Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 9

In the lower divisions, tension is rising as the yusho shortlists are getting, well, shorter. Every day there are fewer and fewer perfect scored rikishi.

And Juryo is not a walk in the park, either

Jonokuchi

But one rikishi reliably keeps a perfect record! Of course, it’s a perfect losing record, but still perfect!

Hattorizakura-Wakakosuge

Once again Hattorizakura gives us a glimpse of hope, somewhere there, that he might… just might… nope.

Jonidan

I keep following little Chiyotaiyo, but he is not doing well this basho. Coming into this bout, he and his rival, Tanji, are 1-3. And Tanji doesn’t look like he has that much of a weight advantage.

However, the stick insect from Kokonoe is taken down without much ceremony. He is now make-koshi.

On the other side of the scoreboard, we have Mitsuuchi vs. Akitoba, both coming in at 4-0. Mitsuuchi has a very strange sumo record. Joining in 2015 he had a string of 6-1 tournament, then a couple of make-koshi, then full-on kyujo for four consecutive tournaments, causing him to drop off the banzuke. He then has to do maezumo again, enters back and once again, has two good 5-2 and 6-1 tournaments. This is mid 2017. Then – lo and behold – he goes kyujo – five straight tournaments. Has to do maezumo again! And then he comes back in Aki 2018 and grabs the Jonokuchi yusho.

So it’s Mitsuuchi’s fifth win, and he is in the list of yusho hopefuls, which also includes Sumanoumi, Kotokume, Kenho, Tatsunoumi and Kotourasaki.

To close off the Jonidan list, since Bruce is a bit under the weather, I’ll cover Wakaichiro here. His opponent is Tainaka, about the same age and a similar record as out hero from Texas.

This was a very frustrating bout for the young Texan. He has it in control from the start, going forward – and then Tainaka snatches it from under his nose.

Despite the frustration, Wakaichiro gives the deepest bow to his opponent before descending the dohyo. Wakaichiro is now make-koshi and should rally and continue that forward motion to keep himself on the upper side of Jonidan.

Sandanme

All the bouts I have for you today are ones deciding the yusho race. I’ll start at the bottom, with two relatively anonymous youngsters from Isegahama beya. The first is Fukunofuji, who usually has a hard time in Sandanme, and was kyujo the previous basho. His opponent is Nakashima from Musashigawa, with a similar record, who was also kyujo last basho.

It’s nice to see a yotsu match at this level. The next Isegahama man is Hikarifuji, up against Takatenshu (one of the former Takanohana wrestlers). Hikarifuji is one of the Isegahama pixies at 173cm.

Hikarifuji kind of tries a henka, then realizes that the other guy is just too big for that to be effective. Nevertheless, Hikarifuji wins this Aminishiki-style, and finds himself in the Yusho run himself.

These two guys being from the same heya, they are probably going to be facing some tough competition very soon now. Case in point – hello Ura! How are you today?

Kurahashi, Ura’s victim opponent for today is not a tall guy. So Ura keeps himself low and very stable with his feet neatly arranged, one front, one back. He could give lessons. I suggested on Twitter that this video should be sent to Takayasu and Kisenosato for a refresher. Ura maintains his perfect record for this basho and is, of course, in the yusho race.

Another one we have been following for a while is Kototebakari. Here he is facing Hokutoshu.

No sweat. Kototebakari is still perfect.

The Sandanme Yusho arasoi currently consists of Kototebakari, Ura, Yokoe, Kotoozutsu, Hikarifuji and Fukunofuji. With two from Isegahama and two from Sadogatake, we might either be seeing a mismatch of ranks, or have Ura face Kototebakari in the next round, which should be a bout to watch for.

Makushita

The famous nephew (“Who is your favorite Yokozuna?”, “My Uncle!” – From Hoshoryu’s live Instagram. Silly question) was matched today against Kainoryu. Kaynoryu is not exactly Yokozuna material, having spent most of his career between Sandanme and Makushita.

I don’t know if it’s lapse of concentration on Hoshoryu’s part or what. He seems to lose this bout by starting it with tsuppari rather than going for his strong yotsu from the start. Hoshoryu is out of the yusho race, though I’m sure he’ll do his best to end at 6-1 and advance as far as he possibly can without a yusho.

By the way, Hoshoryu is serving as Meisei’s tsukebito again this basho.

We finish Makushita with Sokokurai vs. Kiribayama. So it’s Inner Mongolia vs. Sovereign Mongolia here:

Sokokurai is not letting this go anywhere except Inner Mongolia.

