I woke up this morning with Bertrum right there, just inches from my face and a smile so wide you could slip a banana in there sideways and not touch a thing. Why is he smiling, where am I, and why are Bertrum and I snuggling in the same bed?
Aaah, yes. Questions rise and rumors fall after a full day of whiskey, cigars, and the Josef Daly wedding ceremony. Daly, let me say on behalf of all of us that I had such a great time at your wedding ceremony, I just can’t wait until your next one!
Moving on to Day 9 bouts of interest…
Two men who are in a rush to get their kachikoshis are M13W Daido (7-1) and M8W Kaisei (7-1): Daido quicker on tachiai, but Kaisei was focusing on technique rather than speed. Kaisei put both hands in Daido’s armpits, put his head down in his opponent’s chest, and dug forward with a force-down win.
In the Makuuchi featherweight sub-division, M8E, 139kg Yoshikaze (4-4) took on M12W, 101kg Takanoyama (2-6): the two put their heads together in a painfully comical “bonk!” fashion at the tachiai, and a speed-battle ensued, with Yoshi charging while Taka fought defensively looking for a lucky pull-down. In the end Yoshi squared up on the wormy one and drove into him with speed which sent both rikishi flip-flopping out to the first row. Yoshikaze wins this one and improves to 5-4 while the beanpole Czech falls to 2-7.
M2E Aoiyama (2-6) had a hell of a week one, facing all six ozeki and the yokozuna, but so far he has knocked off one ozeki and the standing yusho champion Kyokutenho yesterday (that’s not saying much, but there. I said it). Today he took on KE Myogiryu (5-3), whom pulled off a beautiful win over Baruto yesterday. Myogiryu had a good charge at the tachiai driving forward, but he was too low and Mr. Ivanov easily slapped Myogiryu down to the clay for his 4th loss. It should be noted that although Aoiyama won, he out-weighs Myogiryu by 20kg and there is no excuse a rikishi of his size doesn’t drive forward on his opponent. Lucky win for Aoi, who improves to 3-6.
In a rematch of last basho’s championship playoff, we have M1E Kyokutenho (0-8) and SW Tochiozan (1-7)…that’s right, the champion and runner-up of last basho are currently 1-15 combined. This record will have to improve because somone will have to win today. Tachiai, and Kyoku quickly got his right-inside, left-outside, but O worked a quick makikae and the two froze in the center of the dohyo whispering sweet nothings. Tochi eventually let his left-hand grip go and kept his right inside, which he used for a lame pulling over-arm throw. Old man Kyoku was so worn out by this point, the technique worked and Kyoku not only went down but tumbled to about the fourth row. Tochiozan improves to 2-7 while our defending yusho champion is 0-9.
M3E Wakakoyu (2-6) vs. OW Kotoshogiku (7-1): not much to say other than Wakakoyu came into this only looking for a pull-down. Fair enough in that it’s probably the only way he’d have a chance to beat the Geek. It didn’t work and Geek got in close and hugged and-a chugged. Force out win, and the Geek is 8-1 while Connolly’s girlfriend’s boyfriend is 2-7.
Finally some ozeki-on-ozeki action this basho starts with OE Kisenosato (6-2) and OW Kakuryu (6-2). Head-to-head is 17-7 in Kissy’s favor, and on top of this the Kak hasn’t won the head-to-head since the Technical Examination Basho. Today, Kissy drove forward on the tachiai while the Kak tried some slap/pull downs. Kissy did really well to keep his eyes on his opponent, obviously between hard Shintaro Ishihara-type blinks, and not allow the Kak to get him off balance. A thrust out win for Kisenosato who improves to 7-2 while the Kak falls to 6-3.
When the tallest rikishi OE, 203cm Kotooshu (6-2) takes on the shortest rikishi KW, 171cm Toyonoshima (1-7) it always turns out to be an interesting bout (head-to-head is 14-12, on the Eurozeki’s favor). Oshu really had nothing going. Soft tachiai with his head down. Started with half-assed arms out, thrusts, then half-assed reach for the belt and still looking at the ground. Toyonoshima finished him off with a armlock throw and improves to 2-7 while the Eurozeki falls to 6-3.
In terms of yusho implications, OE Baruto (7-1) vs. OW Harumafuji (8-0) can be considered the bout of the day today. Head-to-head is very close: 13-12 in Haruma’s favor. Hard to describe this one more than a merry-go-round. Haruma darted for a left-hand inside grip. Bart was trying to lock up straight ahead chest-to-chest. The result of these two well planned strategies was the two rikishi spinning and spinning to the left as Haruma wanted to secure that lefthand inside while Bart wanted to square up with his opponent. Bart couldn’t keep up with the speed and went down with what they called a pulling over-arm throw. Harumafuji is still undefeated at 9-0 while Baruto falls to 7-2.
YE Hakuho (8-0) vs. SE Goeido (4-4): head-to-head is 13-1 in Hakuho’s favor, with the one loss coming last basho. Today, Goeido just about had this one in the bag in less than a second thanks to the Nagoya humidity. Hakuho slipped off Goeido upon initial charge, but kept his balance despite Goeido’s outside leg trip attempt. Hakuho gained his right-hand inside and from here he just waiting until he was ready to kill his prey. Overall a 55 second bout, with most of the action within the first five seconds, but in the end Hakuho finished Goeido with an overarm throw and improves to 9-0 to stay on par with Haruma in the lead. Goeido falls to 4-5.
Tomorrow will bring us some excitement in bouts such as Hakuho vs. Kakuryu, Baruto vs. Kotooshu, and arch-rivals Harumafuji vs. Kotoshogiku.
Bertrum will be there to fill us in on why he was so happy this morning, and just what did he do with that banana?