Day 14 – and the winner is…

hakuho-yusho-41

Yokozuna Hakuho, in a year of injuries, in which he previously completed just one basho, is back, and is breaking records. Today he won his 41st yusho. It was also his 1000th Makuuchi win, with Kaio trailing far behind with 879. Also, this is the 13th consecutive year in which he wins at least one yusho – breaking Taiho’s record of 12. In the shitaku-beya he said “I am leaving the children who will be entering Grand Sumo in the future a big challenge to aim for”. I doubt if the child who will break those records is going to be born any time soon – perhaps if sports medicine advances far enough, and the world of sumo changes its mindset well enough, to extend an average rikishi’s viable career as a sekitori into his forties. Then, maybe, maybe.

But the Yokozuna’s yusho was just the cap on yet another good day of sumo, so let’s dive right in.

Arawashi visited Makuuchi today, to see if he should be exchanged for Kotoyuki. Kotoyuki denies him any access to his mawashi, and in the tsuppari match that ensues, Arawashi’s foot slips to the janome (the ring of fine sand surrounding the tawara). This has been happening a lot this basho. Bales slippery or buried a tad too deeply? Only the Yobidashi and the gods of the dohyo know. Arawashi needs to win his bout tomorrow to still secure his kachi-koshi and return to Makuuchi – especially now that Aminishiki is make-koshi and will not advance (Aminishiki has been the victim of two consecutive henkas by men almost half his age, believe it or not).

Chiyoshoma, who has secured his kachi-koshi for the first time since the Haru basho (the only Kokonoe sekitori to do so so far), got a mawashi grip on Okinoumi right from the get-go. However, it was Okinoumi who executed a lovely uwatenage, usually Chiyoshoma’s expertise, rolling the Kokonoe man to the edge of the dohyo. Okinoumi is kachi-koshi.

Ryuden aims to get a morozashi on Sadanoumi. He achieves a left hand inside with a good grip, while Sadanoumi latches on with his right hand outside. The two fight over the hold with the other hand, Ryuden trying to lock his armpit, and Sadanoumi getting a “nozoki” (his left hand peeks through). Then Sadanoumi suddenly reverses direction, and uses the good hold he has on Ryuden with his right to pull the man in the black mawashi over to the edge and force him out with a yori-kiri. Both fly to the front rows. Sadanoumi checks with Ryuden that he is alright, Ryuden nods. Sadanoumi is kachi-koshi, and Ryuden may yet get to double digits, but not today.

Takanosho and Daieisho both use their arms to pad their impact. From there, it takes Takanosho half a second to drop Daieisho to ground. Oshitaoshi.

Hokutofuji seems to be Takanoiwa‘s Kryptonite. Takanoiwa has not beaten him in any of their bouts. It seems Takanoiwa is always aiming for a right “sashi” (hand insertion), and Hokutofuji always succeeds in sealing that side off. And this time, too, he gets rid of the posky right hand and proceeds to destroy Takanoiwa’s game plan. Oshidashi, Hokutofuji wins, both are 9-5, may get double digits tomorrow.

Ishiura tries to get a mae-mitsu grip on Daishomaru, but realizes that he has achieved a morozashi (both hands inside), and simply proceeds to yori-kiri the Oitekaze man. Where was this Ishiura for the length of this basho?

Aoiyama, who only two days ago pommeled Ishiura in anger for trying a henka, decided to go that way himself, and sidestepped Takarafuji mightily. Does Aoiyama really need to henka the fading Isegahama heyagashira? Takarafuji is now make-koshi and in sore need of rest and recuperation.

Nishikigi continues to surprise. With a large bruise on his right elbow he faces Shohozan, whom he has never beaten before. Shohozan starts with a harite, and while the two fumble with their arms on one side, Shohozan manages to insert his left hand inside through Nishikigi’s ottsuke on the other. But Nishikigi cooly converts that ottsuke into a kotenage – remember, that’s his injured elbow – and Shohozan finds himself below the dohyo. Nishikigi is yet another rikishi who may secure double digits tomorrow. Shohozan, on the other hand, is make-koshi.

Chiyomaru starts his bout with Tochiozan with a morotezuki – thrust with both hands – and then pulls and tries to slam the veteran Kasugano rikishi to the ground. Tochiozan survives, wraps his arms around the Eternally Round One, and sends him rolling with a tsukiotoshi. Chiyomaru is now officially make-koshi and in danger of demotion to Juryo. Tochiozan will have to wait until tomorrow for his kachi (or make) koshi.

Kotoshogiku doesn’t leave much to write about. He slams into Kagayaki, lifting him up, and then drives him out Goeido-style before Kagayaki can think of any response. Kotoshogiku wins, and both parties are now 7-7 and wait for senshuraku to decide their fates.

