Bouts from the lower divisions – Kyushu 2018, Day 2

As is usual in a regional basho, there are few lower-division videos available, but I do have some for you – from all the lower divisions this time!

Jonokuchi

Hattorizakura is back on the dohyo! And this time he means business! Just look at this stare. He is facing Yada from Asahiyama in his first ranked bout.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zaGab0RZ8w
And my, he almost won that one! A very atypical show of deashi there. But his lack of muscle tells.

Jonidan

If you are wondering who the heaviest rikishi is, now that Orora is no longer with us (he still tweets fun stuff, though!), then the answer is Kenho, from Tokitsukaze beya, at a mere 239kg. Here he is vs. Kamada.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgzTSxHW8A
Kenho may be too big for his own good, but he is certainly more mobile than Orora has become, and seems to actually do sumo rather than just be heavy. Still, he is a Jonidan wrestler and has spent his entire career between Sandanme and Jonidan.

Sandanme

I’m still keeping an eye on Torakio, the next big Bulgarian thing. At least, that’s what Naruto oyakata hopes. Here is his bout with Kotozensho.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrWLGhXbiIQ
Well, no zensho for Kotozensho, but Torakio still bends at the waist instead of at the knees.

Makushita

Yesterday we had Naya, and today we have his rival, Hoshoryu. He has been working out since the previous basho, but how is is his sumo?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMSV9hQmD8M
Frankly, it’s hard to tell from this bout. Ikeru simply doesn’t seem to belong in the same division as Hoshoryu. This maybe because Hoshoryu is a sekitori-in-waiting, but it could just be that Ikeru is on his way to sandanme. We’ll need to wait for the next bout! While his brother is really not doing too well in Makuuchi, Chiyootori is trying to make his comeback to the sekitori ranks. It’s not an easy way.
Eerily, you can hear the wrestlers breathing in this Abema TV clip. And Ikegawa certainly makes Chiyootori breath heavily. He ends up splat on his back with a mountain of flesh on top for his trouble, though. Yoritaoshi. Another veteran who wants to get his silk shimekomi back as soon as possible is the ever-popular Sokokurai.
Sokokurai complained in the previous basho that everybody thinks that since he is old, they will win by prolonging the match. Kagamio still seems to employ this tactic, but Sokokurai just oozes experience and patience. I’m pretty sure with five wins he’ll be able to secure his return to Juryo, and he looks like he can make those five, even in the Makushita purgatory.

Juryo

Of course, the individual video I have is Enho. Enho won the Juryo Kanto-Seishin today. That’s the spectators’ (and paid app users) selection for “The wrestlers full of fighting spirit”. So how did the pixie take first place?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyL6xIuwUYQ&t=12s
Well, like this. Chiyonoo knows better than to let Enho anywhere near his mawashi. Enho has a left ottsuke, and after some circling and improving his position, he uses his own weight to change Chiyonoo’s center of gravity. Makiotoshi. Here is the full Juryo digest:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jREBljo8-sI
  • Shimanoumi-Tomokaze: Tomokaze shows why he belongs in this division. Both sides very tenacious.
  • Daiseido (filling in from Makushita) vs. Gokushindo. Despite the rival from the lower division, Gokushindo looks lost in his Juryo debut.
  •  Toyonoshima and Mitoryu make an interesting combination of body shapes, that makes it hard for either of them to manipulate the other. Mitoryu tries to lift Toyonoshima at some point but Toyonoshima’s naturally lower center of gravity saves him. He wants to go back to Makuuchi. At this rate, he will.
  • Tobizaru manages to annoy Jokoryu quite a bit, when after a stalemate, he plants a reverberating slap that seems to shock Jokoryu for just enough time for the monkey to get him outside the dohyo.
  • Not that I have anything against Azumaryu, but after yesterday’s bout between two of my favorites, I’m glad to see Chiyonoumi bounce back quickly. He drops Azumaryu on Enho, so maybe that’s a little revenge. 🙂
  • Takekaze also manages to bounce back against Kyokushuho. Many Takekaze bouts end with a hikiotoshi.
  • Another one bouncing back is Kyokutaisei, also with a very quick hikiotoshi downing Tsurugisho.
  • Wakatakakage, on the other hand, looks less impressive than he did yesterday, with the size differences between him and Hakuyozan clearly deciding this bout.
  • You don’t see it in this video, but Ishiura starts his bout with Akiseyama with what seems to be a premeditated matta. Akiseyama has a hard time bending down for the tachiai, and Ishiura kind of forces him to do it twice. He adds the henka – yet another one – to that. I was actually glad to see Akiseyama drop him off the dohyo. I’m liking Ishiura less and less.
  • Terutsuyoshi keeps doing proper, forward-moving, sumo, this time besting Hidenoumi. That man may be 169cm tall, but he has a 220cm fighting spirit. I wish the spectators would appreciate him more, and not just for his salt throw.
  • I guess Takagenji is too young to master the secret of rolling the Kotoyuki bowling ball. Kotoyuki, with his experience, bests the young twin. Well, some humble pie won’t hurt the dude.
  • Aminishiki starts his bout with Tokushoryu going forward, but at some point decides to pull, pull, and pull – and yeah, he beats himself up for that on the Isegahama website. Tokushoryu continues his good form.
  • Yago continues his good performance from yesterday, and beats Daishoho by yori-kiri.
Today’s visitor from Juryo to Makuuchi was Kotoeko. From tomorrow there is no more chance for Juryo wrestlers to pick up envelopes – Kaisei is back, and the Makuuchi divisions numbers are even again.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Kyushu 2018, Day 1

