Greetings sumo fans, lost internet navigators, and those searching for nude photos of Connolly. ‘Tis Spring Equinox, which provides us in Japan with a much appreciated hump-day holiday. What better way to celebrate the balance of light and darkness in one day than by enjoying day 11 of the stormy Osaka Basho with a strong, pepppery Bolivar and sweet Scotch.
As I love to do, I shall start way down low and work my way up.
m34E Sasakiyama (2-3) vs. m31W Kotofukuju (2-3): Sasaki was speeder at the tachiai, but Fukuju was the driving force. In desperation, Sasaki tried a pulling-arm thing which looked like he was trying to load his opponent over his shoulder. Fukuju simply drove forward while Sasaki danced the bales pulling on Fukuju’s right arm. The two tumbled down and while it looked like Sasaki was down first, the men in black had to talk it over. In the end, they confirm Kotofukuju’s win, and Sasakiyama gets his makekoshi.
m23E Osunaarashi (4-1) vs. m30E Musashiumi (4-1): The Egyptian overwhelmed his opponent with a strong surge at the tachiai and perfect thrusts to improve to 5-1. The boy probably won’t make Juryo next basho, but he’ll be in the Makushita joi.
Tall, lanky Mongol J8E Azumaryu (9-1) is in the lead for the Juryo yusho. Today, he took on J13W Tochihiryu (6-4). Touchy-Lew moved left at the tachiai, but Azuma didn’t have much speed on the tachiai anyway. They grappled for arm throws and grips, but Tochi was the one on the charge. At the bales, Azumaryu launched a thrust-down which resulted in Tochihiryu hitting the clay just a split-second before Azumaryu stepped out. Azumaryu improves to 10-1 and stays alone atop the leaderboard. A 10-5 won’t get him to the big leagues, but if he can turn in a 14-1 or 13-2, I think he’ll be welcome to debut, though his win today wasn’t particularly impressive.
J9E Miyabiyama (2-8) vs. J6W Tanzo (4-6): Bozo withstood McFlubby’s kitty-punch thrusts, and went straight to the belt racking up another loss for Miyabiyama who falls to 2-9, and is it only me whose having trouble believing this guy was a kumusubi January of last year? I hate to see him go, but I think we’ll see Miyabiyama hang it up once this nightmare of a basho is over for him.
M12W Masunoyama (4-6) vs. M11W Jokoryu (6-4): the Joker got a real good lesson on Makuuchi sumo from today’s bout against Huff-n-Puff. Huffy pulled the Joker to the edge, then got a right on the chest and the left on the armpit and next thing the Joker knew, he was in the on the floor with the geriatrics. Jokoryu is 6-5 and is probably safe to stay in Makuuchi, but I’d call this basho a valuable learning experience for the youngster. Masunoyama improves to 5-6.
M7E Okinoumi (8-2) vs. M14E Chiyonokuni (5-5): Chunkney had an aggressive tachiai trying a neck-lock throw twice, but Okidoki kept distance which prevented the neck-lock throw from succeeding. On the second attempt, Okidoki grabbed Chunkney’s right thigh essentially lifting him up and finishing him off with a force-out win. Okidoki staying in the lead for the jun-yusho with a 9-2. Chiyonokuni falls to 5-6.
M1W Tochinoshin (4-6) vs. SW Baruto (6-4): Bart leads the head-to-head 10-1 here. Today, Noshin got in close on Bart’s mawashi with a great inside position, but Bart also had a firm belt grip on the outside. Once grips were settled, it turned into a lifting match, and not No One, nor Noshin is a match with Bart in this game. Bart lifted Noshin and force-out win by Bart who improves to 7-4. Tochinoshin falls to 4-7.
OW Kotoshogiku (7-3) vs. YW Hakuho (10-0): the Yokozuna leads this head-to-head with a remarkable 33-3. The Geek was able to gain a deep inside grip after several shoves and slaps at the tachiai while Hak was trying for a slap down (poor choice by the Yokozuna). Hakuho shook off the Geek’s strong grip and drove forward with a force-out win. Hakuho improves to 11-0 while the Geek falls to 7-4.
I really want YE Harumafuji (7-3) to crush SE Goeido (7-3), and if I was in Osaka right now, I’d probably be the only one. I’m not partial or anything (aside from Harumafuji being my favorite active rikishi), but I want it to crush these ridiculous ozeki-promotion talks, and I want to see a repeat of that rear-lifting body slam he did in September 2007. Haruma charged well from the tachiai, then gained a tight migi yotsu. Goeido got some form of a weak right-hand belt grip, but nothing as good as Haruma’s grips. From this point, Goeido was on the defensive throughout. It took some time, but Haruma patiently found the right moment and launched a nice over-arm throw near the bales. No body slam, but the ‘Great Ozeki Hope’ Goeido falls to 7-4 while Harumafuji improves to 8-3.
Leadboard has Hakuho undefeated, then a handful of guys vying for the jun-yusho.
Check in tomorrow so de Gama can add a little Latin spice to your sumo.