Asanoyama tries to land a yotsu hold on Yoshikaze. Yoshikaze pulls and drops the young man to the ground. Experience, experience… Yoshikaze and his magical rash are in double digits. Asanoyama has to wait for tomorrow to try for a kachi-koshi.

Endo‘s present to Yutakayama for his birthday is a quick and merciless tsukidashi. Yutakayama is 2-10-2, Endo 3-11. Both are not going to be anywhere near the joi the next basho, and I hope they’ll both find some time to heal (whatever it is that is ailing Endo).

This is followed by yet another match-of-the-hapless, in which Ikioi manages to win yet another one of those kensho envelopes pledged for him by his fiancee’s sponsor. A barrage of tsuppari finds Onosho spread on the dohyo by hatakikomi. Onosho doesn’t look injured, but like Yoshikaze in the previous basho and Endo in this one, something seems to be plaguing him. Both parties are now 3-11.

Chiyotairyu somehow fools himself into believing that going chest-to-chest with Kaisei is going to benefit him. Although he has a morozashi, he doesn’t use it to secure a hold – probably because he doesn’t have the reach, with both Kaisei’s bulk and his own increasing the circumference he needs to cover. Kaisei, on the other hand, secures a good grip in a soto-yotsu, much like Tochinoshin had a few days ago, and calmly walks Chiyotairyu to the edge. Chiyotairyu increases his losing score to 4-10. Kaisei is now 7-7, and if he wins on senshuraku, may find himself in sanyaku again.

That sanyaku spot is going to be vacated by Tamawashi, who faced Chiyonokuni. They start a tsuki-oshi exchange, but Chiyonokuni manages to land a couple of thrusts that set Tamawashi spinning like a top. Tamawashi is not really with us. Next basho he is probably safely away from any Yokozuna and Ozeki.

Takakeisho pulls Myogiryu down in a typical hikiotoshi. Takakeisho is kachi-koshi, and will stay in sanyaku. Depending on Ferdinand the Bull he may even advance to Sekiwake – but we’ll get to Ichinojo in a minute.

So Ferdinand, I mean, Ichinojo, slams into Shodai and the impact drives the maegashira almost to the edge. The two frantically attempt to land a grip and defend against being gripped, when Ichinojo realizes that he has gained enough ground to safely pull. Hatakikomi, and as is usual with Ichinojo, this means Shodai is spread on the dohyo like Philadelphia cheese, and Ichinojo is hovering over him with a slightly worried “Did I do that?” face. Shodai manages to stand up. It’s Ichinojo’s win, and somehow, unbelievably, Ichinojo once again finds himself with a possibility of a kachi-koshi on senshuraku. If he does that, he maintains his Sekiwake position, and his winning streak at 7 consecutive kachi koshi. If he doesn’t – well, he’ll be komusubi, and Takakeisho Sekiwake. Shodai, by the way, is make-koshi.

Tochinoshin finds a way through Abi‘s tsuppari, and catches on Peter Pan’s mawashi. The latter squirms and bends. I’m pretty sure he actually touched the dohyo with the top part of his foot at some point there – but it’s a moot point, as Tochinoshin performs the shitatenage, and finally gets that precious 8th win that he needed so dearly. Tochinoshin maintains his Ozeki rank, and avoids repeating Musoyama’s quick relegation to Ozekiwake following one kyujo as shin-ozeki and one kadoban in 2000 (Musoyama went on to win 10 bouts and regained his Ozeki rank at the time). Everybody in Georgia lets out a sigh of relief – we still have three Ozeki going into Kyushu. Abi, by the way, is now make-koshi.

The next bout features the suffering Mitakeumi against the near-perfect Takayasu. Takayasu’s usual slam is properly met by the sekiwake. Takayasu tries to slide his left hand through, and Mitakeumi uses a ferocious ottsuke while both of them are also defending on the other side, keeping their mawashi away from each other’s arms. Takayasu does manage to overcome Mitakeumi’s ottsuke and gets to Mitakeumi’s Mawashi. At the same time Mitakeumi pierces his right side. But Mitakeumi converts his ottsuke into a strong lock on Takayasu’s arm, and drags him down the dohyo. Both of them fall. The gyoji points to Mitakeumi.

The result of the monoii deliberation: both are out, “dotai”, but since Mitakeumi was clearly the attacking side, it’s his win.

So Mitakeumi gets the win, secures his kachi-koshi, and maintains his Sekiwake status. Takayasu, however, goes 11-3, and loses his place in the Yusho race.

Then follows the Yokozuna bout of the day. Kakuryu starts with a good forward-moving attack, and Kisenosato defends with all the tools that he has – mainly his lower body. At some point Kakuryu runs out of energy, and a leaning session ensues, as both try to find an opening. But then Kakuryu makes what seems to me like a rookie mistake – he reacts to the gyoji’s call of “oi-hakioi”, trying to do something prematurely. This leaves him open, and Kisenosato, one-armed Yokozuna though he is, seems to be very sharp this basho. Sharp enough to envelope Kakuryu and get him to the nearest edge. Kakuryu loses for the fourth day in a row. Amazingly, the Yokozuna who looked like he was going to take the Yusho only five days ago, winning decisively and brilliantly, is suddenly neck to neck with the Yokozuna we all predicted will have a hard time getting an F-ing kachi-koshi. Hats off for Kisenosato. He achieves his yokozuna kachi-koshi of 10 wins.

