12. Hatsu Basho 2012

Hatsu Basho 2012

Shonichi

And thus begins Heisei 24 in sumo. Juryo wasn’t a bad watch today, but nothing amazing to report on. Chiyotairyu picked up his first sekitori win, Sotairyu won in a relatively impressive fashion, Russian Amuru also snagged sekitori win #1, Takamisakari squeezed one out too. Most impressive though was Ikoi’s double win over Masunoyama. 1st go round was given to Ikioi then monoii-ed, and round two went again to Ikoi, which seems to be the way with Masunoyama bouts, who with his lung condition is not very effective in torinaoshi situations.

Now for Makuuchi.

Kaisei v Nionoumi – Kaisei had some trouble getting momentum going today, and underdog Nionoumi tried his best to move forward. After a few failed thrusting attempts Keanau realized that guile might work better. So he back pedaled a bit and took the win via tsukiotoshi.

Asasekiryu v Kyokushuho – Asa Jr. seemed to have a bit of advantage from the tachiai with a lower position (not to mention experience). But Shuho bit back with a seemingly strong right hand ouside grip. Shuho went for the throw attempt, but Asa’s inside left and lower position kept things fair. After a few seconds of grappling for position, Asa brought the right hand up, and shifted his weight to set up as nice a hatakikomi as one could ask for.

Takanoyama v Sagatsukasa – Saga’s left appears to be HEAVILY taped up. Which would explain the pseudo-henka-kotenage-tsukidashi we saw today. Not the best sumo ever… not even good sumo. Seeing that, I can predict a lack luster basho from Saga. None the less, he is 1-0.

Chiyonokuni v Tenkaiho – The momentum of this bout was all Chiyonokuni. Tenkaiho was on the defensive from the word go, and a morozashi bemoaned the yoritaoshi win for this member of the wolfpack.

Yoshiazuma v Tosayutaka – Tosa slammed into Yoshi, getting a loose migiyotsu and, after a shaky throw attempt, what looked like the yorikiri win. but yoshi rallied at the bales, securing his own migi yotsu, resisting another throw attempt, and using his free left hand as an otsuke effectively neutralizing Tosa’s inside right hand at the elbow. After a few second of sizing each other up, Tosa went for an uncharacteristic ketaguri, allowing Yoshi to take the balance advantage to move forward for the yorikiri win.

Fujiazuma – Sadanofuji – This started out as a slap fight, and looked like it would end that way, but somehow both parties secured a tenuous belt grip which ended up in Fujiazuma’s favor.

Tokitenku v Gagamaru – Gaga’s biggest challenges here are lateral movemnt and danger of leg sweeps. Unfortunately, Gaga made the horrible mistake of slightly over stretching himself. Tenku capitalized by pulling the uchimuso twist down for the win.

Tochinoshin v Daido – Noshin should be able to KILL from this rank, and although he won via shitatenage, it took a bit too long. Noshin has to get his shit together if he wants to make it back to joi.

Shohozan v Tochiozan – Props to Shohozan for a good thrusting attack. Tochiozan couldn’t find a defense that would work.

Aran v Aoiyama – After 2 Aran false starts, the Russian halted the Bulgarian onslaught with a stiff left arm, then locked up with Aoiyama with matching right hand inside grips. Aran used some good strength and good footwork to grab and early win. I didn’t see a henka, nor did I see any other nasty shenanigans. So maybe Aran has turned his act around.

Kyokutenho v Toyohibiki – Beeker got the morozashi and Tenho locked up Beekers arms. Tenho was driven back and tried for the uchari at the bales, but apparently his foot broke the plane of the dohyo before beeker crashed to the earth. Personally I thought a monoii was needed here, but the men in black have the final word.

Myogiryu v Yoshikaze – Giryu came in with an oshi attack to the face, Yoshi did his usual erratic movements, overwhelming the senses of Giryu, all it took from there was a hand pull to seal win # 1 for Yoshi.

Homasho v Tochinowaka – Homasho came in a bit lower than Waka, but Waka got his left hand right up in Homey’s pit. Homey could not keep Waka from moving him backward, but at the brink, Homey pivoted to his right put slapped a paw in the overly eager Tochinowaka’s shoulder for the tsukiotoshi win.

Takayasu v Toyonoshima – Takayasu used some tsuppari and kept Toyonoshima from getting his favored morozashi right off the bat. However, a bit of carelessness on Taka’s part allowed Toyo a deep left hand inside. Taka decided it was time to go for the belt and moved forward using a tsuri to get Toyo a bit off balance. Toyo turned things around and moved Taka up against the tawara, where Taka tried for a shitatenage, which Toyo smartly countered with and outside leg trip.

Kakuryu v Kitataiki – Kaks got in right away with a thrusting attack, keeping Taiki on the move. Taiki managed to move Kaks back, but was too over stretched to take advantage. Taiki regained and got Kak back on the bales, but Kak rebounded, locking up Taiki’s right arm and moved him back while trying to keep Taiki’s left hand off the belt. Right hand nodowa sealed the deal for Fishface.

Goeido v Kisenosato – Kise powered into Eido keeping constant downward pressure on the back of Eido’s right shoulder. Kise was on the brink of winning, when Eido slipped out, but failed to gain an advantage. It was all awkward backward movement on Eido’s part, and a final chest shove sealed Kise’s first Ozeki win. The reaction from the crowd kind of made me realize how full the house was. Good to see. Perhaps I should take back my cut about the Oyakata All Stars.

Okinoumi v Harumafuji – Harry got a good, deep left hand grip on Oki’s belt, moved back, and half threw, half pushed Oki out for an easy looking win. Good start for Oki.

Kotooshu v Aminishiki – No sneakiness this time. Straight up tachiai, and after far too long, got an inside grip and drove Sneaky out. Not very impressive from the ozeki, but a win none the less. Sneaky is not looking good these days.

Takekaze v Kotoshogiku – The Geek came in a bit over stretched and somehow Takekaze capitalized with a pretty darn nice little katasukashi. An unexpected first day loss for the Geek certainly puts a damper on what hopes he had left for a chance at the yusho.

Baruto v Miyabiyama – Miyabbers had his chance, with a push-pull tactic he had Bart with his foot up on the bales, but old Yabs just couldn’t finish things off. Baruto regained and used his thrusting (which always looks awkward to me) to pick up the win.

Hakuho v Wakakoyu – Thunderous tachiai from Haks and not a bad one from Koyu either. Koyu should have know that the old push-pull wouldn’t really work with the daiyokozuna. Hakuho had him back faster than one could blink and just as a kick in the balls, used the old push-pull to bring Koyu down.

Pretty decent first day this basho. We had a few good bouts today. I particularly enjoyed Homasho and Tochinowaka’s bout, Kise and Not-so-kool-eido’s bou. Harumafuji looks to be off to a good start, and of course Hakuho’s domination was, as always, fun to watch.

Tomorrows homily will be said by the Rev. S.N. Chalmers

Day 2

no report

Day 3

Schadenfreude: enjoyment at someone’s misfortune.
Although I have no idea how to pronounce that word, I did find myself on the wrong end of it today as I arrived home from work. There were, as it happened, no cameramen filming my every move, as I often wish there were, so let me help you ignite your schadenfreude.

My stove beeped indicating its thirst for kerosene. After a lapse in concentration I had kerosene all over my floor and hands. When washing I somehow squirted washing-up liquid into my eyes….

I’ve missed the first 3 fights today.

Asasekiryu beat Kaisei
Sagatsukasa beat Nionoumi
Kyokushuho beat Takanoyama

Yoshiazuma vs. Tenkaiho
This was a fight that was all about power. Both wrestlers had their preferred grips and forced each other around the ring for a nice while before Yoshiazuma’s knee gave way. Unlucky.

Tosayutaka vs. Sadanofuji
Sada packed his oshidashi this morning and used it all. Tosa was hoping to get a frontal grip, which he got, but had it broken quickly. Sada kept moving forward and got his win.

Fujiazuma vs. Chiyonokuni
This was the first meeting between these guys. Chiyonokuni came in quickly and was pushing Mt. Fuji back little by little. But a twist at the edge and Chiyo looked to be in trouble. The mountain rushed forward but gave up his belt, and when Chiyo hit the bales he launched a perfectly timed throw that gave his third straight win.

Gagamaru vs. Daido
Gaga steam rolled Daido back and out. Daido tried to slip to the side but didn’t manage it. 2nd win for Gaga.

Tochinoshin vs. Tokitenku
MASSIVE henka by Tokitenku left Tochinoshin upright and at the bales. The Mongolian used little energy finishing off Tochi. 3rd win for Tokitenku.

Tochiozan vs. Aoiyama
Wow but Aoiyama’s boobs hang nicely when he gets down for the tachi-ai! Tochiozan got a double inside grip and drove forward. Aoi tried to throw, but Tochiozan had a great grip and easily motorboated Aoiyama out.

Aran vs. Shohozan
Shohozan pushed Aran upright at the tachi-ai and went to push him out easily, but slipped and lost his advantage. Some pretty awful, yet quite interesting sumo followed, it included dodging, ducking, spinning, pushing grabbing, armbaring and finally a leg trip to drop Aran a split second before he went down himself. 3rd win for Shohozan.

Yoshikaze vs. Toyohibiki
Yoshikaze didn’t do any sumo today, as Toyohibiki drove forward and forced Yoshi out via yorikiri in about 2 seconds. 3rd win for him.

Myogiryu vs. Kyokutenho
Great speed from the Myog got hin great position in under Kyokutenho’s armpits, raised him up and easily pushed him out.

Tochinowaka vs. Takayasu
Takayasu got in fast and pushed at Tochinowaka’s face. He was pushing a lot but not really making much progress, so he gave one final push, and pulled while slipping to the side and watched Tochi fall to the dirt.

Kitataiki vs. Homasho
A low thud of heads started todays fight. As both wrestlers stayed low Homasho got his right hand on the back of Kitataiki’s head and his left under his shoulder dropping and spinning Kita to the dohyo.

Kakuryu vs. Toyonoshima
Toyonoshima was pushing forward and moving Kakuryu back when he decided to slap the Kak’s hands down while retreating. Kak was wise to it though and pounced forward and got himself an easy win. Bad move by Toyonoshima. 3rd win for Kakuryu.

Okinoumi vs. Kotoshogiku
“If I stay calm I’ll win” was Kotoshogiku’s words this morning on this fight. Well he looked calm to me, and he won! Kotoshogiku got a right handed grip on the front of Okinoumi’s belt and drove him back. Okinoumi offered little in the form of escape maneuvers. Straightforward win for Kotoshogiku.

Baruto vs. Goeido
Baruto opened with a slap to Goeido’s face but Goeigo managed to get both hands on the mawashi. Baruto had a grip under Goeido’s arm and attempted a throw. Immediately Goeido countered with a leg trip, but Baruto’s sheer strength prevailed and slammed Goeido into the dirt face first. Unlucky for Goeido, and a great show of strength from Baruto, even if his sumo wasn’t very good.

Miyabiyama vs. Kisenosato
Kisenosato has beaten Miyabiyama the last 10 times they met! After engauging Kissy slipped slightly to the side, while keeping lateral pressure Miyabiyama. Kissy then got his hand in what must be an awfully smelly armpit and forced Miyabi to hop one footed out of the ring.

