Day 7 matches to watch


Some of the Day 6 matches lived up to their billing (Tochinoshin vs. Ichinojo) while others disappointed (looking at you, Arawashi). Here’s what’s in store on Day 7.

Is there a Japanese equivalent of the AARP? If there is, they should be sponsoring the matchup of the two oldest sekitori, Takekaze and Aminishiki. These two have seen their fair share of each other over their long careers, and their record is dead even at 16-16. While Aminishiki has looked rejuvenated, Takekaze has looked unconvincing this basho, and may be running out of steam. Double henka, anyone?

Tachiai favorite Asanoyama found his sumo today against none other than Aminishiki. Tomorrow he takes on Myogiryu, whose return to Makuuchi may be short-lived. Asanoyama won their only prior meeting.

The resurgent Okinoumi takes on the inconsistent Ikioi in a battle of tall manly men.

Chiyoshoma, who must feel cheated after today, takes on Endo in a battle of contrasting styles. Both men are 3-3.

Ichinojo, who won the battle of strength against Tochinoshin, takes on the hapless Tochiozan, who leads their career series 8-3.

The Chiyotairyu who was such a beast at Aki showed up today against Goeido. He takes on Takakeisho, who has been brilliant. If both men bring their best sumo, this could be the match of the day…

…unless it’s the clash between Mitakeumi and Tamawashi. For the second straight day, the former sekiwake, who appears strongly motivated to rejoin San’yaku, takes on a reigning sekiwake, but Mitakeumi should pose a stiffer challenge than did Yoshikaze.

Who knows what’s going to happen when Kotoshogiku takes on Yoshikaze? Their styles are very different, and neither veteran has fought well this basho. They’re well acquainted with each other, with Kotoshogiku holding a 22-5 career edge.

After two straight losses, Takayasu has a chance to rebound against the always game but frequently overmatched Chiyonokuni. In a sign of attrition among the upper ranks, M4e Chiyonokuni is brought up to fight an Ozeki. Can M4w Ichinojo be far behind, especially if he keeps winning?

Goeido suffered his first loss after reverting to the tentative 1.0 mode. If he stays in that mode, Shohozan is perfectly capable of punishing him for it.

In the Yokozuna bouts, we have two interesting first-time meetings. Hakuho, who cut it a little close today, will have to be careful when he takes on Onosho, who remains dangerous despite his overcommitment issues. Kisenosato won over Onosho by slippiotoshi, faced little resistance from Chiyotairyu and Tochiozan, barely overcame a game Shohozan, and  looked overmatched against Tamawashi and Takakeisho. Hokutofuji, who is having a great basho and always gives his all on the dohyo, could spell more trouble for the Yokozuna.

 

Day 6 – There Can Be Only One


hakuho-2017-11-day-06
Another day at the office

Day 6 leaves us with only one man having any mathematical possibility of a zensho-yusho. Of course, the basho is still in early days, and the king may lose his crown yet, but at the moment, Hakuho reigns supreme.

But he is not the only sekitori with a clean, white score sheet. Down in Juryo, there is another man who is 6-0. The name may sound familiar: he’s a former chicken farmer, the only Chinese national on the banzuke. I give you Sokokurai!

Today the Inner-Mongolian had a match with the other all-win Juryo man, young Abi. Abi was all over the veteran, with his signature quick moves, but Sokokurai secured first a left-hand belt grip, then a morozashi, and showed Abi the way out with an okuridashi.

While we are in Juryo, want to see a beautiful kakenage? Here is the bout between Yutakayama and Kyokutaisei:

And now, how about a wardrobe malfunction, featuring, unsurprisingly, Ishiura messing around with a mawashi knot?

The way it looks, one of the shimpan must have informed the gyoji that the knot was untied, as he wasn’t in an angle to see it. So Ryuden – whom I must have jinxed yesterday in my comments about his standing among obasan – was lucky to lose by shitatenage rather than by exposure of manhood.

