Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 13

Look who is back in the interview room!

Today has been a day of decisions in the divisions below Juryo, and yet another fun day in Juryo. Let’s look at some sumo!

Jonokuchi

Before taking a look at the yusho race, we bid goodbye to the record holder in the anti-yusho ranking, our friend Hattorizakura. Today he said his farewells to Kyushu 2018 by way of Azumayama:

It seems we are safe for a while yet from having to memorize a new shikona for this icon of sumo (which his stablemaster promised him he will be given if he gets a kachi-koshi).

On to the Yusho race. As I explained yesterday, if Hatooka lost his bout today, we would have a complex playoff situation on our hands.

Hatooka vs. Kojikara

Fortunately, Hatooka resolved that issue decisively. A harizashi followed by pushing forward like a locomotive. Hatooka is the Jonokuchi yusho winner. In his interview today on NHK he talked about his injury and recovery. You can see his knee is in a massive brace. It’s the aftermath of an injury to the knee that saw him go kyujo and drop all the way to Jonokuchi from Makushita. In Aki, he did the same trick as Ryuden to avoid dropping off the banzuke completely, and participated in one bout, which he won. Now he came back with a vengeance. He said in his interview that he was inspired by the sekitori in his heya, such as Ura, Akiseyama and Shimanoumi (who was also kyujo for several consecutive basho).

Jonidan

Here is a video with several Jonidan bouts, the first of which is the yusho decider between Kotourasaki and Kenho. Other bouts in this video:

  • Kamada-Watatani
  • Umizaru-Osumifuji
  • Zendaisho-Satonofuji
  • Yukiumi-Abezakura
  • Sakurafuji-Imai

The size differences between Kenho and Kotourasaki are striking. Nevertheless, Kotourasaki knows how to defeat the big guy. He is 7-0 – sorry, Kenho fans. At this stage he waits for the result of the Mitsuuchi-Fukunofuji bout in the beginning of the Sandanme bouts.

Satonofuji’s bout (around 9:30 min.) is quite interesting, with the yomi-turi performer emeritus going for a half-henka, an attempt at tottari, then sticks his head into Zendaisho’s chest. It takes the shimpan quite a while to declare the kimarite (watashikomi).

The final torikumi (about 13:30) introduces you to Sakurafuji, one of the tallest in the low ranks at Isegahama beya at 183cm. He currently serves as Takarafuji’s tsukebito and is considered a nice guy all around, but for a man with his build, his career has been less than satisfactory, stalling way too long at Jonidan.

Sandanme

The first bout of the day at Sandanme is between Mitsuuchi, who has 6-0 at Jonidan, and Fukunofuji, with 6-0 at Sandanme. If Mitsuuchi wins, there will be a playoff in Jonidan. If Fukunofuji wins, a playoff in Sandanme.

Well, that was decided very quickly. Mitsuuchi railroads Fukunofuji off the dohyo, and the Jonidan playoff between him and Kotourasaki will take place on Senshuraku.

Before moving on to the other yusho decider, let’s take a look at Torakio vs. Rao. Both are 4-2, thus kachi-koshi.

Again, Torakio displays rather good sumo, but loses at the edge, and again expresses his frustration by shoving his opponent slightly. Doesn’t his oyakata watch his bouts?

Now on to the yusho decider, and now the participants know that whoever wins this is the Sandanme yusho winner then and there. The participants, by the way, are Ura (Sd33E) and Hikarifuji (Sd81W). It’s a no-brainer, really.

This reminds me of an old anime, Yu-Yu Hakusho, where the protagonist’s most formidable weapon was the tip of his finger, which was loaded with a huge amount of energy. The bout here starts with a mutual attempt at getting inside, until Ura decides he has had enough and seems to blow Hikarifuji away by the power of the tips of his fingers. He looks at him and nods apologetically, before he returns to his place on the dohyo with an expression of “Oops, did I do that?” on his face.

Ura is Sandanme yusho, and it will be rather entertaining to see him go through Makushita (and possibly meet Hoshoryu there. Yummy).

Makushita

Here is a match between the two Ms9 wrestlers, Kotokamatani and Satoyama. Both 3-3, so winner kachi-koshi, loser make-koshi.

No monoii there. The kimarite is shitatenage, and Satoyama is kachi-koshi.

