Today I’m trying to catch up on two days of lower division action. Let’s start with day 11, May 22.Continue reading
Another day of sumo in the books, and we are having our somewhat haphazard stroll through bouts in the lower divisions – ones to watch, and ones to take a surreptitious peek at.
We start with our gigantic friend, Toma, the road roller from Miyagino beya, who meets Ienoshima from Yamahibiki beya today:
Toma improves his way towards kachi-koshi.
Next up, famous Kitanowaka, here vs. Oba:
Kitanowaka’s legs look ridiculously longer than Oba’s. And he seems to have a bit of a koshi-daka issue (that is, he keeps his ass too high). But a win is a win.
Finally, we keep monitoring Toma’s steamrolled victim, Ito. Here against Sawanofuji from Isegahama:
Ito is in the Jonokuchi yusho race.
I asked for Toshonishiki footage, I got Toshonishiki footage. But alas, I didn’t get one of Toshonishiki winning. He suffers his first loss:
He loses not so much because of that ridiculous body size but because of a mistake that leaves him with his back to Tochikamiyama, who doesn’t miss the opportunity.
Shiraishi, the Sandanme tsuke-dashi from Tamanoi beya, continues his formidable performance:
No blinking. Fujisawa goes from tachiai to loss in one swoop.
Roga is facing Kototora. That is, a wolf faces a tiger.
The tiger nearly drives the wolf to the edge. After that Roga becomes a lot more careful, and manages to secure his third win.
I told you yesterday that Yoshoyama is doing well this basho, and managed to thoroughly jinx the poor Mongolian. Here he is, facing Hokutowaka:
Oops, sorry for the jinx, Tokitsukaze man.
Finally, if you want to see someone who is gaining self assurance from day to day and may well find himself back in the limelight come senshuraku, look no further than Amakaze, here against Tsugaruumi:
His tachiai is not something to write home about, though.
Let’s start with Kyokusoten, who is having a really nice basho. Kyokusoten, if you recall, is Tamawashi’s brother-in-law, a tsukebito for hire (most recently Kakuryu’s), and a generally amiable fella.
At this rate he may find himself in the Makushita purgatory before long.
Take a look at Michael – the name in Japanese is “Maikeru”, which is rendered in kanji as “dance-kick”. He used to be Futagoyama’s pride until Roga showed up, but the competition within doesn’t seem to faze him:
He is now 5-0 and part of the Makushita yusho race.
We move on to the Makushita pixie, Midorifuji, who is facing the very popular Takakento (all Takas are popular):
Midorifuji, kind of like Enho’s bout today, is saved mostly by his speed and some luck avoiding the edge.
Next we move to some of our serious “Ones To Watch”, and first, a meeting between Ryuko and Kotokamatani. Both 3-1 coming into this bout.
Ryuko secures a tight morozashi, and manages to lift Kotokamatani out. Kotokamatani will have to wait for his kachi-koshi yet another day.
Hoshoryu faces Ichiyamamoto. Both 2-2 going into this match:
Ah… his hand touches the ground, and there is no recovery for the young Mongolian. Could he be on his way to his first Make-koshi? I’m sure he is going to get that angry phone call from his uncle soon.
Finally, we have Naya, the prince of Makushita. He faces Tsukahara, who is himself a “One To Watch”, with past championships in Jonokuchi and Jonidan:
Fierce tsuppari, followed by a wide pull, and Naya keeps himself in the yusho race.
Day 7 is loaded down with action for our “Ones to Watch”; it’s the middle weekend, and some of our favorites will be 4-0 by Sunday. Day 6 saw Musashikuni finally get his first win of the Basho to improve to 1-2, and hopefully put himself on the road to kachi-koshi. Elsewhere in Makushita, Wakatakamoto picked up his first win as well against Ayanoumi, while Akua lost his first to drop to 2-1. In Sandanme, Roga won to improve to 2-1, as did Shoji. Amakaze won against Hikarifuji to improve to 3-0.
Day 7 matches
Wakamotoharu vs Tamaki – Wakamotoharu finds himself in the 1-2 bracket going into the middle weekend, needing 3 more wins out of 4 matches to make kachi-koshi and likely punch his ticket back to Juryo. The problem with that plan is that out of the 3 prior matches with Tamaki, Wakamotoharu has won only one.
Kotokamatani vs Takanofuji – This 3-0 bracket match will determine who goes into the yusho playoff ladder, and it features both Makushita 2 rikishi, both of which have yet to lose. Kotokamatani has really been impressive thus far, and looks to be a good candidate for promotion, which the winner of this bout likely clinches -lksumo.
