Here we are, approaching the last “act” of the basho. First, we’ll look at the closing day of the second “act”, and then we’ll switch over to day 11, to see some of the yusho developments.Continue reading
Sorry for letting life take me away from entertaining (or boring) you with bouts from the lower divisions. I’ll try to catch up over the weekend. And to do that, let’s start with a collection from days 4 and 5.Continue reading
Yay, Aki basho is finally here! Here are some of the bouts that took place in the lower divisions on day 1.
We can’t start a basho or start the day without the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, Hattorizakura, here attacking, ahem, from the right, while his tiny opponent, Chiyotsurugi, attacks from the left:
Wow, he actually resists for a long while for Hattorizakura. Chiyotsurugi must be thinking “I was told it would be easier!”.
If you noticed in the background, a tall young man coming in and not exactly knowing what to do with himself and where to sit, that’s Senho, Hakuho’s latest recruit. And boy, is he green. He didn’t know when to mount the dohyo, and Kaio, er, Asakayama oyakata, had to explain it to him.
His bout is up next. Here we see him on the left side, and his tiny opponent, Urutora from Shikihide beya, is not exactly the cream of Jonokuchi. But…
Urutora wins by ashitori. The first “Ho” of the day suffers the same fate as the last “Ho” of the day.
Hakkaku’s prince charming, Kitanowaka (left), faces Shimomura, from Sakaigawa beya.
Round and round and round he goes, where he lands, nobody knows. Uwatenage, Kitanowaka (“The youngster of the North”) wins.
We have several bouts from Sandanme. First and foremost, Wakaichiro, here on the left, facing Fujitaisei from Fujishima beya:
Wakaichiro barely stops to blink.
Next we have some former sekitori who are looking for their way back up. First, Homarefuji, who was one of the proud lineup at Isegahama back in the day, starting from the left, facing Kasugakuni from Nakagawa beya.
Kasugakuni is out of his league against the veteran.
Then we have Amakaze, from Oguruma beya. For once, he is facing a rival bigger than he is, Dewanojo, whom we met during Jungyo as Mitakeumi’s tsukebito. He is about the same weight as Ichinojo. Amakaze on the left, Dewanojo on the right.
He may be Ichinojo-sized, but he is not Ichinojo-skilled. Amakaze deals with the giant without problem.
We start relatively low, with a face we haven’t seen on the dohyo in a long time: Chiyonokuni! On the left we have Ayanoumi from Yamahibiki beya.
Chiyonokuni’s mobility may not be Makuuchi-level, but it certainly suffices for Ayanoumi, who gets hatakikomied.
Shiraishi from Tamanoi beya, a strong man whom I didn’t quite like last basho, because he was doing too many henkas and really had an annoying match with Terunofuji, faces Okinofuji from Hakkaku beya (right):
This is more what I expect from an up-and-comer. That was proper windmill tsuppari.
Further up the Makushita chart, blue-blooded Naya, on the left, faces experienced Toyohibiki:
…and once again fails to deliver on all the hype that has been heaped upon him. Toyohibiki wins by tsukiotoshi.
Midorifuji (left) and Kototebakari (right) are right at the doorstep to heaven.
Kototebakari is a man on a mission. Isegahama’s deputy pixie can’t really do much here.
Finally, the last bout of Makushita, and who is this in a black cotton mawashi and a modest chon-mage? Oh dear, it’s Arawashi. How many of you failed to notice that Arawashi fell out of the salaried ranks? Here on the right, he faces Akua/Aqua from Tatsunami beya.
Whoa. This bout had a monoii, but it went gunbai-dori. That is, the decision was held, and it’s Akua’s win.
Makushita rikishi Wakamotoharu had a bout in Juryo today, and got to wear an oicho-mage again briefly. He is on the left, with fresh Juryo promotee Kaisho on the right:
Wakamotoharu is determined not to miss out on the opportunity to return to Juryo his rank gives him. He wins by yoritaoshi.
In a bout between two single-kanji, four-syllabled rikishi, Irodori, who is on his second stint in Juryo, on the left, faces Ikioi, who is trying to stay in Juryo:
This is the genkiest I have seen Ikioi in a while. He wins by tsukidashi.
