Skip to content

SUMO: Haru Basho 2018 (Day 2)

It’s Day 2 in Osaka, and we’ve already got some interesting turns of event. With only one yokozuna participating in the Haru Basho, and that being Kakuryu (who has only managed to complete two tournaments in the past fourteen months), all eyes were on the ozeki to lead the charge. However, on Day 1 BOTH Goeido and Takayasu lost their opening matches . . . and Kakuryu easily won his. 

I’ll admit that when it comes to the ozeki, I’m biased. I rather like Takayasu and I rarely give Goeido the benefit of the doubt. But I think that they’ve both EARNED my disposition toward them. For example, Goeido, in his loss to Tamawashi, looked off balance and out of control from the start. Takayasu, on the other hand, seemed to be winning his match against Endo. Then they BOTH fell prey to a smooth, unexpected move by their opponents, and NEITHER could recover. There are no rewards in sumo for looking better in defeat . . . all that matters is your win/loss record, and right now they’re both winless. But based on their performances, I think that Takayasu is looking better overall.

There was a lot of talk among the pundits about how Kakuryu drove forward with his injured right hand and dismissed komusubi Chiyotairyu so quickly. Some called it unwise for putting so much pressure on his weakest point. Others called it brave for showing that he’s planning to dominate the way a yokozuna should, injuries be damned. For me what it really shows is that with a bit of luck his fingers are a handicap that he can manage . . . for now. Really, I think it will only take one or two tough, closely fought matches to put extra pressure on that hand and we’ll see him suddenly start to work around it. And once that happens, I think the losses will begin to pile up. But if Kakuryu can get through Week 1 without aggravating his hand injury, he’ll have a legitimate shot at taking the yusho [tournament championship].

And, of course, the January yusho winner, shin-sekiwake [newly promoted sekiwake] Tochinoshin looked just as dominant as he did in Tokyo. He very well MIGHT be the odds on favorite to with this tournament, too, since Hakuho and Kisenosato are out, and he won’t have to face Kakuryu or the ozeki until late in Week 2, giving plenty of time for them to stumble along the way. 

Today’s best matches include:

M6 Kaisei (1–0) vs. M7 Abi (1–0)—Kaisei is one of those rikishi who has terrific sumo in him, but sometimes he just forgets to tap into it. Abi is one of the new faces in the Makuuchi Division who is full of energy, ambition, and raw power. (6:15)
Sekiwake Mitakeumi (1–0) vs. M2 Takarafuji (0–1)
—Mitakeumi is a super-talented rikishi who has been successful in the sanyaku ranks (he’s been there for seven straight tournaments now), but hasn’t managed to give a break-out performance of double-digit wins. He was dominant in his Day 1 victory over M2 Arawashi. Takarafuji, on the other hand was completely manhandled by the other sekiwake—Tochnoshin—yesterday and is trying to bounce back today. (9:20)
Ozeki Takayasu (0–1) vs. komusubi Ichinojo (1–0)—Takayasu had a bit of bad luck against M1 Endo. He had a winning position but let his opponent slip away. Ichinojo isn’t likely to be anywhere near that nimble, but he also isn’t going to be as easy to push around the ring. Word is that Ichinojo has been showing renewed vigor in his sumo, but I’m a skeptic. He’s going to have to PROVE it to me before I’ll give him any benefit of the doubt. (11:15)
Yokozuna Kakuryu (1–0) vs. M1 Endo (1–0)—Kakuryu looked strong in his Day 1 win. On the other hand, Endo looked clever and slippery in his Day 1 win. Both of them would like to repeat those performances here on Day 2.  (12:45)

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *