Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 7

Prince Debu. I mean, Naya.

It’s the weekend. There is less footage, but more kachi-koshi. Let’s go!

Sandanme

We start with Torakio, who has been once again scheduled two days in a row. Today he was matched with Kasugakuni, with a similar record of 2-1.

Unfortunately, unlike yesterday’s bout, which was excellent, and caused him much frustration, today Torakio was weak and lost because of his own mistake. He is now 2-2. We will probably see him in Sandanme for a while yet.

We saw Inoue yesterday vs. Kototebakari, who has left him in the dust. Today he was scheduled vs. Debu. I mean, Naya. Both were 2-1. (Note that in the lower divisions scheduling normally goes according to current standing. That is, Rikishi are scheduled against opponents with the same score).

Classic oshi match. Inoue sidesteps and nearly cause Naya to stumble out, but Naya manages to keep his balance, turns and continues his attack for the win. Naya now 3-1, and Inoue 2-2.

The aforementioned Kototebakari has also been scheduled today – this time against Kirinofuji. Both 3-0 before this bout:

Kototebakari starts by going backwards, but soon takes over the match and marches Kirinofuji around the dohyo until he agrees to go out. Kototebakari is kachi-koshi and in the Sandanme yusho picture.

Makushita

From the lower part of this division, we have Kyokusoten vs. Takakento.

Kyokusoten has been around for seven years, but he doesn’t manage to put on weight – or to make it past mid-makushita. He started this tournament well, and I must have jinxed him when I mentioned that yesterday, because here he is being swept off the dohyo like so much salt.

At the top end of Makushita, in the purgatory, we have this bout (which I debated with myself whether to include, as I try to avoid the evil twin) between Taka-Beat-Your-Servant and Sokokurai.

TJT has good sumo, but thankfully good old Sokokurai has much more experience, countered the youngster’s attempts at a makikae, and had him down relatively quickly with a shitatenage. TJT’s race to the acquisition of a new victim, er, tsukebito, is somewhat slowed by this loss. Sokokurai, on the other hand, is kachi-koshi, though at Ms5 he still needs to pick a couple more wins to ensure his return to full sekitori status. At least this time he doesn’t need to raise chickens while he waits.

Juryo

So what happened today in the most interesting division in Grand Sumo?

  • As Daishoho at the top paid a visit to Makuuchi, a balancer is needed at the bottom, and Makushita’s Irodori (Shikoroyama beya) wears his first oicho-mage and goes out to meet Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima doesn’t waste time driving him out. Irodori is now half-and-half.
  • Mitoryu momentarily gets a sashi. Shimanoumi denies him. Mitoryu punishes with a nodowa and follows up with a dominating series of pushes. Oshidashi.
  • The other Nishikido man, Gokushindo, meets Tobizaru. This time he is not trying his delay tactic which hasn’t been working in the previous two days but goes on an aggressive tsuki-oshi attack. However, Tobizaru is rather strong and wants the Juryo yusho. Gokushindo finds himself flat on his face and a step closer back to the purgatory.
  • Chiyonoumi is also on a mission to avoid the purgatory. At 2-4, his situation is very delicate. He is very aggressive off the tachiai, and tsuki’s Jokoryu to ablivion. I think I see a dame-oshi there, too, as he gets a little bit carried away and even pulls his own sagari with what looks like anger. I don’t know what he was so pissed off about, but hey, glad he won. 3-4 now. Keep going, Kochi man.
  • Another man in serious need for white stars is Chiyonoo, who doesn’t seem able to produce much this tournament. Tomokaze makes short work of him. Tomokaze 4-3 and needs to keep it up to avoid a demotion
  • Kyokushuho starts his bout vs. Enho with what should probably have been called a matta. Enho operates an emergency plan and goes for the Mongolian’s leg. Whoever is throwing the dice for him is doing a good job because this turns out to be super effective, and Enho wins by a rare yori-kiri, surprising even himself. And was that a little shove of frustration sending Enho back a couple of steps?
  • Coming into this match, Hakuyozan is in the leader group. As he attempts a sashi on the left, Azumaryu is already several steps ahead and sends Hakuyozan to the chaser group.
  • A kind of oshi dance develops between Takekaze and Kyokutaisei. And dancing gives the advantage to the old wily one.
  • The time it takes Akiseyama to assume a crouching position is longer than the time it takes him to get Tsurugisho off the dohyo. Tsurugisho is not happy.
  • Wakatakakage once again shows that size doesn’t matter to him. He gets a quick grip on the bigger Tokushoryu and easily marches him out. Tho Arashio man is here to stay.
  • This time Terutsuyoshi goes for the Harumafuji dive-in. Doesn’t quite get it the way the Yokozuna would have, but he does manage to get Kotoyuki turned around and pushes him outside. Remarkably, Kotoyuki lands on his own feet. Terutsuyoshi still going strong. He said on the Isegahama web site that if he gets double digits he is highly likely to be promoted to Makuuchi, which probably means he totally jinxed himself.

The Aminishiki vs. Ishiura bout requires further explanation. There are those among you wondering how the Prince Of Wile and Duke Of Hatakikomi fell fol that stupid, flagrant henka from a man who is known for, well, doing henka. Here is the full bout, starting from the final salt throw.

  • Tachiai #1. Ishiura’s matta. Apologizes to whoever needs an apology, the two redo their shikiri.
  • Tachiai #2. I don’t really understand why this is a matta, and the gyoji doesn’t, either. The shimpan waves his hand – so a matta it is. Do it again. Aminishiki clearly unhappy.
  • Tachiai #3. This time Aminishiki jumps the gun. At this point his concentration is totally broken.
  • Tachiai #4. Hennnnnnka.

Aminishiki said on the Isegahama web site that he lost his concentration and that adapting to his opponent’s actions is the first rule in the book and he has neglected it. So that’s why.

Moving on with the rest of our Juryo footage:

  • Kotoeko starts with a bit of tsuppari, and although Hidenoumi seems to lock or at least limit his arms, Kotoeko still pushes forward. Hidenoumi is 1-6, and in the next banzuke will probably be able to say hi to his brother (Tobizaru) as they pass each other – Tobizaru soaring, while Hidenoumi nose diving.
  • The Yago-Takagenji match was actually quite enjoyable! Rains of tsuppari, sidestep not effective, continued tsuppari. Yet another attempt at a sidestep. Eventually it turns into a yotsu battle, but Takagenji has a morozashi, and although Yago seems to be able to release himself on the left side, it’s too late, and the less-evil twin gets a win and a pat of appreciation.

Wrestlers who have secured their kachi-koshi (4-0):

  • Jonokuchi: Daishoko, Kojikara
  • Jonidan: Akitoba, Mitsuuchi, Sumanoumi, Kotokume, Kainowaka, Kotourasaki, Fujinoteru (Yes, there is a Fujinoteru).
  • Sandanme: Kototebakari, Hokutoshu, Kurahashi, Hokutohomare, Kotoozutsu, Kawamoto, Takatenshu, Nakashima, Fukunofuji.
  • Makushita: Sokokurai, Gochozan, Fujiazuma, Takakento, Takaryu.

Tomorrow we have Enho vs Tobizaru!

Kyushu Day 7 – Recap

1:59 bout vs. Takayasu, Ryuden

The first week of this tipsy basho is coming to a close, and the basho signals to us that it still has enough bottles of saké to develop a good delirium tremens, and that any advance bets and dares are at our own risk (how was your rump steak, Bruce?)

Daishoho does today’s duty as the Juryo fill-in, facing Meisei. He envelopes Meisei right off the Tachiai, and none of Meisei’s wriggles are to any avail. Yorikiri, and Daishoho picks a nice envelope in his first Makuuchi bout.

Chiyomaru and Takanosho are both 1-5 coming into this match. Takanosho is aggressive and pushes Chiyomaru to the edge. Chiyomaru tries to sidestep, but Takanosho maintains his balance and keeps up the pressure, leading him to the other edge. So Chiyomaru tries it again. This time it works. Hatakikomi, Chiyomaru grabs his second win. I believe both of them are heading down to Juryo by the end of this basho, but I’m not staking any body-part steaks on that.

Arawashi‘s bout with Onosho might as well has been a fusen. Onosho rises, and pushes unresisting Arawashi straight off. Watching Arawashi this basho is really painful.

Endo attempts a harizashi (slap-and-slip) on Chiyoshoma, but never gets to the sashi (slipping his hand inside) part. Chiyoshoma advances, retreats, advances again and seems in control, but Endo pulls and wins this one by hatakikomi.

Okinoumi and Daiamami are “kenka-yotsu” – meaning one of them prefers migi-yotsu (right hand inside), and the other hidari-yotsu (left hand inside). And indeed most of this bout is spent attempting to get their favorite grip and denying the other his. Daiamami maintains a strong grip on Okinoumi’s belt, but it’s just an “ichimai” – hold on one layer – and it’s Okinoumi who manages to wrap Daiamami up and yori-kiri him.