Only four men remain in the Makushita yusho race: Sokokurai, Gochozan, Takaryu, Kainoryu. All with five wins, meaning they only have two bouts to go. This means the yusho will be decided without playoff – unless any of them gets a Juryo bout.

Juryo

  • Somebody in the Torikumi committee thought it would be a hoot to bring in a 36 years old, 165cm tall Makushita man with three losses for a bout at Juryo. Of course, technically Sagatsukasa is Ms3 so he is fair game, but come on… Mitoryu gets this win on a platter.
  • Tobizaru has been relegated to the chaser list yesterday. He tries with all his monkey energy to keep himself there. Shimanoumi thinks differently. The flying monkey flies again.
  • Tomokaze looks like he has been born in Juryo. Low stance, strong thrusts, Azumaryu finds himself unable to do his sumo. Tomokaze needs only two wins in 6 days to ensure his stay in Juryo.
  • Two elderly men climb the dohyo – Takekaze, 39, and Toyonoshima, 35. I didn’t expect that double pirouette, though. Guys, it’s not Hanukkah, yet. Leave the dreidels off the dohyo.
  • In every basho, Tsurugisho has one big, fat, ugly henka that makes me want to strangle him. This time it’s Chiyonoumi who is doing somersaults off the tachiai. 😡😡 Chiyonoumi needs to start collecting some wins fast – I think some 3 wins might cushion him from dropping back to Makushita.
  • Gokushindo doing some tentative sumo again. His stance is good, and Kyokushuho can’t find a way inside, and ends up losing his own balance.
  • Hakuyozan has also been in the chaser group before this match. A leaning match develops into a fine yotsu struggle, and Jokoryu prevails, bringing himself closer to breaking even.
  • Yesterday, Kokonoe oyakata gave Chiyonoumi and Chiyonoo a pep-talk dinner. It didn’t work for Chiyonoumi (thank you Tsurugisho 😡), but it seems to have worked for Chiyonoo, who takes the initiative and evades make-koshi for another day. Kyokutaisei is 4-5 – not quite himself as yet.

Now, the Enho-Wakatakakage was the match of the day. Wakatakakage matched Enho’s sumo, and although Enho did get that famous grip on his mawashi, he just couldn’t get the angles he wanted. Wakatakakage managed to stick his head below Enho’s – not an easy task, and we had a long stalemate. Enho nearly had Wakatakakage there at the edge. But the youngest Onami kept his foot safe. Here is a tweet by TheSumoSoul, showing Wakatakakage’s foot:

And here is short footage showing the undisturbed janome (ring of fine dust around the ring of bales).

The call was right, and Enho drops to two losses. Moving on:

  • Once again, Kotoyuki manages to avoid rolling. I’m impressed.
  • Aminishiki is not happy with himself going backwards, but backwards he went – and performed the first kubinage in his career, bringing himself to 45 different kimarite, only one behind Kyokushuzan, who holds the record. A monoii is called because his foot seems to have gone outside, but the Gyoji’s decision is upheld.
  • Takagenji seems to be on a recovery course with three consecutive wins after his weak first week. This bout with Daishoho was one sided.
  • Terutsuyoshi – remember, he’s in the leader group – once again tries to do straight sumo, no tricks. And it’s a really good bout, where he gets to lift Kotoeko for a second, and fends off Kotoeko’s following attack. But then Kotoeko pulls and the pixie loses his balance.
  • Final pixie of the day, though really, for Ishiura that word just doesn’t ring right. No tricks this time, and Ishiura has an enjoyable exchange of thrusts with Yago. Ishiura survives a couple of waves of attack, but eventually the bigger man prevails. Not a good day for the small rikishi.

Or is it? As it turns out, everybody at the top lost. So the leaderboard looks like this:

  • 7-2: Terutsuyoshi, Enho
  • 6-3: Yago, Kotoyuki, Hakuyozan, Tobizaru, Mitoryu, Toyonoshima, Tomokaze

Tomokaze in the yusho race? Oh lord. Tomorrow, while Enho faces Gokushindo and should be careful not to let a relatively easy one drop, Terutsuyoshi is facing a very difficult Yago. I wonder when they’ll match Enho with Aminishiki (Terutsuyoshi won’t be, they are from the same heya, as are Ishiura and Enho).

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 – Kyushu 2018, Day 1

Chiyotaiyo-Tabara

During honbasho, my day mostly looks like this:

  • Wake up, switch on Abema TV, watch while eating and getting prepared. Be late for work.
  • At work, try to catch live glimpses of the top Makuuchi bouts.
  • At lunch, watch Kintamayama’s digest
  • Coming back home, look for some action from the lower divisions, where some of my favorite rikishi lurk.

