What? Ones to watch? I have slacked off on these posts because Herouth covers the action so very well in her daily video round up. It’s some fantastic stuff. At this point, our lower division competitors have had 5 matches, and more than a few of them have hit their 4 wins and are safely kachi-koshi. A few are event at 5-0, and are competing for their division yusho.
But today there are a few matches I wanted to talk about, so let’s get rolling.
Akua vs Tsurubayashi – Yusho elimination match, can Akua leap-frog quite a few higher ranked rikishi to snatch a return to Juryo? It’s a long shot, but if he is the eventual yusho winner, it’s not out of the question.
Hoshoryu vs Nogami – If Hoshoryu prevails, it would mark his 4th win, and quite possibly his debut in September in Juryo. I am looking forward to lksumo discussing the promotion / demotion prospects later this week. I know there is a lot of hype and a lot of buzz around Hoshoryu, and I worry it would be too soon for him to start battling against the “bigs” in Juryo.
Terunofuji vs Roga – This is it. The BIG it. We had hoped there would be a rematch, and it seems the schedulers are finally going to throw the red meat to the fans. These two last met during the Jonidan yusho playoff in Osaka, with Roga taking the playoff match. Since then they have been on an almost parallel track to their current posting at the bottom of Makushita. Both rikishi are greatly improved since that Jonidan meeting. I know every fan wants to see if Terunofuji’s weight loss and muscle tone changed the calculus between these two, or if Terunofuji’s knees are just too far gone for him to present a young hard-charging rikishi a challenge.
Shoji vs Asanojo – Winner takes home kachi-koshi. For Shoji it’s doubtful he can return to Makushita for September, but the top of Sandanme would be a fine mark to hit.
Wakaichiro vs Kotokume – After a strong start, Wakaichiro had a couple of matches he was winning go south, and then his 5th match was against a rather round fellow, who seemed to be immune to Wakaichiro’s thrusting attack. He comes into his day 11 match 2-3, and needing to win his last 2 for kachi-koshi. He has done this before, and we are sure he can do it now
Time for match #4 for our “Ones to Watch” team. For some of them, they mighty pick up kachi-koshi on Saturday, and there are still a few who remain in the hunt for their division yusho.
Akua vs Kototebakari – A 3-0 bracket match, Akua won their only prior match, which was in May of this year. Kototebakari, at 19 years old, has been moving rapidly up the banzuke, and is likely to be someone who will be a sekitori sooner rather than later. Winner is kachi-koshi.
Midorifuji vs Daishoryu – Another 3-0 bracket match, with kachi-koshi on the line. Daishoryu is a Makushtia mainstay who has been ranked as high as Ms9e, but has never quite seemed to have enough fight to break into the top 5 ranks of Makushtia. A kachi-koshi here would more or less ensure that outcome for September. Midorifuji won their only prior match.
Wakatakamoto vs Hokaho – This 2-1 bracket match features one of Hakuho’s stable mates in Hokaho. He has struggled to consistently rank in the Makushita top 10 ranks. Wakatakamoto won their single prior match.
Shoji vs Fujitaisei – Another 2-1 bracket match (Sandanme this time), Fujitaisei has never been ranked higher than Sandanme.
Wakaichiro vs Narumi – Wakaichiro brought in his second win on day 6, blasting Hamadayama from the dohyo. His opponent for day 7 was on an extended kyujo, and actually dropped off the banzuke and had to re-enter via Maezumo. Now fighting his way back up the banzuke, Narumi will be looking to best our favorite Texan sumotori in this 2-1 bracket match.
Kitanowaka vs Tokisakae – A 3-0 bracket match in Jonidan, Kitanowaka has beaten Tokisakae in Jonikuchi in May. This rematch will see one rikishi with his kachi-koshi.
We start the day again with maezumo. I only have one bout though, and that at low quality. Our friend Hokutenkai (right) vs. Omura (left):
This match looks so much like his match from the previous day that I had to check to make sure the rival is, indeed, Omura rather than Kotoomura. He is now 3-0, so he is out of the maezumo rounds and ensured of having a good placement in Jonokuchi next basho.
And speaking of Jonokuchi, the king of Jonokuchi, Hattorizakura, met a guy named Numano, from Musashigawa beya. Numano is a pretty new guy, who had a heavy make-koshi in his first ranked tournament. One of his only two wins was, of course, against one, Hattorizakura. Numano on the left, Hattorizakura on the right:
The sad fact of life about Hattorizakura is that he may show sparks of real sumo one day, and then go back to being the same old Hattorizakura the next. And this was one of these “same old Hattorizakura” bouts. Numano gets his first win of the tournament.
