11. Kyushu Basho 2011

Kyushu Basho 2011

Shonichi

No butts in the seats in Fukuoka. Why? The Rally Monkey of the JSA, 35 year old Takamisakari is low in Juryo and has vowed that he will retire if he falls to Makushita. Scandals mean nothing when compared to this pledge. J10E Chiyoarashi vs. J10W Takamisakari: head to head is 1-0, in Ringo’s favor. Snapple started out slow at the tachiai, but drove forward with a funky morozashi, then finished out with uncharacteristic thrusts on his opponent. Push-out win for Takamisakari.

M16E Aoiyama vs. M16W Tsurugidake: head-2-head, one-2-one. Aoiyama drove forward with impressive power at the tachiai, not allowing his smaller opponent to get inside. The Bulgarian tried a pull-down once from the back of the neck, but it did enough only to throw Tsurugi off balance and from there Aoi restarted his thrusting campaign, push-out win for the Shinmaku. And it’s into the NHK Booth for the Virgil Valentine Rikishi on the Bubble. I’ll drink a shot of straight Bulleit Frontier bourbon to a great Makuuchi career from this gentleman.

M14E Kaisei vs. M14W Takarafuji: Kaisei leads the career head-to-head 3-0. Kaisei started out too high and nearly got locked up in an ugly armbar, but was able to stay in close. Takara went for makikae (grip switcheroo) and this split-second opportunity gave Kaisei the chance to get an overarm throw win.

M12W Sagatsukasa vs. M11W Myogiryu: first timers, here. Fast and more powerful at the tachiai, Myogiryu drove Sagats back, but Sagats stayed low to remain in, and the battle returned to the center of the ring. No advantage for either for a while, but when Myogi drove both men lost their balance, and Satags seems to just have slipped or his knee buckled whilst in retreat. Shinmaku Myogiryu gets his first Makuuchi win on shonichi.

M8W Takayasu vs. M7W Takekaze: someone slept with someone’s wife…a true bitch-slapping affair it twas. Taka and Take both slapping away, with Take moving backward, but once he slipped a bit to Taka’s side, he turned on offensive and kept Taka in front of him as he slapped the hell out of Taka like the half-filipino child that he is, and out of the ring. Push-out win for Takekaze.

M3E Aran vs. SW Kakuryu: Head-to-head is 7-1 in the Kak’s favor, with the Kak winning the last six meetings. Why is Aran still ranked this high? A 5-10 at Komusubi in September should have dropped the Russian out of the meat-grinder for this basho. He’s going to get his ass handed to him this basho (to be clear, this is because of his pansy sumo, not his potential). Kak came in low, stayed close so Aran couldn’t thrust. Kak gained a tight morozashi and easily lead Aran back and out, force-out win. Good stuff from the Kak.

SE Kisenosato vs. M2W Kyokutenho: head-to-head is a pair of nines. Even tachiai today between the old Mongol and the Accomplice, both looking for belt grips. Kise drove Kyoku back while Kyoku was maneuvering for an arm throw. The Accomplice stayed the course and brought down the elder Mongol, frontal crush-out. Overall, a meh win for the Ozeki hopeful.

M2E Tochinoshin vs. OW Kotoshogiku: 4-8 between the two in the past. Today a strong tachiai from the Geek and No-Shine didn’t come up with a damn thing as the Geek quickly hugged-n-chugged the Georgian out/down with frontal crush-out win.

OE Kotooshu vs. M1W Goeido: the Oh-shoot leads Go-away 10-3 head-to-head. Oshu tried a few Three Stooges-style cheap slaps after impact of the tachiai, but given that didn’t work he moved in and the two tried lame-attempt throws on each other. Oshu survived the double lame throw attempts with what they called a “rear push down.” Amateur win by the Eurozeki.

M1E Okinoumi vs. OW Harumafuji: Oki leads the head-to-head 2-1. Low tachiai by Haruma, who quickly gained a left inside grip. Oki tried to keep Haruma away from his belt by ignorantly standing tall, which is a bad idea. Haruma took advantage of the Statue of Liberty, and moved in on her, frontal crush-out win for the Mongol.

OE Baruto vs. KE Toyonoshima: Bart leads the head-to-head 13-3. Bart immediately gained the right-hand outside and drove forward at the tachiai, but Toyo simply pivoted on his right foot using amazing balance and took down an unbalanced Goliath with a beltless arm-throw. After the bout, Bart looked more like Toyo tickled him out of the ring than out witted him. The guy has got to learn to put away that awe-shucks smile after a loss. It shows a clear lack of interest, motivation, and focus.

YE Hakuho vs. KW Homasho: Daiyokozuna leads the head-to-head 11-0, and today was more of the same as Hakuho came in strong as always at the tachiai, slapped Homie’s head, and Homie was easily down to the clay, a slap-down win.

Hakuho’s in the lead. Bout of the day? David vs Goliath. Bart’s half-assed loss to Toyonoshima should start a fire in the belly for Bart…but “should” doesn’t mean “will.” The Accomplice is ten more wins away from Ozeki and the Eurozeki is seven wins away from shaking kadoban. Let’s hope for some more exciting days of sumo as this basho marches onward.

I shall return to my evening on the Bulleit Frontier. Keep it up until Creswell comes at ya tomorrow.

Day 2

I’ll start things out today with a glance down into juryo. Last basho’s Makushita yusho winner Asahisho lost to Ikioi leaving him at 1-1 whilst Sticky Icky advances to 2-0. Sotairyu bounced back from yesterday and got the W over Tamanoshima. It was ruled a hatakikomi, but looked more like a tsukiotoshi. Takamisakari (now at juryo 10) gave it his all against Kotoyuki looking to keep his career alive, but it was not meant to be. 6 more losses and Ringo is going to be put out to pasture… or orchard as it were. Hokutokuni picked up a fusen win, when Kimikaze failed to show up for work.

Our other buddy from Makuuchi, Tosayutaka lost to Kyokushuho. The gorilla just kind of lost focus, I guess. Chiyonokuni lost to part-time makuuchi Tama-Oscar, and Takanoyama got an easy oshidashi win over Masunoyama who, limping back up the hanamichi, looks to have injured his left ankle yet again. Lastly G.W. Bushyama will have no problem putting up that “mission accomplished” banner after his bout with Tenkaiho. I’ll get to makuuchi just as soon as I top off my whisky.

Yoshiazuma – Tsurugidake – Tsurugidake started off with what looked like a good oshi attack, but it was too high and Yoshi was able to get under the attack and that was all she wrote. 2-0, 0-2

Shohozan – Kimurayama – Right at the tachi-ai Kimura was back and to the left, back peddaling and pulling down. 0-2, 1-1. Briton-Meyer’s pariah evens out.

Aoiyama – Sadanofuji – Aoiyama put both hands down at the tachiai, but was a bit slow to start. It didn’t really matter though, he man handled Sada back and out without giving an inch. 2-0, 1-1

Tamawashi – Kaisei – Tama went right for the jugular, and Kaisei managed to keep Tama’s arms tied up enough to stop the attack and lead the mongol out for the win. 0-2, 2-0

Takarafuji – Asasekiryu – I had Takarafuji on the bubble right before he made it to juryo, and I was sure he’d make makuuchi, which he did. However his first makuuchi basho was atrocious. Today was a bit better. Asa started with his left hand inside, but Takara’s position was a bit better and he had Asa off balance on his left leg, and out. 1-1 each.

Toyohibiki – Sagatsukasa – Beeker came in hard with a thrusting attack, and Saga was losing ground fighting for some position. At the bales Saga slipped to the side and let Beeker’s momentum guide his slap down. 1-1 for both gentlemen.

Daido – Myogiryu – Myogiryu has been getting hype since he entered sumo, and for good reason. Today however, Daido was able to push him down and keep him on the move enough to force him down before Daiso himself exited the building. 1-1, 1-1

Wakanosato – Fujiazuma – Fuji had a good tachiai, and got great position against the veteran nailing an easy win. 0-2, 2-0

Kokkai – Takayasu – Kokkai had a few rough basho due to his old neck injury, but has recently been making a bit of a comeback after a return to juryo. Takayasu has been kind of stuggling to break out in makuuchi. Today was no struggle for super savings though. He got a strong grip on Kok’s belt and escorted the Georgian over the bales. 0-1, 1-1.

Wakakoyu – Takekaze – BIIIIIIIG henka slap down for Kaze, and a shameful half-chub for DeGama. 1-1, 2-0

Aminishiki – Tokitenku – Sneaky snuck to the side right after the tachiai and slapped down Tenku, evening the pair at 1-1 each.

Miyabiyama- Yoshikaze – Miyabiyama weathered the storm of Yoshi’s furious tsuppari and held his ground for 2 slap down attempts. After that it was all a matter of calm forward, motion securing the wi. 1-1 each.

Tochinowaka – Kitataiki – Taiki came in with a good tachiai and good deashi, but the momentum of this bout was all Tochiniwaka. Seemed like a pretty easy win for the big guy. 2-0, 0-2

Tochiozan – Gagamaru – Gaga had a good basho last go around, but i think he is way overranked at his current level. That being said, Ozan just couldn’t deal with that much weight. It is obvious that Gaga’s balance has improved, and his ability to fight through Ozan’s lateral movement was proof. 1- 1 each.

Kisenosato – Aran – the Kid kind of jumped up at the tachiai and started with a big thrust the looked to try and follow up with a belt grip, but Aran kept him at bay with some big thrusts, Kise just kept low and moved forward and Aran seemed to escort himself out…yeah, I went there. 2-0, 0-2

Kyokutenho – Kakuryu – Kakuryu went from maemitsu to morozashi right from the tachiai and Kyokutenho locked up his arms. Tenho moved Kak back toward the bales, when Kak lifted Tenho up, spun 180 degrees and escorted Tenho out. Where was this Kakuryu last basho? 0-2, 2-0

Baruto – Tochinoshin – Noshin went right into migiyotsu, as did Baruto, but Noshin looked to have the tachiai advantage, but after getting driven back to the bales, Bart slipped to the side and squeezed out a sukuinage over the Georgian. 1-1, 0-1

Goeido – Kotoshogiku – After a good tachiai, Geek ended up with a left hand inside and the Underachiever was at the disadvantage, but the Geek was a bit overstretched. Just as Eido slipped to the side to get a better angle, Geeku brought the hug-n-chug, and Eido’s right leg slipped, and down he went. 0-2, 2-0

Kotooshu – Toyonoshima – Oshu was able to slap both of Toyo’s hands down denying him his favored morozashi, but the little guy didn’t give up. Oshu was throwing out more ill-aimed slaps and thrusts than an inebriated DeGama at a coed party. Oshu got his arms inside and made a push for the edge, but Toyo is a flexible and quick little guy so he circled around biding time. Toyo went for a sukuinage, which broke both rikishi’s grips. Oshu went for the slap down, but Toyo went in for the charge to finish things off. Both rikishi went out about the same time, but Oshu’s foot hit the dirt before Toyonishima, due to a planking maneuver. Oshu is trash at 1-1, while Toyo looks pretty good at 2-0, both being ozeki scalps.

Homasho – Harumafuji – Harry had Homey moving back with a big nodowa that actually landed on Homey’s forehead, Harry followed it up with a slap down to get win #2. 0-2, 2-0

The newly promoted 36th Kimura Shonosuke presides over our final bout.

Hakuho – Okinoumi – Oki had a good tachiai, keeping the yokozuna’s right arm tied up and keeping the left off the belt. Hakuho pivoted slightly, got his right hand inside, and drove forward, Oki losing ground and pivoting to the left. A final shove on Oki’s chest form Hak’s right arm ended things in the usual style. Oki did a good job. He even caused the yokozuna to exit the ring due to effort. But the win still goes to the yokozuna. 2-0, 0-2.

Once again, we can’t even have aa shonichi or Day 2 where all the ozeki win. With the crap we’ve seen thus far, I see Oshu is headed for demotion, unless he sorts his stuff out.

I’ll be here again tomorrow.