Chiyonokuni‘s match with Daishomaru starts with a strong kachiage – but it’s actually a matta. On top of that, that kachiage causes Daishomaru’s nose to bleed. He needs to take a break and returns to the dohyo with a wad of tissue up his nostril – not exactly a beautiful sight. The match restarts. This time Chiyonokuni is a bit more hesitant in his tachiai, and Daishomaru exploits that and yori-kiris the Kokonoe man.

Both Aoiyama and Sadanoumi look better than one would expect this basho, and start this match 4-2. Sadanoumi takes the initiative and has his right hand inside, but Aoiyama locks it, prevents him from achieving a proper yotsu position, and adds a bubious nodowa (you’re not supposed to do that with your fingers folded, though one can’t call that an actual punch), sending Sadanoumi for a dive. Oshitaoshi.

Yutakayama does not look very good this basho. However, he starts this match with a kachiage to Kotoshogiku‘s throat. Follows that with two powerful nodowa, and when Kotoshogiku applies all his strength to the ground to withstand those, steps aside and lets the former Ozeki’s strong legs to all the work. Yutakayama gets his second win by tsukiotoshi.

Daieisho, who somehow found himself in the chaser group without us even noticing him, is not impressed with Abi‘s well-known opener. He withstands a couple of shoves, goes under them and does some shoving of his own. Daieisho is now 6-1.

In the battle of the single-kanji wrestlers, Ikioi lands a shallow grip, but Kagayaki frees himself and starts a pushing attack that puts Ikioi in reverse gear and out of the ring. This is Kagayaki’s first win against Ikioi.

Something really is up with Takanoiwa this basho. It’s as if he is afraid of contact. Takarafuji manages to land a brief hold on him. Takanoiwa retreats, frees himself from that grab, but instead of making any attack of his own, keeps retreating and Takarafuji really doesn’t need to do much to win. Both end this match 2-5, and I’m sure Takarafuji was scratching his head asking himself how exactly he won that, as he was going back to Isagahama beya’s lodgings.

Shohozan starts his bout with Asanoyama with a mighty morotezuki… only he does it without having actually touched his hands to the ground – and soon-to-be-promoted Konosuke will have none of that. In the second tachiai, he touches very slightly, and repeats the morotezuki, following it by a brief morozashi. Asanoyama is very active, releasing himself from that grip first on one side and then the other, and then getting his own hold. From then on it’s Asanoyama all the (short) way.

Tamawashi starts his typical oshi bout with Nishikigi, but Nishikigi defends well, and starts his own attack. He really should have attempted to lock a hold on Tamawashi, though, because Tamawashi has years of experience and as he nears the edge quickly reverses the fortunes. It wasn’t far from another Nishikigi upset, though.

Hokutofuji is not letting Tochiozan‘s 5-1 record distract him. A shove. A nodowa. Another aggressive shove. Tochiozan ends up losing for the second day in a row, his magic gone.

This bout is exactly the reason why Kaisei decided to enter the basho while still injured. Despite Myogiryu‘s tenacity, the huge Brazilian envelopes him and doesn’t really leave him much room for maneuver. Kaisei wins, and if he picks enough such wins, the next banzuke may see him drop to a position that’s easier to defend on the one hand, and safe from demotion on the other.

Tachiai. Chiyotairyu slams into Ichinojo. Goes for the throat. But that only manages to wake Ferdinand up, and you can see Ichinojo getting warmer and his thrusts getting fiercer. Chiyotairyu’s own thrusts seem to leave no impression – other than the loud “Slam!” sounds reverberating through the Fukuoka International Sports Center. The last slam sees Chiyotairyu at the corner beyond the bales, and I can only hope that this has woken up Ichinojo enough to show us some of his better sumo in the next few days.

Mitakeumi starts a powerful shoving match with lossless Takakeisho right out of the tachiai, and it’s boom-forward-boom-forward. Takakeisho deftly sidesteps at the edge, but Mitakeumi was not born yesterday. He turns around with an “Oh yeah?” expression on his face. Takakeisho probably regrets having stepped so far away at this point, because if he was closer he could have pushed Mitakeumi from behind. Instead, the Sekiwake lunges at him, and an exchange of thrusts begins, at the end of which Mitakeumi grabs Takakeisho’s neck and pulls him down.

Takakeisho slowly rises, while fiddling with his chon-mage, hinting at the shimpan that his hair was pulled. I am not sure they noticed that, because only after the rikishi make their bows does the head shimpan, Onomatsu, signal a monoii. Perhaps he got a call from the video room. The shimpan confer, and Onomatsu oyakata goes back to his seat and gives a confused summary. “The hand, the mawashi, the hand, the whachamacallit, the hand didn’t grab the mawashi, the gyoji’s decision stayed”. I wonder how much the shimpan drink before starting their day below the dohyo.

