13. Haru Basho 2012

Day 1

MatagiyamaBack in the saddle and ready for battle!  Greetings and welcome to the stormy Spring Basho in the big O.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of two factoids before we begin looking at the bouts of interest today.  Firstly, as was constantly reminded to us by the commentators today, this is the first basho in Osaka in two year thanks to last year’s Bout-Fixing Scandal (read: last year’s round up the Mongols and ship ‘em out).

Secondly, I’d be deeply remiss if I didn’t make mention that today, shonichi, marks the one year anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku Earthquake.  I also suppose you can say it’s somewhat appropriate I report on this day, as I’m the only contributor on this site whom resides in Iwate Prefecture, one of the hardest smacked parts of the country.  I was on the sixth floor of a building when the earthquake hit, and I could barely keep my balance as I could hear the steel beams supporting the building twisting and bending around me.

I have a story, and we all do, and today here in Iwate Prefecture I look out the window and with cloudy skies and light snow it looks exactly like it did last year, and I’m reminded of what I went through one year ago today.  But, I want to make it clear that my story and my experience is a trip to Disneyland compared to others, particularly those on the coast who lost friends, family members, or their own lives.

I recall just a few weeks after the disasters last year, seeing Hakuho come for a visit here in Iwate.  The JSA is known for making head-up-the-ass decisions more than we’d like to believe, but I have been impressed with the amount of support and effort the JSA has given to these people directly affected by the disasters of last year.  Mind you, much of this is due to the strong appeals from rikishi such as Hakuho, but eventually they did win the nod from the men in black, and all the top rikishi have come up here for tours, cooking and serving chanko, and all the rest.

Moving on to today’s action in Juryo, EJ3 Takamisakari took on WJ7 Kimikaze, who happens to be Ringo’s junior by ten years.  Kimi deflected Ringo’s initial attack away at the tachiai, but Appleseed came back in close locking Kimi’s arms between their sweaty bodies and pushed his opponent out to start off this basho with a white star.  Push-out win for Ringo.

Lower Makuuchi featured EM10 Sadanofuji vs. WM10 Aoiyama (2-1): Aoiyama hunkered down well at the tachiai, but stood up to try a pushing attack, then aimed to get to Sadan’s mawashi with no luck as Sadan was defending.  Aoi gave up on the mawashi and used his right in Sadan’s left arm pit and launched a powerful belt-less arm throw for the win in memory of his former stablemaster who passed away last month.

First time between EM8 Chiyonokuni vs. WM3 Takekaze today.  Tachiai, and a nasty henka to start off this basho by Takekaze, and probably not his last henka this basho either.

EM4 Toyonoshima vs. WM4 Aran: head-to-head is 5-1 in Toyo’s favor.  Today Aran sidestepped to the right, which wasn’t an out-and-out nasty henka; Toyonoshima was moving like his was a blind man.  Aran easily escorted him out with a force-out win.  Strange bout, as Toyo seems to be continuing his downward spiral from last basho.

EM3 Tochinoshin and WS Aminishiki are five wins a piece in the record books.  Today they locked up pretty well at the tachiai with Tochi moving forward, then Sneaky moving things back.  Ami won a inside grip and Tochi with an outside grip on the belt, they went for a simultaneous throw down, and indeed, they simultaneously hit the clay, so after a Jedi huddle it was time for a rematch.  Sneaky came right into the Georgian’s chest, pushing Tochi too high for comfort.  Tochi fiddled around trying to keep his balance and go for a belt grip, but before he could achieve either Sneaky launched a belt-less arm throw to the right, and the Georgian was on the clay a second time today.  Sneaky with the white star on shonichi.

ES Kakuryu vs. EM3 Kyokutenho: head-to-head is 9-3, in the Kak’s favor between these Mongols.  Deep morozashi by the Kak right off from the tachiai, and eventually the elder Mongol gave in.  Force-out win for the Kak.

M2 Yoshikaze vs. WO Kotoshogiku: history is 9-2, in the Geek’s favor.  The gentlemen bonk noggins low and the Geek got in real close as to shut off Yoshi’s attack and with morozashi, the Geek whipped out his belly-pump and force-out win.

EM2 Tokitenku vs. WO Kotooshu: the Eurozeki leads the head-to-head 12-8.  From the tachiai, Oshu was a bit too high, but quickly got a super-deep left-hand grip on the mawashi.  Toki tried a few Jack-the-Trippers but Oshu stayed steady and led him out, thanks to that deep left-hand grip.  Force-out win for the Eurozeki.

EO Kisenosato vs. WM1 Tochinowaka: 2-0 in Kissy’s favor.  Kissy starting things out with a nodowa buffet for Nowaka, but Nowaka took to the chin-music with stride and kept center against Kissy, bringing both arms in front.  Once Kissy backed off the nodowas, Tochi stayed close enough Kissy couldn’t thrust.  A career-highlight push-down win for Tochinowaka.  Kissy is starting off a classic Ozeki sophomore jinx.

EM1 Myogiryu vs. WO Harumafuji: first meeting, and both predictably quick on attack at the tachiai.  Myogi came out ablazin’, overextending himself.  Haruma gathered this much, and grabbed him a left-hand outside, and stepped back for a fun over-arm throw, using Myogi’s own momentum to take him out.

EO Baruto vs. EK Gagamaru: the two heaviest guys in the division, head-to-head is a pair of ones.  Gentleman Gaga started off low at the tachiai, but Bart got a right-hand outside and threw Gaga down gingerly with an over-arm throw win.  Nice, confident power sumo win by Bart.

EY Hakuho vs. WK Tochiozan: head-to-head, the Yokozuna has dominated 12-0.  At the tachiai, O got in close with morozashi and was actually, steadily moving the Yokozuna back.  Giving up on a forward win, Hakuho fly-swatted O down for a thrust-down win.  Not the best stuff from Hakuho, but still made it look effortless.

That’s it for shonichi.  There are quite a few storylines to follow this basho, most notable being Bart’s yokozuna run.  Chalmers will come next, bringing you a little closer to the climax.

Day 2

ShiimaChalmers here!  It is good to be back in Osaka as sumo celebrates one year of scandal-free fighting, granted they get out of this one with their hands clean, and their noses a little browner.  I am looking forward to seeing how ‘ol Bart handles the spotlight, and his verdict at the end of Haru.  Though I agree 100% with Montana and Creswell, that it may be premature to promote him, I do like to see the underdog prove people wrong.  Go Bart!

For all of you in the East, it is a year and a day since the day the Earth wouldn’t stay still.  For some of us, however, we are holding our moment of  of the morning) tracking down my friends (yes you, Valentine) who all live in Tohoku, my home ‘till 8 months prior.  Our hearts, prayers, and Aloha still go out to all of you.  Keppare, Nippon!

On to today’s matches…

I was lucky to get to my computer in time for Juryu, and to see our good friend Robocop.  Takamisakari still looks as strong as ever, right up until the match starts, where he loses in painfully spectacular fashion.  Tamaasuka playground bullys Nammomienai into the judges lap, oshidashi.

Our spotlight, Chiyotairyu, shows incredible speed and power as he hits Asahisho back the bales his first three steps.  A final throat chop takes Asahi to his knees, but officially, oshitaoshi.

On to Makuuchi…

EM15 Tamawashi vs. EM16 Takanoyama (prior: (1-1).  Takanoyama either needs to gain weight, or stop fighing like he doesn’t.  Oshitaoshi for Tamawashi.

EM13 Kitataiki vs. EM16 Shotero (prior: (3-2).  Kita stays south of his opponent and keeps his Shoten high.  An easy walk out, Yorikiri.

WM13 Hochiyama vs. WM13 Wakahnosato.  Waka gets a morozashi, two hands in, and turns Hochi over and down to the clay, sukuinage.

EM12 Daido vs. EM14 Takarafuji (prior1-0).   A lot of grip changes for both, but Takarafuji able to cash on a weak morozashi, yorikiri.

WM14  Ikioi vs. WM12 Fujiazuma (prior 0-2).  Fuji comes out hands flying and pummels Iki to the bails.  Iki almost pulls off a hatakikomi, only to be speared in the stomach.  Fujiazuma oshidashi “spear” for the win.

EM9 Okinoumi vs. EM11 Asasekiryu (Prior: 2-0).  Oki finally able to get things started.  A strong left hand in, a little work, and Oki puts Asa in the sand, yorikiri.

WM11 Tenkaiho vs. WM9 Miyabiyama (prior: 0-1).  Everyone’s favorite one trick pony, Miyabiyama, fends off Tenkaiho like he’s a leper, eventually slapping him to the ground, hatakikomi.

EM8 Chiyonokuni vs. WM10 Aoiyama (prior: 0-3).  First, Chiyonokuni apologizes to the judges for blatantly causing a false start, “sorry, I wasn’t ready”.  Then Chiyo flakes again, henka win to put his first K on the board.

EM10 Sadonofuji vs. WM8 Takekaze (Prior: 2-0).  Home Team (my affection name for Takekaze, who grew up close to where I used to live in Akita) looking for another win, takes his sweet-ass time about it.  Home Team fights fair today, and opens up with his “Keppare-Tsuppari Special”, and finishes with a textbook hatakikomi to put another K on the board.  Gooooo, Kaze!

EM5 Wakakoyu vs. WM7 Toyohibiki (prior: 8-3)  The Beak and Waka give the bedroom eyes until the gyoji tells them to get it on.  The Beak with a tsuppari win, tsukidashi.

EM7 Takayasu vs. WM5 Homasho (Prior: 2-0)  Takayasu gets luck to day as he gets shoved around the dohyo, loses his step and stumbles out of the ring.  Cigar Shop, the unlucky one, gets in the way of the stumbling Takayasu and is pushed out ahead of his opponent.  A rare and entertaining ushiromotare (backward lean out) for Takayasu.

EM4 Toyonoshima vs. WM6 Goeido (Prior: 12-3).  The two wrap up, and the two fight their way to the edge of the dohyo and into the sand.  Toyo ends up in the first row and it looks like a clear win for Goeido.  The judges step in and say that Goeido’s hand was actually on the ground before Toyonoshima’s ass was on the fan with the expensive seat.  Toyo with a lucky win, tsukiotoshi.

EM6 Shohozan vs. WM4 Aran (prior: 1-0).  Alan hoping to keep the spark plug off this time, desperately tries to hold off sho

E-S Kakuryu vs. WM3 Tochinoshin. Some uncharacteristic, conservative fighting from the Kak, possibly babying his injuries till later in the basho.  The Kak wraps up with Noshin and takes his time to get his grip, while Noshin patiently waits to get owned, as usual.  The Kak throws Noshin to the clay, uwatenage.

EM3 Kyokutenho vs. WS Aminishiki. The Sneak on top of his game, and his mongol, gets a morozashi off the tachiai and the rest is history.  An easy walk out, yorikiri.

EO Baruto vs. WM2 Yoshikaze (Prior: 6-2).  ‘Ol Bart, first Ozeki of the day, takes on little Yoshi.  Bart knew exactly what he wanted to do: get two hands on the mawashi, and even tried to go over the top to get it, since Yoshi stayed so low.  Bart gets it eventually and picks up the little tyke, who was out-weight by 47 kilos from the start.  Now the hard part: where to put Yoshi.  ‘Ol Bart makes the right decision and places the garbage outside the ring, tsuridashi, and gets my vote for best bout of the day.

EM2 Tokitenku vs. WO Kotoshogiku. A classic hug-n-chug from the Geek, just what we all came here to see.  Yorikiri win and a good start for the Geek.

 WM1 Tochinowaka vs. WO Kotooshu (Prior: 0-1).  Good of Oshu to stick to the book: elbows in, head down, hidari-otsu, and walk.  Yorikiri for Oshu.

EO Kisenosato vs. WK Tochiozan.  Melty Kiss (I finally found those in Hawaii!) looking to redeem himself after a lousy performance yesterday, stares down the King, Tochiozan.  Kissy has been fighting so flat-footed, standing up and the worst moments so his opponents can put him back on his heels.  Kissy opens up with tsuppari (as usual), and Ozan quickly goes to wrap up, gets it, and manages to catch Kissy flat-footed and off guard.  Ozan puts kissy back on his heels, and shoves the rest of the way, oshidashi win.

