Like a phoenix rising
from history’s fiery ashes
a single crash upon dohyo time
foot shakes the champion’s aura
loose onto the ring
its spirit fills each shikona
with a pride and greatness
Maybe my initial, gut, analysis is wrong, but it sure felt like at least some rikishi fought Nakabi with a little extra pride and passion today. Taiho was without question a phenomenal yokozuna who will be remembered. Let’s get to the good stuff, and for once, it feels like there was a lot of it to go around.
Dropping down to Juryo we found the Beanpole, Takanoyama facing off against Daikiho (J1w), a college grad only in his sixth basho and he’s yet to have a losing record. Well today the two charged in tsupari flying. Takanoyama wildly rotated around the dohyo and let the harite fly while eventually Daikiho attempted to push the Czech out of the ring. But Takanoyama grabbed onto his arms and refused to let go. In a last ditch effort Takanoyama grabbed the newb’s head and won via shitatedashinage. Couldn’t tell if he actually had hold of the mawashi but the win evens the two up at 4-4.
Next up Jokoryu (5-2 J1e) faced Juryo leader Oiwato at 6-1. Jokoryu keeps his arms tightly in with the methodical tsupari backing the leader to the bales. Joe Call You got his arm under Oiwato’s armpit and from there one of S & S’s favorites got hold of the mawashi for the yorikiri victory. Jokoryu ties the Juryo leader at 6-2.
Back up to Makuuchi young gun Takarafuji finds himself at 6-1 against the Mongolian Tamawashi. Tachi-ai went to Mawashi but Takara uses his left arm to slap Tamawashi off balance to his left. From there the Aomori native backed Tama to the bales got his left arm up the armpit but Tamawashi wasn’t going out. Takarafuji voilently unleashed a right handed shove that sent the Mongolian flying. Takarafuji moves to 7-1.
Fujiazuma got a freebie today against Miyabiyama. No, Jaba was present but his tsupari and footwork isn’t doing a darn thing these days. Fujiazuma wins easliy with an oshidashi and then grabbed his elder to be sure he didn’t get hurt. Since this is my last report of the basho, it will also be the last time I report on Miyabiyama. He had some great bouts, sadly I didn’t get to see many of them.
Kitataiki thought he had the advantage against Shotenro as he began forcing him backwards. Shotenro however had a strong left hand inside grip. Shotenro easily throws the Tokyo native off the dohyo. Shotenro moves to 6-2 while Kitataiki shakes his head in disbelief as he drops to 5-3.
Tochinowaka had the left hand mawashi but left his hand hanging instead and stayed way too tall against Okinoumi. Okinoumi wins with the right hand inside grip yorikiri. Don moves to 5-3 and Tochinowaka loses his second.
Chiyotairyu rocked Wakanosato to the bales in three powerful thrusts. The veteran wraps him up though and the young one began retreating. As he did Wakanosato put his weight on top and the the Young Ryu fell on his own accord. Wakanosato mirrors Chiyotairyu with the win 3-5 and 5-3.
Tokitenku hung on while the Masunoyama huffed and puffed and tried to topple the Mongolian to the dirt. Toki had the solid left hand grip and when Masu tried to change directions to use his mass to push Tenku to the ground the Mongol only needed to turn his hips to initiated the uwatenage throw. Too long of a bout for Masunoyama and it showed afterwards as he lay on the ground for a few moments to catch his breath at 2-6 while Tokitenku get himself back to .500.
A strong nodowa (neck grab) by Takayasu allowed him to drive Tochinoshin back to the bales for an easy tsukidashi win over the Georgian. Today was Takayasu’s first win over the Noshin in four bouts.
Takekaze’s days appear numbered to me. He just doesn’t appear to have the strength to pull some of the trickier he once used to stick around the Makuuchi Division. Akita’s only Makuuchi son might be the last one for a while as the other hopefuls are 0-4 and 1-3 currently in Makushita. Yikes. By the way, Aoiyama carefully and methodically beat Takekaze via tsukidashi.
At 2-4 pride was the least of Yohikaze’s worries, that guy just needed a win! He gets one over sole M5, Ikoi, with a hikiotoshi. Ikoi drops to an expected 3-5 and Yoshi ties him with the win.
At 0-7 Toyohibiki was itching to get a win today against Kyokutenho who was not far ahead at 1-6. Beeker kept his hands inside and drove the Mongol back to the bales. Kyokutenho managed to work his right hand inside and saves himself with a sweet sukinage!
Sekiwake Baruto was all business today. It took two thrusts to slam Aminishiki out of the ring. Bart gets to five wins after eight days. He can only afford two more loses and the second half of the basho ain’t going to get any easier. Looking forward to seeing what happens with this story.
Kakuryu had no intention of fighting Goeido today as he looked more prepared for some butsukari-geiko. Not surprised but not worth watching all the same. Goeido is given a freebie as he continues to make his “run” at Ozeki. He moves to 5-3.
If Kisenosato could keep his warrior persona when the actual bout began he would be one of the best out there. With loses to Tochiozan and Baruto that just isn’t the case. Shohozan false starts and Kisenosato just stood tall and actually took a step toward the other rikishi. No apologies given by either rikishi the second time through Kise was able to wrap up the smaller rikishi and knock him off balance near the ring’s edge to win by yorikiri. Kise moves to 6-2.
Toyonoshima may just be the first rikishi I’ve ever seen withstand Kotoshogiku’s hug’n chug but no matter to the Ozeki as he changes directions and sends the Little Island flying with a tsukiotoshi victory.
Hakuho went to town on Kaisei at the word go. The Dai Yokozuna who had the utmost respect for former Yokozuna Taiho, gained the inside left hand grip. Within seconds Kaisei was on the ground. The Great White Phoenix wins by uwatenage and move to 7-1.
Yokozuna Harumafuji welcomed Georgian Gagamaru into the ring for the final match of the day. Haruma has won seventy five percent of his bouts against the Lord Gaga and hoped to continue his winning ways today. The Yokozuna utilized a strong nodowa to keep the Giant Gaga away from him on three occasions during the short bout. After the third Gaga came crashing after the Yokozuna and he simply moved out of the way as Lord Gaga crashed to the ground. Haruma moves to 8-0 and maintains his lead over the pack.
Hakuho and Takarafuji are one back from the Yokozuna and unless there is some funny biznasty during week two it appears to be a two man race against Hakuho and Harumafuji.
Creswell awakens from his tech free slumber to bring you yet another thrilling report on Day nine. See you in Osaka.