Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 6

Hoshoryu in his first official Oicho-mage

I wanted to start with a video of today’s maezumo. However, I have a personal policy against sharing videos that include serious injuries – ones that require the wrestler to be carried away by others – and unfortunately, today’s maezumo footage included one of those.

Senho, Hakuho’s new small forward uchi-deshi, apparently lost his bout yesterday, so unlike Hokutenkai, he had to do another bout. His opponent was Naruto beya’s humongous new deshi, Konno, and although Senho did not do anything spectacular or dangerous, Konno ended up landing badly on his knee and just stayed there unmoving. A sewanin and a yobidashi had to take him off the dohyo. I hope the reason for this is that he is not yet used to sudden pain, rather than a serious injury at such an early stage of his career, but if not, we may see him do maezumo again next basho or the one after it.

Jonokuchi

Speaking of Naruto beya, you may recall that Naruto had no less than six new deshi in the previous basho (I have to get a photo of the presentation of the new deshi. Kotooshu must have needed to go very deep into his collection of kesho-mawashi to dress up six of them). No less than four of them are in the Jonokuchi yusho race at this moment – which is going to give the torikumi committee a bit of a scheduling headache if they keep winning. Here are two of them. Start with Motobayashi, who is 23 years old. Here he is on the left, with his rival, Kotoyamato from Sadogatake, on the right:

No contest here. Next up is Marusho, who is merely 18, just graduated from high school. On the left, facing Koki from Minato beya.

He was listed as a tsuki-oshi man when he joined, but he went directly for the mawashi in this match.

Both men, as well as their heya mates, Mishima and Sakurai, are now 3-0. Three of them are scheduled against the remaining non-Naruto with 3-0, so there is good chance that Jonokuchi will run out of lossless rikishi who are not from Naruto beya pretty soon – in which case, they are going to be scheduled with lossless rikishi from Jonidan.

Jonidan

Speaking of Jonidan, here is Kitanowaka, the charmer from Hakkaku beya, attacking from the right, matched with Kirizakura from Michinoku beya on the left:

Again, quick dispatch, much to the delight of the young Maiko in the background. By the way, I think Kitanowaka has legs as long as Abi’s. I wonder what uses he will make of them as he advances into the more complicated levels.

Now, the next bout is interesting, and I’m sure you’ll want to rerun it several times. On the left, we have Hakuho’s giant uchi-deshi, Toma. On the right, Wakahiroto from Chiganoura beya, who is, himself, not exactly a pixie. Since Toma currently mostly wins by using the Orora tactic (“be big”), this bout turns out not to be that straightforward for him.

I would have sworn that it was Wakahiroto’s win, but there wasn’t even a monoii. And looking at the video several times, it appears, indeed, that – unless Toma’s left heel is touching the Janome, which we can’t see – he has one foot firmly on the tawara, while Wakahiroto’s feet both detach themselves from the dohyo’s surface. So it’s indeed Toma’s win. By the way, they call it a yoritaoshi as Toma turns to leave, but it was later corrected to an utchari. The one thing to remember, both from this bout and from Onosho’s bout: it’s not about who touches first, it’s about who died first.

Sandanme

Unfortunately, I could not find any footage of Musashikuni today, so all I can do is report to you that the American lost his match with Oginosho. But thankfully, Wakaichiro is very popular, and so, here he is attacking from the right, while Hamadayama from Shibatayama beya is attacking from the left:

Straightforward, good deashi, thrusts from both sides, oshidashi, and Wakaichiro is 2-1.

Makushita

The two elder Onami brothers had bouts today. Let’s start with big brother Wakatakamoto (right), who faces Masutoo (left), Chiganoura’s Hungarian wrestler. Both are 2-0 coming into this game.

Not that this was brilliant sumo, but Masutoo has much confidence lately, which I suppose comes from the enlargement of the heya and some quality practice rivals. His career seems to have taken a change for the better, with 6-1 in the previous basho, and now 3-0.

Next up, we have two Mongolians – Yoshoyama, with whom you should already be familiar from my previous posts, is on the left, and Roga, the wolf from Futagoyama beya, on the right:

Engage, get his grip right, and twist your opponent down. The kimarite is shitatehineri. Roga is now 2-1, while Yoshoyama drops to 1-2.

Next up, Prince Naya, who was much talked of before this basho – getting stronger, coming into his own, etc. Naya is on the right, and Tsukahara on the left, and both are 1-1 as they face each other.

Ah, lack of experience. Naya starts aggressively and commits himself fully, but that opens him to exactly the side step that Tsukahara expertly performs, and the prince goes down to hatakikomi. To the press, he said “My keiko was not sufficient”. I seriously believe being at Otake beya hinders him. Otake oyakata is not Taiho.

Our next Onami brother is middle brother Wakamotoharu, here on the left, setting out against Kaisho from Asakayama beya on the right. Both are 1-1.

Nice yotsu match there. The two lock in, but when Kaisho attempts a makikae (change from an arm out to an arm in), Wakamotoharu makes his move. A makikae is always a risk for losing realestate, and Kaisho lost all of his land. Wakamotoharu himself lands almost in the box seats, but he lands there with 2-1, now even with his big brother.

