Nagoya Basho: Day 11

Yesterday was a pretty average day for me. I went to work in the morning, sat in front of my computer for much longer than I would have liked, and sweated profusely in room the cried for air-conditioning. Outside the thunder clouds were forming, and once the thunder rolled the lightening quickly followed and the heavens opened. I realized I had left my car windows open, and sprinting to my car and back. The encouragement calls of “Fighto! Fighto!” did little to keep me dry. I returned to my desk about 2 minutes later soaked to the skin, reminding myself that I really should bring that spare umbrella I have to work tomorrow.

After driving 30km to my local supermarket to buy food for dinner I was returning home, fatigued and hungry when an email came through to my phone that said “Did you hear the news?? HE retired Finally!!” I knew exactly who “HE” was but it took a few moments to actually sink in. And as it did I began to feel lighter and lighter almost as though a weight had been lifted, not just from me but from everyone, everywhere. Colours seemed brighter, more vivid. Sounds became louder and clearer. I was smiling from ear to ear and I felt elevated, limitless, almost like I had taken some NZT-48.

I don’t doubt he was at one point a great rikishi, but I know that since I started watching sumo back in 2007 he has sucked. And if you take the time to look at his record you will notice that he has been shit since 2006. Like a dog that cleans his arse on your carpet, Kaio has smeared over some of the great records that were set by some of the legit Greats. Don’t believe me? Compare these two tables: Chiyonofuji and Kaio.

Matsutani vs. Kimurayama
J3 Matsutani came up from Juryo to challenge the M15 Kimurayama. Matsu started as close to Kimura as possible and went in frontal thrusts. When the dust started to settle Kimurayama easily toppled the Juryo rikishi with a tsukiotoshi.

Takamisakari vs. Shotenro
The drowning clown knew he was fighting for his life today as he took on the higher ranked Shotenro (one of the 4 rikishi to beat Hakuho is 2009!). Sho got a great start by pushing on the clowns throat and pushing him back to the bales. Somehow Taka evaded and then manages to get a grip on Sho that neutralised his arms up high. Taka then yorikiri’d his 3rd win of the tournament.

Fujiazuma vs. Tochinowaka
Tochinowaka who started this tournament with 4 straight wins came into the today after 4 straight losses. Today was the first time for these guys to meet. Tochi tried and push and slap down but Fuji was on the ball and moved in quickly. He got a great grip on Tochi’s front belt which saved him. After pushing Tochi back and to the bales it looked all over, but somehow Fuji seemed to lose his footing and fell down to tsukiotoshi.

Sagatsukasa vs. Tochinowaka
Saga came from the tachi-ai with great speed, but no power. When he couldn’t push Tochi back he tried back-peddling, going for a pull down, but it really just made it easy for Tochi to push him out!

Tochinonada vs. Gagamaru
Gagamaru is probably a little over-ranked at M7. He still has stuff to learn, as you can tell from his 3-7 record. Tochi hit Gaga hard and fast and then saw an opening on Gaga’s left. He got a nice grip and while continuing to move quickly, he kept Gaga off center and worked him around for an impressive uwatenage.

Tokitenku vs. Takayasu
A great fight… After an extended fight between the two in which Takayasu was ALL over Toki for the majority of the match, keeping his paw in the face of the Mongolian. After a lockup Toki performed a lovely leg sweep on Taka and dropped him to the ground. A mono-ii was called as it was thought Toki may have touched his hand off the ground during the first few seconds of the fight. But it was decided he didn’t. Toki did well to hold out and win this one.

Kitataiki vs. Aran
Aran has had a descent tournament having only lost to some of the fatter wrestlers so far, Gaga, Miyabi, Wakanosato. He is also ranked at M6 and Kita being at M10 I had Aran to take this one without too much sweating today. At the tachi-ai Aran pushed hard and then went for a pull down. That didn’t work, and both fell into yotsu-zumo. But Arans superior strength saw him easily swing Kita around and out via uwatenage.

Tamawashi vs. Homasho
Having secured his KK yesterday Homasho came into today looking to inflate our very own Briton-Meyers bubble. Both crashed heads and remained low at the tachi-ai. And before either wrestler got a hand to belt, Homasho gave a little tug on Tama’s right arm and sent him to the dirt. Tamawashi also picked himself up a MK.

Asasekiryu vs. Wakanosato
The 35 year old Wakanosato showed he still has his strength. They two locked un in the center of the ring for a while, and without changing grip or position Wakanosato simple applied pressure and forced Asa back and out.

Kaisei vs. Miyabiyama
Kaisei won the tachi tai today and drove Miyabi back close to the bales but Miyabi slipped slightly to the side and pulled on the back of the Brazilians head. From there Kaisei was struggling, and showed his inexperience by trying to pull back on Miyabi’s head when the opportunity was never there. And that sacrificed position twice. Miyabiyama kept on trucking until the opportunity for an easy enough oshidashi arose.