Musubi no ichiban. Hakuho is zensho, but had some very precarious bouts in this basho. Goeido, other than his first day bout, has been magnificent this basho. Who is going to prevail? The bout is preceded by yet another set of matta. Both the fault of Hakuho, who seems to be very tense. Upon the second one, I was sure we are going to see the Yokozuna being swept away by a raging Ozeki.

Er, nope. Nopity-nope-nope. Hakuho goes straight forward, grabs Goeido’s mawashi with his left hand, and within a couple of seconds the Ozeki is in a heap on the nearest shimpan. Hakuho is feeling magnanimous enough to help Goeido back up the dohyo. The dai-yokozuna gets his 41st yusho, his 1000th Makuuchi win, his 1094th win overall, his 13th year in a row winning a yusho, and who knows how many more records, with just one typical uwatenage.

All that is left is to see whether Kakuryu will manage to spoil his zensho.

yokozunameter-2018-aki-day-14
Kakuryu and Kisenosato tied. Unbelievable.

 

Bouts from the lower divisions – Days 6 and 7

Let’s proceed with the past two days, which were full of events in the lower divisions. You have already seen Ura and Wakaichiro. Here are some others.

happy-terutsuyoshi
Four men are leading Juryo. This is one of them. (Terutsuyoshi, accompanied by Midorifuji, his tsukebito for this basho)

Day 6

Tsukahara has won the Jonokuchi and the Jonidan yusho when he started out in Hatsu 2018 (Mae-zumo in 2017). But he got a little stuck in his next two basho. He is going for the Sandanme Yusho this time. In this bout he faces Seigo from Shikoroyama beya:

He also had a bout on day 7, and is currently 4-0.

Now we turn to the princes. First, the Duke of Tatsunami, Hoshoryu. Here facing Sasakiyama. At this point both are 2-0. Note that the torikumi committee regularly matches people with the same record – this helps separate the wheat from the chaff quickly and efficiently.

Sasakiyama returned after a long kyujo and went 6-1 in Jonidan and 7-0 in Sandanme (Jun-Yusho, with Kagamio winning the yusho).

Sasakiyama is not happy. But at least that kotenage left him in one piece.

The next is the Prince of Otake, scion of Taiho (and Takatoriki). He is already 1-1 at this point, and faces Sakigake with the same score.

Bad mistake there, and he finds himself facing outwards, and is respectfully led out. Serious setback, two losses in a row for a man with so many hopes pinned on him. If he doesn’t get a kachi-koshi, it’s back to Sandanme, as he is at the very bottom of Makushita.

I am not going to go through the entire Juryo, but I want you to watch two special bouts. The first is a mixed bout. Toyonoshima in Makushita is scheduled for a Juryo match. So he gets to wear an oicho-mage and throw some salt, which he hasn’t done for a while. It’s a bit unusual to be scheduled for the fourth time in six days, but hey, if he wants to be a sekitori, he has to be able to wrestle every day, right?

He is matched with Jokoryu – a former Sekiwake against a former komusubi. One striving to return to sekitori status, one just now having achieved that.

Since Toyonoshima is at Makushita #1, if he wins this bout, he is kachi-koshi and virtually ensures his return to Juryo for Kyushu.

With both falling about the same time, there is, of course a monoii. And a torinaoshi. Toyonoshima is full of fire. The second time around ends in a hearty uwatenage. Toyonoshima returns to Juryo.

toyonoshima-crying
After two years, Toyonoshima will finally be able to provide for his family

The next interesting day 6 bout is not quite as emotional, but still brilliant. Enho – who else – meets Tokushoryu.

Enho goes for the Hakuho slap-and-grab. The grab doesn’t quite work, but Enho is unfazed. He finds Tokushoryu’s mae-mitsu, and at the same time secures a hold on Tokushoryu’s mawashi knot. The kimarite is shitatenage. But if you look at the replays, you’ll see that enho actually throws him with both arms – he needs a lot of leverage on that hefty guy. With this, Enho is level again, 3-3. His game is much improved over his first Juryo visit.

Oh, and there was something very odd going on in the Day 6 Juryo dohyo-iri. Take a look:

Three wrestlers are missing from the dohyo-iri, and come running in just in time to delay Aminishiki, who looks rather outraged. Perhaps because one of the delinquents is his own ototo-deshi (member of the same heya who joined at a later date) – Terutsuyoshi, accompanied by Tsurugisho and Daishoho. I’m pretty sure Aminishiki had a little talk with Terutsuyoshi after that.

