Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 9

In the lower divisions, tension is rising as the yusho shortlists are getting, well, shorter. Every day there are fewer and fewer perfect scored rikishi.

And Juryo is not a walk in the park, either

Jonokuchi

But one rikishi reliably keeps a perfect record! Of course, it’s a perfect losing record, but still perfect!

Hattorizakura-Wakakosuge

Once again Hattorizakura gives us a glimpse of hope, somewhere there, that he might… just might… nope.

Jonidan

I keep following little Chiyotaiyo, but he is not doing well this basho. Coming into this bout, he and his rival, Tanji, are 1-3. And Tanji doesn’t look like he has that much of a weight advantage.

However, the stick insect from Kokonoe is taken down without much ceremony. He is now make-koshi.

On the other side of the scoreboard, we have Mitsuuchi vs. Akitoba, both coming in at 4-0. Mitsuuchi has a very strange sumo record. Joining in 2015 he had a string of 6-1 tournament, then a couple of make-koshi, then full-on kyujo for four consecutive tournaments, causing him to drop off the banzuke. He then has to do maezumo again, enters back and once again, has two good 5-2 and 6-1 tournaments. This is mid 2017. Then – lo and behold – he goes kyujo – five straight tournaments. Has to do maezumo again! And then he comes back in Aki 2018 and grabs the Jonokuchi yusho.

So it’s Mitsuuchi’s fifth win, and he is in the list of yusho hopefuls, which also includes Sumanoumi, Kotokume, Kenho, Tatsunoumi and Kotourasaki.

To close off the Jonidan list, since Bruce is a bit under the weather, I’ll cover Wakaichiro here. His opponent is Tainaka, about the same age and a similar record as out hero from Texas.

This was a very frustrating bout for the young Texan. He has it in control from the start, going forward – and then Tainaka snatches it from under his nose.

Despite the frustration, Wakaichiro gives the deepest bow to his opponent before descending the dohyo. Wakaichiro is now make-koshi and should rally and continue that forward motion to keep himself on the upper side of Jonidan.

Sandanme

All the bouts I have for you today are ones deciding the yusho race. I’ll start at the bottom, with two relatively anonymous youngsters from Isegahama beya. The first is Fukunofuji, who usually has a hard time in Sandanme, and was kyujo the previous basho. His opponent is Nakashima from Musashigawa, with a similar record, who was also kyujo last basho.

It’s nice to see a yotsu match at this level. The next Isegahama man is Hikarifuji, up against Takatenshu (one of the former Takanohana wrestlers). Hikarifuji is one of the Isegahama pixies at 173cm.

Hikarifuji kind of tries a henka, then realizes that the other guy is just too big for that to be effective. Nevertheless, Hikarifuji wins this Aminishiki-style, and finds himself in the Yusho run himself.

These two guys being from the same heya, they are probably going to be facing some tough competition very soon now. Case in point – hello Ura! How are you today?

Kurahashi, Ura’s victim opponent for today is not a tall guy. So Ura keeps himself low and very stable with his feet neatly arranged, one front, one back. He could give lessons. I suggested on Twitter that this video should be sent to Takayasu and Kisenosato for a refresher. Ura maintains his perfect record for this basho and is, of course, in the yusho race.

Another one we have been following for a while is Kototebakari. Here he is facing Hokutoshu.

No sweat. Kototebakari is still perfect.

The Sandanme Yusho arasoi currently consists of Kototebakari, Ura, Yokoe, Kotoozutsu, Hikarifuji and Fukunofuji. With two from Isegahama and two from Sadogatake, we might either be seeing a mismatch of ranks, or have Ura face Kototebakari in the next round, which should be a bout to watch for.

Makushita

The famous nephew (“Who is your favorite Yokozuna?”, “My Uncle!” – From Hoshoryu’s live Instagram. Silly question) was matched today against Kainoryu. Kaynoryu is not exactly Yokozuna material, having spent most of his career between Sandanme and Makushita.