Slowly-recovering former sekitori Homarefuji had two wins already coming into this bout, where he faces Kiryu from Miyagino beya (I think he is one of Enho’s tsukebito, not sure). Homarefuji on the left, Kiryu on the right:
Homarefuji is actually a pusher-thruster, and a chest-to-chest match, not to mention an uwatenage, is not exactly his specialty. But of course, nobody at Isegahama will reach sekitorihood without knowing how to perform a nage.
We are continuing to watch the shorn Roman from Tatsunami beya. We have already seen him win twice, and it seems like the hairdo is actually lucky for him. On the left we have Hokutoizumi from Hakkaku beya. On the right, Crew-Cut Roman:
The crew-cut works its magic, and now Roman is 3-0.
Our friend Narutaki is on a roll, with 2-0 in his previous bouts (His brother Kyonosato, however, is not as lucky, being defeated again and again in Jonokuchi. I guess his legs can’t really carry him anymore). Here on the left, he is engaging with Sadanosato from Sakaigawa beya.
This proves to be a difficult bout for Narutaki, despite his energy, and he starts to pull some point. It looks almost as if his rival had the best of him at the end, but of course, Sadanosato goes out first, and it’s Narutaki’s third win.
Next up, we have Shoji, the Musashigawa man, here on the left, facing Kaonishiki from Azumazeki on the right:
Shoji can’t get that first attack properly finished, and finds himself on the defense, and suffering his first loss.
So, how about Amakaze? Can he get the Sandanme yusho? On the left is Terasawa from Takasago beya, on the right, our friend from Oguruma beya.
Terasawa moves quickly and doesn’t let the bigger rikishi get any kind of real advantage, and then comes that little push at the end, and Amakaze’s yusho dream evaporates.
Yesterday, we saw Onojo beat former Ozeki Terunofuji. Today, the same Onojo (left) faces the rising star, Shiraishi (right):
I’m starting to really dislike Shiraishi’s opening sidestep. It’s not exactly a henka, as he then immediately engages, but I suspect if he was faced with anybody with real experience he would have been punished with a serious hikiotoshi. Nevertheless, once he engages, he has some serious tools like that nodowa. Onojo not even close to winning this time.
And speaking of the former kaiju, Terunofuji (left) faced Karatsuumi (right). If the name is familiar to some of you, it’s because he won the Sandanme yusho in Haru, which bumped him to Makushita. Oddly, he lost 0-7 in Natsu, and is now back to Sandanme, and in this bout he is visiting Makushita.
Terunofuji wins this one, mostly by applying his bulk rather than his grip. He was aiming to get one with his right hand, but didn’t quite make it. The picture at the top shows him having a grip with his left, but I doubt he could put much power into it, because of that dislocated ring finger which “still doesn’t feel right”.
From one Isegahama man, we move to another, and we have Kaito from Asakayama on the left facing Midorifuji on the right. What kind of sumo does the new Isegahama pixie do have to offer us today?
His style really reminds me of Terutsuyoshi, though his mass is not quite there yet. Sukuinage, and Midorifuji is now 3-0.
Next on our list is Kototebakari, here on the left, facing Nogami, the Oguruma man. Both are 2-0 before the bout.
Kototebakari’s sumo is very efficient. He doesn’t waste energy. Tachiai, side step, send home.
And now, to the highlight match of the day, and frankly, one of Hoshoryu’s best performances. He is facing Churanoumi, again, a guy with sekitori experience, but not as much as Seiro. Churanoumi is on the left, Hoshoryu on the right:
Round and round, Hoshoryu manages to keep his balance in some dangerous situations, and tries kicks and trips, eventually winning this by kotenage. Lovely match.
Today, Hoshoryu has a Juryo visit, which means he will be wearing an official Oicho-mage for the first time. He already wore one in Jungyo, but he only did Juryo there as he was the “local boy”. This time he is a legitimate Makushita joi-jin. And his opponent of the day is none other than Kizakiumi, Churanoumi’s brother!
I’m not bringing many Juryo bouts because frankly, there is much to be depressed about there, with favorites like Sokokurai and Ikioi faring rather badly, and others doing sumo that’s less than brilliant. But still, here is Ishiura vs. Chiyoshoma. And no, it’s not a double henka:
Ishiura tries what looks like a tasukizori, but Chiyoshoma isn’t biting.
