Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 13

Naruto oyakata, on duty today, with his 7-0 deshi Sakurai

We’re back on track! Today, although there were few “big names” on the torikumi list, there were many important matches. All the yusho deciders in Makushita or below were played today, resulting either in yusho winners, or in playoffs to take place on Senshuraku. We’ll go through these bouts, as well as some of our usual ones of interest.

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Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 5

Heavy bandage on the dislocated finger

We start the day again with maezumo. I only have one bout though, and that at low quality. Our friend Hokutenkai (right) vs. Omura (left):

This match looks so much like his match from the previous day that I had to check to make sure the rival is, indeed, Omura rather than Kotoomura. He is now 3-0, so he is out of the maezumo rounds and ensured of having a good placement in Jonokuchi next basho.

Jonokuchi

And speaking of Jonokuchi, the king of Jonokuchi, Hattorizakura, met a guy named Numano, from Musashigawa beya. Numano is a pretty new guy, who had a heavy make-koshi in his first ranked tournament. One of his only two wins was, of course, against one, Hattorizakura. Numano on the left, Hattorizakura on the right:

The sad fact of life about Hattorizakura is that he may show sparks of real sumo one day, and then go back to being the same old Hattorizakura the next. And this was one of these “same old Hattorizakura” bouts. Numano gets his first win of the tournament.

Jonidan

Slowly-recovering former sekitori Homarefuji had two wins already coming into this bout, where he faces Kiryu from Miyagino beya (I think he is one of Enho’s tsukebito, not sure). Homarefuji on the left, Kiryu on the right:

Homarefuji is actually a pusher-thruster, and a chest-to-chest match, not to mention an uwatenage, is not exactly his specialty. But of course, nobody at Isegahama will reach sekitorihood without knowing how to perform a nage.

We are continuing to watch the shorn Roman from Tatsunami beya. We have already seen him win twice, and it seems like the hairdo is actually lucky for him. On the left we have Hokutoizumi from Hakkaku beya. On the right, Crew-Cut Roman:

The crew-cut works its magic, and now Roman is 3-0.

Sandanme

Our friend Narutaki is on a roll, with 2-0 in his previous bouts (His brother Kyonosato, however, is not as lucky, being defeated again and again in Jonokuchi. I guess his legs can’t really carry him anymore). Here on the left, he is engaging with Sadanosato from Sakaigawa beya.

This proves to be a difficult bout for Narutaki, despite his energy, and he starts to pull some point. It looks almost as if his rival had the best of him at the end, but of course, Sadanosato goes out first, and it’s Narutaki’s third win.

Next up, we have Shoji, the Musashigawa man, here on the left, facing Kaonishiki from Azumazeki on the right:

Shoji can’t get that first attack properly finished, and finds himself on the defense, and suffering his first loss.

So, how about Amakaze? Can he get the Sandanme yusho? On the left is Terasawa from Takasago beya, on the right, our friend from Oguruma beya.

Terasawa moves quickly and doesn’t let the bigger rikishi get any kind of real advantage, and then comes that little push at the end, and Amakaze’s yusho dream evaporates.

Makushita

Yesterday, we saw Onojo beat former Ozeki Terunofuji. Today, the same Onojo (left) faces the rising star, Shiraishi (right):

I’m starting to really dislike Shiraishi’s opening sidestep. It’s not exactly a henka, as he then immediately engages, but I suspect if he was faced with anybody with real experience he would have been punished with a serious hikiotoshi. Nevertheless, once he engages, he has some serious tools like that nodowa. Onojo not even close to winning this time.

And speaking of the former kaiju, Terunofuji (left) faced Karatsuumi (right). If the name is familiar to some of you, it’s because he won the Sandanme yusho in Haru, which bumped him to Makushita. Oddly, he lost 0-7 in Natsu, and is now back to Sandanme, and in this bout he is visiting Makushita.

Terunofuji wins this one, mostly by applying his bulk rather than his grip. He was aiming to get one with his right hand, but didn’t quite make it. The picture at the top shows him having a grip with his left, but I doubt he could put much power into it, because of that dislocated ring finger which “still doesn’t feel right”.

From one Isegahama man, we move to another, and we have Kaito from Asakayama on the left facing Midorifuji on the right. What kind of sumo does the new Isegahama pixie do have to offer us today?

