We’re back on track! Today, although there were few “big names” on the torikumi list, there were many important matches. All the yusho deciders in Makushita or below were played today, resulting either in yusho winners, or in playoffs to take place on Senshuraku. We’ll go through these bouts, as well as some of our usual ones of interest.
I always start with a Hattorizakura bout if I can possibly find one, but I’ll admit that usually it’s just the gimmick, or perhaps the zen practice of experiencing futility, that make me post those bouts.
But today’s bout is more interesting due to the opponent assigned to Hattorizakura. Some of you may have seen us discussing it in comments on one of yesterday’s post. The opponent is one Murata, who used to be a “One To Watch”. He entered sumo as Sandanme tsukedashi in Haru 2017, after graduating from Toyo University. He had 6-1 in that basho, and won the Sandanme yusho in the next, and then quickly climbed through Makushita, all the way to Ms1w, where he could inhale the smell of silk…
And then he was injured. He had a serious injury to his right knee (according to unofficial sources – that is, Twitter says so), which required extensive kyujo. He dropped all the way to Jonidan, where, in Haru 2019, he made his comeback.
However, that comeback was very short. In his second bout, he re-injured himself in the other knee, where he had an old injury from high-school. And like Ura, off he was to yet another kyujo.
So for Nagoya he ended up in Jonokuchi, and he is still recovering. However, if you are in Jonokuchi and you are absent from all your bouts, you go banzuke-gai. That is, your name no longer appears on the banzuke, and you’ll need to go through maezumo again if you want to restart your career.
For this reason, wresters in this situation, who are at least minimally able to do some sumo choose to participate in a single match, near the end of the basho, to avoid going banzuke-gai. Ryuden has famously done that for four consecutive basho before he was able to fully participate again. And today, it was Murata’s turn to have his single participation match. And his opponent is our hapless hero, Hattorizakura, here with his back to us:
Yes, I know, that was a pretty long preliminary text to a very short match. Murata gets his “get out of jail” ticket, Hattorizakura his customary 0-7, and the good news is that Murata seems to be walking freely, raising hopes that he will not need to repeat this ritual four times like the komusubi did.
The rest of the matches I have from this division are yusho-deciding ones. Each involving one wrestler from Naruto beya. We start with Motobayashi, the Naruto wrestler with 6-0, facing Yukiamami from Tatsunami beya, with 5-1. Yukiamami is one of the two Tatsunami beya wrestlers who were kyujo last basho and came back with suspiciously short hair. Motobayashi on the left, Yukiamami on the right.
For someone with 5-1, this was pretty lame, I have to say. Motobayashi is 7-0. Is he the Jonokuchi yusho winner? Not quite, because next we have his heya mate, Sakurai, on the left, with 6-0, facing Tomiyutaka, with 5-1. As I pointed out a few days ago, they ran out of 6-0 wrestlers in Jonokuchi who are not from Naruto beya.
Unlike the previous bout, Tomiyutaka from Tokitsukaze beya turns out to be a very tenacious opponent, who has good defensive technique, and who would have probably won this if Sakurai didn’t have the advantage of a morozashi. Kudos to him for the fighting spirit, but here we have another Naruto guy with 7-0. So there will be a playoff on Senshuraku.
But wait a moment. There is a third Naruto with 6-0 who may have a hand in that playoff. But in order to see what happened to him, we need to jump up one division.
Yes, Marusho from Naruto beya found himself in Jonidan territory, where he faced Adachi, from Tagonoura beya, who was 6-0 and in contention for the Jonidan yusho. Adachi is on the left, Marusho on the right:
And once again we have a short, one sided match. Marusho pushes Adachi easily off the dohyo and off the Jonidan yusho, and… another Naruto with 7-0 for the Jonokuchi yusho playoff. Yes, there will be a three-way playoff for the Jonokuchi yusho, on senshuraku, shortly before the Makuuchi dohyo-iri, and all participants will be from Naruto beya. This is a very rare event. Naruto oyakata said today that although he is glad because it’s the first yusho ever that his heya will win, he is at a loss as to whom to cheer for and what to say to the ones who lose.
As for the Jonidan yusho, there were two others in contention for it – our recovering patient, Homarefuji from Isegahama beya, and Tokisakae from Tokitsukaze beya. Both 6-0. With Adachi eliminated, the winner takes the yusho. Homarefuji is on the right:
Despite almost breaking both Tokisakae’s arms, Homarefuji loses that one to the younger whipper-snapper. Tokisakae is the Jonidan yusho winner. But we will probably see Homarefuji in a good place in Sandanme in Aki.