Day 3

I know you all want to get to the big results, but bear with me for a minute here. The juryo feed went in and out for a while. We say that “Nihon Ganbarou” screen for a few bouts, although we could hear what was going on. So I didn’t catch every juryo bout, but one in particular stuck out. Sotairyu v. Hokutokuni. I like Sotairyu because of his explosive tachi-ai, and unwillingness to quit at the edge, but yesterday Hokutokuni exploded out from the shikiri. That was one of the best juryo tachiais I have ever seen. Sotairyu didn’t even have a chance to get an attack started. I am going to go out on a limb and say this guy is certainly bound for makuuchi, and if he can stay healthy, at least joii. Watch it here. Oh yeah, and Robocop is now 4 wins away from staying nalive for one more basho. Now lets go behind the curtain.

Aoiyama – Bushuyama – Aoiyama had Bushu on the retreat, but overstretched a bit, and Bush took the easy win. 2-1 each.

Kimurayama – Sadanofuji – Sadanofuji is my hero today, using good forward motion, keeping his hips low, and not falling for the backward pulling of Kimura. 6 more till juryo. 1-2, 2-1

Shohozan – Tsurugidake – Tsurugidake’s attack was just too slipshod and ill-placed. Shohozan got right through the defenses, and some convincing shoves got the job done. Reminiscent of a junior high school fight, and lasted abotu as long. Tsurugidake also spilled the salt basket, bad luck for tomorrow. 1-2, 0-3

Kaisei – Sagatsukasa – WOW, man. Sagatsukasa didn’t waste a second getting both hands inside, then got his right paw all up in that Brazilian armpit and straight up owned Kaisei. Perhaps Kaisei was expecting a henka, and didn’t fully commit. But either way, Saga has some brass ones, going straight in, chest to chest with a guy a full 27cm taller and 41kg heavier than himself. 2-1 for both men.

Daido – Asasekiryu – Slight henka to the left by Asasekiryu failed to get any real results. Although the Sex machine had Daido up slightly higher, he couldn’t manage a belt grip, and pushing and thrusting is not Asa’s game. This one went to Daido via katasukashi. 2-1, 1-2

Takarafuji – Myogiryu – Once again, good solid stuff from Myorigryu. Focused, low tsuppari, with solid deashi. That’s good sumo folks. Basics, basics, basics. 1-2, 2-1

Toyohibiki – Tamawashi – Mawashi had Beeker moving back with some good tsuppari, then Beeker moved Mawash back with a dose of his own medicine. At the bales Mawashi caught Beeker off balance with a left hand on Beekers right side and picked up a thrust down win. 1-2 a piece.

Fujiazuma – Wakakoyu – Waka started off with a double David Carradine then pulled down for the win. Looks a bit like Takekaze’s M.O. 2-1 each.

Wakansato – Kokkai – both veterans came into this battle winless. Both men are also not quite what they used to be. They started off with mirror grips. Both with hidariyotsu with left hand on the belt. After some milling about to set up Kokkai drove forward. Waka braced on the bales and reached deep for the right hand grip then dumped the Kok with an uwatenage. 1-2, 0-3

Tokitenku – Takayasu – Takayasu in fast with an alternating nodowa. Tenku was moving back, and tried a hop back to break the grip and reset, but Takayasu’s momentum was too much and too fast for Tenku to set up a good enough defense. 1-2, 2-1

Takekaze – Miyabiyama – straight up tachiai this time. Both men trading off pushing and pulling rotating around the dohyo. Takekaze’s smaller size and greater speed allowed him to out maneuver Miyabi and take him from behind. Akita’s native son is 3-0 for his best start since 2007, former ozeki 1-2.

Kitataiki – Aminishiki – Nishiki had a good straight tachi ai, moved Taiki back and used a hand pull down to secure the win. 0-3, 2-1.

Yoshikaze – Tochiozan – Darn good tachiai by both parties, Yoshi with a nodowa, and Ozan with a hazuoshi in yoshi’s pit. Yoshi went for the pull down, which compromised his balance enough for Ozan to get a push moving. A final push to the chest sealed the deal. 1-2, 2-1

Aran – Tochinowaka – Easy day at the office for Tochinowaka. Aran’s blows were too high, which allowed the bigger man two hands in the armpits. All she wrote. 0-3, 3-0

Gagamaru – Kakuryu – Kakuryu decided to start things off with some tsuppari before settling into a morozashi which Gaga broke. More tsuppari as Gaga had Kakuryu on the defensive. Advantage passed back and forth before Gaga just plain ntired out and was taken out by the Kak. 1-2, 3-0

Kisenosato – Toyonoshima – Both rikishi going in undefeated. I must say I find it a bit strange that both rikishi got hands on the belt at the tachiai, but neither grabbed it. They instead chose to deflect each other to the side. Toyo got what looked like would be a successful kotenage with a hand on kise’s neck, but Kise got out of it and turned the momentum away from the bales. Nodowa and thrusts to the chest got Kise the win. As much as I like Toyonoshima, it looks like he just gave up after his kotenage attempt. Seems kinda fishy to me. 3-0, 2-1

Kyokutenho – Harumafuji – Harry started things off with his usual nodowa, then went for a maemitsu front grip on the belt, then to a deep morozashi double inside grip. Tenho wrapped up the ozeki’s arms and pushed forward, locking Harry’s elbows and driving the ozeki backwards. Using the Tawara for leverage, Harry spun around and went for a shitatenage, but his left leg slipped and the ozeki went down first.

Baruto – Okinoumi – Okinoumi got a morozashi straight away with Baruto getting his usual both hands outside. Don Juan pushed forward, and Krang back peddaled to the right and went for a kubinage neck throw. Oki regained and lost his left hand grip but retained his right hand on the front of the belt, getting thrown around like a rag doll by the big man. Oki regrouped got his left hand back inside and up higher near the arm pit, and as Krang went for the sukuinage, Oki pushed to the chest and knocked out his first ozeki of the basho. Baruto looks abysmal with 1-2, and Oki continues the love affair with 1-2 as well.

Homasho – Kotoshogiku – The momentum at the tachiai went to Kotoshogiku moving Homey back as Homey employed his oft-used otsuke. The shin-komusubi moved the shin-ozeki back near the bales, then Geeku side stepped and thrust down Homasho with a right paw to the ribcage. 0-3, 3-0

Kotooshu – Tochinoshin – congratulations, Oshu, pretty much your first ozeki-like win in 2 basho. 2-1, 0-3

Hakuho – Goeido – Pretty serious staredown between these two. Hakuho got his favorite grip (migiyotsu with the lefthand outside grip) almost immediately, and let fly a vicious uwatenage the sent both parties flying around the dohyo. Goeido hitting the clay first.

So after 3 days only 1 ozeki is undefeated.

3-0 Hakuho, Kotoshogiku, Kisenosato, Kakuryu, Tochinowaka, Takekaze

Connolly is riding shotgun tomorrow.

Day 4

Kimurayama vs. Tsurugidake
Today started off with the least favourite rikishi here at S&S… well depending on who you talk to I guess, but I had my Tsurugidake flag on when this fight began! Kimurayama unsurprisingly henkad at the tachi-ai. But with incredibly slow footwork failed to capatalise and allowed Tsurugidate to recover. Tsuru then drove forward and pushed Kimura out via oshidashi.

Masunoyama vs. Sadanofuji
Masanoyama happily came up from the Juryo rank to fight against the less happy Sadanofuji. Masa pulled of a beautiful sukinage (beltless arm throw) to keep Sada… well Sad.

Shohozan vs. Takarafuji
Fukuoka against Aomori, brown against white. Shohoza came in fast and was working faster, but when Takarafuji got him wrapped up with a double belt grip it looked like it was game over for Shoho. But he pulled off an unexpected sukinage and saved himself at the edge! Nice work.

Aoiyama vs. Asasekiryu
Aoiyama started strong and kept moving forward to easily defeat Asasekiryu. He is bubbling discretely up the ranks!

Daido vs. Kaisei
20kgs were in favour of the Brazilian at the tachi-ai, and it showed! Daido henkad to get a right hand grip on the back of Kaisei‘s belt but the weight, and more importantly skill, allowed Kaisei to recover and pull off the third sukinage of the day.

Tamawashi vs. Myogiryu
Both head crashed had at the tachi-ai, some space the opened up, as did the skin above Myogiryu‘s eye. A few swipes for Myogi put Tama off ball-ance and he moved in for the kill. Adding insult along the way be spreading his blood allover the chest of Tamawashi. Nice :p

Kokkai vs. Toyohibiki
Kokkai was was being driven back from the get go today, but employed a nice belt throw and the edge to sneak in his first win.

Sagatsukasa vs. Fujiazuma
Saga got the better tachi-ai, but with not enough power behind it, he failed to move Fujizuma at all. Fuji broke out his inner Chiyotaikai tsuppari and worked Saga over. While being pushed back, Saga tried a pull down, but when that failed, he fould himself flying backwards out of the ring.

Wakakoyu vs. Takayasu
Waka came in with a plan today. That plan was to forcefully push tsuppari followed by a slap down. It didn‘t work the first time around, or the second, or the third. But at this stage Takayasu was disoriented, and I imagine really pissed off, and Waka drove him out with a forward fush under his armpitp.

Wakanosato vs. Takekaze
Well, the smaller rikishi sidestepped (henkad) and got immediately under Wakanosato‘s armpit while continuing his lateral movement. And easily pushed him over the bales. Takekaze is currently the only rikishi at the lower end of the table with no losses!

Kitataiki vs. Tokitenku
Tokitenku came in looking for a leg sweep on Kitataiki but missed, and with his balance completely off, Kita pushed back and Toki‘s foot stepped out and he was trying to regain his footing. Oh well.

Tochinowaka vs. Miyabiyama
Tochinowaka tried to keep in close to Miyabiyama to avoid a pull down, while at the same time not allowing himself to be pushed over. \he looked to be succeeding, but as it happens it wasn‘t Miyabiyama‘s first time to try the push-me-pull-me move, and with a simple looking backstep combined with a nice slap, Tochi went down like a bag of spuds.

Aminishiki vs. Tochiozan
Aaaaaagh.

Yoshikaze vs. Gagamaru
Gaga has a 64kg advantage on Yoshikaze! But Yoshi has the speed. Gaga also has huge strength and threw Yoshi back almost to the edge at the tachi-ai. They engauged and Gaga pushed again, Yoshi was fighting for his life at the edge. But with a beautifully timed pull on the pushing arms of the giant Yoshi sent him tumbling

Kisenosato vs. Homasho
A false start by Homasho let Kissy know that he was here for a real fight. A second false start, just to piss him off. And the third false start pissed off the judge. When they got in time, Kissy planted a nice slap to Homasho‘sface. Kissy they drove forward, and after some resistance got his 4th straight win.

Toyonoshima vs. Kakuryu
Toyo came is very low at the tachi-ai, and drove the Kak back. But Kak just needed to wait a second or so before he could get his right hand on the belt in front of him, and as soon as he did, it was game over for Toyonoshima. Great work from Kakuryu, he‘s looking good at 4-0.

Kotooshu vs. Okinoumi
Okinoumi started really well today, he kept Kotooshu away from his belt, and making him work hard. When things settled and both men got a right hand inside grip it still looked like Oki had a chance. But Kotoo got the double grip and forced Oki out. 3-1 for the kadoban ozeki

Aran vs. Harumafuji
Aran was looking for his first win of the tournament.
Harumafuji came in at a crazy speed and caught the legs of Aran and easily upending him. The kimarite was judged a watashikomi, a tigh grabbing push down. First time I‘ve seen it. Pretty sweet!!

Baruto vs. Goeido
Goeido went in for a push up followed by a pull down and Baruto let himself be completely manhandled in this fight. After the fist pull down attempt Baruto was completely off balance and after two pushes stepped out. Awful stuff from the ozeki who needs a major refocus if he doesn‘t want to be kadoban in January.

Kyokutenho vs. Kotoshogiku
Kotoshogiku looking to continue his undefeated record as ozeki against the M2 Kyokutenho. But it was all to play for for Kyokutenho who has a winning record of Kotoshogiku. The ozeki has resolved to change that record however, and came in demanding a right hand grip, defending a throw attempt and capatialising with gaining a right hand grip, and things gabburi-ed on from there.

