Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 1

Ohisashiburi (“it’s been a long time”)! These days I don’t have much time to write daily reports, but I decided to take some time off work. These being COVID days, vacations are best spent at home, and what is a better way than to spend my vacation immersed in Sumo? So here is a collection of matches from the lower divisions. Today, we are featuring all three bow twirlers. Let’s start.

Jonokuchi

We can’t start our coverage of Jonokuchi without Sumo’s favorite anti-yokozuna. Physicists warn that if ever Hattorizakura was to meet Hakuho, the energy emitted by their mutual annihilation would surpass an H-bomb. So let’s hope the two never meet.

On the left we have Chiyosenshi, one of Kokonoe’s latest recruits. On the right, the aforementioned Hattorizakura, and this is the first bout of the day.

What is this? Hattorizakura eager to do sumo? Hattorizakura frustrated at his inevitable and somewhat undignified loss? Perhaps the Shikihide scandal shook him enough to want to do sumo and shake off the stigma.

Our next Jonokuchi bout is more in the realm of actual sumo. We have Yutakanami, from Tatsunami beya, on the left, and Yasunishi on the right. Yutakanami had his first ranked sumo tournament in Kyushu 2019 and ended it with a 6-1 yusho-doten (equal score to the yusho winner, losing in the playoff). However, he then went kyujo for two basho, went off-banzuke, and had to redo his maezumo. So this is the first time he resurfaced.

By now, his hair has grown enough to be tied in a chon-mage. And apparently, he did not forget his sumo, though he has a long way to go to reach his more famous heya mates.

Jonidan

We have a long-time favorite here, Satonofuji, who is the first of our bow-twirler theme. The old Isegahama man is on the left, while Shori from Tatsunami beya is on the right. It’s Shori’s second basho in the ranked divisions.

Satonofuji is trying one of his favorite moves here – izori – but cannot really convert it. Whether his age has caught up with him, or Shori is just not falling for it, I’m not sure. We’ll see how his next 6 bouts turn out.

Next we have a guy with the uninspired shikona “Ofukasawa”. The name “Fukasawa” was taken, apparently, and so Naruto oyakata just slapped an “O” on it and was done with it. He is on the left, facing the owner of the cheap off-brand shikona, Fujinoteru.

Despite the uninspired shikona, it seems like Naruto has once again scored a bullseye on this young recruit of his (second basho in the ranks).

Up next, we have one of Hakuho’s expanding collection of uchi-deshi. The list currently includes Ishiura, Enho, Toma, Senho, Hokuseiho and Ishii. So our man is Senho, on the right. He is 185cm tall and has gained a bit of weight since his debut. Senho and Ishii are the only ones on that list who have no sumo experience, and so are in the process of learning the basics.

(Ishii, BTW, had a nice win down in Jonokuchi today. I couldn’t find an individual video, though).

His opponent is Sorakaze from Oguruma beya, a Jonidan regular.

Although Senho’s sumo improved a lot since his debut, and he had a very good basho in July, Sorakaze manages to surprise him with that Hikkake. Next time, Senho!

Our last Jonidan bout gives you the first Ukrainian in sumo, Shishi, from Irumagawa beya. His real name is Serhii Sokolovskyi, 191cm. Not sure how much he weighs right now, he was 162kg, but lost a lot in his transition to professional sumo. He has several years of experience in international amateur sumo. He is on the left, and Daishohama of Oitekaze beya is on the right.

Yes, he is a strong one. Though with his experience, I think the real test for him would be to pass the Makushita barrier.

Sandanme

We now get to our second bow twirler. That’s Kasugaryu. He used to belong to Nakagawa beya, but when the heya was dissolved due to the recent scandal, he moved to Tomozuna beya. Unlike many other members of that heya, he has retained his shikona, probably because it was not connected to Nakagawa but was given to him in his previous heya (Kasugayama, which was also dissolved). He is 36 years old, and has been serving as Hakuho’s tsukebito for much of his career.

OK, he is on the right, then, and 19 years old Tatsuki, from Otake beya, is on the left.

Whoa. This is 36 years old Kasugaryu? Moving to Tomozuna beya seems to have improved his sumo. He was 5-2 last basho.

We move on to Isegahama’s latest talent, Hayatefuji. This is his third basho in the ranks, and the fact that he is in Sandanme within three basho should tell you he doesn’t believe in make-koshi. On the left, we have Imafuku from Nishonoseki beya.

Like many Isegahama talents, Hayatefuji doesn’t hesitate to change techniques in mid bout, and doesn’t insist on just doing “oshi” or “yotsu”.

Our final Sandanme guy is Hokutenkai, AKA Takanoiwa’s nephew. The Onoe Mongolian on the left meets Taichiyama from Chiganoura beya, on the right.

I wonder at which point he will stop being Takanoiwa’s nephew, and instead, Takanoiwa will be remembered as Hokutenkai’s uncle…

Makushita

For a warmup, let’s start with Fukamiyama from Onoe beya, vs. Tokunomusashi from Musashigawa beya. I just picked this one because it’s a reall nice match. Fukamiyama on the left.

