Hatsu Day 2: Juryo Wrap-Up

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It’s Day 2, and here’s another wrap up from Juryo. This time we’ll throw in a couple bonus bouts from the Makushita promotion race, which is already shaping up to be a hot one.

Makushita Bonus Action

Akua defeats Chiyonoo – After his disastrous basho in Fukuoka, Chiyonoo doesn’t look like coming back up any time in the near future. Akua gives him the ol’ push and pull and he’s face flat on the dohyo. Woof. Akua looks the more likely to be back up in Juryo the soonest.

Takanofuji defeats Ryuko – Takanofuji nee Takayoshitoshi wins despite not having a solid grip for most of this match. Ryuko, a former Tachiai One to Watch who was surprisingly tipped by John Gunning as a future Ozeki, has got a left hand grip and gives a couple attempts at an uwatenage, but Takanofuji manoeuvres him close to the bales and crushes him down via yoritaoshi.

Juryo Action

Chiyonoumi defeats Daiseido – Daiseido, having lost already, gets a visit to Juryo on day 2 against Chiyonoumi. After a matta, the Kokonoe man uses Daiseido’s inertia against him, steps to the side and thrusts him down to win by tsukiotoshi. Daiseido now has very little room for error with 13 days to go, if he’s going to make it to the penultimate division. Chiyonoumi now 2-0.

Sokokurai defeats Gagamaru – There’s a combined age of 66 on the dohyo with these two. You know that facebook meme going around right now where you’re meant to post your first profile picture from ten years ago and your most recent? Well if you’re feeling bad about how you’ve aged then bear in mind that Gagamaru is 31. Before this match starts, I notice that cool man Tomozuna is in the shimpan crew, which in fairness is a good distraction from some gnarly shiko. There’s another matta, and then Sokokurai pulls a planetary-orbit altering henka that sends the Georgian to the clay. Both men are now 1-1, and Gagamaru is not massively pleased.

Shimanoumi defeats Kyokushuho – Kyokushuho deploys some strong nodowa attempts in front of his stable master, but can’t find the killer move and as Shimanoumi gets him going backward, he pulls and it’s all over. Shimanoumi checks his balance, stays low, and shoves his man out.

Jokoryu defeats Tsurugisho – Jokoryu beats Tsurugisho with one of those throws that feels like it lasts an entire year. Jokoryu lands his left hand inside after the Tachiai, and then the entire rest of this match is him attempting to unload the throw. It looks like it may backfire but eventually he controls Tsurugisho’s momentum and executes a very satisfying shitatenage.

Tobizaru defeats Takekaze – Takekaze had a bad loss on Day 1 and needs to sort himself out if he isn’t going to suffer a potentially career-ending drop out of the professional ranks. This match is a slap-fest in which the veteran is determined to rough up Tobizaru’s face, much to the chagrin of the younger man’s fans. Takekaze unleashes about 13 slap and pull and poke and scratch attempts before Tobizaru is able to keep the wily elder statesman at arms length in order to set up the push and pull for the slap down. Takekaze is now 0-2, and Tobizaru is now 1-1.

Arawashi defeats Kyokutaisei – It’s not Tobizaru’s fault, but I could get behind his Tokyo banana mawashi if Kyokutaisei was still sporting the Hokkaido melon tinted belt. Arawashi’s sumo has been a mess lately but he executes a pretty solid tsuppari into mawashi grip transition and chaperones Kyokutaisei out. The best lead actor of any recent sumo film puts up a decent fight at the edge but there’s nothing he can do, and that’s the kind of match Kyokutaisei should probably be winning against a sekitori in freefall. Both men are now 1-1. Bring back the melon!

NHK cuts the feed at this point over from the broadcast satellite to NHK G and shows Kisenosato entering the Kokugikan, and the footage kind of looks like there’s going to be an intai announcement. But it turns out they’re just announcing that he takes on Ichinojo later.