I don’t know if it’s lapse of concentration on Hoshoryu’s part or what. He seems to lose this bout by starting it with tsuppari rather than going for his strong yotsu from the start. Hoshoryu is out of the yusho race, though I’m sure he’ll do his best to end at 6-1 and advance as far as he possibly can without a yusho.

By the way, Hoshoryu is serving as Meisei’s tsukebito again this basho.

We finish Makushita with Sokokurai vs. Kiribayama. So it’s Inner Mongolia vs. Sovereign Mongolia here:

Sokokurai is not letting this go anywhere except Inner Mongolia.

Only four men remain in the Makushita yusho race: Sokokurai, Gochozan, Takaryu, Kainoryu. All with five wins, meaning they only have two bouts to go. This means the yusho will be decided without playoff – unless any of them gets a Juryo bout.

Juryo

  • Somebody in the Torikumi committee thought it would be a hoot to bring in a 36 years old, 165cm tall Makushita man with three losses for a bout at Juryo. Of course, technically Sagatsukasa is Ms3 so he is fair game, but come on… Mitoryu gets this win on a platter.
  • Tobizaru has been relegated to the chaser list yesterday. He tries with all his monkey energy to keep himself there. Shimanoumi thinks differently. The flying monkey flies again.
  • Tomokaze looks like he has been born in Juryo. Low stance, strong thrusts, Azumaryu finds himself unable to do his sumo. Tomokaze needs only two wins in 6 days to ensure his stay in Juryo.
  • Two elderly men climb the dohyo – Takekaze, 39, and Toyonoshima, 35. I didn’t expect that double pirouette, though. Guys, it’s not Hanukkah, yet. Leave the dreidels off the dohyo.
  • In every basho, Tsurugisho has one big, fat, ugly henka that makes me want to strangle him. This time it’s Chiyonoumi who is doing somersaults off the tachiai. 😡😡 Chiyonoumi needs to start collecting some wins fast – I think some 3 wins might cushion him from dropping back to Makushita.
  • Gokushindo doing some tentative sumo again. His stance is good, and Kyokushuho can’t find a way inside, and ends up losing his own balance.
  • Hakuyozan has also been in the chaser group before this match. A leaning match develops into a fine yotsu struggle, and Jokoryu prevails, bringing himself closer to breaking even.
  • Yesterday, Kokonoe oyakata gave Chiyonoumi and Chiyonoo a pep-talk dinner. It didn’t work for Chiyonoumi (thank you Tsurugisho 😡), but it seems to have worked for Chiyonoo, who takes the initiative and evades make-koshi for another day. Kyokutaisei is 4-5 – not quite himself as yet.

Now, the Enho-Wakatakakage was the match of the day. Wakatakakage matched Enho’s sumo, and although Enho did get that famous grip on his mawashi, he just couldn’t get the angles he wanted. Wakatakakage managed to stick his head below Enho’s – not an easy task, and we had a long stalemate. Enho nearly had Wakatakakage there at the edge. But the youngest Onami kept his foot safe. Here is a tweet by TheSumoSoul, showing Wakatakakage’s foot:

And here is short footage showing the undisturbed janome (ring of fine dust around the ring of bales).

The call was right, and Enho drops to two losses. Moving on:

  • Once again, Kotoyuki manages to avoid rolling. I’m impressed.
  • Aminishiki is not happy with himself going backwards, but backwards he went – and performed the first kubinage in his career, bringing himself to 45 different kimarite, only one behind Kyokushuzan, who holds the record. A monoii is called because his foot seems to have gone outside, but the Gyoji’s decision is upheld.
  • Takagenji seems to be on a recovery course with three consecutive wins after his weak first week. This bout with Daishoho was one sided.
  • Terutsuyoshi – remember, he’s in the leader group – once again tries to do straight sumo, no tricks. And it’s a really good bout, where he gets to lift Kotoeko for a second, and fends off Kotoeko’s following attack. But then Kotoeko pulls and the pixie loses his balance.
  • Final pixie of the day, though really, for Ishiura that word just doesn’t ring right. No tricks this time, and Ishiura has an enjoyable exchange of thrusts with Yago. Ishiura survives a couple of waves of attack, but eventually the bigger man prevails. Not a good day for the small rikishi.

