed to gain an advantage. It was all awkward backward movement on Eido’s part, and a final chest shove sealed Kise’s first Ozeki win. The reaction from the crowd kind of made me realize how full the house was. Good to see. Perhaps I should take back my cut about the Oyakata All Stars.
Okinoumi v Harumafuji – Harry got a good, deep left hand grip on Oki’s belt, moved back, and half threw, half pushed Oki out for an easy looking win. Good start for Oki.
Kotooshu v Aminishiki – No sneakiness this time. Straight up tachiai, and after far too long, got an inside grip and drove Sneaky out. Not very impressive from the ozeki, but a win none the less. Sneaky is not looking good these days.
Takekaze v Kotoshogiku – The Geek came in a bit over stretched and somehow Takekaze capitalized with a pretty darn nice little katasukashi. An unexpected first day loss for the Geek certainly puts a damper on what hopes he had left for a chance at the yusho.
Baruto v Miyabiyama – Miyabbers had his chance, with a push-pull tactic he had Bart with his foot up on the bales, but old Yabs just couldn’t finish things off. Baruto regained and used his thrusting (which always looks awkward to me) to pick up the win.
Hakuho v Wakakoyu – Thunderous tachiai from Haks and not a bad one from Koyu either. Koyu should have know that the old push-pull wouldn’t really work with the daiyokozuna. Hakuho had him back faster than one could blink and just as a kick in the balls, used the old push-pull to bring Koyu down.
Pretty decent first day this basho. We had a few good bouts today. I particularly enjoyed Homasho and Tochinowaka’s bout, Kise and Not-so-kool-eido’s bou. Harumafuji looks to be off to a good start, and of course Hakuho’s domination was, as always, fun to watch.
Tomorrows homily will be said by the Rev. S.N. Chalmers