Hidenoumi defeats Mitoryu – disappointing from Mitoryu as Hidenoumi tries and fails to get a mawashi grip, but doesn’t really need it to get the Mongolian high and escort him out in fairly short order. Disappointing match, and Mitoryu is getting a little inconsistent at this level. Both of these guys are now 1-1 as well.

Azumaryu defeats Enho – Ura had better hurry up, because here’s more incredible sumo involving Enho, who is turning into the can’t miss rikishi. Azumaryu’s ring demeanour is so much calmer and measured than the more frantic Enho. They take a while to get ready at the tachiai, but eventually this bout gets underway, and Enho gets in low. Azumaryu tries repeatedly to simply push him down, slap him down, as the smaller man buries his head into Azumaryu’s stomach. Eventually Enho tries to get a mawashi grip, but this doesn’t work and it looks like the Mongolian has him off balance. But the little guy recovers, tries a throw and can’t pull it off. Then he tries a sotogake leg trip and can’t pull that off, and Azumaryu now has Enho off balance and throws him to the dirt. Enho gets up with a bloodied face and nothing to show for his efforts but his fans. Both men are now 1-1.

Chiyomaru defeats Akiseyama – It’s the battle of the bulbous! Chiyomaru tries to hit a slap down and then the match looks like it’s turning into a yotsu-battle. The two men lock up in the middle of the dohyo and it’s possible one of them is about to fall asleep when Chiyomaru twists the awkward Kise-beya rikishi around and tosses him down with a tsukiotoshi. Chiyomaru heads to 2-0, with Akiseyama now 0-2.

Wakatakakage defeats Hakuyozan – Dominant performance from Wakatakakage. Hakuyozan gets the better of the tachiai, but once the smaller Arashio-beya man lands his grip, Hakuyozan is totally out of control of the match and Wakatakakage deposits him over the edge. Both of these young starlets are now 1-1 as well.

Toyonoshima defeats Tokushoryu – Here’s a match featuring an awful lot of belly. Toyonoshima puts his to good use as he takes control straight from the tachiai and wins with an insanely straightforward yorikiri. Tokushoryu tries to get his arm around the senior sumo citizen’s head and execute some kind of throw or slap down in desperation, but he’s got nothing. Everybody here is now 1-1 as well.

Aminishiki defeats Tomokaze – Old meets young in a generational battle. Uncle Sumo mounts the dohyo in an attempt to get something from the current division’s yusho holder. Tomokaze has his usual nonplussed expression as the two men get down for the tachiai. You’ll never guess what happens next: pusher-thruster Tomokaze has backwards-moving slap-down specialist Aminishiki going backwards. Aminishiki dances around the ring and hits the hikiotoshi as Tomokaze goes flying. It’s a good lesson for the youngster. It’s increasingly likely in 50 years we’ll still be watching them wheel the bones and bandages of Aminishiki onto the dohyo – he can still win at this level. He, like Tomokaze and just about everyone else, is 1-1.

Ishiura defeats Terutsuyoshi – Here’s the battle of salt vs protein. Terutsuyoshi deploys a sodium explosion that’s impressive even by his lofty standards. Ishiura takes charge of this match though – and it’s interesting to watch him when the opponent is also small – it’s a reminder he can do some great sumo when he goes head on. Despite Terutusyoshi being small, Ishiura does manage to get in a bit lower, grabs the Isegahama man, spin him around and throw him out. There may have been some discussion of a matta, but Ishiura’s already on his way back to the locker room to make a shake, with both men’s records now 1-1.

Daishoho defeats Takanosho – Daishoho and Takanosho are so close to makuuchi they can smell it. After some good old fashioned slapping, the Mongolian locks up Takanosho’s arm and the Chiganoura man simply can’t escape. Daishoho unloads a kotenage and it might not be surprisingly that Takanosho is in bad shape after the rough throw. Takanosho needs the help of multiple yobidashi to dismount the dohyo and this will put his attempt to gain promotion back to the top level in deep trouble. Both of these guys are also now 1-1. Despite a kotenage arm lock throw being notoriously harsh on the receiver’s arm and elbow, it seemed the injury was to his leg/thigh area.