The gyoji-announcer, however, smoothly adds the names of the three late joiners without pause.

Interestingly, despite being late for the dohyo-iri, Terutsuyoshi’s tsukebito (Midorifuji, in the top picture) seems to have retained all of his teeth. I guess there are ways of dealing with one’s own tardiness without spilling the blood of one’s subordinates.

(Yeah, I am referring to the Bakayoshitoshi incident).

Anyway, here is the day 6 full Juryo digest for your pleasure:

Day 7

Jonokuchi

How can we pass up a Hattorizakura bout? Here vs. Kogitora:

In the previous basho it seemed that Hattorizakura has made a step forward, and started working on his staying power. Alas, this basho none of that seems to have remained. His stablemaster promised him a new shikona should he make kachi-koshi. I guess he likes “Hattorizakura”.

Let’s look at another Jonokuchi bout for a change. Here is one of the new recruits for Naruto beya, Oju, vs. Toya. Oju’s first basho in Jonokuchi has been a disaster, but take a look at this bout:

Oju looks pretty drained after the bout, but still goes over to try and help his opponent up (which Toya refuses). So he is a nice guy. But besides that, it was a good bout, and he kept his stance lower than his opponent and used his opening. He is now 2-2.

Jonidan

Tsushida, who was the Jonokuchi yusho winner in Nagoya, suffered a setback on day 6. So probably no Jonidan yusho. But can he come back? Here he is faced with Sakabayashi. Again, the torikumi masters match wrestlers with the same score:

So maybe no yusho, but Tsushida is still going strong.

Now, on day 1 I said Satonofuji looked tired and spent, and speculated that he may retire soon. But in fact he is having a lovely basho. And, oh, feast your eyes on this bout vs. Chiyotaiko:

In my opinion, that tachiai should have been a matta. But it wasn’t called, and Satonofuji finds himself in an awkward position. But if you think that the 41-years-old Isegahama man just accidentally came up with a clever kimarite, think again. This Izori is his 15th. The man has 36 distinct kimarite under his belt.

Sandanme

I still follow Torakio, but the man is starting to have a really disastrous basho, despite not being seriously injured this time. Take a look at this match vs. Yokoe. Both 1-2 coming into this match:

A lot of effort, but the Musashigawa man manages to unbalance the Bulgarian and Torakio is 1-3, very close to a make-koshi, and it’s not nakabi, yet!

Makushita

At the bottom, the struggling Naya meets Shosei. Both 1-2 coming into the match. Shosei is a veteran and Makushita regular.

Naya recovers from his two losses and is now 2-2.

Now here is a familiar face we haven’t seen in a while. Yet another one trying to make a return to sekitori status, Chiyootori. Here he faces Koba from Kise beya, both 2-1 coming into this match.

Despite that huge brace on his leg, Chiyootori seems full of genki. Bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce until the tachiai, and a yorikiri soon after. Chiyootori is now 3-1, and at Makushita 25, still has a way to go before he can start throwing salt again.

Finally, here is Sokokurai, who wants the yusho very badly, facing Gokushindo, who wants it quite as much (and there are other people in Makushita aiming for it):

This kind of bout is the reason why they invented tsuppari. Guys, stop circling around and tring to find an opening that doesn’t exist. Show some initiative. Sokokurai is very careful, tries not to expose himself in any way. This could go on forever, but Sokokurai makes the first mistake and loses his chance of a yusho.

Juryo

 

  • Chiyonoumi is having a real hard time this basho. His tsuppari attack is effective at first, but still, Hakuyozan is bigger and not easily moved by mere thrusts, and it’s the Kokonoe man who finds himself outside.
  • Akua with his back to the wall. His bouts in the past few days are very fierce, even desparate. Tokushoryu is the winner and Akua is 2-5.
  • Mitoryu started the basho strong, but weakened a bit as the days passed. Azumaryu wants to find his way back up.
  • Jokoryu manages to turn Tobizaru around, but the monkey somehow gets back around and they both fall outside. There is a monoii, but the decision holds – Jokoryu “nokotteori” – he still has a leg inside.
  • Enho tries to get inside, doesn’t find a way, but Seiro – back from kyujo – can’t unbalance the little pixie. Eventually, Enho achieves a straight oshi-dashi. This is the first time he manages two consecutive wins in Juryo.
  • Gagamaru lifts Tsurugisho easily over the bales.
  • Takekaze slams into Shimanoumi, but that doesn’t seem to impress his opponent much. He is soon sent out.
  • Terutsuyoshi – half henka, gets inside Hidenoumi’s belly, and sends him out. 5-2 for the Isegahama pixie.
  • Wakatakakage suffers a serious weight disadvantage in his bout with Takagenji. That was one fierce oshidashi.
  • Kotoeko requires some time before he succeeds in forcing Chiyonoo out.
  • Nice battle between Yago and Daishoho, which goes back and forth between the two. Daishoho tries a hatakikomi, but is driven out before Yago finds himself on his knees.
  • Akiseyama once again switches mawashi color to stop his losing streak. Alas, this time it doesn’t work. Meisei somehow manages to keep in the black, while Akiseyama is 1-6.
  • Kyokushuho doesn’t leave any opening for Uncle Sumo’s wiles. Aminishiki flies to the fourth row before the fans finish their first “Aminishiki” shout. Two consecutive losses for the Isegahama veteran, and he is now 4-3.
  • Finally, once again, Arawashi grabs the mawashi and throws at the edge. Daiamami is down before Arawashi’s legs leave ground.