Chiyotaiyo-Tabara

During honbasho, my day mostly looks like this:

  • Wake up, switch on Abema TV, watch while eating and getting prepared. Be late for work.
  • At work, try to catch live glimpses of the top Makuuchi bouts.
  • At lunch, watch Kintamayama’s digest
  • Coming back home, look for some action from the lower divisions, where some of my favorite rikishi lurk.

I’ll share a few of those with you.

Jonidan

Last basho I introduced you to Chiyotaiyo, the stick insect from Kokonoe beya. I’m pretty sure nothing is left for Jonidan wrestlers in the Kokonoe chanko nabe after it has gone through Chiyotairyu, Chiyomaru, Chiyootori, and the rest of the lot. Otherwise, it’s hard to understand how Chiyotaiyo just seems to get thinner and thinner between basho.

But he does have sumo.

Tabara makes use of his advantage of mass, while Chiyotaiyo uses his agility, tries a trip, then opts for a kotenage.

Sandanme

We can’t do without Ura, can we?

Ura, try to prolong those bouts a little, just so we can enjoy you a little bit more… No tricks, no acrobatics, just simple and effective push. Ura has grown some formidable muscles.

Another interesting Sandanme bout is Naya vs. Kaizen. Naya had his first make-koshi last basho, and as a result dropped back to Sandanme. He will want to get at least 6-1 to get a good place back in Makushita next basho.

Whoa, that was a bit of a tsuppari storm, wasn’t it?

Makushita

The man who finds himself ranked fourth among the Isegahama wrestlers this basho is the back-flipping Tomisakae. But he looks like he did a little too much flipping lately. He has more bandaging than Aminishiki! Take a look – there is not a joint in his limbs which is not supported, taped or braced. Here he faces Churanoumi, who had a short visit in Juryo a couple of basho ago.

Despite all the rattled joints, Tomisakae is full of genki, and gets the win.

Juryo

I have Enho’s bout as an individual video. Enho claims he managed to pass the 100kg barrier during the Jungyo. His throw certainly turned lethal. He faces Chiyonoumi, who is also one of my favorites.

This is a typical Enho match. The rival tries to force his own sumo. Enho lunges at him below belt level. Chiyonoumi knows the business and tries to keep his distance and get the pixie off balance. He can’t quite manage that. Enho stays on his feet. Once, twice, another attack – and he gats at Chiyonoumi’s mawashi. From then it’s a done deal. He gradually moves his hand along the mawashi to the knot area. It’s hard to see in the videos, but I’m pretty sure his other hand is holding the mawashi at the maemitsu area. Once he gets the exact positioning he wants, he throws with all his might. Did I mention “lethal”?

The rest of Juryo I can bring you in digest format:

Tomokaze shows Gagamaru why the two of them switched places. As you can see, there is a monoii, but the shimpan’s discussion ends in upholding the gyoji’s decision – Tomokaze’s foot “stayed”.

Gokushindo’s debut in Juryo ends in a defeat, as Shimanoumi wants to stay away from Makushita.

Toyonoshima got wild cheers during his dohyo-iri, and his family was there to watch him. No wonder he looks so aggressive. What a killer nodowa. I hope Jokoryu didn’t hurt himself in that fall. He looks pretty frustrated.

Tobizaru tries getting inside Mitoryu’s defense, but the Mongolian keeps him well at bay. Eventually the monkey pauses, takes an assessment, and aims a little kick on Mitoryu’s right leg. The kimarite is kekaeshi. This seems to be somewhat of a Tobizaru specialty, as the previous two times it has been used in the top two divisions were his as well.

Then follows that Enho bout which we have already seen.

That was a fierce Tsukiotoshy by Azumaryu.

