I owe you yesterday’s bouts before I start collecting today’s from the depths of Twitter and YouTube. Let’s go!
“But Herouth”, you must be wrinkling your noses, “do we really have to watch yet another painful looking Bariki match or pointless Hattorizakura?” Well, not today! Today we have a match in Jonokuchi which seems to belong in the top of Makushita, where good wrestlers are fighting for their career. On the left we have the recovering Murata, bouncing from his dive all the way down to the bottom of the banzuke over his knee injury. On the right, we have Hokutenkai, Takanoiwa’s nephew who is in a hurry to catch up with his peers after a long delay due to the unofficial boycott on his uncle. They are 2-0 upon mounting the dohyo.
Now, it’s really too bad that only about 20 spectators got to watch this one.
Largish Toma on the left is 2-0. On the right is Mukaida, on of Naruto beya’s middling deshi. It seems that the general population of Naruto beya benefits from the practice with their three new big dogs, and Mukaida is also 2-0 at this point.
Toma makes good use of his weight, though it’s clear that Mukaida has mighty arms. Day 6 is generally when the Naruto wheat was separated from the chaff, though, and Mukaida is clearly one of the heya’s second-level rikishi.
Next we have a long time favorite, Satonofuji, the master yumi-tori performer emeritus. The 42 years old seems relatively healthy, if not very strong. He and his opponent, Fukuminato from Minato beya, are both 1-1 before this match. This video starts in mid-bout – Satonofuji has his back to us.
In the past he might have solved this situation with an izori or something similar – satonofuji has a surprising number (37 if I’m not mistaken) of interesting kimarite under his belt – but now he settles for a simple yori-kiri.
I could not find a video, but I’ll inform you that Sakurai from Naruto beya won his bout with Kotokonno, as expected, to join his two 3-0 heya mates, Marusho and Motobayashi, at the top of the division.
I’m going to start with Kotomiyakura (Sadogatake, left) vs Baraki (Shikihide, right). Surprisingly, both are 2-0. Baraki is a bit of a mystery. How did a 164cm rikishi get into Grand Sumo? The threshold is 167, with a bit of lenience (165) when recruiting schoolkids in March (he didn’t join in March). His initial height is registered as 167, so I suspect he pulled a Mainoumi. However, although he is the best achieving rikishi in Shikihide beya, he is, alas, no Mainoumi.
For someone who is smaller than Enho, though, he does have some sumo. He improves to 3-0, and his day 7 bout is against Wakaichiro, no less.
Next we visit the old Isegahama veteran, Homarefuji, who is trying to stage a comeback. At 2-0, he would want as many wins as possible, but Sadanohikari (Sakaigawa, right) has a thing or two to say about that.
Perhaps Homarefuji – who was known as the only high-level pusher-thruster in Isegahama – should have stuck to thrusting. It seems his attempt to go to the mawashi has been his undoing there.
Next, we have a couple of Musashigawa guys. First, Shoji, who is 1-1, opposing Ryutsukasa from Irumagawa beya. The video starts mid-match – Shoji is the taller guy.
Minding his feet is our man Shoji. Since the placement of your feet is a crucial factor determining the winner at the edge of the dohyo, just coming in running does not cut it.
His heya-mate Kaishu faces Toho from Otake beya. Toho has a nice, Abi-level shiko, which, unfortunatelly, is not caught in this short video. He is also several sizes bigger than tiny Kaishu (on the right).
Uwatenage, and what a beautiful one at that.
Now we are starting to see some big names. Here is our friend Roga, 1-1 due to his little boo-boo on day 2. He is up against Yuki from Michinoku beya, a lower-Makushita, upper-Sandanme regular.
Roga tries again and again to secure his inside grip on the left, as he has a pretty good one on the right. The arm wrestling there is impressive. Eventually he just manages to manipulate Yuki to the edge and yori-kiri him, without that coveted grip.
The back-flipping Isegahama man, Tomisakae, is 1-1. On the left, he faces Sagatsukasa from Irumagawa. Tomisakae, win or lose, always look like the Energizer bunny. You’ll always find him jumping and skipping, despite the rather alarming bandaging on his knees.
And this one is no exception. The 37 years old Sagatsukasa doesn’t have much to offer, and our bunny wins by oshidashi.
Shonannoumi from Takadagawa beya is pretty popular among the lower-division fans out on Twitter. He has been in sumo 5 years, but is still only 21 years old, and came within touch of the heaven-hell border with an Ms5w rank two basho ago, where he got dribbled like a soccer ball in a German world cup game. He opened this basho with renewed strength, though, and is now 2-0, sharing the dohyo with one of my “usual suspects”, the nice but underachieving Kyokusoten, on the right.
Kyokusoten’s stance is all over the place and even the broadcaster thinks it’s a hatakikomi. However, look closer. Shonannoumi wins by uwatenage.
Churanoumi has smelled the heady air of sekitori life and wants back there. Masutoo, his opponent of the day, has never been this close to the mountain summit. Both are merely 1-1 starting day 6. Churanoumi on the left, the Hungarian on the right:
But Masutoo is not looking much like the strong force he was in the previous two basho. Churanoumi packs him up and delivers him to the front row customers within seconds. Maybe this rank is too high for him. Or maybe, I suspect, his improved achievements were due to his constant practice with Takanofist, in which case, there is another reason to be angry with the hot-headed twin, for depriving Masutoo of the one last chance he had to climb up the ladder.
Next, we have Hoshoryu, the great hope of the future, coming in with 2-0, to face Chiyootori, the veteran of Kokonoe beya, with the same scoreline. Hoshoryu shows his severe game face on the left. Chiyootori wobbles his bobble on the right:
There is, however, nothing wobbly about the way the Kokonoe man does sumo. Hoshoryu is being terribly naive in his attack, and gets dispatched like a wet tissue.
Next, the bout of the guys who were supposed to be a lot better off at this stage – Midorifuji on the left, Naya on the right. Both 0-2 at this point so someone is going to have a “shonichi”, first win:
Turns out, it’s Naya. Midorifuji is still out in the market trying to buy a win. Naya says that he has been concentrating much on a low tachiai and other basics, and for some reason this caused his hands to be too low, so he basically got a grip without wanting one. He got advice from his father (which I’m surprised to find he keeps contact with, the papers kept saying the former Takatoriki is estranged from his sons), to lean in with his shoulder. Though he says it’s hard for him to learn. Strange that he should get advice from the previous stablemaster rather than the current one. In any case, I think Midorifuji is simply small enough for hands that are too low down to be just effective.
With Ichinojo going kyujo, once again a wrestler from Makushita has to be borrowed to even the numbers up at Juryo. Today, it was Akua/Aqua, the Tatsunami man, who got to wear an oicho-mage, and face Kizakiumi. Akua, left, Kizakiumi, right:
Short, simple, and got him the third place in the “fighting spirit poll” in the NSK app. These bouts are important when determining promotions, so Akua now has to ensure he gets a kachi-koshi, and if he does, has an excellent chance of advancing.