EK Gagamaru vs. WO Harumafuji.  Lady Gaga, perhaps a bit too high on the banzuke, looks to enjoy day two in the meat grinder with Harumafuji.  Lady Gaga hoping to use his weight advantage, lunges with hands extended, hoping to avoid a belt fight with the experienced Mongol.  Haruma reads Gaga’s pokerface, backpeddles to lure her closer to the bales, and dumps her like a tramp, uwatedashinage.

EY Hakuho vs. EM1 Myogiru (Prior: 0-0).  Myogiru gets his first taste of the blade of the meatgrider, and Hakuho is happy to show the youngin how much it hurts.  Myogiru bravely/foolishly stares the bull in the eyes, right before he gets trampled: Hakuho stops the advance, plays a little defense by blocking all of Myogirus attacks, and offbalances Myogiru before pummeling him with tsuppari, oshitaoshi.  Myogiru graciously accepts the honorable “good game” butt slap that all men hope to one day receive from another man.

That’s it from Day 2.  Bertrum will be here with all your Day 3 winnings, commentary, and flash.

A hui hou!  ~Chalmers!

Day 3

HidematagiMust say I’m pretty disappointed in meself. Getting pumped for the sumo, and reporting (as always). I get the whiskey in, and get sorted. Low and behold, day before I get thick with a cold. Now, I aint no pussy, I’ll do me duty and soldier on in true English fashion!  What I will say though is, forgive me for any spelling mistakes. ..

Takanoyama vs. Hochiyama
Taka out of his league here, really no contest.  Tsukidashi by Hochi

Tamawashi vs. Shotenro
Tamawashi looked pretty focussed on the tachiai, and after initially going in low he falters with his rebound. He goes to re-engage, but is too high and Shoto with a few slaps gets his hands under the armpits. After the coochi-koo, Tama just kinda steps back out the ring.  Both now on 2-1

Ikioi vs. Wakanosato
Not much off the tachai, but Ikioi tries for a nift uwatenage, and fails with his positioning, allowing waka to steal a sukuinage. Sounds more impressive that it actually was. Waka just capitalised onan opportunity.

Kitataiki vs. Takarafuji
Think we knew who was going to win this one. Kita gets in low, and drives him to the edge. Although Taka had a moment on the rope and a good grip on the mawashi, he couldn’t really establish the counter-momentum to kita. 3-0 for kita.

Fujiazuma vs. Tenkaiho
Think this had to be a westerners stereotypical idea of Sumo.  To hefty fellas grunting and bouncing off each other dodgem style, till one of them (Fuji) gets a mawashi grip and waddles the other out the ring.

Asasekiryu vs. Daido
Long bout! Both engage and get grips on the mawashi, Asa stealing the right inside. He tries for an uwatenage, but fails – locking the two in a stalemate.  He tries again as Dido tries to grap the front of the mawashi, but Asa’s left arm keeps that in-check. Stalemate again, a few tries from Dido also fail. Hitting the 1 minute mark, you can see they look spent. The silence endures for a full on 35 secs or more, with panting, before Dido tries again. He gets Asa to the ropes, but runs out of energy to finish it off.  There’s another wait of about 30 seconds, but a change has occurred, Asa lost his decent grip, and dido has the advantage with his right inside. What brings Asa down however, a push from Dide, a counter from Asa, and then dido quickly moving back and pushing down to get Asa out. A 3 minute bout in all. Hikiotoshi win for dido

Aoiyama vs. Miyabiyama
Aoi goes in low, but Miyabi manages to keep him at arms length, by retreating around the ring, and pushing his arms. Eventually though, Aoi gets a grab on the mawashi, pulls and lowers miabi, then places his hand on the back head for the throw down!

Okinoumi vs. Sadanofuji
A flase start and then a very uninteresting uwatenage for Oki.

Takekaze vs. Toyohibiki
Toyo had the weight advantage against the litte Akitian. A straight up Oshidashi, but what really made the bout was the judge being chased out of the ring!

Takayasu vs. Chiyonokuni
Taka didn’t really seem in this one. Not that it mattered cuz Chiyo was all powder and no shot Slapping away like a bi**h on heat, but getting no-where. Eventually Chiyo gets a right inside on the mawashi, as Taka tries for an uwatenagi – sadly though, he steps out.

Goeido vs. Homasho

Goeido gets in nice and low, and stays there. He gets the grip on the mawashi, and has Homasho on the rope. What he doesn’t have is the belly to slap him over, so he tries for uwatenage – several left and right and left struggles until Homasho steps out.
Wakakoyu vs. Shohozan
Quick boring E-honda slap bout, Shohozan slaps him out.

Aran vs. Tochinoshin
Both have good grips, but Tochishin has the thighs – managing to lift Aran up and uwatenage him – been a bit of an uwatenage day eh?

Kyokutenho vs. Toyonoshima
The battle was really Kyokutenho’s, but as Toyo is stumbling back, he niftily steps to the side and Kyoku falls flat.

Kakuryu vs. Gagamaru
Man Gaga is big! He didn’t even look to of stood up there’s so much mass! Kakuryu is certainly more an athlete and I odn’t think Gaga’s weight is helping him tbh. He seemed very top heavy as Kak grabs him for a shitatenage throw

Tokitenku vs. Harumafuji
I’m not a big fan of haruma. But that aside, to me this bout looked a bit fishy. Haruma went in low with fite, Toki almost succeeds in throwing him head down, and somehow Haruma lifts up and manages to charge on. Toki just kinda, ran away like a bullfighter out of the ring. However, Toki really hand control of this bout in my opinion – that or he shoulda been more aware of the rope. Take a look, and see what ya think…

Baruto vs. Myogiru

Straight up throat chottle win for the European, no contest.

Aminishiki vs. Kotoshogiku
Sloppy work from the geek, and a win for the sheek! From the dirt he pulls the front mawashi down, and then pushes the geek to bite the dust.

Tochiozan vs. Kotoshu
Koto leans too far forward, and when pushing with his legs, just slips on the dirt. Disappointing loss really, and the Ozei really should know better.

Kisenosato vs. Yoshikaze
Chalmers comment yesterday about “taking the garbage out” was really on the button. Yoshi tries a few shoulder barges, but Kisenosato uses his powerful pneumatic arms to just “Reagan smash” Yoshi out.

Hakuho vs. Tochinowaka
Nice and clean, off the tachiai, a wuick grip on the mawashi and in fine form today, a uwatenagi throw down. No need to say who all this was by eh???

Well, that’s it! Sorry if this wasn’t the best written reports.. I’ll go back to nursing meself better…

L. Bertrum

Day 4

KeishikazawaYa’ll will have to forgive my less verbose post today, I am in the process of moving back to Japan, and time is not on my side, a least in as much as writing reports goes.  Anyways, first bout I want to point out today is the exact reason we like Sakumayama here at S&S.  If you haven’t seen it take a gander here.  The boy has got success tattooed on his ass.  Also of note in the lower ranks, Osunaarashi had his first sumo bout in maezumo on day 3 here is the video.  He has some stuff to polish up, but he’s looking good.  There might be some criticism for his shit-eating grin he wears the whole time, but hey, I would be doing the same thing.  We got our eye on you buddy (or Boody, as he likes being called), keep the good work, man.

Recently I kind of have seen juryo as a junk drawer.  There is always something good in there, but its never a.) what you were looking for, or b.) easy to find.  How about today, you ask? Well let’s see… Masuraumi, Tokushoryu…nothing interesting there, Hokutokuni, Arawashi… ugh, that was embarrassing… Bushuyama, Oiwato, can’t use that one today…wow, people still lose to Kimurayama?…OOOHHH Masunoyama, Kitaharima, I do like Masunoyama, decent bout for him today, that guy has a heart made of ganbare but not what I’m looking for…  Robocop, he’s always good for a watch, what’s he got today?  Eewww, not much, but more than Nionoumi.

Come on there has to be something good in here…  Ugh, Kaisei!  Really? What a slump…a Makuuchi has-been battle…No way… Even Chiyotairyu and Sotairyu was a bit disappointing… Alright, I guess that was a good bout between Sagatsukasa and Kotoyuki.  Well, no keepers today.  Maybe there’ll be a gem tomorrow.

Let’s hope makuuchi has something better to offer.  I have decided that from now on I’m going to save us both time and use what I call the henka buzzer.  Whenever a henka is successfully used I’m just gonna buzz past it.  If it is not successful then I will buzz past the henka and just report the real meat of the bout.  I invite my fellow commentators to join me in its use.  We clear?  Great.  Onward and upward.

Tamawashi – Ikioi – Ikioi stepped it up today, but his shinnyumaku jitters seem to be getting the best of him. 3-1, 0-4

Kitataiki – Takanoyama – BUZZ!  Takanoyama gets a win.  3-1, 1-3

Shotenro – Wakanosato – Bad backward-moving footwork on Wakanosato’s part take him to .500, and move Tenro up to 3-1.

Daido – Hochiyama – Long belt battle here, and perhaps I’m wrong, but it sounded like one of them was snoring or possessed during this bout.  Gyoji had to stop the bout to retie Hochiyama’s mawashi.  Well, that retie bust have given Hochi the extra support and confidence he needed, because it was only a short few seconds before an uwatenage brought him to 2-2, 1-3 for Daido.

Asasekiryu – Takarafuji – BUZZ! Asa’s heka didn’t work, but he still managed an inside right grip which, with some maneuvering got him the win. 2-2 each.

Sadanofuji – Fujiazuma – Pretty evenly matched, but Fuji’s tsuppari seemed to lose steam early, which spelled W-I-N for Sada. 1-3, 3-1

Okinoumi – Tenkaiho – Fairly easy yorikiri win for Casanova.  3-1, 4-0

Aoiyama – Takekaze – BUZZ! Win for Aoiyama.  3-1, 2-2

Miyabiyama – Toyohibiki – Beeker managed to absorb a fair amount of Yabber’s tusppari, but couldn’t mount a successful attack and a slip to the side and a slap down got Yabbers the win.  3-1, 2-2.

Takayasu – Goeido – A good tachiai from Kool-eid, but he was too low.  Takayasu took advantage, like a good boy should.  Taka is 4-0 on par for a special prize, Eido falls to 2-2.

Chiyonokuni – Homasho – Best bout so far today.  Close calls on both sides, with a smorgasbord of attempted kimarite, but a cool head and solid foot work kept Homey on top.  1-3, 2-2.

Toyonoshima – Shohozan – Toyo did a great job neutralizing Shoho’s thrusting, and turned this into a belt battle, Shoho took Toyo to the bales, but failed to close the deal.  Again Shoho pushed for the win, but Toyo countered and pulled out the shitatedashinage win. 3-1, 2-2.

Wakakoyu – Tochinoshin – Good offense from Waka, bad defense from Tochi, who just couldn’t get set. 1-3,  1-3.

Aran – Yoshikaze – half a BUZZ for Aran.  He was able to regain and keep Yoshi at bay long enough to get a slap down win.  2-2 for Alan, and a goose egg for Yoshi.

Tochiozan – Aminishiki – An early slap down attempt by the sneak left the door open for Ozan to get the win, via a pull down after some good footwork led the sneak to the bales. 3-1 a piece.

Kisenosato – Gagamaru – Gaga looked to have this one in the bag, but kissy slipped to the side at the bales, and Gaga never got his momentum back again.  Oshidashi for the Kid, another bad day in the meatgrinder for the Lady 2-2, 0-4.  Anyone else smell a slight fishy odor at this point?

Tochinowaka – Harumafuji – Not the best showing from Tochi, but good forward moving stuff from Harry. 1-3, 4-0

Baruto – Kakuryu – Good lateral motion from the Kak kept Bluto on the move, without much momentum.  An attempted okuridashi by the Kak was surprisingly avoided but a spry looking Bart.  Bart got his usual double outside over the back grip, but relentless forward pressure led to a yoritaoshi for the little guy. 3-1 for Bart, and a big dent in his chance at a yusho.  4-0 for the Kak, I guess that shoulder problem ain’t much of a promblem after all.

Kyokutenho – Kotoshogiku – Hug-n-chug win for the Geek. 0-4, 3-1.

Myogiryu – Kotooshu – Myogi couldn’t get started in this bout.  perhaps he was thinking of pick-a-nick baskets, or meat-grinders. 0-4, 3-1.