Usually, Nagoya basho is a hot and slippery mess. But this one is full of lovely sumo and good fights. But first, let’s take a look at today’s maezumo, to follow up on the newcomers, before continuing with the ranked matches.
Kotoomura got a fundamental yori-kiri from Hokutenkai. That man is not taking any prisoners. While Konno from Naruto and Hisasue from Kokonoe will have no good news to report to their oyakata, Hakuho’s Senho, despite looking as green as a fresh leaf, shows that he has some signs of sumo in him, not just henka. He can’t do a tachiai properly, but he is 2-0 in maezumo.
From Senho we move to Hakuho’s next youngest uchi-deshi, Toma, who is not quite as gangly as Senho (but on the other hand, he doesn’t have a cool shikona). Toma here attacks from the left, and Asanoshima from Takasago, from the right:
Toma is 2-0, keeping himself in the race for the Jonidan yusho. But the main contender for that is our next contestant, the dreamy Kitanowaka. Here he is on the right, with Chiyooga from Kokonoe beya on the left:
This one proved to be quite a challenge for Prince Charming, as Chiyooga is quite a sticky wrestler. But the Hakkaku man prevails.
So here is our friend Narutaki – the friendly guy from Isenoumi beya, who is rumored to be a good English speaker, by the way – on the left, vs. Izumigawa of Minezaki beya on the right.
Narutaki leaves the “nice” off the dohyo, and goes straight at Izumigawa. He is now 2-0.
Then there is Shoji, from Musashigawa beya. Here on the left, with Tsugaruumi from Tamanoi beya on the right.
The smaller guy does not pose much of a problem for Shoji. Oshidashi.
We open Makushita with Shiraishi who, if you recall, is Natsu’s Sandanme yusho winner and a generally strong guy. But I’m not really happy with his sumo today (right, facing Keitenkai on the left):
He starts with a failed henka attempt, and then after engaging he does some backwards sumo. Ummm.
The highlight match of the lower Makushita was slated to be Terunofuji vs. Onojo (Takadagawa beya). Onojo is a regular Sandanme wrestler, with a few peeks into Makushita. Shouldn’t be a problem for a former Ozeki. But don’t place your bets yet:
Terunofuji allows Onojo to morozashi him. Morozashi – having both arms inside. The morozashi itself is danger. Having a morozashi with a firm grip on your opponent’s mawashi is usually a winning position. There are a couple of ways to get out of it – a double outside grip on the mawashi, which we have seen Tochinoshin perform in the past – gives good leverage for a lift. A double kime, which is what Terunofuji is attempting here, may be able to choke your opponent’s grip – if this was Nishikigi – or a lift, if you are the original Terunofuji who had knees.
But this Terunofuji doesn’t have them. And while he attempts his power sumo again and again, eventually the stubborn Onojo, who doesn’t let go of that mawashi grip throughout the dance, prevails. Terunofuji will not have the Makushita yusho this tournament.
Following the bout, he told the press the reason why the bout went the way it went. “I was planning to grab his mawashi, but my finger got loose”.
Finger? So as it turns out, the former Ozeki was practicing with Shodai. Yes, a Makuuchi guy and a favorite practice toy for Yokozuna and the like. And while he did this, he managed to damage his finger. Thank you, Shodai. We appreciate your vast contribution to Sumo. 🙄
So now we have a kaiju with no knees and no grip. Lovely.
We move on to Kototebakari, here on the left, facing Nishikifuji, one of Isegahama’s sekitori hopefuls, on the right:
Kototebakari is not here to cater to the hopes of anybody but himself.
This post is getting too depressing on the Isegahama front (Tomisakae also lost his bout. So let’s hope Midorifuji (right) can do something against Asabenkei, the Takasago guy who has sekitori experience, on the left:
Yes! Thank you, pixie. You made an Isegahama fan happy.
Middle Onami brother, Wakamotoharu, is facing Akua. Both former sekitori and wanting to get back there as fast as possible, thank you very much. Akua on the left, Wakamotoharu on the right:
Alas, the man from Fukushima fails, and only little brother Wakatakakage is left to save the family pride today.
Finally, Fujiazuma from Tamanoi beya is facing Prince Naya. Naya was rather devastated by yesterday’s matta-that-wasn’t-a-matta. He seems totally out of confidence, and of course causes a matta, which causes him to really lose his bearings. Let’s see how it goes from there (Fujiazuma left, Naya right):
The oshi specialist Naya gets himself entangled in a sloppy yotsu match. But somehow, he manages to survive and throw Fujiazuma with a sukuinage, to even his score. 1-1. Get a hold of yourself, kid.