Bouts From the Lower Divisions – Day 6

Hoshoryu in his first official Oicho-mage

I wanted to start with a video of today’s maezumo. However, I have a personal policy against sharing videos that include serious injuries – ones that require the wrestler to be carried away by others – and unfortunately, today’s maezumo footage included one of those.

Senho, Hakuho’s new small forward uchi-deshi, apparently lost his bout yesterday, so unlike Hokutenkai, he had to do another bout. His opponent was Naruto beya’s humongous new deshi, Konno, and although Senho did not do anything spectacular or dangerous, Konno ended up landing badly on his knee and just stayed there unmoving. A sewanin and a yobidashi had to take him off the dohyo. I hope the reason for this is that he is not yet used to sudden pain, rather than a serious injury at such an early stage of his career, but if not, we may see him do maezumo again next basho or the one after it.

Jonokuchi

Speaking of Naruto beya, you may recall that Naruto had no less than six new deshi in the previous basho (I have to get a photo of the presentation of the new deshi. Kotooshu must have needed to go very deep into his collection of kesho-mawashi to dress up six of them). No less than four of them are in the Jonokuchi yusho race at this moment – which is going to give the torikumi committee a bit of a scheduling headache if they keep winning. Here are two of them. Start with Motobayashi, who is 23 years old. Here he is on the left, with his rival, Kotoyamato from Sadogatake, on the right:

No contest here. Next up is Marusho, who is merely 18, just graduated from high school. On the left, facing Koki from Minato beya.

He was listed as a tsuki-oshi man when he joined, but he went directly for the mawashi in this match.

Both men, as well as their heya mates, Mishima and Sakurai, are now 3-0. Three of them are scheduled against the remaining non-Naruto with 3-0, so there is good chance that Jonokuchi will run out of lossless rikishi who are not from Naruto beya pretty soon – in which case, they are going to be scheduled with lossless rikishi from Jonidan.

Jonidan

Speaking of Jonidan, here is Kitanowaka, the charmer from Hakkaku beya, attacking from the right, matched with Kirizakura from Michinoku beya on the left:

Again, quick dispatch, much to the delight of the young Maiko in the background. By the way, I think Kitanowaka has legs as long as Abi’s. I wonder what uses he will make of them as he advances into the more complicated levels.

Now, the next bout is interesting, and I’m sure you’ll want to rerun it several times. On the left, we have Hakuho’s giant uchi-deshi, Toma. On the right, Wakahiroto from Chiganoura beya, who is, himself, not exactly a pixie. Since Toma currently mostly wins by using the Orora tactic (“be big”), this bout turns out not to be that straightforward for him.

I would have sworn that it was Wakahiroto’s win, but there wasn’t even a monoii. And looking at the video several times, it appears, indeed, that – unless Toma’s left heel is touching the Janome, which we can’t see – he has one foot firmly on the tawara, while Wakahiroto’s feet both detach themselves from the dohyo’s surface. So it’s indeed Toma’s win. By the way, they call it a yoritaoshi as Toma turns to leave, but it was later corrected to an utchari. The one thing to remember, both from this bout and from Onosho’s bout: it’s not about who touches first, it’s about who died first.

Sandanme

Unfortunately, I could not find any footage of Musashikuni today, so all I can do is report to you that the American lost his match with Oginosho. But thankfully, Wakaichiro is very popular, and so, here he is attacking from the right, while Hamadayama from Shibatayama beya is attacking from the left:

Straightforward, good deashi, thrusts from both sides, oshidashi, and Wakaichiro is 2-1.

Makushita

The two elder Onami brothers had bouts today. Let’s start with big brother Wakatakamoto (right), who faces Masutoo (left), Chiganoura’s Hungarian wrestler. Both are 2-0 coming into this game.

Not that this was brilliant sumo, but Masutoo has much confidence lately, which I suppose comes from the enlargement of the heya and some quality practice rivals. His career seems to have taken a change for the better, with 6-1 in the previous basho, and now 3-0.