His style really reminds me of Terutsuyoshi, though his mass is not quite there yet. Sukuinage, and Midorifuji is now 3-0.

Next on our list is Kototebakari, here on the left, facing Nogami, the Oguruma man. Both are 2-0 before the bout.

Kototebakari’s sumo is very efficient. He doesn’t waste energy. Tachiai, side step, send home.

And now, to the highlight match of the day, and frankly, one of Hoshoryu’s best performances. He is facing Churanoumi, again, a guy with sekitori experience, but not as much as Seiro. Churanoumi is on the left, Hoshoryu on the right:

Round and round, Hoshoryu manages to keep his balance in some dangerous situations, and tries kicks and trips, eventually winning this by kotenage. Lovely match.

Today, Hoshoryu has a Juryo visit, which means he will be wearing an official Oicho-mage for the first time. He already wore one in Jungyo, but he only did Juryo there as he was the “local boy”. This time he is a legitimate Makushita joi-jin. And his opponent of the day is none other than Kizakiumi, Churanoumi’s brother!

Juryo

I’m not bringing many Juryo bouts because frankly, there is much to be depressed about there, with favorites like Sokokurai and Ikioi faring rather badly, and others doing sumo that’s less than brilliant. But still, here is Ishiura vs. Chiyoshoma. And no, it’s not a double henka:

Ishiura tries what looks like a tasukizori, but Chiyoshoma isn’t biting.

Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 4

Not-quite-kaiju

Usually, Nagoya basho is a hot and slippery mess. But this one is full of lovely sumo and good fights. But first, let’s take a look at today’s maezumo, to follow up on the newcomers, before continuing with the ranked matches.

In the following video, we have:

  • Kotoomura (veteran) – Hokutenkai (new)
  • Omura (veteran) – Konno (new)
  • Urutora (veteran) – Bariki (veteran)
  • Hisasue (new) – Kochikara (veteran, sort of)
  • Kotoomura (again) – Senho (new)

Kotoomura got a fundamental yori-kiri from Hokutenkai. That man is not taking any prisoners. While Konno from Naruto and Hisasue from Kokonoe will have no good news to report to their oyakata, Hakuho’s Senho, despite looking as green as a fresh leaf, shows that he has some signs of sumo in him, not just henka. He can’t do a tachiai properly, but he is 2-0 in maezumo.

Jonidan

From Senho we move to Hakuho’s next youngest uchi-deshi, Toma, who is not quite as gangly as Senho (but on the other hand, he doesn’t have a cool shikona). Toma here attacks from the left, and Asanoshima from Takasago, from the right:

Toma is 2-0, keeping himself in the race for the Jonidan yusho. But the main contender for that is our next contestant, the dreamy Kitanowaka. Here he is on the right, with Chiyooga from Kokonoe beya on the left:

This one proved to be quite a challenge for Prince Charming, as Chiyooga is quite a sticky wrestler. But the Hakkaku man prevails.

Sandanme

So here is our friend Narutaki – the friendly guy from Isenoumi beya, who is rumored to be a good English speaker, by the way – on the left, vs. Izumigawa of Minezaki beya on the right.

Narutaki leaves the “nice” off the dohyo, and goes straight at Izumigawa. He is now 2-0.

Then there is Shoji, from Musashigawa beya. Here on the left, with Tsugaruumi from Tamanoi beya on the right.

The smaller guy does not pose much of a problem for Shoji. Oshidashi.

Makushita

We open Makushita with Shiraishi who, if you recall, is Natsu’s Sandanme yusho winner and a generally strong guy. But I’m not really happy with his sumo today (right, facing Keitenkai on the left):

He starts with a failed henka attempt, and then after engaging he does some backwards sumo. Ummm.

The highlight match of the lower Makushita was slated to be Terunofuji vs. Onojo (Takadagawa beya). Onojo is a regular Sandanme wrestler, with a few peeks into Makushita. Shouldn’t be a problem for a former Ozeki. But don’t place your bets yet:

Terunofuji allows Onojo to morozashi him. Morozashi – having both arms inside. The morozashi itself is danger. Having a morozashi with a firm grip on your opponent’s mawashi is usually a winning position. There are a couple of ways to get out of it – a double outside grip on the mawashi, which we have seen Tochinoshin perform in the past – gives good leverage for a lift. A double kime, which is what Terunofuji is attempting here, may be able to choke your opponent’s grip – if this was Nishikigi – or a lift, if you are the original Terunofuji who had knees.

