A quick update on the lower divisions for day 7, another roster full of action. Day 6 action saw Amakaze, Terunofuji and Naya bring in white stars.
Akua vs Toyohibiki – Former Makuuchi mainstay Toyohibiki takes on Akua, as the next stop on Akua’s drive to return to Juryo. Toyohibiki has struggled since going kyujo from Juryo in Hatsu 2018.
Midorifuji vs Kototebakari – A 2-1 bracket match, compact powerhouse Midorifuji will face fast rising star Kototebakari from Sadogatake heya. Kototebakari has been in professional sumo for 8 basho, and has been on a rapid upward ascent. Given their size and sumo style, this could be a barn-burner match.
Musashikuni vs Takaryu – Like Musashikuni, Takaryu rose quickly into Makushita, and has been trying to find a way past “the wall”. This 2-1 bracket will see who advances, and who will struggle to get to kachi-koshi this tournament.
Naya vs Kotoryusei – This 3-0 bracket match does in fact have Makushitia yusho implications. The winner will take home a kachi-koshi on day 7 (quite a feat) and advance to the increasingly narrow yusho contender group. Naya continues to look strong, confident and absolutely sure of his sumo.
Shoji vs Hagane – A 1-2 bracket match, Musashigawa’s Shoji will be fighting to pick up his second win, and pull even for the tournament.
Wakaichiro vs Kotourasaki – Our Texan sumotori will be facing Sandanme 100 Kotourasaki from Sadogatake heya. A relative light weight (68kg), he has a Jonidan yusho to his name. After an opening win, Wakaichiro has left the dohyo disappointed for the past 2 matches. A win today would put him even for the tournament.
Terunofuji vs Teraosho – After dispatching the gargantuan Sakaefuji on day 6, Terunofuji is 3-0 for Haru, and faces a long serving lower division rikishi, Teraosho. Thus far, Terunofuji seems to be maintaining his knees well, even against truly massive opponents.
Join me as I dig through YouTube and Twitter for the bouts that never make it to the mainstream feeds.
Hattorizakura-Denpoya. Denpoya is the latest recruit at Isegahama, one of six men from Aomori prefecture. Unlike most of the recent recruits by that heya, he actually has the size for sumo. But he went 1-3 at maezumo and has a lot to learn. His lucky stars arranged for him to face Hattorizakura on the first day, after Watai from Chiganoura beya became a no-show.
Take a look at this rather amusing bout between the two:
What you see here is the bout begin in jikan-mae. That’s a rarity in itself. Looks like Denpoya is so green he doesn’t get the whole shikiri ritual yet. But Hattorizakura goes ahead and meets him, sort of. And so the gyoji starts conducting it as a bout – which, if this is indeed jikan-mae tachiai, is not a mistake. I suppose the shimpan considered this to be a matta rather than a jikan-mae with mutual consent. So they go at it again. No worries – Hattorizakura is there to dispense white stars for everybody.
Soon after this bout came one between two other beginners – Shimomura and Daitenma. I am keeping an eye on Daitenma as I always watch out for foreigners. But this bout (sorry, I don’t have footage) went to Shimomura. So Daitenma is not going to be the next Mongolian to enter the 21 club.
Apart from Wakaichiro’s bout, which you have already seen in Bruce’s post, there were several bouts that drew my eye. I give you the ever-popular Colin PowellSatonofuji vs. Azumaiwa. I’m glad to see Satonofuji still active. I thought he might decide to call it quits after Harumafuji’s retirement ceremony, where he performed what was probably his last yumi-tori shiki. However, I guess he likes his life just as it is:
Go Satonofuji! He even attempts a death-spin there.
Another veteran in Jonidan is Hanakaze, mostly famous for being the oldest active rikishi (aged 48). If he gets through Hatsu and Haru safely, he will be the first rikishi almost a century to do sumo over three different eras. However, this is not a good start:
Another match of interest in this division is the one between Takataisho and Miyakomotoharu. Takataisho is the tsukebito Takanoiwa has beaten up, buying himself a one-way ticket to the barber shop. On previous occasions (yes, I’m looking at you, Takanofuji, formerly Takayoshitoshi), the victims quickly found themselves out of the world of sumo, so I am keeping an eye on Takataisho, to see that he doesn’t suffer a similar fate. So far, he seems to be doing well. He now serves as Takakeisho’s tsukebito. And here is how he looks on the dohyo:
Whoa, Miyakomotoharu, you don’t have to take the winner down with you, you know. Takataisho seems to be genki. Good!
Yes, I’m skipping Sandanme, as I haven’t found any footage from it. In Makushita, we open with Naya vs. Aomihama.
Straightforward oshi-zumo, and Naya gets his first gold star.
As we followed young Narutaki and his big brother Kyonosato through the Jungyo, I thought you may be interested in Narutaki‘s bout vs. Yokoe.
