Today we have lots of matches that affect the yusho races in the various divisions. An interesting situation is developing in Makushita. But let’s start from the bottom.
Skipping Hattorizakura’s bout against Sawanofuji – one of the only two guys he has a non-default win over – we take a look into the two yusho elimination matches
We have seen a couple of Otsuji’s bouts. Today, the Takadagawa man, having won all of his four previous matches, mounts the dohyo on the left side, while Tosamidori, an Onomatsu man, does the same on the right side.
That was a rather unfortunate slippiotoshi for a yusho decider. The dohyo has been watered right before this bout, as you can see, and poor Otsuji skids right off the yusho race.
Let’s see if the other yusho elimination match is better. On the left we have Senho, Hakuho’s uchi-deshi, and on the right, another Onomatsu man, Chida. Both collected four wins and no losses up to this moment.
Isn’t it impressive how far Senho has come since his last basho? Senho is the first uchi-deshi Hakuho has recruited who has virtually no sumo experience. He was make-koshi in his previous basho. And now he is in the yusho run, and you can see him starting to develop some fundamentals, like always having one foot forwards and one backwards, a good grip, and some gaburi. Somebody at Miyagino is a good teacher. And no, I don’t mean Hakuho. At this level he is not getting the time of day from any Yokozuna. The story about Hakuho was that his anideshi noticed he was a fast learner and informed the oyakata of that, and this is probably how things are still done.
This leaves only Tosamidori and Senho with 5-0 in Jonokuchi. They are likely to be matched against each other, but may be matched with low-ranking 5-0 rikishi from Jonidan.
I can think of one scary possibility…
The lowest ranking rikishi with a perfect record is our friend Ura, who collected his kachi-koshi, and will now mount the dohyo from the right side. His opponent for the day? Sawayaka from Shikihide beya.
Impressive! Sawayaka has managed to extend the bout to four seconds! Ura continues to overpower people with one thrust. So he is now with 5-0, and I have a feeling one of the unfortunate Jonokuchi winners above is going to have a very quick and miserable experience very soon.
Going up a notch, We have Hokutenkai on the left, and Mishima – the Naruto “understudy” – on the right. This is another yusho elimination match, as they each have 4-0 on their scoreboard.
Looks like Mishima decided to settle for his kachi-koshi and not give the yusho a go after all. Hokutenkai advances to 5-0.
Up at the top of Jonidan we have Murata. His opponent is Miryuzan, from Otake beya, at the right side of the frame.
Hey! Miryuzan, son-of-a-beep! Come back here and fight like a man!
In addition to Ura, Hokutenkai and Murata, three more men stand at the top of the Jonidan yusho arasoi: Nankairiki, Chiyotora, and the surprising Yuriki from Chiganoura beya.
We begin with a match that isn’t in the yusho race. Short-haired Roman, on the left, meets Wakaryusei. Both are 3-1, so it’s a bout for kachi-koshi.
Congratulations on your kachi-koshi, Roman.
On to the yusho eliminations. Ito from Shikoroyama beya is on the left. Daishosei, Oitekaze, on the right. Both 4-0.
You got to admit, there is nothing more satisfying than a good throw. In this case, uwatenage.
Next up on the left is Tochimitsuru from Kasugano beya, who is here to meet Prince Charming Kitanowaka.
Yay! Another uwatenage! Kitanowaka now 5-0.
Up next on the left is Chiyonokatsu from Kokonoe beya. But the guy he faces doesn’t have a habit of losing. It’s our friend Motobayashi from Naruto beya, now the only lossless one from that heya.
Motobayashi has not lost a single bout since he was recruited. Technically that’s only 19 wins, but he also won all of his maezumo bouts and three playoff matches. Formidable, isn’t he? Two more wins and he joins the 21 club.
In addition to the above, the Sandanme Yusho arasoi also includes Kawamoto, Sadanohana, and the very surprising Awajiumi.
We start with the 2-2 bracket, which features a pair of celebrities. On the left, prince Naya. On the right, Chiyootori. It’s youth against experience here.
This was a very frustrating match for Naya. He had it. He did everything right. He dominated – and then was a little too slow to react when Chiyootori rolled away at the tawara, and Chiyomaru’s little brother seized the opportunity. Naya will have to win through to avoid make-koshi.
Up in the 3-1 bracket, we begin with Roga on the left, and Wakayama (Onomatsu beya) on the right. Winner gets kachi-koshi.