I’ll share a few of those with you.

Jonidan

Last basho I introduced you to Chiyotaiyo, the stick insect from Kokonoe beya. I’m pretty sure nothing is left for Jonidan wrestlers in the Kokonoe chanko nabe after it has gone through Chiyotairyu, Chiyomaru, Chiyootori, and the rest of the lot. Otherwise, it’s hard to understand how Chiyotaiyo just seems to get thinner and thinner between basho.

But he does have sumo.

Tabara makes use of his advantage of mass, while Chiyotaiyo uses his agility, tries a trip, then opts for a kotenage.

Sandanme

We can’t do without Ura, can we?

Ura, try to prolong those bouts a little, just so we can enjoy you a little bit more… No tricks, no acrobatics, just simple and effective push. Ura has grown some formidable muscles.

Another interesting Sandanme bout is Naya vs. Kaizen. Naya had his first make-koshi last basho, and as a result dropped back to Sandanme. He will want to get at least 6-1 to get a good place back in Makushita next basho.

Whoa, that was a bit of a tsuppari storm, wasn’t it?

Makushita

The man who finds himself ranked fourth among the Isegahama wrestlers this basho is the back-flipping Tomisakae. But he looks like he did a little too much flipping lately. He has more bandaging than Aminishiki! Take a look – there is not a joint in his limbs which is not supported, taped or braced. Here he faces Churanoumi, who had a short visit in Juryo a couple of basho ago.

Despite all the rattled joints, Tomisakae is full of genki, and gets the win.

Juryo

I have Enho’s bout as an individual video. Enho claims he managed to pass the 100kg barrier during the Jungyo. His throw certainly turned lethal. He faces Chiyonoumi, who is also one of my favorites.

This is a typical Enho match. The rival tries to force his own sumo. Enho lunges at him below belt level. Chiyonoumi knows the business and tries to keep his distance and get the pixie off balance. He can’t quite manage that. Enho stays on his feet. Once, twice, another attack – and he gats at Chiyonoumi’s mawashi. From then it’s a done deal. He gradually moves his hand along the mawashi to the knot area. It’s hard to see in the videos, but I’m pretty sure his other hand is holding the mawashi at the maemitsu area. Once he gets the exact positioning he wants, he throws with all his might. Did I mention “lethal”?

The rest of Juryo I can bring you in digest format:

Tomokaze shows Gagamaru why the two of them switched places. As you can see, there is a monoii, but the shimpan’s discussion ends in upholding the gyoji’s decision – Tomokaze’s foot “stayed”.

Gokushindo’s debut in Juryo ends in a defeat, as Shimanoumi wants to stay away from Makushita.

Toyonoshima got wild cheers during his dohyo-iri, and his family was there to watch him. No wonder he looks so aggressive. What a killer nodowa. I hope Jokoryu didn’t hurt himself in that fall. He looks pretty frustrated.

Tobizaru tries getting inside Mitoryu’s defense, but the Mongolian keeps him well at bay. Eventually the monkey pauses, takes an assessment, and aims a little kick on Mitoryu’s right leg. The kimarite is kekaeshi. This seems to be somewhat of a Tobizaru specialty, as the previous two times it has been used in the top two divisions were his as well.

Then follows that Enho bout which we have already seen.

That was a fierce Tsukiotoshy by Azumaryu.

Takekaze works out all the time and tries his best, but he is fading and fading.

Hakuyozan seems to have a bit more patience than Kyokushuho. Kyokushuho tries a throw but can’t quite finish it, and finds himself on the floor instead.

I’m not sure what it is that makes Wakatakakage so effective despite his light weight. Kyokutaisei’s stance is fine, and he seems to have confidence, but Wakatakakage simply seems to use his muscle power very efficiently. While his brothers are struggling, he seems to be a Juryo mainstay with an eye towards the top division.

Terutsuyoshi simply pushes with all his might and every ounce of his weight (he seems to have put on a couple of kilos). He simply seems not to think of himself as a small rikishi.

Ishiura. Sigh. Starting the basho with a henka. How… unsurprising. It did work, but it’s sad to see, especially when comparing him to his heya-mate, or even to Terutsuyoshi, whose muscles are a lot less defined than the Miyagino man’s.

Takagenji is denied his first day win by Tokushoryu, who seems to be keeping the good form from the previous basho, despite having been kyujo from the Jungyo.

Aminishiki is just unbelievable. No tricks, no pulls. Straight on – and this after he, too, has been absent from the latter part of the Jungyo.

Kotoeko seems to try a kind of sidestep, but not very decisively or effectively, and finds himself doing the splits.

