Day 3 – Katasukashi Galore


Elephant Crosses Dohyo
What Yokozuna Incident?

So… let’s start with a couple of Juryo bouts. First, if there are any Ishiura fans out there, take a look:

Finally, Ishiura gets a win, against the hapless Homarefuji. He plants his head and keeps his feet in order, and manages to take the Isegahama man out. Of course, this black star is probably the last worry on Isegahama Oyakata’s mind this day. But they keep piling on.

Now take a look at Yutakayama vs. Tokushoryu:

A couple of days ago I said that there’s a level of difference between Yutakayama and Asanoyama. But as it turns out, the larger man is already in possession of three wins, while Asanoyama is not doing as well.

Up into Makuuchi we go, and Daiamami gets his first win today! Admittedly, Kyokushuho is just a Juryo rival, but any white star is a gold star at this point for the newcomer. It starts with a matta, but in the second round, Daiamami just cannons into Kyokushuho and gaburi’s him out. The fans enjoy his interview face:

Kotoyuki also grabbed his first win today, in a bit of a confused battle. Myogiryu throws Kotoyuki down, but falls a split second before the huge meatball. Air resistance?

Up we go to take a look at everybody’s favorite uncle. Whatever is happening around him in his heya, and the fact that he is going to do his dohyo-iri in his own kesho-mawashi from now on, do not seem to affect him. Nishikigi tried to do the smart thing – to press the kneeless man against the tawara. But Aminishiki just tiptoed aside like a ballerina, and handed Nishikigi the first Katasukashi of the day.

Aminishiki’s comment on the Isegahama website: “The heya has met with a serious situation, but the remaining rikishi must do their best. As the eldest I will strive to lead everybody forward”.

Takekaze seems to be headed to Juryo (if he doesn’t decide to retire). Okinoumi exchanges some thrusts with him until he gets a nice hold of his neck and ends it with a hatakikomi (if anybody can explain to me why this is not a tokkurinage… sigh).

The Asanoyama vs. Kagayaki bout was different than I expected. I’m used to seeing Kagayaki flailing wildly with his arms and his… additional appendages… This time he basically got his hands on Asanoyama’s body and managed to beat the Yotsu man at his own game.

Daiesho gets a first win today as well, when, after some attempts to slap and defend on Ikioi‘s side, he finally sidesteps and lets the big man hit the clay.

Endo decides to use thrusts vs. Shodai, and doesn’t make any use of his tachiai advantage. Shodai withstands the tsuppari attack, and manages to get a grip on Endo’s upper body. That’s the end for the recovering man in the golden mawashi, as Shodai has more than enough power to get him out even without a mawashi grip.

Not much can be said about the battle of the Marus. Again, Chiyomaru seems to have come to the dohyo without his usual genki. Daishomaru easily pushes him out.

Arawashi takes Tochinoshin to the bales and executes a beautiful sukui-nage. As Tochinoshin tries to resist the fall, Arawashi uses his right leg against Tochinoshin’s left and “helps” him complete the roll. Very nice!

Takarafuji earns his first win today vs. Chiyoshoma. It was Chiyoshoma’s initial initiative, but Takarafuji rallied, didn’t let Chiyoshoma get any grip on him for a throw (come on, Chiyoshoma, don’t try neck grips with Takarafuji, those are futile!) – and then throws the thrower in a nice uwatenage.

The second Katasukashi of the day came from Ichinojo. But this one was rather weird. Hokutofuji came at him low at the tachiai, and Ichinojo grabbed him under his arms, and then just let him drop. Not sure if slippiotoshi or sloppy tachiai on Hokutofuji’s part.

Chiyonokuni‘s match with Shohozan was less of a slapfest than I thought it would be, and ended pretty quickly with the Kokonoe man slapping his opponent down. All-important first win for Chiyonokuni.

