Hatsu 2022 Day Eight
Okuritaoshi. The "rear push down" isn't a wild kimarite, but it is unusual. That's because it involves grabbing an opponent from behind and flattening them down. Somehow, Chiyomaru beat Akua AND Onosho beat Chiyonokuni that way on Day Eight.
Match of the Day
Maegashira #13 East Chiyomaru versus Maegashira #10 West Akua
Chiyomaru has astonishing agility for a man whose body shape is best described as "that massive gut should not be able to stand on those legs." Against Akua, he needed all of that agility. Akua blew up Chiyomaru's offense at the tachiai, and then they kept moving and pulling and spinning and moving and pulling and spinning. After keeping at it, Chiyomaru managed to get Akua's back to him, so grabbed on. That led to the okuritaoshi. A mono-ii was called, which NHK sure seemed to think was a hair-pull check, but the shimpan said was about checking Chiyomaru's footwork at the tawara.
Abi lost, while Mitakeumi and Terunofuji won. So there is one undefeated leader, and just one rikishi a single win back. Even if they both keep winning, they'll definitely square off and at least one will have one more loss over the next week. You also shouldn't bet on any rikishi winning seven in a row, especially if they have been racking up wins. There's a reason 10 wins is a notable achievement, and that involves winning 2 of every 3 matches. Still, it looks like a collision course between Mitakeumi and Terunofuji for the yusho.
That feeling was enhanced by the promising young Mongolian Hoshoryu, who gave Abi his second loss in a row. Hoshoryu is 22 and has made himself a mid-Maegashira already thanks to a variety of tricks and unusual techniques. He didn't need any tricks against Abi. Abi went for his usual two-handed thrust, but Hoshoryu got low and inside quickly enough to grab the mawashi. That meant he could just blow Abi backwards.
Hoshoryu's win was the highlight of a mini youth movement on Day Eight. Every single rikishi 25 and under who mounted the dohyo in Makuuchi for Day Eight won. That would include Kiribayama, Onosho, Hoshoryu, Kotonowaka, Oho, and Kotoshosho, who came up from Juryo on Day Eight to get his 7th win over a hapless Tsurugisho. Other than Kiribayama, all these young men have had good basho so far, and Kiribayama is the highest ranked. There has been talk of changing of the guard in sumo, and this would be a good sign it's happening.
There are two caveats that should be mentioned here. First, injured Ozeki Takakeisho is actually younger than Kiribayama, but didn't win on Day Eight since he didn't do anything on the Dohyo. Second is that Onosho feels like a different generation. He was a Komusubi four years ago, then dealt with injuries and hasn't been the same. He's looked strong throughout Hatsu, and, more critically, well-balanced. Takakeisho and Onosho can be a good warning sign that progress in sumo isn't linear. Yet promise is always exciting to see turn into actuality, and we are getting it this basho.
The main event will be Terunofuji each day, and Mitakeumi is fighting at the end of the day's matches, too. But the undercard is where real excitement can happen, especially as the two leaders keep moving away from the pack. Mitakeumi might be on an Ozeki run, but he needs a great record to do it this basho and he has teased sumo fans before. Terunofuji is adding to his legend. The youngsters who won on Day Eight are starting to build theirs.