About an hour after this bout is over, the NSK informs the public that this was, in fact, Satoyama’s last bout as an active wrestler. Satoyama was formerly a long-time sekitori, and seems to have given up the hope of returning to the top. He is retiring and joining the NSK as Sanoyama oyakata, apparently borrowing the Sanoyama kabu from Chiyootori. (I wonder if he purposely picked a kabu which sounds so similar to his own name!)

On to the yusho decider. In Makushita, it’s the simplest situation: Sokokurai and Takaryu are the only ones with 6-0. Winner takes the yusho.

And after a matta, Sokokurai works hard to prevent Takaryu from getting a grip with his left arm, then goes for the pull down. Sokokurai is the Makushita yusho winner, and ensures himself of promotion to Juryo in Hatsu. There has never been a case where a yusho winner at Ms5 was not promoted.

Interestingly, he may actually go over the heads of the two kachi-koshi wrestlers at Ms1. If the shimpan department decides not to relegate more than two wrestlers from Juryo, Daiseido, who currently has 4 wins at Ms1W, and may earn his fifth today, might find himself promoted merely from Ms1W to Ms1E.

Sokokurai was also interviewed on NHK and assured the interviewer that his leg is “fine” now. By the way, I haven’t been around long enough to hear Sokokurai before, so I was rather impressed with his Japanese. It sounds as good as Kakuryu’s.

Juryo

  • Enho seems to have rallied back a bit. Yesterday he looked totally lost and unsure what to do. Today he is back to seeking that grip of his. But Tomokaze denies him, despite the little one’s quick attacks. Enho finally lands his grip, but only at the edge of the dohyo where Tomokaze shows him out. Enho must be feeling grateful that he managed to secure his kachi-koshi before this slump. Tomokaze has a double-digit winning score, which is very impressive for a newcomer to Juryo.
  • Gokushindo tries to be careful and watches his own feet, but he is not protecting his mawashi and gets easily trapped by Azumaryu.
  • Chiyonoo once again tries everything he can and hangs on to his opponent’s mawashi, but Jokoryu gets him out nonetheless. Chiyonoo’s fall down to Makushita is going to be a long hard one.
  • Kyokushuho is quickly dispatched by Shimanoumi, who is now kachi-koshi.
  • Toyonoshima complained yesterday that he doesn’t know what to do with small opponents. Today Terutsuyoshi seems not to have posed any problems. The Isegahama homunculus seems to have run out of steam. He looks very disappointed at the end of this bout, as he is relegated to the chaser group. I hope he still has it in him to get that extra win and go double-digits.
  • Tobizaru pushes Ishiura down. Ishiura manages to survive two additional seconds by hanging on to the monkey’s legs, but that’s not a tenable position. Tobizaru kachi-koshi. Ishiura may get there yet. I think we haven’t seen him henka for two or three bouts, so there will probably be one tomorrow.
  • Chiyonoumi fights bravely, with several nodowa, lots of thrusts, and even a mawashi attempt. However, he repeats a mistake we have seen from his heya-mate, Chiyonokuni, several times in the previous basho – foot out on the Janome, and the bout is over. Chiyonoumi’s make-koshi deepens and the fires of purgatory are already reaching his feet.
  • Takagenji can’t afford another loss, and attacks aggressively to stave it off. Hakuyozan is overwhelmed by the young angry twin. Still no kachi-koshi.
  • The loser in the next battle is make-koshi. Two veterans face off. Tokushoryu has Takekaze trapped almost immediately, and the make-koshi goes to Takekaze. Again, he will assess his situation and let us know by Banzuke meeting day, as he has in the past two basho.
  • For some reason, the Kotoyuki-Mitoryu duel is completely one-sided. Has Mitoryu’s leg issue reasserted itself? Luckily, he is kachi-koshi already. Kotoyuki – double digits! Not much rolling this basho!
  • Aminishiki also can’t afford a loss. He slaps, he pushes, and Tsurugisho finds himself doing the Kotoyuki roll. Tsurugisho is make-koshi.
  • Akiseyama turns the bout with Daishoho into a leaning match. Daishoho is Mongolian, and resolves the long stalemate Mongolian-style, with a kick that gives him enough room to maneuver Akiseyama to the edge. Yori-kiri. Daishoho closer to a kachi-koshi, Akiseyama can’t afford another loss.
  • Kotoeko tries a henka. Kyokutaisei recovers, but can’t quite overcome Kotoeko’s barrage of tsuppari. Kotoeko kachi-koshi. Kyokutaisei has two more chances at his.
  • Wakatakakage very impressive today. I saw his brother’s bout earlier today (Wakamotoharu-Gagamaru) and despite having a very similar body, their skill level is completely different. Yago must be happy his kachi-koshi is secure already. Wakatakakage has two days to get the win he needs for his own.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 11

Terutsuyoshi. Wants double digits.

