14. Natsu 2012

Natsu 2012

Shonichi

MatagidanWelcome back sumo fans! Natsu Basho brings us back home to Tokyo but this time with six Ozeki instead of five. Will the new challenge bring yet another day fifteen yusho race or will Hakuho-zeki take it again without breaking a sweat? Hang on for the ride folks, I am Josef Daly and this is your Natsu Basho Shonichi report.

Shontero vs. Chiyotairyu

Newcomer Chiyotairyu still doesn’t have the hair quite yet for the mage but he’s certainly doesn’t seem scared to be in the top division. Today he faced off against Shotenro. The new kid reminds me a bit of Hokutoriki the way he stared down the Mongol today, but only time will tell. Today he false started against Sho but the second time through Sho Sho went a little too forward and Chiyotairyu was able to easily pull him down for the win.

Tokitenku vs. Kitataiki

Kitataiki’s knee looked pretty rough today. Toki seemed to ease up to let Kita take him towards the bales, but when they got there Kita’s knee didn’t hold up and Tokitenku easily threw the Tokyo native to the ground.

Wakakoyu vs. Miyabiyama

When I think of these two rikishi I think of tsupari to stand the other guy up and then a definitive slap to take the guy down. Waka does just that to move Old Man Miyabi down to 0-1.

Okinoumi vs. Tochinowa

Always fun to see your favorites face off, eh. Pretty Boy Don verus the Big Boy Lee. Two fairly young rikishi worth watching. One whose improved greatly at the Tachi and the other big enough to make it to the top one day, I hope, but likely not today. Don hits first and grabs Tochi’s wrapped arm at the tachi-ai. It got the big boy off balance and from there Don Juan gains the mawashi and walks my favorite Tochi out of the ring with relative ease.

Takekaze vs. Goeido

Akita’s only Makuuchi son faced off against new old sekiwake Goeido. It’s good to see him finally back near the rank we’d expect to see him at. I see him winning 9 this time round. I can’t wait to see him face off against the other Sekiwake Toyonoshima. Today was like a vacation for the Goeido. Takekaze literally ran out of the ring without much contact. Akita down 0-1 while new old future of Japan Sumo moves to 1-0.

Got to love when six Ozeki come out to play. M2 Gaga faced off on shin-Ozeki Kakuryu today. The big Gaga has never beaten Kakuryu and today was more of the same. Kakuryu gets hold of the belt and finally throws the big boy down. Can the Gaga win 8 at this rank? M10 is the highest rank he’s had with a winning record and he really hasn’t had much luck any higher. I’m hoping he gets 7. Kakuryu picks up his first Ozeki win. Let’s hope he’s in the race on Senshuraku and not just easing into his eighth win!

Kotooshu vs. Myogiryu

Can the young aggressive Myogiryu pull off the upset? Well you’ve got to love a straight up bout and that’s what we had here today. Myogiryu and Big-O going even at the tachi-ai. Both attempted a few slap downs but in the end Kotooshu edged out the smaller rikishi. Good stuff from both men.

Takayasu vs. Kotoshogiku

What a joy it is to report when you’ve got young guys like Takayasu to follow. Kid is tough, no doubt due to his former Oyakata and stablemates. Today he went toe to toe with Kotoshogiku. To Geeku maneuvers him out of the ring easily but you’ve still got to love that with most bouts there’s a level of unknown. After hitting rock bottom, I truly hope we are beginning to see an uptick in interest in Japan and abroad. There is so much to love about the sport right now.

Kisenosato vs. Aran

Alan starts this one with a harite to the Ozeki’s face but it does next to nothing as Kise simply pushes Alan hard. Before the Russian can recover, Kise is moving forward and Alan just steps out of the ring. Kisenosato off on the right foot moves to 1-0. Gambare Nippon!

Toyonoshima vs. Baruto

Looking at these two you’d think Baruto could never lose to a guy like Toyonoshima and you’d be right… four times out of five. Baruto has won 16 of their twenty matches against each other including today’s bout. Now I bet you are wondering who won? Well your in luck dear reader, here’s what went down. The two wrapped up at the tachi-ai and it looked to me like Bart’s knee buckled a little, giving Toyo the inside grip. Unfortunately for Toyo it didn’t do much good. Bart lifts the smaller rikishi in the air about three meters high and gentle sets him outside of the ring. Bart moves to 1-0! Ma armastan Eestit ja Baruto! (I love Estonia and Baruto!)

Harumafuji vs. Homasho

Went Homasho get defensive I think he’s pretty tough to beat. The first half of this bout Haruma was getting nadda from his forward attacks on the Komusubi. The Ozeki hesitates and Homasho attacks. Too bad for him because Haruma easily brings him down to the ground via a hatakikomi. Ama get’s to 1-0 too! Ozeki going 6-0 today!? Who’d of thunk it?

Hakuho vs. Aminishiki

With six undefeated Ozeki I’d expect more the same from Hakuho. Sadly that’s not what we got today. Maybe this is to spark interest into the work week after the Japanese long holiday Golden Week or perhaps it was just messy sumo? Either way, Hak misses his grip and sloppily hops round as Sneaky pulls him out of the ring and the seat cushions go a-flying a top the dohyo to end Shonichi.

Senshuraku will tell, but tomorrow Virgil V will set us free with his day two report. See you again on Friday.