BTW, is it only me, or did Ishiura take advantage of the situation to improve his hold on the knot?

My advice to sekitori who are assigned to Ishiura: get your tsukebito to sew your mawashi knot before the bout.

OK, moving on to the Makuuchi, what did we have today?

Nishikigi is showing surprising tenacity, and at this rate, will secure his stay in Makuuchi for yet another basho. His match with Myogiryu was a battle for grips, but as Myogiryu changed his grip that last time, Nishikigi drove him out of the ring. Those grip changes are always risky.

Kagayaki is back to his bad sumo, where he looks more like Kermit the Frog flailing wildly than like a sumo wrestler with effective tsuppari. Kotoyuki says thank you and goodbye.

Asanoyama decided he has to regain his sumo, which is a good thing, but the hapless rival is our favorite Aminishiki, who is now down with the rest of the chasers. I hope he hasn’t damaged good old Uncle Sumo. That throw was all like “You wanted to get back to Makuuchi? Well, let me remind you what Makuuchi is really like”. Very aggressive. But can’t blame him. Aminishiki knows he is playing with the big boys again. Anyway, Asanoyama was on the offensive from the start, and although Aminishiki was the first to securely grab some silk, Asanoyama grabbed some of his own on the same side and performed that decisive uwatenage. Let’s hope Aminishiki returns tomorrow with his sneaky sumo and funny interviews.

Okinoumi certainly looks genki, and Endo didn’t make his bout easy in any way, as he was on the offensive and secured a grip with his right hand. But it was Okinoumi who grabbed his arm for a kotenage at the end.

Day 6 is an even day! And on even days, Chiyomaru brings his sumo to the arena! His match with Ikioi starts with a tsuppari barrage, and then suddenly he goes for a hug. Of course, no way for him to get anywhere close to Ikioi’s mawashi, but he doesn’t need to. He simply pushes the man down for a tsukiotoshi.

Kaisei doesn’t give Daishomaru any room to do anything. This bout was over in a flash, with Kaisei driving the maru in a quick arch to the bales.

Shodai‘s bout with Daieisho is also a matter of seconds. Shodai was simply not there today.

Continuing with the flash bouts, Chiyoshoma and Arawashi was supposed to be a lovely bout, but here is one henka I could certainly do without. The Japanese announcer: “It was disappointing sumo today”.

Curiously, now that Aminishiki has lost, it seems like everybody else in Isegahama finally started to win. I checked, and Homarefuji and even poor Terutsuyoshi who was winless until today won. And they are joined by Takarafuji, who unbelievably wins a tsuppari battle with Chiyonokuni.

Ichinojo bounces back from yesterday’s loss. Well, not “bounces”. More like “rises ponderously”. It’s a battle between his weight and patience and Tochinoshin‘s strength. Tochinoshin is the first to secure two hands on Ichinojo’s mawashi, although one of them is at the front. Ichinojo manages to undo that grip, and eventually they settle into a standard migi-yotsu, and Tochinoshin tries to lift the boulder. Um, no. With all due respect, nobody can lift that thing. And after he wastes his energy on this attempt, Ichinojo starts pushing him all the way to a plain and simple yori-kiri. I’m glad Tochinoshin did not cause further harm to his knee in that attempt, but go, go Mongolian boulder!

Hokutofuji continues to impress. He keeps his pelvis miles from Kotoshogiku‘s, pushes forward, then retreats fast and pulls the Komusubi down. Kotoshogiku is going to drop back down to Maegashira at this rate.

Tamawashi goes on a slapping match with Yoshikaze. But the elderly sekiwake is not what he used to be. Tamawashi gets him overcommitted and pushes him down.

Even Mitakeumi got the memo: Onosho can be easily beaten if you get him to charge at you like a billy-goat. So they get forwards and backwards a few time, and then Mitakeumi make a fast retreat, and hands Onosho yet another hatakikomi. Sad. In the last basho Onosho said that he learned what his weak points were and he’ll work on them, but I guess he was thinking about different weak points. That man also seems to be heading back to maegashira, unless he learns the art of footwork fast. Mitakeumi, on the other hand, despite his injury, is sailing through quite nicely and is looking to maintain his sekiwake position easily.