Next up, we have two Mongolians – Yoshoyama, with whom you should already be familiar from my previous posts, is on the left, and Roga, the wolf from Futagoyama beya, on the right:

Engage, get his grip right, and twist your opponent down. The kimarite is shitatehineri. Roga is now 2-1, while Yoshoyama drops to 1-2.

Next up, Prince Naya, who was much talked of before this basho – getting stronger, coming into his own, etc. Naya is on the right, and Tsukahara on the left, and both are 1-1 as they face each other.

Ah, lack of experience. Naya starts aggressively and commits himself fully, but that opens him to exactly the side step that Tsukahara expertly performs, and the prince goes down to hatakikomi. To the press, he said “My keiko was not sufficient”. I seriously believe being at Otake beya hinders him. Otake oyakata is not Taiho.

Our next Onami brother is middle brother Wakamotoharu, here on the left, setting out against Kaisho from Asakayama beya on the right. Both are 1-1.

Nice yotsu match there. The two lock in, but when Kaisho attempts a makikae (change from an arm out to an arm in), Wakamotoharu makes his move. A makikae is always a risk for losing realestate, and Kaisho lost all of his land. Wakamotoharu himself lands almost in the box seats, but he lands there with 2-1, now even with his big brother.

Juryo

Because of Aminishiki’s kyujo, an extra wrestler is needed in Juryo every day, borrowed from Makushita. When that happens, the wrestler from Makushita gets to wear an oicho-mage for that bout, and today was Hoshoryu’s first appearance in an official oicho-mage. There was much swooning all over the su-jo scene. Hoshoryu, on the left, was to face Kizakiumi, on the right, whose brother, Churanoumi, he defeated yesterday.

Kizakiumi, however, proves to be Hoshoryu’s kryptonite. This didn’t even develop into a real bout, and the young Mongolian found himself unceremoniously dumped over the edge of the dohyo.

Lucky for Hoshoryu, who is now 2-2, with the exception of Seiro, those above him in Makushita seem to be doing worse, especially Daiseido, who is already 0-3, which means that a simple kachi-koshi may well carry him to Juryo in Aki. However, what he will do once he is there is a different question, as both his fights with “real sekitori” ended in him crumpled at the side of the dohyo.

By the way, for the time being there will be no more visits from Makushita to Juryo, as Tochinoshin’s kyujo evens out the number of sekitori. That is, there will be a visit from Juryo to Makuuchi, and an even number of sekitori will remain in Juryo.

In other news, on a scale of 1-10, how predictable would you rate the following match?

Nagoya Day 6 – Ones To Watch

Bruce is back from his business road trip, so it’s wall to wall sumo time! And what a night to get rolling. As Herouth mentioned, none other than risking star Hoshoryu will step onto the dohyo for a Juryo bout, when he takes on Juryo 13w Kizakiumi who clocks in at 2-3. Are you excited? I know I am. If Hoshoryu can hit kachi-koshi this tournament, there is a small but not zero chance he could make his Sekitori debut in September.

Elsewhere we have Wakaichiro, and a swarm of other favorites fighting their 3rd match. Let’s take a look at day 6:

Hoshoryu vs Kizakiumi – I think everyone wants Hoshoryu to score a win. Can he actually go toe to toe in Juryo and come out without that slippery clay on him? I want to find out…

Wakamotoharu vs Kaisho – A 1-1 bracket match, the winner would advance to the 2-1 bracket, thought neither of them are likely to contend for the yusho, and both are outside promotion range. So this one is for glory.

Naya vs Tsukahara – If Naya wins, we could conceivably see Naya face Wakamotoharu, which would be amazing. Both of these rikishi are in the 1-1 bracket, so like the match above, they are fighting purely for kachi-koshi at this time, and a chance to advance a bit closer to the Juryo line. Naya won their only prior match.

Masutoo vs Wakatakamoto – A 2-0 bracket match, this is the 3rd time these rikishi have met 3 times in the past, with Wakatakamoto taking 2 of them. I note that Masutoo has a distinct weight advantage over Wakatakamoto.