Juryo

Because of Aminishiki’s kyujo, an extra wrestler is needed in Juryo every day, borrowed from Makushita. When that happens, the wrestler from Makushita gets to wear an oicho-mage for that bout, and today was Hoshoryu’s first appearance in an official oicho-mage. There was much swooning all over the su-jo scene. Hoshoryu, on the left, was to face Kizakiumi, on the right, whose brother, Churanoumi, he defeated yesterday.

Kizakiumi, however, proves to be Hoshoryu’s kryptonite. This didn’t even develop into a real bout, and the young Mongolian found himself unceremoniously dumped over the edge of the dohyo.

Lucky for Hoshoryu, who is now 2-2, with the exception of Seiro, those above him in Makushita seem to be doing worse, especially Daiseido, who is already 0-3, which means that a simple kachi-koshi may well carry him to Juryo in Aki. However, what he will do once he is there is a different question, as both his fights with “real sekitori” ended in him crumpled at the side of the dohyo.

By the way, for the time being there will be no more visits from Makushita to Juryo, as Tochinoshin’s kyujo evens out the number of sekitori. That is, there will be a visit from Juryo to Makuuchi, and an even number of sekitori will remain in Juryo.

In other news, on a scale of 1-10, how predictable would you rate the following match?

Nagoya Day 6 – Ones To Watch

Bruce is back from his business road trip, so it’s wall to wall sumo time! And what a night to get rolling. As Herouth mentioned, none other than risking star Hoshoryu will step onto the dohyo for a Juryo bout, when he takes on Juryo 13w Kizakiumi who clocks in at 2-3. Are you excited? I know I am. If Hoshoryu can hit kachi-koshi this tournament, there is a small but not zero chance he could make his Sekitori debut in September.

Elsewhere we have Wakaichiro, and a swarm of other favorites fighting their 3rd match. Let’s take a look at day 6:

Hoshoryu vs Kizakiumi – I think everyone wants Hoshoryu to score a win. Can he actually go toe to toe in Juryo and come out without that slippery clay on him? I want to find out…

Wakamotoharu vs Kaisho – A 1-1 bracket match, the winner would advance to the 2-1 bracket, thought neither of them are likely to contend for the yusho, and both are outside promotion range. So this one is for glory.

Naya vs Tsukahara – If Naya wins, we could conceivably see Naya face Wakamotoharu, which would be amazing. Both of these rikishi are in the 1-1 bracket, so like the match above, they are fighting purely for kachi-koshi at this time, and a chance to advance a bit closer to the Juryo line. Naya won their only prior match.

Masutoo vs Wakatakamoto – A 2-0 bracket match, this is the 3rd time these rikishi have met 3 times in the past, with Wakatakamoto taking 2 of them. I note that Masutoo has a distinct weight advantage over Wakatakamoto.

Yoshoyama vs Roga – Roga bounced back from his first match loss, and is looking to pull up to 2-1, possibly scoring a rematch against Terunofuji in the process (we all hope). Yoshoyama is another Mongolian rising star, from Tokitsukaze heya. This is probably going to be an excellent match.

Oginosho vs Musashikuni – Another 1-1 bracket match, Musashikuni is in range to be re-promoted to Makushita if he can make it to his 4th win. He has faced Oginosho twice before, losing them both.

Hamadayama vs Wakaichiro – Hamadayama is a 27 year old vet, and Wakaichiro is going to have his hands full. But he needs to bring his score up to 2-1, if he wants to reach his goal of a kachi-koshi in Sandanme. Here’s to hoping that his new-found strength and fighting spirit carries the day.

Kitanowaka vs Kirizakura – Yeah, it’s Jonidan, but this kid Kitanowaka is going places. He is 2-0, and if he can win out, I would not be surprised if he did not contend for the Jonidan yusho.

Nagoya Storyline #3 – The Makushita Joi-Jin

Some readers are wondering – what is a “Joi-Jin”? In general, it’s the top 10 or so ranks of any lower division, and in the case of Makushita for Nagoya, it’s jam-packed with some rather potent rikishi. Some of them are veterans pushing hard to return to sekitori status, others are up and coming youngsters fighting their way up the banzuke. As we have said before on Tachiai, the top end of Makushita, especially during week 2, is where some of the most flat out, 110% sumo takes place. We expect Nagoya, given who is in the joi for Makushita, to be especially frantic.

It’s important to note that unlike the top 2 divisions, matches go by pairing rikishi who have the same record for all 7 of their matches. So after the first match, all of the 1-0 will fight other 1-0, and all of the 0-1 rikishi will pair off with other 0-1 fighters. This narrows down the 100-200 strong divisions into a workable yusho elimination bracket by match 6 or so in most cases. Because of the vigorous competition in the Makushita joi, many of its members count themselves blessed if they can simply exit the basho with kachi-koshi (4 wins). Lets take a look at who is in the joi this time.

