Low Division bouts – Day 3

Kotokamatani wearing an oicho-mage for his Juryo visit today

Here are a few bouts I collected for day 3.

Down in Jonokuchi, Toma, Hakuho’s gigantic uchi-deshi, had his second bout for this basho, vs. Ito, and his first monoii.

Ow, ow, ow. Poor Ito. He looks completely out of it. Well, 206kg falling on top of you is no small matter (see what I did there?). He is lucky the shimpan did not decide on a torinaoshi.

First loss for Toma, then.

Edit: This bout from the TV angle. The Isamiashi is much clearer:

Edit: I found Kitanowaka’s bout vs. Tokisakae – here it is:

Mmm. That man belongs at least in Sandanme at the moment, if not Makushita.

The rest of the videos I found are from Makushita. Let’s start with Tomisakae, who faces Tanabe.

Yeah, the video doesn’t include the tachiai. But Tomisakae, Isegahama’s back-flipping rikishi, seems to be serious this basho.

The famous Naya vs. Koba:

This bout reminds me of a Takakeisho bout. Could it be he is influencing his tsukebito already? Naya does well to maintain his balance as Koba tries to dispatch him near the edge there, and then actually wins by pulling wildly – which will not always work for him.

The match between Hoshoryu and Jokoryu today was all over the Japanese press. “Hoshoryu’s first bout with a former san-yaku wrestler”, the titles shouted. Let’s see how this went, in NattoSumo’s excellent clip:

Hoshoryu said, in an interview after this bout: “I guessed that he will go for a slap, and slap he did. By the time I had reacted he already had his arms well inside. I am glad I was still able to push forward”.

Yes, it wasn’t a bout Hoshoryu should be too proud of. His Tachiai was, indeed, not quite fast enough for a good opponent.

As for that monoii – NattoSumo says he doesn’t understand exactly what happened. Well, the sportscaster is saying “It seems Hoshoryu’s leg was out first… but by then, Jokoryu was already out of balance. The commentator agrees: “He had no body” (that’s like saying his body was dead). But says the word “bimyo” – which means this is not clear-cut. The kyogi (discussion of a monoii) proceeds, and Onomatsu oyakata announces – surprisingly clearly – that they were discussing the leg, but decided with the judge. So it seems that they indeed judged Jokoryu’s body to be dead.

Hoshoryu is 2-0, and fans expect him to be matched next with Takanofuji (the former Takayoshitoshi, you know), who is also 2-0 and looking very aggressive.

Ichiyamamoto vs. Fujiazuma:

Compared to all the above drops and falls, this bout looks positively serene.

We venture into Juryo, where Kotokamatani is visiting to balance the odd number of sekitori in this basho. For this reason, he gets a fine-looking oicho-mage. He goes against our friend Akiseyama:

Akiseyama uses every bit of his experience, but Kotokamatani plants his head and exhibits a lot of patience. He is rewarded by becoming todays blob on the NSK’s “Fan-chosen Fighting Spirit Rikishi” list (Makushita rikishi don’t have a photo in the NSK app, so they are shown as a rikishi-shaped blob if they get elected for that list).

Let’s finish with Aminishiki, who is facing Irodori, the newbie. Aminishiki tends to win first encounters:

And indeed he does, in his usual style. Your opponent gets too enthusiastic about his tsuppari? Move a little sideways and let him enjoy the view from below the dohyo.

Day 2 – lower division summary

Despite the many high-profile bouts today, there were fewer videos to present. Let’s look at what we have:

Ura, watched by yusho winners past

Here is a collection of bouts from Jonokuchi. The most notable one is the second bout, featuring Roga, the new Mongolian recruit of Futagoyama beya, vs. Yuriki. It’s worth looking from the beginning, just to compare him to the very, very green Hamasu (left side) who is also participating in his first ranked basho. Hamasu gets corrected when he tries to perform his shikiri outside the ring. And he is soon beaten by the more experienced Narumi.

Roga is a totally different story. Although it’s his debut bout, and his rival has the body mass and chon-mage to attest his experience, Roga is the more skilled rikishi on the dohyo. This one will be wearing a kesho-mawashi in 2020 (barring injury, of course).

Sandanme

Yesterday I gave you Satonofuji, and today, his heir to the bow, Kasugaryu, going vs. a bigger Koshinoryu:

I think there is something extra nimble about those yumi-tori rikishi. They need to keep themselves flexible and mobile. This has some effect on their sumo as well.

Makushita

The only official American rikishi, Musashikuni, faced Kototsubasa in his first bout of the hatsu basho.

But oy, that koshi-daka. Unfortunately, despite being assigned to an Ozeki as tsukebito, Musashikuni’s stance is not improving. Maybe because Takayasu is currently the wrong Ozeki to emulate. Kototsubasa is smaller, and has an advantage from the get go attacking from below.