Yoshoyama vs Roga – Roga bounced back from his first match loss, and is looking to pull up to 2-1, possibly scoring a rematch against Terunofuji in the process (we all hope). Yoshoyama is another Mongolian rising star, from Tokitsukaze heya. This is probably going to be an excellent match.

Oginosho vs Musashikuni – Another 1-1 bracket match, Musashikuni is in range to be re-promoted to Makushita if he can make it to his 4th win. He has faced Oginosho twice before, losing them both.

Hamadayama vs Wakaichiro – Hamadayama is a 27 year old vet, and Wakaichiro is going to have his hands full. But he needs to bring his score up to 2-1, if he wants to reach his goal of a kachi-koshi in Sandanme. Here’s to hoping that his new-found strength and fighting spirit carries the day.

Kitanowaka vs Kirizakura – Yeah, it’s Jonidan, but this kid Kitanowaka is going places. He is 2-0, and if he can win out, I would not be surprised if he did not contend for the Jonidan yusho.

Bouts from the lower divisions – Day 3

Meet Hokutenkai, Takanoiwa’s nephew

I’d like to start today with some maezumo. Nine wrestlers are participating in maezumo this basho. Of them, five are formerly ranked rikishi who are coming back from banzuke-gai status, which is where you get if you don’t show up to any match while ranked in Jonokuchi. The other four are new ones – three who passed the new recruit health checkup prior to this basho, and one who passed it in the previous basho, but had to wait for his visa to be approved.

This latter one is Takanoiwa’s nephew, Sukhbat, who graduated from the famous Saitama Sakae high school, and really should have belonged to the Hoshoryu/Naya generation. However, he was looking for a heya at the height of the Harumafuji scandal, in 2018, and the well-oiled Mongolian placement machine was not willing to work for him. That is, until Harumafuji and Takanoiwa reconciled. You can read all about him finding his way into the sumo world in our coverage of Takanoiwa’s danpatsu-shiki.

He now has a new shikona – Hokutenkai, “Heavenly Sea Of the North” – which is a variation on the name of a former Ozeki that he looked up to: Hokutenyu. It is a bit surprising that a young Mongolian rikishi would look up to an Ozeki who was active in the ’80s, but there you go.

After all this time, the man was starved for the dohyo. And you can see that very well in today’s maezumo bout.

Another interesting figure in maezumo is Hakuho’s latest recruit, Hasegawa. Half Japanese, half Mongolian, he grew up in Japan, but then moved to Ulaanbaatar, where he attended a Japanese school and played basketball.

Senho – the latest in Hakuho’s growing list of uchi-deshi

This 16 years old, unlike Hakuho’s other recruits, doesn’t have much of a sumo experience. He did not belong to any sumo dojo as a kid, but he did participate in a major competition during his primary school days, where he drew the attention of one of Hakuho’s contacts, who tipped the Yokozuna. Tall, lanky, 16 year-old with a background more in basketball than in sumo. Hmm… whom does that remind you of?

That lack of experience did show in his maezumo bout.

The other two new faces in maezumo are Hisasue, who joins Kokonoe beya, and the gigantic Konno, who joins the fast-growing Naruto beya.

Here is a video showing first the preparations of all the participants, and then the bouts themselves, starting with Senho (left) vs. Bariki (right), then Hisasue (left) vs Konno (right), then finally, poor Urutora from Shikihide beya (left) vs. Hokutenkai (right):

Senho (meaning “A thousand pengs”, or “A thousand Phoenixes”) seems to have spent a little bit too much time around Ishiura. Yeah, I know, no sumo experience, shouldn’t expect much at this stage. Hokutenkai, on the other hand, is starved for sumo, full of self-confidence, and I wouldn’t want to be standing on the dohyo opposite him right now.

Jonokuchi

Resuming our regular programming, the sky almost fell today. Take a look at what happened in the Hattorizakura (right) vs. Yamamoto (left) bout:

A monoii. An actual monoii. And Hattorizakura seemed to be able to carry a bout of sumo against somebody twice his size. Wait, what was that shadow passing my window? Oh, a flying pig.