Many of our “Ones to Watch” were competing day 10 in Osaka, with Hoshoryu picking up his second win, improving to 2-3 in a lengthy match that saw both rikishi struggle for a dominant position. Although it seems to me that Hoshoryu is getting frustrated by the fierce competition in the Makushita joi, the struggle will improve his sumo. It also gives Naya a chance to catch up, as Otake heya yusho hopeful goes into his day 11 yusho elimination match. We are also happy to point out that Wakaichiro managed to pick up his third win with a recovery at the tawara after his balance almost sent him over the edge.
We also have Terunofuji returning to continue his Jonidan yusho bid, and Amakaze competing as well. It’s a full slate for day 11, so grab something to snack on, fire up the stream from Japan and enjoy the lower divisions.
Day 11 Matches
Midorifuji vs Tochinobori – Midorifuji will be looking to pick up win #3, and draw even prior to his final match for Haru. A loss today would mean make-koshi, and a trip down the banzuke for May. His opponent today is Kasugano heya’s Tochinobori, who won their only prior match.
Wakatakamoto vs Kaito – Wakatakamoto has already locked in his kachi-koshi, and now he’s just seeing if he can run up the score. He has two brothers to join in the salaried ranks, and it seems to have motivated him. Day 11 he faces Kaito, who he has a 2-1 career lead against.
Musashikuni vs Horyuyama – Musashikuni is looking to avoid a second straight make-koshi in 2019, and needs to “win out” his remaining 2 matches. Day 11 he faces off against 167 kg (370 pound) Horyuyama. Musashikuni is no tiny fellow, but this is a lot of rikishi to battle. But Horyuyama seems to be having health problems and has been make-koshi for the last 2 basho.
Naya vs Kotoseigo – Naya continues in the yusho bracket, now at 5-0. Day 11 he takes on Makushita 58 Kotoseigo, from Sadogatake heya. Kotoseigo has had 3 extended periods where he sat out multiple tournaments, presumably for health reasons. He is currently fighting at his highest rank.
Torakio vs Baraki – The Naruto heya scion has yet to pick up even a single win for Haru. Is he injured? With lower ranked rikishi, one never gets to know. But we hope he somehow finds a reserve of genki energy and lands at least one win.
Wakaichiro vs Kasugamine – Texas’ own Wakaichiro returns to the Haru dohyo, with kachi-koshi on the line. A win today against Kasugamine would be his 4th, and jubilation would break out across the great state of Texas. As with day 10, Wakaichiro will need to overcome a sizable opponent, who outweighs him by at least 100 lbs.
Roga vs Wakayamanaka – Jonidan yusho bracket match, Mongolian rising star Roga is looking to improve to 6-0, and knock Wakayamanaka out of the race. Wakayamanaka is a former Sandanme rikishi how dropped out of sumo for a time and re-entered, whereas Roga is a young powerhouse who has yet to lose a match.
Kenho vs Sakai – In the really disappointing bracket, the already make-koshi Kenho is clearly not functioning well, and has not generated much offensive or defensive sumo during Haru. Hopefully he can survive his last 2 matches without further injury, and can recover in time for May.
Terunofuji vs Shimomura – Another Jonidan yusho elimination match; former Ozeki Terunofuji is unbeaten in his first basho back in sumo since taking an extended leave of absence to get his health under control. Although not looking quite healthy or fit, he has been fighting well and as a result is in the thick of competition for the Jonidan yusho. His competitor today is 18 year old Shimomura, who is only in his 2nd tournament as an actual ranked rikishi.
Amakaze vs Sakaefuji – Amakaze has a good day of sumo ahead. He is already kachi-koshi in his return to active sumo, and he is safe from further demotion. So the schedulers give him the gargantuan Sakaefuji for his 6th match. Amakaze is a skilled sumo practitioner, but it’s always quite a difficult to battle a human being that large.
Hattorizakura vs Sawada – Having run out of people in Jonikuchi to lose to, they have brought Hattorizakura up to Jonidan to face off against Sawada, whom has beaten him once before. Hattorizakura is my reminder that there are many paths to happiness in this world, including many I don’t understand.