春場所2016: Henka Yusho! (白鵬ありがとう!)

Thank you, Hakuho!

Screenshot (174)
At a loss for words…

It’s hard to watch this post-match interview with the champ. He’s obviously affected by the audience’s yelling about the henka and apologizes.

However, I’ve got to thank him. I’d been worried about today’s match because Harumafuji is not 100% and going head-to-head with the best could bring about further injury. So, seeing Harumafuji sprint past Kisenosato and into the crowd brought about laughter and then relief. Hakuho may have noticed Harumafuji come up lame yesterday (see earlier post) and may not have wanted to take it to him.

Regardless, we’ve seen our superzuna come back this tournament. And it’s been a pleasure to watch…though maybe not for Yoshikaze.


春場所2016: Hakuho Domination

Hakuho obliterated Kakuryu, secure in his lead with 2 days to go. He’ll fight Kotoshogiku tomorrow who was thrown rather easily by Harumafuji. Harumafuji was able to attack the ozeki at an angle, effectively neutralizing any hippy-hoppety leg thrusts. Then seemed to tip Giku over rather leisurely from that position.

Kisenosato and Goeido maintain their hopes at staying in contention but with Hakuho fighting like this, those hopes are more and more remote. Kisenosato managed Aoiyama by maintaining central position and ushering the maegashira to his makekoshi. And as I mentioned in my previous post, Goeido overpowered a weakened Terunofuji – who has no business being in this tournament anymore and should be resting until JULY. Meanwhile, Myogiryu has fallen out of contention with his surprising loss to Mitakeumi.

Down in Juryo, Osunaarashi has locked up the yusho with two days to go. The way he was  fighting, though, it was clear a week ago he was going to win. Endo is actually tied with Nishikigi, Chiyoshoma, and Amakaze in second.

Terunofuji Should Be Kyujo

Why would he or his management risk further injury by having Terunofuji fight today? He got his kachi-koshi so he’s secured his ozeki rank for not only next tournament, but the tournament following. He should sit this tournament out AND THE NEXT ONE to recover. Yes, he’ll go kadoban – but so what? It’s better to elect to go kadoban and put yourself in a position to WIN YUSHO than to struggle against GOEIDO. Spoiler: Terunofuji was just beaten by Goeido, badly. He was basically walked to the edge and out. WTF is he doing on the dohyo while injured?

春場所2016: Hakuho Leads. Of Course.

The door is rapidly closing on Kisenosato’s yusho hopes. Harumafuji fought well and when the ozeki charged, Harumafuji pushed him down while retreating for the hatakikomi slap down. In the preceding bout, Hakuho chased Goeido into the crowd. I can’t blame Goeido on that one; I’d have run away, too. Hakuho has been vicious. Not a good sign for the resurgent Myogiryu if he should be in real contention down the line.

Screenshot (173)
Flashback: Sept. 2012

Tomorrow, we’ll have our first yokozuna show-down as Hakuho will face Kakuryu. Kisenosato will have a much easier time of it with Aoiyama, who’s facing makekoshi. Goeido will face Terunofuji…if Terunofuji isn’t kyujo. Y’all know what I think of injured wrestlers fighting. I’d much rather see them take the time to recover fully, go down to Juryo and whoop ass like Osunaarashi who’s 2 clear of Nishikigi for that yusho race.

Hakuho, Kisenosato, and Goeido Lead; Myogiryu One Back

Kisenosato was quickly ousted by Hakuho who’s looking like the good ‘ole Hak. He backed the 177 kg ozeki straight to the bales on the tachiai and then tipped him to the side as Kisenosato tried in vain to stay in.

Goeido is in this as he bowled over Harumafuji. Ikioi picked up his kachi-koshi against Ichinojo while Kaisei got his at the expense of Mitakeumi.

Meanwhile, Osunaarashi is still cleaning up in Juryo. He bounced back nicely after his one loss yesterday to utterly trash Chiyoo. Chiyoo had no hope. Endo was also pretty quick in his win over former makuuchi rikishi Seiro.

Satoyama Fells Gagamaru

Satoyama is about as large as Gagamaru’s right leg. He held on to that leg for all he’s worth and managed to topple the man-mountain.

Kisenosato keeps plugging away. Kakuryu had him on the ropes but with the yusho hopes on the line, the ozeki’s pirouette tipped the yokozuna over the side. His bout with Hakuho tomorrow could be the most important of his career. It will stand to either put him clear of all but Goeido, or potentially a 3-way tie with more waiting in the wings.

Daily Mail on Visiting Sumo Heya

I was shocked yesterday to see a decent sumo article in the Daily Mail. What I mean by decent is that it was actually a respectful, informational article. It’s about how to watch sumo practice and which stables have practices open to spectator viewing. Usually articles about sumo in mainstream press are stories that reduce rikishi to a circus sideshow…how many can fit into a car, or on an airplane, or the ever popular sumo wrestler race.