Or is it? As it turns out, everybody at the top lost. So the leaderboard looks like this:

  • 7-2: Terutsuyoshi, Enho
  • 6-3: Yago, Kotoyuki, Hakuyozan, Tobizaru, Mitoryu, Toyonoshima, Tomokaze

Tomokaze in the yusho race? Oh lord. Tomorrow, while Enho faces Gokushindo and should be careful not to let a relatively easy one drop, Terutsuyoshi is facing a very difficult Yago. I wonder when they’ll match Enho with Aminishiki (Terutsuyoshi won’t be, they are from the same heya, as are Ishiura and Enho).

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 8

Hoshoryu, kachi-koshi

Jonidan

The fates of scheduling brought together today two well-known Jonidan denizen. Satonofuji, the yumitori master emeritus, and Hanakaze, the oldest active wrestler, 48 years old.

Somewhat geriatric tachiai there. The youngster (Satonofuji is merely 41) prevails, and is now 2-2.

Continuing the “Most X rikishi” theme, we have Kenho again! Facing Kotomanabe, both are 3-0.

And now Kenho is kachi-koshi as well. What do you think – can he get the yusho?

Sandanme

Of course, we absolutely can’t do without this match. I give you Ura vs. Aoi. Both 3-0 coming into this match.

As Ura gains confidence, he is starting to show us some Ura-zumo. Yesterday he went for a leg, today he went for an arm. Aoi can only feel consoled in that he got treated the same as a Yokozuna. Ura is kachi-koshi, though I’m sure he is not going to rest on his laurels just yet.

Makushita

Yet another man who is on the shinkansen to Makuuchi Station is the man with the Uncle, Hoshoryu. Here matched with Tennozan.

No match, really. This bullet train is going-going-gone. Hoshoryu is kachi-koshi, and will also not be resting on any smelly leaves.

From the upper reaches of Makushita, the middle Onami brother, Wakamotoharu, vs. Kiribayama – yet another Mongolian who has a hard time gaining weight.

Could Kiribayama finally breach the sekitori barrier, after three years in the doldrums? He is 4-0. And the elder Onami brothers still can’t quite match their little brother.

Juuuuuuuuryo

Can you feel that I love this division? This was a fun day in Juryo. Let’s join in.

