Haru Basho: Day 13

Hey boys and squirrels. Montana here for your day 13 update. Hands down days 13-15 are the most interesting for me because you get to see a lot of the more complacent rikishi start to put their asses on the line when they realize that they are at risk of getting sent packing. I am going to be sipping on a fantastic glass of Cragganmore 12 while I ponder today’s bouts.

Questions for today are whether The Hak and the Kak can continue their winning streaks to leave us with a tantalizing playoff finish on day 15? Can Kissy and the Eurozeki get their KKs or will one (or both) be left kadoban come July? Why did immigration officials allow Creswell back into the country? Hopefully we can get some answers over the next few days.

Starting down in Juryo today, Takamisakari managed to pick up a win and move to a respectable 7-6 record. He is currently ranked at J8 which means that even if he wins the rest of his matches he’ll still be stuck in juryo for at least another basho. Good luck next time Robocop.

Brazilian cocktease Kaisei also manages to pick up a kotenage win today which moves him to a 9-6. Unlike Ringo, the Brazilian does have a chance at making a reappearance in makuuchi if he can win one or two more.

Early Juryo leader Chiyotairyu (9-4) was made to eat dirt today by Kyokushuho which allowed Kimikaze (10-3) to take the division lead-a fact I’m not too sad about considering the amount of hatakikomi and hikiotoshi wins the wolf pup racks up.

Moving on up to the big league

J1 Kotoyuki (5-7) vs M14 Ikioi (5-7)
Both Konayuki and the Sticky Icky were looking to avoid Makekoshi today. Koto managed to get a few handslaps in Ikioi’s chest and push him out allowing him to improve to 6-7. The Shinyumaku Ikioi can’t afford to lose anymore or he will likely get demoted in July.

M11 Asasekiryu (4-8) vs M16 Takanoyama (3-9)
A relatively straightforward tachi-ai from the Czech today. After clashing with Asasexyryu he immediately went for the arm bar move that he was unable to successfully pull off on Daido earlier in the basho. Asa looks sluggish and was unable to get the lighter rikishi out of the ring before he got his leg hooked and was sent down to the floor via a very judo-esque kakenage. Takanoyama is already headed down to Juryo, but unless Asa wins a couple himself he is about to join his lighter opponent down there as well.

M10 Sadanofuji (4-8) vs M11 Tenkaiho (6-6)
Sadanofuji chooses to take on the lump that is Tenkaiho in a belt match and ends up forcing him out with a rather normal-looking yorikiri.

M12 Fujiazuma (5-7) vs M9 Miyabiyama (6-6)
Miyabiyama looked more like he was playing keep-away than sumo during this match with his repeated and ultimately successful slap down attempts. The old man gets one step closer to getting his KK while Senor Fuji can expect a demotion unless he managaes to win a couple.

M9 Okinoumi (6-6) vs M12 Daido (5-7)
After a mismatched start the two go at it in a fight for the belt. Daido easily looked as though he had control through most of this match, but both rikishi ended up falling out of the ring at the same time. After a mono-ii the judges decided to rule the match as a yoritaoshi win for Okinoumi. Seems to me that there have been more than a few matches this basho that have been in need of a re-do. Whatever.

M14 Takarafuji (5-7) vs M8 Takekaze (6-6)
Akita’s angel took on a hungry-looking Takarafuji in a relatively straightforward manner for a yorikiri win. Takekaze goes one away from getting his KK whislt Takarafuji needs to win one or two more to stay in makuuchi.

M7 Takayasu (7-5) vs M15 Tamawashi (7-5)
Good intensity today from both rikishi. Tamawashi easily has the better tachiai and forces Tayasu to the straw quickly. Through sheer determination Takayasu fights his way back into the ring where Tamawashi gives him a lame kick to the leg for his efforts. The two wrestlers pause to get their breath and exchange a few more kicks before Takayasu gets into gear and throws out Tama via shitatenage.

M16 Shotenro (9-3) vs M6 Goeido (9-3)
I think I have been giving Goeido less credit than he is due lately because he has been failing to live up to all of the hype that surrounded him over the past year. Truth is, he has been doing rather well for himself this basho and this hometown crowd is loving every minute of it. Today Geoido manages to give the fans what they want with a hatakikomi win over Shotenro, and he manages to move to a solid 10-3 record. Shotenro falls to a 9-4 that no one except for Shotenro is surpised by. His face after getting slap to the clay was priceless. “Really Bro? Hatakikomi?”

M6 Shohozan (6-6) vs M13 Wakanosato (7-5)
Shoho finally seems to have gotten rid of those weird marks on his back that were supposedly the result of some pressure suction air cup magic therapy. Sadly his lack of polka dots didnt seem to help him today as the larger Wakanosato takes his time and magaes to push the smaller Shohozan out of the ring. Waka gets his kachikoshi and Shohozan falls to 6-7.
*Whisky break – switches to an Ardbeg 10 year old*
M13 Kitataiki (8-4) vs M5 Homasho (8-4)
Is there any other rikishi besides kitataiki that so thoroughly epitomizes a rank-and-filer? I mean, the guy’s makuuchi record is 102-120, and his only division championship was in Juryo when he won with a 10-5. Not only that, but almost all of his wins are oshidashi and yorikiri. He has got to be sumo’s version of cardboard, or porridge, or green peas. Onto the match. Kitataiki and Homasho start hugging straight off the bat and Homasho quickly manages to overpower the green-belted wrestler out of the wring via oshidashi. Congratulations to Cigar Shop and Briton-Meyer.