Wakakoyu vs. Harumafuji
Wakakoyu had a great start against Harumafuji today both men coming in low at the tachi-ai. Wakakoyu was pushing hard, and Harry’s grip slipped off the front of Wakakoyu’s belt. At this point Waka pushed forward and I really though Harry stepped out, but on replaying it I could see that Harry was still on the tamari. Harry then recovered and got a frontal grip which he then used to force out Wakakoyu. Great stuff today from Wakakoyu, he was unlucky not to get the win today.

Kotooshu vs. Takekaze
Takekaze came in chest to chest against Kotooshu, which wasn’t the best idea. When Kotooshu got a double handed grip, Takekaze leapt up in the air, presumably trying to break the ozekis grip. It didn’t work, and Kotooshu easily threw the smaller wrestler to the dirt.

Hakuho vs. Aminishiki
Hakuho took his sweet time before getting down at the tachi-ai. When he did he came up quickly and was forcing the snake backwards. He tried a last minute escape at the end, but thankfully it was all in vain.

Today all 5 ozeki won for the 2nd time in a row which is a first since May 2009!

We’ve filed a missing persons report for young Chalmers…

Day 4

Packed with knocked-out gyoji, bitchslaps galore, and tits that flap in the wind like free range pancakes, there’s not much more you could ask out of day 4 of a basho. Well maybe you could ask for medical professionals on hand so that when someone badly injures themselves they aren’t left lying on the ground for 10 minutes on national TV while everyone sits. around. slackjawed. But that’s not until later. For now, we begin with our day with two of the shinnyumakus.

Ninoumi (1-2) v Kyokushuho (1-2) Probably one of the most awkward matches I’ve ever seen. The two new maegashira start off with a barrage of slaps which turn quickly into a grabbing contest. Neither could get a good grip, and kyokushuho ends up looking like he is trying to help the littler rikishi take his shirt off. Ends with an oshidashi win for Ninoumi.

Takanoyama (0-3) v Kaisei (1-2) Takanoyama finally starting to relax a bit and show the kind of sumo he normally performs in the lower ranks. It also helps that Kaisei is probably the slowest wrestler in Makuuchi (with maybe the exception of gagamaru.) Kakenage win for the Czech.

Asasekiryu (3-0) v Sagatukasa (2-1) Both rikishi were quick off the line to start pushing each other like abusive husbands, with Asasasekiryu eventually getting an outer left hand grip. After a considerable stalemate, Sagatukasa runs out of steam and practically walks out of the ring for the Mongolian. Yorikiri win for the red dragon.

Chiyonokuni (3-0) v Tosayutaka(0-3) Standard belt fight ends with tosayutaka trying to lift our the new maegashira. Gyoji called the match in favor of Tosayutaka, but after a monoii, a rematch was held. The newbie loses his focus in the second match and is quickly forced out by yutaka. Even though he lost today, I think we will be seeing more of kuni if the upper ranks in the new few basho, mark my words.

Tokitenku (3-0) v Tenkaiho (2-1) Angry face gets migi-yotsu right off the bat and tries a variety of judo-esque moves, only to be walked out by Kaiho. Yorikiri.

Yoshiazuma (1-2) v Gagamaru (2-1) Yoshiazuma plays its stupid and tries to beat the lady with straight power only to get forced out. I doubt Azuma (like most who have previously fought over-200 kg gaga) will fall for the same trick twice. Yorikiri win for the man who was most definitely not born that way.

Tochinoshin (1-2) v Sadanofuji (2-1) A long, well-fought belt fight with an eventual win for noshin. One of the better bouts of the day, noshin deserved to win, although at this rank he shouldn’t need nearly 3 minutes to take care of a M11.

Fujiazuma (2-1) v Daido (0-3) After a false start, the two wrestlers go after eachother throats as if they were vying for first place in line at an all you can eat cupcake buffet. Fujiazuma overcommits for a uwatenage win for Daido.

Yoshikaze (1-2) v Tochiozan (2-1) Yoshi gets an early belt grip but Ozan rips him off and eventually throws him to the ground via katasukashi (under-shoulder swing down).

Shohozan (3-0) v Kyokutenho (1-2) Shohozan loses his perfect record to Kyokutenho if not for lack of effort. Kyokutehno picks up an oshidashi win and doesn’t look too bad for a guy who has been in Makuuchi for 14 years.

Myogiryu (1-2) v Aoiyama (0-3) The newest Bulgarian to hit the big leagues tries his best to get a grip on his opponent’s mawashi, while Myoguryu takes advantage and twists him out. The hardest to pronounce rikishi takes an uwatedashinage win to 2-2, while Aoiyama drops to the bottom of the barrel with a regretful 0-4.

Aran (1-2) v Toyohibiki (3-0) Quick, dirty henka win for Aran. Guess you have to pick up wins somehow. Blegh.

Kitataiki (0-3) v Tochinowaka (1-2) Fierce fight between these two with KItataiki at waka’s thoat at the end. Just when he was about to get pushed out, waka make a fantastic throw to pick up the win. Who lit a fire under Tochinowaka’s ass? Man has been killing it as of late.

Homasho (2-1) v Takayasu (2-1) All the crowds cheers for the cigar store indian didn’t seem to be of much use as Takayasu keeps him on the defensive and eventually oshidashis him out. Deep bow man falls to 2-2 while expensive-cheap improves to a respectable 3-1

Kotooshu (3-0) v Goeido (0-3) The veteran Bulgarian uses his substantial power and mass to shove goeido back from the get go, after which the blue belted wonder loses his footing and falls on his own, although it was ruled tsukiotoshi.

Aminishiki (0-3) v Kotoshogiku (2-1) The sneak pull some decent sumo out of his ass today by securing morozashi and eventually forcing the geek out by keeping his opponent center of gravity high. Lately, the geek’s dry-humping magic has seemed nigh-unstopable, so its a refreshing for me to see someone beat him at his own game.

Baruto (3-0) v Wakakoyu (0-3) And now the match that everyone has been waiting for. Both men jump up quick from the tachi-ai, and Bart starts showing us why he was made an Ozeki oh so many moons ago. Some fierce tsupari drive Wakakoyu to the bales, but he uses a figure-skating twist to get back into the center of the ring. It’s a shame Baruto is so big, because any one the smaller rikishi’s slaps, grabs, and twists would probably have worked on most anyone else. Bart end up shoving Wakakoyu out of the ring via okuritaishi right onto the gyoji Kimura Shozaburo. Kimura fell out of the ring and just remained silent and unmoving on the ground for the better part of 10 minutes until someone decided to get off their ass and get around to telling the resident doctor that a 61 year old man just got shoved off of a pltaform via a 35kg arm, with 300kg worth of bodies behind it. Mainichi says that he is awake and speaking, although he has suffered a concussion.

Toyonoshima (1-2) v Kisenosato (3-0) Neither slaps nor pushes could keep Toyo down today. Showing remarkable tenacity, he pushes Kise out to give the new Ozeki his first loss of the basho.

Takekaze (1-2) v Harumafuji (3-0) The moriyoshi muffin once again gets toyed around with today, with Ama gently lifting him out for Yorikiri.

Hakuho (3-0) v Okinoumi (0-3) Hakuho was born for this sport. Straight from the tachi-ai he drives sideburns to the bales and then uses his resistance to force him to the ground. Effortless.

Well, that wraps up Day 4. Currently the strongest contenders for the Yusho are Hakuho, Baruto, Kakuryu, Kotooshu, Harumafuji, and Asasekiryu all with 4 wins a piece.

Duck and cover because tomorrow De Gama is gonna be dropping bombs.

Day 5

Happy New Year! – to all of you Westerners out there.
And Akemashite Omedetougozaimsu! – to all you ummm Japanesers…

de Gama, shtanding by … on yet another Thursday for Day 5. Here in my little neck of the Japanese woods it is filled with snow and the road are all iced over, but really that is no surprise. Well with nothing else really to do for another 4 hours I might as well get situated and crack one out in the name of sumo.

Kaisei vs. Sagatsukasa:
Oh how the less than mighty have fallen. What happened to Kaisei? A year ago he was in Juryo and now it seems like he has had enough of Makuuchi. Anyways, they both rush in at tachiai. Kaisei immediately pops up and he a bit too high. However, he still tries to overpower Saga and almost takes him down at one point. Then Saga moves to the side and pushes Kaisei forward. Kaisei only slightly recovers at the line just to be side-thrown down by Saga. Better luck tomorrow buddy.

Asasekiryu vs. Tenkaiho
First Makuuchi timer Tenkaiho with an impressive 3-1 beginning. We’ll see how he fares later in the tournament. Today he goes against the yet to lose Asasekiryu. The two guys pound into each other and this results in Asa gripping on what seems to be the belt and 10Kaiho struggling to do anything and ends up locking Asa’s arms. Asa moves one of his arms out of the lock and gets a crotch grip on the mawashi. 10kaiho puts his arm under and forces Asa’s arm up. Asa lets go and moves back to try and force 10kaiho down. This fails and both engage in the bear-hug formation. After a long while of back and forth struggling, 10kaiho out lasts the guy and gives him a yorikiri.

Yoshiazuma vs. Takanoyama
Has someone said that they liked Takanoyama because of his tachiai? Well it was nonexistent here. Taka pulled a fat henka to try for a cheap win. Yoshi fought back by pulling Taka’s arms after being reversed. It was much too late because Yoshi was already on his way down. After Yoshi landed on his ass, Taka tried to redeem himself by giving his hand to pull Yoshi up. Yoshi ignored it and got up by himself. Nice work, buddy.

Tosayutaka vs. Gagamaru:
The Lady’s strength prevailed in his one. At the start Tosa went in and tried for a grip on GaGa’s belt. The Lady quickly locked Tosa’s arms in pushed forward. Tosa not being able to stop the GaGa train just seemed like a dead fish. At the edge GaGa performed the Japanese “BONZAI!” stance. And with his two hands in the air, Gaga made the last push out with his belly.

Shohozan vs. Tochinoshin
Shohoz starts the match by tsuppari’ing Noshin to hell. This allows No shin to get one arm around Shohoz’s arm and one on the mawashi. He then tries a sideway take down which fails. This leads to some awkward bear-hugging and another failed attempt to take down Shohoz. After a while of bear-hugging mixed in with some failed takedowns on both rikishi, they end up circling around and Noshin yorikiri’s him out.

Yoshikaze vs. Aoiyama
I don’t know what got me more of an erection: the fact that Yoshikaze won or the massive rack that Aoiyama has. All I know is that this guy is ready for some winter camping. I’m not going to lie though in the beginning of the bout it looked grim for Yoshi. Aoi aggressively pushed the obviously smaller Yoshi but to the edge. After desperately flailing off Aoi’s hands, like the wind Yoshi blows to the side of Aoi and uses Aoi’s momentum against him. At this point Aoi had clearly given up and had one leg out. However, Yoshi wasn’t done with the guy. He charged at Aoi and gave him one last powerful push out into the stands. How Asashoryu of Yoshikaze… Year of the Dragon, eh Creswell? Bad Ass.

Homasho vs. Myogiryu
What a shameful display by Homasho. They both go into tachi and fiddle around with each other’s faces. Myogiryu then places his hand on the back of Homasho’s head, moves to the side, and pushes Hommy out.

