Day 2 in the lower divisions (except Juryo) complements day 1. The rikishi who did not fight on day 1 get to meet the closest ranked opponent possible. From Day 3, opponents will be chosen – in most cases – from the ones who have the same number of wins, thus creating a quick elimination for the yusho, and balancing the sides as much as possible.
We really cannot cover Jonokuchi here at Tachiai without our good old Hattorizakura making an appearance. We do not accept bets on this match. We do not accept bets on any match, come to think of it.
The young Sisyphus faces Asahimaru (on the left) from Tomozuna beya. Asahimaru is quite the freshman – he was recruited Haru this year. Unfortunately, after one (not very successful) initial tournament, he was kyujo for the next one, and thus dropped off-banzuke and had to re-do his maezumo. So he is back now hoping to start afresh.
And there’s no one better to make a fresh start against than Hattorizakura.
Our next Jonokuchi bout is between two ancient Rikishi. I think the current term is “Boomers”, isn’t it? Young Daigonishiki is merely 42 years old, though, a mere baby, compared to his rival, 49 years old Hanakaze from Tatsunami beya, the sumo world’s equivalent of Methuselah. Hanakaze is on the right.
The geezer (who is, I should point out, younger than myself) wins it! At this rate he may make Sekitori yet.
Or maybe not.
Yesterday one of the leading Narutos surprisingly dropped his first match. So today we take a look at the other ones. Mishima is not one of the leading three – as his position in Jonidan attests – but is a definite worthy understudy. His opponent for the first day is Abezakura from Shikihide beya, on the left.
Ugh, a dame-oshi? Well, he immediately realizes what he did, apologizes and bows to poor Abezakura.
Next, how is Murata? The Takasago man who suffered injury and dropped all the way from Ms1 to Jonokuchi, including a basho in which he did “the Ryuden” to survive on the banzuke. By Aki, though, he was fully recovered and won the Jonokuchi yusho. He is on the left, faced with Hidano from Arashio beya.
Seriously? Another dame-oshi? Murata is not even apologetic about it, though.
Remember Hokutenkai? That’s Takanoiwa’s nephew, who got into the sumo world fairly late for his age, due probably to the controversy around his uncle. He is on the left, and opposite him we find Asahanshin, from Takasago beya.
I’m sure we’ll see good sumo from him this basho, though this particular bout was a bit unchallenging.
Short-haired Roman – still not sporting even a proper zanbara after that strange haircut three basho ago – faces Kasugaryu. Yes, the bow twirler. Roman on the left, Kasugaryu on the right.
Kasugaryu makes Roman’s life surprisingly difficult in this bout, but eventually has to yield to Roman’s superior power. After all, he needs to stay intact if he wants to twirl his bow.
Marusho from Naruto beya is, of course, one of the heya’s strong triumvirate. Here on the left, while on the right we have Tosaeizan from Onomatsu beya.
Marusho finds himself in a difficult match, but his patience and sumo background keep him from repeating the Sakurai mishap.
Toma, Hakuho’s uchi-deshi, who is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Enho, stands on the right while Akitoba from Minato beya stands on the left. I suppose nobody in Minato beya is too intimidated by huge mountains calling themselves rikishi. Also, Toma has taping across his shoulders.
I’ve seen Toma do better sumo. I smell a make-koshi this tournament, he seems to be in pain.
Next, we have a relatively new “one to watch” – Yoshii, from Nakagawa beya. It’s not a heya where you’d usually look for outstanding rikishi, but Yoshii has been on the banzuke only 3 basho, and gathered 5-2, 6-1, 5-2 in that time. His opponent – on the left – is Daishowaka, whom we mostly know from the Sumo Jinku team.
Kyokusoten has to buff up his act if he wants to remain the Nakagawa heyagashira, because Yoshii seems to mean business.
And now, the Texan you have all been waiting for. Our friend Wakaichiro – on the left – has been matched with Wakanofuji (Incidentally, it’s not “Fuji” as the mountain, like most Fujis in sumo, it’s the kanji for Wisteria), from Nishonoseki beya.
Alas, Wakaichiro seems a bit rusty. And is his hand giving him trouble?
Finishing up this division, we have Amakaze, continuing his slow recovery, on the left. But his opposite number is Dewanojo, who has a “nojo” body, which makes even the rather hefty Amakaze look like he’s dieting (He is not. Until the ban the NSK put on rikishi posting to social networks he posted lovely videos of himself eating with his usual relish).