 

Day 2

MatagiyamaAhoy, Mateys!  Welcome back on board for the Summer Basho–a good six weeks before summer officially begins.  As always, I shall pick-n-choose my favorite bouts to comment on for today.

We start with M8E Tochinoshin (1-0) vs. M10W Chiyotairyu (1-0).  It was the first match up between these two, but Chiyotairyu came out of the chute like he had a bone to pick with Tochinoshin.  Two big blows to the chin by Tairyu, then No-shine finished him off with an easy slap-down.  The Georgian is on a roll at 2-0.

M9E Tokitenku (1-0) vs. M6W Aoiyama (1-0): I’ve never seen such a lame henka attempt as the one Toki tried today.  He stood straight up and put a left on the Bulgarian’s right shoulder as if they were about to start the chick-dance.  Aoi easily pushed the disgraced Mongol outbound with a push-out win.

OE Harumafuji (1-0) vs. M2W Gagamaru (0-1); though this match-up features one of the lightest men in the division versus the heaviest, Haruma has a 2-0 edge over Gaga.  At the tachiai, Haruma went straight for the throat, thus raising Gaga center of gravity, but Gaga stepped back out of it and came back in towards Haruma with a strong two-arm thrust nearly sending the Mongol off-balance and out of the ring.  Near the rice bales and with Hoss hauling at him, Haruma sidestepped to the left and put a hand on Gaga’s already-low head to pull down.  Just as Gaga flew to the clay, Haruma was off balance and went down with his whole body, as he refused to put down his foot outside the ring.  Rewatching the tape a few times, it’s clear this bout warranted a rematch as Gaga’s hands went down precisely as Haruma’s body re-met the surface of the earth.  Nevertheless, none of the judges saw it that close, and the bout went to Gaga without question.  Gaga improves to 1-1 with this push-out win.  Harumafuji is the first ozeki to fall, and he also stands at 1-1.

M2E Myogiryu (0-1) vs. OW Kakuryu (1-0); Myogiryu was hotter at the tachiai and had the Kak moving back, but in doing so Myogi just about lost his balance.  Regaining his balance and with his head already low, Myogi dug into the Kak’s chest and drove the Shin-Ozeki right out of the ring.  Another push-out win over an Ozeki, and a fine performance by Myogi who nearly lost it all with that wobbling act in the start.

OE Kotooshu (1-0) vs. SW Goeido (1-0); though the Eurozeki has a 12-3 lead over Goeido, I’d kind of like to see a third ozeki fall just to satisfy sadistic pleasures.  Well, the Eurozeki sure didn’t let me down!  Oshu’s tachiai was strong and he was digging forward on Goeido who was only squirming at first, but found opportunity knocking when Oshu had his right paw too high.  Goeido worked into his right arm pit and the two went into the nage position.  When the dust settled, Goeido hit the clay last with a beltless arm throw win.  A rare quality win by the Kansai Kid.

OE Kisenosato (1-0) vs. KW Aminishiki (1-0): a long history between these two adds up to 19-12 in Kissy’s favor.  Fresh off a win over the Yokozuna, today Sneaky came out a-blazin’ at the tachiai, but it didn’t really lead Kissy back further than just one step.  Kissy squared back up with Sneaky and got some good thrusts in, but Sneaky hung with him by securing a right on Kissy’s belt.  Kissy eventually finished him off with a strong left-hand thrust down which send Sneaky down to the clay.

M1W Takayasu (0-1) vs. OW Baruto (1-0): tachiai started off lack-luster with both men reaching out as if they needed bear hugs.  Taka went hands to Bart’s chest while Bart tried lifting up on both arms of his opponent.  Bart succeeded, and won a right in the armpit and a left on the shoulder.  With that, it was an easy force-out win for the Estonian.

YE Hakuho (0-1) vs. M1E Aran (0-1): Hak leads the head-to-head 9-0.  The Yokozuna decided to bring his ass-kickin’ game-face today, hit Aran like a ton of bricks at the tachiai and went right for his right-hand inside, left-hand out.  Aran had similar grips, but was no match as the Yokozuna lowered his hips and drove forward.

It’s too early to say hardly anything about how this basho will develop.  Just watch, enjoy, and pour yourself a straight sippin’ whiskey!

 

Day 3

MatagiyamaFolks, welcome to Day 3 sumo action.  I dare say I’m stuck with the dirty work in that I have to report the first few days this basho, and the other fellas get to be with you when the yusho race starts to heat up.  Nevertheless, some quality bouts today, and I’ll limit my comments to these.

M10E Wakanosato (2-0) vs. M11E Shotenro (0-2): head-to-head was 5-2 in Waka’s favor.  Today, Sho charged with hands in Waka’s armpits, but Waka lifted up at the elbows which allowed him to stifle Sho’s charge.  The two then stood motionless whispering sweet nothings in each others ears for a while, occasionally trying out new ballroom dance moves.  Just about at the point where the gyoji texting on his iPhone to wait this one out, Waka came in close to Sho and whipped to the right using his left leg to off-balance Sho and tossed him in some sort of spinning ballerina move.  Shotenro was grinning after the bout, but it must have been something Waka said because it sure wasn’t the quality of his sumo…or he might have just had gas.  Underarm throw win by the Aomorian, who improves to 3-0.  The Mongol is also perfect, at 0-3.