Kotoshogiku nearly succeeds in his game plan today, and starts pumping his hips. However, Mitakeumi makes sure to be loose on one side, and concentrates his power on his grip on the pump-man’s arm for a well-executed sukuinage. Still bothered by his toe, but as long as he can execute throws like that, I’m sure the sekiwake is happy. Kotoshogiku is not getting the comeback he was hoping for, now 0-3.

Terunofuji‘s ghost continues to float over the dohyo without ever being able to latch its feet to it. Yet another loss for the former kaiju, this time against Yoshikaze who picks up his first win.

I wonder when Onosho is going to switch back to his fiery red mawashi. Rikishi are usually quick to blame their mawashi for their troubles, and the tadpole clearly suffers some bad lack, with his second slippiotoshi in a row against Takayasu. Unlike yesterday, when the Yokozuna really could take no credit for anything in the bout, Takayasu can be commended for managing to keep his footing first against a sidestep and then when pushed to the tawara. Excellent footwork from someone who tore a major leg muscle less than two months ago.

Goeido diversifies. In the two previous matches he hugged his opponent and swept him all the way to the other edge. Today he heard it was Katasukashi day, so he showed Tochiozan that he has waza as well as brute force.

If anybody hoped for another pedagogic bout between Hakuho and Takakeisho, this was not to be. Takakeisho exhibited welcome fearlessness in this bout, and even attempted to throw the dai-yokozuna. And if he had managed to do that I would really be worried that we’re seeing the decline of the One True King. But of course, Hakuho maintained his footing, got his other arm on Takakeisho and quickly swept him off the dohyo.

Finally, in the musubi of the day, Kisenosato manages to overwhelm Chiyotairyu in a way that he can feel happier about than yesterday’s silly bout vs. Onosho. He almost dances back to his position on the east to take his prize money.


Some more lower-ranks action:

Osunaarashi – Takagenji:

For followers of Shunba:

Win for Shunba of Isegahama Beya. #sumo #fukuoka #九州場所 #相撲 #kyushubasho #kyushu #福岡

A post shared by InsideSportJapan (@insidesportjapan) on

 

Hatsu Day 3 Preview


mitakeumi-kensho

Can Mitakeumi’s Kensho Loot Pile Grow?

Day two is in the record books and it’s clear that some of the rikishi are still struggling to clear the cobwebs and settling into their sumo.

  • Osunaarashi – He came in locked down and ready to win. After his brutal kyujo demotion in 2016, all the man has wanted was back in the top division. Clearly he is still hurt and in quite a bit of pain, but he is laying the doom on the Chiyo crowd.
  • Kaisei – After so many poor tournaments, it’s really good to see Kaisei actually winning again. Maybe he has dropped own the banzuke far enough that he is competitive. I think he may have gotten too much mass to effectively work.
  • Kisenosato – Kise is bored, let’s be honest. No one has put up much of a contest to the Great Pumpkin so far. It sometimes irks me that everyone wants to take a great Ozeki and cast him as a Yokozuna. Because his does Ozeki so very very well.
  • Mitakeumi – The kid is on fire right now. We may see a second week collapse, like we did for Okinoumi, but right now he is moving well. The fact that he shut down Harumafuji’s death spin impressed me quite a bit.
  • Hakuho – I would guess he is done with his recovery and back to what is the new Hakuho normal. Still amazing but not quite what he was. Everyone ages, and loses some physical strength in the process. He is still a joy to watch.

Notable Matches

Osunaarashi vs Chiyotairyu – Just how many Chiyos can one man take? Let’s see if it’s at least three! This would be Osunaarashi’s first win against this Chiyo, should be prevail.

Nishikigi vs Sokokurai – Both of these guys has a strong first two days, and both are looking good this basho. Looks like the first match between these two.

Kaisei vs Takanoiwa – Can the Brazilian make it 3 in a row, or will the resurgent Takanoiwa keep his own record clean? Kaisei has a distinct 3-1 advantage in wins between them.