Hakuho – Tokitenku – BUZZ! Again more proof that Hakuho is, in effect, henka proof. 4-0, 0-4

Here’s your leader board:

4-0 Hakuho, Harumafuji, Kakuryu, and Takayasu.

Well, that’s all for me this basho.  I’ll throw in some comments when I get the chance.  I leave you in the competent, yet filthy, hands of Connolly for your day 5 report.

Day 5

conollyWinter here in northern Tōhoku is finding it hard to loosen its grip on spring. The two are currently locked in some atmospheric version of yotsu-zumo. Just last week, spring had winter backpedaling around the bales of Akita, but with a last ditch effort coupled with an unexpected band of low pressure, winter went makikae and regained itself. But after a long basho winter is starting to show signs of fatigue and spring is simply waiting for the perfect moment to finish off winter and maintain its perfect winning record…

Shotenro vs Hochiyama
Sho had a great start, and gaining a great advantage. He had to employ a load before he could finally pick up the win though. He used face pushes, tried a leg trip, but finally got a double grip and drove for a yorikiri win.

Takanoyama vs Ikioi
Ikioi has tried 4 times to get his first win in the top division all of which have been in vain. Takanoyama having beaten Kitataiki yesterday via a nasty henka (but fully expected from such a tiny wrestler), tried another one today. It was pretty awful though, and grained very little from it. He is very lively though and Ikioi couldn’t wrap him up. Just when he though he had him wrapped up, with a solid mawashi grip, Takanoyama pulls off a beautiful, beautiful kawazugake, or hooking backward counter throw! I love this guy!

Takarafuji vs Wakanosato
Wakanosato did everything to win, until the very end where Takarafuji stepped to the side and allowed Waka simply hop out of the ring all by himself.

Tamawashi vs Fujiazuma
Tamawashi manhandles Fujizuma all around the ring and eventually to the ground via tsukiotoshi.

Daido vs Kitataiki
Kita was probably pissed after being henka-ed yesterday. He tried pushing Daido upright before going belt to belt, and dogging on to drive Daido out.

Tenkaiho vs Aoiyama
First time for these boys to dance together on the dohyo. Aoi looked to be in complete control of this fight launching throwing attempts both left and right, but Tenkaiho withstood them all even though hopping around on one food many times. Aoi even tried a leg trip mid way, but eventually wore himself out and before Tenkaiho launched the final throw. Aoi tried to counter but couldn’t.

Sadanofuji vs Asasekiryu
Sada tried to keep Asa away from his belt, but Asa got a left hand frontal grip and stayed very low. Sada focused on breaking that grip and succeeded but Asa got back in, tried a throw which didn’t work but the drove forward to victory.

Miyabiyama vs Takekaze
Takekaze decided to avoid Creswell’s BUZZ word and actually hit met Miyabi in straight on. Miyabi, who was probably a little surprised to not be henka-ed, slapped Take around like a rag doll. But just as he was about to give the final shove the Akitian slapped on the hands of the ex-ozeki and spun around into the man-love position that we all know and love, and escorted him out. Unlucky stuff for Miyabi.

Okinoumi vs Toyohibiki
Toyohibiki got one hand under Okinoumi’s armpit and the other in his face. The armpit was used to raise Oki up and the face shove was used to push him back and out for a descent win. Okinoumi allowed himself to be completely neutralised today.

Chiyonokuni vs Goeido
Goeido opened with a nice solid slap to the face of Chiyonokuni who was trying a tsuppari slapping. Goeido held his ground, absorbing a few power-lacking pushes before digging in pushing forward and then slapping down Chiyo. I’d like to say that Goeidos slap down was well timed today, but it seems to be something that he tries way too often. It worked today, usually it doesn’t.

Shohozan vs Takayasu
Takayasu was the first of the undefeated rikishi to step onto the dohyo. There to greet him was Shohozan with a 2-2 record. Taka came out with a tsuppari attack. Shoho was hoping things would settle down a little and that he could get a sniff of a mawashi. But the only break Taka took was a slap down attempt that didn’t work. Shoho recovered somewhat and tried to drive forward. It was about that time that Takayasu enguaged in round 2 of tsuppari, and said to hell with the pull down attempt. He drove forward and earned his 5th straight win with style.

Homasho vs Aran
BUZZ!! Aran attempted an awful henka, one that wasn’t even nearly successful. Homasho… actually Aran recovered and both wrestlers were playing holdy-hands for a while. Then Aran tried a pull down, didn’t work. So he tried again, and it did. Usually Homasho doesn’t get pulled down like that. But I guess Aran got a good grip on the back of Homey’s head and using the great strength that he has, managed to pull it off.

Toyonoshima vs Wakakoyu
Waka came in with a paw for Toyo’s neck with the hope of raising him up. But Toyo had come in low and wasn’t going to be raised up, instead had some lift to offer instead. He then slipped back and dropped Waka to the ground.

Myogiryu vs Kyokutenho
Both men came into today with 0-4 losing records, one destined to break the streak, one destined to continue it for another day at least. Myogiryu got one hand under the armpit and the other on the front of Kyoku’s belt, who was left struggling for a descent grip. The Myog the drove forward with great speed, too fast to allow the counter throw that was waiting when Kyoku’s foot hit the bales. Good first win for Myogiryu.

Kakuryu vs Aminishiki
And now on to Kakuryu, our second undefeated fighter of the day, taking on Aminishiki, with surprisingly only one loss thus far. All cameras were focusing on Kakuryu since he entered the arena, the crowd was reacting very well to him too. The snake didn’t henka today, and as the enguaged completely legitimately Kakuryu slipped back and with a hand on the snakes scaly head pulled him forward and sent him out of the ring.

Tochinoshin vs Kotooshu
These two tall guys locked up into migiyotsu-zuma. Kotooshu had his belt tied very loosely today, and that combined with his slight height advantage gave him the advantage and powered Tochinoshin out.

Kisenosato vs Tokitenku
Kissy came out of the tachi-ai and then stopped before hit hit Tokitenku. Tengu on the other hand had a leg sweep trick planned, so also stopped before hitting. Then Tokitenku kicked the inside of Kisenosato’s leg and then pulled him down. Kissy hit the ground and then the Mongolian stepped out. A mono-ii was called but I don’t know why. Great first win for Tokitenku. Kissy slips to 2-3

Yoshikaze vs Harumafuji
Harry opened with a slap to face but wasn’t expecting Yoshi to be coming in as fast as he was. Yoshi got his head into the chest of Harumafuji and pushed forward. Harry was on the bales now and he legs bended to absorb the pressure, immediately Yoshi reversed and pulled down the ozeki to hand him his first loss, and gain his own first win.

Baruto vs Tochinowaka
Baruto opened with a strong nodowa push into Tochinowaka’s throat and riased him up, pushed him back and out.

Tochiozan vs Kotoshogiku
Tochiozan has only lost to Hakuho before stepping into the ring today, having beaten Kisenosato, Kotooshu, and Aminishiki. He came in hard today and was driving Koto back while also protecting his mawashi. Kotoshogiku had little to work with but kept the lateral pressure on Tochiozan. This kept him alive and eventually he got his preferred grip and belly humped Tochiozan back and out. Good stuff from the ozeki today, he help on where many of the others would have lost. Kotoshigiku had a big smile after his win, he knew it was a big one!

Hakuho vs Gagamaru
Gagamaru must be one of the only rikishi that can actually make Hakuho look a little small! Hakuho hit hard but didn’t move the mountain back, he quickly went for the belt but decided to more simply toss the giant to the clay with a beltless arm throw.

Day 6 will be brought to you from the distinguished gentleman known as Virgil Valentine.

Day 6

DrebinMy name is Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective-Lieutenant, Police Squad, a special detail of the police department.  There’d been a recent wave of gorgeous fashion models found naked and unconscious in laundromats on the West Side.  Unfortunately, I was assigned to investigate illegal activities conducted by the contributors of this site.  I was across town doing my laundry when I heard the call on the illegal activities.  It took me twenty minutes to get to my computer to investigate.  My boss was already on the scene.  As was custom in such cases, we began to talk.

We here at Police Squad have been monitoring this site for years, and word on the street had it these rogues have been purchasing voluptuous Cubans for high dollar—and they also smoke cigars as well.   My boss and I had decided there’s only one way to find out what these boys have been up to; I was going to have to go in undercover, and see if I can’t sniff out what is the story…with their…story.  Sure I might end up dead, but you might end up dead is my middle name.

Daniel Ivanov from Bulgaria is an ex-Greco wrestler.  His real name was Joey Sofia.  He fought under the name of Kid Moscow.  I saw Kid Moscow fight once in Leningrad…or was that Kid Minsk?  He fought out of Tallinn.  He was killed in the ring in Tbilisi by the Kazakh Comrade.  You know, the Moldovan Malice?  He was from Ossetia.  I don’t remember it was North or South—Oh, it was North, of course!  South was his brother from Yugoslavia.  Today, Daniel Ivanov, now fighting under the name Aoiyama (3-2), faced Takayasu (5-0).  Aoiyama, who has a very impressive bust, used this impressive bust to press on Takayasu, but Takayasu stayed on his feet as Aoiyama slipped and went down.  I don’t know much about sumo wrestlers, but all I know is never bet on the white guy.

Toyonoshima, no need to stand up.  4-1.  Tochinowaka is at 1-4.  Unfortunately, Toyo cannot win while sitting down.  Tochi improves to 4-2.

Kakuryu (5-0) vs. Tochiozan (3-2).  10-9 till now, but let’s pull out that wad of cotton and get right to the aspirin.  The Kak stood up, thrust hard, and quickly retracted.  The Kak is sizzling like a wiener on a hibachi, while Tochiozan falls to 3-3.

Looks like the cows have come home to roost for Gaga, who is 0-5.  Today he fought Kotooshu, but I knew the Ozeki had his number.  It was just a little hunch back at the office.  Charlie, if your reading this, thanks for the tip!

Kisenosato (2-3) and Aminishiki (3-2) ?  No, Frank Drebin.  You’re mixing me up with two Japanese men.  One of them stepped out of the ring, and Kisenosato gets the win.

Tochinoshin (1-4) vs. Harumafuji (4-1)

Both men tied up for a long time with tighter grips than a bride on her honeymoon night.  This was a long bout, but—Look out!  He’s got a leg!  Harumafuji trips Tochinoshin to win.

Kyokutenho (0-5) is one man whose losses are like bananas.  They come in big yellow bunches.  Today he fought Baruto (4-1).  Baruto sent Kyoku spinning like a dreidel in a sandstorm with an under-arm throw.

Hakuho (5-0) vs. Yoshikaze (1-4)

Yoshikaze has got a win!  Not today, but he’s got one.  Yoshikaze lit up like Dennis Rodman at Christmastime, but Hakuho tossed Yoshikaze down with an armlock throw, uttering “Why don’t you lie there till Tuesday…that’s when they pick up the garbage.”

Now let’s say Yoshikaze would have won this bout.  OK, “Yoshikaze would have won this bout.”  Actually, it was a piece of cake for Hakuho—but no thanks for me…I just ate.

I’ve reached the end of a day of sumo, but I still had nothing to book these boys on.  When will people learn that crime doesn’t pay?  But I suppose if they do learn, I’ll be out of a job.

Unfortunately, I can’t do the report tomorrow.  I’ve got a big meeting over at…Menzrum.  I’d forget my genitals if they weren’t superglued in between my legs.  Water-skiing accident, of course.

Day 7

HajinochikaraI sit out here by the pool in 85 degree (almost 30 for you celsius folks) weather writing this because I am stuck.  The road home is closed by a massive winter storm delivering more than half my height in snowfall.  Such are the oddities of life, I suppose.

It takes a 5 wins or better by one or the other of the rikishi in a bout to get my attention today.  Here we go.

Takaranofuji vs. Takanoyama

Soft tachiai from Takanoyama, more of a love bump against Takaranofuji than anything else, then Takanoyama gets Takaranofuji’s arm and spins him right out of the ring.  Hikkake win for Takanoyama

Shotenro vs. Tenkaiho

Tenkaiho places his boobs in Shotenro’s capable hands at the tachiai and Shotenro thrusts and grunts his way to victory, much like the storyline of any novel you can buy in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. Oshidashi win for Shotenro, which puts him at a cool 6-1 this basho.