M9E Tokitenku (1-1) tried out another ketaguri on M8E Tochinoshin (2-0), but missed completely.  Tochinoshin wasn’t able to capitalize completely and the two locked up migiyotsu.  Tochi tried lifting the Mongol a couple of times, but Toki’s no lightweight.  Giving up on the heavy lifting, Noshin went for an over-arm throw.  Toki countered by using his right leg to pick up on Noshin’s left.  They two came down to the clay together, both prima donnas laying down a hand first to protect their beautiful faces.  Gyoji gave it to Noshin, and the boys in black came in for a conference to decide who’s less pussy.  They confirmed the decision, and Tochinoshin picks up a 3rd win, while Tokitenku falls to 1-2.

SE Toyonoshima (1-1) vs. KW Aminishiki (1-1): 16-13 all time, falling Toyo’s favor.  Hell of a spirited bout between these two with a history.  Sneaky quickly earned himself a right-hand outside which could guide the Tugboat in front of him, but the Tugboat also earned himself a deep left-hand inside to counter the Sneak.  Tugboat slipped his left up on Sneaky’s shoulder and pulled forward for a sweet belt-less arm throw off the dohyo.  Toyonoshima improves to 2-1 while the Sneak falls to 1-2.

M2E Myogiryu (1-1) vs. OW Baruto (2-0): the Estonian couldn’t manage a grip of Myogi’s hot, sweaty, voluptuous body, but still managed to barrel his chest into the youngin’ and oshidashi-ed him out of the ring.  Bart’s on top of the fresh leader board with a 3-0 start.  Myogiryu has a respectable 1-2.

OE Harumafuji (1-1) vs. M1E Aran (0-2): head-to-head was 7-2, leaning the Haruma way.  Haruma kept lower than Aaron from the tachai and on from there, with his head buried in the Russian’s chest.  Once Haruma gained an outside left on the belt, he swiftly swung Aaron out of the ring.  A purdy force-out win by the Mongol, who is at 2-1 while Aaron stays perfect at 0-3.

SW Goeido (2-0) vs. OW Kakuryu (1-1): head-to-head is 8-4, in the Kak’s favor.  The Kak had a hell of a rhythmic bitch slap routine going while Goeido simply flailed his arms around like he was in the mosh-pit.  The Kak finished off the Kansai Kid with an easy “suck it” slap down win.  The Kak rises to 2-1 while Goeido falls to the same record.

OE Kotooshu (1-1) vs. M3E Toyohibiki (0-2): well, let’s see…the Eurozeki secured a right outside and went immediately to the throw (Beeker had no grip).  The Eurozeki’s throw resulted in both men spinning down and Beeker flying out of the ring.  Gyoji pointed in Beeker’s direction and the boys in black sat with their hands in each other’s pockets.  Long story short; Eurozeki was robbed a win, and falls to 1-2.

M2W Gagamaru (1-1) vs. OW Kotoshogiku (2-0): history goes to the Geek 3-0.  Gaga stayed square, but the Geek had a very effective hug-n-chug which simply out-powered Gentleman Gaga.  The Geek improves to 3-0 while Gaga falls to 1-2.

And then there were two…YE Hakuho (1-1) took on challenger in the west M1W Takayasu (0-2).  Takayasu did his homework, and obviously studied the tape of Aminishiki’s win over the Yokozuna on Shonichi.  Today Takayasu was all about the backtracking.  Hakuho drove and Takayasu retreated.  Then they turned directions and Hakuho charged more while Takayasu backpedalled even more until his foot stepped out.  Today’s win by the Yokozuna wasn’t what he did to Takayasu; it was what he was trying to do as his opponent was in reverse the entire time.  After the bout was clearly finished, Hakuho made things right with one fun little dame-oshi, as if to tell Takayasu “you don’t run from me—I own you…bitch.”

They say an Irishman isn’t drunk until he can’t move.  Tomorrow we’ll figure out whether Connolly can type.

Day 4

conollyThis morning I woke up in a daze. I looked to my right and saw a blackboard. I looked to my left and saw three anekomushi going about their usual business. I remembered going to bed, but it wasn’t so long before. The taste of nihonshu flashed enough memories my way to remember where I was, Yagisawa, a super-remote, mountain area with a population of just 15 people. Last night I was drinking with the yougest inhabitant, a 53 year old. We met at the community center, a building that used to be a school many, many moons ago. The locals, the ones young enough to understand smart phones, go there to avail of the free Wi-fi so they can check emails and communicate with the world, as there is zero cellular reception. Their area has little to offer the regular consumer to comsume, and it’s nowhere near the image that many foreigners hold of Japan. But in terms of natural beauty and friendly natured people it’s second to none! …to omoimasu

Anyway, enough with my pointless stories.

Asasekiryu vs. Tamaasuka
Asa’s head slammed into Tama’s right shoulder hard enough to split the skin and draw a nice amount of blood, which was only visable after Tama winning via yorikiri.

Kaisei vs. Takarafuji
Both the Brazilian and the Aomori apple woke up this morning with perfect winning records. Both men went in low at the tachi-ai, but the Brazilian got a solid left hand outside grip and was able to force Taka back and out. He improves to 4-0

Tamawashi vs. Sadanofuji
Tamawashi was off his line much faster than the bigger and heavier Sadanofuji. Tama came in low with a tsuppari attack on Sada’s chest, he drove forward without ever going for or needing the belt. Nice win see him improve to 3-1

Fujiazuma vs. Chiyotairyu
Chiyotairyu hit hard droving Fujiazuma up and then immediately released the pressure and pulled down on his hands. Fuji went scampering forward trying to regain his footing, giving Chiyo the opportunity to throw him down to the dirt. Nice win for the short haired Chiyotairyu.