Speaking of Sandanme, let’s start with a couple of matches that are not related to the yusho race. One is the popular Narutaki (on the right), who is doing much better than his big brother Kyonosato, who is in a deep make-koshi in Jonokuchi. Narutaki is 5-1, and so is his rival Taichiyama from Chiganoura beya, on the left:
Narutaki seems to try an ineffective hit-and-shift. The winner is Taichiyama. Narutaki will have to settle for a 5-2.
Now, let’s say hi to one of our recovering former sekitori, Amakaze from Oguruma beya, on the left, facing Kaiho from Tomozuna beya. Both are 4-2 and kachi-koshi. The video also contains footage of Dairaido vs. Tochikamiyama.
Amakaze doesn’t have much of a Tachiai. He just stands. But his experience and power are enough to win this one. He finishes 5-2, which will propel him closer to Makushita.
Next, the one you have probably been waiting for: Wakaichiro! On the right, facing Fujihisashi from Azumazeki beya. Both are 3-3 – winner will be kachi-koshi, loser make-koshi.
Wakaichiro is kachi-koshi! He will stay in Sandanme in Aki. Congratulations, Texas man!
Next, we have the yusho deciders. There are three rikishi with 6-0 in Sandanme. What usually happens is that there are also three rikishi with 6-0 in Jonidan, and the top one from Jonidan is matched with the bottom one from Sandanme. However, due to the odd Naruto beya situation at Jonokuchi, the lowest 6-0 rikishi from Jonidan, Adachi, was assigned to Marusho, as we have seen above, and the top ones went head to head. This leaves one Sandanme 6-0 rikishi to wrestle with a 5-1 rikishi. The honor goes to Terasawa from Takasago beya, with 6-0, on the right, who faces Tochikodai from Kasugano beya, who is 5-1, on the left:
Terasawa has no difficulty pushing Tochikodai out. He is 7-0, and will have a playoff match against the winner of the following bout.
So in this bout we have Asatenmai, from Takasago beya. He is facing Okinohama from Hakkaku beya. Both are 6-0. Asatenmai is on the right.
Asatenmai pushes forward relentlessly for the yoritaoshi. He is 7-0, and will participate in the playoff, shortly before Makuuchi dohyo-iri on Senshuraku. But wait a minute! This, too, is a playoff between wrestlers of the same heya! Terasawa and Asatenmai are both from Takasago beya.
It’s hard to check this on the Sumodb, but I would be very surprised if this happened much in the past – two playoffs of same-heya rikishi, one of them three-way!
In Makushita, things are easy: we have two rikishi with 6-0, not from the same heya. Chiyonoo, on the right, from Kokonoe beya, of course, meets Tsurubayashi from Kise beya, on the left.
Chiyonoo makes short work of Tsurubayashi, and wins the Makushita yusho. Congratulations!
After getting grilled by his oyakata yesterday for his miserable bout against Terunofuji, in an angry tweet that said he will amount to nothing if he keeps it up, Roga had to get up in the morning and participate in his last match of the basho, against Ichiki from Tamanoi beya. Both 4-2, Roga is on the right. The video includes footage of Gokushindo vs. Yuki as well.
Roga probably avoided further humiliation with this win.
Next, we have Naya, who is already make-koshi, trying to avoid too large a drop down the banzuke, against Daiseido. Naya is on the left, both are 2-4.
Naya operates a rhythmic tsuppari, and manages to keep himself at a minimal loss margin of 3-4.
Irodori from Makushita ventured on a visit to Juryo today, to face Ryuko. Ryuko, it has to be said, has not been having a good basho, and despite Aminishiki’s message of encouragement, I think he felt badly about causing a great legend to retire. Irodori, on the left, is 3-3 and wants a kachi-koshi to return to Juryo. Ryuko is already make-koshi with 4-8 and wants to avoid deepening his make-koshi, to avoid dropping back to Makushita.
Ryuko really doesn’t seem to have his heart in it. Irodori wins, and will be able to get his Akeni back out from storage.
My final video for today is Ikioi, who has been improving his form, and trying to fight against increasing his make-koshi. Arawashi (left) is 5-7, Ikioi is 4-8.
Ikioi is fighting tooth and nail to escape the danger zone, and he does, indeed, seem to have regained some of his sumo. Arawashi is now make-koshi, and I wish he would have taken better care of those legs of his.