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.

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.

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!