  • Quite a bout between Tomokaze and Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima has the better tachiai and has the beginnings of a sashi, when Tomokaze disengages and starts some tsuppari action. Toyonoshima is not easy to defeat, but defeated he is eventually.
  • Today’s Makushita representative is Tamaki from Takasago beya. He stands opposite Jokoryu, who is not doing too well this tournament. But he is doing well in this bout, picking and sweeping Tamaki easily.
  • Azumaryu seems to be getting over his initial struggles, with a third consecutive win. Shimanoumi needs to start worrying.
  • The next bout is between two of the three unlikely leaders of this division – Terutsuyoshi, Tobizaru and Enho. One is going to be relegated to the chaser group. Tobizaru (whose extra thick sagari make him look like he really is going to fly) knows exactly who he is facing, and works hard to fend Enho’s greedy arms from getting to his mawashi zone. Unfortunately for him, all Enho need is a sliver of an opening. As soon as his left hand is on the back of the monkey’s mawashi, the monkey flies indeed.
  • Chiyonoo knows he is getting to make-koshi land fast, and tries everything he can against Mitoryu. He nearly manages to throw him at the age – but not quite. He tries to pull him out of the leaning match – but doesn’t succeed. Eventually patient Mitoryu forces him out. Chiyonoo now 1-7, and it would surprise me if his score at the end will be a single-digit make-koshi.
  • Triple-breasted Gokushindo faces Tsurugisho. Both are not in a very good position at the moment, but Gokushindo is definitely heading back to Makushita for some remedial studying.
  • Chiyonoumi is in a similar straits as his heya-mate, Chiyonoo. Facing Hakuyozan, he throws everything and the kitchen sink at him, but Hakuyozan seems not to mind all the nodowa and tsuppari too much. I really hope my man from Kochi will not have to say goodbye to his collection of Bonito kesho-mawashi. Hakuyozan stays in the chaser group.
  • Takekaze finishes Akiseyama easily, first landing a nodowa, then pulling down for a katasukashi. The old man is not doing that badly at this stage.
  • Kyokushuho is not going to let yet another midget ruin his day. He batters Wakatakakage thoroughly and gets his third win.
  • Tokushoryu starts at Kyokutaisei quite energatically, and the man in orange is pushed back – but side steps and lets Tokushoryu’s bulk do the work for him.
  • Now here is our second highlight match today. Terutsuyoshi needs a win to keep himself abreast with Enho at the top of Mount Juryo. Let me tell you, he looked pretty tense today as he was about to make his final salt throw. So from out of nowhere he comes up with a nekodamashi (“I decided to do that yesterday, but didn’t rehearse it at all. I didn’t clap my hands all day!”), then dives for Daishoho’s leg. The surprised Daishoho finds himself sitting at the corner of the dohyo asking himself “what just happened”. For those of you who don’t know what a nekodamashi is – it’s clapping your hands right in front of your opponent’s face to briefly distract him. Previous to Hakuho’s famous double nekodamashi vs. Tochiozan, Mainoumi was known for using that trick. Terutsuyoshi very pleased, and keeps breathing the cold sweet air of the yusho race. He needs one win to kachi-koshi, and may not be far from serving as Hakuho’s next tsuyuharai. That is, if Enho doesn’t grab that yusho and gets there first (there are precedents for J10 yusho winners making it to Makuuchi).
  • Aminishiki goes for straightforward sumo today, but his opponent – Takagenji – is younger and stronger than he and quickly chases him out. Kudos to Takagenji for keeping Uncle from falling, though I am not sure Aminishiki appreciated being reminded of his age.
  • Hidenoumi has a three second illusion that he may dominate this match, when Yago takes over matters. Hidenoumi is desparately seeking wins.
  • Hey, what was that? Ishiura wins a bout with straight forward, no tricks sumo? Who knew he was capable of that? Kotoeko is 4-4.

Juryo leaderboard

7-1: Terutsuyoshi, Enho

6-2: Hakuyozan, Tobizaru

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 7

Prince Debu. I mean, Naya.

It’s the weekend. There is less footage, but more kachi-koshi. Let’s go!

Sandanme

We start with Torakio, who has been once again scheduled two days in a row. Today he was matched with Kasugakuni, with a similar record of 2-1.

Unfortunately, unlike yesterday’s bout, which was excellent, and caused him much frustration, today Torakio was weak and lost because of his own mistake. He is now 2-2. We will probably see him in Sandanme for a while yet.

We saw Inoue yesterday vs. Kototebakari, who has left him in the dust. Today he was scheduled vs. Debu. I mean, Naya. Both were 2-1. (Note that in the lower divisions scheduling normally goes according to current standing. That is, Rikishi are scheduled against opponents with the same score).

Classic oshi match. Inoue sidesteps and nearly cause Naya to stumble out, but Naya manages to keep his balance, turns and continues his attack for the win. Naya now 3-1, and Inoue 2-2.

The aforementioned Kototebakari has also been scheduled today – this time against Kirinofuji. Both 3-0 before this bout:

Kototebakari starts by going backwards, but soon takes over the match and marches Kirinofuji around the dohyo until he agrees to go out. Kototebakari is kachi-koshi and in the Sandanme yusho picture.

Makushita

From the lower part of this division, we have Kyokusoten vs. Takakento.

Kyokusoten has been around for seven years, but he doesn’t manage to put on weight – or to make it past mid-makushita. He started this tournament well, and I must have jinxed him when I mentioned that yesterday, because here he is being swept off the dohyo like so much salt.

At the top end of Makushita, in the purgatory, we have this bout (which I debated with myself whether to include, as I try to avoid the evil twin) between Taka-Beat-Your-Servant and Sokokurai.

