Day 2 was a non-stop feast of some bright young stars of sumo. We got to see Ura blast someone off the dohyo, we saw Hoshoryu struggle, and we saw Akua stuff Chiyonoo into dumpster. Onward to day 3, it’s another great night of lower division action, with may of the rikishi we are tracking back on the dohyo for more battles.
Wakamotoharu vs Takanofuji – All three Waka* brothers will fight on day 3, with Wakamotoharu just withing reach of joining his brother as a Sekitori. Takanofuji’s only trip to Juryo was interrupted with an injury that pushed him back down the pile. He’s hungry.
Akua vs Seiro – It’s steak, and lobster with both Akua and Wakamotoharu in action. It will be worth staying up just to see this match. Seiro is a former lower Maegashira, a Mongolian from Shikoroyama heya. He dropped out of Juryo in September following an injury, and like most of the “Wall” crew, he is ready to tear his opponent’s head off to return to Sekitori status.
Ura vs Chiyosakae – Ura submarined and ejected Takakento like a JMSDF torpedo, and on day 3 he draws Chiyosakae, a Makushita veteran from Kokonoe heya. He has been ranked as high as MS7 last year, but has been struggling to produce much above a 4 win kachi-koshi.
Wakatakamoto vs Hokutokawa – Another Waka* brother on the dohyo! this time he faces off against Hakkaku heya’s Hokutokawa. Hokutokawa as been unable to rank above mid-Makushita, and will provide a fairly solid opponent.
Naya vs Dairaido – Former Juryo Sekitori Dairaido will be quite a test for young Naya. This opponent will be no easy push over, in spite of the fact that he sufferd a significant injury in 2016 that saw him drop back down to Jonidan.
Shoji vs Okinoiwa – Okinoiwa is a mid-Sandanme mainstay, and I will be interested to see of Shoji can bounce back from his first match loss.
Torakio vs Kotonoumi – Torakio takes on a young rikishi from Sadogatake heya, who has never ranked above Sandandme.
Wakaichiro vs Miyakogawa – Wakaichiro looked strong and confident in his day 1 win, and we are all hoping that he has overcome the mechanical injuries he had been nursing at Kyushu. Day 3 he’s against Miyakogawa, from Isenoumi heya. Another newcommer, Miyakogawa has yet to break out of Jonidan, and had a fairly rough time of it in Kyushu.
Although the yusho question has already been resolved below Juryo (save the Jonidan playoff), many wrestlers still fight for bigger promotions, smaller demotions, or for their kachi-koshi. The first example is from Sandanme. Prince Naya faces Takemasa. Both 4-2, so they are kachi-koshi, but they want to improve their banzuke position for Hatsu.
Naya gets a formidable-looking arm lock on Takemasa, but the smaller guy converts it to a shitatenage at the edge. Prince Debu keeps his minimal kachi-koshi. This should land him at the very bottom of Makushita in Hatsu.
The other half of the princely duo, Hoshoryu, faces Takakento (Chiganoura, former Takanohana) who had an excellent basho, only losing to the jun-yusho wrestler. So both are 5-1 as they enter this day. And both mean business.
Hoshoryu faces some fierce thrusts there as he tries to get inside for his favorite grip. He defends well, and decides that instead of a throw he’ll go for a sotogake. Yes, the press actually interviewed him and asked him about that. How many non-yusho Makushita wrestlers get interviewed after a bout?
Hoshoryu is 6-1. This should land him around Makushita 20-23 for Hatsu (I’m not a banzuke genius – I just look for precedents at SumoDB), which means he’s probably not going to make it to Juryo even with a yusho next time, and will be wearing a kesho-mawashi no earlier than Natsu. Another man who is going to land around the same rank is Ura, so there is some likelihood of those two meeting each other in Hatsu. Yum.
The next bout involves Shiba and Akua. Akua is a popular rikishi from Tatsunami beya (the same as Asashoryu and Meisei) who has been in Juryo for five seconds. Shiba has yet to break through the purgatory. They are 3-3 into this bout, so this is for kachi-koshi for one, make-koshi for the other.