Hakuho vs. Tochinoshin
3-0 vs. 0-3. But more importantly a rikishi who lost the last 3 days to 3 ozeki, facing Hakuho. He can’t have realistically been very optimistic about his chances in this fight. And Hakuho‘s slight wobble yesterday surly would have him more focused for today.
Hakuho was definitely more careful today. He forced a right hand grip from the tachi-ai, but took quite a while to a right grip. In fact he went maki-kae to get the grip, and in the process broke Tochinoshin‘s grip. And it was game over at that point when Hakuho easily forced Tochinoshin out for his 4th loss.

De Gama will be filling the salt buckets tomorrow.

Day 5

As I’m sitting here thinking about some semi-retarded way to open today’s coverage of Day 5 sumo, several different idea pop into my head…. parody of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood… too pedophilic; medieval knights prancing about as rikishi… too gay/involved; horror story turned sumo basho…what the hell. Noticing that my smoke is almost gone and the coffee is getting cold I have come to conclude that this is the worst brainstorming session ever. Why are introductions to a coverage even necessary? To set a flow and/or tune for the entire report… however if anyone even remembers any of my reports half way through any notion of fluidity crumbles. So, that must not be it. Damn it… the coffee has gone cold, the smoke has faded out in the ash tray. At this point I am thinking what else could possibly to wrong. Wait… hold on. A bunch of semi-naked dude performing ass-grabbery… check; Several smoke left in the pack…check. Half a pot of brew… check. I guess things aren’t as bad as I thought. And I guess some form of an introduction is better than nothing. (Here’s looking at you Connolly ;p ) So on to the matter at hand… it involves pulling up our boot straps, oiling a couple of asses, and doing a little plowing of our own….

Shohozan vs. Chiyonokuni:
Ohh yea! This is what I’m talking about ! Men giving each other a few tsuppari. Slap that Chiyonokuni around buddy. Show him whose boss. Well and there it goes. Shohozan moves to the side tries to push Chiyo down… this is vaguely reminiscent of the technique of a rikishi who has been given the ‘de Gama Semi-Chub of Shame.’ But I digress. So, Shohozan stiffs up his arm and thrusts it at his opponent’s neck. Chiyo easily pushes it away and fades back. Shoho’s forward momentum makes him almost fall forward – which would have been an opportune time to capitalize. However, Chiyo doesn’t and proceeds into the classic bear hug situation. As they are circling arm in arm I guess Chiyo uses the sideways momentum to twist his body causing Shoho to fall. Chiyo grabs the V.

Kimurayama vs. Takarafuji:
So, how’s your theory working out there Briton-meyer? I don’t fully understand it, but that’s just probably my lack of foresight thinking for these type of things. The actually bout seemed a little slow. A lot of pushing up then going back in. Not all that interesting. Takarafuji eventually pushes Mr. Kim to near the edge of the ring. Kimmy-boy then locks Taka’s arm and fumbles to the side dragging Takarafuji awkwardly. This seems to out-stretch Takara and Senor Kimbo pushes him down causing him to bellyflop the mound.

Briton-Meyer…2
Daly …3

Kimmy’s Kachikosh not looking all that good buddy. Maybe he could gorgonzola a little bit of premium mold all over his next few opponents’ faces.

Aoiyama vs. Sagatsukasa:
Because someone had mention Sagatsukasa was looking good one day, I was pretty excited to view his bout. Boy, was I disappointed. Aoiyama rushes in and Saga just could not handle it. Saga loses ground and tries to escape. Aoiyama catches him and eventually pushes him out. What a shameful premature semi-chub…. No satisfaction. A win for the big Blue and a loss for de Gama.

Kaisei vs. Myogiryu
This match looks like it should not disappoint as the last one did. But only time will tell… I guess all there is to say is that Kaisei pooped on this one. At tachiai Myo get low and stayed there while Kaisei tried to awkwardly hold him off. Kaisei was way too high and Myo just forced him out. Nice technique for the little guy. Myo picks up a win.

Kokkai vs. Wakakoyu:
Should I even bother reporting some of these weak performances, but I guess Waka has a decent record so here goes… Waka rushes in at tachiai and with it arms thrusts upward on Kok’s chest. Kok tries to do something and fails. So he just jiggles out of the ring. Another win for Waka.

Fujiazuma vs. Takayasu:
Let the Tsuppari BEGIN! Both go in flailing those arms in a way that E. Honda would be proud of. Fujiazuma slowly gaining ground while this is going on. Here’s the interesting part… Taka stands his ground and tries for a grip on his last arm flail. Fuji bangs him chest to chest and goes for the reach around. Not reaching anything Fuji tries in vain for the arm. At this point Taka goes for a sideways takedown and is relatively successful. However as Fuji is going down, he pushes Taka out of the ring. So the question is who lost first.. Fuji is originally given the win but there is a monoii. Boom…the win changes to Taka.

Kitataiki vs. Takekaze:
As the dust settles over the mound, I expect some kind of pathetic display. I mean the guy is undefeated, but some how it doesn’t feel right. Even though I feel I should want the guy to win, I just have relatively no interest in him anymore. Anyways, the bout starts with both guys rushing in at tachiai . Take loses ground and moves to the side. Kita just keeps that pressure on him. Take touches the ring and hops to the side again. None of these escape attempts even phase Kita – who has affirm grip on what seems to be the armpit area. Take circles some more and Kita now loses his footing. This allows the Kaze to position Kita closest to the edge. Recovering from his loss of footing, Kita tries to overpower Take and moves forward. Take desperately tries to hold whatever advantage he thinks he has by hip thrusting. Failing Take moves to the side yet again…. However this time Kita pushes him and he escapes over the ring for his first loss.

Miyabiyama vs. Tochiozan:
Hard to believe Moobiyama was an Ozeki. Mooby tries to tsuppari his way to victory but couldn’t . He just tsuppari’ed until the sideburns pushed him out.

Tochinowaka vs. Yoshikaze:
Here’s my boy hailing for the warmth of Oita. This time around he is just the little engine that couldn’t not with lack of trying though. Kaze meets the Waka at tachiai. Both chests crashing together causes a little bounce. Kaze uses this to split second to rush at him from a different angle. He gets Tochi back all the while Tochi gets Kaze’s arms locked. I think at this point Tochi tries side-take down move but fails. This causes them both to shuffle back to the center of the ring. With Kaze’s arms still locked by Tochi and his head in Tochi’s chest, its not looking good for my boy. In a split second Kaze breaks free but to no avail. Tochi grabs some mawashi and forces Kaze back and eventually out. A doble loss for the Kazes… not a good day at all. No chub today boys.

Tochinoshin vs. Kakuryu:
Solid work by Kaks. He goes in at tachiai, then keeps that momentum going. Noshin gets pushed back to the edge and tries a desperate attempt to lift Kak up and out. Though he does lift Kak up, he couldn’t do anything after. Kak yorikiri’s Noshin out.

Kisenosato vs Goeido:
Despite the record Goeido’s sumo at least in this bout looked good. Goeido goes in at tachiai faster than Kise. Kise mets the boy but scurries back while trying to take him down for a quick win. Despite this Goeido manages to hold on staying low and gripping Kise’s mawashi with one hand. Kise moves around a bit more desperately trying to push Goeido down and off his mawashi. Once Goeido gets his balance, he quickly goes in for the mawashi with his other hand. Kise counters by locking Goeido’s arms. While Goeido is trying to push Kise forward, Kise is trying to twist Goeido down. They reach some kind of impasse. Then, Goeido tries to start a game of footsie. His first and second didn’t work but on the last attempt Goeido took the Sekiwake down. Not a bad match!

Okinoumi vs. Kotoshogiku:
Both meet at tachiai. And with no luck neither get any form of an advantage. So they decide to bear hug it for a while. Geeku tries to hip thrust his way to victory, but fails reverting back to the bear hugging. His second attempt ends up like his first. Now on his third attempt, Geeku gains some ground on Oki. This causes Oki to scurry to the side and Geeku pushes slowly back. Momentum builds and Oki starts moving back faster. Seeing this Geeku out-stretches himself , but its just enough to cause Oki to go out before any worry losing himself.

Toyonoshima vs. Harumafuji:
At tachi Toyo goes in and gets a mawashi grip with both hands. This allows him to carry Haruma close to the edge. Once Haruma makes contact with the ground he rushes to the side gets in position for a side takedown maneuver. As Haruma is performing the take down, Toyo kicks up one of Haruma’s legs and Haruma topples down under Toyo. Toyo grabs the win.

Baruto vs. Homasho:
Homie is not looking so hot this time around, eh. Homie goes in and meets with Bart. Bart just grabs his head and pulls him to the ground. Sorry buddy.

Hakuho vs. Kyokutenho:
Classic Hakuho driving his opponent back until he is out or crumbles beneath his feet.

Well, that’s all for today. De Gama out…

Day 6

And as de Gama pulls himself, let me just slip myself in with a “don’t mind if I do” for day 6. Usually I like to stock up the pipe with baccy, and pour meself a scotch before I nestle myself in. However, just as I am a bit slow getting it up this morning – and a bit slow to wake up with this fat hangover. The scotch is replaced by the strongest and finest Yorkshire teas and the closest thing I’, gunna get to a smoke, is smelling the grime on me clothes from the previous night. I’ve left this long enough, lets get to the Sumo!

Kimurayama vs. Takanoyama
Despite Takanoyama being slow off the Tachiai, his athletics dominate Kimurayama and he just sort of looked like he was pushing jelly. Arms up under the pits, and pelvic thrusts are enough to take Keema out.

Tsurugidake vs. Sadanofuji
A hard crunch from the get go, but fuji recovers quick and keeps the pressure on. He kept japing his hands on dake’s throught, who failed to recover. Eventually fuji gets him to the edge and over.

Kaisei vs. Aoiyama
A real good bout to watch, until the end. Aoiyama keeps his head low, but is unable to lift the big K off the ground. Being low, he was able to dig his feet in at the rope and hold his ground. The gents tire however, and then the bout just got nasty. With a grunt, Aoiyama lifts and sweeps Kaiseis legs. Not how I wanted the bout to end, but it was a stalemate til that point. And I guess a win is a win.

Shohozan vs. Asasekiryu
Nice work from Shohozan! Seems he took a page out of Aoiyamas book, went in low and kept his grip on the throat. A quick bout, and a sukuinage

Takarafuji vs. Sagatsukasa
This bout was reminiscent of David and Goliath. You assume that Taka would have this one, but Saga manages to twist Taka around and push him out.

Tamawashi vs. Fujiazuma
A scrappy bout from the start and both failing to aim for the mawashi. Tamawashi however eventually loses his footing and and fuji gives him a barge over.

Wakanosato vs. Daido
Default win for daido due to injury.

Myogiryu vs. Wakakoyu
Fast and furious. At one point Myo looked like he was gunna give wak some head, but instead he grabbed the mawashi, but the grip wasn’t firm and the bout resorts back to bitch slaps. I kinda wanted to see where this would go, but disappointingly Myo loses his footing for a hikiotoshi

Toyohibiki vs. Takayasu
A straight up win for Toyo, despite being in what looked like a headlock. After thrustin the guys arm off, he twists him and pushes him out

Kokkai vs. Takekaze
That win for Takekaze looked suspicious, Kokkai seemed to just do a commando roll out with very little effort at all.

Aminishiki vs. Miyabiyama
After the crunch, both giants rebound off each other, but the Miya managed to put one hand on his head and one on the Mawashi and just slung him out, very quick. Also looked a lil fishy

Kitataiki vs. Yoshikaze
Yoshi got in low and had a firm lefthand inside grip on the Mawashi, put the pressure on to the rope, as Yoshi pushes tho, Kita tried to twist and use yoshis momentum to put him down. It kinda looked like he fell first. Either way the refs were calles and a long discussion took place, longer than the bout itself. For the first I’ve seen a rematch was called! I’m sure Yoshi was not impressed with that decision. (it’s at this point I notice the painted Maiko-san in the crowd – Nice!)

Anyways, the bout gets going again, Takakae

Ze basically does the same routine, low and lefthand inside. He struggled at the rope however, and the two dance around a bit, but really it was Yoshi’s bout from the start, he just had the persistant pressure on. Eventually Kita gets too dizzy and stumbles out.

Tokitenku vs. Tochiozan
Not really worth commenting on, Tochiozan just pushes him for an Oshidashi and Toki didn’t put up much of a fight.

Okinoumi vs. Tochinoshin
Oh!!! Both try for the mawashi, but get there arms locked up – Tochinoshi slowly pushes Oki to the edge, however he changes tack and tries to lift Oki and throw him down. But the problem s, Oki had Tochi under him, so Tochi hit the ground first. Shame but Tochi played that one wrong I feel. Good bout to get a close up of the Maiko btw ;o) – Ok, I’ll settle down…

Toyonoshima vs. Homasho
Pathetic win for Toyonoshima. Homasho was trying to find the back rope with his leg so he can dig in, but as he tries to re-gather his footing, Toyo pushes him over.

Kisenosato vs. Kakuryu
Shame to see the Kak go down. Kisenosato grabs hisarm, and twists and I think it musta hurt Kakuryu, for he never recovered and kept himself on the back foot.

Baruto vs. Tochinowaka
Bart was straight in there, hand on the throat, pushing his opponent up and the grabs the mawashi and lifts him out. That’s how it’s done, and waht so many were trying to do before. Well done ozeki!

Gagamaru vs. Kotoshogiku
The geek had the reach on the gaga here, Gaga tried to get his hands on the mawashi but just couldn’t reach. And koto forces him to the edge.

Kotooshu vs. Kyokutenho
Kyokutenho goes in for an outside grip but makes the mistake of trying to change this to inside. Koto uses this to twist and throw Kyoku down. Not particularly interesting.

Goeido vs. Harumafuji
Harumafuji not looking on form. Sloppy work from the guy in my opinion, and an easy win for Goeido. Haruma gets his head pushed down, an dint look to happy about the result.

Hakuho vs. Aran
Hak in complete control of the man from Aran. And despite a slight ease up on the pressure, which Aran tried to attack rather than defend, the awkward back twist aran had going on meant he couldn’t really apply anything. Hak pushes and Aran steps out. But that wasn’t enough, Hak pushes a little more to see that Aran went off the mountain. Rough.

Well there it is, day six. A lot of twisting, throat grabbing and shoulders used. But to be honest, I think the earlier bouts were more interesting to watch. No one really seemed like they were gunning for victory, save for Yoshi.

Catch ya again o day ten,

L. Bertrum

Day 7

Let’s face it, if Takamisakari wasn’t fighting in Juryo this basho, the seventeen people who are sitting in Fukuoka Kokusai Center wouldn’t be there! J10W Takamisakari (3-3) vs. J7W Hokutokuni (4-2): Hoktoad came in chest-first at the tachiai and Ringo responded with a left on his opponent’s back, a step backwards, and that’s all she wrote as Hoktoad slipped to the sandy clay. Under-shoulder swing-down win for Takamisakari who improves to 4-3, and is two wins away from saving his career, and another two from upward-bound in the ranks.

M14E Kaisei (3-3) vs. M17E Kimurayama (2-4): slow tachiai, with the Brazilian moving forward and Kimmy backtracking. Kaisei pushed upwards on Kimmy’s elbows, and with an open chest drove his opponent easily out of the ring. The Brazilian improves to 4-3 while Briton-Meyer’s itch-in-the-pants drops to 2-5.

M13E Tamawashi (1-5) vs. M16E Aoiyama (5-1): first meeting between these two started with a Robinson Crusoe coconut head-conk at the tachiai, and Aoi continued with his drive with some tsuppari. Each got belt grips and Mawashi loosen Aoi’s grip and launched an arm-lock throw for the win. Aoi cools down to 5-2 while Mawashi is on a roll at 2-5.

M7W Takekaze (5-1) vs. M4W Tochiozan (4-2): history says these two are 7-6 in Takekaze’s favor. More recent history also tells us Takekaze is just coming off his longest winning streak of four matches at 32 years of age. Tachiai was on the soft side, but Butterball moved straight forward and kept the pressure on Oh, staying right in between Oh’s nipples. Oh had no answer as he was shoved right out of the ring. Takekaze improves to 6-1 while Tochiozan falls to 4-3.

KW Homasho (0-6) vs. SW Kakuryu (5-1): a pair of eight wins for each of these gentlemen in the past. Both low at today’s tachiai, and the Kak fierce with his thrusts. Homie attempted to stay in, taking blows after blows of the Kak. That’s right, blows after blows of the Kak. Once they could separate for a bit, Homie charged low and the the Mongol kak-slapped him to the clay, slap-down win. Kakuryu flying stealth towards Ozeki with a 6-1 while Shin-Komusubi Homasho is a-hurtin’ at 0-7.

SE Kisenosato (5-1) vs. M1E Okinoumi (2-4): the Accomplice has four past wins from Oki under his belt. Tachiai was clean, unlike the blows Kissy helped the late Naruto-oyakata administer to his stablemates. Both the Accomplice and Oki moved straight into migiyotsu grips and the Accomplice used his weight and strength to yorikiri Don Juan out of the ring. Force-out win for Kisenosato who improves to 6-1 and is five wins shy of minimum requirements to be Ozeki. Okinoumi falls to 2-5.

M4E Tochinowaka (4-2) vs. OW Harumafuji (3-3): first meeting between these two. Haruma threw out a nodowa at the tachiai, but failed to follow through and Tochi climbed his way towards the belt. Feisty Haruma didn’t make it easy and as Tochi charged into Haruma, he also charged onto Haruma as the Ozeki crumbled down below him. Strange bout finishes with a backward force down win for the Korean-Japanese. Two basho ago, Harumafuji yusho-ed. This basho, at 3-4, he’ll have to pick things up to avoid makekoshi.

OE Baruto (3-3) vs. M2W Kyokutenho (1-5): head-to-head amounts to a 10-4 in Bart’s favor. Kyoku turned to the left at today’s tachiai and got a left-hand outside. The two paused for a breather, then Baruto launched an under-arm throw easily tossing Kyoku down. Baruto keeps his head above water at 4-3 while Kyokutenho is giving it his best with a 1-6.

M3E Aran (0-6) vs. OW Kotoshogiku (6-0): the Geek leads head-to-head 6-1. Today’s tachiai started with the Geek getting his gabburi going immediately, though Aran thought he had a morozashi preventing this. Once comfortable with his grip, the Geek proceeded and an easy force-out win. The two shall continue to share mirrored records, with Aran at 0-7, the Geek at 7-0. In a highlight match tomorrow, the Geek will face a more formidable opponent in the Kak.

OE Kotooshu (5-1) vs. M3W Gagamaru (2-4): first timers, here to meet in the ring. Oshu faster at the tachiai, but a good hit by Gaga nonetheless. The two locked up with left-hand outside, right-hand inside grips, and Oshu strengthened his grip and launched an over-arm throw which took Lord Gaga off balance and easily to the clay. The Eurozeki is at 6-1 and just two wins from shaking the kadoban monkey. Gaga is 2-5 and should be learning a lot for his first time in joi.

YE Hakuho (6-0) vs. KE Toyonoshima (4-2): head-to-head is 18-2. Toyo’s only Makuuchi win over Hakuho was in September 2007 (Hakuho’s first kimboshi gift). Initial contact led Toyonoshima back a few steps, the they parted. Hakuho only raised his hand and Toyo took another couple of steps back. By this point Toyo was in fear, pissing in his mawashi at the rice bales and Hakuho finished off his prey with a shove out of the ring. Push-out win for the Dai-Yokozuna who improves to 7-0. Toyonoshima falls to 4-3, but he did collect three ozeki scalps along the way.

Need protection? Tomorrow, Daly’s got you covered!

Nakabi

Welcome to hump day sumo fans. Nakabi marks the half way point through our Kyushu journey together. I hope you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the fine sumo that’s been taking place with a glass of whisky, cigar or whatever floats your boat, eh. I for one have been loving the action along with a nice glass of peaty goodness. Speaking of goodness? Would you care for a glass? Name your poison. Ah, good decision. I applaud your fine taste.

Although the fans haven’t been filling the seats in Fukuoka, at least the online community seems to be on the rise! As S & S’s self proclaimed social media expert|strategist, I can’t help but love the fact that readers like you are enjoying what we are throwing down. A quick shout out to all of our friends on twitter & facebook! Your comments, contributions to the online sumo community, and fine taste in both whiskys and cigars is surely helping us continue onward in this experiment in blogging technology. Enough with the thanks and gratitude. Let’s look at a few of the pressing story lines, shall we.

Kotooshu appears to have enough in the tank to live to see another basho. Kisenosato is on pace (at 6-1) to become an Ozeki, and Kimurayama’s henka pulling sumo is finally going to give him a one-way ticket back to Juryo where he can be forgotten by the likes of the S & S crew for all eternity. On a more surprising note Kotoshogiku is a man on fire right now, out to prove his promotion was no joke. At 7-0 he is currently the only true threat to Hakuho’s yusho hopes. Kakuryu is silently keeping his Ozeki hopes alive with a solid 6-1 record. The Kak and the Geeku will face off today in what will have to be the match-up of the day. Lastly and certainly last for a reason, our boy from Akita, Takekaze and Wakakoyu have somehow managed to find themselves at 6-1, tied for second overall. I will be shocked if either manages to stay hot into week two but stranger things have happened. Before we get to the big show, let’s take a quick look down in Makushita and Juryo.

We start off today looking quickly at Sumo & Stogies first rikishi on the rise reported last month, Tatsu Ryoya. Currently ranked Makushita 46 East and sitting at 2-1, the big boy faces off against Takanohana Beya’s Takanoiwa Yoshimori, the Mongol who’s been ranked as high as Makushita 13 West. Currently ranked Makushita 42 East, Takanoiwa has floundered in the Makushita ranks for nearly two years. The young gun vs. a veteran. Both rishiki explode at the tachi-ai with Tatsu gaining the upperhand pushing the smaller Mongolian to the bails. Takanoiwa began circling and pulling and literally pulls down the win. Good stuff from Tatsu, but he falls to 2-2. Takanoiwa’s pulling sumo leaves no doubt in my mind why he hasn’t progressed to the next division. He moves to 3-1.

Juryo: Takamisakari vs. Ikioi
Juryo newcomer Ikioi is one big dude at 192 centimeters and 139 kilos. He was 7-0 and the sole leader this basho before facing Johnny Appleseed. Icky lost the tachi-ai as Robo is fighting for his life at 4-3, but Icky locks Johnny up turns him around and easily forces him out of the ring. Takamisakari moves to 4-4 and his future falls deeper into the mist. Icky moves to 8-0.

Onto Makuuchi, eh. Need a refill? No problem. Ice? Good call.

Kaisei vs Tsurugidake
Kaisei easily yorikiris new comer Tsurugidake. “Only” will likely only be in Makuuchi this one time until he gets a bit quicker and stronger, moving to 2-6. My friend and former rikishi on the bubble, Kaisei moves to a solid 5-3.

Aoiyama vs. Takarafuji
It’s a pretty good first week for team Bulgaria. Aoiyama easily works Takarafuji out. Big Blue moves to 6-2 while the gentlemen heading back to Juryo (by the looks of things) holds the opposite record.

Tamawashi vs Kimurayama
For the record, the feud between Briton-Meyer and I is over on the Kimurayama front. He has moved on from Henka Mountain and likely didn’t lose any sleep over the fact that Tamawashi beat him with a hikiotoshi. Mawashi moves to 3-5 while One-Way Ticket to Juryo moves to 2-6. Six down two to go

Asasekiryu vs Myogiryu
Secretary looks like he’s about ready to stop transferring calls. With Asa’s banged up knee, new comer Myogiryu gets low on the tachi-ai and thrusts out the Mongolian in three easy steps. The New Ryu is fast and has some attitude. Briton-Meyer and I agree he’s the rikishi to watch down at the bottom of the banzuke this time around!