TJT has good sumo, but thankfully good old Sokokurai has much more experience, countered the youngster’s attempts at a makikae, and had him down relatively quickly with a shitatenage. TJT’s race to the acquisition of a new victim, er, tsukebito, is somewhat slowed by this loss. Sokokurai, on the other hand, is kachi-koshi, though at Ms5 he still needs to pick a couple more wins to ensure his return to full sekitori status. At least this time he doesn’t need to raise chickens while he waits.

Juryo

So what happened today in the most interesting division in Grand Sumo?

  • As Daishoho at the top paid a visit to Makuuchi, a balancer is needed at the bottom, and Makushita’s Irodori (Shikoroyama beya) wears his first oicho-mage and goes out to meet Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima doesn’t waste time driving him out. Irodori is now half-and-half.
  • Mitoryu momentarily gets a sashi. Shimanoumi denies him. Mitoryu punishes with a nodowa and follows up with a dominating series of pushes. Oshidashi.
  • The other Nishikido man, Gokushindo, meets Tobizaru. This time he is not trying his delay tactic which hasn’t been working in the previous two days but goes on an aggressive tsuki-oshi attack. However, Tobizaru is rather strong and wants the Juryo yusho. Gokushindo finds himself flat on his face and a step closer back to the purgatory.
  • Chiyonoumi is also on a mission to avoid the purgatory. At 2-4, his situation is very delicate. He is very aggressive off the tachiai, and tsuki’s Jokoryu to ablivion. I think I see a dame-oshi there, too, as he gets a little bit carried away and even pulls his own sagari with what looks like anger. I don’t know what he was so pissed off about, but hey, glad he won. 3-4 now. Keep going, Kochi man.
  • Another man in serious need for white stars is Chiyonoo, who doesn’t seem able to produce much this tournament. Tomokaze makes short work of him. Tomokaze 4-3 and needs to keep it up to avoid a demotion
  • Kyokushuho starts his bout vs. Enho with what should probably have been called a matta. Enho operates an emergency plan and goes for the Mongolian’s leg. Whoever is throwing the dice for him is doing a good job because this turns out to be super effective, and Enho wins by a rare yori-kiri, surprising even himself. And was that a little shove of frustration sending Enho back a couple of steps?
  • Coming into this match, Hakuyozan is in the leader group. As he attempts a sashi on the left, Azumaryu is already several steps ahead and sends Hakuyozan to the chaser group.
  • A kind of oshi dance develops between Takekaze and Kyokutaisei. And dancing gives the advantage to the old wily one.
  • The time it takes Akiseyama to assume a crouching position is longer than the time it takes him to get Tsurugisho off the dohyo. Tsurugisho is not happy.
  • Wakatakakage once again shows that size doesn’t matter to him. He gets a quick grip on the bigger Tokushoryu and easily marches him out. Tho Arashio man is here to stay.
  • This time Terutsuyoshi goes for the Harumafuji dive-in. Doesn’t quite get it the way the Yokozuna would have, but he does manage to get Kotoyuki turned around and pushes him outside. Remarkably, Kotoyuki lands on his own feet. Terutsuyoshi still going strong. He said on the Isegahama web site that if he gets double digits he is highly likely to be promoted to Makuuchi, which probably means he totally jinxed himself.

The Aminishiki vs. Ishiura bout requires further explanation. There are those among you wondering how the Prince Of Wile and Duke Of Hatakikomi fell fol that stupid, flagrant henka from a man who is known for, well, doing henka. Here is the full bout, starting from the final salt throw.

  • Tachiai #1. Ishiura’s matta. Apologizes to whoever needs an apology, the two redo their shikiri.
  • Tachiai #2. I don’t really understand why this is a matta, and the gyoji doesn’t, either. The shimpan waves his hand – so a matta it is. Do it again. Aminishiki clearly unhappy.
  • Tachiai #3. This time Aminishiki jumps the gun. At this point his concentration is totally broken.
  • Tachiai #4. Hennnnnnka.

Aminishiki said on the Isegahama web site that he lost his concentration and that adapting to his opponent’s actions is the first rule in the book and he has neglected it. So that’s why.