Jonokuchi

We continue to report on the adventures of Hattorizakura in the land of futility. Today his lucky opponent was Toya, of Tomozuna beya.

Hattorizakura trying to lift his opponent! Then managing to stick to the bales for several whole seconds! This boy is going places!

By the way, Toya’s record so far is rather strange. He has participated in three honbasho before this one. In all three he had a 2-5 make-koshi. And yet, in each of them he advanced in rank! Jk35→Jk24→Jk23→Jk20. I guess this sort of thing can only happen in Jonokuchi.

Jonidan

We continue to follow Mitsuuchi, the Jonokuchi yusho winner who has more kyujo and banzuke-gai basho than active one on his record. He meets Sumanoumi, both with a clean record of 5-0.

Mitsuuchi really looks like he should be up a division or two at least. Our next Jonidan bout is also involved in the yusho race, with Tachiai favorite Kenho. He goes against Kotokume, both 5-0:

Kenho definitely not settling for “Be heavy” as a tactic. Poor Kotokume must have felt like he was being run over by a truck. The Jonidan yusho race is currently down to Mitsuuchi, Kenho, and Kotourasaki. Likely two of them will meet for the seventh match, which means either the winner of that match gets the yusho, or he has to face the third one for a playoff.

Sandanme

Torakio engages with Kotootori (It’s the same “otori” as in “Chiyootori” but not quite the same sumo). Both 3-2.

Torakio shows his best sumo so far in this tournament, and achieves his kachi-koshi.

Remember I introduced two Isegahama men, from the bottom of Sandanme, who are in the yusho race? I do not have Hikarifuji’s bout vs. Yokoe, but I do have Fukunofuji’s bout vs. Kotoozutsu. Again, they are 5-0 as they mount the dohyo:

Fukunofuji is Sandanme #98W. Kotoozutsu is #61E. I don’t see much of a level gap in this bout, though. Hikarifuji also won his bout against the higher-ranked Yokoe.

So four of the six who were 5-0 were in those bouts. This means the third yusho-race bout matched none other than Ura and Kototebakari. Also watch the second bout in this video, featuring Itadaki vs. Prince Naya.

We have followed Kototebakari through this tournament. He is no push-over. That is, unless his rival is Ura. Ura is starting to scare me. It seems all he needs to do is touch his opponent and the poor man is blown off the dohyo. Serious muscle power. And I love his low, low tachiai.

So the yusho race in Sandanme has three wrestlers left – Hikarifuji, Fukunofuji and Ura. Since the two Fujis are from Isegahama beya, they won’t face each other, so the slightly higher ranked Hikarifuji is probably going to be Ura’s next piñata. If Hikarifuji wins that bout it will be the sensation of this basho, as the only point on which he is on equal footing with Ura is height. Fukunofuji will be faced with someone else. If he wins, he’ll be in the playoff. Otherwise the yusho is decided in the aforesaid Ura match.

So on to that second match in the video. Itadaki is Nishikigi’s head tsukebito, and I get the impression that he is also the head Isenoumi chanko chef. If he looks foreign to you, it’s because he is half Canadian – but he was born and raised in Japan, and apparently, doesn’t speak English any better than the average Japanese. And I don’t need to introduce Naya to you.

Itadaki seems pretty aggressive, and nearly manages to steer Naya out for a second there. Naya recovers, but the bout ends with a slightly disappointing slippiotoshi. More than slightly, if you’re Itadaki. Naya is kachi-koshi.

Makushita

We start with an all-Mongolian pairing – Hoshoryu, nephew of Asashoryu, and Kyokusoten, the friendly, weight-challenged brother-in-law of Tamawashi. Both 4-1.

