2nd half of hatsu basho 2013 is under way. Although it began with the somber note of the death of former yokozuna Taiho, it continues with a current yokozuna regaining his proverbial honor, some younger guys shaking up the lower half of the banzuke, and a few veterans staring the threat of possible retirement in its hairless eye. And, of course, not that it’s new, our Ozeki are under-performing. None were able to get kachikoshi on day 8, and most will struggle to make their 10 this basho. Well, in any event, here’s the way I see it for day 9.
Tochinowaka v Asahisho – I can’t even believe the Tochinowaka from Aki and Nagoya last year and the Tochinowaka in 2013 are the same rikishi. He’s actually moving forward, and showing some power. Wka came in high but kept the pressure on, Asahi was off balance after some less than graceful foot work, and at the edge Tochi got low and got the job done. 6-2, 3-5
Daido v Daikiho – Hakuho’s not-so-little buddy is up in Makuuchi for the first time. Luckily for him it’s against Daido. Not so long ago Hakuho said the two of them would win both Makuuchi and Juryo yushos… it didn’t happen then and it won’t this time either. After a brief engagement Daido moved to the side and an over-committed Daikiho flew into the 5th row. 3-6, 4-5
Miyabiyama v Tamawashi – Yabbers failed to pick up a single win in the first 8 days. He will be back in juryo, and the general expectation is that he’ll retire, but he claims he’ll fight on, it would be convincing to see a bit of a spark today. I guess you could call that a spark. A few pushes and a pull and a dodge to the right, got him one win… one win. 1-8, 3-6
Wakanosato v Kotoyuki – I’m not overly thrilled with either of these guys this basho. Wakanosato should be doing better from this rank (M11) and I just haven’t made a decision about Kotoyuki’s sumo yet. Kotoyuki was 1 year old when Waka entered sumo and Waka certainly looked like the old man today as Yuki steamrollered him out. 3-6, 4-5
Shotenro v Okinoumi – Oki has shown some decent power this month, but he’s been a bit unsteady, and Shitenro has not been living up to my nickname for him, and has put up some decent numbers. Tenro had Oki’s arms locked up and better lower position, Oki just had no answer despite his inside grip. 7-2, 5-4
Tokitenku v Tamaasuka – January has been itsumo-dori for Ass-sucker, and Tokitenku has got a decent enough score, but the content of his sumo has been mostly piss poor. Close call for Tenku who came back from the edge to take Ass-ka over the bales, after he failed to capitalize on a good tachiai. 5-4, 3-6
Takarafuji v Chiyotairyu – Despite a day 1 stumble, Takarafuji has been putting up great numbers and is making me eat my words from the warmup, being the only rikishi besides the Yokozunas to stay in the yusho race. Chiyotairyu has had decent numbers, but again… the content isn’t great, at least consistently. Wow, crackerjack bout from Takara. Massive hit from both parties, a slip to the side, Takara tries for an arm bar, then took the forward initiative when Chiyo was off balance and made short work of one of the wolf’s pups. 8-1, 5-4
Takayasu v Sadanofuji – I thought Takayasu was a bit one dimensional at first, but I like the way he’s developing. He’s not actually that bad on the belt. It was pretty much a belt battle today, and it was Taka’s with a clean uwate after being driven back to the bales by Sada. Way to turn the tables buddy. Gyakuten. 7-2, 5-4
Fujiazuma v Aoiyama – The Tits pulled Fuji’s hair during a hatakikomi. The Tits looses, even though he kind of won. 5-4 each.