Juryo is crazy this basho. It seems the level is very very even. No one is 7-0. No one is even 6-1. And there are four men with 5-2:

  1. J4E Daiamami
  2. J8W Terutsuyoshi
  3. J11E Tokushoryu
  4. J13E Azumaryu

If Terutsuyoshi, the pixie with the sodium fixation, who only secured his kachi-koshi in the previos basho in the last day, is in the Yusho arasoi in this one, then as far as Juryo is concerned, we are in a Wacky Aki.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Days 3 and 4

Yesterday all my YouTube sources dried up all of a sudden, so I decided to collect the little material that I had from two days. This doesn’t matter much in the divisions below Juryo, as mostly the wrestlers have bouts on alternating days. But it does mean that I’ll have to concentrate on today’s Juryo rather than yesterday’s.

enho-hassotobi
Behold, a flying pixie

Day 3

What I have from day 3 are mostly Makushita bouts from the top of the division.

Here is the hottest thing in Isegahama, the back-flipping Tomisakae, vs. Wakamotoharu – that’s Wakatakakage’s slightly older brother (the oldest is Wakatakamoto).

After a matta, Tomisakae drives straight forward and quickly dispatches of the Arashio man. Note that he is then called over by the one of the shimpan and scolded for something. I’m not sure what that would be. Maybe that little jump of glee at the end?

Then we have Sokokurai, who means business. And in this case, it’s a very long business transaction:

Sokokurai has Tokushinho in a morozashi, but Tokushinho is bigger than Sokokurai and gets a soto-yotsu (both hands outside) grip. First he only gets the outer layer of Sokokurai’s mawashi, but then manages to get a hold of the lower layer with his right hand. Sokokurai releases one hand and tries a throw, but it doesn’t work. Tokushino starts forward, but Sokokurai rallies and reasserts his morozashi. Tokushinho, however, starts marching forward again, and Sokokurai is running out of stamina. But he is not the only one. Eventually a little shift and Tokushinho drops to the floor. It’s called a shitatenage, but it was more like an underarm release than an underarm throw.

Here is Tomokaze, facing another rather hot name, Irodori:

Irodori starts the attack, but then Tomokaze changes the direction and puts Iridori between himself and the closest line of bales, where he goes ahead and pushes him. Tomokaze is 2-0 at the moment.

Finally, we have Toyonoshima vs. Toyohibiki:

Those two go back a long way. Most of their past 14 meetings were in Makuuchi.

Toyohibiki goes for the attack, but Toyonoshima does a little dance around and reverses the fates. The ancient one is now 2-0.

Here is the Juryo digest for day three, for those who do not want to miss a single bout, but I am leaving it uncommented:

Day 4

We start the action in Day 4 with two Jonokuchi bouts. First, we cannot do without Hattorizakura.

Here he meets Takanoryu again. Takanoryu has only ever beaten two other rikishi. One of them twice before. Can you guess who that is?

Hattorizakura tries to stick it on the bales, but his heel goes lower and lower and eventually the shimpan signals to the gyoji that the bout is actually over.

Next up is a bout with a little more talent. It’s my favorite stick insect, the underfed Chiyotaiyo, vs. Hayasaka:

(Extra bout – Akatsuki vs. Kyonosato)

Chiyotaiyo seems to be very popular – gets a lot of calls from the spectators. He launches himself at Hayasaka, grabs an arm, and wins by tottari. My guess is that this time he is not staying in Jonokuchi. 2-0 for the Kokonoe string bean. Feed him, Chiyotaikai!

Up we go to Jonidan, where we have a bout between Tsushida – the Jonokuchi yusho winner from Nagoya, and an expected contender for the Jonidan yusho in Aki – facing the now famous Kasugaryu, Hakuho’s tsukebito, and current yumi-tori performer.

34 years old Kasugaryu is certainly giving Tsushida a run for his money. Nice legwork, and it’s amazing how he manages to survive most of this bout on one foot. But eventually this causes him be turned around and Tsushida shows him the lovely view at the bottom of the dohyo.

Moving up to Sandanme, we have Torakio meeting Matsuda.