Akua reveals his henka card in the second matta. Has to think of a different tactic. Goes for a straight on, gets a grip, loses it, runs forward and kind of folds Shiba out. Not the prettiest sumo, but he is kachi-koshi. No chance of Juryo promotion, though.
Churanoumi and Seiro have years of sekitori experience between them. OK, averages are a lie, of course. Churanoumi only has one basho as a sekitori, while Seiro has spent a long time in his kesho-mawashi, even doing three rounds in Makuuchi in his day. But his day seems to be behind him.
And so, he uses that vast experience to henka. OK, so he is injured. Maybe that’s why he kind of botches that henka and has to resort to plan B, which is land a yotsu ond Churanoumi and gaburi him out. Chug-chug, and the Mongolian wins. Churanoumi make-koshi, Seiro kachi-koshi, but again, this will not be enough for him to unpack his white practice mawashi. In this case, it’s better for him to stay at 7 bouts per tournament with that injury, though.
The schedulers bring in Tamaki from Makushita. Tamaki is 1-6 at this point, but he still manages to fiercely defeat the demoralized Gokushindo. I’m pretty sure Gokushindo just wants the nightmare to be over already. He just has tomorrow’s bout with Hidenoumi, and then it remains to be seen if he can rebound like Enho or remain in his black mawashi for a long while, like Akua.
Takekaze is trying to keep his make-koshi at a minimum, but all the tawara-dancingi is not working. It was a close call, though. Jokoryu staves off make-koshi for another day and may even be kachi-koshi, as he faces Ishiura – also 7-7 – tomorrow.
Tobizaru should never have allowed Kyokushuho to land that easy grip on him right off the tachiai. What was he thinking? The flying monkey flies again, and Kyokushuho keeps his losing score at a single digit for the time being.
Enho still not back to himself. Tsurugisho dispatches of him pretty quickly. Enho can be thankful that that devastating kimetaoshi he was given by Mitoryu only happened after he was kachi-koshi already. He’ll need to use the Jungyo to regroup and improve his tactics.
Chiyonoumi is still frustrated about his deepening make-koshi. He wanted to keep it at single-digits today, and went very aggressively after Akiseyama. Aggressively enough for some clear dame-oshi. That’s unlike you, Chiyonoumi. You are usually a gentleman. 🙁 Akiseyama is now make-koshi as well.
Ishiura gets a repeat of yesterday’s dive. He is 7-7 now and really needs that last bout tomorrow vs. Jokoryu. Tomokaze looks almost as if he didn’t notice there was another wrestler with him on the dohyo. That guy just got into Juryo?
Terutsuyoshi, as opposed to the other pixies in the division, bounces back from his losses and manages to secure his 10th win with an entertaining pull at Mitoryu’s arm followed by a press on his shoulder for a katasukashi. Terutsuyoshi is still in the yusho race, though it’s all up to Tomokaze at this point.
Shimanoumi gets Takagenji to the edge and applies a fearsome nodowa that seems about to break his neck, but the twin rallies and turns the tables on him. Amazingly, Takagenji succeeded in staying away from that 8th loss for three days in a row. We’ll see how he does against Mitoryu tomorrow.
Hidenoumi, who is in deep doo-doo, faces Chiyonoo, who is in even deeper doo-doo. Chiyonoo can’t seem to be able to produce any power this basho. Try as he may to stick at the tawara, Hidenoumi simply has a bit more muscle than he does. Chiyonoo is now 2-12, while Hidenoumi stays at a single-digit losing score.
Toyonoshima nearly falls prey to Kotoyuki’s powerful thrusts, when Kotoyuki finds himself slightly offside following a failed nodowa. As Toyonoshima spots this, he pounces and helps him along. Kotoyuki and Toyonoshima are both 10-4 and in the yusho race.
Tokushoryu tries tsuki-oshi, Azumaryu tries to land a grip. Neither is very successful, and the bout ends up with Azumaryu pulling back and Tokushoryu flat on his face. Azumaryu kachi-koshi, Tokushoryu make-koshi.