Tochinoshin v Kitataiki – Both of these guys started off hot, but have cooled off a little bit. Stamina has always been a problem for Taiki, but Noshin can handle the heat when he’s 100%. Both came in with migiyotsu and left hand outside, but Tochi is the stronger rikishi and it showed. Noshin had this one sealed up. 6-3, 5-4
Masunoyama v Aran – Masunoyama may not win all his bouts, but he gives everything and he’s fun to watch. Aran also may not win all his bouts, but I’m not sure he gives h everything, and it’s certainly not been fun to watch recently. Henka from Aran. Like I said, not fun to watch. How was Masu still breathing so heavily after less than a second of work? 2-7, 4-5
Gagamaru v Takekaze – Gaga looked PISSED the other day when he lost to Harumafuji. As far as I can tell he didn’t bow, and was chewing on his little sweat towel on the way down the hallway back to the shitakubeya ( I want the innuendo to be there, but it just isn’t.) Very rare we see Gaga recover from this kind of lateral motion, but he did. It wasn’t pretty, but as Take was moving backward anyway, 212 kilograms of momentum assured he was going forward anytime soon. 3-6, 2-7
Tohohibiki v Yoshikaze – Another two underachievers going head to head, just score wise. Their sumo hasn’t been all bad, just their numbers. Looked like Yoshi had this one after spinning Beeker around, but Yoshi’s quick movements were his undoing as he caught himself off balance. 1-8, 3-6
Ikioi v Kyokutenho – Despite a good inside left from the tachiai by Ikioi, the former champ pulled a pretty handy uwatenage on the youngster near the bales. 3-6 a piece.
Myogiryu v Shohozan – I’d love to see a rivalry between these two. Two fiery young go-getters that are putting up great sumo, and will be sekiwake mainstays or maybe even ozeki. Shohozan’s thrusting was looking to keep Yogi at bay, but Myogi’s lateral motion gave him the right angle to take down the golden boy with a slip to the side and a slap down win. 5-4, 2-7
Tochiozan v Aminishiki – Sneakers reminds me of one of my favorite relief pitchers when I was a kid. They would bring him in to get out of a funky jam, but he was old and had some injuries. He could take down the best, but wasn’t really that consistent with run of the mill batters. That bout reminded me of Tochiozans Yusho ketteisen except in reverse, intial contact and a hand pull down for Tochi. 4-5, 3-6 (Sneakers 3 were all ozeki… go figure)
Kaisei v Kotoshogiku – The record is not very long between these two. Only one win and it went to the Geek. Kaisei was too low and too far forward and went down right at the tachiai, can’t tell if the shoulder to the jaw jarred him too much or if he just slipped. Either way win for the geek. 4-5, 6-3
Kotooshu v Kakuryu – As far as I’m concerned Kakuryu has lapped Oshu, depiste a lack of yusho. Kakuryu used his fish oil to slip out of Oshu’s migiyotsu and right into a nice, low morozashi leaving oshu nothing but a single hand reaching for Kaku’s thong tho-tho-tho-thong thong. The Eurozeki will go home and cry himself to sleep on pillows of that sweet, sweet yogurt money. 5-4, 6-3
Kisenosato v Toyonoshima – I’m surprised that with the way Kise lets people indside at the tachiai and with Toyonoshima fighting very well from a morozashi from the start, that the record between the two is 23-7 in Kise’s favor. Kise looked to be in trouble as Toyo was inside from the tachiai (predicted) and had Kise turned to the side. But when Toyo went for the forward motion, Kise completely turned the tables, slipping through Toyo’s otsuke and getting the exact same advantage Toyo had, escorting him out for the yorikiri win. 7-2, 3-6
Goeido v Harumafuji – These two have a bit of a history. Back in Aki 2007 Haruma pulled an okuritsuriotoshi (rear lifting body slam) that we still talk about. Harumafuji’s typical nodowa started this bout out, and a quick double handed slap to the back of the sekiwake’s head all but dashed Eido’s chances for ozeki, and will keep me from adding a public indecency charge to my permanent record. 5-4, 9-0
Hakuho v Baruto – Baruto’s chances for making it back up to ozeki are reaching critical mass. He can lose 2 more bouts, and with Hakuho today, and Harumafuji, Kise, Oshu, Geek, et al, from here on out, it ain’t looking good. Oshu will throw him a win, but I’m not sure about the others. His record against Hakuho while healthy isn’t promising for today either. There was little to no resistance from Bart today. He bounced right off of Haks, and a migiyotsu with the killer left hand on an outside maemawashi had Bart out in a matter of seconds. Bart can lose one more, and still get back to Ozeki. 8-1, 5-4.
Leader board stays the same. Harumafuji on top with 9 wins, and Hakuho and Takarafuji at 8-1. In juryo Jokoryu, Sotairyu, and Takanoiwa lead the pack with 7-2. Takamisakari is 2 losses away from possible retirement. Takanoyama still has a chance with 4-5, and new comers Azumaryu and Kagamio are doing alright with 5-4 and 4-5 respectively