Welcome one and all to the 2012 Aki Basho. I think Briton-Meyer has done a nice job introducing the big stories of this basho in his warm-up post, and so let’s get right down to business on the day one action!
Takanoyama vs. Sadonofuji
About what I would expect from these guys. Their record against each other stood at 2-2. Takanoyama usually tries to fight pretty straight up at the beginning of the basho and today was no different (the trickery comes later on). He uses some tsupari at the tachi-ai to attempt to gain the inside. Sadonofuji denies him and eventually works the smaller rikishi out for the yorikiri.
Fujiazuma vs. Kimurayama
Kimurayama might be the only rikishi I have never cheered for once. Fujiazuma stays low and continues to move forward the whole time to defeat Kimmy by oshi-dashi.
Asasekiryu vs. Takarafuji
If this isn’t the longest bout of the day I am going to be shocked. Asasekiryu gains the left hand outside grip at the tachi-ai and Takarafuji muscles in with the right hand outside grip, making for some awesome sumo and some classic poses. After some maneuvering Takara attempted to drive the Mongolian out of the ring but this only allowed Asa to gain his right hand grip as well. Asa turns Takarafuji’s momentum against him but he recovers. After another long wait, Takara attempts to drive Asa out but there was nothing left in the tank and Asa easily throws him to the ground for the uwatenage win.
Chiyotairyu vs. Wakanosato
I think most reporters agree that Chiyotairyu could become something special if he learns to keep his sumo moving forward. Today was encouraging because he was doing just that. Unfortunately the harite by Wakanosato at the tachi-ai got the young Ryu down a little lower than he probably should have been and Old man Sato easily slaps him down for the Hatakikomi.
Kyokutenho vs. Wakakoyu
After last basho, I am sure Kyokutenho is just fine with his lower rank. He had an abysmal basho after winning the Yusho in May. Regardless of July, Kyokutenho is a veteran and knows the other rikishi quite well (it always shocks me that other rikishi seem to fall for the same tricks all the time). Anyways today the Chauffeur was ready for the tsupari slap down technique that Wakakoyu uses far too often. He positions his feet to absorb the attack and then works the belt to easily defeat the Tokyo native by Yorikiri.
Yoshikaze vs. Takayasu
Here at S & S we’ve discussed the issues many people around the world are facing with boys and competition (though we’ve mostly focused on Japan). Many young people are all too ready to abandon competition and hard work in favor of the virtual world with video games and meaningless pop culture. Thankfully there are still those young people who do hunger for greatness. Takayasu, unlike many is hungry. On his twitter account he apologized for his failure to gain 8 wins (although he won something like six or seven in a row after losing his beginning bouts). Today he fought Yoshikaze with a level of fierceness that shows he’s ready to battle. He kept the quicker riksihi in front of him and was able to throw him down at the bales for a kotenage win.
Masunoyama vs. Miyabiyama
Masunoyama was on a roll last basho and he continued that roll today. Dominating the old Jabba by pushing him round the ring. Eventually the Miyabiyama’s legs just gave out and Masunoyama got the win. He and Takayasu are two riksihi I am hoping have great bashos this go around.
Homasho vs. Goeido
If you ask me Goeido kind of just fell into the sekiwake spot this basho. I don’t think he’s shown he deserves it really. Homasho gains the left hand grip and denies Goeido any last second throw attempts or leg trips. Homie gets his win number one and Goeido get his first of what I predict will be many losses.
Gagamaru vs. Kakuryu
Kakuryu needs a good basho. Since gaining the Ozeki rank he’s kind of been in the shadows of mediocrity and no one likes seeing that. As for Lord Gaga, he’s hoping to make a statement this basho by winning more than he loses to the upper ranked rikishi. The two rikishi lock up at the tachi-ai but it’s not for long as Kakuryu uses his superior balance to effortlessly throw the biggest guy in Makuuchi with the uwatedashinage.
Kotooshu vs. Aran
These guys looked like silly at the tachi-ai. Both were standing way too straight up. Oshu drives Alan out, and for the record, I don’t care, as neither of these guys are going to impact the yusho race. Moving on…
Kaisei vs. Baruto
I am really happy that Kaisei appears to be healthy again and has a shot at the big guys this basho. Today he faced off against Baruto for the first time ever. The Brazilian gained the momentum at the word tachi-ai while the Estonian waited. Kaisei drove Baruto back and fell down. They gave the win to Kaisei, although it was very close. After watching this bout many times, I am surprised there wasn’t more discussion on who won. It looks as though Baruto stayed in the whole time and that Kaisei had definitely fallen first. That being said, Baruto is the only one to blame in this case. He cannot underestimate bigger opponents and rely on his wait and turn method (i.e. lazy ass sumo). Serves him right. I want Baruto to do well, but I can’t feel bad for him when he doesn’t respond on the dohyo.
Kotoshogiku kicks Shohozan’s rear in less than a second. Enough said.
Myogiryu vs. Kisenosato
Myogiryu got the jump on Kisenosato here driving him back quickly at the tachi-ai. The veteran Kid however recovers and was able to drive the Sekiwake out of the ring for the yorikiri win. Good stuff from both rikishi.
Harumafuji vs. Aoiyama
On our facebook poll about Harumafuji gaining the Yokozuna rank, many readers felt it would be a bad career move. I tend to agree (to a point), but think he’s going to do every thing in his power to gain the rank this basho. If today was any indication of his intentions than we should be in for an exciting basho. He didn’t quite slap the hell out of Aoiyama like last basho, but he certainly dominated the younger the Bulgarian with the yorikiri victory. My vote is for Yokozuna Harumafuji, even if it means his career ends sooner than it would at the Ozeki rank. Isn’t the aim for excellence worth that risk? I think it is.
Hakuho vs. Tochinoshin
After an attempted slide to the right, henka from Noshin, Hakuho wraps up the Georgian in the center of the ring. Methodically the Yokozuna works his way to victory. Step one: Tochi attempts to drive the Yokozuna back and Hakuho lets him go right back. Step two: they lock up again. Step three: Hakuho waits until Tochinoshin tries to gain a grip by standing up a little too tall and Hakuho easily drives him back for victory.
Don’t look behind you because Creswell’s gotcha some knowledge for the day two action.