Okinoumi vs. Fujiazuma

Okinoumi displaying the clean sumo I am coming to know him for took on Fujiazuma like a problem to be solved.  And solve that problem he did.  The solution?  Yorikiri win for Oki.  Oki is proving he is easily able to fight down at M9.  He might not quite be jo’i material yet, but if he finds his fire, he soon will be.

Asasekiryu vs. Takekaze

Takekaze looking good down in his domain.  His strategy today was to turn his opponent into a fulcrum… the pivot point, you ask?  Takekaze.  By virtue of his diminutive stature, he was able to make Asasekiryu work to even get at him.   Work that never paid off.  Sukuinage win for Takekaze.  M8 is a good rank for Takekaze and Takekaze being at M8 is good for the basho.

Takayasu vs. Aioyama

False start here.  Lots of shoving by both.  Then Aioyama tries the opposite and wins with a slap down Hatakikomi.

Toyohibiki vs. Homasho

Two rikishi I like face off here.  Hibiki looks strong at the beginning of the bout.  Homie fending him of with his right arm and taking small steps towards the edge.  Homie characteristically keeps his head and braces against the rope while he slips his arms through Hibiki’s armpits and lifts Hibiki up.  During the reversal, Homie reverses his arm position and grabs the back of Hibiki’s belt, taking command of the bout.  Hibiki steps out, yorikiri win for Homasho in a well fought bout.

Goeido vs. Aran

Aran starts the tachiai off with a Buzz… the lack of captial letters on that BUZZ! reflects how whimpy Aran’s henka was.  Aran leaps up, abandoning the solid low ground and puts both hands on the back of Goeido’s neck.  This quickly looked to be a bout to be redeemed by Goeido.  For a time things are looking good.  The crowd cheers as Goeido defends to a lock up.  Then Aran simply yanks and Goeido goes down, killing the cheers of the crowd.  Such is the effect of Aran’s sumo… it kills the cheers of the crowd.

Baruto vs. Aminishiki

Baruto goes against Aminishiki.  Fairly straightforward bout towards the end with Baruto apologetically cupping Aminishiki’s bust.  Baruto (who looked surprised that he had survived Aminishiki’s henka attempt) not looking quite yokozunal today, but still protecting his shot at the promotion.

Toyonoshima vs Kotoshogiku.  

I’ve figured it out.  Kotoshogiku is that annoying end of level boss in a video game.  He is hard to beat, but at the same time you just want to get it over with so that you can get on to the good part of the video game.  You know what Kotoshogiku will try to do, but the tricky part is stoping him from doing it.  Toyo stopped him today.  Sukuinage win for Toyonoshima.

Yoshikaze vs. Kotooshu

Kancho win for Yoshikaze.

Kakuryu vs. Harumafuji

Great bout here.  Kakuryu and Harumafuji vie back and forth again and again.  Haruma’s grip is weaker, he can’t quite get the belt, Kakuryu has his arms folded around Haruma’s biceps.  Haruma is making up for his weaker grip by shaking his legs to throw Kakuryu off balance, and it works, but Haruma is on the defensive throughout this bout.  Kakuryu never gives Haruma the chance to take control, and Haruma, very much against his wishes, is eventually forced from the ring.  Yorikiri win for Kakuryu.

Hakuho vs Kyokutenho

The bout starts with less than a spectacular tachiai.  I begin to doubt whether Hakuho still has his old fight.  As though sensing my doubts Hakuho turns Kyokutenho to form a semi-parallel line with the ground, and dumps him out of the ring. Uwatenage win for Hakuho.

And that brings us to the end of the day.  Kakuryu and Hakuho are in the lead with 7-0 while Baruto runs along behind yelling, “Hey guys, wait for me!”  To Baruto’s consternation, Shotenro calls out, “Oh and me, too!”  Its still an interesting tournament here at the end of day 7 and anything could happen.

I hope my fine reporting didn’t get you wet, because there’s not a chance in hell that Daly’s gonna hang you out to dry tomorrow.

Nakabi

MatagidanWelcome back welcome back welcome back to Osaka Municipal Gymnasium at the half way point in our Haru basho journey. I love Osaka. A place where you can find great food and conversation all over the city. A place with salt of the earth people. A place I’ve had the opportunity to visit twice. A place where I nearly ran into Gagamaru and soiled myself (nearly). A place where I saw Takanohana and said hello. A place where I yelled at keppare (ganbare or do your best in a local Akita dialect) to Takekaze, only to have him stop look directly at me smile and walk away. And finally a place where I got to meet Kitazukara work security, but basically that consisted of him talking to fans and treating them like each one of them was a long lost friend. If you have the opportunity, go to Osaka. If you have the opportunity, go to a sumo tournament. You won’t regret it.

Enough with the nostalgia. Nakabi found us with a relatively close basho between  Kakuryu 7-0, Hakuho at 7-0, Baruto 6-1 and likely non-factor Shotenro. With these players in fine form it appears we may have more movement on the Natsu basho banzuke. Only time will tell, but thankfully we still have a yusho race and Nakabi brought some bouts worth retelling.

Juryo update

Upstart Juryo man Chiyotairyu is 7-1 currently having won seven matches in a row this basho. I have noted that too often he has been winning via pull downs and back peddling sumo, but the last two days he has completely dominated Kaisei and Kokkai with powerful forward moving sumo. Maybe someone told him to man up? Whatever the reason for the sudden style change, I like what I’ve seen the last two days.

Takanoyama vs Tenkaiho

It’s easy to understand why people like Takanoyama. What’s not to like about an underdog. Here’s my problem though. If he doesn’t trick his competition within the first second of the bout, a smart rikishi will never lose to him. Slowly and methodically one could take this guy and walk him out of the ring. After Takanoyama missed a leg trip at the tachi-ai that is exactly what Tenkaiho. Tenkaiho moves to 3-5 while Takanoyama drops to 3-5.

Sadanofuji vs Shotenro

It’s nice to see the M16 Shotenro back in the Makuuchi division. It seems like he’s been gone a long while but it turns out he was only demoted in January and is already back up here. At 7-1 it’s clear that he’s got a pretty easy schedule. After a false start Shotenro manhandles Sadanofuji. Working him to the bales and then grabbing the back of his neck for a nicely executed uwatedashinage. Sho moves to 7-1.

Chiyonokuni vs Okinoumi

I am still scratching my head over this one. Okinoumi drives Chiyonokuni to the bales and appears to have pushed him out of the ring but he hits the ground at about the same time. A mono-ii was called and the judges determined that Chiyonokuni was the aggressor (?) with a tsukiotoshi. I thought Chiyonokuni should have lost as he no chance of staying atop the dohyo, but what do I know. Okinoumi is robbed of the win and drops to 5-3 while the Country of Chiyono moves to 2-6.

Takayasu vs. Miyabiyama

There is a lot to love about Takayasu. This kid is fearless, probably impart to his former Oyakata and Kisenosato. Today was a great example of that. Jaba and T.Y. went all out slapping the hell out of each other for a good fifteen seconds. Now that might not seem like a long time, but remember, this is sumo. Fifteen second is an eternity in sumo. Takayasu was definitely the packing more of a punch but Miyabiyama can slap with the best of them. Miyabi wraps Takayasu up and grabs hold of his arm in an attempted to force him out of the ring. Takayasu withstands the attack, gets his arm loose, and gets a grip on Jaba’s mawashi. Yasu drives The Biggins and finally throws him to the ground with a great shitatehineri. Takayasu stays relevant at 6-2.

Toyonoshima vs Homasho

Solid technique from Toyonoshima. He kept his hands in tight and easily forces Homasho out of the ring. Homie needs to get low his game is defense and you can’t win sumo matches standing tall. Toyoshima moves to 6-2 and you can ask Briton-Meyer where Homasho lies (other than on the ground just outside of the dohyo).

Wakakoyu vs Aran

I am not saying that I am afraid of these two rikishi. I am just saying that right now they appear to me, to be fronting the most bad ass tough guy personas. This one was all Wakakoyu on the offensive. Driving Aran this way and that. Waka shoves Alan wildly out of the dohyo but Alan had his foot on the bales and held on just long enough to see Wakakoyu hit the ground first before he flew into the third row.  Wakakoyu thought he had won it and started the winner’s ceremony only to discover what this reporter already knew: Alan got lucky today. Wakakoyu leaves dumbfounded.

Yoshikaze vs Tochinowaka

Yoshikaze has fire in his belly this basho and although after today he dropped to 2-6 today after his loss to Tochinowaka, that’s two more wins than he should have anyways at this rank. Tochinowaka may well be a Yokozuna one day. He certainly has the body type. Give him a few more bashos and I think we’ll see him pick up some unexpected wins. Today he calmly works Yoshi out with a oshitaoshi. Tochinowaka moves to a respectable 3-5 at the M1 rank.

Baruto vs Tokitenku

Bart anticipates Toki’s funny business and quickly knock him out of the ring oshidashi style. Bart moves to 7-1 and all of Estonia goes wild! This reporter can’t help but cheer as well. I’d love to see a Yokozuna from Eastern Europe before the year is done.

Aminishiki vs Kotooshu

There is a riksihi in Kotooshu’s heya named, ready for it, Koto no shu. For whatever reason Kotooshu is a no shu far too often when he faces off against Aminishiki the king of sneaky. Today Oshu just psyches himself out running straight past Sneaky, flying off the dohyo into the fourth row. Sneak moves to 4-4 and Oshu drops to a 5-3 record with numerous Ozeki and Yokozuna left to face off against next week.

Kisenosato vs Kakuryu

At 7-0 Kakuryu is to the point where he can smell an Ozeki promotion. Today would be a huge test however facing off against the hot and cold Kisenosato. Today Kise was fired up and red hot. Kakuryu had no chance as Kisenosato over powers the Mongolian for the oshidashi win. Kise moves to 5-3 while Kakuryu drops to 7-1.

Hakuho vs Tochinoshin

I’ll say it. Hakuho should win this tournament unless he decided to throw it for whatever convoluted reason I am sure I wouldn’t be able to understand. It’s his for the taking after Kakuryu’s loss. Hakuho easily takes Noshin to school and moves to 8-0.

With all the story lines still basically intact, week two of the long lost Haru Basho should be interesting to say the least. Be sure to be back here tomorrow ’round “tea time” for Day Nine Osaka action. You can bring the whisky and Bertrum will bring the rocks! Later

Day 9

HidematagiI usually tend to enjoy the day 7 – 10 bouts as people try to get their wins, Lets take a look and see how today shapes up…
Takarafuji Vs. Shotenro
Taka engages with a good grip on the Mawa, but Shotenro steps back and uses the momentum to swing him around and almost out the rope. Taka digs in and pushes off the rope. He then tries to pull off an uwatenage, but fails. Then the two lock in a hug – with Shotenro obtaining a right hand outside grip. Shoto bides his time before obtaining a successful Suikuinage, gaining his 08th win.

Kitataiki vs. Tamawashi
Kita goes in low, and Tama.. not quite henkas, but tries to push his head down. The
two then lock with the same left hand grip. Kita gets his right hand on as well, and tries
to lift Tama over the the rope, but can&t left him high enough. Tama tries to turn this around and push Kita out, but slips and falls for a Sotogake!

Daido vs. Takanoyama
I was rooting for Taka, and he started well. Bouncing around like a bunny, and I thought he was gunna dislocate Daido’s arm by the way he was jiggling it. Seems he got a bit too agile though, as he also slips! Tsukiotoshi

Hochiyama vs. Tenkaiho
Very slow bout, but I thought it was gunna be a straight up yorikiri. I was wrong. Tenkai recovers, with a rh grip. He tries his turn to push out Hochi, but fails to get him over the rope. Another wait. Hochi with a left hand/outside grip and Tenka with right inside. More grunts, and the guys are panting heavy now. Hochi makes another attempt, same result. He tries again, but this time he kinda slips and Tenakaiho helps to push him down.

Asasekiryu vs. Wakanosato
Both kinda danced a little off the tachiai, ending up on opposing sides of the ring. but when they settle down, Asa had nothing against waka, who yorikiried the fuck out of him!

Sadanofuji vs. Ikioi
A straight yorikiri, but Ikioi struggled getting him over the rope. He actually slips, and I was worried he blew it! But, Sadanofuji stepped out beforehand.

