Hatsubasho 2015: Day 7

Harumafuji slips up
Harumafuji slips up

Harumafuji’s slip-up gives up a surprising gold star to a visibly injured Jokoryu. There’s a lot of speculation about why the yokozuna fell so easily but my take on it is he was trying for a rare kimarite and underestimated Jokoryu’s ability to stand his ground. I’ve never seen anyone reach all the way round the opponent to grab the thong part of the mawashi. Until I know the real name, I’m going to call it an attempted nuclear-wedgie. I will not fault Harumafuji for trying because I enjoy his creative style of sumo. He seems to always find new ways to win that I haven’t seen, like the komatasukui from yesterday. The timing today is questionable, when tied for the lead with Hakuho to close out week one.
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November Tournament: Day 6

Suddenly, all eyes are on a Giant killer — Takayasu? Wait, what? Wow.


Takayasu’s victory over the previously unbeaten Hakuho creates a brand new story line leading into Day 7 of the November Tournament. Takayasu benefited earlier this week from Harumafuji stepping out of bounds, so he picked up a gold star. It was actually the third he’d won off Harumafuji. But today he picked up potentially the biggest win of his career so far by knocking off Hakuho. Recently, Oosunaarashi was able to knock off two yokozuna in a row – particularly remarkable as it was the first two yokozuna he’d faced – but senior yokozuna Hakuho was able to put him in his place. Since both have had great matches together. It’s good to see Oosunaarashi’s aggression up against Hak.

Not only does Takayasu’s win put Hakuho’s 32nd yusho into doubt, it also raises the possibility that, should he pull off another stunning upset tomorrow against Kakuryu, Takayasu can claim gold stars from all three yokozuna in the same tournament. History is not with him. He’s faced Kakuryu 8 times and has only won twice, once when Kakuryu was sekiwake, and again as ozeki. Can he dethrone the yokozuna?

If Takayasu does pull it off tomorrow, the yusho would be a wide open contest as there are now seven wrestlers with one loss: from low-ranked maegashira like Sokokurai, Arawashi and Kyokutenho, middling maegashira Okinoumi, Toyonoshima, and Tochinoshin, ozeki Kisenosato, and now super-zuna Hakuho. The next few days should feature loads of great matchups.

Harumafuji and Kakuryu both won, Kakuryu having avenged himself against Ichinojo in a marathon bout that could leave him exhausted. Kisenosato’s one loss came after just such a grueling victory. For his part, Kisenosato was able to win a close one against Tochiozan, the outcome decided after a monoii.

Aoiyama (4-2) has been FIERCE. I like this Aoiyama. He was able to hand Ikioi his fifth loss. He’s not had much success against Goeido in the past, losing 9 of 10 meetings, but he’s been strong this tournament while Goeido has struggled a bit. I’m still hopeful for Ikioi to get kachi-koshi after he’s been through the sanyaku gauntlet. He’s got Ichinojo (3-3) tomorrow and surely a hungry Kakuryu after that but things should ease off a bit.

Goeido and Kotoshogiku have been struggling early in this tournament, and both stand at 3-3. Like Ikioi, they should benefit from weaker opposition in the second half of the tournament.

Kyokutenho will face a challenge in Endo who has struggled of late but is very talented and certainly capable of the win.

November Tournament: Day Three

Harumafuji is my favorite Yokozuna. When I looked at the schedule and saw he was facing Takayasu, I got a little chill. Before Tuesday, Harumafuji had given up two kinboshi (gold stars) to Takayasu. Now, he’s given up his third kinboshi to Takayasu by accidentally stepping out of the dohyo. Before I continue, I must give a shout out to the SumoDB at SumoGames. They have fabulous data and a wonderful tool for drilling into historical tournament results. I queried the head-to-head record and saw Takayasu’s two victories against Harumafuji. Now, though, you’ll see three, this latest by the unusual kimarite of isamiashi:

Screenshot (39): http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Query_bout.aspx?show_form=0&shikona1=Harumafuji&shikona2=Takayasu

Both of the other Yokozuna won. Hakuho looks particularly hungry for this tournament. He’s been battling with some intense aggression. Goeido got his first victory against Ikioi who’s still looking for his first sanyaku win. Ichinojo’s size advantage was noticeably absent against Aoiyama but he still proved the better grappler. Kotoshogiku lost but Kisenosato stays unbeaten. Happily, Endo picked up his first victory of the tournament but Osunaarashi lost again and he seems a bit unstable on that left knee. Tochinoshin picked up his third win in his return to the makuuchi. He seems right at home among the big boys.