Takekaze vs. Aminishiki
Wow. Takekaze attempts a jumping pull down henka. Epic fail. How Sneaky doesn’t end this match right after that is beyond me. Akita’s one and only recovers and gets his hands under Aminishiki’s neck and left shoulder. An ugly oshidashi win for Moriyoshi’s hometown Hero. Shockingly he moves to 7-1 and continues to be tied for second overall!

Wakakoyu vs. Yoshikaze
Wakakoyu continues a hot streak this basho with a 6-1 record. Facing off against the always intense Kaze #2. Things didn’t feel right at the tachi-ai and so Expresso stood up and apologized. The second time both rikishi got in rhythm but it was all Waka this go around. Yorikiri win moves Waka to 7-1.

Tochinowaka vs. Kyokutenho
Tochinowaka has shown a great deal of promise this basho. The Chauffeur pulls a surprising henka and puts the young rikishi back in his place. Tochinowaka 5-3 Kyokutenho 2-6

Toyonoshima vs. Okinoumi
Two of my favorite Japanese rikishi at the moment. Don Juan has picked up 2 upsets this first week and Toyonoshima has managed to win 4. These guys are keeping the the Sekiwake and Ozeki honest. Today was a battle. Oki starts the tachi-ai off with a two handed nodwa and uses his tall frame and arms to keep the smaller Shima away from his mawashi. Both rikishi spend well over thirty seconds fighting and maneuvering for a mawashi grip. Finally Don Juan began forcing Toyo towards the bales and got the right hand grip. The two rikishi made their way back to the center of the dohyo and then Don Juan made another move. This time Toyo tried to counter Don’s drive with a throw but Don’s grip was too strong and he wins by uwatenage.

Kotooshu vs. Kisenosato
Both rikishi were tied for second going into this bout. Oshu completely dominated the tachi-ai driving Kis all the way to the bales. Kisenosato was able to redirect Kotooshu’s body a little off balance causing him fly off the dohyo. Mean while, Kisenosato was able to keep his left foot balanced on the bales just long enough to squeak out the win. Kisenosato moves to 7-1.

Harumafuji vs. Tochinoshin
Haruma stays tight thrusting the big Georgian straight off the dohyo. Not that it means much at this point: Ama moves to 4-4 and Noshin is one away from a make-koshi.

Baruto vs. Aran
Baruto picks Alan up and literally walks him out of the ring. Not much for sumo in that bout. Baruto moves to a safe 5-3.

Kakuryu vs. Kotoshogiku
Both of these rikishi have been looking strong all basho. Thinking this might be the bout of the day, I purposely didn’t watch it until I’d seen the rest of the bouts. Kotoshogiku has beaten everyone he should have and this was truly his first test. He completely owns Kakuryu today from the word tachi-ai. Pushing the Mongol to the bales only to throw him back down into the center of the dohyo. As far as I am concerned, Baruto, Hakuho, and Kisenosato are the only men standing in Kotoshogiku’s way at this point. Impressive start for the shin-Ozeki at 8-0.

Hakuho vs. Gagamaru
The Georgian had his first go at the Yokozuna today. Hakuho met lord Gaga head on. Hakuho attempted a push him up slap him down technique right off the bat but Gaga held his footing. Hakuho then ducked under Behemoths left arm with Matrix like quickness and threw Makuuchi heavy weight to the ground. Hakuho has yet to be challenged all basho. He moves to a confident 8-0.

Leaders
8-0: Hakuho, Kotoshogiku
7-1: Takekaze, Kisenosato, Wakakoyu

So we leave the halfway mark with a yusho race still in tact. Not bad for a Nakabi report, eh. Thanks for stopping and I look forward to drinking with you again on Senshuraku. Double rainbows be damned, Connolly’s gotcha covered for Day 9.

Day 9

So introductions are required are they, Mr. I’ve-got-the-biggest-profile-picture? Well then, here it goes so…. This morning I woke up with an awful hangover, in a city over an hour away, in a hotel that was overpriced, in a double bed, with exactly no one beside me. I struggled through today, watching the clock at least every 15 minutes and when I eventually got home, to my extremely cold house, I depressed at the realisation that I won’t be able to come home to a warm house for another 5 months. I then sat on the cold tatami floor, in an awkward position in front of my computer which is on a table that that was obviously designed for small dwarfs, and waited my heater to get going. I look right to where the TV is, and there is a bout between bandy legged snake at the tachi-ai. My first thought is, “Oh please, please loose!” But he doesn’t, and that does absolutely nothing for my present state of mind. I’ve had better days.

Good evening.

Now how about we review some sumo… and I say some, because I’m only going to detail the upper half of today’s bout.

Takayasu vs. Yoshikaze
This was the second best fight of the day! Takayasu came prepared for a tsuppari attack today, and boy did he carry it out well. He opened with a nice right hand harite to Yoshi’s face from the tachi-ai which he followed with tsuppari. Yoshi tried to defend the slaps, by slapping on the outstretched hands and arms, but to no avail. After planting a nice few slaps Taka correctly went for a pull down and stepped to the side. Yoshi went stumbling forward but recovered at the edge. And then offered up his face for a few more slaps, but then Taka slipped and Yoshi got right behind and gripped the G-string part of Taka’s mawashi with both hands (which I thought was illegal?). From here it should have been over in a second or two, but it took Yoshi 10 seconds of wiggling and waggling, and avoiding a great leg trip attempt, to finally get Taka over the bales. He finished him off with a nice dame-oshi. Yoshi then turned around to face the cameras, and we could see the damage that was inflicted by the 30+ slaps that were thrown at him. He earned that win! Here is a replay for your viewing pleasure, this is in slow-motion and reverse, just for the laugh!!

Aran vs. Gagamaru
Aran hit Gaga fast but with what appeared to be little power and was pushed back by the beast. The two then put their foreheads together and held caressed each other’s shoulders before Aran beautifully tugged on Gaga’s arm and with speed that I haven’t seen from Aran before, got around Gaga’s large 4×4 and spooned him out. Great win for Aran who picks up his……… first win of the tournament.

Tochinoshin vs. Kyokutenho
Both men got deep right hand inside left hand outside grips and things quickly turned into power versus power, which should have given Tochinoshin the advantage. But the vetern Kyokutenho spun the much younger Georgian around and up to the edge. Tochi danced around the ring, but he was always gonna lose it from that point anyway. Kyoku moves to 3-8 while Tochi is now 1-8.

Okinoumi vs. Homasho
Okinoumi hit Homasho hard at the initial charge. Homey worked on pushing laterally but it was all very defensive stuff. When he found himself nearing the outer lines, Homasho got low to trying to defend. Okinoumi easily raised his opponent and then forced him out. So much for Homasho extending his winning total to two!

Toyonoshima vs. Goeido
Goeido is really hit and miss isn’t he! He is often really impressive, demonstrating great skill and potential. And other times he is pure shite… as he was today. Toyonoshima kept Goeido off his belt and kept moving forwards, Goeido stumbled backwards and that’s about it really..

Kitataiki vs. Kotoshogiku
The fans are really getting behind the shin ozeki, which is great to see. The undefeated Kotoshogiku has impressed me. I really didn’t expect him to do even nearly as he is doing. I’m delighted to see it. Kotoshogiku came in fast and got his arms around Kitataiki. He wasted no time in launching an all out assault, and as Kitataiki went out Kotoshogiku hit the clay. It looked more close than it actually was, and the replay clearly showed that Koto won. But it was a little risky, as Kita attempted a last ditch throw, which almost worked. Anyway… with that 9th straight win the new ozeki moves to fifth place of all time for most consecutive wins in an ozeki debut basho. Kotoshogiku vs. Baruto tomorrow.

Kotooshu vs. Tochiozan
A strange, rather slow tachi-ai between these two guys. You’d think that Kotooshu, having lost the last three times these guys met, and more importantly needing to get his 8 wins, would have been a little bit more prepared coming into the fight today. But I guess he has 6 wins now, and with 6 days left, he is sure to pick up 2 gifts… I mean.. wins before next Sunday. Anyway, an easy win for Tochiozan he easily pushed the Bulgarian back, and Kotooshu then steped backwards and out to make it as awfully disgraceful as it really was.

Kisenosato vs Harumasuji
On the TV broadcast replays of a few previous meeting between these two rikishi was shown. Wow they have had some great fights in the past, really interesting sumo to watch. It wet my appitite and really had me excited to watch them fight. And little did I know that the fight that was to follow, all 53 seconds of it, was going to be better than all the previous fights put together!!
Kissey blinked one time too many at the tachi-ai, and when his eyes were open again, Harumafuji was in his face and pushing him backwards. Kissy was pushing back, but Harry got a vital grip on the mawashi that prevented him being slapped down. He used that grip to pull the red belt towards him and get his other hand on the front of the mawashi. From here Kissy was in trouble, and Harry took a moment to consider what to do. He moved to a rear grip, but that gave a grip to the wanna-be ozeki. Harumafuji then tried a few trips that were defended, and then Kissy tried his own throw but because of his outside grip didn’t have enough power to pull it off. Harumafuji won it with a beautiful leg trip that my words can’t do justice for. The kimarite was called as komatasukui but please watch the video for you here

Baruto vs. Kakuryu
Kakuryu got an inside grip on Baruto who was struggling to contain the much smaller rikishi. He ended up with an awkward left arm head lock and right hand outer grip. It was enough to keep Kakuryu close and prevent him from doing his type of sumo. Baruto then got his double outside overhand grip thingy. I’m sure at this point he thought of lifting and walking, but from being unsuccessful with that move against Kak in the past he decided against. Instead he patiently waited for the right moment and beautifully lifted and spun the Kak around and out.

Hakuho vs. Tochinowaka
Apparently Tochinowaka’s goal before this bout was to see how long he could last on the dohyo before the dai-Yokozuna beat him. I guess that is a realistic goal for the M4, though probably he should have had some form of more structured plan. It’s possible that he could see absolutely no weakness in Hakuho’s sumo. Perhaps the rikishi, or actually their managers, should analyze Hakuho’s fights and find out where his weakness is. Like the way Joe Frazier figured out how to beat Muhammad Ali. Although I guess is it quite possible that they have done this, but the lesser rikishi simply can’t exploit whatever weakness he has.
Tochinowaka tied his mawashi loosely today to try make it less easy for Hakuho to throw him. It definitely helped, as he lasted 11 seconds. Hakuho was throwing him around like a rag doll though, eventually pulling on the loose mawashi and smaching him to the ground.

I’m feeling better.

Day 10

Having lived in Northern Japan for the past years I forgot how absolutely fucking crazy American’s go around holiday time. Everybody has their own sick routine. Whether it’s 3 a.m. shopping, getting belligerently drunk and starting fights, or obsessively decorating, everyone has something. I’ve been doing some preparations at the Creswell household for the Thanksgiving holiday. One that falls under my sphere of control is sausage making. Sumo is, after all, a lot like sausage making. I know what you’re thinking… and no… I’m not going to qualify that statement. I’ll let you come up with your own lude analogies. Anyway… after spending all day tracking down hog gut casings (the only way to make proper sausage), I found out that Bertrum needed a sub for the daily report. So i apologize for the late and hasty nature of this report. Let’s dive right into Day 10. Things started off today with Sadanofuji v Takarafuji. I was sure that Takarafuji was due for a win, added to that he has never dropped about to Sadanofuji, and from the tachiai it looked like he had the advantage with a left hand outside. Santa-no-fuji broke the grip and a short slap fight ensued. When they finally locked up, Takara with the left hand inside this time, but with no belt grip, Takara looke to try and set up for some kind of push, but Santa brought his right elbow in, and his right hand up, locking up Takara’s elbow and getting a hand under the armpit driving him slightly off balance. A final nodowa finished things off. 6-4, 3-7

Next up were Tamawashi and Shohozan. For two guys who do almost nothing but oshi-zumo there certainly were a lot of belt grips, Tamawashi looked really out of his element. It appears that Sho-me-the-hoes is better on the belt. 3-7, 7-3

Both Tsurugidake and Asasekiryu are doing terrible this basho, Tsurugidake’s tsuppari was not very effective except in that it prevented Asa from doing too much. However, Asa, in his infinite wisdom, decided to go for the back pedal/pull down combo. It worked, but it didn’t llok good for either party.