The weight difference asserts itself, unfortunately for the former sekitori. And is it just me, or is he favoring his injured leg?
We have several familiar faces in Makushita today. Roga, the up-and-coming man from Futagoyama beya, on the left, meets Shohoryu, who, I remind you again, is not Hoshoryu.
As is usual with rikishi who join the Kakuryu Academy, the backup bow twirler’s sumo has improved significantly. This bout was surprisingly one-sided, and I’m pretty sure Roga is going to get some serious flak from his stablemaster for that.
Kotokuzan from Arashio beya has made it to Ms2 last spring, and his oyakata, who is nearing retirement age, was hoping to see another sekitori from the heya before his impending retirement. However, he had a deep make-koshi at that point, followed by a more shallow one, and he is now out of the range for Juryo promotion. His opponent is Masutoo, Chiganoura’s Hungarian, who also had an excellent year until the Takanofuji scandal broke out (related or not, I’m not sure). Kotokuzan is on the left.
Masutoo is strong off the tachiai, but Kotokuzan survives and denies him.
Naya, the prince of the House of Taiho, who is soon to be joined by two other princes, his brothers (well, one of them has not decided yet), must first keep his own position of power by attempting to beat Shiba, who is a strong Kise rikishi. Shiba is on the right.
My personal opinion is that Naya is a gifted wrestler who is under-coached. Last basho he got advice from his father (the former Takatoriki). Maybe he should give his old man a call again.
I mentioned Kyokusoten, the Nakagawa heyagashira (top ranking rikishi), who would very much like to finally put his foot in the door to Juryo, as is expected from a Mongolian rikishi. Also a member of the Kakuryu Academy, he has improved recently. But today he faces a dangerous pixie – Midorifuji from Isegahama beya. Midorifuji is on the left.
Hit-and-shift. I wonder where he got that from. Midorifuji walks away with the white star.
And the final match of the division gives us none other than Chiyonokuni, the previous basho’s yusho winner, who is eager to get back into his silk shimekomi. Sakigake from Shibatayama is the opponent on the left.
Kuni looks as good as he did in the previous basho. Will it get down to Chiyonokuni vs. Terunofuji again? We’ll know for sure 13 days from now.
Today I don’t have a full digest of the entire division at hand, more’s the pity. So here are five key bouts.
At the bottom, here’s Hoshoryu, who dealt with Akiseyama yesterday, and got, as his prize, the even heftier “199 kg” (after tax deduction) Gagamaru. Hoshoryu is the guy in the azure mawashi.
Gagamaru seems to be about to reach his expired-by date. Hoshoryu forces him out with a classic yori-kiri. Tomorrow Hoshoryu faces Kotoshoho, and I think the younger, highly motivated Kotoshoho is going to be a bigger challenge. Um, stronger, not bigger, I guess.
That same Kotoshoho faced Hoshoryu’s heya-mate, Akua/Aqua, today. Akua is the guy with the aqua-colored mawashi.
In addition to wearing a mawashi to match his shikona, Akua also has aggressive sumo. It seems that all the Tatsunami sekitori are off to a great start.
In a young vs. old match, we have the man with the luxurious hair, Kotonowaka, vs. the man with the luxurious girth, Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima has a busted foot, but looked great yesterday. Kotonowaka looked great ever since he made it to Juryo, and certain members of the Tachiai team believe he is destined to take the Juryo yusho. He is the guy in the cerulean mawashi.
Katasukashi. Kotonowaka checks “Day 2” on the hoshitori chart. Toyonoshima will have to secure his comeback to Makuuchi elsewhere.
Having checked on one veteran, we continue with others. We have Kaisei, who is facing Takagenji. Kaisei won his bout yesterday, while Takagenji is looking for his first win.
Kaisei is using the “bridge abutment” technique, borrowed from Ichinojo. He leans. He weighs more than Takagenji, and manages to wear the young man down. I think Takagenji sorely misses the daily practices with his twin. The win goes to the man in the persimmon mawashi.
We finish up with Ikioi, who won yesterday, who meets Hidenoumi, who didn’t.
The yusho winner in the navy blue mawashi continues his good form. Hidenoumi has him in an inconvenient grip, and he decides on a makikae, but unlike Sokokurai yesterday, who forgot the rule of leaning in when doing a makikae (change from outside to inside grip), and got pushed all the way out, Ikioi loses very little ground in the maneuver, and forces Hidenoumi out.