Haru Basho 2012: Day 7

I sit out here by the pool in 85 degree (almost 30 for you celsius folks) weather writing this because I am stuck.  The road home is closed by a massive winter storm delivering more than half my height in snowfall.  Such are the oddities of life, I suppose.

It takes a 5 wins or better by one or the other of the rikishi in a bout to get my attention today.  Here we go.

Takaranofuji vs. Takanoyama

Soft tachiai from Takanoyama, more of a love bump against Takaranofuji than anything else, then Takanoyama gets Takaranofuji’s arm and spins him right out of the ring.  Hikkake win for Takanoyama

Shotenro vs. Tenkaiho

Tenkaiho places his boobs in Shotenro’s capable hands at the tachiai and Shotenro thrusts and grunts his way to victory, much like the storyline of any novel you can buy in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. Oshidashi win for Shotenro, which puts him at a cool 6-1 this basho.

Okinoumi vs. Fujiazuma

Okinoumi displaying the clean sumo I am coming to know him for took on Fujiazuma like a problem to be solved.  And solve that problem he did.  The solution?  Yorikiri win for Oki.  Oki is proving he is easily able to fight down at M9.  He might not quite be jo’i material yet, but if he finds his fire, he soon will be.

Asasekiryu vs. Takekaze

Takekaze looking good down in his domain.  His strategy today was to turn his opponent into a fulcrum… the pivot point, you ask?  Takekaze.  By virtue of his diminutive stature, he was able to make Asasekiryu work to even get at him.   Work that never paid off.  Sukuinage win for Takekaze.  M8 is a good rank for Takekaze and Takekaze being at M8 is good for the basho.

Takayasu vs. Aioyama

False start here.  Lots of shoving by both.  Then Aioyama tries the opposite and wins with a slap down Hatakikomi.

Toyohibiki vs. Homasho

Two rikishi I like face off here.  Hibiki looks strong at the beginning of the bout.  Homie fending him of with his right arm and taking small steps towards the edge.  Homie characteristically keeps his head and braces against the rope while he slips his arms through Hibiki’s armpits and lifts Hibiki up.  During the reversal, Homie reverses his arm position and grabs the back of Hibiki’s belt, taking command of the bout.  Hibiki steps out, yorikiri win for Homasho in a well fought bout.

Goeido vs. Aran

Aran starts the tachiai off with a Buzz… the lack of captial letters on that BUZZ! reflects how whimpy Aran’s henka was.  Aran leaps up, abandoning the solid low ground and puts both hands on the back of Goeido’s neck.  This quickly looked to be a bout to be redeemed by Goeido.  For a time things are looking good.  The crowd cheers as Goeido defends to a lock up.  Then Aran simply yanks and Goeido goes down, killing the cheers of the crowd.  Such is the effect of Aran’s sumo… it kills the cheers of the crowd.

Baruto vs. Aminishiki

Baruto goes against Aminishiki.  Fairly straightforward bout towards the end with Baruto apologetically cupping Aminishiki’s bust.  Baruto (who looked surprised that he had survived Aminishiki’s henka attempt) not looking quite yokozunal today, but still protecting his shot at the promotion.

Toyonoshima vs Kotoshogiku.  

I’ve figured it out.  Kotoshogiku is that annoying end of level boss in a video game.  He is hard to beat, but at the same time you just want to get it over with so that you can get on to the good part of the video game.  You know what Kotoshogiku will try to do, but the tricky part is stoping him from doing it.  Toyo stopped him today.  Sukuinage win for Toyonoshima.

Yoshikaze vs. Kotooshu

Kancho win for Yoshikaze.

Kakuryu vs. Harumafuji

Great bout here.  Kakuryu and Harumafuji vie back and forth again and again.  Haruma’s grip is weaker, he can’t quite get the belt, Kakuryu has his arms folded around Haruma’s biceps.  Haruma is making up for his weaker grip by shaking his legs to throw Kakuryu off balance, and it works, but Haruma is on the defensive throughout this bout.  Kakuryu never gives Haruma the chance to take control, and Haruma, very much against his wishes, is eventually forced from the ring.  Yorikiri win for Kakuryu.

Hakuho vs Kyokutenho

The bout starts with less than a spectacular tachiai.  I begin to doubt whether Hakuho still has his old fight.  As though sensing my doubts Hakuho turns Kyokutenho to form a semi-parallel line with the ground, and dumps him out of the ring. Uwatenage win for Hakuho.

And that brings us to the end of the day.  Kakuryu and Hakuho are in the lead with 7-0 while Baruto runs along behind yelling, “Hey guys, wait for me!”  To Baruto’s consternation, Shotenro calls out, “Oh and me, too!”  Its still an interesting tournament here at the end of day 7 and anything could happen.

I hope my fine reporting didn’t get you wet, because there’s not a chance in hell that Daly’s gonna hang you out to dry tomorrow.

5 responses to “Haru Basho 2012: Day 7

  1. Rikishi on the Rise update:

    Great win by Sakumayama today to move to 3-1. He’s likely one win away from a promotion to Juryo. More on this as the story develops.

    After three losses in a row, Tatsu staves off the makekoshi with a win over, wait for it, Kakizoe, former Makuuchi Spark Plug.

  2. Good report, although you should have hit the buzzer for Aminishiki, who tried a major henka step to his left against Baruto.

  3. I should have commented on the tachiai there – but I won’t give it a BUZZ! I am saving my BUZZes for henkas that detract from the quality of the sport.

    Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I don’t find that this type of henka detracts from the sport. There is forward motion, body to body contact at the tachiai, and an intention to get hands on the belt. This strategy is particularly acceptable when there is a major size difference between the rikishi. The further back from the line the rikishi is when he employs this type of henka, the more questionable it becomes.

    Henkas I don’t like include leaping upwards and pushing down on the back of the neck, and any sideways motion without a forward component.

  4. I think the only reason that Aminishiki’s tachi-ai didn’t detract from the quality of the sport was because it didn’t quite work. His initial step is way to the left and he’s attempting to grab the back of Baruto’s mawashi (not the side) to ride him out. Thanks to Sumo Reference, http://sumodb.sumogames.com/Rikishi_basho.aspx?r=89&b=201203, I just ran through all of Aminishiki’s tachi-ai’s to date, and this one doesn’t resemble any of the others (that’s somewhat of a surprise in itself).

    If the henka had worked Baruto is out of the yusho race — and it didn’t miss by much. Baruto caught just enough of Aminishiki’s shoulder that Aminishiki’s step/leap to the side didn’t work. There is no question that there is a sliding slope of henka or less-than-straightforwad tachi-ai activitity, which is probably the best argument against forbidding it. There also is a huge size (and rank and health) disparity between Aminishiki and Baruto, although Aminishiki is hardly one of the smaller rikishi.

  5. You make lots of good points. About Aminishiki’s tachiai not detracting because it was unsuccessful… you may be right. I’m thinking about it. The idea of being kicked out of a yusho race by a henka is poor form, that is another factor to consider – size, rank, and the current basho performance of the rikishi against whom the henka (forward moving, of course) is used on.

    Two rikishi with equal records in the basho, with one bigger and higher ranked than the other seems like a good warrant for a forward moving henka by the smaller, lower ranked rikishi.

    In this case, though, I see your point. Aminishiki gets a BUZZ! Henka – forward moving or not – is poor form against a rikishi in a yusho race.

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