EastRankWest
SeiroMs1Irodori
DaiseidoMs2Hoshoryu
TamakiMs3Churanoumi
ChiyootoriMs4Kaisho
FujiazumaMs5Wakamotoharu
ChiyonokuniMs6Naya
AkuaMs7Tsukahara
KototebakariMs8Nishikifuji
BushozanMs9Chiyosakae
HakuyozanMs10Nogami

There are quite a few notables here

Seiro – Long time Juryo mainstay Seiro finds himself the top man in Makushita after a 7-8 make-koshi at Juryo 14. A simply 4 wins will put him back in a kesho-mawashi for September.
Irodori – A 6-9 in his Juryo debut in May put him back in Makushita, like Seiro, he needs both a kachi-koshi and some poor performance at the bottom of the Juryo banzuke to return.
Daiseido – After finishing 3-12 at Osaka, he dripped out of Juryo far enough down into Makushita that 5-2 finish at Natsu could take him no higher than Makushita 2.
Hoshoryu – Some readers get frustrated when we mention this, but this fellow is in fact former Yokozuna Asashoryu’s nephew. He has been plugging away with excellent speed / agility sumo, and he’s on the cusp now of a promotable rank. This guy, if he can stay healthy, is likely a future star.
Churanoumi – Former Nihon University athlete, he’s won 3 yusho (including a 7-0 Makushita yusho in Osaka) and already been in Juryo twice.
Chiyootori – Long-serving Maegashira, he has been plagued by injuries and is now fighting to try to return to the salaried ranks. At one point in 2018, he was ranked in Sandanme, but has been fighting back.
Wakamotoharu – After a Makushita yusho in January, and a 5-10 debut as a sekitori in Osaka, this Onami brother is outside the range to likely be promoted with a simple kachi-koshi, he’s going to have to run up the score.
Chiyonokuni – Did you wonder where Makuuchi mainstay Chiyonokuni ended up after he brutally injured his knee? Right here, in the briar patch. A healthy Chiyonokuni can take these guys to the cleaners, but I am going to guess he is lucky to be at 75%. It could get ugly.
Naya – Another young, up and coming rikishi from a sumo family, he has been on a slower upward trajectory than his rival Hoshoryu, but his sumo is coming to gether very well. He’s not at a promotable rank unless something crazy happens, but his last 2 tournaments featured 6-1 records.
Akua – I have to admit, I really like Akua’s sumo. I want to see him march ahead on the banzuke, but his accumulated injuries seem to have capped his performance.
Kototebakari – Another young man on a rocket ride up the banzuke, this 19 year old rikishi from Chiba has only had one make-koshi in his professional sumo career.

As you can see, even looking into a handful of these rikishi, there is a lot of talent, and a lot of drive to win. It’s going to be tough staying up to watch the top Makushita matchs, but I suspect for Nagoya, there may be a lot of great sumo action to follow from this group.

Natsu Day 10 – Ones To Watch

Natsu Day 10 – Wakaichiro Fights Takataisho

Just a short preview of what matches we have in the lower divisions for our “Ones to Watch” cohort, with any luck Herouth will post one of her enjoyable video highlight posts. I will note that both Amakaze and Naya won on day 9, and are now 5-0, and continuing to bid for their division yusho. Kitanowaka also won, and through some odd numbers may still be able to contest for the Jonokuchi yusho.

Wakatakamoto vs Kizenryu – The loser of this match is kachi-koshi, and demoted further down the Makushita banzuke for Nagoya. After battling back from demotion down to Makushita 40 for Hatsu, we are certain that Wakatakamoto is motivated to “win out”. Kizenryu won their prior match, so it’s going to be a battle.

Akua vs Kaisho – The winner of this match is kachi-koshi, and will advance in rank for July. The pair have split their 2 prior matches, and they are quite even in terms of sumo. Battles like this are what make the top of Makushita the home of fantastic sumo action.

Musashikuni vs Genkaiho – Musashikuni is really looking non-genki right now. His matches have mostly come down to small mistakes that his opponents exploit to great effect. A loss today relegates him to make-koshi, and possibly demotion out of Makushita ranks.

Terunofuji vs Fujitaisei – The smaller and lighter Fujitaisei will have his hands full on day 10 against the former Ozeki. Terunofuji knocked himself out of the Sandanme yusho race with a poorly placed step, and I would guess his frustration will be focused in his sumo. We created the tag “Terunofuji’s Angry Yorikiri” a few years ago, with good reason.

Shoji vs Sumanoumi – Back in mid-Sandanment, Musashitgawa rikishi Shoji continues to plug away, in this 2-2 bracket match he’s up against Takadagawa heya’s Sumanoumi, who has been ranked as high as Sandanme 3.

Wakaichiro vs Takataisho – Our favorite Texan sumotori returns to the dohyo in Tokyo today for his 5th match. This 2-2 bracket fight is the next stepping stone to 4 wins for both me. Takataisho is a former Takanohana rikishi who moved under Chiganoura recently, and is about the same size as Wakaichiro, so an even fight.