Promotees to Juryo Announced

Following its regular banzuke meeting, the NSK announced the names of the rikishi who will be promoted to Juryo for Hatsu basho.

Gagamaru and Sokokurai by Futabayama’s monument

Two men advance this time: the veterans Gagamaru (Georgia, Kise beya) and Sokokurai (Inner Mongolia, Arashio beya). There is no first-time promotee.

While the NSK does not announce the names of the wrestlers who will be demoted as a result, it is easy to infer that Gokushindo and Chiyonoo, who had the deepest make-koshi at the lowest rank, will be the ones to part with their silk shimekomi. Chiyonoumi may have been saved by that win on senshuraku against Terutsuyoshi.

We wish Sokokurai and Gagamaru health and good luck on their return to sekitori status.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 11

Terutsuyoshi. Wants double digits.

Jonokuchi

We continue to report on the adventures of Hattorizakura in the land of futility. Today his lucky opponent was Toya, of Tomozuna beya.

Hattorizakura trying to lift his opponent! Then managing to stick to the bales for several whole seconds! This boy is going places!

By the way, Toya’s record so far is rather strange. He has participated in three honbasho before this one. In all three he had a 2-5 make-koshi. And yet, in each of them he advanced in rank! Jk35→Jk24→Jk23→Jk20. I guess this sort of thing can only happen in Jonokuchi.

Jonidan

We continue to follow Mitsuuchi, the Jonokuchi yusho winner who has more kyujo and banzuke-gai basho than active one on his record. He meets Sumanoumi, both with a clean record of 5-0.

Mitsuuchi really looks like he should be up a division or two at least. Our next Jonidan bout is also involved in the yusho race, with Tachiai favorite Kenho. He goes against Kotokume, both 5-0:

Kenho definitely not settling for “Be heavy” as a tactic. Poor Kotokume must have felt like he was being run over by a truck. The Jonidan yusho race is currently down to Mitsuuchi, Kenho, and Kotourasaki. Likely two of them will meet for the seventh match, which means either the winner of that match gets the yusho, or he has to face the third one for a playoff.

Sandanme

Torakio engages with Kotootori (It’s the same “otori” as in “Chiyootori” but not quite the same sumo). Both 3-2.

Torakio shows his best sumo so far in this tournament, and achieves his kachi-koshi.

Remember I introduced two Isegahama men, from the bottom of Sandanme, who are in the yusho race? I do not have Hikarifuji’s bout vs. Yokoe, but I do have Fukunofuji’s bout vs. Kotoozutsu. Again, they are 5-0 as they mount the dohyo:

Fukunofuji is Sandanme #98W. Kotoozutsu is #61E. I don’t see much of a level gap in this bout, though. Hikarifuji also won his bout against the higher-ranked Yokoe.

So four of the six who were 5-0 were in those bouts. This means the third yusho-race bout matched none other than Ura and Kototebakari. Also watch the second bout in this video, featuring Itadaki vs. Prince Naya.

We have followed Kototebakari through this tournament. He is no push-over. That is, unless his rival is Ura. Ura is starting to scare me. It seems all he needs to do is touch his opponent and the poor man is blown off the dohyo. Serious muscle power. And I love his low, low tachiai.

So the yusho race in Sandanme has three wrestlers left – Hikarifuji, Fukunofuji and Ura. Since the two Fujis are from Isegahama beya, they won’t face each other, so the slightly higher ranked Hikarifuji is probably going to be Ura’s next piñata. If Hikarifuji wins that bout it will be the sensation of this basho, as the only point on which he is on equal footing with Ura is height. Fukunofuji will be faced with someone else. If he wins, he’ll be in the playoff. Otherwise the yusho is decided in the aforesaid Ura match.

