Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 7

Day 7 – the first day of round four! This means that any wrestlers in the 3-0 bracket who win today’s match have a straight kachi-koshi. Furthermore, they maintain their chances of a division yusho. The field for the division yusho is becoming narrower as lossless rikishi are eliminated. We’ll see many of those matches today.

Jonokuchi

I have one match for you today, and it features a rikishi whose footage I have been seeking for quite a while, and I wonder why, given that his standing at the moment is 3-0. Is nobody paying attention? Ishii is one of the “twin towers” in the Hakuho uchi-deshi clan, who were recruited in Haru. We have met Hokuseiho, who is already pillaging Jonidan, after a successful Jonokuchi yusho in July. But Ishii was kyujo in July, only showing up for his last match (a tactic I call “The Ryuden” because Ryuden used it several consecutive times to avoid dropping off-banzuke). So he is one step behind his Mongolian twin. He is also “only” 192cm tall, when Hokuseiho is 200. So what is his Sumo like?

Ishii is on the right. He faces Taniguchi from Tagonoura. Both are 3-0.

Let’s say I enjoyed that a lot more than I did any of Hokuseiho’s matches. One reason is that this was a proper, textbook tachiai (although I still feel it’s strange that such a tall person should do the head plant). The second, of course, was that lovely shitatenage. I wish I had all his four matches. So Ishii is now 4-0, kachi-koshi, and in the Jonokuchi yusho run.

Jonidan

We start with the future president, Kirameki, who suffered two setbacks, and mounts the dohyo with a 1-2 score. His opponent is Daishohama, from Oitekaze beya. Kirameki on the left.

He has met a very tenacious opponent here, and I think he lost his cool in the end (though I don’t think it was an actual dame-oshi). But now his score is even. And it was nice to see his technique.

Satonofuji, the old bow twirler, has a score of 2-1 as he mounts the dohyo today on the left side. Opposite him is Suzaki (not to be confused with Suzuki), from Otake beya. What magic will the old man produce today?

Ah. Um. The kind of technique we got used to seeing from his younger heya mate, Aminishiki, in the sunset of his career. (Yes, it’s hard to wrap your brains around the fact that Aminishiki is younger).

OK, let’s move into the boiling 3-0 bracket. Our first pairing is between Hamasu, son of Onoe oyakata, and Aki from Shikoroyama beya. Aki is in Jonokuchi, and paid a visit to Jonidan today. Hamasu, despite his pedigree, has a so-so career for now – some because of kyujo, but some due to less than amazing results. But this basho he is 3-0. Aki’s shikona seems to follow the same pattern as that of Abi, with the same first kanji, and I suspect he is a fan. I hope not of the extracurriculars, though. Hamasu on the left, Aki on the right.

Morotezuki, followed by a frantic series of attempted pulls. I think he is definitely an Abi fan. But he is also kachi-koshi.

Moving up, Hagiwara, the piano prodigy of Naruto beya, on the left, and Ai, of Takadagawa beya. Those of you who know Japanese – no, it’s not “Love”. The kanji is “藍” – “indigo”. Hagiwara is on the left.

Jonidan must be very boring for Hagiwara.

Next, a meeting between Fujinokaze (Oguruma. Surprisingly, not a two-kanji shikona), and Yukiamami from Tatsunami beya. I mentioned the fact that Roman had a strange episode in his past, being kyujo for a whole basho and returning with a crew-cut. Well, Yukiamami had the same. We can only speculate at the reason for that happening. But now both of them have new chon-mage on their heads, and spring in their step.

Yukiamami on the right, Fujinokaze on the left.

The kachi-koshi goes to Yukiamami. Also survival in the yusho race, though I’d give Hagiwara better odds.

Sandanme

We start with Mishima from Naruto beya, whom I usually expect to be stronger than the 1-2 score he has upon entering the ring. Opposite him, on the right, is Arikae from Isenoumi beya.

Mishima demonstrates some classic gaburi-yori and lifts his opponent. Naruto oyakata will be proud today of his man from Shimane-ken.

In the 3-0 category, we find Kasugaryu, who has shown energetic sumo for his years this basho, on the right. On the left, Nabatame, from Futagoyama beya.

Ouch! That must have hurt. Though after having seen Kasugaryu once dislocate his knee in a fall, then sit on the dohyo, reset it with a straight face, and walk out (and still perform the yumi-tori at the end of the same day) – I guess he doesn’t make much of this mere head-first dive. However, the one with the kachi-koshi is Nabatame, and Hakuho’s old tsukebito will have to get his another day.

