Haru Day 13 Preview


You can’t count on good fortune, but today sumo fans got a gift. In defeating Yokozuna Kakuryu, Tochinoshin opened up the yusho race once more. But who could imagine that all of the other leaders would lose as well? With just 3 matches left, a loss tomorrow against Kaisei puts the yusho up for grabs. While that would be very exciting, there is almost no chance that this will come to pass. Kakuryu made a huge mistake in going chest to chest with Tochinoshin, and the Hatsu yusho winner made him pay. I am going to guess the Yokozuna will not be so cavalier on Friday.

One item of note for sumo conspiracy theorists, Chiyotairyu has won 2 of his last 3 matches, after a disastrous start to Haru. Look closely at his image on the NHK video, and we can all see why he is returning to genki status.  That’s right! He is regrowing his sideburns.  We heartily welcome the return of Sumo Elvis, and hope that he will never remove his sideburns again.

Haru Leaderboard

Leader: Kakuryu
Chaser: Kaisei
Hunt Group: Takayasu, Goeido, Daishomaru, Ikioi

3 Matches Remain

What We Are Watching Day 13

Ishiura vs Daiamami – Apologies to the purists, but I am very frustrated with Ishura and his continuous henka deployment. The winner of this match gets kachi-koshi, and I think I am rooting for anyone but Ishiura at this point. He won their only prior match.

Aoiyama vs Yutakayama – Battle of the Yama’s, this one is big against bigger. Both are already kachi-koshi, so this is mostly for rank velocity. I would guess Aoiyama wants to repair his pride following his day 12 match with Ishiura.

Ikioi vs Chiyonokuni – Do you think Ikioi is going to slow down now that he is kachi-koshi? Hell no! Chiyonokuni needs 2 more wins, and I am going to guess he is going to need to look elsewhere. I wish this version of Ikioi came to every basho, he’s pretty nifty.

Okinoumi vs Asanoyama – Asanoyama has been fighting well against his own cohort lower down the banzuke, but today he’s going a bit higher against Okinoumi. Jason’s favorite rikishi (from Shimane-ken) has been lukewarm this tournament, but he can still get his 8 wins if he presses ahead.

Kotoshogiku vs Daieisho – Daieisho looking to get his kachi-koshi against an already make-koshi remnant of Ozeki Kotoshogiku. Daieisho is doing surprisingly well at Maegashira 8 this time, but Kotoshogiku is ranked Maegashira 3, and is quite dangerous if you let him go chest to chest.

Yoshikaze vs Tamawashi – As a true-green Yoshikaze fan, I can only watch with increasing sadness as the Berserker struggles daily with his torikumi. Tamawashi is likely to pick up his kachi-koshi today, and move to return to a san’yaku rank for May.

Endo vs Chiyomaru – Chiyomaru shocked Ozeki Takayasu on day 12, and now he is going to try his sumo against Endo. Endo dearly wants to make a bit for san’yaku himself, and needs to keep winning. Time will tell if Chiyomaru is having a good basho, of if this is a step change in the power of his sumo.

Abi vs Chiyotairyu – Sure, let’s put a Maegashira 7 up against a Komusubi. Someone slender Abi goes against the massive dreadnaught class Chiyotairyu. Both of them are going to unleash oshi-war on each other, but Abi is out massed, and likely out-gunned. But this is going to be an interesting match! Oh, and Abi still needs 1 more win to secure promotion.

Ichinojo vs Shohozan – Big mass vs big guns, here we go! Their career record is 3-3, so I am expecting a battle here. It’s unlikely that Shohozan is going to be able to push Ichinojo around much, so his one hope is to grab a handful of fabric and maybe a roll of flesh, and push.

Shodai vs Tochinoshin – Somehow, it seems that Shodai was able to find his sumo, and make friends with it ocne more. But the chances of Shodai being able to take down the Hatsu yusho winner is, at least in my guess, very slim. Quick belt grab by Tochinoshin off the tachiai, and a few quick steps to the tawara.

Mitakeumi vs Hokutofuji – Of the Yoshikaze situation were not enough for me to swear off having favorites, it’s these two guys. Both of them have huge potential. Both of them seem to be completely out of sorts, run amok, possibly hurt and in no condition to strive for higher rank.

Takayasu vs Goeido – Ozeki fight! I think Takayasu has this one by a wide margin unless we get a Goeido henka, which is actually not very far fetched. I did like that Chiyomaru leveraged Takayasu’s cannonball tachiai on day 12. Serves him right. Serves him again if he deploys it against Goeido and he makes him eat it.

