Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 14

First make-koshi for Hoshoryu

I have a short report for you today. You all know that Enho finally got his kachi-koshi today. Let’s take a look at some of Hakuho’s other uchi-deshi.

In Jonidan, the biggish Toma suffered his first loss on Day 11, so he dropped out of the yusho race there, and today, with a balance of 5-1, engaged with Yoshii from Nakagawa beya. Toma is on the left (he is really hard to miss), and Yoshii on the right:

Yoshii turns out to be far from a pushover, and even managed to throw the humongous Toma with an uwatenage. Not exactly your Mongolian “roll’er-over-in-the-clover”, but still. I’m really hoping Toma will start losing some of that extra poundage, and show something better than Orora-zumo. In any case, he is 5-2, kachi-koshi, and will keep moving up.

At Sandanme, we meet Hakuho’s oldest – and apparently most damaged – uchi-deshi, Yamaguchi. He comes into this match with 3-3, so the winner is kachi-koshi and the loser, make-koshi. On the left we have Tochimitsuru, from Kasugano beya.

Yamaguchi doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance, and is make-koshi. He will drop further down in Sandanme.

Makushita

Akua, our aquatic rikishi from Tatsunami beya meets Nishikifuji from Isegahama beya. Nishikifuji and Midorifuji are the biggest new hopes in Isegahama beya, a heya which two years ago sported six sekitori, including a Yokozuna and an Ozeki, and now only two of them remain.

Nishikifuji is ranked Ms8w, and he and Akua are both 5-1 as they stare at each other across the dohyo. Akua is on the left, Nishikifuji on the right:

Akua is very efficient this basho – a quick katasukashi in this case. He finishes it 6-1, while Nishikifuji will have to settle for 5-2 and will have a chance of ramming himself against the gateway to Heaven in Aki.

His heya mate, the tiny deputy pixie Midorifuji, is similarly 5-1 (though ranked a little lower, at Ms11w). He is facing our Hungarian friend, Masutoo, here on the left.

Mastoo is not letting Midorifuji try any pixie dust on him. The big Hungarian has his second 6-1 basho in a row, and will start smelling the heady perfume of silk mawashi across the barrier next basho. Midorifuji will settle for 5-2, and he, too, will be in that hot neighborhood.

The last Makushita bout (though not the last Makushita wrestler fighting) is between Tamaki and Hoshoryu. This is a life-or-death bout. The two are not just fighting for kachi-koshi vs. make-koshi, but also, at their rank, for a very probable ticket to Juryo, which only the winner can take. Hoshoryu is on the right, Tamaki on the left:

Hoshoryu’s hand touches the surface of the dohyo. The gyoji notices immediately and points his gunbai, but the two are not paying attention and keep fighting. But even if that finger did not touch the dohyo, Hoshoryu was completely out of balance for most of it, and would have lost anyway.

He suffers the first make-koshi of his career. The Japanese press tells us that he was still wearing his game face (he is really overdoing it in the staredowns, methinks) as he was walking down the hana-michi, but in the shitakubeya he broke out in tears, and the only thing he said to the reporters was “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”.

Kid’s 20 years old. This was his one chance to match his uncle’s speedy ascent from Jonokuchi to the sekitori ranks, and he blew it. He will get there, but it will probably take a couple of basho now that his make-koshi will send him a few ranks down. I’m sure it stings as hell.

Tamaki, on the other hand, enjoyed the limelight today, surrounded by press and media people.

Juryo

Kaisho, Ms4w from Asakayama beya was sent into Juryo today to fight Arawashi. Kaisho was 3-3 and needed a kachi-koshi. Arawashi was already make-koshi, 5-8, but needs to tread carefully. Kaisho is on the left, Arawashi is nursing an eye injury, on the right.

Despite Arawashi’s efforts, Kaisho manages to get a good grip and yorikiri the veteran. Arawashi is 5-9, and is edging towards the danger zone. Kaisho, on the other hand, is kachi-koshi, and may be considered for promotion if there are enough demoted Juryo members, and Wakamotoharu doesn’t improve from his five wins tomorrow.

So tomorrow is the big day, senshuraku, with some exciting playoffs, and some familiar names like Wakamotoharu and, of course, Terunofuji, who will be facing the very dangerous henka artist Shiraishi.

Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 10

Chiyoarashi made Kototebakari work

First, I’d like to apologize in advance that there will be no lower division coverage for days 11 and 12, at least not by me, due to offline demands on my time. I’ll do my best to renew the reports on day 13.

Jonokuchi

Remember I told you there was another rikishi from Tatsunami beya beside Roman who got his hair shortened? Well, I have one of his bouts for you today. We are talking about Yukiamami, who is 3-1 at this stage of the basho. He is the one with the, well, very short hair. His opponent is Hamanoumi from Tokitsukaze beya.

He gets his kachi-koshi. And even this tweet notes his hairstyle with surprise. This man is on the dohyo since 2013 – there is no way he can be mistaken for a newbie.

One of the leading Narutos faltered yesterday, but still left us with two 5-0 leaders from that heya. Today Motobayashi was aiming to join those two, having 4-0, and facing Garyu from Futagoyama beya. Garyu is on the left, Motobayashi on the right.

That’s more Makushita sumo than Jonokuchi… So Motobayashi joins Marusho and Sakurai from his heya at the top of the Jonokuchi chart. The only way the yusho winner will not be from Naruto beya is if all three drop a bout, and the yusho playoff involves somebody else with 6-1 (or if all of them drop two and there is a 6-1 ahead of them).

Jonidan

Continuing our focus on the short haired Tatsunamis, Roman (on the right) is facing Raiga from Futagoyama beya (left). Both are 3-1.

Raiga is trying as hard as he can not to lose his shikona again (Futagoyama oyakata revoked his shikona a while back because he was not working hard enough, and only bestowed it on him again before this basho). But the one ending with a kachi-koshi is the clearly stronger Crew-Cut Roman.

Our next Jonidan match is between Kitanowaka, AKA Prince Charming, and Kotosusumu from Sadogatake beya. Kitanowaka on the left, Kotosususmu on the right, both 3-1 and trying for a kachi-koshi.

Kitanowaka suffers his second loss. It’s harder to control long legs (ask Abi). Kotosusumu is kachi-koshi.

Makushita

I have no footage of interest from Sandanme, and only the sad news that another Isegahama has gone kyujo (Sawanofuji). So moving on to Makushita. We have Roga facing Chiyodaigo. The Kokonoe man on the left, and Roga with the long zanbara on the right:

Chiyodaigo tries a hatakikomi on Roga, who remains perfectly stable – no mean feat for the slippery Nagoya dohyo. Roga wins by Oshidashi, but by the look of it, he seems to have paid for that with a tooth or a piece of tongue.

Next, we have the Tamanoi wonder, Shiraishi, here on the right, facing Shohoryu, who is not Hoshoryu. Shohoryu is a proud member of Kakuryu’s tsukebito team, also known as the best sumo school in Tokitsukaze ichimon. The sumo education is starting to show. They are both 3-1.

Shiraishi is a strong fella, but this opening gambit of his is getting old already, and it’s merely his second professional basho. Learn a proper tachiai, young man. In any case, he wins by hatakikomi (what else), and Shohoryu will have to go do some more training with his 10-0 yokozuna mentor. By the way, it appears Gokushindo is also back in the Kakuryu school, though they declared him permanently graduated that time he advanced to Juryo.

Next up, one of the popular foreigners in sumo, though he was never even close to being sekitori, is Masutoo, Chiganoura’s Hungarian. The shikona basically means “East Europe” (plus the “masu” which is one of the heya’s traditional kanji). At age 33, he seems to be fighting better than he has for a long time. He is 3-1, here on the left vs. Tochimaru from Kasugano beya:

Masutoo is kachi-koshi. If this extra strength has anything to do with him being assigned tsukebito to Takanofuji (fmr. Takayoshitoshi), then it’s the first good thing I’ll have to say about that Twin in quite a long time.

Finally, our highlight bout of the day is Kototebakari, facing Chiyoarashi. Once again, it’s a match for the kachi-koshi, as both are 3-1. Kototebakari is on the left.

Most of Kototebakari’s bout end pretty quickly, but Chiyoarashi made him work for it today. Work he did, winning by a yorikiri, and securing his kachi-koshi.

Tomorrow is a star-studded day, with Hoshoryu, the two Onamis, and – get this – the much anticipated Roga vs. Terunofuji re-match. So I have to apologize again for not being able to cover this, and I hope Andy will retweet the match – because it’s certain to flow up either of our Twitter streams – and you’ll be able to catch it here on the bar on the right side.

Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 8

Naya – a loss and an injury

We start our coverage with the indefatigable Hattorizakura, who is covered in 4k, on the left, facing Shiryu on the right.

The big pink lettering informs us that Hattorizakura was subjected to a dame-oshi. Shiryu, what’s up with that? That’s like beating up a freaking baby.

In other Jonokuchi news (which I cannot backup with footage), Mishima, the last of Naruto beya at 3-0, won his bout, got his kachi-koshi, and is joining his three heya-mates in the race for the yusho. In a few hours, some of them may or may not be eliminated, as three of them have matches today. How long are we going to stay with four yusho contenders from the same heya?

Jonidan

Those of you who find Terunofuji to be too high-maintenance may consider, instead, following the off-brand Fujinoteru, who is guaranteed to be cheaper on the upkeep. Fujinoteru, from Onoe beya, is starting this bout with a 0-3 standing, facing Sekizukayama. The footage starts with the smaller Fujinoteru on the right.

That looked a bit like the actual brand model. It’s a bargain!

In a more serious bout today, we have the titanic Toma on the left, facing Sorakaze from Oguruma beya on the right. Both 3-0 coming into this match. The footage includes the following bout as well.

Toma wins by yorikiri, achieves kachi-koshi, and keeps himself in the Jonidan yusho race.

Next, the recovering Homarefuji, on the left, vs. Daiyusho of Oitekaze beya. They, too, are 3-0 and want to try for the yusho.

Homarefuji looks genkier than whe have seen him in a long time. Got his kachi-koshi, and may have to face that Toma at some point. On Day 9 he is matched with Mutsukaze, the real sumo Elvis.

Sandanme

It’s been a while since we have seen Daitenma, the Mongolian kid who is the spitting image of Star Trek’s Data. He and his opponent, Hodaka from Onoe beya, are 3-0 at the start of the day. Daitenma is on the right:

Lack of experience, I guess. Hodoka pulls an easy hikiotoshi to get a kachi-koshi, and Daitenma has a very disappointed face as he waves the yusho prospects good bye.

We have another recovering sekitori here – Amakaze – who suffered a loss in our previous coverage, for a standing of 2-1. He is on the left, facing Kotokino from Sadogatake beya on the right. (Footage is timed to the Amakaze bout, but if you like, you can watch Terasawa’s bout before it)

Amakaze bounces back well from his loss. Forward, forward, and yorikiri.

Makushita

Fans of Terunofuji – the original brand – will go nostalgic at today’s footage. The former Ozeki attacks from the left, and Ichiki from Tamanoi beya is on the right.

Ichiki dangles like so much bait, but really, I would like one of the Isegahama elders to have a talk with Terunofuji about allowing morozashi so easily. These guys are not Yokozuna, who have their way with you willy-nilly. You should be able to stop a small fish like Ichiki from invading both your armpits.

So Terunofuji is now 3-1, and will face Keitenkai on Day 9. The guy who beat him, Onojo, had his Day 8 action facing the Futagoyama wolf, Roga. Both 2-1 into this match. Onojo on the left, Roga on the right.

Roga does not repeat the mistake of the former Ozeki. Now he, too is 3-1.

A bit further up the chart, Masutoo, Chiganoura’s Hungarian, faces Tsurubayashi from Kise beya. Both lossless before the bout. Masutoo on the left:

Alas, Masutoo suffers his first loss, going weirdly soft at the edge. Tsurubayashi is kachi-koshi and in the Makushita yusho race.

Further up, and we meet the middle brother of House Onami, Wakamotoharu. He and his rival, Tsukahara, are both 2-1. The footage starts in mid-bout, with Tsukahara having his back to us.

So Wakamotoharu is now 3-1 and having a rather good basho.

Finally, we come to the match at the top of the Makushita chart, Chiyootori, former sekitori and Chiyomaru’s “little” brother, faces Prince Naya, the grandson of Yokozuna Taiho. Neither of them is having a great basho, with 1-2 to show for it. Chiyootori is on the left, Naya on the right:

Um. Not only does Naya lose – again – he also seems to hurt his knee. He was still limping as he was going down the shitaku-beya. Let’s hope it clears quickly, as Naya has a bout against Churanoumi on Day 9.

The winner, Chiyootori, will be on the dohyo with Hoshoryu on Day 9. So you may expect him to appear on the next installment of this coverage.

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?