For those of you who’ve been following sumo through the last half decade, you may recall a little brouhaha sandwiched between the JSA cover-up of a boy beat to death in 2007 and the more recent baseball betting among rikishi and four-fingered, tattooed men. Between these two scandals, you may recall a ruckus in which this man took part. Any idea who this bastard is? You purists should know. Yes, I did a little detective work and came across the spunky up-and-comer of 2008, Wakanoho, who was dismissed from sumo after someone found a joint in his lost wallet. Redeeming himself, it appears Mr. Gagloev is now a freshman defensive linesman for the Webber International University Warriors, in Asspit, Florida. He won’t be getting any trouble for marijuana in the US, friend, but do watch out if you choose to smoke Cubans!
Day 11 of the Aki Basho and two stories are making the headlines; another of Kaio’s possible swansongs and Hakuho’s dominating record. Regarding the latter (I don’t have shit to say about the former), I was chatting with a Mongolian friend the other day who told me that there was an interview with Asashoryu in the Mongolian newspaper. He was asked how he felt about Hakuho’s winning streak. Tactful and classy as he is, Asa indicated he was proud of Hakuho and remarked along the lines of it being a extraordinary achievement, but later in the interview he stated, again with regards to Hakuho’s winning streak, “it’s a good thing for him I’m not around anymore.” Maybe it is, but it certainly ain’t a good thing for the JSA who do a mighty fine job of emptying the seats at the Kokugikan. But that’s neither here nor there, and this is how I saw it on Day 11.
My name is Virgil Valentine, and I start where I want, and today I’ll start waaaay down low…in makushita. The rikishi who’s been on my bubble, Aoiyama is 4-1 at Makushita W9. Today he took on Makushita E3 Masunoyama, also at 4-1. With this win and possibly just one more, I’d say Aoiyama is on the elevator heading into sekitori bliss. Aoi charged right into Masunoyama at the tachai, with Masu not even moving, but once contact was made, Masu charged straight with a morozashi. Right on the bales Aoi turned an uwatenage and both rikishi slammed the clay. The uwatenage was enough to save Aoi from hitting the clay just a split second before Masunoyama, and the Bulgarian sits at 5-1. Finishing off the basho with one more win is a sure-fire way to get that sekitori salary in Fukuoka, then just maybe he’ll have the funds to enjoy it’s Nakasu district for a night.
As Murray Johnson would say, “Now, there’s an interesting situation down in Juryo.” Yeah, the interesting situation is that half of them are in makuuchi. It already appears the yusho is in Toyonoshima’s hands. In a noshima battle today was Toyonoshima (10-0) vs. Tamanoshima (6-4). Easy tachiai between the two, taking Prince Toyo a few steps before he could even get his hands on King Tama (huh, huh). Toyo went for an inside position and stepping back, opened up his left-side and pulled Tama’s left shoulder down with both hands, via katasukashi. With that Toyonoshima is 11-0, and only Goeido at 9-2, the Juryo yusho for this basho is in the hands of the baseball gamblers association.
Gagamaru (6-4) and Sokokurai (5-5) started things with a soft tachiai as Sokokurai moved a bit to the right. In fact, I think nerves were a factor as Sokokurai was halfway into a henka and halfway waling out of the ring. Gaga just wrapped up on the belt and marched the chinaman out, yorikiri style. Gaga on way to a kachikoshi, at 7-4, while SokokuRay, who’s never makekoshi-ed since becoming a sekitori, is now at 5-6.
Tamawashi (7-3) has seven straight wins and wanting to add to that a kachikoshi for today. In the dance with Kimurayama (7-3), they starting things off with some mild tsuppari at the tachiai which was weak and both rikishi should have enhanced, but pressing through the weak tsuppari they lock up briefly with morozashi and separated. A few more shoves and Kimura was near the edge and Tamawashi finished him off oshidashi. And with a kachikoshi, Tamawashi went to the NHK interview room to talk about the growth of his beard and other relevant information. Gotta love NHK.
Kokkai (7-3) vs. Takekaze (8-2): Nice tachiai with Take withstanding Kokkai’s shoulder to the face and quickly gaining a right-hand outside grip and wasting no time to use that for an uwatedashinage. 9-2 for Takekaze, while the gentleman from Georgia will have to wait for his kachikoshi, sitting at 7-4.