Well, the gap between these two is much the same as between Asashoryu and Tamawashi, only a few rungs of quality lower. Kyokusoten is quickly swept off the dohyo. However, Hoshoryu’s stance was just begging for a hatakikomi, and he is lucky he wasn’t faced with a somewhat more savvy opponent. Mada-mada, as they say in Japanese (“still a ways to go”).

Next we have Kirybayama – whose only loss was to Sokokurai – vs. Tsushimanada, who rallied back after his loss on day 3.

Although this bout is very short, it’s quite exciting. Kiribayama misses his harite on the tachiai by a mile, but still manages to grab Tsushimanada. Tsushimanada manages to break loose and tries to make this an oshi battle, but the oshidashi is on him.

Next we have a yusho-related bout. Sokokurai, who is very eager to return to Juryo, against Gochozan, who is not ranked high enough for that.

Ahem, Sokokurai, a henka? Lucky you are not in Tokyo, as you would have gotten a long hard stare from Muur oyakata for this when you returned to your heya, I’m sure.

Still doesn’t beat Tsurugisho’s henka vs. Chiyonoumi the other day, though.

We finish this round of Makushita bout with Wakamotoharu vs. Irodori. Irodori is within reach of sekitori heaven – but needs a kachi-koshi first. Both are 3-2.

By the way, Irodori is yet another one-kanji shikona with four syllables (like Akebono, Kagayaki, and Ikioi).

The bout? Dum-di-dum-di-dum. Another henka. Too bad the first start was a matta – it looked a lot more entertaining. Irodori still doesn’t have that kachi-koshi. In Juryo, Gokushindo and Chiyonoo will probably be relegated to Makushita. Jokoryu and/or Chiyonoumi may join. So assuming three open slots, Daiseido and Gagamaru have kachi-koshi and will likely advance. Sokokurai – if he wins the yusho – will join them. So even if Irodori has a 4-3 kachi-koshi, it may not be enough. All because of a henka.