Tokitenku vs. Kimikaze
After the initial contact, Kimi slipped slightly to the side and got Tokitenku’s right arm into a lock. Keeping the lateral pressure on Kimi tried to drive forward, but couldn’t move the Mongolian back. He then utalised the arm-bar grip, that effectively had Toki neutralised, and drove Toki back and out.

Tochinoshin vs. Tenkaiho
Tochinoshin got himself into a rather strange position where he had his left and right hand on the left back of Tenkaiho’s mawashi. It was a defensive attempt to prevent the Tenkaiho for driving him straight out. But Tenny then grabbed the Shin’s thigh and knocked him over backwards, landing him outside the ring. Sloppy stuff from the Georgian.

Daido vs. Kitataiki
Kita got off to a great start, getting right into Daido’s armpit, applying lateral pressure. He then got a solid right hand outter grip but and looked solid. Daido then attempted a throw, as did Kita, both were unsuccessful. Then completely unexpectedly, Kitataiki lost his footing and fell like a sack of Irish spuds. It was his for the winning.. he threw it away.

Shohozan vs. Shotenro
These two Sho have yet to provide the punters with a descent show. Not a win between them… yet. It was all tsuppari today, with Tenro actually getting an arm bar girp on Ozan, but it appears that Ozans arms are more flexible than most, and he managed to escape the grip. Just after the great escape, he overextended himself, Tenro slipped to the side and Ozan went down, hands first.

Wakakoyu vs. Wakanosato
The 28 year old Chiba Crack taking on the 35 year old crocodile from Aomori (3-0). Wakakoyu kept his hands outstretched and his arse, with mawashi attached, well back. Koyu then backed up, Sato took a slight slip and was easily slapped down to pick up his first loss of the tourney.

Yoshikaze vs. Aoiyama
binyū is the Japanese word for well-shaped boobs. Aoiyama surly has ’em… if you’re into that kind of thing. Yoshi tried to henka at the tachi-ai, but Binyū was all over Yoshi’s face, in some twisted reverse motorboat. Yoshi was completely destroyed this bout. Aoiyama is a perky 4-0

Tochiozan vs. Okinoumi
Rounding out the first half of sumo today were these two undefeated boyos. This was easily the best fight of the day thus far. Both crashed hard and expunged an tremendous amount of energy in the center of the ring. Okinoumi looked to have a slight advantage, but really there was nothing in it. Okinoumi tried to drive forward without a grip of a mawashi, and as Tochiozan neared the bales he launched a armless throw that toumbled Oki to the ground. Nice.

Kyokutenho vs. Tochinowaka
Kyoku got a solid left hand outside grip, and although he couldn’t get a descent right handed grip he forced Tochi back. Before Tochi had officially lost he totally gave up, not exactly the hinkaku we’d like to see on the dohyo.

Toyohibiki vs. Miyabiyama
Miyabi came with the same plan that he ALWAYS has, push up, then pull down. Hibi knew what was going on, kept in close to the fat man, who was pulling when he really shouldn’t have been. There is a time and a place for pulling! Hibi easily pushed him out.

Homasho vs. Goeido
Goeido came of the line at a blistering speed, grabbing a doubble inside grip along the way, and ran Homasho out. Fight time 0.5 seconds… probably. A lot of similiraties with the way Goeido beat Kakuryu last in Osaka.

Kisenosato vs. Gagamaru
Gaga came in low, and got a solid grip on Kissy. He tested the waters out a little with some lateral pressure. Kissy got a solid right handed grip and was in control from there. Kissy then drove the Gentleman back and out. Kissy 4-0

Aminishiki vs. Baruto
Bart couldn’t get a grip of the snakes belt, but the snake had a good frontal grip. Bart pressed forward with his 2 giant hands on the facial scales of what was in front of him. At the bales Ami swisted to his side, and pulled Bart forward to watch Baruto hop out of the ring on his own.

Harumafuji vs. Takayasu
Takayasu prevented Harry from getting the grip he wanted, while getting a deep inside left. They locked up with similar grips, then Harry launched an armlock throw that sent Takayasu tumbling. A great win for the ozeki.

Toyonoshima vs. Kakuryu
Lots of slaps in the fight before Kakuryu finally could find Toyo’s belt and reel him in. Of course he surrendered his belt and Toyo got a good inside right. When Kakuryu went to slip his arm inside Toyo drove forward and it looked like the ozeki was in major trouble. But with a beautiful uwatedashinage things went the right way for the ozeki.

Kotooshu vs. Takekaze
Takekaze tried pushing Kotooshu upright at the tachi-ai! What?? Kotooshu got the belt and drove the Akitan out with ease.

Aran vs. Kotoshogiku
Koto came in low, got a frontal grip and kept moving forward to beat Aran in about 1 second. Good stuff by Kotoshogiku, the Russian however didn’t make an appearance today.

Hakuho vs. Myogiryu
Myogiryu prevented Hakuho from getting the right hand grip that he went for, and as a result neither wrestler had a grip. Hakuho looked a little sloppy, and just drove forward without any grip. The 2 seperated and when they enguaged again the Myog was low and touched the clay with his hand. Not a great fight, and Hakuho didn’t look so good today at all.