Briton-Meyer’s little Buddy Kimurayama took on Sagatsukasa. I actually didn’t expect a henka today, I was right. But again, after the tachiai Lil’ Kim went immediately for the pack-pedal/pulling. Norse Sagaknew it was coming, like anyone in their right mind would, and kindly did not over extend, and just walked Kim out. 3-7, 4-6. 1 more Briton-Meyer.

Toyohibiki – Aoiyama – This was a surprisingly easy day at the office for Beeker. 6-4, 7-3.

Tokitenku – Daido – Toki stuck a hand right inside from the get-go. Daido seemed to not be able to get a real attack going, despite many attmepts. But when Toki went for a tsukiotoshi, Daido capitalized via uwatenage. 3-7, 6-4

Myogiryu – Takekaze – Kaze doing his best Lil’ Kim(ura) impression. Myogiryu had to plank in order to wait for Takekaze to exit the area first. Which he did. Monoii confirms. Both rikishi at 7-3.

Aminishiki – Fujiazuma – Too bad for sneaky. His crappy dohyo-kan (ring sense) let him down and he stepped out before driving Fuji out. Another monoii (this one longer) confirms again. Both at .500.

Kaisei – Miyabiyama – More push-pull sumo, and a cheap win for Miyabiyama. I think more than a few people out there agree with me, that although this technique is not banned, whenever I see bouts that end like this I feel like I was robbed. It’s like fennel in sausage. Yeah people put it in there, but in the VAST majority of cases, it’s just there to mask nasty odors, preservative tastes, and sub par meat. However, in this case Kaisei is not blameless, I mean, Miyabiyama is known for doing this pretty much all the time. 5-5, 7-3.

Kitataiki – Takayasu – Kitataiki has started looking better. So has Takayasu. This was a solid effort by both parties. Hence the shared 4-6 scores.

Kokkai – Yoshikaze – Speaking of bad sausage: Kokkai. It’s always tough to call Yoshikaze’s sumo bad, as he’s consistent in his inconsistency, and since he’s always coming from a different angle, it’s tough for rikishi to call his moves. This time Kokkai’s head was down, and he was out too far. Easy win for Yoshi. Yoshi! 1-9, 5-5

Wakakoyu – Tochiozan – Someone didn’t take their Tochi-O’s this morning. Burside gave up the ghost once he started moving back. 8-2, 5-5

Okinoumi – Goeido – I have never seen two guys hit the ground at the exact same time like this before. Since a re-do was called we’ll just focus on the second bout, even though the first was better. Goeido had this one from the start, with a hidari yotsu. After a few paces, everything came up uwatenage. 4-6 each.

Toyonoshima – Aran – Shoulder blast from Toyo gave Aran the little guy’s arm, which he promptly locked up. A lock Toyo quickly broke. He powered forward, and sealed the deal with a yorikiri. 6-4, 1-9

Kyokutenho – Homasho – Both gentlemen got a preliminary hidari yotsu, Tenho pushing Homasho back, Homasho recovering… Homey pushed back… tawara tippey-toe… then thrown down with sukuinage. 4-6, 1-9. meatgrinder is certainly living up to it’s name for old Cigar Shoppe.

Kisenosato – Tochinoshin – Kise with a nodowa, Noshin taken aback. The Kid with some half hearted tsuppari, which allowed Noshin a morozashi of sorts, which Kise parlayed into a mutual hidari yotsu position. Kise’s grip only on one fold of the mawashi, Noshin with a more meaty grip. A gabburi drive by the kid worked Noshin back, although he temporarily recovered. Kise re-gripped with his right hand and Noshin simultaneously went for a desperation kubinage, and Kise took the advantage of Noshin’s slightly sideways posture to force out the Under-practiced M2. 8-2, 1-9

Baruto – Kotoshogiku – Both were fumbling for some kind of grip at the tachiai, Peter Boyle was first to the belt with a right hand outside. The Geek tried his patented dry hump, once, twice, Young Frankenstein’s monster got his other mit on the outside back of the belt. Geek, thinking 3rd time’s the charm. Finally, the Monster finally got the picture and tried the gabburi himself and got the win. This bout was more homo-erotic than me in my kitchen smoking and making sausage while watching sumo. 7-3, 9-1

Kotooshu – Tochinowaka – Yet again Tochinowaka is proving himself a committed rikishi, who won’t give up and refuses to be intimidated. Today’s bout looked very similar to yesterday’s bout. Oshu’s sumo looked OK, but I see big things for this young guy, he can still finish double digits and pick up a kanto-sho. 7-3, 5-5.

Gagamaru – Harumafuji – Here is how I looked at this one: If Gaga didn’t shut Harry down immediately Harry would wrestle circles around this guy, like speedy Gonzales around a big sombrero. Harry’s nodowa, completely deconstructed Gaga’s advance. Harry got his’self some hidariyotsu, spun Stay Puft around and traded up for an outside right hand grip on the fron tof the belt, kept his head buried, and the mexican hat dance began. Gaga was totally out of his element. Harry dropped the hips spun back and Uwatedashinage-d a guy with almost a 70kg weight advantage and hands him his first joii MK. 2-8, 6-4

Hakuho – Kakuryu – Bit of a left harite from Hak to a right hand inside, elbow in the armpit, and the clinching left hand outside. Kak was up, off balance, and out of there in seconds with minimal resistance.

Hakuho is the only undefeated rikishi after 10 days. Looking at his sumo, and the sumo of the top 2 contenders, I don’t see any way this yusho goes to anyone but Hakuho. But we all know things are not so black and white. We will find out for sure tomorrow when Kisenosato meets the Yokozuna. Briton-Meyer will be here to do the deed… and…. what’s this?!?! Tomorrow Kimurayama faces Myogiryu. I think Briton-Meyer will get to report on the day his bathroom-buddy gets his juryo demotion makekoshi. Here’s looking a’ you Sean.

Day 11

Sumo is punishing me for not paying closer attention to the lower ranks, and the name of that punishment is Kimurayama. It is with resignation that I announce Kimurayama’s makekoshi at the Kyushu Basho, 2011. Of all the days in all the bashos that he could have chosen to lose, he had to choose my day of reporting. My only consolation is that in addition to my day of reporting, it seems Kimurayama has chosen to lose on most other days as well. Read on to see what happened on Day 11.

Kaisei v. Asasekiryu The two came together at the tachiai and the gyoji fell silent. From there, it was little spurts of sumo all over the ring with Asasekiryu trying desperately to keep Kaisei up. Asa kept his head down while Kaisei squirmed, and the bout ended with Asasekiryu victorious and Kaisei looking upset.

Kimurayama v. Myogiryu Kimurayama thought he was at the Bizarro Olympics and did his best to win the backwards sprint followed by the backward long jump. Myogiryu picks up the win on a technicality: the technicality being that the rules of Sumo apply and the rules of the Bizarro Olympics do not.

Toyohibiki v. Tsurugidake Tsurugidake looks like a poor imitation of Takamisakari. Toyohibiki gets the win by knocking Tsuru back. A brief glance of surprise by Tsuru confirms that he has lost, and then the weight of the emotions begin to push down on Tsuru’s shoulders as he meanders out.

Sadanofuji v. Wakakoyu Sadanofuji pushes Wakakoyu across most of the ring with his neck before Wakakoyu steps out of the way and Sadanofuji stumbles to the ground. It was a crowed pleaser and a win for Wakakoyu.

Sagatsukasa v. Takayasu I’ve always wondered if Sagatsukasa skin is like memory foam. I imagine that if you poke his belly, your finger print will linger for about a minute afterwards. Dunno why, just what I think about when I see him. Anyhow, he lost.

Takarafuji v. Takekaze Takekaze unleashes the full power of his tachiai. Takarafuji doesn’t seem to notice. Frustrated, Takekaze begins bitch slapping Takarafuji. And then Take gets some momentum and pushes Takarafuji out of the ring.

Tokitenku v. Tamawashi Nice lock-up, and Toki has hands on the belt. Toki powers forward and Tama steps out. Win for Tokitenku.

Daido v. Miyabiyama Daido decided there would be no white flag above his door today, but in the end he went down with his ship. Win for Miyabiyama.

Aminishiki v. Kokkai Kokkai has a win! But that is it. Just one. And he didn’t get a second one today. Aminishiki wins the bout.

Fujiazuma v. Yoshikaze Yoshi gets a win over Fujiazuma and De Gama must be going camping, because he just put up a tent.

Kitataiki v. Kyokutenho Nice footwork on the part of Kitataiki leads to a win over Kyokutenho.

Okinoumi v. Aran Aran seems to have also mistaken this bout for an event in the Bizarro Olympics. Aran puts in a fine backward hop performance and Okinoumi picks up the win on the same technicality that gave the win to Myogiryu.

Toyonoshima v. Tochinoshin And we have a fight! Tochi pushing Toyo around the ring with backstroke style shoves. Toyo is on the edge of defeat, but wait. Boom Tochi is on the ground and the fight goes to Toyo.

Kakuryu v. Harumafuji A couple good whacks at the beginning, and the Kakuryu grabs Haruma by the chin and leads him out of the ring. Harumafuji’s thoughts post bout, “Aw shucks, that just really didn’t go my way. Well… Life is like a box of chocolates…Aw shucks.”

Baruto v. Gagamaru Blutto and Gag Circle hit hard and lock up, its looking like a great fight in the making, but wait, Gagamaru is overpowered by his stomach and falls forward. The fight is over with the win to Baruto.

Tochinowaka v. Kotoshogiku Ah. Well, my pick for this basho may have gotten his makekoshi today, but at least I get to report on the day Kotoshogiku’s perfect record is ruined. Kotoshogiku… man. I am just so unenthusiastic about his promotion to Ozeki. Kotoshogiku starts this round off with his hips well back. He wonders what to do with his hips so far back, the only way he knows how to win is to use those hips to bump his opponent out. Well, he thinks, nothing for it. Kotoshogiku bends at the waist and touches the ground with his hands.

Kotooshu v. Homasho It breaks my heart to see Homasho lose today. It has been a rough basho for him to be sure, but he displayed some very nice and versatile sumo today. Kotooshu pushed him back to the edge, he reversed it and tried to push Kotooshu out. Kotooshu tried to throw him down. Homasho survived the attempt like a pro. Kotooshu pushes Homasho back again, Homasho keeps his head and tries to reverse it again, but Kotooshu picks up Homey and lifts him out the ring.

Hakuho v. Kisenosato What a tachiai from the Yokuzuna. That sound of his hand hitting Kisenosato’s chest was the kind of crisp, clear crack that Takekaze can only dream about. The yokozuna gets an awkard arm hold and then pushes Kise back and back with his characteristic power. Kise is on the edge of defeat and then he finds his own power. He is pushing the Yokozuna back. Hakuho knows he is overpowered and he starts in with the footwork. He dodges and dodges, and then he gets Kisenosato right where he wants him and pushes him out on a weak angle. Best fight of the day. Great sumo from both Hakuho and Kisenosato.

Hold your horses because De Gama is gonna make em whinny tomorrow.

Day 12

Well to those of you who pledge allegiance to the good ole Stars and Stripes, Happy Thanksgiving! I can only hope that you all are smelling some type of meaty aromas right now. Damn I miss the taste of turkey… speaking of birds… Here in the Land of the Rising Sun as the birds start heading south, I find myself asking who is going to keep this guy warm in the coming months. Winter is coming… or has it already started. Anyways I guess for tonight I’ll settle for some fat sausages in diapers and a whisky. So lets strap ourselves in for some sumo … or not. The choice is yours.