So Takakeisho is no longer lossless, and the way is open for the single-loss Takayasu to claim the yusho – assuming you don’t think that Daieisho is a legitimate candidate. But the day is not over yet.

Next we move to our first Ozeki match. Tochinoshin faces Yoshikaze. Now, Yoshikaze’s tactic today somewhat reminded me of Enho’s opening gambit. Of course Yoshikaze is not Enho’s size, but relative to Tochinoshin, it’s not that far off, and the agility is certainly there. He scrambles for a maemitsu grip, while denying the Ozeki access to his own mawashi. Eventually, though, he gives up that tactic, and slides up that left arm, which was seeking the maemitsu grip, under the ozeki’s arm. A beautiful sukuinage ensues. Nice touch there, forcing Tochinoshin’s head further down making him lose his footing. Tochinoshin, a pretty solid yusho candidate before the basho, finds himself needing to get enough wins to avoid kadoban instead.

OK, so now that Takayasu knows Takakeisho lost, he knows he is in the spearhead of the yusho race. All he needs to do is beat 1-5 Ryuden. But Ryuden is not impressed by the Ozeki’s kachiage, and manages – momentarily, to get his favorite morozashi. Takayasu quickly releases himself on one side, and Ryuden is left with a hand inside with no grip on the left, and an outside grip on the right. Ryuden tries again and again to achieve the grip with his left, but the Ozeki denies him with a right ottsuke. Ryuden tries an attack. But he simply doesn’t have the muscle power against the Ozeki’s 180kg. The stalemate continues.

Then Takayasu frees himself on his right side and uses the left inside grip he has on Ryuden to try and turn the Maegashira away and out. Ryuden is not easily thrown off, though. He manages to get a maemitsu grip. But his combined grip is problematic – you want to get at least one hand on the back side of the mawashi. With both hands in front he can’t create leverage, though he tries again and again.

But as the stalemate continues, Takayasu’s lower back problems are starting to assert themselves. Yet another attempt by Ryuden, and the Ozeki finds himself out of ring – and out of the leader group, again. Ryuden, barely able to breath, gets a hefty batch of envelopes, and his first win against an Ozeki! What a match!

The musubi-no-ichiban is anticlimactic by comparison. Shodai manages to briefly get a good hold on Goeido, and his previous success makes him impatient. He tries to drag Goeido to the edge. Goeido is not obliging. Shodai soon finds himself in the typical Goeido embrace, and down below the dohyo.


What a day this has been. Here is the leaderboard after Cray 7. That is, Day 7:

6-1

  • K1E Takakeisho
  • M9W Daieisho
  • M13E Onosho

5-2

  • O1W Takayasu
  • M2E Tochiozan
  • M5E Chiyotairyu
  • M7E Abi
  • M12E Aoiyama

Hey, Abi, grab that Yusho! (わら)

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 6

It should be easy to throw a small guy when you have this good a grip on him. It isn’t.

Jonidan

Here is little Chiyotaiyo again. Unfortunately, he demonstrates to us why he is likely to stick in Jonidan for a long while – maybe even a year – despite his talent. Here he is vs. Goketsuyama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz-_Q44gYdg

By the way, I would say the length of his hair indicates a chon-mage by senshuraku. But maybe that’s just because of his proportions.

Sandanme

Bruce already brought you the Ura video. To that, I can add Torakio vs. Shoketsu:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFgjFlEnHNA

This is actually a very good bout. Starts with a tsuppari. Torakio gets a morozashi, then loses one hand, still tries to push Shoketsu out, but Shoketsu reverses him and pushes him out.

Torakio, though, is still a sore loser. There was a distinct shove there at the end. Torakio out of the sandanme yusho race.

Then there is Kototekbakari vs. Inoe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcOBgX67h4Y

Nice attempt at a trip, but this was Kototebakari’s win by kotenage.

Makushita

There were a number of fine bouts in Makushita today, but the only individual bout I have is – who else – Hoshoryu, here vs. Tanabe:

What doesn’t work with tsuppari and doesn’t work with yori, works with hineri. Not one of Hoshoryu’s most powerful matches, but he is still in the Makushita yusho race, which also features names like Sokokurai, Chiyootori, Wakamotoharu, the older Taka twin, and a bit surprisingly, Kyokusoten.

Juryo

Because Kisenosato has gone kyujo, once again a Juryo wrestler has to fill in at Makuuchi, and therefore, a Makushita wrestler has to fill in at Juryo. Today we start with Toyohibiki, 0-3 before this match.