Aminishiki seems to be losing his dohyo sense. This bout was between Wakatakakage trying to push or get inside, and Aminishiki circling and trying to push him down. And he made it – but he was already out himself. Wakatakakage is kachi-koshi, Aminishiki make-koshi, and will be getting further away from Makuuchi.
This time it’s Yago who is using the Yu-Yu Hakusho attack. He seems to be thrusting with the tips of his fingers, and Kyokutaisei circles but can’t really keep himself inside. Kyokutaisei may still secure his kachi-koshi tomorrow, though he is up against the formidable Toyonoshima. Yago will be meeting Hakuyozan in the final bout of the day and trying to get double digits for a Makuuchi position further from the bottom.
The Hakuyozan-Kotoeko bout seems to follow in the footsteps of the previous bout between Yago and Kyokutaisei. Kotoeko finds himself outside, and Hakuyozan is kachi-koshi.
So, Tomokaze, the newcomer, leads the race with 11-3, and is chased by Kotoyuki, Terutsuyoshi and Toyonoshima with 10-4 apiece. The key bouts for senshuraku are:
Kotoyuki is, of course, highly motivated to beat Tomokaze. If Tomokaze wins this bout (which is the latest of the three), the results in the others don’t mean anything. If he loses, however, he is tied with Kotoyuki, and possibly with Terutsuyoshi and/or Toyonoshima should they win theirs. So we may have a chance for a four-way playoff. I’m sure the NSK time keepers will be cheering for Tomokaze – but we will not, right?
Let’s proceed with the past two days, which were full of events in the lower divisions. You have already seen Ura and Wakaichiro. Here are some others.
Tsukahara has won the Jonokuchi and the Jonidan yusho when he started out in Hatsu 2018 (Mae-zumo in 2017). But he got a little stuck in his next two basho. He is going for the Sandanme Yusho this time. In this bout he faces Seigo from Shikoroyama beya:
He also had a bout on day 7, and is currently 4-0.
Now we turn to the princes. First, the Duke of Tatsunami, Hoshoryu. Here facing Sasakiyama. At this point both are 2-0. Note that the torikumi committee regularly matches people with the same record – this helps separate the wheat from the chaff quickly and efficiently.
Sasakiyama returned after a long kyujo and went 6-1 in Jonidan and 7-0 in Sandanme (Jun-Yusho, with Kagamio winning the yusho).
Sasakiyama is not happy. But at least that kotenage left him in one piece.
The next is the Prince of Otake, scion of Taiho (and Takatoriki). He is already 1-1 at this point, and faces Sakigake with the same score.
Bad mistake there, and he finds himself facing outwards, and is respectfully led out. Serious setback, two losses in a row for a man with so many hopes pinned on him. If he doesn’t get a kachi-koshi, it’s back to Sandanme, as he is at the very bottom of Makushita.
I am not going to go through the entire Juryo, but I want you to watch two special bouts. The first is a mixed bout. Toyonoshima in Makushita is scheduled for a Juryo match. So he gets to wear an oicho-mage and throw some salt, which he hasn’t done for a while. It’s a bit unusual to be scheduled for the fourth time in six days, but hey, if he wants to be a sekitori, he has to be able to wrestle every day, right?
He is matched with Jokoryu – a former Sekiwake against a former komusubi. One striving to return to sekitori status, one just now having achieved that.
Since Toyonoshima is at Makushita #1, if he wins this bout, he is kachi-koshi and virtually ensures his return to Juryo for Kyushu.
With both falling about the same time, there is, of course a monoii. And a torinaoshi. Toyonoshima is full of fire. The second time around ends in a hearty uwatenage. Toyonoshima returns to Juryo.
The next interesting day 6 bout is not quite as emotional, but still brilliant. Enho – who else – meets Tokushoryu.
