Day 6, and we’re starting to see already the storylines post-senshuraku. Harumafuji has tossed out, shelved, or is purposefully evading his promotion to Yokozuna. Kotoshogiku is on track to Ozeki. Same with Kisenosato, albeit following the Geek. Kakryu has forgone that plan for now. Takamisakari is getting comfortable with a Juryo salary, and Hakuho has worked out of his Nagoya funk.
Starting with a few bouts of interest downstairs in Juryo.
J11W Chiyoarashi (4-1) vs. J7W Takamisakari (2-3): Ringo got his paws right into Arashi’s armpits and raised up his opponents arms out of reach. Maintaining the shoulders of his opponent up, Ringo slipped to the side and weaseled right into a Burt Reynolds (or is that a Ned Beatty?), easily leading the junior out of the ring, rear push-out win and Ringo calls it even with a 3-3.
J3E Myogiryu (4-1) vs. J6E Aoiyama (3-0-2): the only time they met was last basho in July, and Myogiryu won that time (in fact he took the Juryo Yusho in July). This time the large Bulgarian didn’t hunker down enough to keep low with Myogiryu, who had great low center of gravity and deashi, simply driving on his much larger opponent and sending the Bulgarian out, push-out win. Myogiryu is looking more and more Makuuchi material, while Bulgarian Aoiyama is 3-1-2, the last “2” because he sat out the first two days of the basho (but really those count as losses in the books, so might as well be 3-3). Overall, I expect to see both of these men in Makuuchi sooner than later.
Up to the top division, we start with M15W Takanoyama (0-5) vs. M14W Shotenro (2-3): the two have met only once, back in September 2006 in Makushita, with Shotenro winning that one. The tachiai was somewhat of a henka by The Mongol (Sho), but the Czech (Taka) got the inside position with his arms in Shotenro’s pits, but Sho easily pressed forward on the featherweight. With the Czech squirming around and his heels on the rice bales, Sho was swayed a bit to the side and his right foot inadvertently stepped out of the ring before Taka’s left heel graced the janome. The jedi had a discussion on it, and in the slo-mo video I really thought this calls for a refill on my Four Roses single-barrel 100 proof, and a rematch, but the judges felt sorry for the lanky one and awarded him with the win—or more appropriately, awarding Shotenro the loss by a careless step-out. And with his first win in Makuuchi, Taka got the obligatory invite to the NHK interview booth. Kind of pitiful they want comments on a win like that, but his Japanese is rocking. Takanoyama is on a roll at 1-5.
M11E Kitataiki (4-1) vs. M12W Asasekiryu (4-1): the two bonked heads in the tachiai, and AsaNOTshoryu got a deep left inside grip, but Kttk simply pushed upward on the Mongol’s right breast and drove the him back. Kitataiki with a force-out win, 5-1. Asasekiryu falls to 4-2.
M11W Gagamaru (4-1) vs. Sagatsukasa (2-3): Gaga managed to stay low in the tachiai and advanced on the short one like an angry buffalo with long armed thrusts. Four two-armed thrusts, and Comb-Over was out. Gaga looks like he’ll stick around in Makuuchi with a 5-1. Sagats is 2-4.
M8E Kaisei (3-2) vs. M10E Tamawashi (2-3): head-to-head, Kaisei leads 1-0 with a win in July. This time, Tamahawk stepped to the left taking away Kaisei’s momentum in the tachiai. The Mongol tried for a left-hand outside belt grip, but quickly abandoned that plan and went with oshi-zumo to drive Kaisei, push-out win for Tamawashi and both men settle for a pair of threes in the records.
M1E Homasho (3-2) vs. S1W Kisenosato (5-0): eight times meeting, 5-3 in Homie’s favor, but Kissy has won the last four. Tachiai – harite by Kissy as they came in, and neither rikishi went for a belt grip but Kissy had absolutely no resistance in driving forward on the Cigar Store Indian, who forgot to bring his game today. Kissy advances to 6-0, and looking prime this basho. Homasho falls to a pretty damn respectable 3-3…wins to Baruto, Kotooshu, Harumafuji: losses to Hakuho, Kotoshogiku, and Kisenosato—should tell you something right there.
S1E Kotoshogiku (5-0) vs. KE Toyonoshima (1-4): these two go back to high school sumo days in fact, but since entering sumo their record is 19-9, in the Geek’s favor. At the tachiai, both came in low looking for belt grips. Musta vasolined ‘em belts cos no one got that, but once Geek was comfortable with the arm hold he had, he advanced on Toyo and led him out of the ring. The Geek advances to 6-0 and clearly on pace for that ozeki pay check in November. Toyo falls to 1-5.
S2E Kakuryu (3-2) vs. M1W Okinoumi (2-3): good tachiai from the Kak with strong thrusts, but Oki found a way in between and with his head in the Kak’s chest simply moved forward and taking the Kak downwards, frontal crush-out. Kak is not going to be an Ozeki in November. Both men settle with pairs of threes.
M2E Wakanosato (2-3) vs. OW Baruto (3-2): head-to-head, 6-1 in Bart’s favor. Today, Baruto showed Gagamaru and everyone else how two-arm thrust are to be done. Thrust one: Waka’s face, and Waka fell back to the bales. Trust two: Waka’s shoulder, and Waka slipped to the side, still on the bales but losing balance. Thrust three: Waka’s chest, and Waka was well out of the Kanto Plain. Bart wins, thrust out victory, and advances to 4-2, while Waka is a 2-4.
OE Harumafuji (2-3) vs. KW Aran (0-5): they locked horns at the tachiai with Haruma right-hand inside and left-hand outside, Aran only a right-hand inside but wanting that left-hand outside. Waiting, regrouping, then Haruma carefully charged not allowing Aran that left-hand outside. Haruma drove Aran to the bales and from there downward, frontal crush-out win for the Ozeki. Haruma is even at 3-3 while Aran is perfect at 0-6.
M3W Tochiozan (4-1) vs. OW Kotooshu (1-4): history goes 6-5 in Kotooshu’s favor, but Tochiozan has won the last two. At the tachiai, tall Oshu stood too high, reaching for a deep outside which did him no good. Ozan lifted up Oshu’s right shoulder and opened the Bulgarian’s chest. From there Ozan buried into his chest and drove forward. Textbook sumo from Ozan which I would normally commend, but these days how can you lose to Oshu? If you think about it, his tachiai was completely amateur. Tall guy stands up too high, reaches for the back of his opponent’s belt thinking he can lift his opponent out. We see Oshu and Bart lose this way time and time again. Pitiful sumo from this Eurozeki, who’s at 1-5 and still has the three Sekiwake and the Yokozuna ahead on his schedule.
YE Hakuho (5-0) vs. M3E Takekaze (1-4): 10-1 between these two…yes, that’s right, Takekaze won to Hakuho back in July 2004. Very strong tachiai from both and of course, the impact set Take back, and with just a few follow-up shoves, the Yokozuna had the Akitan out, push out win. Hakuho with six solid wins. Takekaze at 1-5.
So goes day six, friends and foes. It seemed he had just left the building, but Creswell will be back to lick it all up tomorrow.