Goeido booted up in the wrong mode today. He didn’t really engage Chiyotairyu. He was reactive. And eventually, he lost his balance. Chiyotairyu is probably surprised that he managed to scrape a white star off of the hitherto undefeated Ozeki, and without even breaking much sweat. The Ozeki also drops off the leader list, and joins the legion who will now have to wait for the Dai-Yokozuna to make a mistake.

Takayasu, however, drops even further, with his second loss of the bout. He was actually initiating a strong tsuppari, but he didn’t seem to realize that Takakeisho is a newer model from the same locomotive factory where he himself was manufactured. The Ozeki found himself further away from the center than he wanted, and got pushed out decisively.

And finally we get actual Yokozuna sumo from Kisenosato. This one was decisive and dominant, despite the fact that Tochiozan had him in a Morozashi for a couple of seconds. And did my eyes decieve me or did Kisenosato use his left side to twist Tochiozan back for the tsukiotoshi? More of this, please, Kisenosato. We are low on Yokozuna right now!

Finally, another wonderful textbook uwatenage from the Lord Of The Ring, Hakuho. Tachiai. Slap. Quick migi-yotsu. Drag to the tawara. Then perform the throw. And as both bodies were already on a trajectory, the Yokozuna deftly lifts his left leg and gives Shohozan a little more torque to ensure that he falls down first. Again, a work of art.

The leader list:

only one man. The almighty Hakuho.

The chaser list:

Goeido (O)
Mitakeumi (S)
Hokutofuji (M3)
Ichinojo (M4)
Arawashi (M5)
Okinoumi (M12)
Aminishiki (M13)


For your enjoyment, here are the Taka Twins – with a guest appearance by Enho!

Enho/Takayoshitoshi

Takagenji/Daiseido

Everything You Need to Know After Act One


 

With the first act of the Kyushu basho coming to an end, here is a quick rundown of everything you need to know to get all caught up.

Yusho Race

Five days in and the leaderboard has already dwindled down to three men, all with perfect records. Maegashira 13 Aminishiki, Ozeki Goeido, and a very genki Yokozuna Hakuho have five wins each and are neck and neck in the yusho race. Behind them with four wins are Takayasu, Mitakeumi, Hokutofuji, Ichinojo, Arawashi, and surprisingly, Okinoumi. I expect this group to be much smaller by the end of act two.

Kinboshi

So far, there have been three kinboshi surrendered this basho. Tamawashi earned the first of these gold star victories on day 1 when he defeated Yokozuna Kisenosato. Up and comer Takakeisho claimed the other two when he beat Harumafuji on day 2 and Kisenosato on day 4.

Kyujo and Absences

There are currently six men on the banzuke who have pulled out of the competition. Ura, Takanoiwa and Yokozuna Kakuryu withdrew citing health issues before the start of the basho. Aoiyama joined them on day 3 after sustaining an ankle injury in his match with Okinoumi. Day 3 would also see Yokozuna Harumafuji pull out of the competition following accusations of an assault on Takanoiwa during the October jungyo tour. After four straight losses, former Ozeki Terunofuji withdrew on day 5 to address the multiple health issues that have been plaguing him as of late.

Tozai-Sei

On day 1, I mentioned that I would be keeping track of the unofficial Tozai-sei Championship going on between the East and West sides of the banzuke. The Tozai-sei was an award used in the early 20th century and was given to the side of the banzuke with the most wins, and I’ve decided to resurrect it for a bit of added fun this basho. The rules are simple: for every win a rikishi gets, his side receives a point. After five days, the West leads the East with a record of 53 to 46. This lead is no doubt thanks to Aminishiki, Ichinojo, Takayasu, and Hakuho, who have a combined 18 points thus far. The top point earners on the East side are Okinoumi, Mitakeumi, and Goeido, who have 14 points between them.

