Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 9

Yokozuna-level mind games, Hoshoryu

We start our coverage at the most predictable point of the torikumi – our friend Hattorizakura. Today he faced one of the lesser Narutos, Yamane with his back to us, who was 1-3. Hattorizakura himself was 0-4.

The result was about as unpredictable as a fusensho. Yamane improves to 2-3.

Jonidan

Our friend Homarefuji had a meeting with Sumo’s main Elvis figure – Mutsukaze, the man with the great mutton chops, but also a great singing voice. The footage starts mid-bout, with Homarefuji on the left holding on to Mutsukaze on the right.

Homarefuji again engages in a yotsu battle, and it seems also a stamina battle, as we can hear the huffing and puffing. The Isegahama man improves to 5-0, and remains in contention for the Jonidan yusho.

Sandanme

Wakaichiro mounted the dohyo to face Azumasho from Tamanoi beya. Both 2-2. Wakaichiro attacks from the left, Azumasho from the right.

It didn’t go well for the young Texan, who got caught in a hold he doesn’t know how to solve. Note how he picks up and re-arranges the shimpan’s sandals, which he probably disarranged in his fall, on his way back up on the dohyo. Ever a polite boy.

The shimpan, by the way, have two pairs of sandals with them. One pair is used for getting in and out of the arena, and one is used for mounting the dohyo in case of a monoii discussion.

Another match of interest today took place between Dairaido from Takadagawa beya, and Amakaze, yet another one of the recoverers we follow. Dairaido is an interesting fella, he is 39 years old, and has an experience of six basho in Juryo, back in 2006. 13 years after tasting the taste of heaven, he is still toiling in the lower divisions.

Here Amakaze is on the left, and Dairaido on the right:

For a 39 years old who is lighter and smaller than Amakaze, Dairaido is full of genki. Amakaze makes a grave mistake in the middle, and is late to get his bearings before Dairaido leads him out. Amakaze now 3-2. He will probably get his kachi-koshi, but his way back up to glory is going to be slow.

Makushita

Makushita is where it’s at this basho. We start at the bottom with the former Ozeki, Terunofuji, who wants to get his kachi-koshi today. He is on the right, while Keitenkai – that’s the guy who beat Roga on day 1 – attacks from the left.

The former Ozeki has a problem getting any mawashi grip with his left hand, due to the dislocated finger. In addition, Keitenkai gets inside low – trying something of a submarine attack, I’d assume. But that’s about it from him. He is out of his league, and Terunofuji executes a kotenage. Keitenkai ends up with a bonus: a face full of gift-wrapped Ozeki junk.

Terunofuji is kachi-koshi, 4-1, and will hope to end 6-1.

Next, all Onami brothers were in action today, and the first we run into is Wakatakamoto, the eldest brother. He is on the left, facing Sagatsukasa from the little-known Irumagawa beya, on the right. Both are 3-1.

Sagatsukasa is 37 years old. Yet another odd case of someone who had a sekitori career – a real one, 22 basho in Juryo including yusho, 6 in Makuuchi. And yet he chooses not to retire but to continue in the lower division for years.

But all that experience tells. Sagatsukasa tries all sorts of wiles, and the first bout ends in a monoii and a torinaoushi.

In the Torinaoshi, it seems Wakatakamoto is trying a henka. This gets Sagatsukasa a bit pissed off, I believe, and he sets a beautiful trip, for the “chongake” kimarite.

Next, our buddies Akua and Midorifuji set out to try and maintain their perfect records. Aqua is on the left, and Midorifuji on the right, in this footage from SumoSoul’s Twitter:

The Deputy Pixie doesn’t manage to get anything going, really, and gets a hatakikomi, and a send off away from the Makushita yusho. Akua improves to 5-0.

Naya, who hurt his foot yesterday, mounts the dohyo today with some serious taping on his ankle. on the left, facing Churanoumi on the right, both are 1-3 and have “no tomorrow” – the loser is make-koshi.

Naya executes what seems like his best sumo this basho, but ends it limping heavily. He evades the make-koshi for now, but Churanoumi is not going back to Juryo this time around.

Our next Onami brother, Wakamotoharu, faces Seiro, the Shikoroyama wolf. Both are 3-1, looking for their kachi-koshi. Seiro on the left, Wakamotoharu on the right.

Haru nearly finds himself outside, when he realizes Seiro is out of balance, and quickly reverses his fortunes. Kachi koshi for the middle Onami. Wakatakakage also lost today, by the way, so Wakamotoharu was the only happy Onami on the way home.

Finally, the highlight of the day, the bout between Chiyootori, yet another hugely experienced former sekitori, and 20 year old Hoshoryu. Though I’m sure it’s easy to tell apart Chiyomaru’s brother from the slim Hoshoryu, I’ll still mention that Chiyootori is on the left and Hoshoryu on the right.

I recommend that you do not skip directly to the tachiai in this footage, but take a look at the pre-game. Chiyootori is slapping his belly emitting a “whoosh” from his lips as he does. Hoshoryu, on the other hand, concentrate on staring so hard you think either his eyes or his lips might fall off. He is giving Chiyootori the full “Asashoryu Face” treatment. This continues well after the gyoji reverses his gunbai – something which Hakuho got reprimanded for only a few days ago.

But then, Hoshoryu is not (yet) a Yokozuna.

Hustle, hustle, uwatedashinage. Hoshoryu improves to 3-2. I’m not sure whether a 4-3 will be enough for him to advance – it depends on the number of men dropping from Juryo. He will need that number to be at least three, or either of the Ms1 rikishi to have a make-koshi – and currently only Aminishiki is certain to drop, and Seiro and Irodori are 3-2.

Of course, first he needs that fourth win.

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?

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.