Fujiazuma vs. Toyohibiki
Toyo takes the fore, and almost yorikiried him flat out. But, Fuji recovers off the bales but lacked owt else to come up with. Toyo pushes again, and this time succeeds. 3 yorokiris in a row!

Takayasu vs. Okinoumi
Taka goes for the throat, and has him on the back foot. Oki recovers, and then it gets a bit scrappy – with a painful looking yank on the butt thong for Oki. Both look to try for the same shitatenage, and Taka slips.. but not before Oki hits the dust.

Aoiyama vs. Goeido
Very uninteresting Oshidashi for Goeido

Shohazan vs. Miyabiyama
E-Honda slaps from the two, with Miyabi on the attack. He moves into a right hand grip, and easily pushes Shohozan out.

Takekaze vs. Homasho

Lot of slipping on the ropes. Take puts both hands on his head, and tries to force him down, but fails.Homasho charges forward, and Takekaze just seems to run backwards and out. Disappointing

Wakakoyu vs. Chiyonokuni
Another E-Honda start. This bout looked exactly like Shohozanz earlier – Chiyo though also slips down. You know, I must say Im not too impressed with todays bouts. Lots of slip-ups!

Kyokutenho vs. Tochinoshin

Both start with good grips on the mawashi, trying to lift each other up, but unsuccessfully. Not much prgress really made, but Tochi seemed to tire quicker, and Kyoku gets him out.

Myogiryu vs. Yoshikaze
two false starts, but Myogiryu is on thw attack, but you guessed it. Yoshi steps back, and Myo slips and falls.

Tokitenku vs. Tochiozan
Oh boy! looked like Tokitenku kicked Tochi in the nuts! But Tochi presses forward and gets him out oshidashi

Gagamaru vs. Aminishiki
As much as I don&t like Aminishiki, he didnt deserve what he got at the end of this bout. Very scrappy, pushes and some mawashi grips, broken. Gaga on the whole though is dominating. He gets his head in low, his right hand pressing the mawashi and his left hand pressing his throat. The sheek trips on the rope, and and falls off the Doyo, thwacking his blades and head on the ground. For a moment there I thought he knocked himself out. But he’s ok.

Aran vs. Harumafuji
Both here looked to be in a boxing ring! Stepping in, stepping back the re-engaging. Haruma however, digs his shoulder up in under aran and forces him out.

Baruto vs. Toyonoshima
Toyo goes in low, and tries to get in under the hulk. Baruto thought, gets a good grip on his mawashi and just kinda walks him out.
Baruto gets his 8

Tochinowaka vs. Kotoshogiku
Koto goes in low, grips his mawa and truffle shuffles Tochi out. Nice n easy.

Kisenosato vs. Kotooshu
Very Quick! Oshu just bear hugs him off the tachiai and just launches himself forward, and out. Koto on 7-2

Hakuho vs. Kakuryu
Best bout of the day! A heavy engagement. And Kak is giving Hak a run for his money, almost puching him down. They engage in, and Kak gets a good right hand grip on his mawashi. Hak though, grips that right hand and puts a lot of pressure on him. He charges, but fails – switching his right grip for a left. Hak also manages a right hand inside grip. Hak tries to feint a left outside grip, and switch to an inside under the arm. He fails, and kak pushes Hak forward and out!
Impressive.

Well thats it! Not the best day to watch, but a couple of worthwhile moments! Well done to Kakuryu, now on 8-1

L. Bertrum

Day 10

MatagioIt seems a little weird being more than half way through the basho and only starting to report now.  I mean its not like I haven’t been keeping tabs on the guys… just feels like I came a little late to the party.  Everyone’s got either a buzz on or already blew themselves to completion, and I’m just here starting to pour myself a glass saying, “Hey, guys… I’m here too.”  As I look at the floor and walk silently toward the bathroom.   So, now from the toilet hearing the party in the distance and more vocally Bertrum going on about how the commonwealth should keep with the his motherland, I report to you the uncharted territory of Day 10.  There’s a twist somewhere….. Just wait for it.
Takarafuji vs Tamawashi

I’m not going to lie I usually don’t expect anything from these earlier bouts in the sense of being entertaining, but this one wasn’t so bad.  From the start there was no grip grabbing or anything.  Tamawashi went straight for the pushes.  At first they were at a stand still both trying to push the other back to make some ground.  Slowly, Takara’s feet move back and he retreats to the side.  Not like this mattered any because Tama was quick to follow. Takara then tries to grip Tama under his arms and perform a side takedown and fails.  They both recover and assume a low stance and head at each other. Then Takara moves a little to the side and Tama charges at nothing.  Takara being a little to the side and follows expecting to just give that last push.  However, at the edge of the ring Tama  stops himself and pushes Takara out.

Shotenro vs. Fujiazuma

I don’t think there was any question who’d win.  Shotenro goes into tachiai gets the upper hand and yorikiris his opponents ass.  Classy.

Sadanofuji vs. Takanoyama

I dunno… I’d like to feel sorry for Taka but I really can’t.  He kinda tried to put up a fight… he really couldn’t though.  At tachai Sada came in with an E. Honda barrage of arm thrusts that eventually caused Taka to head out of the ring.

Okinoumi vs. Kitataki

From the get go Okinoumi seemed to be on the losing side.  Kita almost took him out faster than Taka went our in the previous bout.  But,  Oki recovered and proceeded to enter the bear hug formation.  From the angle it seems that Oki has a semi mawashi grip and a under arm while perhaps Kita has two mawashi grips.  Oki tries a very weak takedown switch essentially makes him lose his arm grip and off his balance.  Kita capitalizes and takes Oki to the other side of the ring and out.  Can’t win them all buddy.

Hochiyama vs. Takekaze

Not much to say bout the Kid from Moriyoshi who seems to soil its name every time I report on him.  Take goes head on at tachiai and once they smash together uses that special wind from Moriyoshi to sweep to the side and push the down.

Wakanosato vs.Toyohibiki

What I can only explain as an all or nothing lunge… Toyohibiki rushes at Wakanosato.  Waka is taken aback and it’s a race to see whether Toyo can keep up long enough to send Waka out.  He does and wins.

Wakakoyu vs. Miyabiyama

A pretty sloppy bout, but relatively fun to watch.   Miyabiyama starts off with some tsuppari … surpise…Wakakoyu just knocks his hands down goes to the side and tries to knock him down.   They both then try to push each other’s upper body.  Waka hugs Miyabs and tries to force him out.  However Miyabs tries to take Waka down.  They both end up on the ground with Waka called the victor.

Takayasu vs. Aran

WEAK.  Taka goes in. Aran steps back.  Aran pushes Taka down.

Homasho vs. Tochinoshin

At tachiai they meet and Tochi is a bit too high.  They both seem to have under arm grips.  They grunt it out a little, and then Tochi pushes Homasho down and almost gets him.  Homasho quickly recovers and pushes Tochi back to the ring. Homasho then grabs the mawashi and spins Tochi to the other edge. You think at this point the match is over, but somehow Tochi recovers.  Homasho pushes with a fury.  Eventually, they both fall on each other with Homasho winning.

Kyokutenho vs. Yoshikaze

Another poor display by my once revered rikishi.  At tachiai Kyoku stops an attempted henka by Yoshi and pushes him all the way to the edge where Kyoku topples on Yoshi.  Kyoku wins.

Kakuryu vs. Tochinowaka

Not an easy win for Kaks.  He goes in low and Tochi tries to lift him up and back.  This seems to work until Kak gets a mawashi grip and pushes Tochi back and almost out of the ring.  Tochi with a mawashi as well at this point attempts a side take down at the edge. Kak avoids it by hopping to the side and immediately presses forward.  A little off balance Tochi is taken to the edge and out.  Nice bout by Kaks.

Toyonoshima vs, Kotooshu

They go in at each other both being a little low.  Kotooshu trying to get a momentum going pushes Toyo back.  Realizing this Toyo jiggles to the side and tries a push down.  As Toyo does this Kotooshu is still going toward Toyo.  Toyo gets completely out of the way and guides Kotooshu out of the ring.

Kisenosato vs. Myogiryu

Not interesting. Myogiryu emphatically arm thrusting at Kise and Kise slowly moving forward swatting the arms down.  When Kise gets close enough, he pushes Myogiryu out.

Baruto vs. Tochiozan

Another fast bout.  They met at the tachiai and grip each other. Baruto then just swings him around and down on the floor.  Hey, nice maneuver!

Kotoshogiku vs. Harumafuji

Haruma pulls a henka take down….

Hakuho vs. Aminishiki

The bout start with them trying to play grab a grip.  Aminishiki then retreats a little and feign attempts to go in for something. Hakuho eventually goes in, gets the grip, twirls him around and BOOM. Done.

So, Day 10 ends with Hakuho and Kak tied for the lead.  Ozeki promotion looking good perhaps for good ole Kakky.  And I can’t forget the twist….

THERE IS NO TWIST!

Day 11

conollyWelcome to Day 11 of the March Haru bacho 2012. Things are heating up for sure, our lone yokozuna whom we all expect perfection from 100% of the time fell to the rising Kakuryu just 2 days ago. Of course that win kept Kakuru not only in his race to ozeki promotion but also in the yusho race itself. Baruto who is also in the yusho race is gunning for yokozuna promotion. Shotenro is in there too, but even if he manages to survive today he will surly be swallowed whole and spit out backwards tomorrow.
Let me just focus on the fights with significance today. Many guys fighting for KK and many more fighting to avoid MK. Get out your buzzers!!

Hachiyama(3-7) vs Ikioi(3-7)
What better way to start of the day of sumo that with two guys fighting to avoid make-koshi. Sometimes this situation brings out the best in people, sometimes it brings out the Aminishi in people. Often it brings a henka. Not today however a solid start from both. Hachiko drove Ikky back to the back to the bales but couldn’t finish him off. Ikky recovered and drove Hachiko all the way back across to the other side. Again at the bales Hachi counter throws but failed and left himself open to be thrown out, and he was.

Daido(3-7) vs Tenkaiho(5-5)
Daido got the better tachi-ai but had no power, so Tenkaiho was able to absord the initial challenge and force Daido back. Dai then slipped back slightly and got an arm bar hold on Tenkai for enough time to regain himself. Daido forced Ten back but couldn’t finish him off, and changed to a throw instead to get the job done, and live for another day.

Tamawashi(6-4) vs Takekaze(6-4)
Tamawashi destroyed Takekaze with for out pushes.

Chiyonokuni(2-8) vs Takanoyama(3-7)
Takanoyama has an upyama battle in front of him if he is to stay in the division. Coming into today Takanoyama needed to will all of his next 5 bouts to stay in the division. Unfortunately for him, and our very own (your very own?) Dick, it wasn’t meant to be. He hit the much bigger and stronger Chiyonokuni straight on, who just kept moving forward as though only met be thin air. Taka wiggled like only he can, twisting, turning, and slipping under or through the arms of Chiyo, in some sort of move that I thought was only possible in cartoons! When they engaged again Chiyo forced him back and out. He will be hanging out with the Juryo guys in May.

Shotenro(9-1) vs Toyohibiki(6-4)
Shotenro! Shotenro is the guy who back in September 2009 took Hakuho and Kyokutenho and absolutely nobody else, and finished at 2-13. This basho he obviously has been fighting well, but looking at the list of people he beat, there isn’t really anyone of note. He has been thriving on the bottom feeders thus far, and will be meeting more meat eaters as we enter the last 5 days. Today Toyohibiki hit him hard, got a hold of his belt and forced him back. There was resistance, but not even nearly enough.

Kitataiki(7-3) vs Goeido(7-3)
The first 7-3 vs 7-3 battle of the day. These two boyos were both looking to kachi-koshi on Day 11, unfortunately for one it was going to happen for the other. The crowd was obviously all behind Goeido, their home grown rikishi. Both men came in low today, Goeido doing better by getting two hands on the green belt of Kitataiki, who only managed a single handed grip. Goeido attempted a few throws and with the final one found himself with a grip on the back of Kita’s belt. It was easy from there and Goeido will be happy with his KK.