Now, this looks completely different than Torakio’s first bout. So I suppose that one should be attributed to ring rust? We’ll see over the coming 10 days. He patiently works his way to Matsuda’s mawashi, and then picks him and leads him to the edge. That really looked like mature sumo.

Now, we move up to Makushita. And we concentrate on its lower part this time. First, what is Naya up to? Here is his bout with Hitachigo:

He suffers a similar kind of setback to that suffered by Ura in his second bout. Now he has virtually lost his chance of a Yusho (well, there have been yusho which were won with 6-1 in Makushita, but it’s relatively rare). No yusho means no shortcuts up the banzuke. If Hoshoryu manages a 7-0, let alone a yusho, he will leave Taiho’s grandson way behind him.

Speaking of Hoshoryu, here is his bout vs. Sadanosato:

Hoshoryu’s style is usually going for the mawashi and attempting a throw – a typical style for Mongolians (Tamawashi a well-known exception). But in this particular bout he chooses to switch to tsuki-oshi. It’s not really forced on him by his opponent. This is a surprising flexibility from someone not yet 20.

OK, we now move up to Juryo, and here is your digest for the day:

Due to Seiro’s kyujo, a rikishi from Makushita is called up to do a Juryo torikumi. It’s the yo-yo, Kizenryu, facing Akua in his retina-damaging shimekomi. This turns out to be a protracted battle, in which both sides are doing their best to deny access to their mawashi. But Akua is again left winless, with nothing to show for his great effort. He is probably going back to Makushita yet again.

Now, if you have watched Kintamayama today, you will have seen that Enho’s bout with Gagamaru came after two very strange mattas. Enho explains:

“I was seriously scared. When we had the matta, my opponent’s face went boiling red. Well, his head was very low, so it was clear that I should go to the right. That was so strong on my mind that before I knew it I found myself flying. It’s the first time in my life I have flown”.

Personally, I was not too enthusiastic about that Hassotobi, having seen its sister being performed over and over again in the Jungyo by Enho’s stablemate, Ishiura. It’s not good sumo and I’m sure Hakuho is not going to proudly tweet about it. But the spectators at the Kokugikan loved it, and Enho made it to the kanto-seishin (the crowd fighting-spirit favorites list). What is he going to do when he gets to Makuuchi and has to face the likes of Chiyomaru, Chiyotairyu and Kaisei?

  • Azumaryu suffers his first loss with some serious pressure from Tokushoryu.
  • Chiyonoumi started his comeback after his first loss yesterday. Today he faced Jokoryu (who is the first one I see daring to wear a brown mawashi), and aims some massive thrusts at him. Go, go, Kochi-man.
  • Tobizaru is also on the mend from his disastrous first two days. He changed his shimekomi, by the way, to something that looks like banana-milk or Badam-milk color.
  • Mitoryu faces Shimanoumi. Some fierce nodowa and Shimanoumi is pushed away. Mitoryu continues to dominate with 4-0.
  • Terutsuyoshi, however, had excellent first two days, but has now followed them with two consecutive losses. This time he doesn’t manage to keep his grip as he did in the first day.
  • Wakatakakage suffers his first loss at the hands of the rebounding Tsurugisho.
  • Takekaze is doing the push-me-pull-you, and ends up luckily inside the ring.
  • The Hidenoumi-Takagenji bout seemed pretty simultaneous to me. I expected a torinaoshi, but it went to Hidenoumi. I’m not complaining, mind you.
  • The Kyokushuho-Meisei bout was fine, but I don’t really get how Meisei made it into the kanto-seishin list.
  • Yago made the same mistake twice in the same bout. In both cases he tried to pull and failed. He is much better moving forward. He loses too much ground when pulling.
  • Akiseyama secures a grip and tries to trip the tripper, Arawashi. He also tries to lift him and take him aside. Arawashi shows what he is made of – and keeps his balance perfectly. The way he uses his feet to change his center of gravity is superb.
  • Aminishiki’s bout was a very short version of “Crime and Punishment”. Daishoho saw his henka and raised him a hatakikomi.

That’s it for day 4. By now, day 5 action has already started in the lower divisions. Hope you enjoyed this collection!

Aki Day 2 – Bouts From The Lower Divisions

You have already seen the video of Ura’s return and Wakaichiro’s match with the reigning Jonidan champion. So here are some other bouts from day 2.

enho-vs-hakuyozan
Enho throwing a man weighing 63kg more than himself

Starting at Jonokuchi, we have our favorite non-winning rikishi, Hattorizakura, facing Fujikawa.

The result is all too predictable, but Hattorizakura fans noticed that he changed his tachiai. Or at least, his starting position.

So let’s put this one down to ring rust, and hope his next bout will show us Hattorizakura launching himself like crossbow bolt… no? No chance? None?

