Kyushu 2021: Jonokuchi Match Day 6

In the matchup of Jonokuchi’s unbeaten, Inoue’s experience dominated the young Chiyoshishi. After several solid slaps at the tachiai, both men latched onto each others’ belts in a bit of a surprising change of pace for Inoue. Inoue powered through Chiyoshishi as the young lion backed and circled around the ring. However, Inoue pursued swiftly and forced Chiyoshishi down, yoritaoshi. As the lion went down, he let out a roar…which sounded suspiciously like an F-bomb to me. Hear for yourself in the clip below. I hope you enjoy a little chuckle.

This is a surprising shift for Inoue as it’s only the third yoritaoshi win of his career as he favors an oshi-tsuki style in an effort to set up a slapdown. The most common kimarite among his wins hatakikomi. While he has won more than 20 bouts using oshidashi, he’s won 28 bouts via slapdown. It’s still too early in Chiyoshishi’s career to pin down his style but I will need to keep an eye on Inoue and his rise back up the banzuke. It will be helpful if he has another effective tool in the toolbox.

Though Inoue won his bout and is in sole possession of the lead, he must win his next bout to win the yusho outright. If he loses, the yusho will come down to a playoff. His next bout will likely be against the winner of the Kawamura/Raiho bout. Chiyoshishi has already defeated both, so he will likely face the winner of the Goseiryu/Wakaonehara fight.

Raiho took no chances against Kawamura, pulling a henka, and then spinning poor Kawamura clear off the dohyo with the final shove delivered from behind, okuridashi. The athleticism of Raiho against the experience and power of Inoue will be a fitting highlight bout on Day 13 (probably).

Goseiryu forced Wakaonehara to the side with a powerful right-hand at the initial charge. He quickly grabbed Wakaonehara and yanked him down for the hikiotoshi win. Goseiryu will thus probably be paired with Chiyoshishi with the winner having a shot at a three-way playoff with Raiho and Inoue, if Raiho wins. That playoff would be fought on senshuraku.

Kyushu 2021: Jonokuchi Match Day 4

The Jonokuchi yusho race has narrowed this week to three contenders as of tonight’s action. Three bouts between five undefeated wrestlers had the potential to bring it down to two but Goseiryu’s adventures in Jonidan have not presented a challenge as of yet. Today, he made quick work of Asashorei with a bit of a hit-and-shift at the tachiai, leading to a thrust-down to finish.

Chiyoshishi took no chances with Gaia and broke him down immediately after the tachiai. Gaia’s henka was not fast enough to evade Chiyoshishi’s right paw. The nodowa, paired with a firm left hand grip at the back of proved devastating as Gaia had no counter, and was thrust down on his back in mere seconds.

Inoue followed Chiyoshishi’s lead with a right-handed nodowa at the tachiai, but he had no need for the ferocity in order to send Daishojo out of the ring. This likely sets up an exciting Chiyoshishi/Inoue bout on Monday with Goseiryu likely paired, again, with the lowest undefeated Jonidan combatant.

Goseiryu, Chiyoshishi and Inoue were the first three to kachi-koshi and have secured promotion to Jonidan. Gaia may have already seen enough success to put himself through to Jonidan, as well. It’s very possible that the eventual yusho winner may have one loss on his record since a Goseiryu vs Chiyoshishi/Inoue bout will feature later this week – if Goseiryu wins again.

Though the yusho race has narrowed, action obviously continues in the division and I want to bring you a great pairing of wrestlers who are one-win off the pace, Azumayama vs Wakaonehara. Azumayama’s only loss was to Daitenshin but Wakaonehara had the rough first bout against an amped Raiho. These guys bring quality sumo and a lot of effort on a normal day…but today we get a treat. This was the bout of the day in Jonokuchi, so I wanted to share this epic marathon bout.

If you’ve got four minutes to spare, this is worth it. It’s also funny for the interplay with the gyoji, 21-year-old Shikirmori Tomokimi. After such a marathon, he points the right way but loses his hat…then appears to want to give the win to Azumayama for recovering his hat. The look of disappointment and confusion as Azumayama turns to walk away from his loss is just one of those wonderful moments I love down in Jonokuchi, where the yobidashi and gyoji (as well as the wrestlers) are still learning their craft. I have to give Tomokimi-kun credit for getting the right call. I was lost and I’m sure would have caused a mono-ii (judge’s conference) and sashi-chigae (reversal).

Ones To Watch – Nagoya Day 1

Welcome back to our feature where we dig into some of the action further down the banzuke; in the divisions below Juryo. It’s a combination of hard-charging young up-and-comers battling against fading stars and mainstay rikishi returning from injury. The action here is frequently hit or miss, but as we love to say about the upper Makushita, these rikishi are almost to the salaried ranks, and the battles here are sometimes more action packed than most of the televised matches for that day.

Day 1 action is light for our roster that we are watching, with most of the heavy action apparently slated for day 2. But lets go over who is on the dohyo to start the tournament in the sweat box that is Nagoya.

Wakamotoharu vs Fujiazuma – After a single basho as a sekitori, Onami brother Wakamotoharu could do no better than a 3-4 make koshi in May, and finds himself at Makushita 5, well back in the pack and possibly out of range to bid for promotion in any real sense. He faces former Maegashira 4 Fujiazuma, who at 32 years is finding his body struggling to support his sumo.

Midorifuji vs Hokutokawa – Midorifuji is not on a meteoric rise up the banzuke, but it’s notable that he has racked up 4 consecutive kachi-koshi since Aki 2018. This approach has put him at Makushita 11, his highest ever rank. His opponent, Hokutokawa, sat out Osaka with injuries, but came roaring back, and is likewise fighting at his highest ever rank.

Wakatakamoto vs Inoue – Further down the torikumi, we find another Onami brother. Wakatakamoto is looking to bounce back after a 2-5 make koshi in May, and fight his way to the higher spots in the division. He faces 19 year old Inoue, who is at his highest ever rank, and has been kachi-koshi in the last 3 tournaments.

Shoji vs Genbumaru – Shoji is one good tournament away from breaking back into Makushita, and possibly bypassing Musashigawa’s flagging scion Musashikuni. Genbumaru, his opponent, is fighting near his highest ever rank.

Amakaze vs Kototora – Former Juryo mainstay Amakaze has produced 6-1 and 5-2 records since his return from a 8 month kyujo. He has also become a bit of an internet star for videos showing him enthusiastically eating all manner of goodies. I expect him to have little trouble with Kototora, as I think Amakaze is under-ranking right now.

Kitanowaka vs Ota – Kitanowaka was very impressive in his first basho, resulting in a 6-1 record and a solid move into Jonidan. He faces a long serving veteran in Ota, who has been ranked as high as Makushita. I expect Ota will faithfully undertake the tempering of young Kitanowaka, who is fresh from the wide open play-yard of Jonikuchi.

Lower divisions – Days 13 and 14

Hey, Hoshoryu, Asashoryu called and asked for his game face to be returned

Hey, I owe you readers two days of randomly picked lower division bouts!

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