Moving on with the rest of our Juryo footage:

  • Kotoeko starts with a bit of tsuppari, and although Hidenoumi seems to lock or at least limit his arms, Kotoeko still pushes forward. Hidenoumi is 1-6, and in the next banzuke will probably be able to say hi to his brother (Tobizaru) as they pass each other – Tobizaru soaring, while Hidenoumi nose diving.
  • The Yago-Takagenji match was actually quite enjoyable! Rains of tsuppari, sidestep not effective, continued tsuppari. Yet another attempt at a sidestep. Eventually it turns into a yotsu battle, but Takagenji has a morozashi, and although Yago seems to be able to release himself on the left side, it’s too late, and the less-evil twin gets a win and a pat of appreciation.

Wrestlers who have secured their kachi-koshi (4-0):

  • Jonokuchi: Daishoko, Kojikara
  • Jonidan: Akitoba, Mitsuuchi, Sumanoumi, Kotokume, Kainowaka, Kotourasaki, Fujinoteru (Yes, there is a Fujinoteru).
  • Sandanme: Kototebakari, Hokutoshu, Kurahashi, Hokutohomare, Kotoozutsu, Kawamoto, Takatenshu, Nakashima, Fukunofuji.
  • Makushita: Sokokurai, Gochozan, Fujiazuma, Takakento, Takaryu.

Tomorrow we have Enho vs Tobizaru!

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 5

Takagenji vs. Terutsuyoshi. Guess who won that one?

Maezumo

Let’s continue to watch the new fledgelings:

First bout – Denpoya is matched with Watai. With this win, Denpoya is 1-2, and Watai is 0-3.

Shimomura faces Narumi – one of the banzuke-gai veterans. Has no real problems with him. He is 2-1.

The best bout is Roga vs. Daitenma. Makes sense when both sides are Mongolian and apparently highly competitive. Roga is now 3-0 and certainly a man to watch. Daitenma drops to 2-1.

Hamasu faces a banzuke-gai veteran, Yuriki, who bests him. He looks very disappointed. He, too, drops to 2-1.

Jonokuchi

Watai, above, is probably going to meet our next rikishi in the next basho. So Watai, this is Hattorizakura. His second bout was his normal “nah, I’m not here to fight. Peace, man” sumo. How is his third bout going to look, against 0-2 newcomer Sawada?

Actually, not bad for Hattorizakura.

Jonidan

For the Kenho (remember, the biggest rikishi since Orora’s retirement) fans: your big man is not doing badly at all!

His second bout was somewhat lethargic bridge abutment style. But in this one he is very active. 3-0 for the reigning bane of scale manufacturers.

Sandanme

We have Naya again. This time facing Kihonoumi.

Classical oshi zumo there. The prince redeems himself and goes 2-1.

Makushita

Since we are thinking big today, here is Gagamaru vs. Irodori. Irodori is the hot thing in Shikoroyama beya right now (Abi is, of course, off the scale). Gagamaru… well, not the hottest thing in Kise beya

I wonder if Gagamaru might decide to retire if he doesn’t get that kachi-koshi he needs to regain his sekitori status. Because right now, it looks like he is not quite that level.

Juryo

Here is your digest. Power tip: if you don’t have time to watch all of it – watch the Terutsuyoshi – Takagenji bout. If you didn’t love sumo before…