Takekaze works out all the time and tries his best, but he is fading and fading.

Hakuyozan seems to have a bit more patience than Kyokushuho. Kyokushuho tries a throw but can’t quite finish it, and finds himself on the floor instead.

I’m not sure what it is that makes Wakatakakage so effective despite his light weight. Kyokutaisei’s stance is fine, and he seems to have confidence, but Wakatakakage simply seems to use his muscle power very efficiently. While his brothers are struggling, he seems to be a Juryo mainstay with an eye towards the top division.

Terutsuyoshi simply pushes with all his might and every ounce of his weight (he seems to have put on a couple of kilos). He simply seems not to think of himself as a small rikishi.

Ishiura. Sigh. Starting the basho with a henka. How… unsurprising. It did work, but it’s sad to see, especially when comparing him to his heya-mate, or even to Terutsuyoshi, whose muscles are a lot less defined than the Miyagino man’s.

Takagenji is denied his first day win by Tokushoryu, who seems to be keeping the good form from the previous basho, despite having been kyujo from the Jungyo.

Aminishiki is just unbelievable. No tricks, no pulls. Straight on – and this after he, too, has been absent from the latter part of the Jungyo.

Kotoeko seems to try a kind of sidestep, but not very decisively or effectively, and finds himself doing the splits.

The final man in Juryo is not in this digest as he did a Makuuchi bout today – and won it, too, proving that perhaps he should have been up there instead of his rival, Chiyomaru. I hope he found something nice to do with his kensho money!

 

Bouts from the lower divisions – Days 6 and 7

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.

happy-terutsuyoshi
Four men are leading Juryo. This is one of them. (Terutsuyoshi, accompanied by Midorifuji, his tsukebito for this basho)

Day 6

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.

toyonoshima-crying
After two years, Toyonoshima will finally be able to provide for his family

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:

Day 7

Jonokuchi

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.

Jonidan

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.

Sandanme

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!

Makushita

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.

Juryo

 

  • 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:

  1. J4E Daiamami
  2. J8W Terutsuyoshi
  3. J11E Tokushoryu
  4. J13E Azumaryu

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.

Day 5 – Bouts from the lower divisions

toyonoshima
Toyonoshima – one win away from reclaiming his silk mawashi

Jonokuchi

Hattorizakura had yet another bout today, against Shishimaru. How did he do?

I recall that in the past, one of the members of the Tachiai team wondered if people were given instructions to be gentle with poor Hattorizakura before their bouts. Well, if so, Shishimaru didn’t get the memo. Applying a nodowa to Hattorizakura? Oh, the humanity!

Chiyotaiyo also had his third bout today, vs. Onagaya:

(Bonus bout: Shachinofuji vs. Tanaka)

This time, our string bean wasn’t as successful as in his first two matches. Nevertheless, it was a good effort, with a good belt grip and two attempts to throw his bigger rival. I think his Tachiai wasn’t as good as yesterday’s, though.

Jonidan

Here we have the oldest rikishi in the sumo world, 48 years old Hanakaze, facing the 33 years younger toddler, Wakamatsunaga. Hanakaze entered the sumo world at about the same time I entered university. That was when Chiyonofuji was at the height of his career, and Kitanoumi was not yet a Yokozuna. This was a long, long time ago.

Well, he can still do sumo, even if he can’t lift his leg for a decent shiko.

Sandanme

I have to bow before the penetrating analysis Bakanofuji delivered of Torakio’s sumo in the previous installment. Here he is, hurting himself again:

Out of curiousity, I decided to watch the bout of his stablemate, Sumidagawa, who has advanced to Sandanme in this basho. Take a look at his bout with Kotomyozan:

It seems that – although he wins this bout – he suffers from some of the same weak points that Bakanofuji mentioned w.r.t. Torakio: bending at the waist instead of the knees. Having an ineffective Tachiai. Which now raises the question: could it be Kotooshu’s fault?

Makushita

Wakamotoharu, of the Onami brother, faced Ryuko today:

Tomisakae, the bouncy Isegahama man, continues to do well:

Tomisakae seems to have some bunny genes. His interpretation of gaburi-yori is a hop-hop-hop forward. He is now 3-0.

Sokokurai continues his careful sumo in an attempt to extend his number of wins as much as possible and get his sekitori status back quickly. Here he is matched with Kagamio.

Kagamio is the Sandanme Yusho winner from the previous basho. This come-from-behind win for Sokokurai seems to piss him off tremendously. He goes off the dohyo without a bow. When called back, he makes the most cursory of nods. The previous time those two met was in Makuuchi, by the way, in hatsu 2015.