A more likely candidate for the yusho race, though, is Nihonyanagi, with whom you should already be familiar. On the left, he faces Ginseizan from Otake beya.

Ginseizan turned out to be a challenging, dynamic opponent. So Nihonyanagi turns this into a leaning competition, where he has the weight advantage. I call this “The Ichinojo attack”. Yep, it works alright. Nihonyanagi 4-0. Kudos to Ginseizan.

Up next, two of the rikishi we have been following meet head to head. On the left – Hokutenkai, the nephew of a man battered by a Yokozuna. On the right – Tosamidori. The man of the thousand kyujo.

Hokutenkai is 4-0, and remains in the yusho race. It will be interesting to see who his match will be on round 5.

Kataonami beya has 4 wrestlers. Tamawashi, Tamashoho (Tamawashi’s brother-in-law, formerly Kyokusoten, who is not doing too well this basho), Tamakongo, and Tamanohoshi. And today it was Tamakongo’s 25th birthday! So here is the proud birthday boy, standing on the right, and Tsuyukusa, from Otakebeya, is glaring at him from the left.

Tamakongo seems to be very pleased with the kachi-koshi he got for his birthday.

Makushita

We start with the apprentice chef from Tatsunami beya, Kitadaichi, with 1-2 so far. He is matched with Yoshoyama, from Tokitsukaze beya. I have been following Yoshoyama on and off since his debut. He was supposed to be a strong Mongolian, the first the heya recruited since the passing of Tokitenku, and I kind of expected him to climb the ladder quickly to fill the late sekitori’s shoes. But his career did not develop as well as that of his countryman, Hoshoryu, who was recruited shortly after him. When I watched him in the Tokitsukaze practice the NSK published prior to the current basho, I saw him being very frustrated at losing many of his moshi-ai matches, and walking around like he had some kind of back pain. I don’t know if that’s related to the large taping we see on his body in the following video. But it may explain the stunted career.

So we have Kitadaichi on the left, and Yoshoyama on the right.

I think you can see what I mean about the back pain. Also, he does have sumo, and a good tachiai. I hope he can somehow overcome whatever is ailing him. In any case, he evens his score to 2-2, while Kitadaichi will have to win through if he wants a kachi-koshi.

In the same bracket, we have the promising Yoshii, who probably didn’t expect to be 1-2 at this stage of te basho. He is on the right, and Kotohayato from Sadogatake beya is on the left.

Kotohayato forgets the first rule of the henka: deploy it only if your opponent is not looking at you. Yoshii was looking so hard he nearly had one of Kotohayato’s fingers in his eye. A just win for the young talent, who evens to 2-2.

And another who hoped not to have 1-2 at this stage is none other than Takagenji. On the left, he faces Asabenkei. A return to Juryo is on the line.

To my eye, this was Takagenji’s win in the first run, as Asabenkei’s feet were reversed before his fist touched the ground. But the shimpan judged this to be a dotai, and declared the torinaoshi. Points to Takagenji for helping Asabenkei up. Takagenji manages to even his score after his really bad start. Asabenkei is 1-3, and I’m not sure that’s his biggest worry at the moment.

We move up to the 2-1 bracket, where we find our friend Fukai, from Takasago beya. Fukai is on the right – and on the left, Kotodairyu.

Fukai improves to 3-1.

Roga, the Russian from Futagoyama beya, on the right, meets Kotoseigo on th left.

Roga is 3-1. On his way to a kachi-koshi, but not there yet.

The next match is a nod to Tim, who published a post about Kamito shortly before the basho. Kamito, from Tatsunami beya, is on the left. Kainoryu, from Tomozuna beya, on the right.

At the time, somebody commented that Kitadaichi was more talented than Kamito. Well, this basho it doesn’t look like that. Kamito now 3-1.

Finally, in the 2-1 bracket, we meet Takakento again. Remember? Takakeisho’s head tsukebito whose sumo seems to have taken a step forward this basho. His opponent today, however, is Prince Naya. Takakento on the left, Naya on the right.

You can see some Takakeisho in Takakento’s style. Naya finds himself with an embarrassing 2-2, and will need to win out if he hopes to have his name sung by yobidashi Kunio next basho.

Moving up to the 3-0 bracket, here is anther Naya. It’s the younger brother, Mudoho, on the left. And we have also met his opponent, Aozora from Kasugano bya.