Enho goes for the Hakuho slap-and-grab. The grab doesn’t quite work, but Enho is unfazed. He finds Tokushoryu’s mae-mitsu, and at the same time secures a hold on Tokushoryu’s mawashi knot. The kimarite is shitatenage. But if you look at the replays, you’ll see that enho actually throws him with both arms – he needs a lot of leverage on that hefty guy. With this, Enho is level again, 3-3. His game is much improved over his first Juryo visit.
Oh, and there was something very odd going on in the Day 6 Juryo dohyo-iri. Take a look:
Three wrestlers are missing from the dohyo-iri, and come running in just in time to delay Aminishiki, who looks rather outraged. Perhaps because one of the delinquents is his own ototo-deshi (member of the same heya who joined at a later date) – Terutsuyoshi, accompanied by Tsurugisho and Daishoho. I’m pretty sure Aminishiki had a little talk with Terutsuyoshi after that.
The gyoji-announcer, however, smoothly adds the names of the three late joiners without pause.
Interestingly, despite being late for the dohyo-iri, Terutsuyoshi’s tsukebito (Midorifuji, in the top picture) seems to have retained all of his teeth. I guess there are ways of dealing with one’s own tardiness without spilling the blood of one’s subordinates.
(Yeah, I am referring to the Bakayoshitoshi incident).
Anyway, here is the day 6 full Juryo digest for your pleasure:
How can we pass up a Hattorizakura bout? Here vs. Kogitora:
In the previous basho it seemed that Hattorizakura has made a step forward, and started working on his staying power. Alas, this basho none of that seems to have remained. His stablemaster promised him a new shikona should he make kachi-koshi. I guess he likes “Hattorizakura”.
Let’s look at another Jonokuchi bout for a change. Here is one of the new recruits for Naruto beya, Oju, vs. Toya. Oju’s first basho in Jonokuchi has been a disaster, but take a look at this bout:
Oju looks pretty drained after the bout, but still goes over to try and help his opponent up (which Toya refuses). So he is a nice guy. But besides that, it was a good bout, and he kept his stance lower than his opponent and used his opening. He is now 2-2.
Tsushida, who was the Jonokuchi yusho winner in Nagoya, suffered a setback on day 6. So probably no Jonidan yusho. But can he come back? Here he is faced with Sakabayashi. Again, the torikumi masters match wrestlers with the same score:
So maybe no yusho, but Tsushida is still going strong.
Now, on day 1 I said Satonofuji looked tired and spent, and speculated that he may retire soon. But in fact he is having a lovely basho. And, oh, feast your eyes on this bout vs. Chiyotaiko:
In my opinion, that tachiai should have been a matta. But it wasn’t called, and Satonofuji finds himself in an awkward position. But if you think that the 41-years-old Isegahama man just accidentally came up with a clever kimarite, think again. This Izori is his 15th. The man has 36 distinct kimarite under his belt.
I still follow Torakio, but the man is starting to have a really disastrous basho, despite not being seriously injured this time. Take a look at this match vs. Yokoe. Both 1-2 coming into this match:
A lot of effort, but the Musashigawa man manages to unbalance the Bulgarian and Torakio is 1-3, very close to a make-koshi, and it’s not nakabi, yet!
At the bottom, the struggling Naya meets Shosei. Both 1-2 coming into the match. Shosei is a veteran and Makushita regular.
Naya recovers from his two losses and is now 2-2.
Now here is a familiar face we haven’t seen in a while. Yet another one trying to make a return to sekitori status, Chiyootori. Here he faces Koba from Kise beya, both 2-1 coming into this match.
Despite that huge brace on his leg, Chiyootori seems full of genki. Bounce-bounce-bounce-bounce until the tachiai, and a yorikiri soon after. Chiyootori is now 3-1, and at Makushita 25, still has a way to go before he can start throwing salt again.
Finally, here is Sokokurai, who wants the yusho very badly, facing Gokushindo, who wants it quite as much (and there are other people in Makushita aiming for it):
This kind of bout is the reason why they invented tsuppari. Guys, stop circling around and tring to find an opening that doesn’t exist. Show some initiative. Sokokurai is very careful, tries not to expose himself in any way. This could go on forever, but Sokokurai makes the first mistake and loses his chance of a yusho.
