Hey, I owe you readers two days of randomly picked lower division bouts!
We say our farewells to our beloved Hattorizakura in his last bout of this basho. May you win one in Nagoya! The rival, as Bruce mentioned, is Nangu. He has been kyujo most of this basho, 0W0L6K, and is coming back to do one bout, to keep himself from going off-banzuke and requiring maezumo again.
He looks every bit as scrawny as Hakuho in his first bout, but still keeps his head level enough to cross the very passable hurdle that is Hattorizakura. Yokozuna material right there.
Let’s take a look at Kitanowaka’s last bout. He is 5-1, while his rival, Chiyooume, is 4-2.
No contest, really.
Here we have a yusho-race bout, between 6-0 Tochikamiyama and Terasawa:
Tochikamiyama, who looks suspiciously like his oyakata, is 7-0 and will face Okinohama from Hakkaku beya for a playoff tomorrow.
Here is a bout between Sazanami and Haruminato. Mostly included here for the entertainment value. Both 3-3, so the winner is kachi-koshi, and the loser, make-koshi:
Nice pirouette. Sazanami is kachi-koshi, Haruminato is not.
Now, a yusho-arasoi bout between tsukedashi Shiraishi and Hokutotsubasa of Hakkaku beya. Both 6-0 coming into this match.
Shiraishi is not taking any prisoners. He will face Hokutokawa, also from Hakkaku beya, in the Sandanme yusho playoff, starting very much like another famous Sandanme tsukedashi, Oyanagi, nowadays known as Yutakayama.
Finally, the highlight match of Sandanme, former Ozeki Terunofuji with 5-1, looking to extend his score enough to reach Makushita next basho. He faces Daishozen.
Daishozen is not afraid of no ghost. But as he attempts a sidestep Terunofuji proves that he has been working on those upper body muscles, and gives him a light push towards oblivion.
At the end of the bout you can see Terunofuji pulling off and folding his Sagari as he waits for the kachi-nanori (the gyoji calling his name as the winner). There is something written on that sagari:
It says “Shunba Sekito”.
Shunba has been kyujo since the previous basho, when Terunofuji made his comeback. His retirement is expected to be announced at the end of this basho. This sagari is a gift he received from Teruya, the yobidashi who moved together with Shunba and Terunofuji from Magaki beya to Isegahama.
And thus, Terunofuji found a way to keep mounting the dohyo accompanied by his beloved Shunba.
Tissue, anybody? 😭
Kyokusoten has achieved his kachi-koshi this basho. He says he has a hard time putting on weight, so he has been in Makushita forever. But he still wants to extend that kachi-koshi a bit vs. Inoue, who is also 4-2 and looking for the same:
The gyoji raises his gunbai at Inoue’s side, but as you can see, a monoii is called immediately. The result is gunbai-sashi-chigae – the win is Kyokusoten’s. (No, I don’t have any replays)
Next up we have Shiba vs. Wakamotoharu. Both 2-4, make-koshi. Both want their make-koshi to stay at a minimum:
Unlike his big brother, Wakamotoharu succeeds at least in this. All three Onami brothers are make-koshi this tournament.
Finally, we have prince Naya vs. Bushozan. Both 5-1, seeking their sixth win:
Bushozan gets the tachiai, but Naya’s tsuppari does its devastating work, and the prince will be ranked well within the danger zone next basho. He may even face an old rival there.
The most important bout today is, of course, Wakaichiro vs. Goshinryu. Wakaichiro is already kachi-koshi and seems much more confident than he was in the beginning of the basho.
Kachiage, tsuppari, and out goes Goshinryu. Wakaichiro is 5-2 and will probably be back in Sandanme for Nagoya. Please, Texas man, show your mettle outside of Tokyo as well!
Roga is facing Kaizen. Both are already kachi-koshi, but of course they want to be ranked higher next basho.
Roga’s win. For a Mongolian, that’s a lot of oshi. Now I’m dying to see if he does, indeed, get his mage done on senshuraku.
At the bottom of Makushita, we have our friend Maikeru/Michael. He is facing Chiganoura’s Hungarian, Masutoo. Masutoo has always been a rather under-achieving foreigner.
But, perhaps under the influence of all those highly competitive Taka guys, he seems to have dialed up his game. Masutoo is 6-1 – his first since 2014 – and Maikeru will have to dance-kick his way up more slowly.
Another pair in the same 5-1 bracket is Honda and Tsukahara:
Tsukahara, merely 19 years old, is 6-1 and will probably also land in the purgatory at the top of Makushita at Nagoya Hot.
Midorifuji, the pixie of our “ones to watch” list, is facing Sakigake. Both 3-3 – winner kachi-koshi, loser make-koshi.
This is only partial footage, but what a lovely shitatenage!
In the 4-2 bracket, we have Akua/Aqua, going against Nogami.
And this one goes to Akua. At 5-2, he is bound to be right at the edge of a third visit to Juryo.
The final bout of the day in Makushita is between the man with the formidable, though borrowed, pre-bout face, from the picture at the top of this post, and Kizenryu, the Juryo-Makushita yo-yo. Both 3-3 – loser make-koshi, winner kachi-koshi. Watch Hoshoryu’s face at the end of the match replay.
As for Kizenryu, you noticed that he is not able to get up. Hoshoryu gets his kachi-nanori without a bow, and Kizenryu limps away. Note the yobidashi throwing salt on the dohyo before they proceed to the Juryo matches.