Shohozan(5-5) vs Sadanofuji(3-7)
Sadanofuji attempts to stave off impending MK. Some fine tsuppari attacking in this one. The 4 handed slap fest ended in a brief grip of belts, but quickly returned to handbags. It was a long one, and the two rested in the center of the ring for what seemed like about 5 minutes, occasionally attempting force outs. Surprising neither ever tried a pull down. Eventually Shoho avoids at the bales but allows himself to be thrown to the ground soon after.

Okinoumi(5-5) vs Homasho(6-4)
Oki forced Homasho straight back to the bales. Homey struggled for a while before being forced out. But then a mono-ii was called and the decision was overruled and Homey got the win. Possibly incorrectly as the replay clearly showed that the top of Homasho’s foot touched down before Oki hit the ground.

Toyonoshima(7-3) vs Takayasu(7-3)
The second 7-3 vs 7-3 battle of the day. And this one came down to the wire! A mutual final throw attenpt sent both guys to the clas at what seemed like the hit at the same time. The gyogi pointed to Toyonoshima but a mono-ii was immediately called. But othey eventually agreed with the gyoji! So he picked up his KK.

Kyokutenho(2-8) vs Wakakoyu(4-6)
Wakakoyu pushes up Kyokutenho and then immediately slaps him to the ground.

Tokitenku(2-8) vs Tochinoshin(1-9)
Surly this was the lowlight bout of the day, I mean come on, look at those results! Toki henkas and then slaps Tochi down as he recovered. It was about as exciting as I had imagined… yawn.

Aran(6-4) vs Tochiozan(4-6)
Aran slaps down Tochiozan at the tachi-ai, same as he did yesterday. The crowed booed!

Gagamaru(3-7) vs Yoshikaze(3-7)
The third 7-3 vs 7-3 battle of the day. Yoshikaze was fast enough to hit Gaga before he even moved, but Gaga pushed hard and send Yoshi back, he tried to get out of the way but Gaga got one more shove in and Yoshi was off the dohyo.

Tochinowaka(3-7) vs Aminishiki(4-6)
Today was apparently Aminishi’s 1000th makeuchi fight (488 wins), but who care about Aminishi away. Come on Tochi, TOCHI!!! Ami came out with pushes to Tochis face and neck, completely man-handles him. But Tochi stood strong and absorbed everything until the little girl wore herself out. He then slipped to the side and pushed the snake over the bales. Excellent!

Kakuryu(9-1) vs Myogiryu(3-7)
Now. The fight I had been waiting for, the man the camera had been focusing on for the last 10 minutes or so. The man gunning for ozeki promotion. Kakuryu. We opened with tsuppari attacking and our man… the man.. the Kak… tried a pull down, something that was not a good idea. Myogiryu moved quickly and had the advantage for a half second as the Kak was back-pedalling around the straw with one hand on the back of the Myog’s head. They seperated, and exchanged tsuppari again before the Kak moved to the side and slapped down Myogiryu… phew! Good stuff. That’s 30 wins over the last 3 basho. 4 days to go!

Kisenosato(6-4) vs Harumafuji(8-2)
Harumafuji came in low and got a deep left hand grip, as Kissy struggle without. Haru quickly went for the throw and he got Kisey a little high, but he couldn’t get him over the bales, until the second attempt throwing the other direction. Good stuff! 9th win for Harumafuji.

Baruto(9-1) vs Kotooshu(6-4)
It should come as no surprise that these two giants have a pretty even head-to-head record. Baruto won in their last two meetings if that counts for anything. Kotooshu got a frontal grip from the tachi-ai. Baruto tried to raise up the Bulgarian. As Baruto went to go makekai Kotooshu drove forward and set him out over the bales to hand Baruto his second loss. Basically removing all chances of a Baruto yusho combined with yokozuna promotion. He showed obvious disappointment as he sat back down by the dohyo. We might have to wait for another while before we see the first European yokozuna. Balls to Monty.

Hakuho(9-1) vs Kotoshogiku(7-3)
Kotoshogiku has yet to defeat the yokozuna since being promoted to ozeki. Let’s see how if the Dai-Yokozuna was affected by the previous bout or not. Kotoshogiku also get a frontal grip from the tachi-ai but loses it quickly as Hakuho drives and forces his inside grip. Koto briefly moves the yokozuna back, but when he tries to go makikae loses his advantage. Kotoshogiku made the audience go wild a few times as he pushed Hak back. But when they was done, Hak dropped his hips and drove Koto back and out.

Stop, drop and roll as de Gama will rock your world tomorrow. Bouts of interest will be Kakuryu vs Shotenro and Hakuho will be entertaining Kotooshu, too. Stay tuned.

Connolly

Day 12

MatagioWell, it seems like it was only a couple of days since I last was writing one of these.  And yes it was.  Its been a solid basho… full of ups and downs. Hopes shattering and some yet to shatter.  And as I sit here today wondering if and when the next disappointment is going to be, I think about how already this year of sumo has churned more out of me then the entire year past.  Now let me get a towel to clean myself off  and I’ll dive right in this report with you.

Sadanofuji vs. Daido
Its always nice to start a sumo watching session with pathetic displays.  Regardless, the two whack into eachother and the force of the knock forces Sada to the side.  Both recover and Sada proceeds to weakly tsuppari Daido.  Daido get in low and pulls Sada down.

Takanoyama vs. Aoiyama
Might I say classic Takanoyama on this bout.  Aoiyama rushes in at first and forces Taka back with an arm choke to the neck.  Aoiyama follows this up with some tsuppari.  After a little bit of struggling Taka recovers and then grabs on to Aoi’s arm. Taka pulls Aoi by his arm in a circle… probably trying to swing him out of the ring. However, Aoi breaks the Taka’s grab and goes in for the mawashi grab.  He doesn’t get so Aoi locks Taka’s arm and force pushes Taka out.

Okinoumi vs. Hochiyama
Not so bad of a bout… Both go in at tachiai and Hochiyama immediately locks Oki’s arm.  Once he had the lock he moves to the side, probably expecting Oki to lose some balance.  Oki cares not about this… he just hugs the guy and forces Hochi back and out. Solid.

Takarafuji vs. Miyabiyama
What is with this day? I haven’t seen so many tsuppari’s consecutively… I mean I don’t know what I was expecting with Miyabiyama, but if you fight him expect a tsuppari! Come on Takara… Anyways, Takara goes in at the start and surprise, surprise… Miyabiyama goes for the arm choke to the neck then the tsuppari.  Then quickly Miyabs steps back and tries a sneaky pull down which utterly fails.  So screw it, right … how bout some more tsuppari.  Logical.  After dancing around the ring in constant tsuppari for like 15-20 seconds with ever so often failed take downs, Takara retreats to the edge of the ring most likely to compose himself. But, Miyabi quickly pushes him up then pushes him out.

Takayasu vs. Kitataiki
Good match by Kitataiki.  At taichiai both go in low and try to force one to lose ground. Taka then starts some tsuppari and Kitataiki fights his arms off.  In doing so Kita loses his balance and Taka almost successfully pulls him down.  However, Taka seems to move back I little too much and can’t properly pull do it.  This gives Kita some time to recover, but Taka rushes in quickly.  Kita proceeds to grip the mawashi and forces Taka back and out.  Congrats on his KK.

Wakanosato vs. Goeido
Powerful display by Goeido.  He goes in low and fast and keeps a forward movement.  Wakanosato just kind of hubbles over and then out.

Wakaoyu vs. Fujiazuma
Both come in looking to choke or push the other out. Waka quickly steps back and pulls Waka down.

Asasekiryu vs. Homasho
From the start they rush in Homasho keeping it a little lower than Asa.  Homasho loses some ground then quickly over powers Asa and forces him back.  Asa tries to escape but eventually steps out.

Takekaze vs. Aran
Surprisingly the wind from Moriyoshi didn’t decide to henka this time.  He rushed in with his arms stretched out… probably trying to keep Aran upright. This works a bit and Aran moving backwards tries to push Take down.  This fails and Aran reaches the edge of the ring. Immediately Aran kind of pushes Take behind him in an attempt to force him out before Aran himself is out.  It works and they both fall out. Takekaze first. Aran wins.

Tochinoshin vs. Yoshikaze
A bout of no importance, but come on… you really think I wouldn’t report on the little sucker.  I guess Yoshi tries a little henka action, but Noshin was all over him.  Yoshi then scurries about for a little bit. Noshin had his number and plops him out and flushes the toilet.  Nice and clean, only three wipes…

Gagamaru vs. Tochinowaka
Lord Gaga is that much closer to gaining his KK.  His strength clearly displayed in this bout.  They both go in and the Lord slowly pushes him back and out.  Nice.

Kakuryu vs. Shotenro
It was only two days ago that this guy (Shotenro) was tied with Kaks.  I guess Tenros is losing his gas.  Tenro shows an impressive start by rushing in and pushing against Kaks chest.  Kak seemed to be losing ground a little and frantically tries to grip the mawashi.  While Kak is doing this Tenro gets Kak to the edge.  At this point I’m thinking Kak’s record is ruined, damn it.  However,  he gets the mawashi and forces Tenro back.  Kak gains the momentum and impressively moves him from one side of the ring to the other and BOOM. Out. One more win and one step closer to 14-1 vs 14-1 showdown with the Hak.

Myogiryu vs. Aminishiki
Myogi goes in at tachiai for a grip. Aminishiki pushes him back, and Myogi counters with some tsuppari and a neck choke.  This forces Amini back and ultimately out.  Good win for Myogi.

Baruto vs. Kotoshogiku
You got to feel sorry for the guy… I mean he almost had it.  I guess this proves that he just doesn’t have what it takes just yet.  Kotoshogiku goes in low and get a mawashi grip. Barto tries for something but gets nothing really.  Baruto circles around back clearly at a loss while the Geek is cement on his mawashi.  Baruto gets on the edge of the ring tries to lift the Geek, but steps out and crashes on the floor… just like his dreams of being Zuna’d.

Kisenosato vs. Toyonoshima
Quick bout. Kise goes in. Clearly losing at tachiai, Toyo retreats to the side. Keis follows applying the pressure and pushes Toyo out.

Tochiozan vs. Harumafuji
What happened, haha! Haruma rushes in then pushes Ozan up. Theres a split second of nothing, and then Haruma slaps Ozan in the face.  Immediately after Haruma grabs the mawashi and pressures him backwards and out. Damn entertaining!

Hakuho vs. Kootoshu

Haks rushes in and grabs some mawashi.  Oshu locks Haks arms and gets himself  one mawashi grip.  With his other hand, Oshu locks Haks arm.  After shaking his booty a little bit, Haks locks one of Oshu’s arms and tries a throw. He fails and they hug it out again. Haks quickly gains two hands on the mawashi and waits.  Oshu stands up a little and swtiches his grip so his arms in Haks’ arm pits.  Haks relinquishes one grip and pivots to the side using his other mawashi grip to swing Oshu to the side and out.  Nice work on Haks.

Now that that’s out of the way… I can prepare for the next gathering and for tonight’s long awaited drink with good ole Creswell!  See you soon!

Day 13

ChiyomatagiHey boys and squirrels. Montana here for your day 13 update. Hands down days 13-15 are the most interesting for me because you get to see a lot of the more complacent rikishi start to put their asses on the line when they realize that they are at risk of getting sent packing. I am going to be sipping on a fantastic glass of Cragganmore 12 while I ponder today’s bouts.

Questions for today are whether The Hak and the Kak can continue their winning streaks to leave us with a tantalizing playoff finish on day 15? Can Kissy and the Eurozeki get their KKs or will one (or both) be left kadoban come July? Why did immigration officials allow Creswell back into the country? Hopefully we can get some answers over the next few days.

Starting down in Juryo today, Takamisakari managed to pick up a win and move to a respectable 7-6 record. He is currently ranked at J8 which means that even if he wins the rest of his matches he’ll still be stuck in juryo for at least another basho. Good luck next time Robocop.

Brazilian cocktease Kaisei also manages to pick up a kotenage win today which moves him to a 9-6. Unlike Ringo, the Brazilian does have a chance at making a reappearance in makuuchi if he can win one or two more.

Early Juryo leader Chiyotairyu (9-4) was made to eat dirt today by Kyokushuho which allowed Kimikaze (10-3) to take the division lead-a fact I’m not too sad about considering the amount of hatakikomi and hikiotoshi wins the wolf pup racks up.