Here is Wakatakamoto, the eldest of the Onami brothers, and the lowest ranked, vs. Ryuseio:

The two elder brothers are dying to catch up with their younger brother. Wakatakamoto attacks Ryuseio with much genki, envelopes and leads him out in the blink of an eye.

I have been waiting for Hoshoryu’s performance this basho. In my mind’s eye, I saw him meeting Ura… maybe in the second week, preferably in the yusho playoff.

Alas, this was not to be. Kizakiumi made short work of the famous nephew, and Hoshoryu is out of the yusho race as early as day 2, and will only meet Ura if the latter drops a match – which we all, of course, hope he doesn’t.

Speaking of whom, here is Pretty-in-Pink, back in action. For the time being, only his sagari is pink. He faces the very populare Takakento (former Takanohana beya, currently Chiganoura), who is one of Takakeisho’s tsukebito together with Takataisho. Let’s watch:

Seriously, Musashikuni should have stayed to watch after his own bout, to see what a proper stance was. Ura is so low that it’s lucky his sagari is not stiffened or the rods would be bent.

Here is Tomisakae. Two basho ago, he had an excellent basho but last basho he hit the upper Makushita wall and dropped a bit. Here he is against the much bigger Tokushinho, trying to recapture that magic.

SumoSoul said it… Against Tokushinho’s big weight, came Tomisakae’s attack from down below. And like Musashikuni, Tokushinho yields with little resistance.

I have added the Juryo digest to Josh’s excellent recap, be sure to visit it!

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 3 and 4

Sokokurai ready for sumo. Tomisakae ready for gymnastics.

I have an eclectic collection for you today, picked up from both days 3 and 4. We start with Day 3 maezumo, where there are some interesting faces.

As you watch, note the differences between maezumo and banzuke sumo. Only the first pair gets the full announcement and shikiri. The next one get short yobidashi calls with the yobidashi off the dohyo, and they are only supposed to bow and start the bout (but you will see a pair making a mistake there and the gyoji trying to correct them).

Maezumo is also not just for newcomers. Some are veterans who dropped off the banzuke following a full kyujo in Jonokuchi. If you fall off the banzuke (“banzuke-gai”), you have to go through mae-zumo again.

I’m skipping the veterans and introducing some of the newcomers to you. In the second battle, the guy on the left is Roga. His real name is Amarsanaa, and he is Futagoyama’s new Mongolian recruit. He certainly has the size for sumo, and his rival is certainly not in the same league.

The next bout is between Denpoya (18) on the left and Daitenma (18) on the right. Denpoya is a new recruit for Isegahama, from – where else – Aomori. Many of Isegahama’s recruits in recent times have been pixies. Midorifuji and Nishikifuji, who are considered the heya’s best new talents, are small sized rikishi. Denpoya, on the other hand, has the right size. It’s hard to judge his talent here, though, because unfortunately, he is paired with Daitenma, who is Azumazeki’s new Mongolian recruit. His real name is Chinzorig, and something about his stance tells me he didn’t come from Mongolia just to enjoy the warm weather and serve as a tsukebito for his entire career (I’m looking at you, Kyokusoten).

Bout number four features Watai, 16 years old belonging to Chiganoura beya, vs. Shimomura, 18, of Sakaigawa beya, who is the son of former Makuuchi wrestler Tsunenoyama. He seems to have no problem with the youngster. He (and Hamasu, from the next bout) graduated from the Saitamasakae high school, which won the team inter-high yusho recently.

So the next bout is between Hamasu and the hapless Daigonishiki from the first bout (there is an odd number of maezumo rikishi). Hamasu, 17, belongs to Onoe beya, and is the son of former Komusubi Hamanoshima.

Day 3 – Sandanme

Moving on-banzuke, we have Torakio vs. Tagonofuji:

Torakio gets his second win, and shows some promising techniques, but he really has a long, long way to go.

Next up is prince Naya (grandchild of the legendary Taiho), whom Hoshoryu lovingly calls “debu” (“fatso”) when they talk. I’ve seen worse “debu” in Grand Sumo (Hi, Gagamaru). Here he is matched with Kototebakari, who is also a very promising rikishi who suffered a similar fate as Naya when he advanced as far as Makushita, and got demoted back to Sandanme.

Kototebakari is not impressed by princes or dukes, and gets Naya in an uncomfortable morozashi. Naya tries this and that, but a morozashi is not something easily overcome (unless you’re Kagayaki, apparently). Naya faces his first loss – so no prospect of Yusho (in theory, yes, in practice, no). Naya, if you want to catch up to Hoshoryu and show him some “debu”, you better hurry up!