Chiyonoumi is having a real hard time this basho. His tsuppari attack is effective at first, but still, Hakuyozan is bigger and not easily moved by mere thrusts, and it’s the Kokonoe man who finds himself outside.
Akua with his back to the wall. His bouts in the past few days are very fierce, even desparate. Tokushoryu is the winner and Akua is 2-5.
Mitoryu started the basho strong, but weakened a bit as the days passed. Azumaryu wants to find his way back up.
Jokoryu manages to turn Tobizaru around, but the monkey somehow gets back around and they both fall outside. There is a monoii, but the decision holds – Jokoryu “nokotteori” – he still has a leg inside.
Enho tries to get inside, doesn’t find a way, but Seiro – back from kyujo – can’t unbalance the little pixie. Eventually, Enho achieves a straight oshi-dashi. This is the first time he manages two consecutive wins in Juryo.
Gagamaru lifts Tsurugisho easily over the bales.
Takekaze slams into Shimanoumi, but that doesn’t seem to impress his opponent much. He is soon sent out.
Terutsuyoshi – half henka, gets inside Hidenoumi’s belly, and sends him out. 5-2 for the Isegahama pixie.
Wakatakakage suffers a serious weight disadvantage in his bout with Takagenji. That was one fierce oshidashi.
Kotoeko requires some time before he succeeds in forcing Chiyonoo out.
Nice battle between Yago and Daishoho, which goes back and forth between the two. Daishoho tries a hatakikomi, but is driven out before Yago finds himself on his knees.
Akiseyama once again switches mawashi color to stop his losing streak. Alas, this time it doesn’t work. Meisei somehow manages to keep in the black, while Akiseyama is 1-6.
Kyokushuho doesn’t leave any opening for Uncle Sumo’s wiles. Aminishiki flies to the fourth row before the fans finish their first “Aminishiki” shout. Two consecutive losses for the Isegahama veteran, and he is now 4-3.
Finally, once again, Arawashi grabs the mawashi and throws at the edge. Daiamami is down before Arawashi’s legs leave ground.
Juryo is crazy this basho. It seems the level is very very even. No one is 7-0. No one is even 6-1. And there are four men with 5-2:
If Terutsuyoshi, the pixie with the sodium fixation, who only secured his kachi-koshi in the previos basho in the last day, is in the Yusho arasoi in this one, then as far as Juryo is concerned, we are in a Wacky Aki.
You have already seen the video of Ura’s return and Wakaichiro’s match with the reigning Jonidan champion. So here are some other bouts from day 2.
Starting at Jonokuchi, we have our favorite non-winning rikishi, Hattorizakura, facing Fujikawa.
The result is all too predictable, but Hattorizakura fans noticed that he changed his tachiai. Or at least, his starting position.
So let’s put this one down to ring rust, and hope his next bout will show us Hattorizakura launching himself like crossbow bolt… no? No chance? None?
Another Jonokuchi bout I wanted to show you is Chiyotaiyo vs. Shiimori. It seems that there is no chanko left for the Jonokuchi wrestlers at Kokonoe beya, after Chiyotairyu, Chiyomaru and Chiyonoo have their shares. Chiyotaiyo is so famished his ribs show:
(Extra bout for your entertainment – Kyonosato vs. Tamura)
Well, Chiyotaiyo has a beautiful shiko. Some food and some experience and that kid will be sekitori.
At Jonidan, I wanted to show you Orora, though I must warn you, this is not really sumo. Technically it is, but this kind of performance is not the reason you signed in. Orora’s 292kg face Tokimaru.
The sandanme bouts of interest you have already seen. I wanted to bring you Shunba. Though he lost, he looked very feisty. But alas, I did not find a video of his bout (which I saw live on Abema).