Briton-Meyer will be breaking things down for ye all tomorrow.

Cheers for stopping by.

Day 5

HajinochikaraThere comes a moment when a man must admit defeat.  Today, like all sumo days, that moment came for roughly half the rikishi who fought today.  Sadly, my chosen rikishi was in that half today. Sadanofuji reminded me more of Kimurayama today then he did of Homasho.  This is my way of saying that his sumo was powerful like that vacuum they always advertise for around 2 in the morning,which is, in turn, my way of saying his sumo sucked.

Homasho is over ranked at Komusubi,and has yet to pick up a win, but at least he’s showing a little fight in each of his bouts.  He managed to escape Hakuho once before the big man pushed him out of the ring.

Okinoumi, however, is ranked at the M5sweet spot andfought a great bout against Aoiyama today.  I actually thought Aoiyama looked to be incontrol most of the bout, but near the end, the footwork brought Oki a win.

I’ll have to apologize for the brevity of this report.  Technology is not on my side right now and I am homeless or perhaps I they’ll say I am between homes.

Things will be back to normal soon, but not sooner than Daly’s report on Day 6.

Day 6

MatagidanGreetings Sumo Fans! It’s been a long week and like Briton-Meyer, I am in a bit of transition as well.  I am making the transition from bottle of smooth Bushmills Ten Year to Bushmills new Irish Honey. No complaints so far. What’s been your most recent transition?

We’ll start from the top of the Banzuke and work our way down arbitrarily.

Hakuho vs Gagamaru

Gagamaru comes out of the tachi-ai without about as much speed as I’ve ever seen from the Georgian but Hakuho easily wraps him up near the bales. With ease, Hakuho-zeki easily throws the biggins to the dirt.

Kakuryu vs Homasho

Defensive Homie played his best card. The defense card and held the newly made Ozeki from Mongolia at bay for a fair amount of time. Kakuryu and Homasho exchanged powerful pushes from each other until finally Homasho went for some forward moving sumo, and Kakuryu sensing his oppenent overextended simply slapped him down for the win. Kakuryu moves to 5-1.

Harumafuji vs Myogiryu

I like both of these guys and I was looking forward to this bout especially today. One rikishi came ready while the other got taken for a ride right out of the dohyo. Myogiryu fast aggressive style pays off and the M2 moves to a respectable 3-3. Haruma falls to that same number.

Baruto vs Toyohibiki

Baruto patiently works out the beeker for an easy win. My favorite Estonian moves to 5-1 with the yorikiri.

Kisenosato vs Goeido

At Sekiwake Goeido finds himself with a 3-2 record. Certainly nothing to complain about. Kisenosato was 4-1 after losing to my favorite energizer rikishi Myogiryu yesterday. Today Goeido tried to get a low right hand grip but Kisenosato’s diverts the Goeido’s momentum with ease, winning by tsukiotoshi. Kisenosato is staying in the race at 5-1.

Aminishiki vs Kotoshogiku

The leader of the pack Kotoshogiku was 5-0 going into his about against the Ozeki |Yokozuna killer Aminishiki or aka Captain Sneaky. Kotoshogiku is probably thinking and saying one day at a time and I will do my best during his interviews, and hopefully he can hang on and send some shock waves into the life of this sport by winning a yusho. Kotoshogiku was all business today wrapping up the sneak, driving him out of the ring, and giving him a little extra push to seal the deal. Geeku moves to the lead with a 6-0 record.

Kotooshu vs Aran

At 2-3 this was a must win for the Bulgarian Ozeki. Kotooshu pulls Alans arm up high like they were ironically attempting a ugly dance and got his other hand on the mawashi to lead. Waltzing O wins to move to 3-3. Aran needs something because he’s 0-6 right now.

Chiyotairyu vs Aoiyama

Save one lost to Tochinoshin kid hasn’t lost yet in the Makuuchi.  At 4-1 Mageless Chiyo is certainly making some waves. Facing off against the bigger Aoiyama I was curious as to the strategy the new kid might use. I was honestly hoping for some face straight up sumo but what I got surprised me. Chiyotairyu jumped into the air at the tachi-ai, pulling a Mainoumi reminiscent move. This took Aoiyama totally by surprise and Chiyo was simply able to push the bigger man out of the ring with ease at that point. New man moves to 5-1.

Great to see so many competitors still in the race. Have a great weekend of sumo and your favorite beverage. Valentine and yours truly will be bringing the lightning and then the thunder this Natsu Basho Saturday and Sunday.

 

Day 7

MatagiyamaTo our literate readers,

 

Read ‘em and weep!

M15E Fujiazuma (2-4) vs. J4E Takanoyama (3-3): wouldn’t it be embarrassing to lose to someone nearly half your size?  We’d have to ask Fujiazuma to find out.  He had a find tachiai, but the Czech slipped towards an inside position, and stayed inside—even gaining a tight migiyotsu grip.  With his head buried in Fuji’s chest, he forced out Fujizauma.  Great agility and focus won this bout for the lanky Czech, who’ll be back in Juryo tomorrow.