So on to that second match in the video. Itadaki is Nishikigi’s head tsukebito, and I get the impression that he is also the head Isenoumi chanko chef. If he looks foreign to you, it’s because he is half Canadian – but he was born and raised in Japan, and apparently, doesn’t speak English any better than the average Japanese. And I don’t need to introduce Naya to you.

Itadaki seems pretty aggressive, and nearly manages to steer Naya out for a second there. Naya recovers, but the bout ends with a slightly disappointing slippiotoshi. More than slightly, if you’re Itadaki. Naya is kachi-koshi.

Makushita

We start with an all-Mongolian pairing – Hoshoryu, nephew of Asashoryu, and Kyokusoten, the friendly, weight-challenged brother-in-law of Tamawashi. Both 4-1.

Well, the gap between these two is much the same as between Asashoryu and Tamawashi, only a few rungs of quality lower. Kyokusoten is quickly swept off the dohyo. However, Hoshoryu’s stance was just begging for a hatakikomi, and he is lucky he wasn’t faced with a somewhat more savvy opponent. Mada-mada, as they say in Japanese (“still a ways to go”).

Next we have Kirybayama – whose only loss was to Sokokurai – vs. Tsushimanada, who rallied back after his loss on day 3.

Although this bout is very short, it’s quite exciting. Kiribayama misses his harite on the tachiai by a mile, but still manages to grab Tsushimanada. Tsushimanada manages to break loose and tries to make this an oshi battle, but the oshidashi is on him.

Next we have a yusho-related bout. Sokokurai, who is very eager to return to Juryo, against Gochozan, who is not ranked high enough for that.

Ahem, Sokokurai, a henka? Lucky you are not in Tokyo, as you would have gotten a long hard stare from Muur oyakata for this when you returned to your heya, I’m sure.

Still doesn’t beat Tsurugisho’s henka vs. Chiyonoumi the other day, though.

We finish this round of Makushita bout with Wakamotoharu vs. Irodori. Irodori is within reach of sekitori heaven – but needs a kachi-koshi first. Both are 3-2.

By the way, Irodori is yet another one-kanji shikona with four syllables (like Akebono, Kagayaki, and Ikioi).

The bout? Dum-di-dum-di-dum. Another henka. Too bad the first start was a matta – it looked a lot more entertaining. Irodori still doesn’t have that kachi-koshi. In Juryo, Gokushindo and Chiyonoo will probably be relegated to Makushita. Jokoryu and/or Chiyonoumi may join. So assuming three open slots, Daiseido and Gagamaru have kachi-koshi and will likely advance. Sokokurai – if he wins the yusho – will join them. So even if Irodori has a 4-3 kachi-koshi, it may not be enough. All because of a henka.