Roga gets another kachi-koshi. It’s a real shame he was so rusty in his first match.
Shiraishi is next up on the left, with Hatooka on the right. Hatooka had a Jonokuchi yusho followed by a Jonidan yusho, but finds the rarefied air of Makushita a little bit more challenging.
Now, Shiraishi, doesn’t that feel a lot sweeter than a win by henka? This was great sumo from the smaller Shiraishi. I hope and pray he doesn’t turn into a Chiyoshoma.
Right at the top, Shiba, whose only loss so far was in his last match with Terunofuji, meets yet another Makuuchi veteran, Chiyonokuni. Shiba left, Kuni right.
Chiyonokuni gets entrapped when he goes for a yotsu battle and finds himself suddenly in a morozashi. He tries to disengage and doesn’t make it. Surprisingly, it’s Shiba who gets the kachi-koshi in this bout, and Chiyonokuni drops to 3-2.
OK then! We’re into the Yusho elimination matches. First up, on the left, Midorifuji, the deputy pixie of Isegahama beya. On the right, Bushozan, from Fujishima beya, a long-time Makushita fixture.
Midorifuji dances on the bales, and gets his fifth win, to stay in the yusho race.
Immediately following is his famous ani-deshi, the former Ozeki Terunofuji. This time he mounts the dohyo on the right. On the left is the proud member of Kakuryu’s academy, Shohoryu.
Shohoryu tried to make this an oshi bout, but a confident Terunofuji traps his arms, closes up the gap, and finishes up with a sukuinage.
The two Isegahama men are in the yusho race. And they can’t be matched against each other. In fact, there are two additional rikishi who won their 5-0 today, and they, too, share a heya and can’t be matched. Let’s take a look at their bouts. First, Hiradoumi, Sakaigawa beya, meets Terasawa, Takasago beya. Hiradoumi on the left.
Very genki! And here is Ayanoumi from Yamahibiki beya vs. Tsushimanada from Sakaigawa beya. Tsushimanada is on the right.
Half-henka, and a very convincing uwatenage. So these two Sakaigawa men are 5-0, and the yusho arasoi looks like this:
- Ms10W Terunofuji
- Ms12E Midorifuji
- Ms45E Hiradoumi
- Ms51W Tsushimanada
Normally, the top two guys would be matched in the next battle, and so would the top bottom guys. Only they can’t do that, because each of those pairs is from the same heya.
A likely scenario is that they will be cross-matched despite the large gaps in rank. That is, that the next round will be Terunofuji vs. Hiradoumi and Midorifuji vs. Tsushimanada. If one Isegahama man and one Sakaigawa man win, then no problems – they will then be matched with each other for the yusho.
However, if both Isegahama men win for 6-0, they will need to be matched with someone who is not 6-0. The same goes for the Sakaigawa men, only they can probably be matched with upper Sandanme winners at that point.
Note that a yusho for either of the Isegahama men means promotion to Juryo. For this reason, I believe that if they reach the 6-0, they will be sent to Juryo for exchange matches. Anybody for Terunofuji vs. Hoshoryu?
If either of them win that last match, it’s his yusho. But if both do, they’ll meet in a playoff. And they will both be promoted to Juryo, and Isegahama beya will once again have four active sekitori.
Yep, a lot of ifs. But it means we’ll be eagerly watching out for these two. Note that the torikumi committee may decide to do the exchange bouts first or whatever other combination they can think of. What they don’t want, though, is a bunch of 6-1 rikishi entering the fray in the last moment for a barnyard brawl.
So here is your Juryo digest for the day:
- Very strong show from Irodori and Kaisho.
- Hoshoryu pulls again. Forward! Forward! You were doing so well in the first week!
- What happened to Tobizaru? Did he get concussed again?
- Never underestimate the power of the mountain of bread, Toyonoshima.
- Akua wants to stick around this time. So much determination in his sumo!
- For a man who is going to retire in four months, Sokokurai sure looks genki. He may get that kachi-koshi yet, and who knows, might get to see another kensho envelope before he hangs his mawashi.
- Wakamotoharu, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of his older heya mate. He looks passive and has no sumo. Has losing his Instagram account affected him that much? Or is he worried about his little brother Wakatakakage?
- Why do all the rikishi insist on banging coconuts today?
- Ouch, the ghost of Yago.