Another Jonokuchi bout I wanted to show you is Chiyotaiyo vs. Shiimori. It seems that there is no chanko left for the Jonokuchi wrestlers at Kokonoe beya, after Chiyotairyu, Chiyomaru and Chiyonoo have their shares. Chiyotaiyo is so famished his ribs show:

(Extra bout for your entertainment – Kyonosato vs. Tamura)

Well, Chiyotaiyo has a beautiful shiko. Some food and some experience and that kid will be sekitori.

At Jonidan, I wanted to show you Orora, though I must warn you, this is not really sumo. Technically it is, but this kind of performance is not the reason you signed in. Orora’s 292kg face Tokimaru.

[cringe]

The sandanme bouts of interest you have already seen. I wanted to bring you Shunba. Though he lost, he looked very feisty. But alas, I did not find a video of his bout (which I saw live on Abema).

Juryo

The main course in Juryo was definitely Enho’s bout. Those of you who watched Kintamayama’s digest saw that already there. That bout was so impressive, Hakuho tweeted about it in the middle of a honbasho, also doing another thing he rarely does – mentioning the fact that Enho is his uchi-deshi (a rikishi who is scouted by a member of a heya and joins that heya. If the one who scouted him forms his own heya, the uchi-deshi normally go together with him to the new heya)

“My 3rd uchi-deshi, Enho, engaged in good sumo today 👍🏻.”

In the following Juryo digest, you can see this bout from the reverse angle. It’s worth watching from any angle.

  • The Azumaryu-Jokoryu bout counted as a yori-kiri, though Azumaryu ended being thrown on the floor. That’s because Jokoryu’s foot was already out when that happened.
  • Akua’s shimekomi may leave permanent burns on your retina, be careful. Also, I suspect he stole the idea from my profile pic. Too bad his originality does not extend to his sumo.
  • That Enho/Hakuyozan bout.
  • Following that, Tobizaru looks like a Jonidan rikishi in comparison…
  • Mitoryu seems to be back in the form he was before that injury he suffered in Haru. Once again, Chiyonoumi my man finds himself quickly off the dohyo. I hope he survives.
  • Yesterday Tsurugishu looked pretty bad vs. Terutsuyoshi. But this bout vs. Shimanoumi shows you that he is not a pushover, and Terutsuyoshi’s win was all Terutsuyoshi
  • Speaking of Terutsuyoshi, this time he faces Mongolian Seiro, who throws some vicious nodowa at him trying to get the relentless pixie off his mawashi. But Terutsuyoshi’s hand is like the mythical pit bull’s jaw – it is locked on Seiro’s mawashi, and there is no power in the world that will remove it. Eventually the Mongolian finds himself on the floor, and Terutsuyoshi checks to see how many bone fractures and tendon damage that maneuver has cost him.
  • Another lightweight force to be reckoned with is Wakatakakage – facing Takekaze. Wakatakakage said he remembers looking up to Takekaze as a young boy. But he is certainly not giving the old man any senior citizen discounts here. He catches to Takekaze’s arm and drives him out.
  • Takagenji applies a stormy tsuppari to Daiamami’s upper body. Daiamami uses his overcommitment and lets him drop. The gunbai goes Daiamami’s direction, but a monoii reverses the decision. Daiamami was out first, and Takagenji earns his shonichi.
  • Meisei faces Arawashi. This digest is not showing the full preparation. If you ever run into a full bout by meisei, take a look at his impressive shikiri and shiko. However, Arawashi is a Makuuchi-level wrestler. Meisei does manage to push him backwards a bit at the tachiai, but Arawashi works to get a grip, and as soon as he gets one, performs one of the signature Mongolian throws.
  • Aminishiki, who will be 40 in less than a month, faces Yago. Yes, the Yago you are all supposed to be able to recognize already. Yago is a heavy rikishi, and a solid one. Aminishiki’s body is basically held together by a prayer. But still, after a brief attempt at a Hatakikomi (which he later said was a mistake), Aminishiki moves forward and marches Yago out. Pretty good stuff.

The crowd favorites of the day – Enho, Aminishiki, Wakatakakage.

 

Aki Day 1 – Bouts from the lower divisions

So, those of you who followed the live blog earlier may have noted that we started our coverage rather early on (Bruce earliest of all), and were describing bouts that – if all you have access to is NHK World – you did not see.

So I want to bring you a bit of the lower division action – at least some of the bouts that interested me personally.

Jonidan

We have old bow-wielder Satonofuji facing Fukuminato. Satonofuji is already 41 years old. This bout required a lot of patience on his part:

Truth be told, Satonofuji looks very tired. I have a suspicion that he is gambarizing through this basho only to be able to perform the yumi-tori ceremony at Harumafuji’s retirement event, at which point he will retire. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part. But we know that he is no longer even the backup performer – there is that new guy from Hakkaku beya who serves as Kasugaryu’s backup.

Sandanme

Only one bout interested me today at Sandanme – the one between Torakio, the Naruto Beya foreigner, and Takiguchi. The real action in Sandanme will start tomorrow as we will be joined by Ura and Wakaichiro. But here is the Bulgarian Star.