M16E Takarafuji (5-1) vs. M10W Chiyotairyu (5-1): it feels like the first time for these two.  Chiyotairyu had a better tachiai and while Takarafuji put up some resistance, Chiyo lost his balance as he was pushing Takara out of the ring.  Just as Takara’s foot was going out of the ring, Chiyo fell on account of losing his balance and his knee hit the ground.  The men in black went up on the clay to discuss their sex lives, then sat down.  Chief judge realized they made no decision on the bout, so they stood up and returned to the ring for another discussion.  By this time, minutes had passed and the sex talk distracted them from what had just happened in the last bout, so they called for a re-do.

Torinaoshi – again, Chiyo with great thrusts on tachiai, but Takara hung tough, staying in close on his opponent, and worked in on the belt.  The two locked up in a yotsu battle, which is Takara’s kind of sumo.  The Matsuko Delux lookalike finished off the mage-less newcomer with a force down win.  Takarafuji improves to 6-1 while Chiyotairyu falls to 5-2.

 

M15W Tamawashi (5-1) vs. M9W Yoshikaze (1-5): King Tama led the head-to-head 6-2, but today Yoshikaze knew he’d need a double-shot to fight for his Makuuchi career.  Very spirited forward motion and a touch of the hug-n-chug led King Tama to the edge where he attempted a hail-Mary utchari, but it wasn’t enough as Yoshicaffine was a huggin’ and a chuggin’.  Frontal crush out win for Yoshikaze, who needs to pick up a lot more wins to stick around next basho.

M8E Tochinoshin (3-3) vs. M12W Daido (4-2): tachiai was straight to easy grips without any real impact.  Noshin is the stronger man with the more solid grip on the belt, and easily forced out Died-o.

M11W Sadanofuji (2-4) vs. M6W Aoiyama (4-2): the Bulgarian is known as a yotsu-zumo man, but not today.  Aoi came in low and bulldozed right through Sadanofuji with a beautiful thrust-out win.  A couple more wins and Aoi may be heading to joi in Nagoya.

Interesting Kyokutenho chose not to retire after last basho.  The stars were aligned for him to become oyakata of Oshima stable last month when the former oyakata retired, but 37 year-old Kyokutenho chose to keep fighting, and thus the Oshima stable folded and Kyoku and his stablemates were moved to Tomozuna stable.  M5E Okinoumi (5-1) vs. M7W Kyokutenho (3-3): Mongol old-timer ties for 10th all-time winningest rikishi by man-handling Okinoumi around the ring and tossing him like a rag-doll with an over-arm throw win.

M4E Tochiozan (5-1) vs. Kitataiki (2-4) O leads head-to-head 7-2.  Kitataiki dug hard into Tochi’s chest and got the best of the tachiai, but Tochiozan stood his ground and it was over when O got out of defensive, put his hands on Kitataiki nipples, and pressed forward.  Push-out win by the O.

KE Homasho (0-6) vs. KW Aminishiki (3-3): they bonked heads at the tachiai, engaged in a thrusting battle then went in to attack again, they bonked heads another time.  Homasho gained ground when Aminishi goofed in tugging on Ho’s right arm hoping for some kind of pull-down.  This actually helped Homasho come in close so he could finish Sneaky off with a force out win.  Homasho loses that perfect record by improving to 1-6 while Aminishi is 3-4, but mind you those three wins are to Hakuho, Baruto, and Kotooshu.

M1E Aran (0-6) vs. OW Kakuryu (5-1): the Kak leads the head-to-head 8-1.  Kak in low at tachiai, but Aran had some thrusts in there.  The two go in for grips and the Kak worked in a double inside grip while Aran had a double outside.  A double inside is always better than a double outside unless you’re fighting against Baruto.  From here the Kak tightened his grip and only waited to use Aran strength against him.  Aran drove forward and the Kak lowered his hips, thus enabling himself to pivot and put Aran right on the bales and out, force-out win by the cunning Kak.  Aran is still perfect at 0-7.

OE Kotooshu (3-3) vs. M2W Gagamaru (2-4): rather slow tachiai by both, but Kotooshu reached in tight below Gaga’s armpits, thus cutting off the Georgian from reaching his belt for a grip.  Koto gained a double-inside to press forward for an easy force-out win.

M2E Myogiryu (3-3) vs. OW Kotoshogiku (6-0): Myogi never got a belt grip, but was able to do a one-sided clobbering with a speedy drive having his arms under the Geeks armpits.  This was a very quick bout, but thus far I’d call it the bout of this basho.  It’s hard to find any current rikishi who can go chest-to-chest with the Geek, and out do him with such speed.  Hakuho can; Kakuryu can; Harumafuji struggles, but can.  Myogiryu has joined that list.  Fantastic sumo by Myogiryu here.

OE Kisenosato (5-1) vs. M3W Takekaze (1-5) history goes 12-4 in Kissy’s favor.  Kissy stayed in tight on Take who was in retreat most of the bout, and Kissy moved gingerly as to not get fooled into a pull-down.  Easy push-out win by Kissy, who will face a higher-caliber opponent (but lower height) in Toyonoshima tomorrow.

SW Goeido (3-3) vs. OW Baruto (5-1): head-to-head is 8-5 in Bart’s favor.  Goeido was low and went right to a grip at the tachiai.  Bart was up too high and had a double-outside while Goeido kept a double-inside belt grip.  Bart was aiming for one of his lift outs, but Goeido wouldn’t let that happen, and finished off the Ozeki with an outside leg-trip.  Bart is strong even with double-outside, but today’s bout proves the weakness even Baruto has when he has this grip.