But this Terunofuji doesn’t have them. And while he attempts his power sumo again and again, eventually the stubborn Onojo, who doesn’t let go of that mawashi grip throughout the dance, prevails. Terunofuji will not have the Makushita yusho this tournament.

Following the bout, he told the press the reason why the bout went the way it went. “I was planning to grab his mawashi, but my finger got loose”.

Finger? So as it turns out, the former Ozeki was practicing with Shodai. Yes, a Makuuchi guy and a favorite practice toy for Yokozuna and the like. And while he did this, he managed to damage his finger. Thank you, Shodai. We appreciate your vast contribution to Sumo. 🙄

So now we have a kaiju with no knees and no grip. Lovely.

We move on to Kototebakari, here on the left, facing Nishikifuji, one of Isegahama’s sekitori hopefuls, on the right:

Kototebakari is not here to cater to the hopes of anybody but himself.

This post is getting too depressing on the Isegahama front (Tomisakae also lost his bout. So let’s hope Midorifuji (right) can do something against Asabenkei, the Takasago guy who has sekitori experience, on the left:

Yes! Thank you, pixie. You made an Isegahama fan happy.

Middle Onami brother, Wakamotoharu, is facing Akua. Both former sekitori and wanting to get back there as fast as possible, thank you very much. Akua on the left, Wakamotoharu on the right:

Alas, the man from Fukushima fails, and only little brother Wakatakakage is left to save the family pride today.

Finally, Fujiazuma from Tamanoi beya is facing Prince Naya. Naya was rather devastated by yesterday’s matta-that-wasn’t-a-matta. He seems totally out of confidence, and of course causes a matta, which causes him to really lose his bearings. Let’s see how it goes from there (Fujiazuma left, Naya right):

The oshi specialist Naya gets himself entangled in a sloppy yotsu match. But somehow, he manages to survive and throw Fujiazuma with a sukuinage, to even his score. 1-1. Get a hold of yourself, kid.

Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 2

If eyes could kill…

Day two, and we had a lot of big names in the lower divisions. Let’s work our way from the bottom.

Jonokuchi

We would be remiss, of course, if we didn’t share Hattorizakura’s first bout with you. In 4k. Yes. Aliens researching Earth culture 1000 years from now will find footage of Hattorizakura matches in 4k.

Our lad is on the East, right, facing Kotoyamato from Sadogatake beya on the left.

The yobidashi is… fitting. But why would Kotoyamato be using such a fierce nodowa against Hattorizakura?

Jonidan

The following bout is interesting, not so much because of its sumo content, but because of Roman’s hairdo. Roman is a young rikishi, recruited in May 2018, who suffered injury in Haru 2019, and was kyujo for the entire Natsu. He was then rumored to have retired, because he was seen with a crew cut, also, not in the same city as his heya.

Then, all of a sudden, here he is, back on the dohyo, taped massively like any rikishi coming back from kyujo. I would have written this all down as some silly Internet rumor. Only… the haircut part seems to have been true. That’s not rikishi hairdo. There have been some strange goings-on at Tatsunami beya – Hitenryu, who was supposed to have started working as a Wakamonogashira (was listed as such in Wikipedia) but hasn’t, their latest recruit, who resigned with a broken arm, and this strange thing with Roman’s hair.

Roman on the left faces Mogaminishiki from Kise beya on the right.

For someone just back from injury and who knows what else, he is pretty genki.

Sandanme

Our journey into Sandanme starts with Tachiai’s favorite, Wakaichiro, who faced Kotootomo from Sadogatake beya for his first match. Wakaichiro is on the East, right, and Kotootomo attacks from the left.

Very good deashi on Wakaichiro’s part, for a straight up oshidashi. It was Wakaichiro’s birthday yesterday. It’s good to start another year in one’s life on the right foot!

Next up I have Narutaki, one of my Jungyo favorites, not least because of his huge big brother Kyonosato. Narutaki himself is not so huge, and looks especially small in this match, in which he faces Hokutoo, the 196cm wrestler from Hakkaku beya. Narutaki attacks from the right, but I’m sure you can see that for yourselves.