Tochiozan vs. Takekaze
Takekaze jumped up and to the side at the tachi-ai while slapping down on Tochiozan. The slap on Tochi had relatively zero effect but it did sererate the two. And when Tochi went to engage Take slapped him down a second before stepping out himself.

Kyokutenho vs. Yoshikaze
M2 takes on M1 with a combined total of 3 wins from 30 fights….. wow!  Yoshi slipped to the side at the tachi-ai and got both arms high inside on Kyoku and prevented him from getting any sort of grip. Yoshi again shifted sideways and got a grip both on the front and back of the belt. Then went back to a double inside grip and yorikiri’d himself a victory.

Wakakoyu vs. Tochinoshin
Wakakoyu had planned on doing all pushing this match and completely stuck with that plan. He got had his hand on the throat of Tochinoshin for the majority of the fight. Tochi was working hard to get a grip of Waka’s belt but everytime he got close Waka managed to break his grip. Waka kept pushing forward on Tochi’s throat and eventually got his win via oshidashi.

Goeido vs. Kakuryu
It only took Goeido 9 days to MK this tourney. His win yesterday was a start but he should now switch into damage control. The Kak was obviously geared up for today as he has no intention of giving up his sekiwake spot. Kak pushed Goeido up and then went to pull him down. The Kak then started backpeddling as Goeido pushed forwards. But Kakuryu always managed to keep downwards pressure on Goeido who eventually succumbed and fell down flat. The Kak only needs one more win to maintain his sekiwake position.

Toyonoshima vs. Kisenosato
This was an important match for Kissy today, as he already had 5 losses coming into the fight and has yet to face 2 ozeki. I think he’ll do well if he gets his KK and manages to hold onto his sekiwake rank. Toyonoshima got a solid right hand on the front of Kissy’s belt but didn’t have the strength to do anything with it. Kissy forced his way forward and easily pushed Toyo back and out.

Baruto vs. Aminishiki
The one legged AmiSnake came onto the dohyo propped up by his single 1 win this tournament to face the Biomas that is Baruto. I wonder what was going through the Snakes mind. I would have been concentrating on not having my leg snapping off like an overcooked chicken wing, but he seemed to have his own ideas. He came in low, and caught the Big fellow at an awkward off angle and applied pressure. Baruto was kinda stuck for something to do, so he backed off and pulled Ami down. But it was very close to the bales, Baruto was standing on the bales on the ball of his foot. Rightfully no mono-ii was called.

Kaio vs. Okinoumi
Okimoumi picked up a freebie today as the Ozeki surprised us with his 6-year overdue retirement yesterday.

Kotooshu vs. Harumafuji
Amafuji has been well on form this tournament, keeping the Yokozuna on his toes is not something many rikishi of late have been able to do. And the Shoe box secured his KK yesterday against former Ozeki Kaio so I didn’t expect him to put in too much of an effort here today. Ama came in fast and low today, he pushed Shoe up and got his left hand on the right belt and managed to push on Shoe’s face to start him moving backwards. Ama made sure to stay on Kotooshu’s side keeping the pressure on and had him out easily to maintain his perfect record.

Hakuho vs. Kotoshogiku
This was make or break time for Kotoshogiku today. If he drank enough Gummiberry Juice and engaged his correct hug-n-chug he would probably go on to be promoted to Ozeki after this tournament.
Hakuho started a little bit back from the tachi-ai today but Kotoshogiku was right up on the lines. Hakuho opened with a right hand slap to the face, that actually didn’t seem as powerful as it could have been. The Hak then got a left had grip and worked to prevent Koto doing the same. Koto managed to get a left hand grip so Hak was then reaching to get his right hand grip. But Kotoshogiku did a great job at preventing Hakuho getting the grip he wanted, he kept his arse just back far enough. The Yokozuna then pushed forward to make Koto submit but he didn’t and actually got a better grip towards the back of Hak’s belt. Koto then pushed the Yokozuna back to the straw which he evaded by shifting to his left. Hakuho finally got the grip he wanted but now Kotoshogiku was in a position to hug-n-chug. Although Hak evaded once and pushed back, on the second attempt Kotoshogiku backed.

With that win Kotoshogiku moves to 30 wins over the last 3 “legit” basho or 29 if you include the Technical Examination Tournament in May (where he finished 10-5). With 4 days left to go he has a fantastic chance of ozeki promotion! He faces Kakuryu tomorrow.

The leader board now has Harumafuji standing proudly on top, Hakuho with one loss and Baruto, Kotoshogiku and Homasho with two losses.

Brown ‘ill turn you around and blow your bubbles tomorrow.

Connolly.

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