Unfortunately, Narutaki gets beaten rather spectacularly. He says he was very tense because this was his first Makushita bout.
And now we get into the “purgatory” part of Makushita, and we continue to follow Kototebakari as he takes on Tennozan.
A monoii is called. It takes Chiganoura oyakata quite some time to get up on the dohyo and he seems to be struggling with his link to the video room, but that’s his weapon of choice for the discussion. The video room says “dotai” – both down at the same time – so a torinaoshi it is, and this time Kototebakari gets a clean cut win.
Finally, we have a bout between two familiar names: Gokushindo, who had a very short visit to Juryo before dropping back to Makushita, and Wakamotoharu, also known as the second most gifted Onami brother
This is an entertaining bout between two rikishi who obviously have technique. But Gokushindo needs to work on his power.
Today I have little to post. For the sake of closure, though, here is a short senshuraku report.
I have a nice sandanme bout – Shohoryu vs. Kototebakari. Both 5-1 before stepping on the dohyo. We have followed Kototebakari through this basho, so no need to introduce this highly motivated wrestler to you. Shohoryu, some of you may recall, is known as Hoshoryu’s generic brand. That is, he is not Hoshoryu. He is also known for owning a sagari that looks like a hula skirt. But he is actually worth watching, because I have a hunch he will start making his way up soon, after wallowing in Sandanme for ages.
The reason I think so is that he joined Kakuryu’s team of tsukebito, replacing Gokushindo, who became a sekitori (yes, not for long). It seems that belonging to that team can have a good influence on one’s career – if you are coming to watch and learn, and not just to pull at ropes and wash Yokozuna hair.
Shohoryu manages to recover from that pirouette and get himself all over Kototebakari. You can see Kototebakari’s frustration.
Another bout that’s worth watching is the Jonidan yusho playoff. If you recall, Mitsuuchi is facing Kotourasaki. Mitsuuchi is somewhat more familiar with the large crowd, as he won the Jonidan yusho last basho and had to receive his certificate in front of the big time audience. Kotourasaki is a little greener:
Kotourasaki manages a good leg grab and leads surprised Mitsuuchi to the edge, but somehow, Mitsuuchi recovers and Kotourasaki finds himself dropping down. Very entertaining. Mitsuuchi gets his second yusho in a row, and it would be interesting to see if he can do the Sandanme yusho in Hatsu for a off-record “21 club” membership.
Now, at this point I would like to do the Juryo summary, but unfortunately, I do not have a digest for you today. If you want to watch the whole shebang, including dohyo iri and each individual shikiri, here is the video at Miselet’s channel (which means that it’s bound to disappear together with the channel at some point, my apologies in advance to readers happening upon this post in the future):
The only individual bout I have is not one of the key matches. But hey – we have been following Enho through the tournament, so let’s look at his final battle, against Kotoeko:
Our little pixie manages to finish the basho with a smile, after four consecutive losses. Still not back in his initial form, but a win is a win.
As for the key matches, if you recall, we had the possibility of a four-way tie for the Yusho. Toyonoshima had to beat Kyokutaisei to stay in it. Terutsuyoshi had to beat Chiyonoumi for his own bid. But Kotoyuki faced the challenge of actually going against the leader, Tomokaze, to create that chance of a playoff.
While Toyonoshima did win the required bout and finish the basho with a nice 11-4 score, Terutsuyoshi failed to deliver vs. Chiyonoumi. Too bad – Chiyonoumi picked the wrong time to start winning!
But both bouts became moot as Tomokaze eliminated Kotoyuki almost nonchalantly, eliminating the chance of a playoff at the same time. Tomokaze is the Juryo yusho.
There have been 41 cases in recorded history (read, recorded on SumoDB) in which a newly arrived man in Juryo has won the yusho. Many of these are Makushita tsukedashi, like Mitakeumi, Endo and Ichinojo. Those who made it coming all the way through Jonokuchi include Tochinoshin, Ikioi and Terunofuji. So Tomokaze finds himself in a very respectable circle, and we can expect him to end up in the upper part of Makushita sooner rather than later.
And just for fun, here is Tomokaze playing the piano. He used to be better than this, but he can’t really practice it too much these days.
And here ends my coverage of the lower divisions for this basho. It’s been a pleasure getting to know rikishi I have not met before and following those I have.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the guys who came in on mae-zumo this tournament. I’d like to see how much future Denpoya has at Isegahama, how fast Roga will go through the ranks, and whether Daitenma is going to join the elite Mongolians or level at Kyokusoten or Yoshoyama achievements.
I will continue to follow the two princes, the gap between whom is growing larger as future Yokozuna Hoshoryu pushes forward relentlesly. Will Hoshoryu be able to keep his clean record of kachi-koshi intact? Can he make Juryo by Natsu? Will Naya be able to catch up eventually?