Juryo

  • Gagamaru sure wants his silk shime-komi back! He attacks Gokushindo with all his might and mass. Gokushindo is make-koshi, and is heading for another trip through purgatory. This time, he won’t be participating in the Jungyo (unless assigned to someone other than Kakuryu), so plenty of time to practice, rest and regroup.
  • Chiyonoumi attacks Tomokaze with what looks like the enthusiasm of despair. But his feet don’t follow where his body goes – a common mistake in oshi zumo, where you do not lean on your opponent and need to have your feet balanced at all times. Tomokaze ensures his kachi-koshi and will be sticking around. Chiyonoumi, as they say in Japanese, “has no ‘later'”. If he doesn’t win out, he is make-koshi, though if he keeps it at a minimum he may survive, depending on his banzuke-luck.
  • Any wrestler who has to face Enho is probably running and re-running this bout’s video. Enho manages to get inside and lay his hands on Mitoryu’s mawashi. But Mitoryu succeeds in locking his arms, and Enho desparately tries to free his main weapon, thus seized, to no avail. Mitoryu secures his kachi-koshi, while Enho drops to the chaser group. Now, he can still win the Yusho, mathematically. But with only 12 wins or less, I doubt that it will be enough to bring him up to Makuuchi – which a 13-win yusho might have, with some luck.
  • Azumaryu and Jokoryu get a grip on one side, and fight for the hold on the other, when Azumaryu reverses his direction and drops Gokushindo with a nice kirikaeshi. Jokoryu is nearing the danger zone and needs to win out.
  • Toyonoshima wastes no time getting Chiyonoo into a morozashi, which he releases only at the bales. Toyonoshima kachi-koshi, will stick around in Juryo, and will probably continue to work hard in the remaining days to get himself as far up the banzuke as he can. This is Toyonoshima’s first kachi-koshi as a sekitori in 17 basho. Chiyonoo, on the other hand, is probably going to find himself in Makushita the next time around, with a make-koshi that threatens to go double-digits.
  • Both Takekaze and Shimanoumi are teetering at the moment and will probably not have a kachi-koshi or a make-koshi until the last possible moment. Takekaze tries to grab Shimanoumi by the nape of his neck, but Shimanoumi is too well balanced for this, and pulling just brings Takekaze to the edge and makes it easier for Shimanoumi to beat him.
  • Terutsuyoshi and Tobizaru engage in a no-nonsense belt battle. Tobizaru has had a bit of a slump since he dropped from the leader group. He starts energetically – as he does – but Terutsuyoshi has a strong hold and they settle into a short lean. Terutsuyoshi surprisingly relinquishes his left hand hold for a looser ichi-mai hold a little more forward, but manages to convert that into a forward motion and a yori-kiri. Simple sumo, works nicely, and Terutsuyoshi is now the sole leader of the Juryo yusho race – I’m not sure he believes it himself.
  • Tsurugisho opts to engage in a full-on mawashi battle today, probably figuring that the flagging Hidenoumi will be easy to move. It turns out to be a mistake, as Hidenoumi manages to turn the table away. Hidenoumi is still deeply make-koshi and will probably find himself a lot lower in the Juryo ranking next basho. Not a good day for the Iwasaki brothers.
  • Just as it seemed that Takagenji is recovering, he is once again into a series of losses. And we have ourselves another flagrant henka. Sheesh, Kyokushuho. I don’t like Takagenji, but still, I’d prefer to see him beaten with good sumo. I know, I know – at the verge of make-koshi one will resort to anything. Just… make it slightly less flagrant, will you? Both wrestlers are now 4-7.
  • As for Ishiura, at this point, I blame Tokushoryu for not expecting a henka. I just feel sorry for Ishiura’s kid, who’ll grow up and see these bouts on video. Not much to be proud about.
  • Hakuyozan had a good first week, but seems to have weakened as the days passed. Kotoyuki decisively goes for his kachi-koshi.
  • Yet another henka in the Aminishiki-Kyokutaisei bout, and surprisingly, the perpetrator is not old wily Uncle Sumo. What, did Tomozuna beya serve Henka Chanko today?
  • Wakatakakage tried some Enho-zumo today. Couldn’t quite get the correct grip, though. Daishoho starts sliding him back, realizes that there is no need to continue the stalemate, quickly switches to a nice bear hug, and forces the lightweight Wakatakakage out.
  • Kotoeko gets an early advantage over Akiseyama, with a morotezuki that lifts him up. But the big potato rallies and adjusts, and soon has a strong hold on Kotoeko – despite his grip being only ichimai on one side.

So, as the day ends, the Juryo yusho arasoi looks like this:

  • 9-2: Terutsuyoshi
  • 8-3: Kotoyuki, Enho, Mitoryu, Toyonoshima, Tomokaze

Terutsuyoshi will face Tomokaze today. This is going to be a difficult one, especially as Terutsuyoshi did not show up for keiko (in Japan it’s now morning) citing fatigue.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 5

Takagenji vs. Terutsuyoshi. Guess who won that one?

Maezumo

Let’s continue to watch the new fledgelings:

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

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

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

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

Jonokuchi

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

Actually, not bad for Hattorizakura.

Jonidan

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

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

Sandanme

We have Naya again. This time facing Kihonoumi.

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

Makushita

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

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

Juryo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bouts from the lower divisions – 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!