Very convincing sumo! Hit-and-shift, then push for an oshidashi.

Next up is Daitenma. I couldn’t find any bouts of his last basho, so I’m excited to find one now. He is Azumazeki’s beya recently recruited Mongolian. This is only his fourth ranked basho, and he had solid 5-2 in each of his previous ones. He is also as thin and gangly as you’d expect a young Mongolian with a bright future to be… Here he is on the East (right), facing Nakao from Onoe beya.

It’s nice to see this kind of yotsu battle in Sandanme. If he manages to put on some serious weight, the 187cm Mongolian will get far.

We reach the top of the Sandanme division with the representative of the USA, Musashikuni. He faces Asakishin from Takasago beya who is attacking from the left.

Ah… well. I’d like to see him start low and bend his knees.

Makushita

We’re up to the next division, and start straight off with the former Ozeki Terunofuj, facing Aoi from Shikoroyama beya. Although Aoi is about the same age as Terunofuji, he is just a Sandanme-Makushita regular. We are informed that in June, Terunofuji started practicing moshi-ai for the first time since his dropped. So we expect him to be less rusty than the previous two basho. Let’s take a look. Teru on the left, Aoi on the right.

The former Ozeki was aiming straight for that shoulder.

One thing to note is the yobidashi who calls Terunofuji’s name. That’s Yobidashi Teruya from his own heya. The two (together with Shunba) transferred from Magaki beya to Isegahama and are very close friends. Not sure Teruya ever expected to call his friend’s name on his shift.

Next up, we have Shiraishi, who won the Sandanme yusho after having landed straight in that division (Sandanme-tsukedashi). Shiraishi on the left faces Kotorikisen from Sadogatake on the right.

Shiraishi seems to continue just where he left off in Natsu. I wouldn’t be surprised if they match him with Terunofuji next.

Kyokusoten is one of my old favorites, though he is not one of the strongest rikishi around, especially not for a Mongolian. He’s just a nice guy, who is sought after as a tsukebito by other Mongolians. Currently he is serving under Kakuryu. Here he is facing Hokaho, from Miyagino beya. What was Miyagino oyakata thinking when he named him that? Anyway, Hokaho on the left, Kyokusoten on the right.

Hokaho seems to be the stronger of the two. Next time, Kyokusoten!

We continue on the theme of Mongolians in Makushita. Let’s take a look at Roga, Futagoyama’s star. He is facing Keitenkai from Onomatsu beya on the left.

Another Mongolian down. Roga is still lacking in experience.

Naya, the scion of Taiho, has been showing a lot of improvement lately and was expected to, maybe, surpass his rival, Hoshoryu, this time around. Here he faces a serious obstacle in the form of Akua from Tatsunami beya, who had a couple of stints in Juryo. But I think Naya wasn’t expecting the bout between them to develop as it eventually did. Akua on the left, Naya on the right:

Naya thought this was a matta. He looks at the shimpan, he looks at the gyoji, but to no avail. At least he is not standing at the base of the dohyo trying to monoii the decision. Hard life lesson: if the ref didn’t call it, it’s not a matta. No matter if your hand didn’t touch the ground.

But anyway, ouch.

The last bout in Makushita today was between Hoshoryu and Irodori. Again, there were many expectations of this bout. Irodori (right) has some sekitori experience. But Hoshoryu (left) is not letting that intimidate him. Quite the contrary. The bout starts with a long stare-down, and Irodori eventually gives in. Then there’s a matta, but Hoshoryu is unfazed.

When they get down to the bout itself, it’s all too easy. The psychological warfare was clearly favoring the young Mongolian.

Juryo

I’m not going to share the bout which may or may not have been Aminishiki’s last. Instead, let us concentrate on the newcomers to Juryo. Two of them who lost the previous day are facing each other today. Kotonowaka on the left vs. Kizakiumi on the right:

Kotonowaka The Second doesn’t seem to find his Juryo legs yet. It’s his second loss, to exactly those people he should beat to avoid the return to Makushita.

The third Juryo newcomer is Ichiyamamoto, and he actually seems to feel right at home in Juryo. Ichiyamamoto on the left faces Akiseyama on the right.

Wait a minute… why does this seem familiar? Hey, Ichiyamamoto, Abi called and asked for his Sumo back. Come to think of it, he really needs it back quickly.