With day 6 set to start in just a few short hours, there are still so many great sumo highlights to look forward to as the Kyushu basho rolls on.

Day 6 matches to watch


Aminishiki has been a joy to watch, and a great story, but let’s face it, he hasn’t exactly faced the cream of the crop of Makuuchi so far. The talent level goes up tomorrow with Asanoyama, who leads the career series 2-1, but the young rikishi is in the middle of a bad sophomore basho slump.

Endo, who’s looked good, takes on Okinoumi, who’s looked even better. Look for another mawashi battle. Endo holds a 5-3 career edge.

Chiyoshoma takes on Arawashi!!! They look alike and fight alike; who’ll pull off the throw first? Arawashi holds a narrow 3-2 edge in their previous meetings.

Tochinoshin takes on Ichinojo!!! The strongman vs. the giant! Will they take turns trying to push each other out, or will Tochinoshin try for a throw? I can see this bout lasting a while. Tochinoshin leads 9-4.

Kotoshogiku, who looked genki indeed against Chiyotairyu, takes on Hokutofuji, who’s been quietly putting together a great basho. Keep away from the gaburi attack, Hokutofuji. Kotoshogiku leads 2-0.

Tamawashi takes on Yoshikaze. The former Sekiwake has looked stronger than the current one. Yoshikaze leads 11-8.

Mitakeumi, 4-1, takes on Onosho, 1-4. I expect a good battle, but Onosho really needs to find his balance. Mitakeumi leads 2-1.

It’s Chiyotairyu’s turn to try to slow down Goeido, but he’s looked a shadow of his Aki self. The career series is surprisingly even at 4-3 in favor of the Ozeki.

Takakeisho has lost his one previous matchup with Takayasu, but he’s looked outstanding this basho. Takakeisho needs to keep Takayasu away from his mawashi. Look for a tsupari flurry from both rikishi.

Kisenosato and Tochiozan have met 40 times, and each has won his share, with the Yokozuna holding a 25-15 lead. Kisenosato is clearly not fighting at full strength, and Tochiozan is the only winless rikishi, so who knows what to expect from this bout.

Shohozan will do his best to put up a fight, but he is winless in 12 previous meetings with Hakuho.

 

Day 5 – The Mighty Uncle


As the fifth day of the Kyushu basho concludes, the torikumi that Leonid was so excited about turned out to be just as excellent as predicted, although not necessarily for the expected reasons.

Uncle Sumo
No knees? No problem.

Tokoshoryu – Myogiryu. Lots of pre-tachiai sizing up, but when the bout starts, Tokoshoryu looks totally outmatched. Myogiryu wraps his arms around high up his opponent’s torso in a double-underarm grip, and simply walks him out.

Kotoyuki – Nishikigi. Matta from Kotoyuki – there seems to be a lot of it going around this basho. The actual bout starts well, but Kotoyuki honestly just looks like his heart isn’t in it. He gets a solid tachiai, but he attempts to maneuver around to Nishikigi’s left and just ends up losing ground in an oshi-zumo battle. He’s driven back easily, and just sort of steps out. Maybe he lost track of his position on the dohyo and tripped on the bales?

Daiamami – Aminishiki. Aminishiki raring to go, Daiamami looks like he’d much rather be eating chanko and watching Takekaze and Ikioi go at it. The bout starts with what I was sure was going to be a matta…

Then the match of the day happens. I am frankly blown away at Aminishiki’s performance here. First he gets a solid left-hand grip on the mawashi right off the tachi-ai, swings Daiamami around, and goes for a knee pick. Daiamami narrowly avoids it by getting his right leg back under him in time, turns head-on to the older rikishi, and forces him back to the bales – but not out. Aminishiki is leaning way forwards, but his grip (right underarm, left overarm) is too strong for Daiamami to just slap him down, and it seems Daiamami doesn’t want to risk back-pedalling.