Here is Nakazono vs. Gokushindo:

Gokushindo has a really nice, balanced stance.

Finally, the bout that made it to Kintamayama’s video today: Toyonoshima vs. Tomokaze (here from the opposite angle):

Toyonoshima is now just one win away from regaining his akeni, kesho mawashi and shimekomi. And the ability to provide for his family. Although only sekitori are allowed to get married, nobody forces them to divorce when they fall to the lower divisions. However, it’s quite a difficult situation, when you do not receive a salary, and are techically not allowed to live outside the heya.

Juryo

Here is today’s Juryo digest:

  • Enho can’t seem to win in the day after a henka. Akua is really fighting for his life there. It’s not clear from this angle, but at some point in the bout – which started off pretty much the way Enho wants it to – Akua has his head in a vice, and he struggles and frees it. But this of course disrupts the entire attack, and he gets thrown unceremoniously  to one side.
  • Azumaryu is the bee’s knees this basho. Gagamaru seems on his way either to Makushita or retirement. He is past his due date.
  • Tokushoryu’s victory over Mitoryu eliminates the last Juryo man with a clean winning record. No zensho-yusho this basho.
  • Tobizaru continues his bounce back. Alas, at the expense of my Chiyonoumi, who will have to work hard to secure a kachi-koshi this basho.
  • Terutsuyoshi back to winning after two losses. Straight sumo, no fancy stuff.
  • That seemed to have been quite a mistake on Takekaze’s part. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t call it an Isamiashi or something.
  • Wakatakakage with a second loss in a row.
  • Kotoeko, just back from Makuuchi, is having a miserable basho. He will drop further down, I predict.
  • Yago goes for a belt fight with a Mongolian. And wins.
  • What a bout by Aminishiki! First he starts with a hearty tsuki-oshi. Then switches to the belt. Attempts a trip, perseveres against Akiseyama’s defenses, and eventually Yori-kiris him.

 

Day 5 – Flash Flood

Today we saw two of the leader group being washed away.

ichinojo-takayasu-down
Ichinojo, Takayasu, bye!

And now the leader group consists of only three men. One of whom is – as it turns out – the same age as Onosho’s dad.

But let’s start at the beginning. We had a flood of flash bouts today. The first of them was Myogiryu taking on Juryo visitor Tokushoryu. Myogiryu gets both hands inside and quickly yori-kiris Tokushoryu.

Not much beauty in the Nishikigi vs. Kotoyuki bout. Kotoyuki retreats, retreats, until he runs out of dohyo. He seems on his way back to Juryo, possibly to be replaced by a very motivated Ryuden.

And then we move to the first serious challenge to Aminishiki‘s reign over the Maegashira ranks. Daiamami knows Aminishiki well, and knows where the Ancient Mariner’s weakness is. He pushes him against the tawara. But Aminishiki somehow manages to do his bale dance and get away, only to be caught again. The old wizard’s knees almost cave, when he gives a final dance to his right, and uses the grip he has on Daiamami’s left arm for a sukuinage. Uncle Sumo visibly pants as he picks his kensho-kin. But he is still in the yusho race!

Ikioi gives Takekaze another black star, as this elderly man fails to mimic the senior citizen from the previous bout. Ikioi gets him in a double-hand-inside, holds him high and leads him out.

Kagayaki once again goes into a belt battle with Kaisei. He nearly turns the Brazilian around, but Kaisei rallies and gets face to face again. Kaisei has the upper hand, at least as far as mass is concerned, and then dispatches the man in the mustard mawashi in short order.

Okinoumi continues in his good performance vs. Daieisho. It starts with an exchange of slaps, and Daieisho gets Okinoumi to the bales, but he take a risk, grabs Daieisho under his shoulders and presses down for a Katasukashi. By the way, did you know that “Katasukashi” also means “disappointment” or “letdown”? I’m sure that’s how Daieisho felt.

Asanoyama is probably not going to repeat his double-digits from Aki. In fact, the way it looks, he’ll be happy if he can get a kachi-koshi at all! All he does against Endo just doesn’t work. The strength is there, but he can’t put it together.

Chiyomaru continues in his on-off-on-off series. The NHK commentator explains that Chiyomaru has a problem with mawashi fighting because he can’t reach the opponent’s belt owing to his huge belly. Tochinoshin, on the other hand, doesn’t have much of a belly, has long arms, and he catches Chiyomaru in a belt grip right away and just leads him out without the Kokonoe meatball ever showing much defense.

Arawashi grabs Shodai‘s arm and tries to pull. Shodai resists. Arawashi tries again. Shodai gets out. Arawashi gets a belt grip, but Shodai is not letting him do much. So the Mongolian goes for the arm yet agai, and this time pulls the kotonage he was aiming for from the start. Very nice bout!