The main course in Juryo was definitely Enho’s bout. Those of you who watched Kintamayama’s digest saw that already there. That bout was so impressive, Hakuho tweeted about it in the middle of a honbasho, also doing another thing he rarely does – mentioning the fact that Enho is his uchi-deshi (a rikishi who is scouted by a member of a heya and joins that heya. If the one who scouted him forms his own heya, the uchi-deshi normally go together with him to the new heya)
“My 3rd uchi-deshi, Enho, engaged in good sumo today 👍🏻.”
In the following Juryo digest, you can see this bout from the reverse angle. It’s worth watching from any angle.
The Azumaryu-Jokoryu bout counted as a yori-kiri, though Azumaryu ended being thrown on the floor. That’s because Jokoryu’s foot was already out when that happened.
Akua’s shimekomi may leave permanent burns on your retina, be careful. Also, I suspect he stole the idea from my profile pic. Too bad his originality does not extend to his sumo.
That Enho/Hakuyozan bout.
Following that, Tobizaru looks like a Jonidan rikishi in comparison…
Mitoryu seems to be back in the form he was before that injury he suffered in Haru. Once again, Chiyonoumi my man finds himself quickly off the dohyo. I hope he survives.
Yesterday Tsurugishu looked pretty bad vs. Terutsuyoshi. But this bout vs. Shimanoumi shows you that he is not a pushover, and Terutsuyoshi’s win was all Terutsuyoshi
Speaking of Terutsuyoshi, this time he faces Mongolian Seiro, who throws some vicious nodowa at him trying to get the relentless pixie off his mawashi. But Terutsuyoshi’s hand is like the mythical pit bull’s jaw – it is locked on Seiro’s mawashi, and there is no power in the world that will remove it. Eventually the Mongolian finds himself on the floor, and Terutsuyoshi checks to see how many bone fractures and tendon damage that maneuver has cost him.
Another lightweight force to be reckoned with is Wakatakakage – facing Takekaze. Wakatakakage said he remembers looking up to Takekaze as a young boy. But he is certainly not giving the old man any senior citizen discounts here. He catches to Takekaze’s arm and drives him out.
Takagenji applies a stormy tsuppari to Daiamami’s upper body. Daiamami uses his overcommitment and lets him drop. The gunbai goes Daiamami’s direction, but a monoii reverses the decision. Daiamami was out first, and Takagenji earns his shonichi.
Meisei faces Arawashi. This digest is not showing the full preparation. If you ever run into a full bout by meisei, take a look at his impressive shikiri and shiko. However, Arawashi is a Makuuchi-level wrestler. Meisei does manage to push him backwards a bit at the tachiai, but Arawashi works to get a grip, and as soon as he gets one, performs one of the signature Mongolian throws.
Aminishiki, who will be 40 in less than a month, faces Yago. Yes, the Yago you are all supposed to be able to recognize already. Yago is a heavy rikishi, and a solid one. Aminishiki’s body is basically held together by a prayer. But still, after a brief attempt at a Hatakikomi (which he later said was a mistake), Aminishiki moves forward and marches Yago out. Pretty good stuff.
The crowd favorites of the day – Enho, Aminishiki, Wakatakakage.
Today was an interesting day in the lower divisions. Here are some stories (guided, I admit, mostly by what can be found by the way of videos, which is not much this basho):
First and foremost, it was Hattorizakura’s birthday today. He is now officially an adult by Japanese law. And he engaged in today’s bout like an adult:
This is the true meaning of gambarization. Too bad it didn’t work out. The rival, Houn, BTW, has only ever won against one person. Hattorizakura, of course.
Shunba, who is known to many of us as Terunofuji’s fatherly tsukebito, and who now serves as Takarafuji’s tsukebito, has lost some weight and seems to have gained some energy together with that. He is now kachi-koshi, and has a good chance of making it back to Sandanme next basho. Unfortunately, I found no shareable footage of this bout.
How are our three princes faring?
First, let’s look at Naya, Taiho’s grandson (and Takatoriki’s son, which is a fact the press likes to gloss over). Most of the bouts he engaged in looked one-sided, but today he met his high-school rival, Kototebakari.
Ah, apparently Naya stretches diligently. That didn’t look like a comfortable pose down at the edge of the dohyo. This loss probably denies him the Sandanme Yusho.