Daiamami keeps Aminishiki on the bales, slowly levering him upright, dragging both arms up hard, but can’t break his left overarm mawashi grip. Then Aminishiki kicks him in the left shin and forces him to step backwards, taking the opportunity to get off the bales and around to the left. Daiamami drives forward again, but Aminishiki has room to maneuver now, and he backs up fast, overbalancing Daiamami forwards, and executes a sukuinage that I kind of want to print out and frame. Then he saunters back to the west, checking his nails.

This is why we love Uncle Sumo. Even Daiamami looks kind of star-struck.

Takekaze – Ikioi. After the last bout, anything would be a bit of a disappointment. This was a perfectly solid performance, but nothing outstanding.

Kaisei – Kagayaki. Kagayaki opens well, turning Kaisei to the left on the tachiai and moving around to his side, looking for the okuridashi. Kaisei recovers with a deftness and speed that we definitely weren’t seeing from him a couple of tournaments ago, gets back into a more comfortable migi-yotsu, and uses his superior strength to drive Kagayaki out.

Okinoumi – Daieisho. Okinoumi is able to keep Daiesho at bay with slaps and nodowa, but when Daiesho gets closer he’s forced to retreat, with one hand hooked around the back of Daiesho’s neck. As Daiesho leans in harder, Okinoumi shifts his grip, grabs his opponent by the upper arms, and drags him down, denying him anything to hold on to.

Endo – Asanoyama. An excellent yotsu-zumo match, with lots of fighting for a favourable grip. Eventually, Endo gets what he wants, swings Asanoyama around, and forces him out. If you’re a fan of yotsu-zumo, watch this one several times, and find a recording that lets you see it from different angles. You can really see how the rikishi will sacrifice positioning on the dohyo while they struggle to obtain or keep the grip that they want. In the end, despite being driven way back, Endo wins because of that grip.

Chiyomaru – Tochinoshin. Clash of styles here; Chiyomaru is very oshi-zumo focussed while Tochinoshin is a pure yotsu guy. If you look at Chiyomaru’s profile, the vast majority of his losses come from yorikiri – and that’s what happens here. The tsuppari barrage can’t force Tochinoshin back or even keep him at bay, and he soon has a left overarm, right underarm grip, and begins to drive the eternally round one back. When on the tawara, Chiyomaru pulls his right arm out, although I’m not sure what he expected it to achieve at this stage, and he’s out a moment later.

Shodai – Arawashi. I love the sumo that these two put on. Shodai’s tachi-ai looks a bit more committed than usual, but Arawashi absorbs it and starts into the throw attempts straight away. He starts out pinning both Shodai’s arms from the outside, preventing the morozashi, then tries for a kotenage, doesn’t land it, and finds himself being controlled and driven back by Shodai. After three or four attempts, Arawashi finally makes the kotenage work, dragging Shodai over his extended right leg and sending him tumbling.

Takarafuji – Daishomaru. This one was just really unexciting compared to the last few, I’m sorry to say. They both looked so hesitant! Takarafuji wins by yorikiri, but honestly, it’s more like Daishomaru lost by poorly-timed sidestep.

Chiyoshoma – Ichinojo. Chiyoshoma opens with tsuppari, forcing Ichinojo to lean into him, and tries for the slap-down but the mountainous rikishi stays on his feet (though not going anywhere fast). Chiyoshoma changes tactics, moving in and securing a right overarm grip, then turns almost completely around for a high-power uwatenage attempt. It’s not enough to send Ichinojo over, but it unbalances him, turns him sideways, and puts him between Chiyoshoma and the edge of the dohyo. Then it’s just an easy push-out, and Ichinojo’s first loss.