Kakuryu vs Kaisei – The big match of the day. If Kakuryu loses this, is a barnyard brawl for the hardware. But I am going to suggest that Kaisei won’t represent an impossible challenge for the Yokozuna, who has never managed to beat Kakuryu in any prior match.

Wakaichiro Final Haru Match: Day 13


With his winning gymnastics on day 12, Texas sumotori Wakaichiro evens his record for the tournament to 3-3. He can still wind up with a kachi-koshi if he can win his closing day match against, Fujitaisei, formerly of Musashigawa. Both come into this match with three wins. The loser gets demoted, and the winner promoted.

As always we will bring you results and video as soon as its available.

Haru State of Play Day 12 Update

The Yusho Race

Kakuryu (11-1) leads by one over Kaisei and by two over Takayasu, Goeido, Daishomaru, and Ikioi.

As I noted yesterday, the torikumi committee has given us the gift of Kakuryu vs. Kaisei on Day 13! Should the Yokozuna prevail, as he has in all 11 previous meetings between the two, the yusho is more or less his—he would lead by two with two days to go. If Kaisei somehow pulls off the upset, the race could go down to the wire. The two would be tied, and the winner of tomorrow’s Ozeki clash would be one off the pace and control his own destiny, as Kakuryu still has to face both Ozeki. There are also two dark-horse contenders lurking far down the banzuke in Daishomaru and Ikioi. Needless to say, anyone who wants to see an exciting conclusion to the basho should be cheering for the big Brazilian.

The Sanyaku

Tochinshin’s huge win over the previously undefeated Yokozuna earned him his kachi-koshi, preserved his Sekiwake rank, and kept his Ozeki hopes alive. He’s almost certain to be moving over to the East side, given how the other Sekiwake has been performing lately.

With his loss against Shodai, which dropped him to 5-7, Mitakeumi  now needs to win all three of his remaining matches to stay at Sekiwake, and two of three to stay in sanyaku. The schedulers gave him a huge break by allowing him to dodge the Yokozuna tomorrow in favor of Hokutofuji, but that’s hardly a gimme, given that Mitakeumi has lost his last 5, while Hokutofuji has won 4 in a row. I assume that Mitakeumi will still have to face the two Ozeki, though with the schedulers’ new-found flexibility, who knows? [Edit: If Kaisei wins tomorrow, does he take Mitakeumi’s place in Day 14/15 matches? Or has the torikumi committee decided to swap the two already?]

With victories today, Endo and Tamawashi kept pace in the race for promotion to sanyaku. Tomorrow, Endo faces the big surprise of the basho, 6-6 Chiyomaru, while Tamawashi has the seemingly easier task of taking on the struggling Yoshikaze.

Remaining intra-sanyaku bouts (my predictions for Days 14 and 15):

Day 13: Takayasu vs. Goeido; Kakuryu vs. Mitakeumi

Day 14: Takayasu vs. Mitakeumi; Kakuryu vs. Goeido

Day 15: Tochinoshin vs. Ichinojo; Goeido vs. Mitakeumi; Kakuryu vs. Takayasu

The Demotion Zone

Daiamami could use one more win, and Tochiozan definitely still needs one. Nishikigi needs at least one win and possibly two, while Myogiryu needs to win out. With his withdrawal, Sokokurai joins Kotoyuki and Hidenoumi in Juryo.

Day 12 – Highlights (abridged)

Day 12 brought us another thrilling day of sumo action. Ishiura stepped up against Aoiyama today. Ishiura obviously knew what was coming. Aoiyama knew what was coming. Everyone in the whole freaking stadium knew what was coming. Henka. Yet Aoiyama still got spun around and pushed out by the speedy little Ishiura. Maaaa…ne… Ishiura needs one more win for katchi-koshi.

Next, Hidenoumi picked on Kotoyuki while everyone wonders why he’s not kyujo. Myogiryu goes makekoshi against Chiyoshoma. The kachiage didn’t seem to connect but there was enough force there to give Chiyoshoma the initiative. When Myogiryu closed in to clinch, Chiyoshoma shoved his head down for the hatakikomi win.

Skipping way up the banzuke, Kotoshogiku picked up his fourth win against Arawashi. Arawashi has one and a half legs, mind you, and he still was able to hold on for some time before the bumpity-bumpity yorikiri. I can’t say it enough, the one trick pony could prolong his career if he picked up another trick. Throws, pulls, purple nurples, come on! Endo beat Kaisei with a pretty easy formula…boom and pull. Booom! Right in the kisser. Pull. Boom (this time in the eye), one last olé and Kaisei steps out. Not pretty but effective.