I’ll keep an eye on Mitsuuchi and Hatooka, who are recovering from long injuries. How far can they make it?
I’ll hope to see little Chiyotaiyo eat more and break out of the Jonokuchi/Jonidan level where his size keeps him.
I’m really curious to see what Enho will come up with for the next basho. He hit a wall in the middle of this basho, but he seems to be growing between bashos and I’m sure he’ll come up with possible solutions. Please let these not contain a rain of henka. One miyagino man doing the Achey-Breaky-Heart on the tachiai is quite enough.
And I’ll be absolutely delighted to see my main man Terutsuyoshi appear on NHK G. Remember when Harumafuji prepared for that last yusho of his, and used Terutsuyoshi as practice target? When asked why, he told the press “I wanted to put Terutsuyoshi in the limelight”. Well, former Yokozuna, now he is just about to do it himself!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
In the lower divisions, tension is rising as the yusho shortlists are getting, well, shorter. Every day there are fewer and fewer perfect scored rikishi.
But one rikishi reliably keeps a perfect record! Of course, it’s a perfect losing record, but still perfect!
Once again Hattorizakura gives us a glimpse of hope, somewhere there, that he might… just might… nope.
I keep following little Chiyotaiyo, but he is not doing well this basho. Coming into this bout, he and his rival, Tanji, are 1-3. And Tanji doesn’t look like he has that much of a weight advantage.
However, the stick insect from Kokonoe is taken down without much ceremony. He is now make-koshi.
On the other side of the scoreboard, we have Mitsuuchi vs. Akitoba, both coming in at 4-0. Mitsuuchi has a very strange sumo record. Joining in 2015 he had a string of 6-1 tournament, then a couple of make-koshi, then full-on kyujo for four consecutive tournaments, causing him to drop off the banzuke. He then has to do maezumo again, enters back and once again, has two good 5-2 and 6-1 tournaments. This is mid 2017. Then – lo and behold – he goes kyujo – five straight tournaments. Has to do maezumo again! And then he comes back in Aki 2018 and grabs the Jonokuchi yusho.
So it’s Mitsuuchi’s fifth win, and he is in the list of yusho hopefuls, which also includes Sumanoumi, Kotokume, Kenho, Tatsunoumi and Kotourasaki.
To close off the Jonidan list, since Bruce is a bit under the weather, I’ll cover Wakaichiro here. His opponent is Tainaka, about the same age and a similar record as out hero from Texas.
This was a very frustrating bout for the young Texan. He has it in control from the start, going forward – and then Tainaka snatches it from under his nose.
Despite the frustration, Wakaichiro gives the deepest bow to his opponent before descending the dohyo. Wakaichiro is now make-koshi and should rally and continue that forward motion to keep himself on the upper side of Jonidan.
All the bouts I have for you today are ones deciding the yusho race. I’ll start at the bottom, with two relatively anonymous youngsters from Isegahama beya. The first is Fukunofuji, who usually has a hard time in Sandanme, and was kyujo the previous basho. His opponent is Nakashima from Musashigawa, with a similar record, who was also kyujo last basho.
It’s nice to see a yotsu match at this level. The next Isegahama man is Hikarifuji, up against Takatenshu (one of the former Takanohana wrestlers). Hikarifuji is one of the Isegahama pixies at 173cm.
Hikarifuji kind of tries a henka, then realizes that the other guy is just too big for that to be effective. Nevertheless, Hikarifuji wins this Aminishiki-style, and finds himself in the Yusho run himself.
These two guys being from the same heya, they are probably going to be facing some tough competition very soon now. Case in point – hello Ura! How are you today?
Kurahashi, Ura’s victim opponent for today is not a tall guy. So Ura keeps himself low and very stable with his feet neatly arranged, one front, one back. He could give lessons. I suggested on Twitter that this video should be sent to Takayasu and Kisenosato for a refresher. Ura maintains his perfect record for this basho and is, of course, in the yusho race.
Another one we have been following for a while is Kototebakari. Here he is facing Hokutoshu.
No sweat. Kototebakari is still perfect.
The Sandanme Yusho arasoi currently consists of Kototebakari, Ura, Yokoe, Kotoozutsu, Hikarifuji and Fukunofuji. With two from Isegahama and two from Sadogatake, we might either be seeing a mismatch of ranks, or have Ura face Kototebakari in the next round, which should be a bout to watch for.
The famous nephew (“Who is your favorite Yokozuna?”, “My Uncle!” – From Hoshoryu’s live Instagram. Silly question) was matched today against Kainoryu. Kaynoryu is not exactly Yokozuna material, having spent most of his career between Sandanme and Makushita.