Kitataiki vs. Harumafuji
They both run at each other at tachiai. Haruma gets the two hand back mawashi grip and just takes him to the edge and out. Easy Yorikiri win for Harry.

Kotooshu vs. Okinoumi
Heres Oshu looking a little better than his recent bouts. At tachiai the two boys smack into each other and Oshu grabs the front of Oki’s mawashi. Oshu goes on the offensive pushing Oki back while Oki seems to try a take down. Oshu recovers and pushes Oki out.

The bout is not really worth reporting but just to let you all know Kotoshogiku loses to Goeido.

Baruto vs. Takekaze
Weird start to the bout… I think Takekaze got caught trying to do a henka. Baruto quickly stops him and grabs the mawashi. Baruto pushes Kaze to the edge at what seems to be match over. However, Kaze escapes and prepares to met the giant chest to chest. Baruto grabs Kaze and tries to force him down. Kaze being a shorty pushes upward as hard as he can which makes Baruto take down fail. Baruto still having the upper hand slowly pushes forward and Kaze frantically escapes back. With one final push Baruto gets Kaze out of the ring.

Kakuryu vs. Kisenosato
They met at tachiai, and both flail their arms preventing a grip. Kise then starts pushing Kak back. Right when Kak gets to the edge he escapes to the side. Kise follows quick and forces him to the other edge. Kise eases up and allows Kak some time to grab Kise’s arms. Kak locks Kise’s one arm and uses that to side throw him outside. This causes both of them to go on one foot and hold on for dear life hoping they don’t touch the ground first. Shockingly after some leg air waving both regain balance and land their feet on the ground. However, Kise lands slightly faster and quickly forces Kak out.

Hakuho vs. Miyabiyama
Hak pushes Miyabi back to the edge. While their arms are still locked Miyabi moves to the side to regain some ground. It doesn’t work and Hakuho just uses Miyabi’s motion to the side to throw him down.

That’s it for Day 5

Day 6

Creswell here with your Day 6 results. Let’s put on our juryo spectacles and take a glance. With the way Russian Amuru is fighting, one must wonder why it took him almost 10 years to get here… then again that may say more about his current opponents than himself. Chiyotairyu (the artist formerly known as Meigetsuin) continues domination of the lower ranks, giving a hand pull to Oiwato (former Kanbayashi) after absorbing an decent tachiai and some vigorous tsuppari. This cat came in at tsukedashi (meaning he started sumo at Ms15) and within 3 basho was in juryo. He doesn’t even have enough hair for a proper mage. Even better, he’s growing out the takamiyama style sideburns that I yearn for. I’m beginning to like him, and not just for the solid content of his sumo. Takamisakari picked up an easy win today over Kotoyuki, and Wakanosato has been struggling, but picked up one today with a uwatenage over Ikioi. Current Juryo leader is Chiyotairyu with 6-0 who will fight Hokutokuni (2-4) tomorrow. Makuuchi Time!

Kyokushuho v Sagatsukasa – pretty handily won by Kyokushuho with good deashi, despite inferrior position. 2-4, 3-3

Nionoumi v Tenkaiho – tachiai was as all Nio, but his momentum was not enough to buge Tenkaiho. all it took was a step back and a slapdown from Kaiho. In every Nionoumi bout I want to make some joke about “the Lake House”, but I’m afraid that our audience won’t get it, or that they’ll think less of me for getting it. 2-4, 5-1.

Yoshiazuma v Kaisei – Yoshi henka-ed, but didn’t follow through. He still managed a deep left hand outside grip and worked the Brazilian back. Kaisei went for a sukuinage, then for a shitatenage, both of which failed. Finally Kaisei started moving forward and took yoshi over the bales, but needs to do better than that to stay in Makuuchi. 1-5, 2-4.

Asasekiryu v Tosayutaka – both ended up with migi yotsu at the tachiai, Tosa looking to be slightly at an advantage. Asa dragged Tosa around, trying for a shitetenage, but Tosa resisted. Asa moved slightly backward and to his right then went for the shitate again, Tosa tried to counter throw with the uwatenage, it looked like tosa hit the ground first, gumbai went to asa. but there was a monoi that lasted more than 3x the length of the bout. The judges rightly pointed out that asa’s left hand touched the dohyo first, I completely missed that. 4-2, 2-4

Takanoyama v Sadanofuji – Takanoyama pulled every trick he could out of the book to conteract the weight advantage Sada had. Spinning around and going for the back of the mawashi, kotenage, ipponzeoi, and what looked like an example from the ministry of silly walks. But the weight won today. 2-4, 4-2

Chiyonokuni v Gagamaru – Chiyonokuni went in with a tsuppari attack, but, unsurprisingly couldn’t move Gaga, who saw his chance and pushed back, and went for the win. Nokuni learned his lesson quick and dodged to the side giving Gaga a slap on the ass to escort him out. Both men are doing ok at 5-1, 4-2.

Tochinoshin v Fujiazuma – Noshin seemed to be caught a bit off-guard by Fuji’s tsuppari, getting pushed back a bit before he could clamp down with a hidari yotsu grip, Fuji getting the same. Fuji pushed forward tenuously, backing Noshin up against the bales, Noshin pivoting to the left and going for the tsuridashi unsuccessfully. They decided to take a bit of a breather for a few seconds. Fuji’s gip on the mawashi had turned to shit after that fold pulled up and over the rest of the belt making Noshin’s belt was dangerously loose, but his position in the bout better. Noshin nullified an advance by Fuji, then mounted an assult and won by gabburi. 4-2, 3-3

Shohozan v Tokitenku – Shohozan choked a bitch, and that’s all she wrote. 4-2, 3-3

Daido v Tochiozan – daido’s only chance vanished in a second or two, when he allowed his left hand inside to be shoved aside, letting Ozan in with morozashi. A desperation slapdown at the bales was to no avail, and Ozan triumphed. 1-5, 4-2

Myogiryu v Aran – Kimurayama might as well have been on the dohyo in Aran’s place. Tacky looking backward moving slapdown win. 3-3, 4-2

Aoiyama v Toyohibiki – Aoiyama’s right paw went right for Beeker’s left pit, driving him back. The same right paw to Beeker’s throat finished him off. Aoiyama picks up his first win of 2012. 1-5, 4-2

Homasho v Kyokutenho – Homey started with a left hand inside, and a classic armblock on Kyoku’s left arm, which he upgraded to morozashi. Kyoku tried for some kind of twist down, maybe a kotehineri, or a kimetoashi from both sides, but Homey’s position would not allow it. Both gents at 3-3.

Yoshikaze v Tochinowaka – henka from Yoshi. Tochi remained calm and kept up forward motion looking for a grip. But a resounding slap from Yoshi to the chest seemed to light a rage-fueled fire somewhere in his mind, and a quick and vicious tsukiotoshi followed. 2-4, 3-3

Okinoumi v Takayasu – Taka’s tsuppari drove Oki back, but Casanova regained, and tried to get back in the fight. With that Taka changed up strategy and grabbed a quick hidari yotsu grip and driving Oki back over the bales. Oki looked pretty sloppy today and has yet to pick up a win. Conversely Taka looked pretty good. 0-6, 4-2

Miyabiyama v Kitataiki – Many of you probably think this was a henka on Taiki’s part, well it wasn’t. At the tachiai, both feet were in front of the shikirisen. When he got a deep outside grip on Yabber’s belt, both feet were straight with the shikirisen. Then, after initial contact, Taiki slipped to the left, executed the uwatedashinage on the former ozeki. Neither of them looking great at 0-6, 1-5.

Takekaze v Kisenosato – Pretty damn big crowd on the first floor for a Thursday. I am stuck watching the feed, so I have no idea what attendence is really like, but from here it looks, and sounds, like Kise is pulling a decent crowd, so good on ‘em. Kise didn’t really win the bout, he just followed Take with some light contact, until Kaze inadvertently stepped out while moving backwards. If I were in the crowd to see Kise win, I’d be dissapointed, although it did kind of look like he scared him out of the ring… what would that be… Osoredashi. 1-5, 5-1

Kakuryu v Harumafuji – man, Haruma, while struggling to find a grip, allowed the Kak to get morozashi, which took Harry all the way back to the bales. Kak then pulled one of the most convincing tsuridashis I’ve seen in a long time. 5-1 a piece.

Kotooshu v Wakakoyu – not good stuff from Oshu today. He was getting moved around by Waka’s pushing attack and did a backwards jump while slapping down the overstretched Wakakoyu, hoping that waka would hit the ground before he landed outside the dohyo. The gamble paid off, but barely. Oshu surprisingly standing tall at 6-0, while Waka is at 0-6.

Toyonoshima v Kotoshogiku – Pretty textbook armlock-gabburi yori win (although the kimarite was kimedashi) for the Geeku. Both are at 3-3, and the Geek needs to focus.

Baruto v Aminishiki – I can’t think of the nlast time I saw the Sneak go for a shoving attack, perhaps that’s why they call him the Sneak. In any event, Bart got over top of him and picked up the win via slapdown. 6-0, 2-4.

Hakuho v Goeido – No contest, it didn’t even look likie Eido put out a tachiai. Hak leads the pack with 6-0, and Goeido looks like a hack at 1-5.

Current Makuuchi leaders:

  • 6-0: Y1e Hakuho, O1e Baruto, O2e Kotooshu.
  • 5-1: O2w Harumafuji, O3w Kisenosato, M13e Chiyonokuni, M13w Tenkaiho

Roses are Red, Violets are blue, tomorrow you got Valentine, I’ve had too much Scotch to bother to rhyme.

Day 7

You stumbled upon Day 7, have you? Mark ‘Spittlemaster’ Schilling joined Ross ‘Pancake Time’ Mihara in the distant NHK comfort booth for some gum-flapping while I chose to perfekt my Virgil Valentine’s Ole Irish Coffee in order to keep warm on this boner-killing cold day in northern Tohoku.

I bring you the Greatest Hits of Day 7…

Down in Triple AAA, WJ10 Masuraumi (1-5) took on funny man WJ6 Takamisakari (4-2). Ringo came out ablazing at the tachiai, but more out of control than anything with arms flinging about in positions you see only in orgies. Masu was moved back and turned on…then turned to the side. Ringo looked to be in the receiving end of a Ned Beatty, but Masu lost his balance, and the Ringo tip-toed the rice-bales, and stealthily slipped to the side as well, slap-assing his opponent out-da-ring okuridashi-style. Don’t snip that knot just yet! Ringo shows he’s got more gas in the tank and just three wins shy of an appearance in Osaka in March.

WM14 Sagatsukasa (3-3) vs. WM10 Gagamaru (4-2): Saggypants inside quick at the tachiai, but Gaga dudn’t give right away, simply taking the thrusts and cautious of the pull-down. Saggypants tried to find a way to work to the side, but Gaga stayed straight on his opponent, slow and steady as to not lose his balance. Unusually good footwork by the Georgian, not lunging around, but rather focusing on being squared up with the little Squirt. When Saggy slowed down and near the rice bales, Gaga took him out with a frontal push down. Lord Gaga improves from last basho’s dismal 2-13 already with a 5-2.

WM7 Aoiyama (1-5) vs. WM6 Kyokutenho (3-3): Aoi was low at tachiai, just as he said he’d do before the bout today. Low, but way too low. The elder Mongol did nothing but slipped to the right after impact, and Aoi tumbled down with a thrust down loss. Aoiyama falls to 1-6, a classic sophomore jinx record. The Elder keeping decent with a 4-3.