OE Harumafuji (3-3) vs. SE Toyonoshima (4-2): Haruma leads the head-to-head 24-7.  Swift, patient, and decisive.  That’s how Haruma wins.  Strong push back at tachiai by Haruma, then when they separate Haruma swung a massive bitch slap which missed Toyo’s face, but it did temporarily blind Toyo.  Haruma used this opportunity to gain a tight migiyotsu grip, and when the timing was right, Haruma acted with a quick over-arm throw.

YE Hakuho (5-1) vs. M3E Toyohibiki (3-3): tachiai started with a bitch-slap harite by Hakuho then a powerful charge on Beeker whom had no resistance but to try to wiggle off center as he retracted.  Near the bales, the Beeker slipped to the right and went out right as Hakuho barreled down to the clay.  Initially the gyoji called the win for Hakuho as he was completely on the offensive, but it was obvious that the Yokozuna went down first.  Monoii was called and it took just a matter of seconds for the boys in black to confirm Kimura Shonosuke’s call was wrong.  Hakuho knew it, and walked down the hanamichi sucking deep breaths just as he does when he wins.  They call it an armlock throw win for the Beeker, who literally wept as he received the prize money and walked down the hanamichi.  Kimboshi for Beeker while Hakuho falls to 5-2.

 

Something’s not right here.  The Yokozuna two losses have both been on account of the Yokozuna moving too fast and losing balance.  It just ain’t like Hakuho.  At the end of day seven, here’s what the leader board looks like…

6-1
Kisenosato
Kotoshogiku
Kakuryu
Tochiozan

5-2
Hakuho
Baruto

4-3
Harumafuji
Kotooshu
Toyonoshima
Goeido
Myogiryu

I know there are others who technically belong in this list, but are in fact insignificant as far as the yusho race goes.  Tomorrow is the first day of ozeki vs. ozeki bouts, so expect to see a lot of changes to this board.

Daly’s got your back on hump day, tomorrow!

 

Day 9

KeishikazawaApologies to all those Creswell fans out there that I’ve been pretty scarce lately.  Everyone that has lived in Japan knows that the men behind the desks never make it simple, and they are many.  So I’m still stuck in the late 20th century with no internet, and no telephone… But you got me for one day, and an interesting day it was.

Tenkaiho v Masunoyama – Masu started off with a healthy advantage at the tachiai, but quickly got into trouble as Tenkaiho managed a decent belt grip.  Things were starting to look bleak for Masu, but a slip to the side and a sukuinage cleared things up for the half-lung wonder.  2-7, 6-3

Asasekiryu v Daido – After a pretty even tachiai, both rikishi were scrambling for a grip like two 14 year olds in a closet at a party at their friends house.  In the middle of the grope fest Daido back away and although Asa just kind of fell, it predictably called a tsukiotoshi.  3-6, 5-4

Fujiazuma v Sadanofuji – There was very little resistance from Fujiazuma, and Sadanofuji’s tsuppari got him one foot closer to out of the hole.  2-7, 4-5

Shotenro v Takarafuji – The tachiai was sloppy, Takarafuji managed to score morozashi, but as the trend seemed to be today, the wily Tenro side stepped and slapped down Takara, him out of the lead.  That being said this is definitely Takara’s best foray into Makuuchi yet, and that is to be commended.  6-3, 7-2

Tamawashi v Chiyotairyu – Washi picks up the fusensho, as Tairyu is out with an injured right ankle and thigh.  I would, however, like to take this time to state that I am thoroughly unimpressed with Chiyotairyu’s over reliance on push-push-pull sumo.  I would like to think that the wolf is gonna give him a stern talking to about acting like a witless boob out there.  7-2, 5-4

Tokitenku v Kaisei – Brazil was out front at the beginning, and looked to have this all tied up, with good position and movement, but Mongolia fought back, going deep inside.  Brazil tried to push back, but Mongolia resisted.  Brazil tried to switch things up and go inside, but Mongolia was not having it, and pushed Brazil all the way over the line.  I tried to make this sound like a soccer game, but it just ended up sounding like porn… oh well.  4-5, 6-3

Kimikaze v Kitataiki – Taiki was a bit low at the tachiai, but managed to recover, although he surrendered the better grip to Kimi, who had some trouble, but eeked out the yorikiri.  DeGama current boner rating: 1/3 Kazes.  4-5, 3-6

Tochinoshin v Wakanosato – BUZZ!  Wakanosato came out on top, maybe predicting the Georgian’s nasty thoughts, but using his sideways momentum, Tochi spun the old guy around like a ragdoll until he was ready for a bit of a spanking to close the deal.  5-4, 4-5

Shohozan v Kyokutenho – One thing we can say about Shohozan is that he has spiwit… bwavado, if you will.  However, today the senior citizen had him moving backward, Hozan went for the belt out of desperation, and Kyoku took them both into the 2nd row and picked up the win.  4-5, 6-3

Yoshikaze v Miyabiyama – Yabber’s shit is just not working on anyone these days.  Yoshi was took quick and Miyabi made a face plant worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and hands him a makekoshi.  DeGama’s boner goes up one more kaze. 4-5, 1-8

