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
We start with a look at the Naruto beya guys down at Jonokuchi. I have three of them today for you, all at 3-0 at the start of the day.
We have seen Marusho yesterday,. Here he is again on the left, facing Shimakaze from Oguruma beya on the right.
Blink and you have missed it. 4-0. Kachi koshi.
We have also met Motobayashi. Here on the left, facing Tomiyutaka from Tokitsukaze beya on the right:
Moving forward like a road roller, Motobayashi is also 4-0 and kachi-koshi.
The third one is Sakurai, attacking from the right this time, vs. Garyu from Futagoyama beya:
I’m guessing the huge brace on the man’s leg at such an early stage in his career is something he brought from home (he is 22 years old), but it’s clear he also brought some sumo skills with him. Again, 4-0 and a kachi-koshi.
In fact, these three and one non-Naruto make up the leading pack of Jonokuchi, with Mishima, their heya mate, having his fourth bout in a few hours, hoping to join them there. Mishima is, in fact, going to wrestle with a 2-1 opponent, as the division ran out of potential 3-0. These guys can’t be matched against each other until the yusho playoffs, so if they keep winning, there is a distinct possibility of a big, fat, four-way playoff between members of the same heya at Jonokuchi. I bet that will draw some press to a normally forgotten division in senshuraku. I’m guessing the torikumi guys will start matching them against Jonidan wrestlers at some point to try to cull that down a bit.
Continuing our watch of Crew-Cut-Roman, here is the trimmed Tatsunami man on the right, facing Kiyota from Dewanoumi beya on the left. Both 3-0:
This time Roman’s skills fell a little short – see what I did there? – and Kiyota is the one stepping away with a kachi-koshi. Kiyota is 15 years old, it’s merely his second ranked tournament. He was a meh 4-3 in the previous tournament, but he actually looks like an interesting wrestler.
Another one we have been following through Jonidan is Kitanowaka, Prince Charming from Hakkaku beya. Here on the left, he faces Tokisakae on the right:
Tokisakae gets the kachi koshi. Kitanowaka suffers his first loss, and will not take the Jonidan yusho. Tokisakae had him in a morozashi he really didn’t know how to solve.
My only contribution from Sandanme today is Tachiai’s favorite Texan, other than Bruce, of course. Wakaichiro on the left is going against Narumi from Onomatsu beya on the right. Both 2-1 before this match.
Alas, though Wakaichiro was in control of most of the match, Narumi turns the tables on him at the end, and the boy from Texas is now 2-2.
Shiraishi, the henka man from Tamanoi beya, seems to have suffered some sort of shoulder injury since his last match. He is here on the left, facing Hatooka from Kise beya on the left. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because he won the Jonokuchi yusho last Kyushu, followed immediately with the Jonidan yusho this Hatsu.
Hatooka is kachi-koshi, and that injury seems to have been exacerbated in this bout. Ouch. Shiraishi will have to fight for his kachi-koshi through increasing pain.
Next up, Midorifuji, the Isegahama deputy pixie, who is tsukebito to the head pixie Terutsuyoshi. He attacks from the right, and Daishoryu from Oitekaze attacks from the left. This, too, is a 3-0 bout.
Midori does the push-me-pull-you dance, and gets his kachi-koshi. In fact, Terutsuyoshi has three tsukebito – Midorifuji, Hikarifuji and Isamufuji – and all of them won their bouts today, which is a rare event, as it turns out. He said that he felt pressure when he got up to his own match: “Imagine how it would feel if I were to be the only one in the car heading back home who had a loss today?”. He saved himself that humiliation with that, ahem, henka today, and there was much rejoicing in the “Team Terutsuyoshi” car.
Next up, we have two of our objects of attention facing each other today. On the left, we have Akua from Tatsunami beya. On the right, Kototebakari from Sadogatake.
Although Kototebakari opens aggressively, Akua twists around in a way that renders his attack ineffective, and then starts chasing him around. Akua is the one with the kachi-koshi and a leg in the yusho race, and Kototebakari is out.
I would be remiss if I didn’t bring you footage of this rare event: Ikioi winning his first match of the basho.
Yes, Ikioi is now 1-6, somehow scraping that win off of Kizakiumi, who may have been still celebrating his win against Hoshoryu of yesterday.
Finally, my new Juryo favorite, who keeps evoking memories of Harumafuji – Kiribayama, Michinoku beya’s Mongolian sekitori. Here on the right, he faces our friend Akiseyama:
This is a nice match, but Kiribayama is in fact 4-3. His hoshitori (win/loss standing, depicted as white and black stars respectively) looks like this:
There is a term for this kind of win-lose-win-lose hoshitori: “Nukenuke”.
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.
On day 2 the lower division did not disappoint, with some fantastic and interesting matches. I will note that Wakaichiro lost his first match of the Natsu basho. In a surprising tactic, he went chest to chest with Miyakogawa, which is the format that Miyakogawa prefers. To his credit, Wakaichiro showed a lot of fighting spirit, and some impressive strength, lifting and swinging Miyakogawa multiple times. But Miyakogawa was very stable, and was able to keep on his feet, eventually finding and exploiting an opening to take the match.
In Sandanme, Terunofuji won his first match, and looks to be in somewhat improved physical condition from Osaka. He made quick and easy work of Daishomune, and will move on to the 1-0 bracket. Roga did not fare as well, and suffered his first ever loss as a professional rikishi, dropping his match to Hokutotsubasa.
In Makushita, Midorifuji showed Nogami some really fabulous sumo to win his first match, Naya racked up his first win, and Hoshoryu prevailed against Tamaki.
Day 3 Matches
Ichiyamamoto vs Fujiazuma – After his day 2 loss, Ichiyamamoto will look for his first win against former Maegashira Fujiazuma. While some may wonder how Ichiyamamoto is drawing such tough opponents, the upper brackets of Makushita are thick with former top division rikishi who are seeking a way back to the salaried ranks.
Hoshoryu vs Jokoryu – Yes, that Jokoryu, who has lost his paid rank and is now down in Makushita battling 12 other high energy rikishi looking to climb the ladder back to Sekitori status. As some are starting to think about how Hoshoryu might fare in juryo, this will be an excellent test.
Midorifuji vs Akua – Oh yes, two of our “Ones to Watch” competing head to head! We expect that this will be a solid match, as Midorifuji probably holds a speed and energy advantage, and Akua has the edge in size and experience.
Wakaichiro vs Taketsukasa – After a hard fought day 2 opening match, Wakaichiro gets his next shot at his first win of Natsu against young Taketsukasa, from Irumagawa heya. Taketsukasa is only in his 7th basho as a professional rikishi, and has been as high as Sandanme 93.
Kitanowaka vs Tokisakae – Kitanowaka’s first match (day 1) was a completely lopsided event, and I am going to guess we will see more of that on day 3, as 120kg Tokisakae has the misfortune of drawing a match with Kitanowaka.