Let us skip down to the Ozeki family, where action started with EO Baruto (6-0) vs. ES Kakuryu (5-1). Bart lead the head-to-head 14-7, but the Kak has been looking good this basho. Things started with a very uncharacteristic bout by both rikishi. Bart came out a-blazin’, and the Kak was nowhere. Bart came in close at the tachai, right-hand firm on the belt and easy, quick drive forward. Force-out win for Bart, whose 7-0 of all things. The Kak is a respectable 5-2.

WK Wakakoyu (0-6) vs. WO Kisenosato (5-1): Wakakoyu went down in a bout with YAOCHO written all over it. This was a hybrid of ballet and pro-wrestling, with not an ounce of sumo. Kisenosato never moved a foot. Never. Wakakoyu drove into Kisenosato, then stepped to the left while leaning forwards and into thin air he went. Kissy was able to work in a hand on his elbow before he went down so the judges called it a thrustdown. Pathetic all around.

WM2 Goeido (1-5) vs. WO Harumafuji (5-1): head-to-head goes 10-5 in the Mongol’s favor, including that unforgettable rear-lifting bodyslam back in 2007. Haruma reached for a deep left-hand outside, and gradually supplemented it with a deep right-hand inside, but Goeido was less focused on grips and more on putting his opponent on the ground. Trying leg-trips, trying makikae, and everything else, Goeido finally won with a beautifully achieved under-arm throw. Haruma falls to 5-2 while Goeido has two Ozeki scalps, which happen to be his only two wins; 2-5.

EO Kotooshu (6-0) vs. EM4 Homasho (3-3): head-to-head is 9-6 in the Eurozeki’s favor. Today’s tachiai saw Kotooshu right on the line of scrimmage and Homie waaaay back. The Eurozeki starts off with a nice tsuppari going—the kind of tsuppari which has been earning him wins this basho. Something went awry. Chief was taking to the bales, but turned on offensive and drove forward. The Eurozeki was thrown off balance and missed with one of his big thrusts. That was enough for Chief Homie to capitalize with a thrust-out win. Cigar Store Indian at 4-3, and the Eurozeki looking good this basho until the last third of today’s bout. 6-1, it tis’.

WM3 Takayasu (4-2) vs. WO Kotoshogiku (3-3): first meeting between these two, and in fact, it’s this new kid on the block’s first bout against an Ozeki. The men had a good, honest tachiai with firm tsuppari and no funny sideways bizness, but the Geek was the only one able to get his feet moving forward. Call it a force-out win for the Geek, who improves to 4-3, and has got the Yokozuna tomorrow. Takayasu hangs tough at 4-3.

EY Hakuho (6-0) vs. EM3 Kitataiki (1-5): Daiyokozuna is 4-0 against the young Tokyoite. Tachiai, and Hakuho literally drove through like Kitataiki was a mere mirage. It looked as if Kitataiki was moving back, just trying to escape at the last second. The Dai-Yokozuna improves to 7-0. Kitataiki is free fallin’ at 1-6.

End of Day 7, and 7-0 rikishi are a stable Hakuho and an uncharacteristically motivated Baruto. 6-1 are a hyped Kisenosato, and an uncharacteristically focused Kotooshu.

Hump Day tomorrow, and we’ll have a strong member to be with you.

Nakabi

It’s day eight and in all reality we are in a two way race for the yusho that is likely to go only one way. It may be the year of the dragon but that cat was forced to leave the building, leaving a big ol’bird named Hakuho here to clean out the record books. Baruto is of course the other contender and to be honest his first six days of sumo were lazy. The Estonian was nearly beaten by far too many maegashira rikishi. Why Baruto doesn’t use his tsupari at the tachi-ai is a mystery to me. Yesterday however was a sign of hope as he soundly walked Kakuryu out of the ring. Will either of our leaders falter? What else interesting happened today? Will you find the alliteration? All these questions and more will be answered below!

Fujiazuma vs Takanoyama
Both of these rikishi were 3-4 going in. Beanpole Takanoyama keeps finding ways to win, though it’s clear to me that his time in this division will either be limited or extremely hard fought. A guy his size can’t last any other way. Czech wins today with a lightning fast leg trip and moves to 4-4.

Tochinoshin vs Aoiyama
Tochinoshin looks to be a bit more comfortable down in the lower maegashira at 5-2. Today he face Aoiyama, the young Bulgarian who has really fallen off this basho at 1-6. The tachi-ai went to Tochinoshin here driving the rounder blue mountain back. This continued until Aoi got his groove back, I mean he got his hand on Noshin’s mawashi. After that, the younger rounder Bulgarian drove Georgian to the bales. Noshin fought with a couple of throw attempts but Aoiyama gets the win crushing Tochinoshin out of the ring. Good win for the Yama, he moves to 2-6.

Myogiryu vs Daido
Let me go on record today to answer the unasked question (I told you there would be more): my newest man crush is on Myogiryu. This guy’s footwork is incredible and his sumo is always moving forward. Daido drove the smaller Gyro back but Gyroscope keep moving his feet and was able to spin Dido around and push him out of the dohyo using the angular momentum and other scientific terms I will attempt to use to describe Myogiryu’s sumo from now on.

Takekaze vs Tochinowaka
The kid from Moriyoshi is truly a nonfactor at this rank but against young rikishi like Tochinowaka you just never know. Kaze tried all of his tricks but Tochinowaka kept his focus and legs firmly planted on the ground. Tochi #3 methodically continues to move forward to secure the win. Takekaze finds himself at 1-7 while another one of my new favorites moves to an impressive 5-3.

Miyabiyama vs Kotoshogiku
How much longer will Miyabiyama be around? He’s really the new old guy isn’t he? He’s also the second biggest nonfactor behind Takekaze this tournament. Kotoshogiku appears to be taking it to the bank now that he’s had one ok basho at Ozeki. Today’s bout hit that point home. If you are facing Jaba the one thing you should definitely expect is to be stood up and slapped down. How Kotoshogiku was not prepared for this is beyond me. The Ozeki falls to 4-4 and Yama moves to a nonfactor 2-6.

Baruto vs Kitataiki
It was all business today. Baruto makes easy work of Taiki. An even tachi-ai and then Bart found his grip and threw Kita like a garbage man throwing away the trash.

Okinoumi vs Kisenosato
Kisenosato picks up the win to move to 7-1. He had the grip and position from the start. Oki tried to get position for a long time but failed. Kise easily throws the 0-8 pretty boy to the ground. If you are concerned that his bout didn’t sound very interesting that’s because it wasn’t.

Harumafuji vs Homasho
Harry caught Homie with his head down. Harumafuji gets a gimmie slap down to move to 6-2. Homasho moves to 4-4.

Kotooshu vs Toyonoshima
Kotooshu’s nemesis Toyonoshima came to give the 6-1 Ozeki a run for his money. Toyo does a fantastic job of deflecting the Bulgarian with his shoulder and pulling his arm to the side. Oshu was able to separate the short man from him with a couple of tsupari. From there both men attempted to throw the other to the ground. Toyo’s headlock throw looked to be solid enough to pull out the win until Oshu got hold of Shima’s mawashi. Oshu moves to a solid 7-1.

Hakuho vs Takayasu
Word is that these two did some keiko together prior to the basho. I am a fan of Takayasu as I see him as one of those tough hardworking dudes who aren’t afraid to battle. Yasu holds off the Yokozuna for about a second with two well placed tsupari. The two continued to battle and it appeared Takayasu caught the Yokozuna again in the face, this time the nose, with a tsupari. At that point the Dai-Yokozuna began dragging Takayasu down to the ground for the win. Nice spirit from Takayasu however, he drops to a decent 4-4.

So we have Hakuho and Baruto at 8-0

Kotooshu and Kisenosato at 7-1

The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is still 42 and de Gama will take you beyond this day 8 report to one of the day 9 varieties. Imagine that.

Day 9

It only seems like only a little bit ago that we were standing in this position. Welcome back. By the way you do look slightly more rested this time around. Well, don’t be so shy… come and join me. Sit right here. Shhhhh, shhh, shhhh…. Now, Daddy’s gotcha…. Daddy’s gotcha.

Sagatsukasa vs. Tenkaiho
I’m going to slip right in there just like Sagatsukasa slipped in and was brought to the floor by hatakikomi. Saga was a bit out stretched and 10kaiho took that advantage for the takedown.

Chiyonokuni vs. Takanoyama
I’m not going to say I’m the most knowledgeable person in sumo at all. However I feel this bout is a classic example of why Takanoyama has taken this long to get up here. What he does doesn’t even look like its sumo. They meet at tachiai and Taka get both arms in the opponents respective armpits. He then proceeds to yank him the his right to try to off balance the guy. This doesn’t really work, and he follows up with some half-ass tsuppari. As Chiyo is defending with his arms, Taka grabs one of Chiyo’s arms and yanks it in the other direction. Which again doesn’t do too much. Chiyo recovers and goes to hug the guy. Taka then puts his arm around Chiyo’s shoulder and goes for a leg sweep. But, Chiyo tries to force Taka in the opposite direction (to use Taka’s leg sweep against him) and succeeds. Taka plops over.

Gagamaru vs. Aoiyama
I feel the need to report this bout because these two are definitely in the running for the booby prize. I mean two massively overweight foreigner facing off against each other. I honestly thought it was going to be more exciting… but alas. They both met at tachiai relatively low. The Lady just seems to slight over power Aoi which causes him to fall back and fuel Gaga’s momentum. Gaga got him to the edge and out.

Aran vs. Tokitenku
Pretty classic sumo start. They met at tachiai and both not really get the grip they want and proceed to wait for the opportune moment. AKA classic bear hug. Toki seemed to start something and Aran subsequently locked both Toki’s arms and pulled upwards. Now Aran tries to carried Toki out both doesn’t even move an inch. It just looks like he is humping Toki’s stomach. They continue to bear hug for a while with the occasional back and forth trying to carry the other out. Finally enough of this happens so that Toki and land Aran out of the ring.

Yoshikaze vs. Shohozan
Interesting bout. Yoshi at the beginning seems poised to pounce the guy but at tachiai Shohoz rushes in. Yoshi with his arms goes for his head then quickly gets a grip of the mawashi and drives Shohoz out yorikiri style.

Myogiryu vs. Tochiozan
The bout starts Myogiryu is amped up and goes in. He ends up fighting Tochi for some grip while pushing forward. Tochi doesn’t really seem to be able to get anything going because Myogiryu is stay low. What Tochi does is place his free arm above Myo’s head and pushes in down. Tochi wins.

Tochinowaka vs. Goeido
They rush in at tachiai, and Goeido gets an outside belt grip straight out. Tochi then tries to free one of his arms while circling around. Goeido keeps low while Tochi tries to overpower him to the edge. Goeido is forced back to the edge where he straightens up and performs a side take down. He fails but maintains his grip of the mawashi. Tochi now tries to lift Goeido by his arms to force either a release from grip or just lift out win, but fails at both. Goeido leads Tochi to the side and Tochi tries to lift him yet again. As Tochi tries this Goeido executes a takedown which causes Tochi to give out. Nice win by Goeido.