  • Shimanoumi may have been distracted by the fact that he is the only man in Juryo so far to have defeated Enho, as well as that bad balance Toyohibiki came into this bout with. But it’s the Makushita rikishi who takes about one second to sweep Shimanoumi off the dohyo.
  • Chiyonoumi, with a worrying 1-4, enters this match with Gokushindo, who seems to continue the same strategy as yesterday – stalling and keeping his opponent at arm’s length. Chiyonoumi tries everything in his tsuki-oshi arsenal, and eventually enters a leaning contest with Gokushindo. Gokushindo relies on two pillars for legs and trusts in his stance, but Chiyonoumi eventually manages to pull him down for a very precious second win.
  • Tobizaru enthusiastically rains tsuppari at Tomokaze’s chest. Tomokaze, somehow, doesn’t look too impressed. Waits a bit for Tobizaru to spend all the bullets in his magazine, and then gives him three or  four shoves out. This is Tobizaru’s first loss this tournament, and now nobody in Juryo is zensho.
  • After winning a lengthy stamina bout yesterday, Toyonoshima loses a short one today. Azumaryu tries to catch his mawashi, decides it’s too low for him, and just gives him a couple of shoves outside.
  • Enho’s bout starts, as usual, with a scramble, as Enho throws himself inside and secures his favorite left hand inside grip. Jokoryu can’t defend against the little wasp, but of course he has an excellent outside grip himself. He is stable. It seems that it should be easy to shake Enho off. Well, not if the pixie in the red mawashi has anything to say about that. Which of course he has. Jokoryu tries that throw, and discovers that Enho is… sticky. He lowers his body. He wraps a leg around Jokoryu’s. He is like that small dog who enthusiastically humps your leg and just won’t let go. Enho attempts his throw once, Jokoryu spins around but is still steady. So Enho attempts it a second time, and this time he gets it. Jokoryu floored, Enho has a nosebleed for his troubles. Yet another excellent bout.
  • Both Chiyonoo and Kyokushuho are 1-4 coming into this day. The two grab each other. Kyokushuho takes a few seconds to assess the situation, then walks the Kokonoe man outside.
  • Mitoryu and Tsurugisho get good right hand inside grips on each other, lean for a while, and then, as tsurugisho starts maneuvering Mitoryu to the side, Mitoryu pulls him down and drops him to his knees. Sukuinage, and you don’t see it in this footage, but Tsurugisho has a mighty disappointed expression on his face.
  • Hakuyozan dispatches of Takekaze rather easily. Takekaze keeps a balanced score.
  • Kyokutaisei doesn’t look like he is on his way back to Makuuchi. Akiseyama pulls him down pretty early off the tachiai.
  • Terutsuyoshi today opts for a henka. Or is that a HNH? He then follows it up with some strong shoves and Wakatakakage finds himself on the floor. Terutsuyoshi, like Enho, keeps himself in the leader group.
  • For once, Ishiura wins by a hatakikomi which is not the result of a henka. He go straight forward at the tachiai, and only then pulls and sidesteps.
  • Hidenoumi manages to slip his right hand inside under Daishoho’s arm. Daishoho applies an ottsuke, then a lock, and they grapple on the other side, when Hidenoumi manages to slip in the second into a morozashi. You’ll then see Daishoho trying the same thing Nishikigi did later to Tochiozan – only a lot less effectively. While Nishikigi knew his ability to hold his armpits locked is limited and immediately stepped forward, Daishoho here delays. Also, his arm lock is not as efficient as his elbows are more open than Nishikigi’s were and Hidenoumi gets a grip on the back of his mawashi. At some point Daishoho even releases and rests his tired arm muscles. Hidenoumi then manages to use that morozashi to effect and walks him over the bales.
  • The bout between Tokushoryu and Yago starts as an exchange of rhythmic shoves. Then Yago decides he has enough, lands a yotsu hold, and finishes with a classic yori-kiri.
  • So if you’re short on henkas, and feel you have missed them in the Makuuchi bout, Kotoeko here demonstrates a big, fat henka that has Takagenji rolling his eyes in frustration at the other edge of the dohyo.

 

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 5

Takagenji vs. Terutsuyoshi. Guess who won that one?

Maezumo

Let’s continue to watch the new fledgelings:

First bout – Denpoya is matched with Watai. With this win, Denpoya is 1-2, and Watai is 0-3.

Shimomura faces Narumi – one of the banzuke-gai veterans. Has no real problems with him. He is 2-1.

The best bout is Roga vs. Daitenma. Makes sense when both sides are Mongolian and apparently highly competitive. Roga is now 3-0 and certainly a man to watch. Daitenma drops to 2-1.

Hamasu faces a banzuke-gai veteran, Yuriki, who bests him. He looks very disappointed. He, too, drops to 2-1.