And Mudoho is kachi-koshi. I wonder if the family will not end up the same as the Onami brothers – big brother in a permanent black mawashi, middle brother in Juryo, little brother in Makuuchi. Early days.

Here is Narutaki again – the man named after a tram station – on the right. On the left, Tsurubayashi, from Kise beya, who has given Yoshii one of his surprising losses.

Narutaki ends this bout all pumped up, taking deep breaths to calm down. Kachi koshi! Interestingly, he had a straight kachi-koshi in July as well, but followed it with two losses. So let’s hope he can keep winning this time.

And finally, the bout you have all been waiting for. On the left, Chiyonoumi. On the right, Ura. And I was one of the very few cheering for Chiyonoumi on this day.

However, the Kokonoe man disappoints me, as he challenges Ura not at all. Ura doesn’t even have to try to run away with a stolen limb in his arms. Just rams in and out goes the man from Kochi-ken. Ura is kachi-koshi, but still needs at least one win to make his re-promotion more realistic. Chiyonoumi needs two.

Juryo

  • The two Isegahama men win today. In fact, you can’t see it in the highlights, but because Nishikifuji’s match was the first in Juryo, he received his fake chikara-mizu from Midorifuji. Then, since Nishikifuji won, Midorifuji received his right back from his heya mate.
  • Every one of Chiyonokuni’s matches is a joy to watch. Lightning fast, and can easily use the mawashi if he needs to. We need him back in Makuuchi. He’ll probably win the yusho in his return basho.
  • Akua seems to have recovered from his so-so start.
  • Kotonowaka seems headed back to Makuuchi. Kyokushuho, on the other hand…
  • Ikioi shouldn’t be on the dohyo.

9 thoughts on “Bouts from the lower divisions – Aki 2020, Day 7

  1. It’s interesting that Ura is avoiding fighting most of the other Makushita joi because he keeps winning! He should get the winner of Murata-Bushozan next. 6-1 is almost certain to get him promoted, 5-2 is a lot more iffy and may come down to what they decide to do with Azumaryu and Fujiazuma.

  2. Herouth, thanks so much for these lower divisions reports. What a treat they are and what a wealth of good information they provide!!! I agree concerning Ikioi. It makes me heartsick to watch his bouts these days.

  3. Kitaharima is second all-time in one-basho trips to Juryo from Makushita (i.e., Ms->J->Ms). Even if he adds another one to his total this time, he’ll still trail the leader, recently retired Kizenryu, by 6 to 9.

  4. Chiyonokuni sure would inject some life back into makuuchi. Nabatame! It will be nice to see him promoted. We’re going to get some more separation from that class as Hayatefuji continues to roll but it’s really nice to see the success of that group.

  5. That Kasugaryu anecdote is one of the most samurai things I’ve ever heard.

    Ginseizan’s a familiar name for those who have seen the doco on Osunaarashi.They debuted for Otake stable at the same time, doing Mae-zumo and starting their careers (and stable life) at the bottom together.

  6. Ura, given his current form and the top division dogpile, might actually be on the leader board were he in the top division. He’s just locked in, and looks set to make a 2021 return to glory as long as his health holds out. We need the infusion of talent, stat, because so much of the regular sekitori are aging out. What a time to be a fan of this sport.

  7. Watching Ura absolutely obliterate people has been one of the joys of the last couple of basho where I’ve had the chance to watch lower division sumo.

  8. Why is the 2-2 for Naya embarassing? It’s certainly less than what I had hoped for, but he is still young. He isn’t really getting over the hump to Juryo, but since Nagoya last year, when he finished 3-4 at Ms6, which dropped him to Ms10, he only had one small makekochi with 3-4 in January. That’s way more consistent than most other guys in that region. He might fare way better if and when he gets to 15 bouts a basho.
    If you look at Hoshoryu, his way up from Ms7 was 4-3, 4-3, 3-4, 4-3 (which got him promoted from Ms5e to J13 followed by 7-8, 8-7, 8-7 and a 10-5 from J6, which got him promoted to Makuuchi already. Speak about all stars being aligned… ;)
    a tad more luck for Naya and he could already be Juryo as well. WHere Hoshoryu often got the biggest climbs possible and the smallest falls, Naya had the smallest climbs, like going from Ms5e to Ms4w instead of J13 with the same 4-3 record.
    Not saying he is at the same level as Hoshoryu at the moment, but in this top of Makushita, trhe tiniest bits of luck can make the difference.

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