Moving on up to the big league

J1 Kotoyuki (5-7) vs M14 Ikioi (5-7)
Both Konayuki and the Sticky Icky were looking to avoid Makekoshi today. Koto managed to get a few handslaps in Ikioi’s chest and push him out allowing him to improve to 6-7. The Shinyumaku Ikioi can’t afford to lose anymore or he will likely get demoted in July.

M11 Asasekiryu (4-8) vs M16 Takanoyama (3-9)
A relatively straightforward tachi-ai from the Czech today. After clashing with Asasexyryu he immediately went for the arm bar move that he was unable to successfully pull off on Daido earlier in the basho. Asa looks sluggish and was unable to get the lighter rikishi out of the ring before he got his leg hooked and was sent down to the floor via a very judo-esque kakenage. Takanoyama is already headed down to Juryo, but unless Asa wins a couple himself he is about to join his lighter opponent down there as well.

M10 Sadanofuji (4-8) vs M11 Tenkaiho (6-6)
Sadanofuji chooses to take on the lump that is Tenkaiho in a belt match and ends up forcing him out with a rather normal-looking yorikiri.

M12 Fujiazuma (5-7) vs M9 Miyabiyama (6-6)
Miyabiyama looked more like he was playing keep-away than sumo during this match with his repeated and ultimately successful slap down attempts. The old man gets one step closer to getting his KK while Senor Fuji can expect a demotion unless he managaes to win a couple.

M9 Okinoumi (6-6) vs M12 Daido (5-7)
After a mismatched start the two go at it in a fight for the belt. Daido easily looked as though he had control through most of this match, but both rikishi ended up falling out of the ring at the same time. After a mono-ii the judges decided to rule the match as a yoritaoshi win for Okinoumi. Seems to me that there have been more than a few matches this basho that have been in need of a re-do. Whatever.

M14 Takarafuji (5-7) vs M8 Takekaze (6-6)
Akita’s angel took on a hungry-looking Takarafuji in a relatively straightforward manner for a yorikiri win. Takekaze goes one away from getting his KK whislt Takarafuji needs to win one or two more to stay in makuuchi.

M7 Takayasu (7-5) vs M15 Tamawashi (7-5)
Good intensity today from both rikishi. Tamawashi easily has the better tachiai and forces Tayasu to the straw quickly. Through sheer determination Takayasu fights his way back into the ring where Tamawashi gives him a lame kick to the leg for his efforts. The two wrestlers pause to get their breath and exchange a few more kicks before Takayasu gets into gear and throws out Tama via shitatenage.

M16 Shotenro (9-3) vs M6 Goeido (9-3)
I think I have been giving Goeido less credit than he is due lately because he has been failing to live up to all of the hype that surrounded him over the past year. Truth is, he has been doing rather well for himself this basho and this hometown crowd is loving every minute of it. Today Geoido manages to give the fans what they want with a hatakikomi win over Shotenro, and he manages to move to a solid 10-3 record. Shotenro falls to a 9-4 that no one except for Shotenro is surpised by. His face after getting slap to the clay was priceless. “Really Bro? Hatakikomi?”

M6 Shohozan (6-6) vs M13 Wakanosato (7-5)
Shoho finally seems to have gotten rid of those weird marks on his back that were supposedly the result of some pressure suction air cup magic therapy. Sadly his lack of polka dots didnt seem to help him today as the larger Wakanosato takes his time and magaes to push the smaller Shohozan out of the ring. Waka gets his kachikoshi and Shohozan falls to 6-7.
*Whisky break – switches to an Ardbeg 10 year old*
M13 Kitataiki (8-4) vs M5 Homasho (8-4)
Is there any other rikishi besides kitataiki that so thoroughly epitomizes a rank-and-filer? I mean, the guy’s makuuchi record is 102-120, and his only division championship was in Juryo when he won with a 10-5. Not only that, but almost all of his wins are oshidashi and yorikiri. He has got to be sumo’s version of cardboard, or porridge, or green peas. Onto the match. Kitataiki and Homasho start hugging straight off the bat and Homasho quickly manages to overpower the green-belted wrestler out of the wring via oshidashi. Congratulations to Cigar Shop and Briton-Meyer.

M5 Wakakoyu (6-6) vs M10 Aoiyama (6-6)
The long awaited (not really) battle between the two best racks in the upper division. Aoiyama manages to stave off Waka’s annoying repeated attempts at his push-pull trick and manages to eventually force the wookie to the clay. A well deserved win for Aoiyama as he moves to 7-6.

M4 Toyonoshima (8-4) vs M7 Toyohibiki (7-5)
Beeker wanted his 8 today as he rushed straight forward into the arms of the smaller Toyo. Shima manages to twist Hibi around and send him toward the bales, but Hibi twists around in lightning speed and re-engages Shima before eventually slipping and falling to the clay for a reason I still can’t see, although the judges ruled it Katasukashi.

M8 Chiyonokuni (3-9) vs M3 Tochinoshin (2-10)
Chiyonokuni just can’t get a break this basho. He has been struggling win an injury and mentally just seems to not be all there this time around. It’s sad considering I think the kid has some real promise. Noshin picks up a default “win” today because Chiyonokuni has dropped out due to injury. It’s probably the only way Tochi could have picked this win up anyway considering how he has been performing.

M3 Kyokutenho (3-9) vs M1 Tochinowaka (4-8)
A lot has been said about Tochinowaka’s potential as he has the body that could easily befit a Yokozuna, but that doesn’t mean crap if he keeps competing like he has been this basho. Kyokutenho makes a pathetic and easily countered attempt at henka at the Tachi-ai but Tochinowaka manages to get back into the midst of things. Doesn’t really matter though as Kyokutenho shows that he wants it more as he grabs the back of Tochi’s head and twists him down to the ground. Matches like this are frustrating to watch. If someone would light a fire under Tochinowaka’s ass and get him to pick up his speed then this contest would be over in under a second. Sadly, he has been sluggish this basho and has a 4-9 record to show for it.

M2 Yoshikaze (3-9) vs K Tochiozan (4-8)
Ohzan picks up a default win over De Gama’s injured lover.

K Gagamaru (5-7) vs M1 Myogiryu (4-8)
Best bout of the day so far. Gaga-sama is calm and collected as he tried to get a neck thrusting win that has been working so well for him in the latter part of this basho, but Myogi managed to get a solid grip and amazingly manhandles the much larger rikishi out of the ring via yorikiri.

M2 Tokitenku (3-9) vs S Aminishiki (4-8)
Tokitenku doesn’t even make an attempt at forward moving sumo as he goes for repeated slap-downs. Sneaky keep punching the Mongolian in the throat until he gets out of the ring but not before he falls victim to one of Toki’s slaps. The Gyoji rules in favor of Aminishiki, and both of the rikishi stop and check on the shinpan that Tokitenku collapsed onto as he fell out of the ring. Surprise surprise, Ami is heading down to join the rank and filers next basho where he belongs.

O Baruto (9-3) vs O Harumafuji (10-2)
Straight away Baruto sticks his tree trunk sized arms in Haruma’s chest and doesn’t even give the other ozeki a chance at retaliation. Haruma goes out without making a pip. Makes you wish you could see more tachi-ais like this from the Yokozuna hopeful.

S Kakuryu (11-1) vs O Kotoshogiku (8-4)
Earlier today, I was looking at a poll we held a few months back about who would become the next Ozeki; Kotoshigku, Kisenosato, and Kakuryu. Kakuryu was the overwhelming S&S fan favorite to win, and bashos like this are the reason why.

The Kak and the Geek go straight away to the belt and both manage to get hidari-yotsu. As Kotoshogiku tries to get his favored grip for gabburi-yotsu, Kakuryu manages to get Morozashi and then, in the best technical bout I have seen this entire basho, Kakuryu times Kotoshogiku’s forward charge perfectly and manages to use his opponent’s enegry to turn morozashi into an uwatedashinage win. Kakuryu is so focused this basho is makes you wonder why he hasn’t been promoted already. With this win today it looks like he has his promotion, if not the yusho, in the bag.

M4 Aran (8-4) vs O Kotoshu (7-5)
Two of my least favorite rikishi at the moment. A straightforward charge, Kotooshu gets a good grip, and Aran gets forced out. Period.

Y Hakuho (11-1) vs O Kisenosato (7-5)
After Kakuryu went for win number 12 this was the match to watch for the day. Hakuho has had trouble with Kisenosato for quite a while now and there was no reason why today wouldn’t be an exception. Straight from the tachi-ai the mongolian went to get his preferred grip but ended up over reaching with his right hand. Kise quickly noticed this and gave the yokozuna a slap to the shoulder which sent him to the bales facing the wrong direction. Hakuho did his best to turn around in time, but the damage was already done. Kise shoved out the Yokozuna with nary a problem.

I swear to god if I hear one call of yaocho I will castrate the offending party with a dull ballpoint pen. The yokzuna went for his preferred grip, overreached and kise took advantage of it. If you think that this was some just part of some grand scheme to allow Kakuryu the yusho then you need take off your tin foil hat.

With Hakuho’s loss today it looks like Kakuryu has the yusho in the bag unless he falls to Kotooshu tomorrow or his Senshuraku opponent (likely Goeido or Toyonoshima)

Stay tuned tomorrow for your day 14 results from Briton-Meyer.

Day 14

HajinochikaraI was a little overeager for Day 14 and I poured my glass of whiskey a bit early. (I’ve finished my Irish Honey and moved on to Bushmill’s White Labeled Irish Whiskey)  One glass led to two and two led to sleep.  So here I am (somewhat) freshly awoken, and sad to say that today’s report will come to you 10 hours after my last glass of whiskey and 10 hours before my next.

I tuned in to juryo last night and enjoyed Takamisakari getting his kachikoshi.  I miss the sound of his three barks in makuuchi and I hope he climbs back up into the big leagues.  Unless something crazy happens, I don’t think we’ll see him in Makuuchi in Natsu Basho, but if he can hold it together, maybe we will see him in Makuuchi before the end of the year.  On a side note, he seems to have added an extra surprise bark to his standard three. http://youtu.be/SOvy0du20Q0  What a great tachiai on the part of both Takamisakari and Kyokushuho.

Kimikaze also continues to look good, now at 11-3 with a win on Day 14 against the Brazilian Hulk.  I don’t know what the hell to say.  What a tachiai on the part of Kimikaze.  He was like a little frogman who sprang at Kaisai throat, spinning in the air and using his flying body as a counter balance in what seemed like an attempt to rip Kaisei’s head clean off his shoulders.  I watched this bout about 5 times.  http://youtu.be/55fgIjpZh9I

Now lets move on to bouts of interest in Makuuchi.

Asasekiryu (4-9) vs Kitataiki  (8-5) with a head-to-head of 3-3. I was kind of hoping that Kitataiki would lose this bout.  Its not that I have anything against him, its just that I want to see him ranked at around M9-10.  I think he would be really interesting at that rank, but I think that he’ll end up being boring if he gets ranked much higher.  The bout itself was a well fought, if boring bout.  No surprises, just straightforward sumo, Sexy blocks Taiki’s tachiai charge with hands on Taiki’s shoulder, Taiki gets left hand on Sexy’s belt, and moments afterward Sexy gets the same grip on Taiki’s belt.  Taiki works the feet while Sexy goes for both hands on belt.  Taiki defends his belt, and gets Sexy off balance and moving backwards.  A hug and chug and Sexy is out.

Daido (5-8) vs. Aoiyama (7-6) with a head to head of 0-1.  This bout is mainly interesting because of how it turned out.  Aoiyama loses and now finds himself with a 7-7 record going into the final day.  Well, I gave away the result, but lets look at how Aoiyama loses.  First off a false start.  Maybe its just me, but Aoiyama seems to stare down Daido like a tough guy with a chip on his shoulder.  Aoiyama is nice and low at the tachiai, and the bout explodes into a mess of arms groping for the belt.  Too bad Aoiyama forgot to look behind him.  He walks backwards out of the ring and falls off the edge.

