Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 14

First make-koshi for Hoshoryu

I have a short report for you today. You all know that Enho finally got his kachi-koshi today. Let’s take a look at some of Hakuho’s other uchi-deshi.

In Jonidan, the biggish Toma suffered his first loss on Day 11, so he dropped out of the yusho race there, and today, with a balance of 5-1, engaged with Yoshii from Nakagawa beya. Toma is on the left (he is really hard to miss), and Yoshii on the right:

Yoshii turns out to be far from a pushover, and even managed to throw the humongous Toma with an uwatenage. Not exactly your Mongolian “roll’er-over-in-the-clover”, but still. I’m really hoping Toma will start losing some of that extra poundage, and show something better than Orora-zumo. In any case, he is 5-2, kachi-koshi, and will keep moving up.

At Sandanme, we meet Hakuho’s oldest – and apparently most damaged – uchi-deshi, Yamaguchi. He comes into this match with 3-3, so the winner is kachi-koshi and the loser, make-koshi. On the left we have Tochimitsuru, from Kasugano beya.

Yamaguchi doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance, and is make-koshi. He will drop further down in Sandanme.

Makushita

Akua, our aquatic rikishi from Tatsunami beya meets Nishikifuji from Isegahama beya. Nishikifuji and Midorifuji are the biggest new hopes in Isegahama beya, a heya which two years ago sported six sekitori, including a Yokozuna and an Ozeki, and now only two of them remain.

Nishikifuji is ranked Ms8w, and he and Akua are both 5-1 as they stare at each other across the dohyo. Akua is on the left, Nishikifuji on the right:

Akua is very efficient this basho – a quick katasukashi in this case. He finishes it 6-1, while Nishikifuji will have to settle for 5-2 and will have a chance of ramming himself against the gateway to Heaven in Aki.

His heya mate, the tiny deputy pixie Midorifuji, is similarly 5-1 (though ranked a little lower, at Ms11w). He is facing our Hungarian friend, Masutoo, here on the left.

Mastoo is not letting Midorifuji try any pixie dust on him. The big Hungarian has his second 6-1 basho in a row, and will start smelling the heady perfume of silk mawashi across the barrier next basho. Midorifuji will settle for 5-2, and he, too, will be in that hot neighborhood.

The last Makushita bout (though not the last Makushita wrestler fighting) is between Tamaki and Hoshoryu. This is a life-or-death bout. The two are not just fighting for kachi-koshi vs. make-koshi, but also, at their rank, for a very probable ticket to Juryo, which only the winner can take. Hoshoryu is on the right, Tamaki on the left:

Hoshoryu’s hand touches the surface of the dohyo. The gyoji notices immediately and points his gunbai, but the two are not paying attention and keep fighting. But even if that finger did not touch the dohyo, Hoshoryu was completely out of balance for most of it, and would have lost anyway.

He suffers the first make-koshi of his career. The Japanese press tells us that he was still wearing his game face (he is really overdoing it in the staredowns, methinks) as he was walking down the hana-michi, but in the shitakubeya he broke out in tears, and the only thing he said to the reporters was “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”.

Kid’s 20 years old. This was his one chance to match his uncle’s speedy ascent from Jonokuchi to the sekitori ranks, and he blew it. He will get there, but it will probably take a couple of basho now that his make-koshi will send him a few ranks down. I’m sure it stings as hell.

Tamaki, on the other hand, enjoyed the limelight today, surrounded by press and media people.

Juryo

Kaisho, Ms4w from Asakayama beya was sent into Juryo today to fight Arawashi. Kaisho was 3-3 and needed a kachi-koshi. Arawashi was already make-koshi, 5-8, but needs to tread carefully. Kaisho is on the left, Arawashi is nursing an eye injury, on the right.

Despite Arawashi’s efforts, Kaisho manages to get a good grip and yorikiri the veteran. Arawashi is 5-9, and is edging towards the danger zone. Kaisho, on the other hand, is kachi-koshi, and may be considered for promotion if there are enough demoted Juryo members, and Wakamotoharu doesn’t improve from his five wins tomorrow.

So tomorrow is the big day, senshuraku, with some exciting playoffs, and some familiar names like Wakamotoharu and, of course, Terunofuji, who will be facing the very dangerous henka artist Shiraishi.

3 thoughts on “Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 14

  1. Hoshoryu will be back! But yeah, pretty sloppy last night. Enough with the staredown…Get to it, boys!

  2. Fantastic write up as always, Herouth – thanks for putting it together, some additional comments –

    The fact that Yamaguchi continues to flounder is a big bowl of sadness soup. For so many promising young rikishi, the injury ends their hope of higher performance.

    Akua – If he can make it back to Juryo, I hope he can hold on this time. Some great sumo from this guy.

    Hoshoryu – The absolute BEST thing that could have happened for him. With any hope the pressure to “be his uncle” will subside, and he can improve a bit more. He’s got a natural gift, but another couple of spin cycles trying to scale the wall will help him immensely. Otherwise I fear he was rushing into a beating in the bottom half of Juryo, possibly with a painful injury to boot. Plus, to some extent, this guy needs to get over himself and have some fun with it. He has been more and more serious as his rank went up. Perhaps the next time he approaches the gates of heaven, he won’t make it a 3-3 final match situation.

    Terunofuji – yeah, yeah, not on the dohyo until tonight. I personally worry he will win this one. He’s at a good rank now for further rebuilding going into Aki, but putting him in the 20s of Makushita is just begging for an re-injury and a crushing make-koshi of 5 or more.

    Some other from our “ones to watch”

    Amakaze – I really like that he’s on a slower rise than Terunofuji. He’s still not quite ready to fight it out too much higher up, but his sumo sense is working very well, even if his mobility is junk right now at the end of Nagoya.

    Naya – Like Hoshoryu, he is not so good he can bust down the gates to Juryo on the first try. My big worry is that injury. If he can stay healthy, he’s going to do very well.

    Roga – He also had his wings trimmed a bit, probably for the better. Raw talent, but needs some time in the forging room before he becomes the terror he has the potential to be.

    • Thanks Herouth, and Bruce I agree hyakk passento with your assessments, esp Hoshoryu and Naya. The immense weight on their respective shoulders since beginning their careers… and glad for Hoshoryu to show at least the media pack behind the scenes that he’s only human ♥️

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