Chiyonokuni – Hokutofuji. If Endo – Asanoyama and Shodai – Arawashi were excellent technical yotsu bouts, this is the other end of the yotsu spectrum: A display of bulging muscles and exhausting effort. No grip change attempts, but Hokutofuji does pull back for a moment to drop his head and plant it against Chiyonokuni’s chest. He drives, Chiyonokuni tries for an uwatenage that doesn’t end the match but does offbalance Hokutofuji enough to fight back away from the bales. Chiyonokuni can’t restore his right inside grip, goes for a kotenage instead, and Hokutofuji pulls away entirely then re-attacks from the side and easily shoves Chiyonokuni out. Well, maybe “easily” is putting it a bit lightly, nothing about this match looked easy.

Kotoshogiku – Chiyotairyu. We enter the San’yaku bouts with a kind of sad trombone sound. Chiyotairyu can’t even get the tsuppari barrage started. Kotoshogiku is inside, gaburi-ing away, and the bout is over like that. ‘Giku needed the win; Chiyotairyu is not having a good basho. It’s his first time in the joi, so not really surprising that the first week would be a bit nasty. He gets Goeido tomorrow.

Mitakeumi gets the fusensho win since Terunofuji has finally accepted the complete futility of trying to do San’yaku-level sumo in his current state. I will never understand why he thought participating in the jungyo was a good idea.

Takakeisho – Yoshikaze. This wasn’t the highlight bout I was expecting, but it’s a good reminder that Takakeisho is improving rapidly. They bounce off each other at the tachiai, Takakeisho thrusts Yoshikaze away to the right when he tries to rush back in, then takes advantage of Yoshikaze’s poor positioning to oshidashi him out.

Tamawashi – Takayasu. Takayasu’s slaps and thrusts aren’t enough to keep Tamawashi at bay. He gets in close right off the tachiai, secures an actual left ottsuke (as opposed to whatever Kisenosato had the other day), and manages to drive Takayasu backwards the length of the dohyo as if doing butsukari. The big guy gets turned around at the end and shown out – Takayasu’s first loss of the basho. Will Takakeisho hand him another one tomorrow? The run of four wins was a good start, but Takayasu is under-trained, is kadoban, and I worry for my favourite rikishi.

Goeido – Onosho. After a solid tachiai, Goeido hops backwards and drags Onosho down. Not much to say about the match itself, but I hope this use of retreating sumo was just a one-off to defeat Onosho (who has a serious overcommitment problem), rather than a return to the overly-reactive style that we’d all rather he stay away from. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with reactive sumo – it’s just that Goeido is so much better when he’s on the attack! And since he faces Chiyotairyu tomorrow, the attack is where he wants to be; backing away from Chiyotairyu just means you spend longer getting pummelled by tsuppari.

Tochiozan – Hakuho… What? That wasn’t just a matta, even the Gyoji wasn’t in position yet! Did Hakuho lose track of what point in the pre-bout ritual they were at?

Hakuho easily wins the actual bout, holding Tochiozan at bay with one hand then quickly pulls him forward, sidesteps, and easily pushes him out the rest of the way – adding an extra little unnecessary shove off the dohyo. Boo, hiss.

Tochiozan is now the only non-kyujo rikishi in the division with no wins. Tomorrow, he gets to try to change that against Kisenosato.

Kisenosato – Shohozan. Yep, Shohozan was watching yesterday’s bout. He attacks the left side relentlessly, controlling Kisenosato’s weak left arm, trying throws and force-out techniques until he finally gets the yokozuna to the bales. Kisenosato isn’t finished, though, and pulls off an amazing last-moment throw, landing on top of Shohozan for the win. But it’s not the sort of win that a Yokozuna should be proud of.

I’ve got to say, I’m unhappy with the state of affairs at the Yokozuna ranks. Kisenosato is not putting on yokozuna-like sumo. Hakuho is not showing yokozuna-like conduct. Kakuryu has been kyujo for six of the last ten basho. And Harumafuji, well, I don’t really want to talk about that. But that’s a sour note, and the vast majority of today has been cracking good fun.

Day 5 – Flash Flood


Today we saw two of the leader group being washed away.

ichinojo-takayasu-down
Ichinojo, Takayasu, bye!