I feel I should mention that the Okinoumi and Aminishiki bout had a monoii but the bout not all that impressive. They both just desperately tried something and plopped down. Oki picks his first win.

Kakuryu vs. Takekaze
Not much to say about the old guy from Akita. He went gunho at the beginning and utter failed to what seemed like tsuppari. But, Kak locked up one of Kaze’s arms, swung him around, and finally pushed his head down. Easy win for the Kak.

Baruto vs. Takayasu
After the bout was over it seemed that Baruto hurt his shoulder a bit. At least he won, haha. Baruto went in and Taka tsuppari’ed. This made Baruto defend against it and while defending got his arm around Taka’s head and tried to pull Taka down. This off-puts Taka however doesn’t stop his arms to Baruto’s neck. Baruto unphased just tsupparis/pushes Taka back and out.

Homasho vs. Kisenosato
Tachiai… straight to yorikiri win for Kise. Hommy made it look too easy.

Kotooshu vs. Harumafuji
Sneaky, sneaky Mongolian. Both the Zeks rush into tachiai, but maybe knowing that he couldn’t overtake Oshu.. Haruma decided to side step and push Oshu with his own momentum. Oshu couldn’t stop. Haruma wins.

Hakuho vs. Toyonoshima
At tachiai I think Toyo was trying to pull a side take down but can’t do anything. Hakuho forces the guy forward and just kinda pushes him out.

Well, thanks for coming. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. If you sit and wait right there, Bertrum will be here in a few for sloppy seconds.

Day 10

How dare you! What? Thought I wasn’t going to be making an appearance this basho? What nonsense. Didn’t think I was gunna eventually find out that you were cuddling up
to de Gama? That sneaky Spaniard! Like the Armada before, I will crush the scallywag and steal away what is due to me! Riches? Of course not, I have no need – but your attention now for day 10… why yes… a worthy trophy!

Takanoyama vs. Asesekiryu
Very quick bout, not really worth any comment. Taka was just no match against
Asasekiryu. Straight up Yorikiri. Taka sadly looks to be going down the ship.

Chiyonokuni vs. Kyokushuho
A quick tsukiotoshi from chiyonokuni! Over in a blick, and I think Kyok dint know what happened!

Yoshiazuma vs. Nionoumi
Little Nio goes off like a snapping terrier at Yoshi, and gets him to the rope. But the little guy just dint have the force to get him over the rope. Yoshi manages to counter and swing things around so Nio is at the rope, (shift manoeuvre) and give him a bloody good yorikiri!

Kaisei vs. Tosayutaka
An interesting bout for you here fans! At first I thought it was gunna be quick! Kaisei went in way too high off of the tachiai, and Tosa gets right up n under. But, Kaisei leans over to grab the Mawashi, he struggles and fails to keep this, so settles grabing tosa under the armpits (from over the top… interesting hold) using his might, he lifts and belly pushes tosa to the edge, but tosa manages to stand firm on the rope, and Kaisei loses the wind from his sails. Panting heavily for a rest (kaisei), tosa manages to get a left hand outside and spin throw Kai down for an uwatenage! Nice work from the little guy!
Fujiazuma vs. Sagatsukasa
Saga tries a henka, but the big Fuji wobbles around (how, I have no idea!) and engages securely with his arms under the smaller giant. Fuji easily gets both hands to outside grips (from what I could see) for that beloved yorikiri.

Shohozan vs. Sadanofuji
probably one of the most well pitched matches I’ve seen in a while! Both push and grunt, win ground and lose ground – really to the same tune. Stalemate. But Shoho puts a stop to this, as they both take a breather. He tries for a right hand inside manoeuvre, which fails but manages to switch this to an outside, and moving with the counter momentum from Sado’s previous defence, pushes him for yorikiri
Tenkaiho vs. Tochiozan
Tochi had the advantage and pressed with it, but to me it looked as is Tenkaiho was struggling with his right leg – he certainly didn’t seem confortable pushing off it! Tsukiotoshi win.

Aran vs. Gagamaru
Gaga’s got momentum off the tachiai, and with his weight just bulldozed Aran out, who couldn’t seem to stop him, and just bounced off when trying!

Tokitenku vs. Aoiyama
Best Rikishi wins here. Aoiyama just had the strength, and as Toki slipes back on his feet (though holding out a bit on the rope) Aoiyama forces him out!

Myogiryu vs. Tochinoshin
At first Myogiryu henka’d but Tochi was having none of it! He tried to push him down from above, but in avoiding the henka was a little too far away to apply the Force! Myogiru gets toshi to the edge, and almost has him, but with those great thighs tochi holds on and pushes him back from the rope. Unfortunately tho, Myogiryu is pushing up underneath his armpits, and pshes tochi again to the ropes. A slip, and tochi goes down for sukinage. (if you slow reply this, you can actually hear the wind being punded from his lungs as he slams down!)

Daido vs. Toyohibiki
hatakikomi with for Dido. Very quick win.

Homasho vs. Yoshikaze
Another quick bout of shoulder barges from both men, Yoshi trying a henka half way through. Can’t say I was so impressed, and it didn’t pay off as Homasaho grabs the mawashi (on the belt just above the groin) and pushes yosh out with is his arms – oshidashi

Kyokutenho vs. Tochinowaka
A henka from Kyo, and Tochi just gave up the fight with it. Kyoku grabs the mawashi and escorts him over.

Okinoumi vs. Goeido
Goeido straight up tries for the left outside grip. Oki thwarts this for a bit, but Goeido gets there eventually and purues an uwatenage, but fails. He puts right hand inside, but Okinoumi maches the same grip. Oki being a bit bigger, manages to secure a shitatenage

Miyabiyama vs. Takekaze
Litlle Take was definitely the better one here. He had a plan, had the tactic and tried. I think he deserved it, but his size was no match, and couldn’t seem to budge the mountain, whichever side he pressed from. For his part, Miyabiyama kept holding take’s head back with every attempt. Miyabi eventually pushes for okuridashi.

Aminishiki vs. Wakakoyu
A very sloppy match, lots of slapping. Eventually, Sheek gets an oshidashi – but really it could have been anybody’s.

Takayasu vs. Harumafuji
Haruma to quick start, and in my opinion, Taka was dominating. Despite Haruma having a mawashi grip, Taka kept haruma’s arms securely gripped. But like a cornered rat, haruma just kept on snapping, biting and twisting to get his yorikiri.

Kotooshu vs. Kitataiki
Another scrappy bout. Koto really a bit too tall for all this! But that said, high right arm over hand grip on the mawashi, and left inner managdto get kitataiki out with a straight up yorikiri.

Baruto vs. Toyonoshima
Bit of a Judo throw from Baruto’s uwatenage. He had this bout from the start tho, and was no contest. Looking healthy on 10-0

Kisenosato vs. Kotoshogiku
Well this reminded me of a move Mister Valentine pulled upon me one day when we were grappling in the snow. Like the geek, I left off tachiai a little too low (given my rugby background, perhaps understandable) and Valentine just has to push me further down with a tsukiotoshi! However, unlike the geek, I’m not a professional Ozeki! Silly mistake there, and he aint looking good on 5-5. Kisenosato however, is on 9-1

Hakuho vs. Kakuryu
I’m gunna admit, despite the win for Baruto, I was a little disappointed from the last bout and thought… wow what a lousy end to the day! I spoke too soon. Wow! Hak loses his balances, and Kak gets this weird grip on the mawashi, with an arm over Haks head. He swinga hakuho in circles a couple of times and hakuho just couldn’t recover from his slip. After swinging him, kak pushes him to the rope, and hak just struggles in disbelief at his misfortune. Well played kak!

So after the tenth day, only Baruto remains with 0 losses, can he hold it out for
tomorrow?? Why don’t you pop on by and see what Connolly has to say about it!

L. Bertrum

Day 11

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Day 11 of the Hatsu Basho 2012. Today is set to be a very exciting day of sumo. With the surprise, and 100% legit, loss from Hakuho yesterday to the hands of Kakuryu, the race for the yusho has really and truly been opened up. The situation as it stands now sees Baruto balancing on top with a perfect record, being chased at the heels by Hakuho and Kisenosato with one loss a piece. And the highlight bout today will see Hakuho take on Kisenosato, and also Baruto will take on Harumafuji who holds a slight edge. NHK opened their coverage with the replay of Baruto’s win followed by Hakuho’s loss from yesterday. Then they went on to show the last 6 meetings between Kisenosato and Hakuho. Wow they have had some very entertaining fights! Let’s see what happens today…

Takanoyama vs. Tosayutaka
At M14 Takanoyama could use a few more wins to ensure he stays up in the top division for another basho. Today was his 3rd time to meet Tosayutaka, one win a piece in the record books. Takanoyama gets completely manhandled at the tachi-ai, and after wrapping him up headed for the edge. But with an excellently timed “Ama” styled utchari (backward pivot throw) to flip Tosayutaka over and touch down a fraction before the much smaller man. Taka moves to 5-6.

Yoshiazuma vs. Sagatsukasa
Saga hit as hard as he could at the start, but it was all completely absorbed by Yoshiazuma who casually stepped back and with a gentle pull on the back of Saga’s head, drops him to at his feet.

Nionoumi vs. Sadanofuji
There is a first time for everybody, and for these two, today was just that. Nionoumi is desperately trying to avoid heading back to Juryo. At M16 a 3-7 record really doesn’t suggest that he will be around for very long. Sadanofuji had a nice tachi-ai, launching a very nice tsuppari attack, and continued moving forward, pushing Ni-Oh-no back and over the bales, and probably back to Juryo too!

Kaisei vs. Gagamaru
Next up was Kaisei, who also at M16 had a 3-7 losing record, is also trying to avoid relegation. Personally if I was facing relegation, Gagamaru is not the guy I would choose to challenge! Gaga came out of the tachi-ai with all the force Georgia has to offer. Kaisei hadn’t a chance. Gaga moved forward, and drove the Brazilian back and out. We’ll be saying goodbye to Kaisei now too. But Gagamaru got into the interview room to celebrate his kachi-koshi. Well done!

Asasekiryu vs. Daido
Daido got a great left hand outside grip on Asasekiryu’s belt and drove forward. Asa was trying to launch a right handed throw, but as Daido was in his right side, he didn’t have a hope. A good win for Daido.

Kyokushuho vs. Tochiozan
Tochiozan’s fast start gained him a double inside grip and it was game over from there. Tochio easily drove him back and won with yorikiri. 9-2 for the victor.

Shohozan vs. Chiyonokuni
Chiyonokuni is doing very well for himself this basho, with 8 wins and 2 losses coming into today. And I quite fancied him (to win Bertrum, I fancied him to win.)
Both guys came in fast and were both pushing hard. Chiyonokuni grabs Shohozans arm and attempts an arm bar throw, but happens to slip at the same time and puts his hand on the clay… that’s a no-no!

Aran vs. Fujiazuma
A double handed pushing attempt by Aran at the tachi-ai had Fujiazuma with just one hand on Arans shoulders and one on his elbow. Fuji was making some ground however, so Aran decided to spin back and around out of the way. It sent Fuji flying forwards with nothing in fron of him but the ground. Unfortunately for Aran, he stepped out during his spin and was pronounced the loser.

Tochinoshin vs. Kyokutenho
Both guys locked up in yotsu-zumo. Kyokutenho looked to be in the stronger position however, and drove forward. Tochinoshin dug in and lifted and pun Kyukutenho around and out! Tochinoshin improves to 7-4.