  • Gokushindo is trying the tactic that Sokokurai complained about: Keeps Toyonoshima at arms length from the beginning of the bout. Toyonoshima tries and tries to attack, and it develops into a long leaning match. Gokushindo figures that the 35 years old veteran will run out of stamina before him. He is wrong. You don’t see it in this footage, but Toyonoshima looks mightily pleased at the end of this match.
  • Jokoryu dominates Tomokaze.
  • Chiyonoumi looking like he is heading back to Makushita, which is a real shame. His sumo simply lacks power.
  • Enho starts his usual series of attempts to get at Shimanoumi’s belt. This session usually ends up with the stubborn pixie getting what he wants. But this time he slips on the dohyo salt, ever so slightly, and Shimanoumi wisely uses that to chase him out. It’s Enho’s first loss this basho.
  • Tobizaru does a half-henka, then makes several attempts to get Chiyonoo’s mawashi. Eventually gives up, pulls and drops the Kokonoe man to the floor. Tobizaru is now – wait for it – the sole leader of the Juryo chart with 5-0. Yes. A flying monkey is heading the Juryo Yusho Arasoi. But after day 5 in Makuuchi… nothing is going to surprise me.
  • Takekaze does a nice proper tachiai. Then sidesteps, and Azumaryu just goes for it. OK… Takekaze will take whatever win he can get.
  • Tsurugisho goes densha-michi on Hakuyozan. I guess he is the one who stole Goeido’s sumo today.
  • Akiseyama looks very different than he looked yesterday. Perhaps day 4 was Lethargy Day and we didn’t get the memo. Today – after doing his long and painful-looking descent to the start position, he rises quite quickly, and follows that up by even quicker reactions. Kyokushuho finds himself at the bottom of the dohyo.
  • The Ishiura-Wakatakakage bout is one of the highlights of Juryo today. That is, the original bout. If I recall correctly, there were also a couple of mattas at first. Then the two start with a… double sided henka! They engage in a pretty even mawashi battle. Ishiura manages to get his head beneath Wakatakakage’s chest, lifting him up. Wakatakakage successfully neutralizes Ishiura’s right hand and doesn’t let him get a grip on that side. Ishiura drives Wakatakakage to the edge. Wakatakakage attempts to throw him. Doesn’t quite succeed, but Ishiura’s balanced is destroyed. Ishiura lunges at Wakatakekaze’s thigh. They both fall out. The gunbai goes to Ishiura. A monoii is called. The result: dotai – both touched at the same time – and a torinaoshi. The torinaoshi is a lot less exciting. There is another matta – not in this footage – and then… Ishiura actually goes straight and Wakatakakage is the one with the henka. Pheeew…
  • The Kyokutaisei-Hidenoumi bout is pale in comparison. Both try to get some sort of grip but don’t commit. Eventually Kyokutaisei shoves, follows with a nodowa, and sends Hidenoumi out. Hidenoumi is 0-5 and doesn’t look well.

And now, the real highlight of the evening. Whenever Terutsuyoshi meets Takagenji, there are bound to be sparks. Takagenji rains some classic tsuppari on the Isegahama humonculus. I don’t know what Terutsuyoshi’s throat is made of or how he manages to keep upright. But he does.

He disengages for a second and lunges in. Takagenji replies with a nodowa – but Terutsuyoshi slips his right hand inside. At this point, it turns out, we have a wardrobe malfunction. The gyoji stops the bout, reties Terutsuyoshi’s knot, checks on Takagenji’s, then pats both to continue.

The fun continues. Takagenji promptly releases Terutsuyoshi’s grip on his mawashi, but that arm is still wrapped around him, and their other hands are also fighting for positioning.

Takagenji shakes Terutsuyoshi off, grabs at his skull – and, er, his hair as well – and tries to push him down. Terutsuyoshi survives this as well, and uses Takagenji’s pull as he attempted that hatakikomi to push him outside.

Terutsuyoshi got the first place in the fighting spirit poll of the day, and quite rightly so. That was one helluva bout. On Abema TV you could see Terutsuyoshi then almost double over at the corner of the dohyo as he waited to give the power water, with the yobidashi giving him a worried look. I hope there will be no lasting effects on his health – he doesn’t deserve it, and we deserve more fun like that.

  • Kotoyuki slams, pulls, Daishoho down. Meh. Kotoyuki maintains himself in the yusho race, such as there is, with 4-1. Daishoho is 3-2.
  • Tokushoryu envelopes kotoeko and dominates him. Kotoeko circles and circles, but to no avail, ending off the dohyo.
  • Yago attacks Aminishiki with strong shoves. Aminishiki tries to get some sort of grip going, but by the time he gets anything, he is on the bales and cursing himself for going backwards again – not that he could do anything about it, with Yago’s mass and intensity.

This was really a fun day in Juryo. Really, don’t miss this division. Unlike Makuuchi, which has the san-yaku which is a sub-division of its own, Juryo is a small and very even division. Crazy is the norm here.