And now the leader group consists of only three men. One of whom is – as it turns out – the same age as Onosho’s dad.

But let’s start at the beginning. We had a flood of flash bouts today. The first of them was Myogiryu taking on Juryo visitor Tokushoryu. Myogiryu gets both hands inside and quickly yori-kiris Tokushoryu.

Not much beauty in the Nishikigi vs. Kotoyuki bout. Kotoyuki retreats, retreats, until he runs out of dohyo. He seems on his way back to Juryo, possibly to be replaced by a very motivated Ryuden.

And then we move to the first serious challenge to Aminishiki‘s reign over the Maegashira ranks. Daiamami knows Aminishiki well, and knows where the Ancient Mariner’s weakness is. He pushes him against the tawara. But Aminishiki somehow manages to do his bale dance and get away, only to be caught again. The old wizard’s knees almost cave, when he gives a final dance to his right, and uses the grip he has on Daiamami’s left arm for a sukuinage. Uncle Sumo visibly pants as he picks his kensho-kin. But he is still in the yusho race!

Ikioi gives Takekaze another black star, as this elderly man fails to mimic the senior citizen from the previous bout. Ikioi gets him in a double-hand-inside, holds him high and leads him out.

Kagayaki once again goes into a belt battle with Kaisei. He nearly turns the Brazilian around, but Kaisei rallies and gets face to face again. Kaisei has the upper hand, at least as far as mass is concerned, and then dispatches the man in the mustard mawashi in short order.

Okinoumi continues in his good performance vs. Daieisho. It starts with an exchange of slaps, and Daieisho gets Okinoumi to the bales, but he take a risk, grabs Daieisho under his shoulders and presses down for a Katasukashi. By the way, did you know that “Katasukashi” also means “disappointment” or “letdown”? I’m sure that’s how Daieisho felt.

Asanoyama is probably not going to repeat his double-digits from Aki. In fact, the way it looks, he’ll be happy if he can get a kachi-koshi at all! All he does against Endo just doesn’t work. The strength is there, but he can’t put it together.

Chiyomaru continues in his on-off-on-off series. The NHK commentator explains that Chiyomaru has a problem with mawashi fighting because he can’t reach the opponent’s belt owing to his huge belly. Tochinoshin, on the other hand, doesn’t have much of a belly, has long arms, and he catches Chiyomaru in a belt grip right away and just leads him out without the Kokonoe meatball ever showing much defense.

Arawashi grabs Shodai‘s arm and tries to pull. Shodai resists. Arawashi tries again. Shodai gets out. Arawashi gets a belt grip, but Shodai is not letting him do much. So the Mongolian goes for the arm yet agai, and this time pulls the kotonage he was aiming for from the start. Very nice bout!

Takarafuji manages to scrape a second win today vs. Daishomaru. He keeps his opponent at an arm’s length, showing his usual patience, he evades an attack and keeps the distance between their bodies. He finally gets a yori-kiri without ever getting any sort of firm grip. I must say that it looks like the goings-on at Isegahama are taking their toll on all their sekitori. Though winning, Takarafuji looks tired and gloomy.

It’s a wonder how Chiyoshoma keeps winning against Ichinojo, who is about twice his weight. Today’s bout wasn’t even very long. As soon as he got a mawashi grip, he sent the boulder outside. Of course, if he had tried to do this with only the one hand on the mawashi, he would have to get a new elbow installed tomorrow. He helped the giant along by pushing him with his left hand. I hope Ichinojo rallies and continues his good form as the basho continues.

It’s rare to see Chiyonokuni in a mawashi match. And Hokutofuji is no yotsu expert, either. But still, this is where they found themselves, locked into each other’s mawashi. At some point, Hokutofuji tries to throw Chiyonokuni, but Chiyonokuni rallies. Then there’s an attempt at a kotonage, which eventually leaves Chiyonokuni open, and Hokutofuji pushes him out. Again, a great bout to watch.

