The challenge of writing about Jonokuchi yesterday was that while half of the division was fighting, the schedule of the other half was not published yet. So this post will prep the second half of those “Match Day 1” bouts. You’ll find the other preview post here. My goal is to post a highlights recap late tonight or in the morning, summarizing action from both days.
In football, a Match Day usually caries over a weekend and can even stretch for weeks/months as postponed games get rescheduled, but for the purposes of the standings, it allows the Match Day to be grouped together. Since these lower division bouts get fought every other day (or sometimes a little extra), the term seems appropriate. After the preview, I will review the whole Match Day after all bouts are completed so we can follow the lowest division yusho race in its entirety. The point is, we know the next generation of makuuchi mainstays will come through this division. The next Yokozuna will have likely won his first yusho, or come close, down in Jonokuchi. We’ll see how this goes and if it’s workable this way.
I’ve posted Herouth’s very helpful guide to the “rookie” class again since several will have bouts tonight. For our first bout tonight, Kiryuko and Daitensho mount the dohyo to kick off the night’s action. Kiryuko is the older brother of Shunrai, both sons of ex-Tokitsuumi. His younger brother fought yesterday and tonight he will face Oitekaze beya’s young sekitori hopeful, Daitensho. I do love how if you mouseover the pictures on the stable’s main webpage, they switch from a “serious” face to a smiling face. Yes, that means you have access to a smiling Endo, summoned at will. Maybe Tsurugisho really is metal? Back to young Ota Ippei, aka, Daitensho. He loves sushi, meat and sweets and hails from Aichi and for his first Ozumo bout he will face the scion of Sakamoto Masahiro.
The second bout of the night will be Daitenshin (there on the end of the front row) against Kokuryunami, whom he’s faced and lost to, twice, in maezumo. Kokuryunami has a veteran but fell off the banzuke and had to repeat maezumo. “Hey, kid, keep him off your belt!” As we can see from the data, Kokuryunami has mostly bounced around in Jonidan during his career, at times falling back to Jonokuchi through kyujo. His preferred style is a yotsu style, where he’s won twice as often by yorikiri as he’s lost. However, when it comes to oshizumo, the veteran’s luck is not quite so good. He has still won about 20 bouts from oshidashi but he’s lost more than 30.
So, Daitenshin, if you want to end that streak of losses, keep him at arms length, and you may find him susceptible to the hatakikomi slapdown if you can’t just shove him out. That will be a good way to start your official career. We hope to see you make sekitori!
The night’s third bout is, for me, the highlight bout of the division. Mukainakano, a prized recruit of Hakuho’s there in Miyagino-beya, will take on Miyagi Yo. (Yes, he’s actually a sumo wrestler.) To me, the winner of this bout is the favorite for the Jonokuchi yusho. The loser may have an outside chance of a comeback, like Atamifuji, but will likely have to set their sights for Jonidan.
From here, we get a rush of three bouts between the previous recruiting class who were unable to clear the division in their first tournament. Kato and Takatairiku each got one win in the last tournament. Takatairiku picked up his win against Shonanzakura while Kato beat Sano, from Asahiyama-beya, who is kyujo. The loser may find themselves facing Shonanzakura soon. Tamanotora and Yoshinofuji had a little more success, finishing on two wins, each. Kyokutaiga and Takabaho follow. Takabaho actually picked up three wins in May, one of them against Kyokutaiga. I had low hopes for similar action on Day 1 but was proven wrong, as y’all will learn later tonight.
Another recruit from that class remaining in Jonokuchi will take on veteran Sawaisamu. Sawaisamu splits his time between Jonidan and Jonokuchi, posing as a hurdle for those learning oshi-zumo and a relative pushover for those who establish a yotsu battle. He’s lost more than 150 bouts by yorikiri, winning only 20. When he can stay away from his opponent, his success rate is much closer to 50/50. Mogamizakura nearly got out of Jonokuchi and will face another veteran, Moriurara. Whichever tactic he wants to use, he’s got a decent shot to pick up win #1. And finally, to close out Jonokuchi action for Match Day 1, we’ve got Matsugi and Asahimaru who’ve both made brief appearances in Jonidan but have spent most of their short careers here in Jonokuchi. I’m not expecting a barnstormer here but I was pleasantly surprised by last night’s action so I’m not exactly advocating a trip to the fridge tonight. Still, if your can’s empty, this would probably be the time to get a refill.