An impotent Uncle Takara withered under Tamawashi’s thrusting attack. Takarafuji doesn’t seem particularly injured so I hope the drama at Isegahama isn’t weighing on him. He’s a “tweener,” like Ikioi.  He has a real rough go against sanyaku and joi wrestlers but he’s solid against lower maegashira. So they yo-yo. Tochinoshin was a bit like this, too. Then…wait for it…wait for it…

Chiyotairyu picked up a third win against Shohozan. He drove Shohozan back and was declared winner despite the fact he may have fallen first. No mono-ii on this should be a signal to pullers that they may be considered “dead” and lose some of these close ones. Again, I’ll bring up Tochinoshin here and his bout yesterday. And Goeido and his 1.0 version bouts. Pull at your own risk. Better to win with the initiative, moving forward.

Shodai fought for this one against Mitakeumi. This was a solid belt bout on both counts. Mitakeumi appeared to have a slight edge for most of the bout with better position, getting Shodai near the edge and almost over a few times. But as they both worked into a throw, Shodai was able to execute first. Mitakeumi’s 7th loss means he needs to win out to get kachi-koshi. He needs to pick up one more win to have any hope at staying in sanyaku. I agree with Leonid, with the loss to Shodai today, I think that door just shut. A good day for Endo became a great day for Endo.

The tachiai between Chiyomaru and Takayasu was something to behold. Both bubble bellies bounding brightly…Chiyomaru somehow comes out on top, moving forward and bringing it to the Ozeki. I think that surprised everyone. After some early thrusting, with Chiyomaru clearly in the driver’s seat, Takayasu momentarily gains the advantage as he grabs Chiyomaru’s arm and tries to put him into orbit. Chiyomaru clings on, dances near the tawara and by gravitational field pulls Takayasu back around and out. Wonderful bouts make me smile. Takayasu on 9 wins, one short of where Ozeki should be, but wow, Chiyomaru at 6-6! Sleeper!

Goeido versus Ichinojo. Goeido 2.0 showed up and the lethargic, gentle giant did, too. Meaning a quick walk out win for the Ozeki while everyone in the stadium hopes Ichinojo’s back issues aren’t coming back.

After Kaisei’s skull-rattling loss to Endo earlier, Kakuryu is in the driver’s seat for this yusho against the winner of the last yusho, Tochinoshin. Surprisingly, at the tachiai, Kakuryu brought it to Tochinoshin, locked in, and tried to win it Tochinoshin’s way. But Tochinoshin has the height and the leverage. He wasn’t going anywhere but forward. A brief pause on the belt while Tochinoshin gathers his strength and Kakuryu silently ponders, “what the f*** did I get myself into?”… Then Tochinoshin strikes and Kakuryu has no choice but to hold on for dear life as the Sekiwake tries to throw him into the upper deck. I’ve got to hand it to Kakuryu, he clung on for a while but with the frustration of the past few days mounting, Tochinoshin was not going to lose. He brought the Ozeki sumo today. I think only Hakuho would have had a chance against him.

So, on tap for tomorrow, we’ve got our leaders, Kakuryu and Kaisei battling after our Ozeki go head-to-head for that symbolic 10th win. I’ve got to run because the snow only afforded us a delay today, and I hope to fill in the blanks later.



Wakaichiro Wins Day 12

In one of the most chaotic and unpredictable matches of his short career, Wakaichiro won on day 12 over his opponent Hokutohomare. This brings the rikishi from Texas to 3-3 for the Osaka tournament. The final match, which will decide if Wakaichiro is promoted or demoted, will take place on Thursday, Haru day 13. His opponent is 23-year-old Fujitaisei of Fujishima-beya, a Sandanme regular who is also hoping to get his kachi-koshi.

Day 13 Torikumi Released

The Day 13 bouts were just posted, and there’s a surprise! As expected, Takayasu faces Goeido in the Ozeki clash. But rather than matching Kakuryu with the struggling Sekiwake Mitakeumi, the schedulers give us the undefeated Yokozuna vs. 10-1 Kaisei! Depending on how tomorrow’s bouts go, this one could go a long way to decide the yusho. It’s unusual to say the least for a Sekiwake not to face a Yokozuna during a basho, but this departure from tradition is a welcome one for the fans.

Sokokurai Withdraws from 2018 Haru Basho

Image result for sokokurai

Following a very painful looking fall in his Day 11 victory over Okinoumi, veteran rikishi Sokokurai has announced his withdrawal from the 2018 Haru Basho. Ranked at maegashira 15 and with only five wins to his name, Sokokurai will once again find himself in Juryo for the 2018 Natsu Basho. This may be a blessing in disguise for the man from Inner Mongolia, who took home the Yusho last time he was in the second division.

With this development, Sokokurai’s Day 12 opponent Ryuden picks up a much needed 5th win.