I don’t know if it’s lapse of concentration on Hoshoryu’s part or what. He seems to lose this bout by starting it with tsuppari rather than going for his strong yotsu from the start. Hoshoryu is out of the yusho race, though I’m sure he’ll do his best to end at 6-1 and advance as far as he possibly can without a yusho.
By the way, Hoshoryu is serving as Meisei’s tsukebito again this basho.
We finish Makushita with Sokokurai vs. Kiribayama. So it’s Inner Mongolia vs. Sovereign Mongolia here:
Sokokurai is not letting this go anywhere except Inner Mongolia.
Only four men remain in the Makushita yusho race: Sokokurai, Gochozan, Takaryu, Kainoryu. All with five wins, meaning they only have two bouts to go. This means the yusho will be decided without playoff – unless any of them gets a Juryo bout.
Somebody in the Torikumi committee thought it would be a hoot to bring in a 36 years old, 165cm tall Makushita man with three losses for a bout at Juryo. Of course, technically Sagatsukasa is Ms3 so he is fair game, but come on… Mitoryu gets this win on a platter.
Tobizaru has been relegated to the chaser list yesterday. He tries with all his monkey energy to keep himself there. Shimanoumi thinks differently. The flying monkey flies again.
Tomokaze looks like he has been born in Juryo. Low stance, strong thrusts, Azumaryu finds himself unable to do his sumo. Tomokaze needs only two wins in 6 days to ensure his stay in Juryo.
Two elderly men climb the dohyo – Takekaze, 39, and Toyonoshima, 35. I didn’t expect that double pirouette, though. Guys, it’s not Hanukkah, yet. Leave the dreidels off the dohyo.
In every basho, Tsurugisho has one big, fat, ugly henka that makes me want to strangle him. This time it’s Chiyonoumi who is doing somersaults off the tachiai. 😡😡 Chiyonoumi needs to start collecting some wins fast – I think some 3 wins might cushion him from dropping back to Makushita.
Gokushindo doing some tentative sumo again. His stance is good, and Kyokushuho can’t find a way inside, and ends up losing his own balance.
Hakuyozan has also been in the chaser group before this match. A leaning match develops into a fine yotsu struggle, and Jokoryu prevails, bringing himself closer to breaking even.
Yesterday, Kokonoe oyakata gave Chiyonoumi and Chiyonoo a pep-talk dinner. It didn’t work for Chiyonoumi (thank you Tsurugisho 😡), but it seems to have worked for Chiyonoo, who takes the initiative and evades make-koshi for another day. Kyokutaisei is 4-5 – not quite himself as yet.
Now, the Enho-Wakatakakage was the match of the day. Wakatakakage matched Enho’s sumo, and although Enho did get that famous grip on his mawashi, he just couldn’t get the angles he wanted. Wakatakakage managed to stick his head below Enho’s – not an easy task, and we had a long stalemate. Enho nearly had Wakatakakage there at the edge. But the youngest Onami kept his foot safe. Here is a tweet by TheSumoSoul, showing Wakatakakage’s foot:
Enho got his SHITATE grip but Kage got a firm UWATE grip of his own before standoff. When action restarted, E came as close as the pic below to pulling out a win but W recovered and held on for the force out. pic.twitter.com/bFZcRvRkGY
And here is short footage showing the undisturbed janome (ring of fine dust around the ring of bales).
The call was right, and Enho drops to two losses. Moving on:
Once again, Kotoyuki manages to avoid rolling. I’m impressed.
Aminishiki is not happy with himself going backwards, but backwards he went – and performed the first kubinage in his career, bringing himself to 45 different kimarite, only one behind Kyokushuzan, who holds the record. A monoii is called because his foot seems to have gone outside, but the Gyoji’s decision is upheld.
Takagenji seems to be on a recovery course with three consecutive wins after his weak first week. This bout with Daishoho was one sided.
Terutsuyoshi – remember, he’s in the leader group – once again tries to do straight sumo, no tricks. And it’s a really good bout, where he gets to lift Kotoeko for a second, and fends off Kotoeko’s following attack. But then Kotoeko pulls and the pixie loses his balance.
Final pixie of the day, though really, for Ishiura that word just doesn’t ring right. No tricks this time, and Ishiura has an enjoyable exchange of thrusts with Yago. Ishiura survives a couple of waves of attack, but eventually the bigger man prevails. Not a good day for the small rikishi.
Or is it? As it turns out, everybody at the top lost. So the leaderboard looks like this:
Tomokaze in the yusho race? Oh lord. Tomorrow, while Enho faces Gokushindo and should be careful not to let a relatively easy one drop, Terutsuyoshi is facing a very difficult Yago. I wonder when they’ll match Enho with Aminishiki (Terutsuyoshi won’t be, they are from the same heya, as are Ishiura and Enho).