Yoshikaze vs. Tenkaiho
First time meeting for these guys. Yoshikaze got onto the side of Tenkaiho after the tachi-ai and kept moving around. He got a double handed inside grip and despite a load of resistance wriggled the much bigger Tenkaiho out.

Tokitenku vs. Toyohibiki
Fun fact for the day: Toyohibiki was once ordered to buy myself and Valentine an ice-cream! Tokitenku slipped slightly at the lines today and gave the ice-cream boy a huge advantage. He put his hand on Tenku’s throat and drove forward. Tenku is quite flexible however and bent backwards at the bales and retreated slightly to the side and watched Toyo fall out.

Aoiyama vs. Tochinowaka
Boobs came in low looking for a forntal grip on Tochinowaka. It almost worked out perfectly for him too, but Tochi reacted well by reversing slightly faster and slapping Aoiyama to the ground. Tochi improves to 6-5.

Myogiryu vs. Takayasu
The Myoge got a double inside grip on the much hairier Takayasu. He drove forward, but as a defence Takayasu retreated around the edge trying a beltless arm throw. He almost got, but didn’t. The Myoge moves to 7-4.

Kitataiki vs. Goeido
Kitataiki left himself wide open after the initial enguage, and Goeido wasted no time putting his hand on the back of his neck to drop him to the dirt. Kitataiki wasn’t all here today.

Okinoumi vs. Wakakoyu
Okinoumi has displayed a nice amount of skill this basho, unfortunately for him that skill is not at all being reflected on the scoreboard, as he currently has just 2 wins. Wakakoyu rushed into Okinoumis chest to raise him up, then slapped him down. A whole lot of slap down’s today!

Miyabiyama vs. Aminishiki
The snake handed Miyabiyama his make-koshi. Aminishi actually looked pretty ok, or perhaps McFlabby just looked as pathethic as ever. Some conspiracy theorists believe Miyabiyama took a fall for Kisenosato, I guess it’s possible, I just think it’s more likely that Miyabiyama is just shit this tournament.

Takekaze vs. Toyonoshima
Although you kindof have to laugh when you look at the current winning records of these two guys, 1-9 vs. 3-7 you must remember that it was Toyonoshima that took down Kisenosato back on Day 4. But it is pretty obvious that the pair are well overranked at M1 and Sekiwake respectively. Not to worry however, they won’t be here this high come the Osaka tourney in March.
Takekaze didn’t henka today. He hit hard and then pushed Toyonoshima sideways which gave him the advantage. He then pounced on him and drove him out via yorikiri! Surprisingly the overall record between these guys is now 12-5 in favour of Takekaze! What’s that all about??

Kotooshu vs. Kakuryu
After accomplishing a huge life goal yesterday Kakuryu, assuming he didn’t drink himself silly last night, was surly pretty confident in his preparations against the Ozeki, who has both fallen out of the yusho race….. that a, you know, he was never in… , and who has already got his kachikoshi. So far this tournament Kakuryu has beaten Harumafuji and the dai-yokozuna.
Kakuryu came in and pushed Kotooshu upwards and got a frontal grip. He circled around wile adjusting his grip. He keot his arse, with mawashi attached well back out of Kotooshu’s grip and then launched and perfectly executed a shitatenage underarm throw which flipped the lanky-lazy ozeki over and down. Kakuryu sours to 8-3.

Homasho vs. Kotoshogiku
After losses to Takekaze, Aminishiki, Goeido, Miyabiyama and Kisenosato (all of which are ranked lower) Kotoshogiku has found him in the situation where he needs 3 wins from his next five fights if he is to avoid his first kadoban.
Kotoshogiku came in hard and headbutted Homasho and then drove forward. Homasho though probably slightly concussed offered some resistance against the hug-and-chug so Kotoshogiku tried to throw him down instead. Further resistance was offered so things went to the far side of the ring for a hug-and-chug and the inevitable win for Kotoshogiku. He was on form today and had a great day. Homasho of course offered his trademark bow of respect.

Baruto vs. Harumafuji
Finally the first major bout of the day! The first time these two guy met in makuuchi was back in July 2006 when both were ranked at M4. Baruto had the edge that day and since then they have been fairly evenly matched, Harumafuji with the slight edge of 12-10. Baruto looked as calm as ever before as things were heating up. Possibly my adrenaline was flowing more than his!!
Baruto opened with tsuppari attack and I was very happy to see that Harumafuji stayed in front of him. Harry tried to push the machine upwards but to little avail. He drove Harry back to the edge and when Harry’s legs basically crumbled. Baruto now stands leader of the pack at 11-0, a personal record in the makuuchi rank! Keep it up buddy!

Hakuho vs. Kisenosato
The excitement before this one was amazing and the amount of money up for grabs was probably close to the average yearly Japanese wage. But of course for these guys, it has nothing to do with the money. It was a big one for sure. Many fans having all their hopes on the shin-ozeki, because of course, if he was to take down the dai-yokozuna he was have an excellent chance of taking the emperors cup on Sunday. Looking at the record books reveals a 24-7 advantage in Hakuho’s favour, but in their last 6 meetings they stand 3-3. And of course Kisenosato was coming into the fight today after a win from yesterday, Hakuho was coming in from a loss.
Kisenosato started the fight with a strong hand to the yokozunas throat, which was not at all appreciated. Hakuho needed to do something about it so he grabbed the arm of Kisenosato, a move that he uses a lot of him, and tried an arm bar throw, which actually turned into an arm push. This sent Kissy moving backwards slightly and gave the yokozuna the opportunity to move forward into him and drive him back and out!! Excellent stuff!!

That leaves the leaderboard with Baruto undefeated followed by Hakuho with just the one loss.

Montana will be standing for your attention tomorrow!

Day 12

Every few basho a match will come your way that just surprises the hell out of you because of the sheer talent of the wrestlers involved; perhaps one has a devastatingly effective strategy planned out before-hand, maybe its just a free for all where both rikishi just put their souls and their chanko nabe rations on the line and fight like mad until one is flipped out into the ring in a dazzling display of skill. Today it became evident that this wasn’t going to be one of those basho. In fact I almost turned off my television after the baruto-kise match only to give into temptation and watch the Hakuho and Harumafuji match. I wish I hadn’t. Wanna know why? Well then, step on in.

E-M16 Kaisei (3-8) vs W-J1 Hochiyama (6-5)
Both get migi-yotsu, but Kaisei has the advantage in strength and after some brief resistance forces Hochiyama out.

E-J1 Tamawashi (7-4) vs W-M15 Kyokushuho (3-8)
Annnnd here was the first sign today wasn’t going to be that great. Tamawashi gets hidari yotsu straight away but immediately Kyokusho starts driving him towards the bales. Knowing he can’t stop shuho, tama makes a last ditch uwatenage effort to throw his opponent to the ground which results in both of them hitting the clay at about the same time. After a mono-ii, the shipan come back in favor of Tamawashi, but looking at the replay, you can clearly tell Tama’s leg hit the ground first. Kyokushuho gets robbed and Tamawashi gets his Kachi-koshi.

W-M14 Sagatsukasa (4-7) vs W-M12 Tosayutaka (4-7)
After a decent start Yutaka tries a weak slap down move which fails and nearly gets pushed out. After recovering quickly these two then decide to play patty cake for a while, each trying to get inside the others grip. Eventaully Saga doubles down and gets both hands inside to shove Tosa out. Oshidashi

E-M11Fujiazuma (6-5) vs W-M16 Ninoumi (3-8)
Ninoumi came with a plan today. He was going to bury himself in Azuma’s chest straight from the tachi-ai and shove his chump ass out of the ring. He got exactly what he wanted three or four times, but couldn’t get the other guy to budge. Fuji eventually just took a step back and slapped the newbie down. Hatakikomi. Points to ninoumi for spirit I guess though.

W-M13 Tenkaiho (7-4) vs W-M11 Sadanofuji (6-5)
I dunno where Tenkaiho was today, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the dohyo. Sadanofuji got a hold of Tenkaiho’s arm straight away with one hand and put the other squarely in his throat to drive him out for an easy oshidashi win putting both rikishi one short of KK.

E-M14 Takanoyama (5-6) vs W-M10 Gagamaru (8-3)
I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of the lady on most days, and even less when she beats one of my current faves, but she had her shit together today. Takanoyama wisely decided to keep him away from his mawashi straight from the tachi-ai and get to the side, but ultimately just wasn’t quick enough. An oshidashi win for an unusually steady Gaga and Takanoyama falls one step closer to joining juryo again.

E-M13 Chiyonokuni (8-3) vs W-M8 Tochiozan (9-2)
Chiyo shows a hell of a lot of determination in his tsukiotoshi win over ozan.

W-M9 Daido (4-7) vs W-M7 Aoiyama (3-8)
Easy yorikiri win for Aoiyama. Nuff said.

E-M6 Yoshikaze (6-5) vs E-M9 Tochinoshin (7-4)
Yoshikaze makes a slight side step at the start but both charge in with some speed, colliding with eachother again and again. Noshin eventually wraps yoshi’s arms up from above and tries a lift out move that looks like it was about to dislocate both of his shoulders. Yoshikaze somehow takes advantage of his position and forces the M6 to the straw where noshin tries a (rather painful looking for yoshi) utchari. I thought he got it, but mono-ii was called and eventually ruled a yoritaoshi win for yoshikaze.

E-M10 Tokitenku (7-4) vs W-M6 Kyukutenho (7-4)
Both get migi yotsu straight away, hump eachother for the better part of two minutes and tenku yorikiris tenho out for his KK.

E-M15 Asasekiryu (7-4) vs W-M5 Toyohibiki (5-6)
Asasekiryu decides to take the low road and henka, slapping toyohibiki down straight away. I remember thinking “Sexyryu has been doing pretty damn good this basho, why did he think he had to result to cheap tricks for the win? He probably would have won anyway .” Looking back, this was a bit of foreshadowing.

E-M8 Shohozan (6-5) vs W-M4 Tochinowaka (6-5)
Shohozan goes after waka’s throat like a homing missle and chases him around the ring until he gets pushed away and falls under his own momentum, although it was ruled tsukiotoshi.

E-M3 Kitatakiki (1-10) vs E-M5 Myogiryu (7-4)
To be fair to kitataii he has had a tough schedule so far, and myogiryu is in no short supply of talent. Myoiryu uses some of that talent today to get an excellen start at the tachi-ai and drive taiki out.

E-M4 Homasho (5-6) vs W-M1 Aminishiki (6-5)
The sneak tries his fair share of tricks today but ultimately shoves homasho out with raw power.

E-K Miyabiyama (3-8) vs W-M2 Goeido (4-7)
Miyabi the hutt continuously strikes away at goeido from the get-go with his tree trunk arms, and Goeido comes dangerously close to eating dirt. So close, that miyabiyama lets up for just enough time to allow goeido to get his shit back together and push the old man’s ass out of the ring.

E-M1 Takekaze (2-9) vs W-K Wakakoyu (3-8)
The moriyoshi muffin uses Wakakoyu’s own techinique of pushing against a riskish and then pulling him down against him, to move to an expected 3-9.