Kimurayama vs. Yoshiazuma:
I feel as Kimmy boy’s record plummeted Briton-Meyer’s discussion/evolution of this crux&pocket theory took the backburner. Side note: If you want to see someone’s hopes and dreams crushed either click here, or reread my introduction… again the choice is yours. Anyway, the bout starts with some pushing from both sides… pretty weak stuff here. Yoshi takes initiative and goes in for a grip on the mawashi. This pushes Kimmy backwards and well short story even shorter he’s out. As Briton-Meyer pointed out correctly in the Bizarro Olympics, Kimura would have won; however sadly it is not.

Kaisei vs. Sadonofuji:
Actually, I’m pretty surprised about his one. I always had a little respect for Kaisei. What can I say I like the kid, but he is looking weak. Sado completely manhandles him. When I say manhandles, Kaisei put up a fight I just don’t think he had a good position/grip. Sado had a lower position, a grip on the mawashi, and seemed to push upward on Kaisei’s body. The match consisted of them bearhugging in the middle with the occasional rotation until Sado just took him to the edge and out. One more point to go on Kachikosh for Sado.

Shohozan vs. Myogiryu
Myogiryu has been looking good, but it’s a shame he lost. For the most part he seemed to have control. He got an early grip on the mawashi and waited for a little bit. So, his left hand is on the mawashi and his right hand is dangling. He uses his right hand to grip Hohoz’ neck and take Hohoz down. This fails and they go back to bearhugging. It just so happens that Hohoz has one hand on the mawashi, and Myogiryu takes Hohoz to the edge. Hohoz then grips Myo’s mawashi with this other hand too and performs a nice take down at the edge to flip it around. Decent match and nice win by Hohoz.

Aoiyama vs. Takekaze:
Oh Kaze, my Kaze. Why is it that even though my wishes are come true and you are in fact doing well…. I still feel some what cheated? Is it because you recently have been using moldy cheese sumo tactics? Probably,… but I’ll pour some whisky on something I deem necessary in your honor to preserve your integrity… most likely it’ll be my throat. So in the bout Kaze like a losing David in the Goliath battle. It was like he was pushing against a brick wall. He lost his footing and Aoiyama just pushed him out. End of story.

Aminishiki vs. Daido:
They rush in at tachiai. Sneek tries for a grip and immediately Daido locks in his arms. The Sneek still pushed and gets Daido to the edge of the ring. At this point the Sneek is in a yorikiri-esque position and Daido is position as if he is more or less pushing against a wall. Sneek steps back and Daido goes forward. Sneak then grabs the back of Daido’s mawashi and leads the poor guy to the other side of the ring and out.

Wakakoyu vs. Miyabiyama:
Miyabiyama spits out some moldy cheese from his ass as he swings to the side of Waka. Waka apparently eats blue cheese for breakfast because it doesn’t even phase the guy one bit. Miyabiyama gets push back to the edge and has to fight to stay alive. Waka proceeds to fail at taking Miyabs down twice by the head. This allows Miyabs to regain some lost ground. Waka getting a little closer to the edge tries to push Miyabi back. Seeing that Waka was almost out stretched Miyabi eases up which causes Waka to perform a semi-split. Its probably best if Waka checks the condition of his sac. Involuntary splits is always a bad thing.

Miyabiyama takes the win.

Toyohibiki vs. Yoshikaze:
Damn it, Yoshikaze, damn it! No words for the disappointment … He rushes in to meet his opponent at tachiai. Then while bearhugging he list lazily to the left. At this point you can clearly see that he really doesn’t have any grip and is just locking his opponent’s arms. His opponent in clear control pushes him to the edge and at this point Yoshikaze tries something in desperation but ultimately fails. There was a monoii but from my angle it was quite clear that Yoshi lost.

Okinoumi vs. Tochinowada:
The bout starts with them meeting at tachiai and Oki driving Wada to the edge. Tochi fights back and Oki releases one of his hand grips for a single arm take down which fails. Oki then rushes into Wada, but Wada also pushes back and Oki loses ground quickly. With his feet on the bales and his body on his opponent, Oki escapes to the side. During this escape it looks as if he got his legs tied up and crumbles down to the ground. A Wada victory.

Kisenosato vs. Gagamaru:
I think no one is surprised that Kise won but how he almost lost was so however. Lady GaGa had the match it looked like from the beginning. He was playing it very match like Baruto… overpowering mass/height/strength for the win. GaGa actually took Kise to the edge and kept him there was a while. They shifted around the ring but GaGa was always in control……. Or so it seemed. I honestly think that GaGa got a bit annoyed at Kise’s persistence to stay in the game and tried to change his strategy and perform a take down. However in doing so he just for whatever reason crumbled in front of Kise.

Kotooshu vs. Kakuryu:
Oh man, this make could have been Oshu’s. I think both of them weren’t doing their greatest. From tachiai they were both pretty high and Oshu was putting the pressure on. However for some reason Oshu tries a twist takedown while bearhugging and Kaks takes this opportunity to escape to the side. Oshu kinda just runs out of the ring.

Baruto vs. Harumafuji:
Clutch bout for Haruma. At tachiai Haruma gets in and arm thrusts at Bart’s neck. This props up Bart nice and high. Quickly, Haruma then proceeds to get grip on the mawashi to send Bart tumbling down over the ring.

Hakuho vs. Kotoshogiku:
Right from the beginning you can tell that Hakuho is playing offense and the Geek is defense. Haks goes in arms ablazin’ and the Geek assumes the position and turtles. Haks tries to drag him to sea, but Geek puts some resistance. The Geek pushes against Haks chest as Hakuho has got a mawashi grip. After this there is a little bit a bearhugging. The Geek proceeds to hip thrusts to no avail. Hakuho then tries a takedown and after three short skips succeeds!

Hakuho wins.

Two more days till the big event!!

Day 13

Chalmers here with your day 13 action!

M16 Aoiyama vs. M17 Kimurayama – Aoiyama still looking strong and confident as he continues to earn his spot in the top division. A quick tachiai, arms fully extended, and three shoves later, Kimurayama is stepping off the dohyo oshidashi. 10 wins in Aoiyama’s top division debut.

J1 Tenkaiho vs. M12 Sagatsukasa – Saga was out of the gates like a lightning bolt and looked strong for the first seconds of the bout. But this time size prevails over experience as Saga over-exerts himself and loses his footing. Tenkaiho just needed to stay as still as he could for the win, ruled a kotenage. Saga with a premature makekoshi to seal his move down the ranks.

M12 Daido vs. M13 Tamawashi – A lock up at the tachiai, BigWay gets his right hand high under King Tama’s arm. A quick turn toward the inside arm sends King Tamap tumbling forward for an uwatenage take down. Daido one away from his Kachi.

M16 Tsurugidake vs. M10 Fujiazuma – A slapping match ends in Fujiazuma, oshidashi win.

M10 Kokkai vs. M14 Takarafuji – Kokkai continues his descent into oblivion. Can’t say what he was trying to accomplish after he tied up with Super Delux, but he is pushed back to the bails, where he launches himself off the bails and tries to spin his way out of trouble, only to end up on his back. Kokkai with his 12th loss, uwatenage.

M15 Shohozan vs. M9 Wakakoyu – Rookie Shohozan stares down his opponent like he knows what he is doing. Having his kachikoshi already, I suppose it’s ok. After burning a hole through Wakakoyu, he makes easy work of himself, loosing his footing after the tachia and getting slapped to the sand, hikiotoshi.

M14 Kaisei vs. M8 Takayasu – Takayasu bulls on with his tsupari attack. Kaisei can’t keep up as Yasu inches Kaisei to the bails and pummels him out. Yasu oshidashi win puts him one away from his Kachi.

M15 Sadanofuji vs. M7 Takekaze – Home team here to shame his opponent… and himself with the henka heard round the world. A liitle push at the end seals the deal, henka-oshidashi to 9 wins for the Home Team.

M7 Tokitenku vs. M13 Asasekiryu – Asa starts things off well with a right hand way in and his head under Toki’s chin. After a lot of standing around, Asa makes his move with a top-knot grab and an forearm to the face (I suppose that’s ok as long as it’s one Mongolian to another. Asa handing out a complimentary makekoshi to put both Mongols at 5-8, susoharai (rear foot sweep, but with out the foot sweep???).

M11 Toyohibiki vs. M6 Miyabiyama – The Flub with some quick thinking after a stalemate tachiai, a quick sidestep sends the Beak stumbling toward the bails. A finishing tap puts the Flubby at 10-3.

M11 Myogiryu vs. M5 Yoshikaze – The two looking like they are going to fall asleep in front of each other, surprise the crowd with an all out boxing match. Little yoshi is no match in size for the rookie and is pummeled out, oshidashi. The rookie Myogiryu continues to stay strong, 9-4.

M4 Tochinowaka vs. M6 Aminishiki – The Sneak lives up to his name, sneaky henka at the tachiai, doesn’t quite seal the win, but keeps the distance between he and Waka. The Sneak slaps his way to a slap down, hatakikomi win for his kachikoshi.

M2 Tochinoshin vs. M5 Kitataiki – Noshin continues to get chewed up in the meat grinder. Noshin with a high tachiai against the shorter Kitataiki. Easy walk out for Kita who sits one away from his katchi.

M2 Kyokutenho vs. M1 Goeido – Goeido representingJapanby taking the Mongol to the cleaners. Arms in tight on the tachiai, two hands in on the grip, easy carry-out, 6-7 for Goeido.

M3 Aran vs. K Homasho – Alan tries to pull a fast one (henka), but Cigar Shop keeps his footing. Like a linebacker, Homey keeps his but down, head down, hands out, and pushes ‘ol Alan to the bails and out, oshidashi puts Cigar Shop at 3 wins… awesome!

K Toyonoshima vs. M3 Gagamaru – Lady Gaga, struggling in the upper Maegashira ranks, is made short work of as Toyo gets two hands in and stays there. After that it is just a matter of staying on your feet and inching Lady Gaga off the stage, yorikiri puts Toyo at 9-4.

M1 Okinoumi vs. Kakuryu – Okinoumi picks the wrong mongol for his chance at kachikoshi tshi basho. The Kak out maneuvers and out muscles his opponent, gets a high left hand under the arm, and walks Oki out, yorikiri. Oki with his 8th loss of the tournament.

O Kotoshogiku vs. Harumafuji – Lots of sponsors out in force for this match. The Geek looking for his first win over fellow ozeki, will have to keep looking as Harumafuji guns for his katchkoshi. Both jump out of the gates with lightning speed, and lock up. Haruma gets a weak, two hands inside. The Geek tries to turn out of it with an arm throw, only to force an even deeper grip by Haruma, who capitalizes with his own quick inside turn, belt in hand. Shitatenage puts The Geek in the sand. Haruma with his Kachikoshi.

O Baruto vs.S Kisenosato– Kisenosato wraps Bart up quickely, and has a solid left hand in. Bart lucks out with a loose mawashi, and Kise can’t keep a good hold. Bart waits Kise out, leans on him till he’s tired, and works him to the bails. Bart walks Kise out, then shoves him in the dirt (an Estonian sendoff, perhaps).

Y Hakuho vs. O Kotooshu – The Hak looking to seal the deal today, faces his yogurt-sporting adversary, Kotooshu. After a couple tries to get focused, the two get to it. Kotooshu starts the match on the bails, and plays the defensive the whole match, which means certain failure. The Hak can’t wait any more and picks up the Bulgarian, and throws him to the clay in a fashion very reminiscent of Asashoryu’s Estonian-throwing day 11, Hatsu Basho 2010. Check it out to see for yourself. Spectacular win puts Hakuho at 13-0, and seals the yusho. The next two days are merely a formality.

Chalmers signing out!

