We begin the second half of the Aki basho with one rikishi leading the pack in juryo after today’s bouts, Myogiryu with 8-1, and closely followed by Matsutani and Hokutokuni at 7-2, our old buddy Takamisakari is hanging in at 4-5. In Makuuchi only two rikishi are undefeated before today’s action. Kisenosato and Hakuho. Gagamaru and Kotoshogiku are both at 7-1. Both Kakuryu and Harumafuji have screwed up their promotion hopes early on in the tournament, Kotooshu has dropped out, his oyokata citing non-sumo-like behavior, and Baruto is just kind of there. On to day 9 bouts, the resplendent Ross Mihara was on the English side.
Tosayutaka v Kimurayama – Tosayutaka was not on his stuff today, and Kimurayama got a pretty easy oshidashi win with little to no resistance. 3-6, 4-5.
Kokkai v Asasekiryu – This rivalry favors Asa 8-5. Asa was constantly searching for a grip, but Kokkai kept moving and kept Asa off the belt by slapping, thursting, and moving. Keeping low and moving forward, Kokkai was deflectged by Asa and almost caught off balance, then regained and went for the slapdown win, while on the retreat. 6-3, 4-5.
Aminishiki v Shotenro – Ineffective henka by Shotenro, which turned into advantage for the Sneak, who couldn’t force the younger-man out. Several slap-down attempts by by both parties achieved nothing, but the momentum was in Tenro’s favor. Finally Sneaky forced Tenro down, but backed out before Tenro hit the clay. 6-3, 4-5.
Takanoyama v Gagamaru – 100 kilogram weight advantage for Gaga in this matchup, but Takanoyama has the speed, and technique advantages here. Taka henkaed to the left and tried to grab Gaga’s arm for a tottari, but missed. Takanoyama was left exposed and too high, and Gaga made short work of the rest of the bout. Kachikoshi for Gaga. 3-6, 8-1.
Kitaitaiki v Hochiyama – decent tachiai, after which Hochiyama drove back Taiki with some tsuppari, Kitataiki, ganbare-ing through the barrage to score a hand inside and a hand on the belly of Hochi, which lead to a yorikiri. 7-2, 4-5.
Daido v Kyokutenho – pretty neat mawashi/deashi work by Makuuchi’s oldest wrestler, 37 year-old Kyokutenho, despite a good beltgip on Daido’s part. 5-4, 7-2.
Yoshiazuma v Sagatsukasa – Yoshiazuma has over 30cm on Sagatsukasa. Henka by the little man, Saga slapped away any of Yoshi’s attempts at tsuppari, got behind him and called it a day, knocking Yoshi into the 3rd row. both at 4-5.
Tamaasuka v Toyohibiki – neither men doing well this basho, both at 2-6. Both men with Right hand inside, left hand out at the tachiai, but Beeker owned this one. Oscar didn’t move one step forward. 2-7, 3-6.
Fujiazuma v Tamawashi – both men are pusher-thrusters. Fuji circled back slapping and pulling as he backed away, unfortunately one of those pulls was on the mage of Tamawashi, so although Tama went out first he gets the win. That hansoku loss hands Fujiazuma his makekoshi and leaves Tama at 4-5.
Takayasu v Kaisei – first meeting for these two in makuuchi, but their record in juryo and below stands at one win a piece. Neither of these two giving a stellar performance this outing. Takayasu moved from tsuppari right into a maemitsu pulling the big lunk down with a shitatehineri (underhand twistdown). 4-5, 3-6.
Ross Mihara took time out of the broadcast at this point to give a nice little shout out to his buddies in Australia, in his words “boozing” at a restaurant. Where’s our love Ross? Where’s our love? You show us some love on NHK, and we’ll make sure you’ve got a nice smoke and a nice bottle of single malt for senshuraku.