Ishiura vs Chiyonokuni – Two small and strong rikishi go head to head. Ishiura is suffering the NHK curse – he went on NHK World for a highlight piece, and now he is failing hard. Chiyonokuni has bulked up quite a bit in the last 6 months, and is still re-working his sumo to handle the extra mass. Ishiura has lot both of their previous bouts.

Tamawashi vs Shodai – in a Sekiwake head to head, we see them both come in 1-1, each trying to survive sumo’s toughest rank. In their only prior match, Shodai lost.

Shohozan vs Harumafuji – Shohozan brought a masterful attack against Yokozuna Kakuryu on day 2, losing because he mis-timed the throw. Given Harmuafuji’s ankle problems, it maybe time for another Kinboshi. It’s a long shot, as Harumafuji leads their series 12-2

Hakuho vs Mitakeumi – Mitakeumi has a good start, with one Yokozuna and one Ozeki scalp already. Now he faces the most difficult foe in sumo. Clearly Hokuho has the advantage here, but I am keen to see if Mitakeumi can gamberize. Hakuho has won both their prior meetings

Juryo Star Osunaarashi Withdraws From Kyushu


osunaarashi-kyujo

In an unexpected move, star Egyptian sumotori Osunaarashi withdrew from the Kyushu tournament at the start of day 13, handing his opponent, Seiro, a fusen win, and likely the Juryo championship. At this moment, the team at Tachiai don’t have any news on why Osunaarashi withdrew, but we will bring you all the news we discover.

Osunaarashi had been a favorite to compete for the Juryo champion, and a hopeful to return to the Makuuchi top division in the January basho. Given his winning record (9-4), he will receive a nice promotion, but will likely remain in Juryo for at least one more tournament.

We wish Osunaarashi the best of luck, and hope to see him in action again soon.

Update 25 Nov, 17:00 GMT

Thanks to co-blogger Andy, there is some detail now on what caused Osunaarashi to withdraw.  Seems there has been an injury sustained to his right knee, and he has been ordered to rest for at least 28 days in hopes of repairing it.  As we have seen with Kotoshogiku and Terunofuji, damage to a rikishi’s undercarriage is serious business.  Knee injuries are difficult to treat, and difficult to heal.  So much of sumo depends on transferring power to earth via a rikishi’s legs, health of the knee join is essential.  We are all hoping Osunaarashi can recover strongly, and join the Hatsu basho in January.

Kyushu Day 4 Results


endo-3-ozeki

Goeido, Two Yokozuna Undefeated

A handful of Maegashira are having a fantastic basho, but by far the best overachiever has been Endo. Today he claimed his third Ozeki win, and did it decisively against a struggling Kotoshogiku. Ishiura continues to dominant in his makuuchi debut, with his strength and speed quite reminiscent of the late, great Chiyonofuji at times. Ishiura, if he can stay healthy, would seem to have a great future in sumo.

Goeido remains on track, but seems to have a soft road so far that ill-prepares him for what is likely to be a brutal week two, as all three Yokozuna seem to be performing well, though it seems that Harumafuji may have injured his ankle on day 1 in his loss to Tamawashi, where he was turned sideways and pushed into the crowd.

In Juryo, two notables, first off Osunaarashi remains undefeated at 4-0, and I am starting to dare hope that he has overcome his injuries enough to earn his place in Makuuchi again. Also we got to see Kotoeiko apply the Amiuchi kimarite, for fans this is a rare move that is akin to throwing a fishing net.

With day 4 in the books, we now have a shrinking set of undefeated rikishi. It’s too early the call them leaders, but they are definitely the ones to beat.