Takarafuji manages to scrape a second win today vs. Daishomaru. He keeps his opponent at an arm’s length, showing his usual patience, he evades an attack and keeps the distance between their bodies. He finally gets a yori-kiri without ever getting any sort of firm grip. I must say that it looks like the goings-on at Isegahama are taking their toll on all their sekitori. Though winning, Takarafuji looks tired and gloomy.

It’s a wonder how Chiyoshoma keeps winning against Ichinojo, who is about twice his weight. Today’s bout wasn’t even very long. As soon as he got a mawashi grip, he sent the boulder outside. Of course, if he had tried to do this with only the one hand on the mawashi, he would have to get a new elbow installed tomorrow. He helped the giant along by pushing him with his left hand. I hope Ichinojo rallies and continues his good form as the basho continues.

It’s rare to see Chiyonokuni in a mawashi match. And Hokutofuji is no yotsu expert, either. But still, this is where they found themselves, locked into each other’s mawashi. At some point, Hokutofuji tries to throw Chiyonokuni, but Chiyonokuni rallies. Then there’s an attempt at a kotonage, which eventually leaves Chiyonokuni open, and Hokutofuji pushes him out. Again, a great bout to watch.

And here we begin the flash flood. Kotoshogiku vs. Chiyotairyu. Going, going, gone! I wouldn’t have believed Kotoshogiku could win so fast these days. Especially against Chiyotairyu, which is usually not a pushover.

Then, Takakeisho pushes at Yoshikaze for just a second, side steps, Yoshikaze would have regained his footing – but Takakeisho is there to push him out. Wham, bam, gone in a flash!

This is followed by Takayasu, who is pushed by Tamawashi right out of the dohyo before he manages to get his breath back after the tachiai. You snooze, you lose. And our Kadoban Ozeki drops off the leaderboard.

But have no fear! Goeido is here. He must have been watching the videos from the previous Onosho matches. Usually, I’d complain about him doing his sumo backwards, but for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven, you know. And since Onosho proved that he overcommits and can’t stay on his feet, Goeido served him up with the exact kind of dish that he cooked for himself. So, Goeido still in the lossless group.

Now, what followed in the Hakuho vs. Tochiozan was a very strange thing. This was not your regular “matta”, where the two wrestlers don’t find the correct second to rise. This was actually before the Gyoji started the bout (the gyoji changes the position of his feet during the pre-bout, and this marks which of the shikiri rituals is the “real” one). Events outside the venue must have been weighing on Hakuho’s mind.

Although the bout itself ends pretty quickly and decisively in Hakuho’s favor, he once again pulls one of his “extracurriculars”, though at this point he really doesn’t need any hint of misconduct. That push was certainly a dame-oshi.

Now, the musubi-no-ichiban was worth the money. Shohozan must have watched Takakeisho’s bout with Kisenosato yesterday, as he went for basically the same thing: constant attacks on the Yokozuna’s left side, combined with nodowa, that left the Yokozuna defenseless. Then he tried to throw the Yokozuna, but Kisenosato is not an easy fellow to throw. But Shohozan continued with his pressure and pressed the Yokozuna against the tawara. Unfortunately for Shohozan, the Yokozuna’s right side is still functioning, and he managed a suicidal throw, that got the Yokozuna the come-from-behind win in this bout, which was completely dominated by the Maegashira. Oh wow.


So, what does the leader list look like now, a third of the way into the basho?

Yokozuna Hakhuo
Ozeki Goeido
Maegashira #13 Aminishiki

Say what?

By the way, there is another leader list to follow: those with the most wins for the year. As we started this basho, which is the last of the year, Harumafuji was leading with 47 wins. With Harumafuji no longer able to earn any stars this year (and probably ever), the list looks like this.

Mitakeumi 49
Takayasu 48
Harumafuji 47
Hakuho 47
Takakeisho 46
Hokutofuji 45
Tamawashi 44
Ichinojo 44
Yoshikaze 43
Goeido 41
Daishomaru 41

Whoever ends up as the yearly leader is going to have a negative record: the worst number of wins for the leader of the year, after Takanohana’s 60,  which he achieved years ago. With only 10 days to go, matching 60 is going to be impossible without a playoff.


Finally, here are a couple of Juryo matches for your pleasure:

Ishiura vs. Yutakayama:

Ryuden vs. Homarefuji

Again, nobody from Isegahama, with the exception of Aminishiki, seems to be doing any sumo. Ryuden, on the other hand, got his first kensho-kin yesterday and is very uppity.