Day 3 – Makushita

What I have for you is the very entertaining, though short, bout between Tomisakae and Sokokurai. As it turned out, they each came with the intention of doing a different sport:

Sokokurai watches bemused as Tomisakae converts his hatakikomi into a somersault, and lands feet first below the dohyo. Tomisakae is the sumo world’s acrobat, known for his backflips. I hope he bounces back (see what I did there?)

Day 4 – Sandanme

I wouldn’t dare to skip an Ura bout. In fact, I wouldn’t dare to blink once the gyoji turns his gunbai.

Ura vs. Yutakasho

And the reason I wouldn’t dare to blink is that Ura is really not letting those bouts last very long. As Bruce said, his rivals are left wondering what just happened.

Day 4 – Makushita

And while prince Naya has let one slip, what has his name-calling friend been doing? Hoshoryu was paired with Irie today. Irie is a Makushita fixture. Hoshoryu is anything but.

Today Hoshoryu opted for oshi-zumo – not usually his style. He has been critical of this bout, though, when interviewed by the press post-bout. “I would have liked to push him all the way” he said. He ended up winning – but only on his second hatakikomi, when he would have preferred to win by going forward. The interesting thing, though, is that he is diversifying at a very early stage of his career. Just keep from getting injured, future Yokozuna!

Day 4 – Juryo

So here is the Juryo digest du jour:

  • Mitoryu finally manages to scrape a win off from Tomokaze with a nice shitatenage, though he started the bout by pulling.
  • Gokushindo, the too-cute-for-his-own-good new sekitori, seems to have bounced back from a harsh start. He manages to keep his balance throughout this match, and eventually Jokoryu basically beats himself.
  • It saddens me to see Chiyonoumi struggle this basho. Maybe it’s a case of single-dimensionality, but it looks more like luck of power. Shimanoumi just sweeps him like some dohyo dust. I suspect Kokonoe’s solution to this would be more chanko.
  • Toyonoshima suffers his first loss at the hands of Tobizaru. It’s not really a henka – the sidestep is after they meet – but he is certainly making the best of Toyonoshima’s own forward motion.
  • It’s not often that Takekaze gets to wrestle with an opponent who is smaller than him. I think he is not quite used to that. Enho said he was aiming for the Juryo yusho. At the time I dismissed it in the same way that I dismissed Nishikigi’s “I want to be a Yokozuna”. But Enho seems to be dead serious. He gets Takekaze in a quick morozashi, and although he loses half of it, he has his main target: that deadly inside arm hold on the veteran’s mawashi – right next to the knot. It’s not one of his most spectacular shitatenage, but it works.
  • The Kyokushuho – Azumaryu bout is your typical Mongolian sumo match. Ending with a classical shitatenage – Azumaryu’s win.
  • Chiyonoo finally manages to buy a win in this basho – and buys it with a henka. Or maybe a half henka, as he isn’t just letting Tsurugisho drop. Tsurugisho tries to struggle, but drops to 1-3 as well.
  • I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it looks like Akiseyama’s agility is getting more and more limited. Perhaps he is hiding an injury, or perhaps it’s all those kilos he has regained. Hakuyozan wins by yorikiri.
  • Terutsuyoshi, alas, failed to deliver today. Koyokutaisei manages to get him turned around, and at that point it’s over.
  • Ishiura only half-henkas today, but I’m going to forgive him, because his rival is Takagenji. Besides, he follows that with some exciting sumo his rival finds hard to find a solution to. Takagenji drops to 1-3, and Ishiura is even.
  • Wakatakakage starts his bout with what looks like Enho sumo – with that inside grip slowly advancing towards the mawashi knot. Unlike the pixie, though, he doesn’t seem to have that much of a throwing power. He then surprisingly releases that grip, and instead opts to push forward and force Hidenoumi out. Hidenoumi has yet to win a bout this basho. Wakatakakage is even.
  • Tokushoryu started the basho strong, and seemed to continue his form from the previous basho despite the kyujo in the middle. But Daishoho here wraps him up and sends him away in short order.
  • Kotoyuki’s bout with Yago is a show of hearty tsuppari – especially on the part of Kotoyuki. He has Yago against the bales, and Yago’s foot goes out. The nearby shimpan immediately raises his hand, but the gyoji sees neither the errant foot nor the shimpan’s signal. It’s the sort of thing I see more often in Jonokuchi bouts. In any case, the gyoji’s gunbai points to the correct direction, so no big fuss is made.
  • Aminishiki was trying for another tokkurinage. Well, he denies having aimed for that, but his hands seemed placed in the correct position. However, this is marked down as a boring hatakikomi. Too bad.

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!

 

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.