E-M2 Okinoumi (2-9) vs W-S Toyonoshima (3-8)
Goddamn, toyonoshima is quick when he wants to be. He gets morozashi and skillfully gets okinoumis back to the wall where he forces him out.

E-O Baruto (11-0) vs W-O Kisenosato (9-2)
Using a move that looked nearly exactly like what kise pulled on the geek two days ago, bart takes a step back and pushed kise’s neck until he hits the dirt. At least when Kise did the dirty deed of henka, he had the courtesy of charging at his opponent for a split second. We don’t even get a reach around of of Bart today. Completely un-ozeki-like sumo. But it looks like that is hatsu basho’s theme this year.

E-O Kotooshu (8-3) vs W-M3 Takayasu (4-7)
Takayasu gave a hell of an effort as always, but oshu managed to keep his balance and push yasu out.

E-S Kakuryu (8-3) vs W-O Kotoshogiku (6-5)
In the only decent match in sanyaku today, the geek tries his patented chug-and-gabburi (is that how it goes?) to push kakuryu to the straw where it looks like he is going topple over , but the Mongolian somehow keeps his ground. Kotoshigiku then backs off, switches tactics by twirling the puppy face sekiwake around and promptly shoves him out.

E-Y Hakuho (10-1) vs W-O Harumafuji(8-3)
A side step that would shame Hakuba. Haruma jumps wide, pulls the yokozuna past him, and then shoves him into the third row. I am sure some will say yaocho after this seeing as Hakuho definitely let up before being unlitmately shoved out, but I am pretty god damn sure that is just one man mentally kicking himself for getting tricked by such a dirty move, and anger at the sunnavabitch who pulled it. Once again, were we actually thinking haruma was possible yokozuna material a few basho back?

Need a way to wash today out of your brain? Come back tomorrow for some of Valentine’s sweet sweet lovin. That’ll do the trick.

Day 13

Hakuho and Harumafuji go back, and I mean way back. Before they were Hakuho and Harumafuji, they were Davaajargal and Byambadorj, and these two youngsters were sparring in the plains of Mongolia well before they even heard the word “sumo.” Anyone who’s an astute observer of the sport of sumo should well understand these two have ‘helped’ each other out when necessary. So, this brings me to what happened yesterday. It was not necessary. Haruma already had his kachikoshi, and Hakuho still had a decent shot at the yusho.

So why did it happen? My gut instinct says it was not yaocho because it was seemingly not necessary. It hardly added anything to Haruma’s standing, and it dimmed Hakuho’s chances of a yusho. On Hakuho’s end, it is very peculiar that he started so far back behind the line, and chose to come into the tachiai blazing like a cross-eyed bull. I believe, however, that this was an honest bout on Haruma’s end. Haruma saw his opponent start from backfield, barrel in at the tachiai, and split-second decision—he side stepped. Very distasteful, indeed, but the opportune moment got the best of him.

The big question for me is why did Hakuho do this tachiai? It is not at all characteristic of him. Even if Hakuho won, I think I’d be asking myself this question. If anything, this bout has raised a red flag for me that something is not right with the Dai-Yokozuna. The only injury which crops up with Hakuho is his big toe, but that hasn’t taken him out of a basho in over five years. Something just ain’t right about our Dai-Yokozuna this basho.

So with Bart’s henka yesterday as well, here’s to hoping we got all the funny bidness out of the way this basho. In the end, it’s Bart’s for the takin’, Hak’s for the regainin’, and the Satogatake Brothers for the spoilin’. So, let’s cut right to it and check the bouts with yusho implications.

EO Baruto (12-0) vs. WO Kotoshogiku (7-5): head-to-head is 12-10 in Bart’s favor, setting up for what could be a classic bout. Harite from Bart at the tachiai then Geek quick with a shallow right-hand outside and enter the hug-n-chug. Bart, however, lacked any true grip but was pulling upwards on Geek’s right elbow which helped to shake off the hug-n-chug. Bart maneuvered a right outside grip over the Geek’s left shoulder while moving his left to the Geek’s right armpit. Meanwhile, the Geek kept that shallow right outside grip and tried for hug-n-chug version 2.0, but the Estonian didn’t give an inch. He did, however, manage a left-hand inside grip, but so did the Geek. The Geek’s third hug-n-chug attempt, and Bart took that momentum to move the Geek’s center of gravity upwards, in air, and while considering a tsuridashi, he noticed the distance to the rice bales and instead chose to slam the Geek to the ground with an underarm throw win. Bart improves to 13-0, and a loss from 10-2 Hakuho today will secure his yusho.

Three bouts later with Bart watching from the shitakubeya, EY Hakuho (10-2) took on EO Kotooshu (9-3). Hak has a career 28-7 lead over the Eurozeki. Hakuho started the tachiai back at his normal distance from the shikirisen, but the two rikishi met in the middle in a rather soft tachiai, falling into equal left-hand outside, right-hand inside grips. The both let loose on Hak’s left/Oshu’s right, and attempted a throw on each other which resulting in nothing but back to stage one, except Hak failed to regain that lefthand grip. Oshu dug in and moved forward on the Yokozuna, letting go of his right-hand grip to press upwards on the Yokozuna’s chest. Hak was on the defensive trying to swat off Oshu’s right. Oshu took that right-hand to Hak’s left arm pit, and went morozashi with the Yokozuna on the bales, and over and into the first row seats. Very good win by Oshu this time. Force-out win for the Eurozeki who improves to 10-3. Hakuho also stands at 10-3, which means Baruto’s yusho has been determined on Day 13.

Moving on to other bouts of interest to me on Day 13, starting from the junior league, Em30 Sasakiyama (3-3) vs. Wm33 Kotofukuju (3-3) in a bout with “3” written all over it. Sasaki went for a deep left-hand inside, but Kotofuuk-yuu held him at bay with a morozashi. Squirming backwards all around the ring, Kotofuuk-yuu finally finishes him off with what looked like a frontal crush-out, but was called an armlock throw. A shame, but our boy from Odate will drop down a bit in Makushita next basho and needs to continue to polish his forward motion sumo. Koto[explicit]ju improves to 4-3.

Also in Makushita, the infallible Em15 Sakumayama (6-0, career 27-0) lost to Wm3 Sensho (4-2). It was a spirited bout for certain, but Sensho finished the record with an over-arm throw. Fortunately for Sakumayama, no man is undefeated in Makushita, so he’s in the yusho race along with seven others in what may turn out to be an exciting playoff come Sunday.

Moving on, but just halfway to the big show, in Juryo the story today was going to be a pair of shin-juryos at 10-2, in the lead for the yusho, and to face each other; Russian Amuru and Tokyoite Chiyotairyu. Unfortunately, Amuru must have gotten injured in his Day 12 loss to Kotoyuki, because he was a no-show. With Sotairyu also losing today and dropping to 10-3, Chiyotairyu is at 11-2 and in the lead for a Juryo Yusho with a forfeit victory.

WJ6 Takamisakari (6-6) took on fellow Aomori-native WJ1 Hochiyama (6-6): head-to-head looks like 2-0 for Hotchkiss. Hochi started off with some effective thrusts to Ringo’s throat and chest, but Ringo got his hands in and raised his opponent’s arms upwards, and slipped his right paw down to Hocheeze’s shoulder. With a pull on the shoulder blade, Ringo was able to twist his opponent around and escort him out with a rear push-out win. Ringo improves to 7-6—one shy of a kachikoshi, while Hoochie falls to 6-7.

And finally, to the Majors,where EM5 Myogiryu (8-4) has been rockin’ in his sophomore basho. Today he took on EM12 Yoshiazuma (3-9). Forget timing at the start of this tachiai, as the gyoji and all judges must have been asleep. Myogi wasn’t, as he carried on hands on the nipples and drove Yoshi straight out with a oshidashi win. Myogiryu improves to an impressive 9-4. Maybe just one more win will do it to be sansho-worthy this basho.

ES Kakuryu (8-4) just about lost his balance upon impact with WM1 Amanishiki (7-5), but quickly regrouped and put on his tsuppari cap, laying Sneaky with some nice blows to the face. Sneaky backed up but not out, so the Kak finished him off with a pull-down. Kak improves to a nice shukunsho-worthy 9-4 while Sneaky falls to a respectable 7-6.

WM4 Tochinowaka (7-5) vs. WO Kisenosato (9-3): Kissy kept square with chin-music for Tochi who was relenting while vying for grips. It turned into a mawashi battle and Tochi is still no match for Kissy in weight or skill. Force out win for the shin-ozeki, who improves to 10-3. Tochi must wait for kachikoshi, with a 7-6.

EK Miyabiyama (3-9) vs. WO Harumafuji (9-3): head-to-head goes 11-6 in Ama’s favor, and today McFlubby’s kitty punches were gentle taps for Haruma who tossed him around the ring and led him out force-out win. Haruma improves to 10-3 while McFlubby falls to 3-10.

There it ‘tis for Day 13. I didn’t expect I’d be reporting who got the yusho on this day, and I certainly didn’t expect that gentleman to be Baruto. Day 12 aside, and I’d call it a well earned yusho, and it also thwarted the JSA’s plans to orchestrate a yusho for Kissy.

Come back tomorrow to see if they let Chalmers out of the booby hatch.

Day 14

History made on Day 13: Estonia takes their first title in the land of the rising sun. Baruto, displaying more control over his nerves than we are used to, takes his first top division championship since entering Makuuchi in 2006, and only 8 years after entering the sport. Now that Hakuho has given his third loss to Kotooshu, It is clear sailing for Bart, who just needs to avoid injury and run the clock. There are a few fates to be sealed today, however, so on to Day 14.

E12 Yoshiazuma (3-10) vs. WJ1 Hochiyama (7-6). Juryo sending their muscle up to play with the big boys, Hochiyama making a run for his promotion into the top division. A poor attempt to lock up by Yoshi lets Hoshi dig in and fire away with a barrage of tsupari, center mass. Yoshi never gets closer than arms length and is pummeled out, oshidashi, to put Hochiyama one away from a (possible) spot in Makuuchi.

EJ2 Takarafuji (8-5) vs. W12 Tosayutaka (4-9). Lotto 6 showing his face in Makuuchi today, Takarafuji aims to show he’s still got what it takes. Takara puts two hands on the chin and gets Tosa back-peddling. Tosa gets pushed to the bails and walked out, and Takara seals his spot back in Makuuchi for March.

E16 Kaisei (4-9) vs. W11 Sadonofuji (7-6). Even at the tachiai, Sado gets his tuspari on before Kaisei can get into gear. Kaisei can’t get around Sado’s attack before he’s pushed out oshidashi. Sado secures his promotion.

E9 Toshinoshin (8-5) vs. W16 Nionoumi (4-9). Neo enjoys his last few days in Makuuchi, and hands out another win to Noshin. Quick and easy, oshidashi puts Noshin another step up in the ranks.

W14 Sagatsukasa (5-8) vs. W9 Daido (5-9). After they bat each other around for a little while Daido gets less than a handful of what little hair Saga has left, and pulls down, hatakikomi gives Daido one less loss.

E8 Shohozan (6-7) vs. M13 Tenkaiho (8-5). Shoho, first out of the gates, tsupari’s Tenkaiho till he’s standing up straight. Shoho shoots his hands through for a morozashi, walks to the bails, and throws Tenkai to the sand. Yoritaoshi puts Shoho one closer to his Kachi.

