I had a terrible dream. It was me, Hakuho, and senshuraku. I had a rendezvous with on the dohyo with the big guy in the final bout of the tournament. I was relaxing pre-bout, thinking of a sneaky strategy. I didn’t care if it would be in poor taste, I just wanted to win the easy way. I look over, and he’s ignoring me—ignoring everyone really, but focused on shiko—he’s doing shiko for a bout with me!? I’m honored, but I’m starting to panic. What the hell was I going to do? I’d die out there. Amidst my panic Kimura Shonosuke roars “jikan des.” He’s waiting for me to put my paws on the line. I can’t. I never do. The head judge orders me to do so. I slowly do, and as I do, I awake from the dream. Disappointing finish indeed, but once I woke I realized the terror which goes through each rikishi’s mind when he has to face the Yokozuna. It takes a real focused man to fight through…real focused.
EM16 Sokokurai (5-5) vs. WM12 Mokonami (6-4): first timers. Mokoloko came in lower and harder gaining ground on the tachiai, but after thrusts they briefly separate, then Sokoloko came in low with a grip and Mokoloko reciprocated. A mawashi battle ensued, with Mokoloko working mostly defensively. Mo’s wiggles led him back and So put in the extra oomph to push Mo over the line, force-out win for the Inner-Mongolia Chinaman.
EM13 Okinoumi (8-2) vs. WM9 Wakanosato (7-3): another pair of first timers. Wakanosato was quick off the tachiai but Don Juan stayed with it. Waka had a great hidariyotsu, so Oki got one as well. A lot of belt work between the two with periodical breathers in the center of the ring. Steering near the edge, the two attempted a couple of throws on the other and just in milliseconds Waka’s foot hit the clay before Oki went flying out and laid down a hand. Under-arm throw win for the Okinoshima devil who improves to makuuchi career best nine wins, and remains in the jun-yusho race.
EM7 Takekaze (5-5) vs. WM10 Hakuba (5-5): is Takekaze one to fall for Henka’s shenanigans? He’s never lost the fungus yet. Henkaba goes right at the tachiai, but it doesn’t phase Takekaze who is steady at the tachai with a slap straight to Henkaba’s face. The two grapple for an opening in what Ross Mihara called a “paddy cake tsuppari.” Henkaba moved in between the shoves and easily worked Takekaze out once he got on the belt. Fungus moves to 6-5.
EM9 Takamisakari (3-7) vs. WM5 Asasekiryu (4-6): Ringo leads the head-to-head 9-6. After plenty of barking, tachiai: Sexy was quicker at the tachiai, but walked right into Ringo’s morozashi. Ringo walked Sexy straight out of the ring and not noticing so, continued going in Forrest Gump fashion, until the two fell off the dohyo and nestled in a compromising position below. Ringo holds off makekoshi for another day with a 4-7. Sexy shares the same record.
EM5 Goeido (6-4) vs. EM8 Kitataiki (6-4): even tachiai but Goeido reached for a left-hand inside immediately which gave him the position he needed to drive forward and force out Kitataiki.
EM4 Homasho (5-5) vs. WM6 Gagamaru (4-6): Gaga gained some ground with a low and steady tachiai. Homie may not be the greatest on offensive, but he’s very good on defense. He hung with Gaga’s thrusts and stayed straight ahead of his opponent. Homie eventually steps back and pulls on Gaga’s arm, easily forcing the Georgian peach to fall from the tree.
EM2 Tochinoshin (1-9) vs. WM4 Tokusegawa (5-5): okay tachiai, but Noshin had his head up high, not looking at his opponent. They lock up and once Toku gets his makikae into a hidariyotsu, they start a cherry-picking game: Toku picks up Tochi, then Tochi picks up Toku, Toku picks up Tochi then as the Georgian is coming down Toku advances forward and with hands firm on the belt bring his opponent down to the ground force-down win for the Mongol. Noshin has double-digit losses.
It was at this point that my order of whiskey arrived at the door, and you never seen a happier fella. Mrs. Valentine has been out of town the last few days, and nothing beats enjoying sumo in my underbritches and having a glass of Irish whiskey to keep me company. I got one of my go-to weapons in a bourbon, one splurge for the Man, and one bottle to take to the upcoming Sumo & Stogies gathering.
With a bottle uncorked and my glass filled with the splurge for the Man, I’m ready for EM3 Aran (4-6) vs. WK Kakuryu (5-5). Head-to-head is 1-4 in the Kak’s favor. Soft tachiai, but Aran pressed forward on Kak. From the edge, Kak curled to the side and Aran continued to press forward. Both men wrap up migiyotsu and Aran tried another tsuridashi like yesterday’s win over Baruto. Kak knew what was coming and enforced a Kak-block, via his right leg wrapped around Aran’s left knee. To get out of this and keep his balance, Aran was forced to take steps backwards. Eventually, those backward steps led over the line. Outside leg trip by the Kak who impoves to a respectable 6-5 from komusubi.
WS Kotoshogiku (7-3) vs. WO Baruto (8-2): Bart leads the head-to-head 10-7. Tachiai – right on first impact they lock up in a migiyotsu, but Bart started to take control with his grip, though Geek kept aggressive. Geek got both hands inside, and Bart complied with both hands around Geek’s neck. In perfect position, Geek lowered his hips and started an ole fashion hug-n-chug, leading the Estonian out for another poor showing. Kachikoshi for the Geek who has done very well in sekiwake.
EO Kaio (7-3) vs. WM3 Tamawashi (4-6): tachiai looked a bit more like judo with plenty of space between the two. Occasional shoves and stops. You see what’s happening here? Tamawashi wasn’t going to fall for the old man, and he knew Kaio’s only wins are slap-downs and arm-bar locks. Very smart playing by Tamawashi, keeping distance from the old man, and pecking away, then finally moving in for the kill. Very respectable 5-6 for a first time this high in the ranks.
EO Kotooshu (8-2) vs. WO Harumafuji (7-3): head-to-head equals 14s a piece between these two. Haruma started tachiai with hands to chest, Koto shook it off then gained a left-hand outside to pull Haruma in, then lead him to the edge for a force-out win. Haruma still lacks one win to shake the kadoban monkey, and it looks as if he ain’t gonna get it tomorrow against Hakuho.
EY Hakuho (10-0) vs. ES Kisenosato (6-4): head-to-head 20-5 in Hak’s favor, with Kissy getting the last one. A lot of talk about the pressure on Hak for this one, but I’d say Kissy has just as much pressure. An upset once is something…maybe a fluke, but two consecutive upsets? That says a lot. So, tachiai: Hakuho came in strong, which could be his first mistake because Kissy slid to the left. Hak squared up quickly, but Kissy was already getting some whacks in on the face and chest, and keeping Hak plenty of distance away from his belt. With a good shove to the face, Hak jumped back in an attempt to get out of the slugging and to regroup. Kissy came onto him with momentum, maintaining his thrusting. With the reshuffle, Hak was off-balance and Kissy just came over and finished it off with a push-out win. With this win, Kissy is bona-fide. Hak is human, and the nerves got to him. Nothing else. Kissy has Hak’s number, and a hell of a bout. Kissy is the only man who can say he’s “dominating” Hakuho, and praises all around for the Sekiwake.
I shall get back to my new and delicious splurge for the Man? I’ll tell you all about it another day, another post. Great day of sumo.
Tomorrow’s got you the little green man in Connolly.