The final man in Juryo is not in this digest as he did a Makuuchi bout today – and won it, too, proving that perhaps he should have been up there instead of his rival, Chiyomaru. I hope he found something nice to do with his kensho money!

 

Day 5 – Bouts from the lower divisions

toyonoshima
Toyonoshima – one win away from reclaiming his silk mawashi

Jonokuchi

Hattorizakura had yet another bout today, against Shishimaru. How did he do?

I recall that in the past, one of the members of the Tachiai team wondered if people were given instructions to be gentle with poor Hattorizakura before their bouts. Well, if so, Shishimaru didn’t get the memo. Applying a nodowa to Hattorizakura? Oh, the humanity!

Chiyotaiyo also had his third bout today, vs. Onagaya:

(Bonus bout: Shachinofuji vs. Tanaka)

This time, our string bean wasn’t as successful as in his first two matches. Nevertheless, it was a good effort, with a good belt grip and two attempts to throw his bigger rival. I think his Tachiai wasn’t as good as yesterday’s, though.

Jonidan

Here we have the oldest rikishi in the sumo world, 48 years old Hanakaze, facing the 33 years younger toddler, Wakamatsunaga. Hanakaze entered the sumo world at about the same time I entered university. That was when Chiyonofuji was at the height of his career, and Kitanoumi was not yet a Yokozuna. This was a long, long time ago.

Well, he can still do sumo, even if he can’t lift his leg for a decent shiko.

Sandanme

I have to bow before the penetrating analysis Bakanofuji delivered of Torakio’s sumo in the previous installment. Here he is, hurting himself again:

Out of curiousity, I decided to watch the bout of his stablemate, Sumidagawa, who has advanced to Sandanme in this basho. Take a look at his bout with Kotomyozan:

It seems that – although he wins this bout – he suffers from some of the same weak points that Bakanofuji mentioned w.r.t. Torakio: bending at the waist instead of the knees. Having an ineffective Tachiai. Which now raises the question: could it be Kotooshu’s fault?

Makushita

Wakamotoharu, of the Onami brother, faced Ryuko today:

Tomisakae, the bouncy Isegahama man, continues to do well:

Tomisakae seems to have some bunny genes. His interpretation of gaburi-yori is a hop-hop-hop forward. He is now 3-0.

Sokokurai continues his careful sumo in an attempt to extend his number of wins as much as possible and get his sekitori status back quickly. Here he is matched with Kagamio.

Kagamio is the Sandanme Yusho winner from the previous basho. This come-from-behind win for Sokokurai seems to piss him off tremendously. He goes off the dohyo without a bow. When called back, he makes the most cursory of nods. The previous time those two met was in Makuuchi, by the way, in hatsu 2015.

Here is Nakazono vs. Gokushindo:

Gokushindo has a really nice, balanced stance.

Finally, the bout that made it to Kintamayama’s video today: Toyonoshima vs. Tomokaze (here from the opposite angle):

Toyonoshima is now just one win away from regaining his akeni, kesho mawashi and shimekomi. And the ability to provide for his family. Although only sekitori are allowed to get married, nobody forces them to divorce when they fall to the lower divisions. However, it’s quite a difficult situation, when you do not receive a salary, and are techically not allowed to live outside the heya.

Juryo

Here is today’s Juryo digest:

  • Enho can’t seem to win in the day after a henka. Akua is really fighting for his life there. It’s not clear from this angle, but at some point in the bout – which started off pretty much the way Enho wants it to – Akua has his head in a vice, and he struggles and frees it. But this of course disrupts the entire attack, and he gets thrown unceremoniously  to one side.
  • Azumaryu is the bee’s knees this basho. Gagamaru seems on his way either to Makushita or retirement. He is past his due date.
  • Tokushoryu’s victory over Mitoryu eliminates the last Juryo man with a clean winning record. No zensho-yusho this basho.
  • Tobizaru continues his bounce back. Alas, at the expense of my Chiyonoumi, who will have to work hard to secure a kachi-koshi this basho.
  • Terutsuyoshi back to winning after two losses. Straight sumo, no fancy stuff.
  • That seemed to have been quite a mistake on Takekaze’s part. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t call it an Isamiashi or something.
  • Wakatakakage with a second loss in a row.
  • Kotoeko, just back from Makuuchi, is having a miserable basho. He will drop further down, I predict.
  • Yago goes for a belt fight with a Mongolian. And wins.
  • What a bout by Aminishiki! First he starts with a hearty tsuki-oshi. Then switches to the belt. Attempts a trip, perseveres against Akiseyama’s defenses, and eventually Yori-kiris him.

 

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!