E15 Asasekiryu (9-4) vs. W8 Tochiozan (10-3). Ozan shoots his left into Asa’s armpit and pushes from the hip, redirecting Asa’s advance. As Asa stumbles off to the side, Ozan puts the finishing pat on the back and Asa’s in the sand, tsukiotoshi.

E7 Aran (6-7) vs. W15 Kyokusho (3-10). The two wrap up for the first time with their right hand in. Kyokusho tries to advance, but Alan is waiting for it. Alan shows off his strength and picks up his opponent and gets him to the bails, picks him up one more time, and places him in the first row, tsuridashi.

E6 Yoshikaze gets his kachikoshi today as his opponent, E13 Chiyonokuni is out with a dislocated shoulder.

E11 Fujiazuma (7-6) vs. W6 Kyokutenho (7-6). Fuji can’t keep his elbows in on the tachiai and gives up a morozashi grip to team Mogol. Team Mongol pushes Fuji around for a little while before twisting him to the sand. Sukuinage gets Tenho his Kachi.

E5 Myojiru (9-4) vs. E10 Tokitenku (9-4). Toki and Myogi get off to a slap around start. Toki switches gears and tries to side step, but Myogi stays in front and pushes Toki toward the bails. Toki makes a last-ditch effort for a slapdown, and it works. Myogi with his face in the sand, hikiotoshi.

W10 Gagamaru (10-3) vs. W5 Toyohibiki (6-7). Lady Gaga with a good tachiai, staying in front of the Beak and pushing him back to the bails. The Beak pushes off the bail, only to be sidestepped and pushed to the sand, tsukiotshi. Lady Gaga lookin’ good this basho.

E4 Homasho (6-7) vs. W7 Aoiyama (5-8). Cigar Shop is outsized and gets pushed around the ring before Aoiyama gets him up on the bails. Aoiyama leans on his opponent until Homasho gives in, oshitaoshi gives Homasho his Makekoshi.

E14 Takanoyama (6-7) vs. W4 Tochinowaka (7-6). Takanoyama, struggling to find ways around his lack of size, is unable to keep Tochi’s hands off his mawashi. Tochinowaka puts Takanoyama up on the bails and just leans. Yoritaoshi force-out for Tochinowaka, and the Kachikoshi.

M1 Takekaze (3-10) vs. M2 Goeido (5-8). Takekaze able to keep Goeido from grabbing him with a combination of face pummeling, hair-pulling, and eye-gouging. Home Team slaps down Goeido, hatakikomi.

EK Miyabiyama (3-10) vs. E2 Okinoumi (3-10). Oki works his way around Flubby’s tsupari to get a left hand in, and his right under Flubby’s elbow. Oki keeps his balance and advances Flubby up to the bails and out, yorikiri.

E3 Kitataiki (1-12) vs. WK Wakakoyu (4-9). Wakakoyu nearly gets a Hatakikomi, but Kitataiki keeps his footing. Wakakoyu switches gears and starts pushing high on the chest and chin. Kita never gets around it and ends up in the expensive seats, oshidashi.

ES Kakuryu (9-4) vs. W3 Takayasu (4-9). Super Cheap comes out swinging against team Mongol, and the two box each other for a while. Eventually the Kak gets a hold of Takayasu and with a right hand in, and works Taka back to the bails. Takayasu moves sideways along the bails, breaks loose, and starts double-hand shoving like he’s out to get his lunch money back. The Kak doesn’t know what hit him, stumbles around the ring and to the bails, and Takayasu is there to finish him off. Takayasu is back on his side of the ring before the Kak picks himself off the floor in the second row. Tsukidashi and a great match.

W1 Aminishiki (7-6) vs. WS Toyonoshima (5-8). The Sneak starts out strong but gets a weak left hand in, right hand high. The Sneak able to sneak his high hand up, over and through the arms of his opponent, immediately getting the upper hand with a sweet morozashi two hands in. There is not much Toyo can do from there, he tries to side step and throw, but just doesn’t have the positioning to pull it off. The Sneak turns it around and throws Toyo to the clay, shitatenage, and one step closer to his Kachi.

EO Baruto (13-0) vs. EO Kotooshu (10-3). The two Eurozekis go head-to-head once again, and as usual, leave nothing to be desired. Bart uses his never-fail two-hands-under-the-chin shove on the tachiai, and immediately gets Oshu over compensating to regain his balance. Bart changes directions and pulls Oshu down, with one hand on his belt and the other on the back of Oshu’s head, throws the yogurt-sporting Bulgarian off the dohyo as if he was drunk, club patron back in Bart’s bouncer days. Let’s hope he can keep it together tomorrow and make his first Yusho a Zensho!

WO Kisenosato (10-3) vs. WO Harumafuji (10-3). The Blink, already proving he is Ozeki material, hoping to leave his mark on another Ozeki. Quite the opposite, though, as Haruma keeps The Blink at a distance with his powerful tsupari, eventually landing one on the temple. The Blink is put to sleep by a 5th second knock out, and Haruma takes it, tsukiotoshi.

EY Hakuho (10-3) vs. EO Kotoshogiku (7-6). If The Geek was looking for his Kachi, it wasn’t going to be today. Hakuhu not able to quite make his migiyotsu right hand in, so changed gears with a bit of a spin move while pulling down with the right. The Geek never had his feet under him till he was getting up out of the sand. Hakuho with a tsukitoshi, and The Geek with his last chance tomorrow.

I am excited to see what the future holds for ‘ol Bart. Hopefully this reinvigorates his game and gives him the confidence he lacked against his sempai. It’s been a pleasure. Daly will be here to bring you the Basho conclusion and highlights!

a hui hou! ~Chalmers

Senshuraku

The topic of Yaocho, also know as match-fixing in English has been our top top search term this basho. Whether you believe it is happening or not that’s what people wondering about this basho, not Baruto’s first Yusho, nor the excellent playoff down in the Makushita Division. Though I haven’t spoken to our other reporters quite yet, I think we’ll focus in on the topic of yaocho with our post-basho commentary and other follow-up posts. I’ll mention it here too, but not quite yet. Let’s start with the eight-man Makushita Playoff I was mentioning yesterday!

Makushita Division rikishi only get paid a small stipend. Getting out of this division and into Juryo means big money and more comfort. With that serving as incentive, you can imagine how competitive this division gets, and how long it can take some men to get out of this division while others never do. When you see an eight man playoff Makushita, you know you are in for a treat!

MS 43 Shoho vs MS 1 Chiyootori
Chiyootori is a shoe-in for Juryo next basho but this eight-man playoff would be icing on the cake. Chiyootori takes Shoho back to the bales but Shoho mustards up something fierce, driving the MS 1 backwards and fast! Chiyootori looked calm throughout though. When they reached the bales Chiyoo simple threw Shoho to the ground as he was leaning far too forward. Chiyoo moves to the semi-finals.

Sakumayama vs Hakiai
Sakuma utilizes a quick belt-less arm throw for the easy win. Our Rikishi On The Rise moves to Semi-Finals.

Terashita vs Akinokawa
Terashita makes MS 60 Akinokawa look like he was moving in slow motion. Easy force out win for Terashita.

Kotoyutaka vs Tatsu
Tatsu and Kotoyutaka come out tsupari and all. Tatsu drives Yutaka back but the veteran gets hold of Tatsu’s arm just long enough to pull him off balance and easily push him out of the ring. Koto moves to the semi-finals.

Kotoyutaka vs Chiyootori
MS 30 vs MS 1 after a false start from Kotoyutaka both men reset, tachi-ai, and gain the belt. Chiyoo grip and strength won out here however with the MS 1 throwing Yutaka clear off the dohyo. No surprises here MS 1 moves to the finals.

Terashita vs Sakumayama
Rikishi on the Rise Sakumayama gains the outside belt upon tachi-ai impact and ushers the MS 22 off the dohyo with ease. Sakumayama moves on to the finals!

Sakumayama vs Chiyootori
Chiyoo drives Sakuma back. Both rikishi’s arms are upright and locked at the elbows trying to over-power the other. Sakumayama slowly begins turning Chiyootori for a belt less arm throw. Chiyootori’s legs fail him and Sakumayama wins! With a 6-1 record and Makushita Yusho Sakumayama will likely move to MS1 next basho while Chiyootori will move up to Juryo. Great way to end sumo’s most competitive division!

Juryo notables:
Chiyotairyu new to the division and a former amateur champion easily wins the division with a record of 13-2. Dude doesn’t even have enough hair to pull it back yet. He’s also our rikishi on the rise Sakumayama’s old rival. Can’t wait until these two men our in the same division!

Takamisakari dropped to 7-8 after a force out lose to Kitaharima, a much smaller rikishi. Takamisakari moves one step closer towards a potential retirement.
Speaking of which, Tochinonada retired yesterday. Although he was past his prime by the time I started watching sumo the Nada received 12 kinboshi during his career. S & S wishes him all the best as he begins his coaching career in the association.

Onto Makuuchi where the yusho has been decided.
Gagamaru 11-3 had already won the Kanto-sho fighting spirit prize this basho but when he faced off against 11-3 Tochiozan, Tochi also had a chance to win the prize by beating Gagamaru. Gaga grabbed Tochi’s throat at the tachi-ai and from there worked him to the bales for oshi-dashi win. Tochiozan joined the fans with that move and dropped to 11-4 while Gagamaru gets his first ever Jun-Yusho! Congrats to the Georgian on this major accomplishment.

Kisenosato works Kotooshu back for a yorikiri win.

Kotoshogiku was 7-7 going into today’s final bout. The JSA had him face off against Harumafuji a guy he has an advantage over. That being said today was a joke of a bout. Haruma’s tachi-ai showed no attempt to gain any belt or thurst move. He allowed Kotoshogiku the right hand outside grip and made no attempt to fight the at risk Ozeki. Haruma regained the belt and backed Koto to the center of the dohyo, but Koto just walks him out of the ring. According to our friend at Sumo Fan Magazine, Chris this is the 12th time in a row that a 7-7 Ozeki has won their final match to secure their 8 wins.

Baruto had a chance at a Zensho Yusho today against Hakuho. It wasn’t meant to be however. Baruto appeared to be thinking tsupari at the tachi-ai but by the time he raised his left arm (rather slowly) Hakuho grabbed it and then gained the right hand outside grip. Hakuho lifts & pushes the Estonian out for the yorikiri win.

My current perspective (which changes throughout each basho) is that the JSA is favoring Kisenosato and Kotoshogiku. Again according to Chris at Sumo Fan Magazine, NHK made a wild claim that Kisenosato would be fighting for the Yusho next basho. Comments like these concern me, as Kise was three wins outside of the yusho race this basho. The likelihood that all the fishy stuff this basho with the Dai Yokozuna is apart of a larger deal coming in Osaka or sometime this year would not surprise me.

So what do you our readers think of all of this? Is yaocho a problem? Do you think it exists? Would a website where everyday people vote on the legitimacy of each bout send a message to people? These are just thoughts from one man. Tell us your own.

Again a big congratulations to Baruto Ozeki for his first Makuuchi Division Yusho! Bring the tsupari with you to Osaka and I will be your biggest fan. That’s a promise.

More post-basho follow-up reporting to come. Thanks for making this basho and enjoyable one, all things considered. Valentine and others will be with you shortly for more post-basho opinions.

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