Yoshikaze (8-2) and Asasekiryu (6-4) bonk heads at the tachiai, followed by Yoshikaze working in a morozashi as Sexy just came up into his chest and from there Yoshi threw a belt-less arm throw without having to move his feet. Yoshikaze is “still in the yusho race,” according to our friends at NHK, with a 9-2. More like he and stablemate Takekaze in the running for special prizes.
Takamisakari (2-8) is having a terrible basho with only two wins thus far, yet that’s double the victories Wakanosato (1-9) has. After a round of barking and doing the frog stomp, the Aomori battle began. Wakanosato charged a lot harder at the tachiai like a bullet into Taka’s chest. They wrapped up but Takami was all counter attack, which has been shit this basho. Waka by tsukiotoshi. It was Waka’s 11th victory over Johnny Appleseed, and after opening this basho with nine straight losses, he’s on a two match winning streak!
Sylvester Stallone was reportedly in the Kokugikan today, evidently visiting Japan to pick up a few Cuban smokes and enjoy the sumo. Stallone, you’re welcome to join us at our Sumo & Stogies gathering on Saturday…just show up as Rambo and we’ll all be happy.
Kisenosato (3-7) vs. Tochinoshin (6-4): Mr. Tochinoshin went slightly to the side at the tachiai in order to get a left hand outside but Kise worked it off with good defensive tsuppari. From here Mr. Tochinoshin was pressing Kise to the edge where Kise put on a spinning countermove which left the two rikishi dangling on the edge like they were on a high wire. Kise did the hopscotch around the tawara while Mr. Tochinoshin towered down first. The gumbai went Kissy, but after a confirmation chat among the judges, it was validated. Kise’s victory, and thus avoids his makekoshi for now.
Aminishiki (6-4) vs. Tochiozan (7-3): Aminishiki gained ground on the tachiai but from here Ozan outpowered Sneaky’s low pushing attack. With a bad knee, Aminishiki couldn’t change the backwards momentum and Tochi wins oshidashi. Tochiozan stays sekiwake with a kachikoshi while Sneaky’s promotion/demotion is still up in the air.
Today, he faced Ozeki Kotooshu (9-1) – God I hope Hakuba (6-4) doesn’t…aaah, shit! He did! Hakuba henkas to the right throwing off the slow witted Ozeki. Hakube went for an armbar on Oshu and kept it until he had his opponent to the edge, then moved inside, head on chest and with a little gabburi worked Oshu out. And this is precisely the reason why Oshu will never be a yokozuna. He falls for shit like this. And Hakuba in the NHK Interview Room! “Was that planned bout?” Hakuba: “Huh, huh [with a cheesy grin]. That’s a secret.” It’s not a secret! Everyone knew it except Kotooshu. Hakuba is 7-4, and thus one henka away from kachikoshi while Kotooshu is plain out of that yusho race that some talk about.
Harumafuji (6-4) vs. Kaio (5-5): Haruma wanted a right hand outside but failed, they separate briefly, then Kaio shoved Haruma to the edge and unleashed what they called a sakatottari, but really it was just a bump from the ass and the little man was down on the clay. Kaio is still alive at 6-5, though he has the Dai-Yokozuna tomorrow. Seems it’s any easy win for Hakuho, but remember Kaio was the last man who defeated Hakuho way back in January. Harumafuji falls to 6-5 and better take his Ama tablets with Gatorade.
Baruto (8-2) started things off with a friendly harite for Kakuryu (6-4). Both lock up with Kakuryu’s two hands inside on the belt, and Bart’s hands both outside. When Bart goes for the predictable tsuridashi, Kakuryu sneaked in a beautiful leg trip, sotogake. Nice win by the Kak, who has defeated three of the four ozeki this basho.
Hakuho (10-0) vs. Aran (4-6): slow start from Hakuho at tachiai. For a second Hak just held off Aran’s reach, then Hak went in himself for the right hand inside, left hand outside, and a smooth and easy uwatenage. Hak’s at an astonishing 58 consecutive wins.
Here’s our Aki leader board: Hakuho. The leader board is so certain it could be chiseled in stone and put in a museum. Hakuho is doing his job, and he’s an amazing athlete. That’s how I see it.
A Pink Floyd lyric says “hanging in on quiet desperation is the English way.” Bertrum will clarify how much truth there is to these words tomorrow on Day 12.