M5 Wakakoyu (6-6) vs M10 Aoiyama (6-6)
The long awaited (not really) battle between the two best racks in the upper division. Aoiyama manages to stave off Waka’s annoying repeated attempts at his push-pull trick and manages to eventually force the wookie to the clay. A well deserved win for Aoiyama as he moves to 7-6.

M4 Toyonoshima (8-4) vs M7 Toyohibiki (7-5)
Beeker wanted his 8 today as he rushed straight forward into the arms of the smaller Toyo. Shima manages to twist Hibi around and send him toward the bales, but Hibi twists around in lightning speed and re-engages Shima before eventually slipping and falling to the clay for a reason I still can’t see, although the judges ruled it Katasukashi.

M8 Chiyonokuni (3-9) vs M3 Tochinoshin (2-10)
Chiyonokuni just can’t get a break this basho. He has been struggling win an injury and mentally just seems to not be all there this time around. It’s sad considering I think the kid has some real promise. Noshin picks up a default “win” today because Chiyonokuni has dropped out due to injury. It’s probably the only way Tochi could have picked this win up anyway considering how he has been performing.

M3 Kyokutenho (3-9) vs M1 Tochinowaka (4-8)
A lot has been said about Tochinowaka’s potential as he has the body that could easily befit a Yokozuna, but that doesn’t mean crap if he keeps competing like he has been this basho. Kyokutenho makes a pathetic and easily countered attempt at henka at the Tachi-ai but Tochinowaka manages to get back into the midst of things. Doesn’t really matter though as Kyokutenho shows that he wants it more as he grabs the back of Tochi’s head and twists him down to the ground. Matches like this are frustrating to watch. If someone would light a fire under Tochinowaka’s ass and get him to pick up his speed then this contest would be over in under a second. Sadly, he has been sluggish this basho and has a 4-9 record to show for it.

M2 Yoshikaze (3-9) vs K Tochiozan (4-8)
Ohzan picks up a default win over De Gama’s injured lover.

K Gagamaru (5-7) vs M1 Myogiryu (4-8)
Best bout of the day so far. Gaga-sama is calm and collected as he tried to get a neck thrusting win that has been working so well for him in the latter part of this basho, but Myogi managed to get a solid grip and amazingly manhandles the much larger rikishi out of the ring via yorikiri.

M2 Tokitenku (3-9) vs S Aminishiki (4-8)
Tokitenku doesn’t even make an attempt at forward moving sumo as he goes for repeated slap-downs. Sneaky keep punching the Mongolian in the throat until he gets out of the ring but not before he falls victim to one of Toki’s slaps. The Gyoji rules in favor of Aminishiki, and both of the rikishi stop and check on the shinpan that Tokitenku collapsed onto as he fell out of the ring. Surprise surprise, Ami is heading down to join the rank and filers next basho where he belongs.

O Baruto (9-3) vs O Harumafuji (10-2)
Straight away Baruto sticks his tree trunk sized arms in Haruma’s chest and doesn’t even give the other ozeki a chance at retaliation. Haruma goes out without making a pip. Makes you wish you could see more tachi-ais like this from the Yokozuna hopeful.

S Kakuryu (11-1) vs O Kotoshogiku (8-4)
Earlier today, I was looking at a poll we held a few months back about who would become the next Ozeki; Kotoshigku, Kisenosato, and Kakuryu. Kakuryu was the overwhelming S&S fan favorite to win, and bashos like this are the reason why.

The Kak and the Geek go straight away to the belt and both manage to get hidari-yotsu. As Kotoshogiku tries to get his favored grip for gabburi-yotsu, Kakuryu manages to get Morozashi and then, in the best technical bout I have seen this entire basho, Kakuryu times Kotoshogiku’s forward charge perfectly and manages to use his opponent’s enegry to turn morozashi into an uwatedashinage win. Kakuryu is so focused this basho is makes you wonder why he hasn’t been promoted already. With this win today it looks like he has his promotion, if not the yusho, in the bag.

M4 Aran (8-4) vs O Kotoshu (7-5)
Two of my least favorite rikishi at the moment. A straightforward charge, Kotooshu gets a good grip, and Aran gets forced out. Period.

Y Hakuho (11-1) vs O Kisenosato (7-5)
After Kakuryu went for win number 12 this was the match to watch for the day. Hakuho has had trouble with Kisenosato for quite a while now and there was no reason why today wouldn’t be an exception. Straight from the tachi-ai the mongolian went to get his preferred grip but ended up over reaching with his right hand. Kise quickly noticed this and gave the yokozuna a slap to the shoulder which sent him to the bales facing the wrong direction. Hakuho did his best to turn around in time, but the damage was already done. Kise shoved out the Yokozuna with nary a problem.

I swear to god if I hear one call of yaocho I will castrate the offending party with a dull ballpoint pen. The yokzuna went for his preferred grip, overreached and kise took advantage of it. If you think that this was some just part of some grand scheme to allow Kakuryu the yusho then you need take off your tin foil hat.

With Hakuho’s loss today it looks like Kakuryu has the yusho in the bag unless he falls to Kotooshu tomorrow or his Senshuraku opponent (likely Goeido or Toyonoshima)

Stay tuned tomorrow for your day 14 results from Briton-Meyer.

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