Juryo

  • Gagamaru sure wants his silk shime-komi back! He attacks Gokushindo with all his might and mass. Gokushindo is make-koshi, and is heading for another trip through purgatory. This time, he won’t be participating in the Jungyo (unless assigned to someone other than Kakuryu), so plenty of time to practice, rest and regroup.
  • Chiyonoumi attacks Tomokaze with what looks like the enthusiasm of despair. But his feet don’t follow where his body goes – a common mistake in oshi zumo, where you do not lean on your opponent and need to have your feet balanced at all times. Tomokaze ensures his kachi-koshi and will be sticking around. Chiyonoumi, as they say in Japanese, “has no ‘later'”. If he doesn’t win out, he is make-koshi, though if he keeps it at a minimum he may survive, depending on his banzuke-luck.
  • Any wrestler who has to face Enho is probably running and re-running this bout’s video. Enho manages to get inside and lay his hands on Mitoryu’s mawashi. But Mitoryu succeeds in locking his arms, and Enho desparately tries to free his main weapon, thus seized, to no avail. Mitoryu secures his kachi-koshi, while Enho drops to the chaser group. Now, he can still win the Yusho, mathematically. But with only 12 wins or less, I doubt that it will be enough to bring him up to Makuuchi – which a 13-win yusho might have, with some luck.
  • Azumaryu and Jokoryu get a grip on one side, and fight for the hold on the other, when Azumaryu reverses his direction and drops Gokushindo with a nice kirikaeshi. Jokoryu is nearing the danger zone and needs to win out.
  • Toyonoshima wastes no time getting Chiyonoo into a morozashi, which he releases only at the bales. Toyonoshima kachi-koshi, will stick around in Juryo, and will probably continue to work hard in the remaining days to get himself as far up the banzuke as he can. This is Toyonoshima’s first kachi-koshi as a sekitori in 17 basho. Chiyonoo, on the other hand, is probably going to find himself in Makushita the next time around, with a make-koshi that threatens to go double-digits.
  • Both Takekaze and Shimanoumi are teetering at the moment and will probably not have a kachi-koshi or a make-koshi until the last possible moment. Takekaze tries to grab Shimanoumi by the nape of his neck, but Shimanoumi is too well balanced for this, and pulling just brings Takekaze to the edge and makes it easier for Shimanoumi to beat him.
  • Terutsuyoshi and Tobizaru engage in a no-nonsense belt battle. Tobizaru has had a bit of a slump since he dropped from the leader group. He starts energetically – as he does – but Terutsuyoshi has a strong hold and they settle into a short lean. Terutsuyoshi surprisingly relinquishes his left hand hold for a looser ichi-mai hold a little more forward, but manages to convert that into a forward motion and a yori-kiri. Simple sumo, works nicely, and Terutsuyoshi is now the sole leader of the Juryo yusho race – I’m not sure he believes it himself.
  • Tsurugisho opts to engage in a full-on mawashi battle today, probably figuring that the flagging Hidenoumi will be easy to move. It turns out to be a mistake, as Hidenoumi manages to turn the table away. Hidenoumi is still deeply make-koshi and will probably find himself a lot lower in the Juryo ranking next basho. Not a good day for the Iwasaki brothers.
  • Just as it seemed that Takagenji is recovering, he is once again into a series of losses. And we have ourselves another flagrant henka. Sheesh, Kyokushuho. I don’t like Takagenji, but still, I’d prefer to see him beaten with good sumo. I know, I know – at the verge of make-koshi one will resort to anything. Just… make it slightly less flagrant, will you? Both wrestlers are now 4-7.
  • As for Ishiura, at this point, I blame Tokushoryu for not expecting a henka. I just feel sorry for Ishiura’s kid, who’ll grow up and see these bouts on video. Not much to be proud about.
  • Hakuyozan had a good first week, but seems to have weakened as the days passed. Kotoyuki decisively goes for his kachi-koshi.
  • Yet another henka in the Aminishiki-Kyokutaisei bout, and surprisingly, the perpetrator is not old wily Uncle Sumo. What, did Tomozuna beya serve Henka Chanko today?
  • Wakatakakage tried some Enho-zumo today. Couldn’t quite get the correct grip, though. Daishoho starts sliding him back, realizes that there is no need to continue the stalemate, quickly switches to a nice bear hug, and forces the lightweight Wakatakakage out.
  • Kotoeko gets an early advantage over Akiseyama, with a morotezuki that lifts him up. But the big potato rallies and adjusts, and soon has a strong hold on Kotoeko – despite his grip being only ichimai on one side.

So, as the day ends, the Juryo yusho arasoi looks like this:

  • 9-2: Terutsuyoshi
  • 8-3: Kotoyuki, Enho, Mitoryu, Toyonoshima, Tomokaze

Terutsuyoshi will face Tomokaze today. This is going to be a difficult one, especially as Terutsuyoshi did not show up for keiko (in Japan it’s now morning) citing fatigue.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 6

It should be easy to throw a small guy when you have this good a grip on him. It isn’t.

Jonidan

Here is little Chiyotaiyo again. Unfortunately, he demonstrates to us why he is likely to stick in Jonidan for a long while – maybe even a year – despite his talent. Here he is vs. Goketsuyama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz-_Q44gYdg

By the way, I would say the length of his hair indicates a chon-mage by senshuraku. But maybe that’s just because of his proportions.

Sandanme

Bruce already brought you the Ura video. To that, I can add Torakio vs. Shoketsu:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFgjFlEnHNA

This is actually a very good bout. Starts with a tsuppari. Torakio gets a morozashi, then loses one hand, still tries to push Shoketsu out, but Shoketsu reverses him and pushes him out.

Torakio, though, is still a sore loser. There was a distinct shove there at the end. Torakio out of the sandanme yusho race.

Then there is Kototekbakari vs. Inoe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcOBgX67h4Y

Nice attempt at a trip, but this was Kototebakari’s win by kotenage.

Makushita

There were a number of fine bouts in Makushita today, but the only individual bout I have is – who else – Hoshoryu, here vs. Tanabe:

What doesn’t work with tsuppari and doesn’t work with yori, works with hineri. Not one of Hoshoryu’s most powerful matches, but he is still in the Makushita yusho race, which also features names like Sokokurai, Chiyootori, Wakamotoharu, the older Taka twin, and a bit surprisingly, Kyokusoten.