Jonokuchi

Watai, above, is probably going to meet our next rikishi in the next basho. So Watai, this is Hattorizakura. His second bout was his normal “nah, I’m not here to fight. Peace, man” sumo. How is his third bout going to look, against 0-2 newcomer Sawada?

Actually, not bad for Hattorizakura.

Jonidan

For the Kenho (remember, the biggest rikishi since Orora’s retirement) fans: your big man is not doing badly at all!

His second bout was somewhat lethargic bridge abutment style. But in this one he is very active. 3-0 for the reigning bane of scale manufacturers.

Sandanme

We have Naya again. This time facing Kihonoumi.

Classical oshi zumo there. The prince redeems himself and goes 2-1.

Makushita

Since we are thinking big today, here is Gagamaru vs. Irodori. Irodori is the hot thing in Shikoroyama beya right now (Abi is, of course, off the scale). Gagamaru… well, not the hottest thing in Kise beya

I wonder if Gagamaru might decide to retire if he doesn’t get that kachi-koshi he needs to regain his sekitori status. Because right now, it looks like he is not quite that level.

Juryo

Here is your digest. Power tip: if you don’t have time to watch all of it – watch the Terutsuyoshi – Takagenji bout. If you didn’t love sumo before…

  • Gokushindo is trying the tactic that Sokokurai complained about: Keeps Toyonoshima at arms length from the beginning of the bout. Toyonoshima tries and tries to attack, and it develops into a long leaning match. Gokushindo figures that the 35 years old veteran will run out of stamina before him. He is wrong. You don’t see it in this footage, but Toyonoshima looks mightily pleased at the end of this match.
  • Jokoryu dominates Tomokaze.
  • Chiyonoumi looking like he is heading back to Makushita, which is a real shame. His sumo simply lacks power.
  • Enho starts his usual series of attempts to get at Shimanoumi’s belt. This session usually ends up with the stubborn pixie getting what he wants. But this time he slips on the dohyo salt, ever so slightly, and Shimanoumi wisely uses that to chase him out. It’s Enho’s first loss this basho.
  • Tobizaru does a half-henka, then makes several attempts to get Chiyonoo’s mawashi. Eventually gives up, pulls and drops the Kokonoe man to the floor. Tobizaru is now – wait for it – the sole leader of the Juryo chart with 5-0. Yes. A flying monkey is heading the Juryo Yusho Arasoi. But after day 5 in Makuuchi… nothing is going to surprise me.
  • Takekaze does a nice proper tachiai. Then sidesteps, and Azumaryu just goes for it. OK… Takekaze will take whatever win he can get.
  • Tsurugisho goes densha-michi on Hakuyozan. I guess he is the one who stole Goeido’s sumo today.
  • Akiseyama looks very different than he looked yesterday. Perhaps day 4 was Lethargy Day and we didn’t get the memo. Today – after doing his long and painful-looking descent to the start position, he rises quite quickly, and follows that up by even quicker reactions. Kyokushuho finds himself at the bottom of the dohyo.
  • The Ishiura-Wakatakakage bout is one of the highlights of Juryo today. That is, the original bout. If I recall correctly, there were also a couple of mattas at first. Then the two start with a… double sided henka! They engage in a pretty even mawashi battle. Ishiura manages to get his head beneath Wakatakakage’s chest, lifting him up. Wakatakakage successfully neutralizes Ishiura’s right hand and doesn’t let him get a grip on that side. Ishiura drives Wakatakakage to the edge. Wakatakakage attempts to throw him. Doesn’t quite succeed, but Ishiura’s balanced is destroyed. Ishiura lunges at Wakatakekaze’s thigh. They both fall out. The gunbai goes to Ishiura. A monoii is called. The result: dotai – both touched at the same time – and a torinaoshi. The torinaoshi is a lot less exciting. There is another matta – not in this footage – and then… Ishiura actually goes straight and Wakatakakage is the one with the henka. Pheeew…
  • The Kyokutaisei-Hidenoumi bout is pale in comparison. Both try to get some sort of grip but don’t commit. Eventually Kyokutaisei shoves, follows with a nodowa, and sends Hidenoumi out. Hidenoumi is 0-5 and doesn’t look well.

And now, the real highlight of the evening. Whenever Terutsuyoshi meets Takagenji, there are bound to be sparks. Takagenji rains some classic tsuppari on the Isegahama humonculus. I don’t know what Terutsuyoshi’s throat is made of or how he manages to keep upright. But he does.

He disengages for a second and lunges in. Takagenji replies with a nodowa – but Terutsuyoshi slips his right hand inside. At this point, it turns out, we have a wardrobe malfunction. The gyoji stops the bout, reties Terutsuyoshi’s knot, checks on Takagenji’s, then pats both to continue.