The Musashigawa man knows how to use his legs. The kimarite is sotogake.

Up next, Mudoho, the “lesser Naya”, Prince Naya’s little brother. Like his brother, he is at Otake beya. He, too, faces an opponent from Musashigawa beya, Nakashima. Mudoho on the left, Nakashima on the right.

Mudoho keeps up the family honor.

Next, we have the man who won the Sandanme yusho in July, Fukai. This, of course, launched him up into Makushita. It’s merely his third basho, as he was Sandanme-tsukedashi in Haru, and his hair is still a rather short zanbara. He stands on the left, and his opponent, Nankairiki from Kise beya, is on the right.

Well, he is the real deal. Takasago beya is not going to stay with one sekitori for long.

Next up, our third, and most current, bow twirler, Shohoryu (Tokitsukaze). Shohoryu on the right, and his opponent, Kototsubasa (guess which heya?) is on the left.

And as the tweet says, there is a gap in these guys’ level of sumo. If it wasn’t for his height, Shohoryu would probably have made it to the top Makushita/Lower Juryo by now.

Up next, we have Murata, yet another Takasago man. To recap, Murata was also a Sandanme tsukedashi, like Fukai above, and like Asanoyama. He went all the way to Ms1w, when injury struck, and he dropped all the way to Jonidan, to start again – and be injured again. In September 2019 he started his comeback, winning the Jonokuchi yusho, and the Jonidan yusho in the following basho. His July basho ended with a minimal kachi-koshi, but he is now almost back to his highest rank, at Ms16w.

Murata is on the right, and on the left, we have the popular Shonnannoumi, from Takadagawa beya, who is a regular of the top third of the Makushita division.

That’s a very dynamic morozashi, ending in a definitive yori-kiri. Good work.

Up next, Tamashoho vs. Kitanowaka. Wait, Tama-what? Well, remember that Nakagawa stable, which had its rikish scattered among several ichimon following the recent scandal? We discussed it above when we talked about Kasugaryu. Well, one of the rikishi, then known as Kyokusoten, has moved in with his brother-in-law, Tamawashi, to Kataonami beya. Now, the “Kyoku” in his name came from Nakagawa oyakata’s shikona. And he didn’t care to keep it. So now he has a new shikona, Tamashoho. It will take some getting used to.

So, Kyoku… Tamashoho is on the left. He faces Kitanowaka, Hakkaku beya’s young talent, on the right.

Although K… Tamashoho seems to have gained some weight, the gap between his sumo and Kitanowaka is simply too wide. Okuridashi, it’s Kitanowaka’s day.

Now we turn to the leading talent of Naruto beya, the hefty Oshoryu, who is chasing after Takakeisho. They were in high-school together and Oshoryu considers himself a rival of the current Ozeki. Their body types and sumo style also match. On the right, however, is Takakento, who serves as tsukebito to the aforesaid Takakeisho.

As if to say “Before you beat my boss, let’s see you get through me first”, Takakento disposes of the ambitious Oshoryu. Oshoryu should bear in mind that Takakento practices with Takakeisho all the time. That’s tsukebito privilege.

Up next, Yago, the man who had surgery on his knees but decided prematurely to participate in July and ended up getting demoted below the promotion line anyway. His opponent is Tsukahara, who has been roaming around the top of Makushita for quite a while now and is waiting to burst through the “thin line”. Yago on the left, Tsukahara on the right.

Yago’s knees are still not quite what they should be, but he manages to cover for that with some experience.

Finally, we have the former sekitori from Takasago beya, Asabenkei, who wants to regain that status as quickly as possible from Ms4e. He is facing Prince Naya himself. He is Ms4w, and  finally comes within reach of that coveted silk mawashi, and a chance to chase after the members of his age group – Kotoshoho and Hoshoryu. For Asabenkei and Naya to achieve their goal, they probably need at least 5 wins, so any loss can be a disaster. Yet one of them has to lose this bout. Asabenkei on the left, Naya on the right.

The precious win goes to a very relieved Prince Naya. I have a hunch that Asabenkei’s downwards trend is not over, yet. But it’s still early days.

Juryo

I refer you to Natto Sumo’s Juryo digest. However, as that video says, it’s going to be removed at the end of the basho. So for posterity here is the long version, sans English.

I hope you enjoyed this collection, and I also hope I’ll be able to keep doing this throughout the basho. No promises!

9 thoughts on “Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 1

  1. I wonder if Hattorizakura meeting Hakuho would propel us all into an alternate universe rather than our destruction. This being 2020 Mark 1, I am willing to take that chance. 20二0 will be better.

  2. I am really eager to see the maezumo class of Hatsu 2020 through this basho and closing out this weird year. That front line is something. Unless there’s an injury, there are 3-4 sekitori in there.

  3. Thanks so much Herouth! I just totally love these lower division updates.
    From now on I will be keeping an eye on the progress of Shishi the Ukrainian. Also on Fukai….

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