Undefeated

  • Kakuryu – I am going to say the Kakuryu we want is in Kyushu. He looks focused, patent and effective. Very happy to see him in form once more
  • Hakuho – He has yet to have to really put too much effort into any bout. Kaisei gave him a nice run, but it’s too early to tell if the boss is back to his pre-injury intensity.
  • Goeido – Two big challenges, Takayasu and Yoshikaze, slipped and fell. With apologies to the classics, this is an “unusual athletic coincidence”. With other other Ozeki looking weak, and the Yokozuna looking strong, If Goeido is going to take a serious run at the rope, he needs every rikishi to challenge him. Each and every day, or he won’t be ready for the final exam.
  • Sokokurai – He just keeps motoring ahead, very nice performance so far. I would expect his schedule to get tougher soon.

Notable Highlights

Sokokurai defeats Chiyotairyu – Quick and one sided, notable as it’s Sokokurai’s 4th consecutive win.

Hidenoumi defeats Toyohibiki – Hidenoumi finally gets a win!

Ishiura defeats Chiyootori – A win for Ishiura, he turned Chiyootori around and pushed him out from behind. For his debut basho, this guy is really cleaning up Makuuchi. I also think his schedule will get tougher soon. He has a lot to show us.

Hokutofuji defeats Ichinojo – It seems Ichinojo to have forgotten that he’s a massive sumo robot, and let Hokutofuji push him around. I begged him not to upgrade to iOS 10.

Arawashi defeats Ikioi – Ikioi finally loses his first match, and Arawashi looked good doing it. Worrisome that both men went into the cushions and were slow to get up.

Chiyoshoma defeats Takekaze – Takekaze on the receiving end of the Henka bouquet today, it’s still a waste of sumo.

Nishikigi defeats Sadanoumi – Nishikigi was in control from the start, establishing a solid left hand grip. He got Sandanoumi over the edge, but it was a sloppy match.

Takayasu defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi started strong and delivered a huge effort for a wounded man, but Takayasu has superhuman endurance and stamina. He simply lets people wear themselves out, then he rallies and overpowers them.

Endo defeats Kotoshogiku – Endo with his third Ozeki scalp, claimed by a quick pull down of Kotoshogiku, who is looking really iffy this basho.

Goeido defeats Mitakeumi – There was trouble getting the match started, but Goeido was in control the whole time. At the tachiai he took Mitakeumi high, and kept him off balance. Goeido needs tough matches to prepare for week 2 or his Yokozuna run will fail

Terunofuji defeats Shodai – The kadoban Ozeki breaks Shodai’s winning streak. Terunofuji showed some poise and strength today. Maybe there is still hope for him.

Hakuho defeats Tamawashi – Hakuho quickly flipped Tamawashi onto his face for an easy win. The Boss has not yet really had much of a fight this basho, and I am fine with warming him up a day at a time, but it’s time to challenge him (if they can).

Kakuryu defeats Kaisei – Kakuryu is definitely engaged and fighting well in Kyushu, Kaisei was no effort for him.

Harumafuji defeats Aoiyama – Harumafuji put Aoiyama in his patented “spin cycle” twice, and Aoiyama survived both times. That fact along is quite impressive given how many rikishi are defeated that way. Aoiyama then went for a throw and collapsed. Both me were slow to get up, with Harumafuji now having trouble with the right ankle that took a twist during his day 1 loss.

Osunaarashi – They May Have To Carry Him Out Soon


Osunaarashi (Juryo 1) remains steadfast in his conviction to compete, no matter what the cost to his body. Below we see his bout on day 10 against Azumaryu (Juryo 3). The Egyptian Osunaarashi is clearly massively hurt, with muscle injuries to his hips, knees and lord knows what else. But the man gets on the dohyo and gives it his all.

Notice at the end, Osunaarashi tries for a throw, but simply cannot execute due to the state of his damaged body.

If he ends up being carried out of the Kokugikan on a stretcher, will it finally be time to bring back Kōshō Seido? – recuperative / injury periods for rikishi, which were eliminated in the early 2000’s.

September Day 10 Preview


takayasu

So I said to Terunofuji, No really, pull my finger….

Time To Gamberize!

