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.

Continue reading

Nagoya Storyline #4: Juryo Promotions

There was a slew of Juryo promotions this tournament. All five of these wrestlers will find going full time to be a challenge, only Takanofuji has been in Juryo before (we’ll get to that). Are they up for it? Instead of 7 bouts spread over the fortnight, they’ll be battling every day.

Kotokamatani marked the occasion with a new shikona, Kotonowaka. As Herouth mentions below, it’s his father’s shikona. His father reached Sekiwake claiming seven special prizes and eight kinboshi over his career, including Nagoya 1996 with wins over Takanohana AND Akebono.

Matching that legacy requires steady progress, one tournament at a time. From J14W, there’s no room for makekoshi. Kotonowaka the younger began his career in 2016 with the Jonokuchi yusho. He progressed quickly from there, with no makekoshi records until makushita. He’s a balanced wrestler, capable of winning on the belt or with pushing/thrusting techniques though he favors the belt.

Kizakiumi’s amateur success granted him a head start when he decided on the heya life. He started at the bottom of sandanme last year. Like Takakeisho, he’s a strict oshi-battler, winning 80% of his bouts in oshidashi. He’s yet to win a single bout with yorikiri.

Ichiyamamoto debuted in March 2017, and like Kotonowaka, claimed the Jonokuchi yusho in his first tournament, rocketing into makushita by September. He’s an oshi pusher-thruster but has been able to win a few on the belt. I would say that he’d need to perfect that technique to have success beyond this level…but Takakeisho and Abi belie that thought.

Ryuko debuted in the same tournament as Ichiyamamoto. Ryuko failed to pick up the yusho because of his DAY ONE loss to Ichiyamamoto in a dramatic, evenly contested, two minute long endurance bout, shown below in the video from the Japan Sumo channel on YouTube.

Vengeance came, as Herouth covered it late last year, when Ryuko played the old, “I’ve got your leg” trick that Enho’s been playing on people lately. Thus far, only those two bouts in this rivalry but I have a feeling there will be many more, again from the Japan Sumo channel.

Lastly we’ve got Takanofuji, formerly known as Takayoshitoshi, Takagenji’s twin brother. He was briefly in Juryo in March of last year…before he beat his tsukebito. Herouth’s article describes the eventand another describes the punishment. Well, after shedding his old shikona and hopefully the entitled, violent attitude he won last tournament’s Makushita yusho. He’s a straight-forward yotsu grappler without – ironically – his brother’s ability to brawl.

Senshuraku bouts from the lower divisions

Tochikamiyama-Okinohama

The basho is over, and this is our ultimate Natsu 2019 lower division report. The lower division schedule is a little lighter on senshuraku, and we have fewer bouts today.

In Jonokuchi, we wish the giant from Miyagino beya, Toma, farewell and success in losing some weight by the Nagoya basho. Here is his final bout with Yabugasaki. Both are 4-2, Toma is attacking from the left.

Toma extends his balance to 5-2, and we will see him somewhere around Jonidan 60-70-ish in Nagoya.

In Jonidan, we move forward in time to watch the yusho playoff (which takes place at the end of Juryo matches). Tochikamiyama on the left is facing Okinohama on the right, and he is more than a little nervous.

The TV announcer expected a monoii, but apparently, Okinohama was flying while Tochikamiyama still had two feet inside the ring. Tochikamiyama bravely fights the smile that floats to his face, as he wins the yusho.

Next up, in Sandanme, we have Tamakongo (left) facing Kotoozutsu on the right. Or rather, this footage starts when Tamakongo has his bout to us. Tamakongo, if you recall, is Tamawashi’s lone heya-mate. The two are 5-1:

He is now 6-1, and all the rikishi in Kataonami beya have had a wonderfully large kachi-koshi this basho, it turns out.

The more serious Sandanme contest is between Shiraishi and Hokutokawa. Again we move forward in time, as this is a yusho decider. Shiraishi is set to become Tamanoi beya’s next star. Shiraishi attacks from the right:

Shiraishi is completely unfazed by the large crowd gathered for prime time. The Sandanme yusho is his, reminding us of one Oyanagi, who achievede the same in his first basho – nowadays called Yutakayama. Definitely one to watch for Nagoya as well.

Going up to Makushita, we can’t do without the back-flipping Tomisakae from Isegahama beya. He is matched with Takemasa, and both are 4-2. Tomisakae is coming from the left…

…and going straight to the right. Trust Tomisakae, though, to convert a Kotoyuki-style roll into a lithe cartwheel.

Well, maybe not exactly lithe.

Another bout in the 4-2 bracket that was relegated to senshuraku is our friend Kototebakari, facing Ryusei. In this case the video angle is such that Ryusei is with his back to us and Kototebakari attacking from the opposite direction.

Kototebakari was in a bit of danger there for a second, but manages an almost Hakuho-like stop and change of direction, for the win.

Finally, Here is a cynical, yucky bout at the bottom of Juryo. Seiro (right) is 7-7 and needs his kachi koshi to survive in Juryo. Ryuko is 5-1, but at Ms4e, with four kachi-koshi rikishi ranked above him, he needs that Juryo spot to be vacated and his own score to improve, to pass the “hell/heaven” line. This is how he does it:

Kesho mawashi are usually donated by fans. And I know only one man who is a real fan of the Henka. Andy, care to donate a kesho mawashi to Ryuko?

Lower divisions – Days 11 and 12

Hoshoryu avoided a make-koshi on his birthday

Today I’m trying to catch up on two days of lower division action. Let’s start with day 11, May 22.

Continue reading