Ichiyamamoto vs Kizakiumi – What a difference a win makes, as Ichiyamamoto has 2 wins and only needs 2 more out of 4 to get to kachi-koshi. His Juryo promotion is not as certain, due to him being ranked Makushita 3, but his first goal has to be that 4th win. Okinawan Kizakiumi has rocketed up the banzuke after joining Kise heya from Nihon University’s sumo program. Ichiyamamoto is going to have his hands full.
Wakatakamoto vs Takakento – It’s an Onami brothers day of sumo, with all 3 on the dohyo during the afternoon. Wakatakamoto won the previous match against Takakento, which took place a year ago.
Akua vs Kototebakari – Kototebakari has been on a rocket ride up the banzuke since he joined Sadogatake in 2017. He is fighting at his personal highest rank ever, and could present a lot of fight to Akua, who I am convinced is still not completely recovered from his September 2018 injuries that caused him to withdraw from the Aki Basho on day 12.
Roga vs Wagurayama – After taking the first loss of his professional sumo career, Roga is back to dominating every match. Perhaps some of the pressure was relieved, and he can focus more on each match as it comes? This 2-1 bracket match means that Roga is most likely not going to contest for the Sandanme yusho, which may have also relieved some worries.
Wakaichiro vs Harimanada – After a cold 0-2 start, Wakaichiro looked like a completely different rikishi for his 3rd match, confidently launching Amamidake across the tawara and into the zabuton. With any luck we will see that kind of sumo again on day 7 as Wakaichiro goes up against Onoe heya’s Harimanada. Harimanada has never been ranked higher than Jonidan, and in fact was banzuke gai for about a year.
Kitanowaka vs Ito – Mr Fabulous takes on Ito in this Jonokuchi 3-0 match, where we will watch a former high school Yokozuna battle Saitama native Ito, a graduate of the Tokyo University of Agriculture. Will this one be less lopsided than the prior 3?
Hattorizakura vs Garyu – Good news for Garyu! He finally gets to pick up his first win. Perpetual soft sumo pro Hattorizakura shows no sign of getting fierce any time soon. It’s ok, the fans adore him.
Welcome to the end of act 1 – In the lower divisions, it has less of an effect than it does for sekitori, but we can already see how the lower division “Ones to Watch” are setting up for the remainder of the Natsu basho. In day 4 action, we had a large number of our cohort in action, with many of them in Sandanme. Amakaze, Terunofuji and Roga all won, while Musashikuni and Shoji lost, further lowering the overall Musashigawa heya’s record.
On to the matches!
Wakamotoharu vs Fujiazuma – A 0-2 bracket match, both of these rikishi share the Makushita 1 rank, and as is typical for the bloody battlefield at the top of sumo’s 3rd division, there is carnage everywhere. For these two, it’s about survival now. Both of them need 4 wins to get their ticket stamped to Juryo, but that looks like a long, steep climb from here.
Ichiyamamoto vs Tobizaru – It’s Ichiyamamoto’s turn to head to Juryo, this time to face the flying monkey; Tobizaru. Ichiyamamoto has tied his highest ever rank this basho, and with both Makushita 1’s in a tight spot, the Juryo promotion lanes my be a bit more open than usual. Time to step on the gas, guys.
Hoshoryu vs Kotokamatani – Two early favorites for the front of any promotion queue, the only two rikishi at the top of Makushita who are unbeaten face each other tonight for sole possession of the overtaking lane. Both are sharp, capable and healthy. Furthermore, both of them show considerable amount of planning in each match, and I think this could be a highlight bout of the day.
Midorifuji vs Kototebakari – A 1-1 bracket match, Midorifuji is still in great shape working towards 4 wins. He has faced Kototebakari once before, for a loss.
Terunofuji vs Komakiryu – For these two it’s 2-0 head to head on day 5, but it’s an odd match up to be certain. Komakiryu is a 34 year old veteran from Kise heya, and spent a good amount of time in Makushita before drifting back down to Sandanme. Terunofuji is still not even close to his real capabilities, but is improved from Osaka. Winner advances to the 3-0 bracket.
Wakaichiro vs Amamidake – For Wakaichiro fans, the numbers are grim. Currently at 0-2, both matches featured frustrating surprises that has left Wakaichiro without a win. The good news is that there is still a path to kachi-koshi, and Wakaichiro has recovered from this situation in the past.
Kitanowaka vs Yabugasaki – The young Jonokuchi sensation will face another newcomer who is a height and weight match for him. As always, its tough to rank new recruits straight from Maezumo, and we expect the Nagoya banzuke to have a better sort order. If anything, Kitanowaka may be under-ranked right now.