Unfortunately, that’s a black star. Torakio, though he is obviously the strongest man in Naruto, continues to be meh on the dohyo.

Makushita

Let’s look at the most recent promotees to the Makushita division:

Naya was faced with a very small Kototsubasa:

Got to hand it to the little guy. He gave the Dai-Yokozuna’s grandson a run for his money.

Naya’s other half, with a similar pedigree and friendly rivalry, is Hoshoryu, who was faced with Terao from Shikoroyama beya. Terao has Yokozuna proportions (191cm and 152kg), and Hoshoryu suddenly found himself in the “small rikishi” slot, despite his respectable 185 centimeters.

Well, Hoshoryu is not repeating his mistake of the previous basho. No ring-rust this time.

Chiyootori is aiming to return to sekitori status after a long recovery from injury. Currently at Makushita #25, he is faced with Nankairiki:

Well, what do you think? Is he on his way back? Of course, this basho is not enough. I think two basho are the minimum, and we all know that the top of Makushita is murder.

Now, I want you to watch the Tomisakae-Akinoyama match. I don’t have an individual video for this one, but the following Makushita digest video is time marked for his bout, and of course you can use it to watch the entire Makushita action.

Akinoyama weighs 209kg, and in the previous two matches between them, he has won. Tomisakae is known for his ability to do backflips. He is from Isegahama beya:

That’s some great survival sumo from the backflippin’ man with the sweet smile.

Another one who strives to go back to sekitori status is Sokokurai, a man who has a principle of not doing anything to his tsukebito which he wouldn’t like being done to himself. Which is why he deserves to be a sekitori again.

Of course, sumo is a meritocracy, and if you’re good, it doesn’t really matter how you treat your tsukebito. Which is a shame, really. But if he keeps up this careful, experience-laden sumo, he does have a standing chance, despite his age.

And speaking of making a comeback despite one’s age, at the very top of Makushita is a big man with a big vow made to a dying friend. Toyonoshima faced Kizenryu, the Makushita-Juryo yo-yo:

Respect!

Juryo

Our little pixie is back inside his reddish shimekomi. This time, he is sporting a brand-new Oicho-mage, which makes him suddenly look like a real sekitori. Enho is facing the Mongolian Azumaryu here…

… but the Mongolian proves to be a bit of a handful for him. It’s a good effort, but staying at Juryo is going to be very difficult for the lightest sekitori in the sumo world.

Moving on to our next pixie, here we hove one of the three remaining Isegahama sekitori. The giant-at-heart Terutsuyoshi. He faces Tsurugisho in this bout. In the previous tournament Tsurugisho employed a henka – against a guy who barely reaches to his shoulders.

A mic-dropping match for sure.

The next match was Wakatakakage vs. Chiyonoo. Although Wakatakakage can’t be called “short” with 181cm, he is still way too lean for a sekitori. Chiyonoo is not as hefty as some of his stablemates, but still holds about 30kg advantage over the Arashio man.

Wakatakakage’s head goes straight for Chiyonoo’s abdomen, and doesn’t leave it until its owner leaves the dohyo.

Next up, Takekaze, at 39 years of age, facing Hidenoumi, whose little brother Tobizaru took a flying lesson a little earlier. It’s hard for me to even recognize Hidenoumi without his blinding magenta shimekomi. For some reason he went for subdued aubergine-black. Or maybe the shimekomi’s pigment just burned itself out.

Yes, the man with the vibrant mawashi here is Takekaze. Round and round and round he goes. Where Hidenoumi will land, nobody knows.

Next came a bout between rather younger rikishi. I’m not a Takagenji fan, but he is rather good, and this bout is worth the watch:

Kotoeko is back from Makuuchi and is not happy about that. Takagenji is a guy who hates losing. He sticks to the tawara on this side. Kotoeko pushes him to the other side. He sticks to the tawara on that side. Tries a throw. Kotoeko doesn’t allow it. Eventually the Takanohana is left with no options.

And here, at the top of Juryo, is one veteran who is so old he needs a master tokoyama just to be able to simulate an oicho-mage with what remains of his hair. Someone who does not have a joint in his body that’s fit for use. And yet he uses them all. It’s none other than Uncle Sumo, who had to take in a rather surprising Makuuchi dropout – Arawashi – for his first opponent.

How did Arawashi end in Juryo anyway? Can’t wrap my head around that. Yes, I know the math is correct. But still, Arawashi in Juryo?

Anyway, seems like Aminishiki is thinking much the same:

I’m not really sure what’s going on there. It’s a henka… but Arawashi gets turned around together with Aminishiki. Quantum entanglement? Well, Arawashi definitely spins down, while Uncle spins up – at least until tomorrow.

And that wraps up this bulletin from the lower divisions. Tomorrow, of course, I’ll try to get my hands on Ura footage, if I have to beg, borrow, or steal it.