Day 14


Tonite was a bit lackluster. No huge upsets, no overwhelming victories or defeats… well ther were a couple of overwhelming defeats (most notably Kimurayama…) and one over whelming victory (doesn’t take much imagination to guess who). Although there were a few small surprises and a bit of decent sumo to be had. In case you hadn’t heard, down in juryo Takamisakari secured his kachikoshi, and Ikioi has, without a doubt, secured the juryo yusho with a score of 12-2 so far. As for makuuchi…

Masunoyama – Asasekiryu – Masunoyama continues to be a bit top heavy. I’d like to think that he could be a good mid-maegashira if he could keep from injuring his ankle. Good on him for fighting through it, but again he falls today via uwatedashinage. 7-7, 6-8

Toyohibiki – Kimurayama -Beeker, with basics, bests Briton-Meyers beloved, yet badly below-par bowel-movement of a buddy. ALLITERATION! 9-5, 3-11

Kokkai – Tamawashi – you know you are having a bad basho when Tamawashi can beat you without the use of a thrusting attack. Kokkai has looked way off his game this basho, without a single memorable bout. Not much better out of Tamawashi. 1-13, 4-10

Sadanofuji – Fujiazuma – This seemed to be a pretty even match, with both gents going in with similar, nodowa/tsuppari style, attacks. Sada picked up the win. 8-6, 6-8

Kaisei – Wakakoyu – Wakakoyu got around Kaisei’s right side and used a left paw to the uder arm to push the big Brazilian up, then slap him down. 5-9, 11-3

Takarafuji – Takayasu – After a quick push pull atempt by Takayasu, Takara went for a belt grip, but was denied and pushed back by Yasu. Takara went for a throw attempt at the bales, but Yasu slipped out and countered with a sukuinage to pick up his KK. 4-10, 8-6

Tokitenku – Tsurugidake – Tokitenku’s signature ketaguri claims another victim. Too bad it didn’t really end up meaning much in the long run. 6-8, 4-10

Daid0 -Takekaze – Everyone has mentioned the fact that although Takekaze has a good record, we must recognize that his sumo has not been all that great, with a questionable amount of henkas. that being said, today was a clean win. After the initial contact Kaze deflected Daido’s right arm, got a favorable position on Daido’s right side and pushed him out for the win. 7-7, 10-4

Aminishiki – Shohozan – Tsuppari battle from the tachiai, Sneaky tried to deflect Shoho to the side, Shoho recovered then was pushed back, but at the tawara spun about with just enough grace to let Aminishiki take himself out. The gyoji-gunbai went to Sneaky, but mono-ii overturned the call giving Shoho the nod. 8-6, 9-5

Aoiyama – Miyabiyama – This battle of the boobies went down in predictable fashion. A push-pull attempt by Miyabi was ineffective. Aoiyama wins with a slap-down over the over extended Miyabi. 11-3, 10-4

Kitataiki – Myogiryu – Giryu read Taiki’s attack and kept his arms off the belt, moved forward, and got the inside grip. Momentum did the rest. 7-7, 10-4

Sagatsukasa – Yoshikaze – Yoshi began with a shift left after the tachiai and a slap down attempt. Saga grabbed Yoshi’s arm and went for, what looked like, a good armbar throw attmept. Yoshi held on, flipped his arm underneath, and got a morozashi yorikiri. 5-9, 7-7

Tochinoshin – Aran – both men with a migi yotsu from the tachiai, and from there, all the forward motion was on Aran’s part. Maybe the only good sumo he’s done this basho. 1-13, 3-11

Okinoumi – Kyokutenho – Morozashi from the get-go for Don-Juan, who sealed the deal in seconds… just adds more to the mystery as to why the ladies love him. 6-8, 4-10

Gagamaru – Homash0 – Homey shifted to the left after the tachiai in an attempt to neutralize Gaga’s forward momentum. They separated, Homey got an inside position, pivoted to the left again, this time whiffing on a slapdown. Gaga began pushing for the bales, where Homey shifted to the righ this time, slamming a palm into Gaga’s side causing the tsukitaoshi. 2-12, 4-10

Kisenosato – Tochinowaka – Kise’s thrusting attack got Tochinowka up and back fast and effectively. There seemed to have been a chance for Waka to use an otsuke on Kise, but he chose not to, or just didn’t. 10-4, 7-7. Kise has Giku tomorrow, and that bout decides Kise’s promotion. My guess… undeserved promotion, and Geeku settling for a 10-5 ozeki debut.

Goeido – Kakuryu – Kakuryu was all offensive today with a thrusting attack, Goeido backing up and looking for an in. Kool-Edio found his opening after a thrust to Kak’s side. Win by Oshi-dashi. 7-7, 9-5

Toyonoshima -Kotoshogiku – Hidari yotsu and deashi was all the Geeku needed today. To be fair, Toyo did gice a hint of resistance. As far as I’m concerned the only ozeki this basho is a Geek. 9-5, 10-4

Baruto Kotooshu – Baruto slapped away Oshu’s frontal grip, but didn’t quite give it enough. Oshi came back enough to get a migiyotsu grip, and cause a slight pause in momentum. Baruto spun the bulgarian around and with a hand on bulgarian’s neck forced the shitatenage, he even ended the bout with a colorful little cartwheel into the first row. 10-4, 8-6

Hakuho – Harumafuji – Hakuho stepped on to the dohyo tonite looking very confident, and ready to get to business. Harry took the Yokozuna’s cahrge the slipped to the left, to try to get a hand on the belt and win buy uwatenage. but Hak was to fast out of the gates. Both men flew out of the ring, Harumafuji breaking the plane of the dohyo just before Hakuho’s hand went down. It’s beginning to seem a lot like another zensho. 14-0, 8-6.

Oh Daly Boy will call the pipes on senshuraku.

Senshuraku

Welcome to Senshuraku! Where some men in mawashi fight for their lives to either move up the banzuke or drop down! Before I get to all of that excitement, I’d like to talk about some notable results from other divisions and then about Kisenosato.

Notable results: Sumo & Stogies first Rikishi on the Rise Tatsu squeaked out his winning record with a 4-3! Takanoyama goes 9-6 in Juryo to the shock of many of his opponents. I think the unpredictable nature of his sumo is fantastic and it’s easy to see why people will continue to cheer for this underdog. Newcomer to Juryo Ikioi slows down but still easily wins the Yusho at 12-3. Kid has talent and should be in Makuuchi by Osaka. Finally Makushita 14, Sensho, the 28 year-old Mongolian wins a huge Makushita playoff to take the championship.

With 32 wins in the last three basho one would think that Kisenosato has not earned an Ozeki promotion, despite what the newspapers have said. Baruto had 33 wins and the association held off until the next basho where he won all but one of his bouts for a total of 35 wins over the course of three basho. Kotoshogiku got 33 wins.

Make no mistake here, I am thrilled for Kisenosato. In fact he’s been a favorite of mine for the last few years. His sumo is on the up and up, and he doesn’t take crap from anyone. What’s not to like?

It’s just thirty two wins and thirteen losses doesn’t scream Ozeki to me, but with the Sumo Association awarding (dare I say gifting him) a Gino-Sho (technique prize) I am afraid Kisenosato is being given a honor he has not yet earned (potentially in his own mind and the hearts of some fans too). If you look back at his bouts in week two I think the majority of our readers would agree Kisenosato’s technique hasn’t been award winning. I would rather see him take the promotion like Baruto did than slide in on the minimum. That is all. He’s still a favorite of mine however and I hope he does all that he can to bring some honor back to the rank of Ozeki. Enough of a rant from me, eh. Senshuraku brought a ton of excitement let’s get to it.

Tamawashi vs Bushuyama
Working man Bushuyama was brought up from Juryo to fill the void of all the injured Makuuchi riksihi. Tamawashi easily pushes the People’s Champion out of the dohyo at the word go. Both rikishi finish at 5-10.

Myogiryu vs Fujiazuma
Myogiryu has been without a doubt my favorite new comer to the Makuuchi division. Turns out the Gyro is a college grad from Nippon Sport Science University who hasn’t had a losing record when he’s been healthy 11 out of 15 bashos. It’s no wonder, the kid is fast and relentless in his forward moving attacks. Fujiazuma withstood three of Myogiryu’s forward moving assaults on the bales and then managed to get the advantage and push him out for the win. Gyro finishes at 10-5 and Fujiazuma finishes 7-8.

Aoiyama vs Wakakoyu
Kanto-Sho (fighting spirit) winners faced off today. Both rikishi have had a great basho so I was looking forward to this bout. Not much too it however. Veteran Wakakoyu pushes the young Bulgarian up and then pulls him down off the dohyo for the easy win.

Shohozan vs Takekaze
After a slow first five days Fukuoaka-ken native Shohozan really brought the intensity this basho. The new comer aggressively goes after Akita’s only Makuuchi son with numerous tsupari pushes to the face. Takekaze tried pushing back and a couple of slap down moves but nothing phased the Shohozan. Fukuoka’s newest Makuuchi son moved to 10-5.

Daido vs Yoshikaze
Both riksihi came into this bout at 7-7. Yoshi false starts. Yoshi uncharacteristically henkas the second tachi-ai nearly causing Dido to run off the dohyo. He catches himself however as Kaze #2 goes for a spearhead tackle. Daido hangs on long enough for Kaze to hit the ground. Daido get’s his eight. Yoshikaze wins this bout no questions asked if he just went straight up against the less experienced Daido. Weird, eh.

Tochinoshin vs Tsurugidake
If intensity could be bottled for athletic use, this bout would have been a gold mine. Both rikishi start da thing off with a barrage of tsupari that would even knock Creswell off the dohyo in .5 seconds. Both riksihi survive the barrage with each one going back and forth. Noshin wraps up Tsurugidake and struggles to finally finish him off with a yorikiri. Noshin gets two wins this basho after being banned from entering the keiko ring prior to the basho.

Aminishiki vs Goeido
Goeido needed his 8 today. He didn’t get it. Serves him right. Greatness doesn’t come from pulling sumo or last second throws from the bales. Sneaky wins his ninth today and appears to be recovering quite nicely after a last basho.

Okinoumi vs Gagamaru
This may have been the easiest win Okinoumi has ever had. Gaga looked to be in control and then suddenly Oki pulls a throw, but more or less, Lord Gaga just slowly walked out of the dohyo. Oki moves to numb 7-8.

Toyonoshima vs Kitataiki
M5 Kitataiki stays in Toyonoshima’s businass the entire bout winning by oshidashi. Taiki gets his eight.

Tochinowaka vs Kakuryu
Kakuryu gets ten today easily beating the promising Tochinowaka with a tsukidashi. Kakuryu continues to hang tough in the Sekiwake slot. He’s got Ozeki potential, but will he ever manage to beat Hakuho?

Kisenosato vs Kotoshogiku
With both rikishi at 10-4 this bout there was a lot of pride riding on this bout. For Kisenosato the win would basically seal the waterproof deal of his promotion to Ozeki (though he’s getting it anyway). For Kotoshogiku it offers him an opportunity to make a statement, “I am here to stay.” Kis false starts and I think it really threw him off. This bout was all Kotoshogiku from the tachi-ai. Geeku got him to the bales and The Kid tried to divert Shogiku to the left and then to the right. At that point Geeku’s weight had forced Kisenosato out of the dohyo as Kotoshogiku was falling as well. It looked pretty straightforward to me. Kotoshogiku won this bout, but due to Kisenosato’s promotion (I speculate) the judges called a mono-ii. After some debate the win was given to Kotoshogiku.

Kotooshu vs Harumafuji
Big O is back for at least two more bashos. Both Ozeki were at 8-6 going into this basho. They are still earning there pay check however so this one was just for pride. Haruma jumps out at the tachi-ai and really knocked Oshu back. Kotooshu pushes back sending Haruma flying back. Oshu then latched onto Ama and ran him out of the dohyo sending both Ozeki flying.

Hakuho vs Baruto
You know the drill. Hakuho drives in and attempts to force the inside grip. Baruto actually denies him it though and then proceeds to force the Yokozuna back with two tsupari. The Yokozuna drives low but Baruto reacts slamming his beefy arm into Hakuho’s back for the hatakikomi slap down upset! See what I did there?! I made it seem like nothing surprising was going to happen and then something actually surprising did happen. Haha. Oh the joys of Senshuraku! Baruto’s sumo hasn’t been outstanding, but at least he’s been getting ten or eleven wins each basho. Here’s to him bringing the noise next basho!

*Edit I just listened to Hakuho’s yusho speech and it was one of the best I’ve heard. He is nothing but classy and honorable. Here’s to excellent sumo in 2012!

Creswell cleans up the mess with our Kyushu wrap-up report.

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