I really do need to continuously thank several websites I rely on for data and information about sumo. It’s not like NFL where there’s so much coverage that it bleeds into the evening news and is basically everywhere. We need to hunt things out.

Aside from this one article, not a lot of reliable coverage in English in mainstream press. I enjoy reading Dosukoi.fr to keep up with news and some live viewing of bouts via the Mongolian channel.

The SumoDB at Sumogames.de has SO MUCH information. It’s fantastic. If it had kenshokin/sponsorship and injury data, it would be the dream dataset. If someone knows where to find that, let me know.

Then aside from the sumo association’s live stream, for recorded bouts, the Youtube channels like Kintamayama and Jason’s Sumo Channel are great viewing.

The Sato-Shuffle

Screenshot (168)Kisenosato surprised the world with his dodge of Kotoshogiku. Well, forgive the hyperbole but he sure surprised me…dunno about you all. He’s getting close and yusho talk is picking up. The last time he was 9-0, he actually kept winning until Day 14 when Hakuho put an end to his yusho hopes. He finished 13-2 behind Hakuho’s zensho yusho. This time, though, Hakuho is already one loss back.

But obviously they’ve got several fights before a potential showdown with the yusho on the line. Hakuho will face a weakened Terunofuji who had his hands full of Toyonoshima. Kisenosato will face a Kakuryu hoping for redemption from getting bounced by Goeido of all people. Goeido secured his kachi-khoshi and stays in the yusho mix, tied with Hakuho.

Sadly, Ikioi fell one more loss off pace in an entertaining bout with Harumafuji. No words are needed. The picture below summarizes the bout brilliantly:

Screenshot (167)
Harumafuji (L) vs Ikioi (R)

Hakuho Brutalizes Yoshikaze

Screenshot (160)
Battle Royale
Screenshot (163)
10-seconds of sumo, or 3 rounds of MMA?

If anyone wants to dismiss sumo as a bunch of fat creme puffs in diapers, I would show them two matches from today’s basho: Hakuho v Yoshikaze and Osunaarashi v Endo. Neither Hakuho nor Osunaarashi really fit the stereotypical body type exemplified by Chiyoootori or Kotoshogiku or Akiseyama, and both can be super aggressive. That aggressiveness was on display — and splattered all over Hakuho’s shoulders — making for quite the ugly scene.

Likewise, Osunaarashi always seems to bring it up a notch when he faces Endo. In Juryo it can’t be explained by the kensho kin so it makes me wonder if there’s something personal between the two?

Screenshot (166)
Osunaarashi flips Endo

Kisenosato On Top

Could it happen? 10 years without a Japanese yusho and then two in a row by two different rikishi?

What must be said is Ikioi put in a fantastic effort but Kisenosato really had control during the entire bout. The ozeki maintained superior position, continuously pressing Ikioi to the defensive at the edge of the ring. Ikioi did fight back well but Kisenosato wore him down and Ikioi stepped out. Kisenosato is thus the first rikishi with his kachi-koshi this tournament and will face Kotoshogiku tomorrow.

In Juryo, Osunaarashi took Endo’s head off at the tachiai and Endo never had an answer to the Egyptian’s aggressiveness. Once the sandstorm had a solid belt grip with his right hand, he flipped Endo onto his butt.

春場所5日目: Kisenosato Leads the Field

With a rather straightforward win over Yoshikaze, Kisenosato is now the lone sanyaku wrestler left undefeated. I find that surprising as we’re only 1/3 of the way through the tournament. Ikioi and Ichinojo share the lead after dispatching a pair of relative newbies to makuuchi. Ikioi’s win over Shodai was quite dominant while Mitakeumi was even less of a challenge to the Mongolian.

Kotoshogiku lost a close one to Okinoumi but Goeido was embarrassingly chased around the dohyo by Kotoyuki and unceremoniously dumped off the edge. Myogiryu forgot about how one-dimensional Aminishiki is and was promptly henka’d.

Oosunaarashi’s dying to come back up to the top division and is the lone undefeated competitor left in the second division. He played a patient belt game today but Asasekiryu was no real threat. Endo, picked up his third win and I still find it odd he gets no kenshokin. Is it banned for Juryo rikishi? Or has he lost all of his sponsors?

春場所4日目: Ikioi Upsets Terunofuji

With two matches featuring unbeatens going head-to-head, we knew the leadership field would be narrowed down a bit. I certainly was not expecting Ikioi to still be a part of it, though Ichinojo was a lock. Both now face a couple of promising up-and-comers. Ikioi will take on Shodai, who’s at 2-2; Ichinojo will face 3-1 Mitakeumi.