Thankfully, we seem to be past hurricane season in this basho (or maybe we’re just in the eye), so all the news from the dohyo are small, quiet news while the wrestlers arrange themselves for half-time.
Let’s start from Asanoyama, a Tachiai favorite. He finally managed to break out of the yo-yo, and win two days in a row. At 5-3, he only needs to pick three more wins to plant his feet firmly in the Makuuchi. But he is worried. He believes he is jinxed by the west entrance to the dohyo. His 5 wins were gathered when he entered from the east, and his three losses, when he entered from the west. Well, tomorrow he faces Chiyomaru coming from the east, and I predict the jinx is going to stick to both entrances. Just do sumo, Asa-chan!
Daieisho drops from the yusho race, losing to Okinoumi, who seems to be back on the rise, and not going for intai any time soon. Now we have three contenders on the leaderboard – one Henka artist and two brilliant tadpoles. You all know who I’m rooting for.
In other tadpole news, Hokutofuji finally recovers from his kinboshi poisoning, beating the deposed king of the tadpoles, see-saw Mitakeumi. In fact, neither Hokutofuji nor Mitakeumi show any stability. They have a lot to prove in the second half of the basho, as has Takakeisho. Actually, looking a bit at the big picture, we don’t yet have a tadpole revolution, but rather an Onosho revolution, with most of the other young bowling-balls-in-mawashi pretty much spending half their time in the gutter. Indeed, almost the whole lower-to-middle makuuchi is a big mess where you can’t predict anything, not regarding the young and not regarding the old.
But hey, Ichinojo wins again. So maybe sumo is not a bad career after all.
Tochinoshin seems to be on the verge of winning in each bout, but still manages to gather almost a full set of black stars. Onosho was not happy with himself today, failing to complete his push. But he did manage to release his left hand trapped by the Bulgarian and pull him down.
Goeido performs Ozeki sumo for the second day in a row! No grip? No worries. Just push forward. Step-step-step, the eagle flies away. Whether he’ll do positive or negative sumo tomorrow, he is going to be kachi-koshi and get out of kadoban about 12 hours from now.
Now we come to the Yokozuna dissection of the day. And things are not looking too encouraging. I mean, Aoiyama hurt the muscles on the back of his leg and couldn’t walk 100m. Only two days ago he started doing keiko again. And yet the Yokozuna somehow assessed his position incorrectly and only succeeded in executing his uwatedashinage when he himself was balancing on the tawara. He said in an interview that he was worried about Aoiyama’s condition, as he clearly had problems even performing the sonkyo (ceremonial squat), and that led him to thinking how to go easy on the guy. “A contest is no place for compassion” he berated himself. Though, of course, compassion towards his rivals is why we love our Yokozuna (never mind his huge bag of tricks). I’m not sure if it’s that, or again, his instincts betraying him. Final Harumafuji quote (on the Isegahama web site): “Sheesh, that was close, but I somehow won”.
The torikumi guys seem to be offering their lion some well-butchered meat rather than wild deer. They are a lot less kind to Aoiyama, serving him up to Goeido next. I imagine that kyujo rikishi have doctor’s certificates like we all do, and if the doctor says their injury requires 7 days of rest, they probably have to return after those 7 days and can’t just opt to stay at home. At least, not if they are not Yokozuna.