The second prince is, of course, Asashoryu’s nephew, Hoshoryu. He already dropped one bout on day 1. I’d say that was ring rust for sure, because he has been looking quite formidable since. Here he is against Tochikodai:
Kachi-koshi. The prince continues his ascent.
The third prince is the heir to the kingdom of Kotooshu, Torakio of Naruto beya. He has had a very strong basho so far – much better than his previous three. Unlike Naya and Hoshoryu, he still maintains the possibility for a yusho with this bout:
But wait, what was that at the end there? He seemed rather aggressive as he pulled his arm away Hokutoshu’s arm lock. Let’s look at this from a different angle (the following video has a glitch, but it’s time stamped to the replay of this bout which is fine):
Ahem. That’s not how a rikishi is supposed to behave. And his stable noticed.
Good day, everybody. Here are the results for day 9:
Torakio wins, 5-0
Kawamura wins, 3-2
Some allowance may be made for the fact that Torakio has little dohyo experience. And yet his behaviour at the end of today’s match lacked respect towards his rival. He shall be strictly disciplined.
“When you win, don’t gloat. When you lose, don’t sulk”. “Start with a bow, end with a bow”. Fundamentals first.
In addition, it seems that Torakio once again ends a bout with some level of injury. Let’s hope that he learns manners and keeps up the good sumo.
Tomisakae from Isegahama – known mostly for his agile backflips, his charming smile, and a shikona that stands out in a heya fulls of Terus and Fujis – has recorded five straight wins for the first time in his sumo careers. He seems to be bursting with genki:
If he does find himself with a surprising Makushita Yusho (which mathematically he is in the race for), he will find himself next basho in the Makushita purgatory – the zone separating heaven from hell. That will be a whole different story.
Enho is currently in that same purgatory, and his chances of making it back to sekitori heaven have improved with Murata dropping out of the basho after an injury. Of course, for this you have to have a kachi-koshi. And the schedulers were not merciful today, sending him to a Juryo bout against a rival 26 cm taller than him – Kizenryu, the purgatory yo-yo, who has spent no less than 9 basho in Juryo, but none consecutively.
Yo-yo or not, 26 cm, let alone the near 50kg weight difference, are something to be reckoned with. So let’s take a look at one of the best bouts of the day:
At first, Kizenryu denies Enho access to his mawashi. Enho takes a step back and then attacks again, this time finding his favorite mae-mitsu grip. Then he changes his grip to the back of Kizenryu’s mawashi. Kizenryu manages to get a grip on the pesky little mosquito’s mawashi. Enho tries a throw, realizes he doesn’t have the right hold, lets go of the mawashi with his right hand and grabs the leg. Within seconds – the end. Worth watching again from another angle:
This Ashitori got Enho first place in the kanto-seishin, the crowd favorite ranking, for the Juryo division – despite the fact that he is not in Juryo at all… yet!
Alas, my personal Jurya favorites have all been losing today:
Aminishiki is doing well for his age and condition, and managed to tie Taiho’s record of career wins (8th place, 872 wins) yesterday, but not to pass him today. Still has 5 days in which to get 2 wins for a kachi-koshi.
Terutsuyoshi was trying for straightforward sumo against Chiyonoo, but it didn’t work out for him:
Another favorite of mine is Chiyonoumi, the newcomer to the Juryo division. He is not doing badly for a beginner, with 5 wins in 9 days, but today he didn’t get one of them:
Takanoiwa seems to be heading for the Juryo Yusho. He has made his kachi-koshi already, at a record speed for himself as a sekitori. That is, this is the first time in his sekitori career he has only one loss in 9 days.
Good survival skills, there! Whether or not he wins the Yusho, we are almost certain to see him back in Makuuchi next basho (well, unless he happens to be in the same place as a Yokozuna and a Karaoke remote control again).
Akiseyama, the local Aichi boy, has been suffering greatly in this basho. He was down to seven straight losses, when he decided to go back to wearing his old purple Mawashi.