Jonidan

Continuing the adventure of the closely-shorn Roman from Tatsunami beya, here we have him vs. Kotokogyoku (let’s see you pronounce that three times in a row). Sadogatake man on the left, crew-cut Roman on the right:

Whoa. “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou”, I said, “art sure no craven”. At this rate Roman is a serious contender for the Jonidan yusho. I wonder how odd it will look to TV viewers if he does. BTW, Roman is not the only shorn rikishi in Tatsunami beya. There is another one, Yukiamami, who was also absent through Natsu, and is now back in Jonokuchi. Twitter is full of question marks about these two.

Sandanme

We continue to watch Amakaze on his trail back to fame and his beloved kesho-mawashi. Today he faces Baraki (left) who is one of Shikihide beya’s top ranking men, and famous for a stint in Shokkiri.

Amakaze nearly flattens the homunculus.

Next up is American-born Musashikuni (left) facing Kaizen from Asakayama beya (right).

Sorry it’s just a half-video. In any case, Kuni recovers from his initial loss, and is now 1:1.

A bit late, but I got Wakaichiro! So here he is. Kamitani from Michinoku beya attacks from the left, Wakaichiro from the right:

Frustrating misstep there for the young Texan. We hope he will bounce back. At least he is genki enough to lightly jump back up the dohyo. He is now 1:1.

Makushita

We continue to follow Genki, the Former Turtle, here on the left, facing Kaito from Asakayama beya (right). They start this match with 1-0 each.

This time Genki is not as overwhelming as he was on day 1. He is now 1-1.

Aoi, who almost had an arm torn off by former kaiju Terunofuji yesterday, faced a slightly less fearful rival today – the Tokitsukaze Mongolian, Yoshoyama. Aoi on the left, Yoshoyama on the right:

Yoshoyama recovers from his first defeat for a 1-1, while Aoi probably curses his luck for having faced him with two consecutive Mongolians.

Recovering Hakuyozan (left) faces Nogami from Oguruma (right) for what should have been a relatively easy match for the more experienced recovering former sekitori.

However, it is Nogami who prevails, and you can see the frustration on Hakuyozan’s face, as he is now 1-1, and at Ms10, this one loss may well have blocked him from a quick return to his sekitori status.

Eldest Onami brother Wakatakamoto faced Terao from Shikoroyama beya today. Waka on the left, Terao The Third on the right:

This is one of those uncontrolled spirals of death kind of pushes, where the pusher cannot stop himself and just hopes he will fall after his rival is out. Terao doesn’t have the presence of mind to sidestep, and so Wakatakamoto is now 2-0.

Next, what is going on with our favorite Russian/Mongolian wolf, Roga? Can he recover from that initial blow? Here on the right, he faces Fujita, of Shikoroyama beya, on the left.

Yes, much better, Roga. Yorikiri. And that length of hair should put him in a chon-mage already.

Finally, we have our highlight bout, in which Hoshoryu gets to meet Seiro, a Mongolian with real sekitori experience and even a couple of visits to Makuuchi. Hoshoryu on the far side, Seiro with his backside to us:

Seiro doesn’t allow Hoshoryu to fully engage with him, using a technique similar to Ryuden’s to keep him away. Eventually Hoshoryu loses his footing, and looks pretty sour. It’s 1-1 to the famous nephew, and he can only afford one additional loss if he wants to be a sekitori by Aki.

Bouts From The Lower Divisions, Day 1

Hello Tachiai readers. Hohisashiburi! Today, not many of the big names of the lower divisions were in play – there’s going to be a big burst of them tomorrow – but still, I collected several bouts for you, including three loose themes:

Homarefuji and Hakuyozan – image of Jungyo past – fall into the third category
  • Bruce’s “Ones To Watch”
  • Hakuho’s Uchi-deshi
  • Wrestlers of past glory trying to work their way back
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