And here we begin the flash flood. Kotoshogiku vs. Chiyotairyu. Going, going, gone! I wouldn’t have believed Kotoshogiku could win so fast these days. Especially against Chiyotairyu, which is usually not a pushover.

Then, Takakeisho pushes at Yoshikaze for just a second, side steps, Yoshikaze would have regained his footing – but Takakeisho is there to push him out. Wham, bam, gone in a flash!

This is followed by Takayasu, who is pushed by Tamawashi right out of the dohyo before he manages to get his breath back after the tachiai. You snooze, you lose. And our Kadoban Ozeki drops off the leaderboard.

But have no fear! Goeido is here. He must have been watching the videos from the previous Onosho matches. Usually, I’d complain about him doing his sumo backwards, but for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven, you know. And since Onosho proved that he overcommits and can’t stay on his feet, Goeido served him up with the exact kind of dish that he cooked for himself. So, Goeido still in the lossless group.

Now, what followed in the Hakuho vs. Tochiozan was a very strange thing. This was not your regular “matta”, where the two wrestlers don’t find the correct second to rise. This was actually before the Gyoji started the bout (the gyoji changes the position of his feet during the pre-bout, and this marks which of the shikiri rituals is the “real” one). Events outside the venue must have been weighing on Hakuho’s mind.

Although the bout itself ends pretty quickly and decisively in Hakuho’s favor, he once again pulls one of his “extracurriculars”, though at this point he really doesn’t need any hint of misconduct. That push was certainly a dame-oshi.

Now, the musubi-no-ichiban was worth the money. Shohozan must have watched Takakeisho’s bout with Kisenosato yesterday, as he went for basically the same thing: constant attacks on the Yokozuna’s left side, combined with nodowa, that left the Yokozuna defenseless. Then he tried to throw the Yokozuna, but Kisenosato is not an easy fellow to throw. But Shohozan continued with his pressure and pressed the Yokozuna against the tawara. Unfortunately for Shohozan, the Yokozuna’s right side is still functioning, and he managed a suicidal throw, that got the Yokozuna the come-from-behind win in this bout, which was completely dominated by the Maegashira. Oh wow.


So, what does the leader list look like now, a third of the way into the basho?

Yokozuna Hakhuo
Ozeki Goeido
Maegashira #13 Aminishiki

Say what?

By the way, there is another leader list to follow: those with the most wins for the year. As we started this basho, which is the last of the year, Harumafuji was leading with 47 wins. With Harumafuji no longer able to earn any stars this year (and probably ever), the list looks like this.

Mitakeumi 49
Takayasu 48
Harumafuji 47
Hakuho 47
Takakeisho 46
Hokutofuji 45
Tamawashi 44
Ichinojo 44
Yoshikaze 43
Goeido 41
Daishomaru 41

Whoever ends up as the yearly leader is going to have a negative record: the worst number of wins for the leader of the year, after Takanohana’s 60,  which he achieved years ago. With only 10 days to go, matching 60 is going to be impossible without a playoff.


Finally, here are a couple of Juryo matches for your pleasure:

Ishiura vs. Yutakayama:

Ryuden vs. Homarefuji

Again, nobody from Isegahama, with the exception of Aminishiki, seems to be doing any sumo. Ryuden, on the other hand, got his first kensho-kin yesterday and is very uppity.

 

Wakaichiro Match #3 – A Loss


Wakaichiro

Day 5 action from Fukuoka, Sandanme 85 rikishi and Tachiai favorite Wakaichiro faced off against Sadogatake beya’s Kotoryusei. Unfortunately the man from Texas did not prevail over his opponent. Winning move is listed as okuridashi, meaning that Kotoryusei was able to get Wakaichiro turned around, and push him out from behind.

With this loss, Wakaichiro drops to 1-2, but is still easily within range of a kachi-koshi for his first basho in in Sandanme. We anticipate that he will return to the doyho on day 7 or 8.