Sumo fans, cigar connoisseurs, and voyeurs of all sizes! Virgil Valentine with you today to recap the highlights of Day 2, Autumn Basho, in the year of the sumo gods, 2011. Sumo is back, and with Kaio gone, three frisky Sekiwake fighting for promotion to Ozeki, and Harumafuji following up a Nagoya yusho, it’s bound to be an eventful basho.
Starting downstairs to check in with our old friend from Aomori, the ailing J7W Takamisakari took on J8W Kimikaze in a first between the two. Ringo drove forward at the tachiai leading Kimi to the bales, but when Kimi attempted to go deeper for a grip on Ringo’s belt, the blind one felt his way into a slap-down win. Pair of ones for Takamisakari in Juryo.
M16W Kimurayama vs. M15W Takanoyama met for the second time. Last time they met it was six years ago in Makushita, with Takanoyama victorious. Taka chose a straight-up tachiai matching with Kimmy on impact. The Czech tried to fight straightforward on the mawashi with a man 75kg heavier, but in a bout without any agility or trickery Kimmy was able to simply drive forward despite the featherweight’s iron grip. Kimmy is 2-0 while the Czech awaits earning his first win in Makuuchi. Better to rethink the game plan tomorrow, or extend that perfect record.
And the Sumo Association has come up with a satisfaction survey for the fans. Everyday this basho, spectators will be given a list of all sekitori, and they can indicate their satisfaction with the sekitori’s performance on a scale from “1” to “5.” Yesterday, #1 in the survey results was Homasho. Possibly this was due to his defeat of Baruto, but more likely it’s because he bows really nicely (if you’ve never been to Japan, that shit matters more than anything else).
Next, M8E Kaisei vs. 20-year-old freshman Makuuchi M9E Masunoyama: Masu shifted left after an initially straight-on tachiai, and Kaisei was simply leaning too far forward. Masu merely aided the Brazilian down to the clay. Masu is 2-0 while Kaisei is a mirror-image 0-2.
M4E Tochinoshin and M4W Tokitenku are 3-3 head-to-head, but the two haven’t battled in over a year. Today, Toki turned to the left at the tachiai and executed an easy thrust-down on the Georgian who was a bit out of control from the start. Call it a henka if you’d like. Both men with a pair of ones.
S1E Kotoshogiku vs. M2W Yoshikaze, 8-2 in the Geek’s favor: Yoshi attacked without the Geek putting his right fist down. Both rikishi paused expecting a redo, but neither the gyoji nor any judge stopped the match. The Geek was first to notice the fat lady ain’t sung yet, and carried on with a dead-fish force out win. The Geek advances to 2-0 while Java Chip Frappuccino falls to 0-2. Fans weren’t happy and mata should have been called as it was 1) clear the Geek wasn’t even close to putting his fist down, and 2) both rikishi thought it was a false start. A poor (lack of) showing by the gyoji and judges in this one.
S2E Kakuryu had fists right on the shikiri-sen in his bout against veteran M2E Wakanosato. From the tachiai Kak took the lead and drove forward, but he let up as he attempted to gain Waka’s belt. This gave Waka the chance to pull down on Kak’s head and moving back, got a grip on the back of Kak’s belt and swung the Mongol out. Wakanosato isn’t called the barometer for nothing, and despite his age, he does his job of keeping the younins honest. Kak will need a near-perfect finish to get his promotion to Ozeki this time. Both men with a pair of ones.
M3E Takekaze vs. S1W Kisenosato, history 10-4 in Kissy’s favor: nothing to report really. Ross Mihara called it “paddy cake,” though I for one prefer this bout of paddy cake. Start with a bitch slap by Kissy, who drove forward, and thrust out the butterball. Kissy advances to 2-0 while Takekaze is 0-2.
OE Harumafuji vs. M1W Okinoumi. These two split a pair of bouts in their past, one for Oki in May, and one for Haruma in July. Haruma owned Oki at the tachiai with a unrelenting shove to the face leading the handsome devil upright, but Oki moved back adding some elbow-room and Haruma adjusted accordingly with bursts of two-armed thrusts. Haruma moved in close at the bales in attempt to force out the opponent, but the tall, dark and handsome one used the leverage of his high heels on the tawara to twist down Harumafuji. Thrust down win for Oki who advances to 2-0 while Haruma falls to 1-1 and realistically out of contention for Yokozuna promotion.
KE Toyonoshima vs. OW Kotooshu: head-to-head is 13-9 in Oshu’s favor, and Oshu has also won the last six meetings. The Bulgarian attempted to stay low at the tachiai, but when the two broke apart he stood back up and Toyo moved right into his chest, gaining a deep inside left-hand grip on his belt and the inside position. Oshu was the one who launched a throw hoping to use his height advantage for an over-arm throw, but Toyo stayed up long enough so Oshu’s head was down first, and the two rikishis’ bodies rolled right upon Oshu’s head. Toyo’s bout ended much like it did yesterday, but with a less skilled ozeki, he gets the win today. Toyo is 1-1 while Oshu is 0-2.
KW Aran vs. OW Baruto, with a 3-2 history in Bart’s favor. The two came in chest-to-chest at the tachiai, with arms low. Both secured grips, with Baruto at a more advantageous position: Bart was right-hand outside, Aran left-hand in, and Bart’s left locking up Aran right. Baruto uses this grip and his strength to literally sway Aran out of the ring. It was called an overarm throw, but was really a swing dance technique. Bart evens out at 1-1 while Aran falls to 0-2.
YE Hakuho vs. M1E Homasho: perfect 10-0 in the Dai-Yokozuna’s favor. Hakuho got a strong right-hand inside grip right upon contact and Homasho was able to hold up any backwards movement until he chose to release his outside grip and reach for inside. In this instant, Hakuho drove forward for an easy win. Yokozuna looking good at 2-0 while Homasho stands at 1-1.
So, we have Haruma falling to a rank-and-filer, Kakuryu falling to an old-timer, and Kotoshogiku winning a gimmie. Not looking good for the promotions this basho.
Say, how many Irishmen does it take to report on day 3? Not sure, but the Celtic Tiger Connolly will give his best shot…then, he’ll write the sumo report.