The fun continues. Takagenji promptly releases Terutsuyoshi’s grip on his mawashi, but that arm is still wrapped around him, and their other hands are also fighting for positioning.

Takagenji shakes Terutsuyoshi off, grabs at his skull – and, er, his hair as well – and tries to push him down. Terutsuyoshi survives this as well, and uses Takagenji’s pull as he attempted that hatakikomi to push him outside.

Terutsuyoshi got the first place in the fighting spirit poll of the day, and quite rightly so. That was one helluva bout. On Abema TV you could see Terutsuyoshi then almost double over at the corner of the dohyo as he waited to give the power water, with the yobidashi giving him a worried look. I hope there will be no lasting effects on his health – he doesn’t deserve it, and we deserve more fun like that.

  • Kotoyuki slams, pulls, Daishoho down. Meh. Kotoyuki maintains himself in the yusho race, such as there is, with 4-1. Daishoho is 3-2.
  • Tokushoryu envelopes kotoeko and dominates him. Kotoeko circles and circles, but to no avail, ending off the dohyo.
  • Yago attacks Aminishiki with strong shoves. Aminishiki tries to get some sort of grip going, but by the time he gets anything, he is on the bales and cursing himself for going backwards again – not that he could do anything about it, with Yago’s mass and intensity.

This was really a fun day in Juryo. Really, don’t miss this division. Unlike Makuuchi, which has the san-yaku which is a sub-division of its own, Juryo is a small and very even division. Crazy is the norm here.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 3 and 4

Sokokurai ready for sumo. Tomisakae ready for gymnastics.

I have an eclectic collection for you today, picked up from both days 3 and 4. We start with Day 3 maezumo, where there are some interesting faces.

As you watch, note the differences between maezumo and banzuke sumo. Only the first pair gets the full announcement and shikiri. The next one get short yobidashi calls with the yobidashi off the dohyo, and they are only supposed to bow and start the bout (but you will see a pair making a mistake there and the gyoji trying to correct them).

Maezumo is also not just for newcomers. Some are veterans who dropped off the banzuke following a full kyujo in Jonokuchi. If you fall off the banzuke (“banzuke-gai”), you have to go through mae-zumo again.

I’m skipping the veterans and introducing some of the newcomers to you. In the second battle, the guy on the left is Roga. His real name is Amarsanaa, and he is Futagoyama’s new Mongolian recruit. He certainly has the size for sumo, and his rival is certainly not in the same league.

The next bout is between Denpoya (18) on the left and Daitenma (18) on the right. Denpoya is a new recruit for Isegahama, from – where else – Aomori. Many of Isegahama’s recruits in recent times have been pixies. Midorifuji and Nishikifuji, who are considered the heya’s best new talents, are small sized rikishi. Denpoya, on the other hand, has the right size. It’s hard to judge his talent here, though, because unfortunately, he is paired with Daitenma, who is Azumazeki’s new Mongolian recruit. His real name is Chinzorig, and something about his stance tells me he didn’t come from Mongolia just to enjoy the warm weather and serve as a tsukebito for his entire career (I’m looking at you, Kyokusoten).

Bout number four features Watai, 16 years old belonging to Chiganoura beya, vs. Shimomura, 18, of Sakaigawa beya, who is the son of former Makuuchi wrestler Tsunenoyama. He seems to have no problem with the youngster. He (and Hamasu, from the next bout) graduated from the Saitamasakae high school, which won the team inter-high yusho recently.

So the next bout is between Hamasu and the hapless Daigonishiki from the first bout (there is an odd number of maezumo rikishi). Hamasu, 17, belongs to Onoe beya, and is the son of former Komusubi Hamanoshima.

Day 3 – Sandanme

Moving on-banzuke, we have Torakio vs. Tagonofuji:

Torakio gets his second win, and shows some promising techniques, but he really has a long, long way to go.

Next up is prince Naya (grandchild of the legendary Taiho), whom Hoshoryu lovingly calls “debu” (“fatso”) when they talk. I’ve seen worse “debu” in Grand Sumo (Hi, Gagamaru). Here he is matched with Kototebakari, who is also a very promising rikishi who suffered a similar fate as Naya when he advanced as far as Makushita, and got demoted back to Sandanme.

Kototebakari is not impressed by princes or dukes, and gets Naya in an uncomfortable morozashi. Naya tries this and that, but a morozashi is not something easily overcome (unless you’re Kagayaki, apparently). Naya faces his first loss – so no prospect of Yusho (in theory, yes, in practice, no). Naya, if you want to catch up to Hoshoryu and show him some “debu”, you better hurry up!