Takanoyama (4-9) vs. Miyabiyama (7-6), this is the first time the two face each other.  The last bout was interesting because it put Aoiyama in a sink or swim position for tomorrow.  This bout was interesting because of Takanoyama.  A tsuppari start with a couple nasty blows to Takanoyama’s face before he got the windmills turning.  Both rikishi windmilling away, and then Takanoyama goes off balance and falls forward, end of bout… wait… Takanoyama grabs Miyabiyama’s arms, and recovers, but unfortunately his knees touch the… touch the… touch the… DON’T touch the ground, but now there is a lot of momentum as Takanoyama pulls on Miyabiyama’s arm.  Takanoyama is on the rope… balancing like a madman, Miyabiyama goes in for the final pushout, but Takanoyama bends to the side and avoids it.  Miyabiyama recovers just as Takanoyama is trying to get off the rope.  Miyabiyama shoves Takanoyama back onto the rope and it looks like it is all over, but Takanoyama grabs Miyabiyama’s armpit to stabilize himself.  Miyabiyama is sick of it, he throws his arms up in the air and Takanoyama is finally out.  Takanoyama is going to be great to watch down in Juryo next basho.

Tamawashi (7-6) vs. Toyohibiki (7-6) with a head-to-head of 3-4. I’ve started to like Toyohibiki this basho.  In this bout, he goes into the tachiai and gets a hand under Tamawashi’s chin, lifting up his rug-burned opponent, and charging forward.  Tamawashi gives up ground, but gets the lower position again for a second until Hibiki lifts him up at the ropes and pushes Tamawashi out.  This leaves Tamawashi in a sink or swim position going into Day 15 with a 7-7 record.

Okinoumi (7-6) vs. Goeido (10-3) with a head-to-head of 1-5.  We here at Sumo and Stogies tend to be skeptical of Japanese Hopefuls.  It seems to me that the worst thing that can happen to a rikishi is to be labeled by the Japanese Media as a Japanese Hopeful.  That said, Goeido is a good rikishi and deserves more attention than I have been giving him (despite my grudge over his win against Homasho this basho).  Okinoumi is one of the rikishi I always like to see do well.  Goeido had this bout from the beginning.  He controlled Okinoumi and pushed him out.  Goeido looking strong this basho.  Okinoumi going into Day 15 with that dreaded 7-7 sink or swim record.

Toyonoshima (9-4) vs. Shotenro (9-4), with a head-to-head of 3-0.  Shotenro started this basho off with a bang, hanging in the yusho race from down at the bottom of the banzuke for all of the first week.  Now Shotenro is getting a taste of what it is like up at the top.  Shotenro is one to keep an eye on in coming bashos.  He isn’t up to fighting the post-intermission rikishi yet, but he is looking good.  He gave Toyonoshima a run for his money today – Shotenro is going to have to work on his balance and his recovery speed if he wants to fight well up to the upper half of the banzuke.  Toyonoshima goes double digits with a win over Shotenro.

Gagamaru (4-9) vs. Homasho (9-4) with a head-to-head of 0-6.  I would always cover Homasho, of course, but today Homasho went double digits with his win over Jelly Belly.  Homasho was ready for anything and when Jelly Belly hit too low on the tachiai, Homasho used the strange physics of the pot belly to roll Gaga into a ball and leave him on the ground.

Baruto (10-3) vs. Kisenosato (8-5) with a head-to-head of 18-4.  The Baruto Express seems to have run out of steam.  Kisenosato leads the charge off the tachiai, but Baruto gets an early left hand on belt.  The two lock up, I can’t quite see what Kisenosato is holding onto there, but I think it is Bart’s belt.  He tugs it anyhow.  Bart looking to get both hands on belt, he manages it, but ends up in a standing position with Kisenosato pushing him upwards and back.  Now both rikishi have both hands on belt, and they start a game of teeter-totter.  Baruto can’t keep his hands on Kisenosato’s belt, losing his grip twice, the two move in clusterfuck formation to the edge and Baruto is out.

Kakuryu (12-1) vs Kotooshu (8-5) with a head-to-head of 13-9.  Nice tachiai by the two rikishi (I love the gyoji’s voice).  Kakuryu is low, trying to reach along the vast stretches of Kotooshu’s upper torso to get hands on belt.  He gets his grip and protects the low ground.  Kotooshu goes for a hand on the back of Kakuryu’s belt, but it won’t help him much without leverage, Kakuryu won’t let him get the leverage, but this means giving up ground.  Kotooshu smells the win and pushes Kakuryu back.  Kakuryu pulls a wonderful throw at the ropes, both rikishi rotate through the air with Kotooshu landing on bottom.  Win number 13 for Kakuryu, and with that win, he all but locks down the yusho.

Hakuho (11-2) vs Harumafuji (10-3) with a head-to-head of 23-10.  Hakuho needs to pick this bout up in order to preserve even the faint hope at pulling out the yusho.  The two face off with Haruma letting fly his usual antics.  Haruma fails to make contact with one wild thrust and loses his balance.  Hakuho guides him down to the ground.  I’ll leave the yaocho speculation to others.

To sum up, Aioyama, Tamawashi, and Okinoumi all go into the final day with a set of sevens and their kachikoshi in the balance.  Toyonoshima and Homasho joined the double digits club.  Kakuryu continued to rock out.

As for Hakuho, I think we are starting to see a bit of decline in his sumo.  Of the three rikishi he lost to last basho, he lost to two of those again this basho.  The yusho race is also now out of Hakuho’s control.  Kakuryu might lose tomorrow and Hakuho will probably win, but there is nothing Haks can do except sit and wait.

Daly can never relax until the job is done.  Its a good thing he is here to get it done tomorrow.

Senshuraku

MatagidanTaking the Senshuraku report is always a bit risky. Yeah, there is always a few dudes trying to get their eight, but the Yusho race is often decided. Today that is not the case. If Kakuryu loses out to Goeido and Hakuho beats Baruto then we’ve got ourselves a race.  Let’s check in with those that matter and those that are going for their eight today.

Asasekiryu vs Tamawashi

Tamawashi needed one more at 7-7 to get his eight. At 4-10 Asasekiryu was fighting for pride. Tama drives in at the tachi-ai and secures a solid nodowa at the bales. The Former Secretary is able to grab Mawashi’s arm and removed it from his throat, knocking the 7-7 Mongol off balance. Tamawashi attempts a throw which brought the two men back to the center of the dohyo. Asa secured a solid right hand outside grip, waited and then threw Tamawashi via the mawashi down to the ground with an excellent uwatedashinage. Tama falls to 7-8.

Hochiyama vs Aoiyama

Aoiyama, my money shot pick (after Takayasu was taken) has a chance at his eight today as well. The Bulgarian faced off against big boy Hochiyama. Both rikishi let the tsupari fly and by my analysis were both too upright. Hoochimama then gets too low and Aoiyama easily wins and gets his 8 via sukuinage.

Okinoumi vs Takanoyama

Ok  I don’t care for Takanoyama’s sumo, unlike many of the other writers of this sumo website. I am sure he’s a great guy and I am a grateful for the entertainment he brought to this basho, but I will be more interested to see how much longer he lasts in Juryo and if he makes it back to the Makuuchi division. As I stated in my last report: smart rikishi should not lose to him. Once Okinoumi realized that the Czech was going to face him straight up he simply over powered Takanoyama right out of the ring. If you take the tachi-ai surprise factor out of the bout Takanoyama will struggle to win against most rikishi at this level. Don Juan from Shimane Prefecture gets his eight. Takanoyama drops back down to a more competitive Juryo.

Takayasu vs Shotenro

Unlike Takanoyama, I do love Kisenosato’s other stablemate Takayasu. Kid is a fighter and if it wasn’t for a few guys ranked a bit lower on the banzuke than they should be, I am sure he would have had a shot at a special prize this tournament. Anyone who doesn’t back down against the big shots is ok in my book. Shotenro and Takayasu came in with even records but one would end up with ten and the other would  be stuck at nine. The tachi-ai Shotenro let out his patented roar (has anyone else notice the strange sounds that come out of his mouth at the tachi-ai?) and drove Takayasu back. Yasu fought back with a nodowa and the Mongolian attempted a sloppy one-armed throw. This gave Takayasu a good opportunity to grab hold of the mawashi with both hands and drive Shotenro out of the dohyo and into the second row. Shotenro dies down to an average 9-6 and Takayasu ends up 10-5.

Miyabiyama vs Homasho

Homasho ends on a high note with an 11-4 record. To Briton-Meyer’s joy, Homasho finally started to get low and defensive. When Homasho does this he’s tough to beat. Miyabiyama keeps on trucking and manages to end with an 8-7 record.

Kakuryu vs Goeido

At 13-1 and 11-3 this was without a doubt the bout everyone was waiting to see. On the one hand you have Kakuryu who has a chance to seal the deal and win the Yusho. On the other hand you have an under ranked and underperforming Goeido, and that’s saying a lot since the kid is 11-3 going in! Goeido harites the crap out of Kakuryu’s face, gains the mawashi, and wins by yorikiri in less than four seconds. Kakuryu, was it the nerves, did that slap surprise you, or did you forget this was for all the marbles? Anyway you slice it, Hakuho needs to beat Baruto to force a playoff. With 33 wins in the last three basho however, I would assume that will be enough for him to earn the promotion (though I haven’t read anything officially stating that).

Kisenosato vs. Kotoshogiku

Kisenosato beat everyone in the yusho race this basho (Baruto, Kakuryu, & Hakuho) but still found himself with an awful  9-5 record going into this bout. Here are some people Kisenosato lost to this basho: Tochinowaka, Tokitenku, Harumafuji, Kotooshu, and Tochiozan. Seriously kid needs to pull it together. With his partner in crime Kotoshogiku at 8-6 this one shouldn’t surprise you. Kid gets man handled but The Geek in less time than it took Goeido to take out Kakuryu. Both Ozeki end with underperforming 9-6 records. More on that at the end of this report.

Kotooshu vs Harumafuji

At 8-6 one must assume Kotooshu’s sumo days are numbered. He’s lost the drive.  Today Ama harited him back about three feet. Big-O came rushing back at Haruma and it took Haruma about a half second to throw him off the dohyo with what looked like a choreographed uwatenage. Haruma ends with a respectable 11-4 record.

Hakuho vs. Baruto

If Hakuho wins this one Kakuryu and him go to a playoff and the fans will certainly go wild. The tachi-ai was won by Baruto who gained the left hand inside grip. Hakuho drove in hard and gained the left as well. Baruto began to push Hakuho to the bales but he got himself way too upright and failed to grab the right hand outside grip giving Hakuho the advantage in a huge way! The Dai Yokozuna gains the two handed inside grip and turns Baruto around and easily forces the Estonian out of the ring. Bart ends with a decent 10-5 record but certainly not enough to be considered for Yokozuna promotion. The Playoff is set and the people of Osaka could only be happier if Kisenosato hadn’t lost to so many chumps. Still, any playoff ain’t bad.

Kettei Sen: Hakuho vs Kakuryu

Hakuho’s left hand harite gains him the left hand outside grip at the tachi-ai. Kakuryu fights back to the center of the ring before Hakuho gains both hands on the mawashi, as does the Sekiwake! Hakuho has him on the bales and Kakuryu lifts Hakuho off the ground to get himself back into the match. Hakuho then plants his right foot hard on the dohyo and manages a two handed throw to tie Takanohana Oyakata’s 22 Yusho record! What a day!

If this isn’t proof positive of what happens when there is a Yokozuna so far beyond everyone else I don’t know what is! With Kakuryu’s 33 wins in the last three basho, he deserves to be promoted Ozeki.  That will make for six Ozeki, none of which can truly meet the Yokozuna ability wise. What on earth is the NSK to do? Six Ozeki is a lot of dudes. I would like to see a small rule changed for the Ozeki rank, and I know I am not alone on this one. My argument stems from what I see (and many other fans too) as the problem: 8-7 is not a respectable or acceptable record for an Ozeki. It should not be enough to keep the rank. Especially when you have a Dai Yokozuna making it so damn hard to surpass him!  What’s reasonable?  What do you guys think? Do Ozeki have it too easy or not?

I hope you enjoyed the best basho of 2012 to date! We want to thank everyone who is taking the time to check us out. We (S & S members) do this for us, because we love this sport, but it’s fun to share with all parties interested in sumo. We’ve certainly seen an uptick in interest in the last two years and want to continue to bring the whiskey and stogies into the sumo fan community all-year round. Cheers and be on the look out. Briton-Meyer’s got the post-basho wrap-up and Money Shot in review! Valentine’s got his top ten too. Lots to look forward to dear readers. Cheers, Daly

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