Tochinowaka v Goeido – nice charge from Tochinowaka, moving right in locking up Goeido’s left arm and moving him back to the tawara. Goeido slips around and reversed the advantage, getting Waka on the bales. Waka slowly moving his way forward, desperately fighting for a good grip, Goeido with a migiyotsu, Tochi now only with a right hand outside. Tochi had Kool-edio bak on the bales, Eido once again pivoting away, this time to the left. Then to the right, trying to catch Waka off-balance. Finally moving back and to the right, abandoning the left hand grip and finishing things off with a sukuinage. Great bout. 6-3, 7-2.
Miyabiyama v Wakakoyu – Koyu coming in with good tsuppari and an easy pull down, not even letting Miyabiyama get going. both at 4-5.
Takekaze v Tochiozan – 6-6 history for these two. Takekaze style win; move to the side after the tachiai + hand pulldown. 2-7, 6-3.
Homasho v Yoshikaze – This bout will decide who needs a new pair of trousers; Briton-Meyer, or DeGama. 6-4 in favor of Homey. Homasho came in low and looked to be caught of guard by Yoshi, Homey managed to regain balance, grad the left wrist of Yoshi, and get his right arm under Yoshi’s right armpit, giving him a solid advantage. Homasho waited patiently, defending aginst the erratic motions, then pushed for the bales and a moist spot on Briton-Meyer’s chair. 6-3, 4-5. Lo siento, DeGama.
Wakanosato v Aran – No respect for the aged here. As Ross said, its the 2nd straight win, if you want to call it that, for Aran. I can understand, not condone, but understand, a henka to break a losing streak, but 2 in a row is just bad taste.
Toyonoshima v Okinoumi – Upper makuuchi and komusubi are tough ranks for Toyonoshima. Okinoumi however, seems to be just getting better at this rank, which is what one would hope. Toyonoshim had Okinoumi’s lefft arm lock up and used that to stand him up, then thrust him down with a hand on the ribcage. 2-7, 3-6.
Kotoshogiku v Tokitenku – Geek still needs 5 more wins to get his promotion, but with Kisenosato, Baruto, Harumafuji, and Hakuho still on the list he can’t afford to screw up. Today was a big test as Tenku has a 16-3 record against the Geek. Although their last meeting was over a year ago. Perfect double armlock for the Geek and a quick Kimedashi gives him his kachikoshi, and keeps his promotion hopes alive. His real test starts tomorrow with Kisenosato. 4-5 for Tokitenku.
Kisenosato v Baruto – Kise only has 3 wins over Baruto. Immediate beltgrip for both parties. Baruto with a right hand in left hand out, Kise with the opposite. Kise goes for a bit of gabburi, but quickly abandons the idea. Kise struggles for position, but is standing himself up a bit too much. Kise went for what looked like a good uwatenage, but was unable to follow through. He took advantage of the balance advantage, drove forward hoping to yorikiri, but couldn’t get Bart over the bales. Baruto pivoted to the side and decided the bout with a lucky uwatenage. Kise owned the bout, but just wasn’t able to finish it off. 7-2, 8-1. There went Kise’s hopes for an undefeated yusho and ozeki promotion (not like those chances were real or anything.)
Harumafuji v Kakuryu – The past 4 meetings these two have traded wins, and if that can be trusted, than Kakuryu should win today. Kakuryu managed to get in a bit lower than Harumafuji, but both men got a belt grip out of it, with Harumafuji getting the advantage as far as the grips went with his left hand inside. While driving forward Harry threw in a nice sotogake (outside leg trip) to clench the win and get over .500. 5-4, 4-5.
Hakuho v Tochinoshin – up till recently I would have said that Tochinoshin had a good chance here. He was getting more and more solid, and moving up in the ranks. But recently his sumo is in a bit of a slump, at least as far as the top of the banzuke goes. He just can’t get into the groove up in joii/sanyaku. Hakuho immediately with his right hand inside, Tochinoshin with his left on the outside. Hakuho spun Noshin around, got a maemitsu grip and drove him out in a textbook fashoin. Great style and form by the Yokozuna, who now is the sole leader at 9-0, Tochinoshin at 4-5.
That’s all from me for this basho. Connolly will be here to stroke your shillelagh tomorrow.