Day 3 – Makushita

What I have for you is the very entertaining, though short, bout between Tomisakae and Sokokurai. As it turned out, they each came with the intention of doing a different sport:

Sokokurai watches bemused as Tomisakae converts his hatakikomi into a somersault, and lands feet first below the dohyo. Tomisakae is the sumo world’s acrobat, known for his backflips. I hope he bounces back (see what I did there?)

Day 4 – Sandanme

I wouldn’t dare to skip an Ura bout. In fact, I wouldn’t dare to blink once the gyoji turns his gunbai.

Ura vs. Yutakasho

And the reason I wouldn’t dare to blink is that Ura is really not letting those bouts last very long. As Bruce said, his rivals are left wondering what just happened.

Day 4 – Makushita

And while prince Naya has let one slip, what has his name-calling friend been doing? Hoshoryu was paired with Irie today. Irie is a Makushita fixture. Hoshoryu is anything but.

Today Hoshoryu opted for oshi-zumo – not usually his style. He has been critical of this bout, though, when interviewed by the press post-bout. “I would have liked to push him all the way” he said. He ended up winning – but only on his second hatakikomi, when he would have preferred to win by going forward. The interesting thing, though, is that he is diversifying at a very early stage of his career. Just keep from getting injured, future Yokozuna!

Day 4 – Juryo

So here is the Juryo digest du jour:

  • Mitoryu finally manages to scrape a win off from Tomokaze with a nice shitatenage, though he started the bout by pulling.
  • Gokushindo, the too-cute-for-his-own-good new sekitori, seems to have bounced back from a harsh start. He manages to keep his balance throughout this match, and eventually Jokoryu basically beats himself.
  • It saddens me to see Chiyonoumi struggle this basho. Maybe it’s a case of single-dimensionality, but it looks more like luck of power. Shimanoumi just sweeps him like some dohyo dust. I suspect Kokonoe’s solution to this would be more chanko.
  • Toyonoshima suffers his first loss at the hands of Tobizaru. It’s not really a henka – the sidestep is after they meet – but he is certainly making the best of Toyonoshima’s own forward motion.
  • It’s not often that Takekaze gets to wrestle with an opponent who is smaller than him. I think he is not quite used to that. Enho said he was aiming for the Juryo yusho. At the time I dismissed it in the same way that I dismissed Nishikigi’s “I want to be a Yokozuna”. But Enho seems to be dead serious. He gets Takekaze in a quick morozashi, and although he loses half of it, he has his main target: that deadly inside arm hold on the veteran’s mawashi – right next to the knot. It’s not one of his most spectacular shitatenage, but it works.
  • The Kyokushuho – Azumaryu bout is your typical Mongolian sumo match. Ending with a classical shitatenage – Azumaryu’s win.
  • Chiyonoo finally manages to buy a win in this basho – and buys it with a henka. Or maybe a half henka, as he isn’t just letting Tsurugisho drop. Tsurugisho tries to struggle, but drops to 1-3 as well.
  • I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it looks like Akiseyama’s agility is getting more and more limited. Perhaps he is hiding an injury, or perhaps it’s all those kilos he has regained. Hakuyozan wins by yorikiri.
  • Terutsuyoshi, alas, failed to deliver today. Koyokutaisei manages to get him turned around, and at that point it’s over.
  • Ishiura only half-henkas today, but I’m going to forgive him, because his rival is Takagenji. Besides, he follows that with some exciting sumo his rival finds hard to find a solution to. Takagenji drops to 1-3, and Ishiura is even.
  • Wakatakakage starts his bout with what looks like Enho sumo – with that inside grip slowly advancing towards the mawashi knot. Unlike the pixie, though, he doesn’t seem to have that much of a throwing power. He then surprisingly releases that grip, and instead opts to push forward and force Hidenoumi out. Hidenoumi has yet to win a bout this basho. Wakatakakage is even.
  • Tokushoryu started the basho strong, and seemed to continue his form from the previous basho despite the kyujo in the middle. But Daishoho here wraps him up and sends him away in short order.
  • Kotoyuki’s bout with Yago is a show of hearty tsuppari – especially on the part of Kotoyuki. He has Yago against the bales, and Yago’s foot goes out. The nearby shimpan immediately raises his hand, but the gyoji sees neither the errant foot nor the shimpan’s signal. It’s the sort of thing I see more often in Jonokuchi bouts. In any case, the gyoji’s gunbai points to the correct direction, so no big fuss is made.
  • Aminishiki was trying for another tokkurinage. Well, he denies having aimed for that, but his hands seemed placed in the correct position. However, this is marked down as a boring hatakikomi. Too bad.