Juryo

Because Kisenosato has gone kyujo, once again a Juryo wrestler has to fill in at Makuuchi, and therefore, a Makushita wrestler has to fill in at Juryo. Today we start with Toyohibiki, 0-3 before this match.

  • Shimanoumi may have been distracted by the fact that he is the only man in Juryo so far to have defeated Enho, as well as that bad balance Toyohibiki came into this bout with. But it’s the Makushita rikishi who takes about one second to sweep Shimanoumi off the dohyo.
  • Chiyonoumi, with a worrying 1-4, enters this match with Gokushindo, who seems to continue the same strategy as yesterday – stalling and keeping his opponent at arm’s length. Chiyonoumi tries everything in his tsuki-oshi arsenal, and eventually enters a leaning contest with Gokushindo. Gokushindo relies on two pillars for legs and trusts in his stance, but Chiyonoumi eventually manages to pull him down for a very precious second win.
  • Tobizaru enthusiastically rains tsuppari at Tomokaze’s chest. Tomokaze, somehow, doesn’t look too impressed. Waits a bit for Tobizaru to spend all the bullets in his magazine, and then gives him three or  four shoves out. This is Tobizaru’s first loss this tournament, and now nobody in Juryo is zensho.
  • After winning a lengthy stamina bout yesterday, Toyonoshima loses a short one today. Azumaryu tries to catch his mawashi, decides it’s too low for him, and just gives him a couple of shoves outside.
  • Enho’s bout starts, as usual, with a scramble, as Enho throws himself inside and secures his favorite left hand inside grip. Jokoryu can’t defend against the little wasp, but of course he has an excellent outside grip himself. He is stable. It seems that it should be easy to shake Enho off. Well, not if the pixie in the red mawashi has anything to say about that. Which of course he has. Jokoryu tries that throw, and discovers that Enho is… sticky. He lowers his body. He wraps a leg around Jokoryu’s. He is like that small dog who enthusiastically humps your leg and just won’t let go. Enho attempts his throw once, Jokoryu spins around but is still steady. So Enho attempts it a second time, and this time he gets it. Jokoryu floored, Enho has a nosebleed for his troubles. Yet another excellent bout.
  • Both Chiyonoo and Kyokushuho are 1-4 coming into this day. The two grab each other. Kyokushuho takes a few seconds to assess the situation, then walks the Kokonoe man outside.
  • Mitoryu and Tsurugisho get good right hand inside grips on each other, lean for a while, and then, as tsurugisho starts maneuvering Mitoryu to the side, Mitoryu pulls him down and drops him to his knees. Sukuinage, and you don’t see it in this footage, but Tsurugisho has a mighty disappointed expression on his face.
  • Hakuyozan dispatches of Takekaze rather easily. Takekaze keeps a balanced score.
  • Kyokutaisei doesn’t look like he is on his way back to Makuuchi. Akiseyama pulls him down pretty early off the tachiai.
  • Terutsuyoshi today opts for a henka. Or is that a HNH? He then follows it up with some strong shoves and Wakatakakage finds himself on the floor. Terutsuyoshi, like Enho, keeps himself in the leader group.
  • For once, Ishiura wins by a hatakikomi which is not the result of a henka. He go straight forward at the tachiai, and only then pulls and sidesteps.
  • Hidenoumi manages to slip his right hand inside under Daishoho’s arm. Daishoho applies an ottsuke, then a lock, and they grapple on the other side, when Hidenoumi manages to slip in the second into a morozashi. You’ll then see Daishoho trying the same thing Nishikigi did later to Tochiozan – only a lot less effectively. While Nishikigi knew his ability to hold his armpits locked is limited and immediately stepped forward, Daishoho here delays. Also, his arm lock is not as efficient as his elbows are more open than Nishikigi’s were and Hidenoumi gets a grip on the back of his mawashi. At some point Daishoho even releases and rests his tired arm muscles. Hidenoumi then manages to use that morozashi to effect and walks him over the bales.
  • The bout between Tokushoryu and Yago starts as an exchange of rhythmic shoves. Then Yago decides he has enough, lands a yotsu hold, and finishes with a classic yori-kiri.
  • So if you’re short on henkas, and feel you have missed them in the Makuuchi bout, Kotoeko here demonstrates a big, fat henka that has Takagenji rolling his eyes in frustration at the other edge of the dohyo.

 

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 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.