Taking the Senshuraku report is always a bit risky. Yeah, there is always a few dudes trying to get their eight, but the Yusho race is often decided. Today that is not the case. If Kakuryu loses out to Goeido and Hakuho beats Baruto then we’ve got ourselves a race. Let’s check in with those that matter and those that are going for their eight today.
Asasekiryu vs Tamawashi
Tamawashi needed one more at 7-7 to get his eight. At 4-10 Asasekiryu was fighting for pride. Tama drives in at the tachi-ai and secures a solid nodowa at the bales. The Former Secretary is able to grab Mawashi’s arm and removed it from his throat, knocking the 7-7 Mongol off balance. Tamawashi attempts a throw which brought the two men back to the center of the dohyo. Asa secured a solid right hand outside grip, waited and then threw Tamawashi via the mawashi down to the ground with an excellent uwatedashinage. Tama falls to 7-8.
Hochiyama vs Aoiyama
Aoiyama, my money shot pick (after Takayasu was taken) has a chance at his eight today as well. The Bulgarian faced off against big boy Hochiyama. Both rikishi let the tsupari fly and by my analysis were both too upright. Hoochimama then gets too low and Aoiyama easily wins and gets his 8 via sukuinage.
Okinoumi vs Takanoyama
Ok I don’t care for Takanoyama’s sumo, unlike many of the other writers of this sumo website. I am sure he’s a great guy and I am a grateful for the entertainment he brought to this basho, but I will be more interested to see how much longer he lasts in Juryo and if he makes it back to the Makuuchi division. As I stated in my last report: smart rikishi should not lose to him. Once Okinoumi realized that the Czech was going to face him straight up he simply over powered Takanoyama right out of the ring. If you take the tachi-ai surprise factor out of the bout Takanoyama will struggle to win against most rikishi at this level. Don Juan from Shimane Prefecture gets his eight. Takanoyama drops back down to a more competitive Juryo.
Takayasu vs Shotenro
Unlike Takanoyama, I do love Kisenosato’s other stablemate Takayasu. Kid is a fighter and if it wasn’t for a few guys ranked a bit lower on the banzuke than they should be, I am sure he would have had a shot at a special prize this tournament. Anyone who doesn’t back down against the big shots is ok in my book. Shotenro and Takayasu came in with even records but one would end up with ten and the other would be stuck at nine. The tachi-ai Shotenro let out his patented roar (has anyone else notice the strange sounds that come out of his mouth at the tachi-ai?) and drove Takayasu back. Yasu fought back with a nodowa and the Mongolian attempted a sloppy one-armed throw. This gave Takayasu a good opportunity to grab hold of the mawashi with both hands and drive Shotenro out of the dohyo and into the second row. Shotenro dies down to an average 9-6 and Takayasu ends up 10-5.
Miyabiyama vs Homasho
Homasho ends on a high note with an 11-4 record. To Briton-Meyer’s joy, Homasho finally started to get low and defensive. When Homasho does this he’s tough to beat. Miyabiyama keeps on trucking and manages to end with an 8-7 record.
Kakuryu vs Goeido
At 13-1 and 11-3 this was without a doubt the bout everyone was waiting to see. On the one hand you have Kakuryu who has a chance to seal the deal and win the Yusho. On the other hand you have an under ranked and underperforming Goeido, and that’s saying a lot since the kid is 11-3 going in! Goeido harites the crap out of Kakuryu’s face, gains the mawashi, and wins by yorikiri in less than four seconds. Kakuryu, was it the nerves, did that slap surprise you, or did you forget this was for all the marbles? Anyway you slice it, Hakuho needs to beat Baruto to force a playoff. With 33 wins in the last three basho however, I would assume that will be enough for him to earn the promotion (though I haven’t read anything officially stating that).
Kisenosato vs. Kotoshogiku
Kisenosato beat everyone in the yusho race this basho (Baruto, Kakuryu, & Hakuho) but still found himself with an awful 9-5 record going into this bout. Here are some people Kisenosato lost to this basho: Tochinowaka, Tokitenku, Harumafuji, Kotooshu, and Tochiozan. Seriously kid needs to pull it together. With his partner in crime Kotoshogiku at 8-6 this one shouldn’t surprise you. Kid gets man handled but The Geek in less time than it took Goeido to take out Kakuryu. Both Ozeki end with underperforming 9-6 records. More on that at the end of this report.
Kotooshu vs Harumafuji
At 8-6 one must assume Kotooshu’s sumo days are numbered. He’s lost the drive. Today Ama harited him back about three feet. Big-O came rushing back at Haruma and it took Haruma about a half second to throw him off the dohyo with what looked like a choreographed uwatenage. Haruma ends with a respectable 11-4 record.
Hakuho vs. Baruto
If Hakuho wins this one Kakuryu and him go to a playoff and the fans will certainly go wild. The tachi-ai was won by Baruto who gained the left hand inside grip. Hakuho drove in hard and gained the left as well. Baruto began to push Hakuho to the bales but he got himself way too upright and failed to grab the right hand outside grip giving Hakuho the advantage in a huge way! The Dai Yokozuna gains the two handed inside grip and turns Baruto around and easily forces the Estonian out of the ring. Bart ends with a decent 10-5 record but certainly not enough to be considered for Yokozuna promotion. The Playoff is set and the people of Osaka could only be happier if Kisenosato hadn’t lost to so many chumps. Still, any playoff ain’t bad.
Kettei Sen: Hakuho vs Kakuryu
Hakuho’s left hand harite gains him the left hand outside grip at the tachi-ai. Kakuryu fights back to the center of the ring before Hakuho gains both hands on the mawashi, as does the Sekiwake! Hakuho has him on the bales and Kakuryu lifts Hakuho off the ground to get himself back into the match. Hakuho then plants his right foot hard on the dohyo and manages a two handed throw to tie Takanohana Oyakata’s 22 Yusho record! What a day!
If this isn’t proof positive of what happens when there is a Yokozuna so far beyond everyone else I don’t know what is! With Kakuryu’s 33 wins in the last three basho, he deserves to be promoted Ozeki. That will make for six Ozeki, none of which can truly meet the Yokozuna ability wise. What on earth is the NSK to do? Six Ozeki is a lot of dudes. I would like to see a small rule changed for the Ozeki rank, and I know I am not alone on this one. My argument stems from what I see (and many other fans too) as the problem: 8-7 is not a respectable or acceptable record for an Ozeki. It should not be enough to keep the rank. Especially when you have a Dai Yokozuna making it so damn hard to surpass him! What’s reasonable? What do you guys think? Do Ozeki have it too easy or not?
I hope you enjoyed the best basho of 2012 to date! We want to thank everyone who is taking the time to check us out. We (S & S members) do this for us, because we love this sport, but it’s fun to share with all parties interested in sumo. We’ve certainly seen an uptick in interest in the last two years and want to continue to bring the whiskey and stogies into the sumo fan community all-year round. Cheers and be on the look out. Briton-Meyer’s got the post-basho wrap-up and Money Shot in review! Valentine’s got his top ten too. Lots to look forward to dear readers. Cheers, Daly