  • Leader (9-0): Goeido
  • Chasers (8-1): Harumafuji, Endo
  • Hunt Group (7-2): Kisenosato, Kotoshogiku, Takayasu, Okinoumi, Kotoyuki
  • 6 Bouts Remain

The scheduling elves in the Sumo Kyokai are now working to bring about a climatic conclusion to the fall tournament (also know as the Aki Basho). What this translates to is – time to sort the winners from the losers. Time to put people like Goeido into the mill and see if he can continue to win. For some rikishi who have been doing a lot of tough bouts in the early days, they may find their schedule eases up. For those who have been performing very well, they will be tested.

While I have no crystal ball, I would assume the idea is to get at least one loss on Goeido, which bring him to a tie with Harumafuji and possibly Endo. If there can be a means where there is a tie that includes Kisenosato and some others, they have a ratings bonanza. A battle on the final day to see if Kisenosato can claim the title of Yokozuna would be one of the most watched events in recent years.

But if they can get there, who can tell. Always in motion is the future (with apologies to Yoda)

Featured Day 10 Matches

Osunaarashi v Azumaryu – At the top end of Juryo, the big question is if Osunaarashi’s pelvis will explode before he can limp his way to kachi-koshi. My biggest wish is the man not further damage himself in some desperate bid to regain Makuuchi.

Ura v Toyohibiki – Ura is really struggling this tournament, he is 3-6, and unless he stages a mighty comeback, he will face demotion for November. But with several Maegashira benched with injuries, they need at least one Juryo to even out the ranks. Advantage Toyohibiki.

Gagamaru v Kyokushuho – Gagamaru is 1 under even, but it is not a given he will make kachi-koshi, and I am sure he does not want to return to Juryo. The problem for Gagamaru, Kyokushuho has been fighting well If he can figure out how to take down one of the largest men in Sumo, we shall see. Slight advantage to Planet Gagamaru.

Endo v Sadanoumi – Endo is going to be promoted for November, he has made his winning record (kachi-koshi), but it will be interesting to see if he keeps up the intensity. My guess is he will. Though Sadanoumi is higher ranked by a few pips, he is facing an Endo who is in good form.

Kagayaki v Kotoyuki – Advantage here for Kotoyuki, who has been pressing hard to win every match, even if he has to pull a henka.

Amakaze v Tamawashi – Amakaze does not have anything close to a winning record, and will likely return to Juryo for at least one tournament. Meanwhile, Tamawashi is doing quite well, so I would give the advantage to Tamawashi.

Ikioi v Mitakeumi – Ikioi not much above .500, so it’s a coin toss on wether he makes the cut, he is fighting ok for a pusher-shover, but he does not have the depth and range that Mitakeumi has been showing. Advantage Mitakeumi

Kaisei v Yoshikaze – Another from the Kokugikan scratch and dent bin, Yoshikaze’s face looks like a prize-fighter’s, and Kaisei has been on a huge losing streak, with the exception of day 9’s win. Slight advantage to Yoshikaze.

Shodai v Tochiozan – Two good rikishi with losing records. Slight advantage to Tochiozan.

Takayasu v Okinoumi – This could be a really good one. On day 9 Okinoumi looked a bit lost in his bout, but I expect him to return to form day 10. Takayasu is looking like a likely Ozeki candidate, so this one will be a match that has impact. I give an advantage to Takayasu, which is 2x if his girlfriend is in the audience again (she was in day 9).

Kisenosato v Kotoshogiku – Wow: The Dozer vs The Great Pumpkin! This will be a fun fun match. Can Kotoshogiku retire Kisenosato’s dreams? I think probably not, as long as Kisenosato is on his game and plays out his plan.

Goeido v Terunofuji – Terunofuji is looking like he is headed to Kadoban, so I think Goeido is going 10-0.

Harumafuji v Aoiyama – The Horse must not be distracted by the flopping man-boobs. Just show him the door.

bt-taka-0919-akimoto-ogp_0

Takayasu – you lucky devil…..