Tochiozan v Wakakoyu – As usual with Wakakoyu, if it ain’t over early, he probably hasn’t got a chance, especially if his opponent has a belt grip.  This quickly went to the belt, and Ozan had it sewn up for his KK and to keep his share of the lead intact.  8-1,  5-4

Tochinowaka v Takekaze – BUZZ!  Kaze failed in his sneaky maneuver, but it seemed that Tochi was unsure of what to do.  Take took the initiative, and did his best Miyabiyama impression.  I would stay away from DeGama’s apartment for the time being, he’s gonna have a lot of cleaning up to do, after all 3 Kaze’s pick up an underdog win.  2-7, 2,7

Toyohibiki v Aoiyama – Beeker almost had this one in the bag, but a momentary slip in concentration at the tawara allowed Aoiyama to slip to the side and tsukiotoshi.  4-5, 6-3

Myogiryu v Okinoumi – Oki went for an armlock on Giryu’s inside grip from the start.  Advantage passed back and forth before things locked up with Casanova getting a left hand inside.  Yogi went makikae and went for a throw at the edge, he could almost smell the pic-a-nic baskets, but Don Juan’s counter-throw won the day.  I feel this was a good bout, and that both of these guys will become joi or sanyaku mainstays, if they can stay healthy.

Homasho v Takayasu – Homey apparently does play that, because he’s MK on day 9 after a pretty limp loss to Super-Savings, who is not doing wonderful himself, although the content of his sumo has been a bit better than Homey’s.  1-8, 2-7

Aran v Goeido – One of the stranger tachiai’s I’ve seen.  The only reason I didn’t buzz this one is because Aran only half-henka-ed, and Goeido did this weird vertical hop.  The next 10 seconds looked like an impotent Junior Highschool shoving fight, until goeido tired of the charade and got a less than thrilling oshidashi.  Not sure what Aran has been getting at the past few basho, but it’s hard to believe he used to be a sekiwake.  0-9, 6-3

Gagamaru v Bart – Gaga was in better, lower position at the tachiai, but Bart being as tall as he is, is used to this, and would not be denied today.  The lady got a bit of a spanking.  3-6, 6-3

Aminishiki v Kakuryu – I want to say that the Sneak wasn’t sneaky today… but in this situation going straight in at the tachiai, was somehow sneaky.  The Kak just looked a bit unready, and paid for it with his share of the lead.  5-4, 7-2

Harumafuji v Kotooshu – Oshu came out of the gates with a left hand inside, but Harry was fast enough to pull off a makikae give him a right hand inside on the front of Oshu’s belt.  Harry hunkered down pulling with his right hand going for maybe trying for a shitatehineri, but went too low to maintain balance, and it resulted in an unwatedashinage by Oshu.  5-4, 6-3

Kisenosato v Gotoshogiku – This bout looked almost over before it began, with the Geek getting into his dry humping routine right soon.  However, as he seems to have done a few times this basho, the Kid fought back at the tawara.  Adavantages were traded, and the Kid came out victorious.  The crowd really liked this one, and rarely, I agree with them.  It was a good bout, and I don’t smell too much fish here.  It’s obvious that Geek’s knee injury from the other day is bothering him  Kise takes the lead.  8-1, 7-2

Hakuho v Toyonoshima – I simply say this.  Toyonoshima is a solid rikishi, has a low center of gravity, and can give any rikishi a run on a good day.  We had heard rumors of Hakuho having a sprained left index finger earlier in the basho.  His stable master confirmed it today.  This would explain his terrible performance this basho.  There was not much of an attempt from the Yokozuna to go for the belt, and it was mostly just slaps and some spirited pushing.  However, it doesn’t explain all of Toyonoshima’s win today.  Toyo was on his game, moved well, and kept the pressure on, finishing things off with a last minute kubinage.  It was close and after a monoii it was a confirmed win for Toyo.  Way to go for the little guy.  Too bad for the Yokozuna, who is likely to go kyujo after today.  5-4,

So here we are at day 9 with some exciting sumo going down.  Odds are we might have a Japanese yusho with Kisenosato and Tochiozan at 8-1, and Kotoshogiku, Kakuryu, and Takarafuji at 7-2.  If Hak bows out senshuraku isn’t going to be quite as exciting, unless there is some weird 4 or 5 way play off, which is technically possible.  One thing is for sure, the kyokai is shitting their pants with delight.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more developments when DeGama will be at the helm, although it might be a bit sticky.

 

Day10

ChiyomatagiAnother day of sumo and another glass of whisky as the natsu basho rolls along. The whisky for the day is Glenlivet 18 and the sumo for the day isn’t all that bad with a few good matches in the upper ranks. Although I wasn’t scheduled to force my half-coherent opinions upon you all until later in the basho, De Gama’s sheer explosive elation at the Kimi-Yoshi-Take Kaze hattrick yesterday left him withered and incapable of reporting. So buckle up you sunsabitches, you’re stuck with me.
A quick stop to juryo reveals a surprisingly genki Takanoyama taking on Kokkai and walking away with a win although Kokkai might have taken an injury. Jokoryu (formerly known as sakumayama) seems to be adjusting slowly to Juryo with a respectable 5-5 record. Although that’s not a bad first foray into Juryo, it is still more losses than the guy has had in his whole career so far. Needless to say he won’t be breaking the record for the fastest rise to makuuchi come July. Crowd favorite takamisakari is still hanging in there with a 4-6, and ikioi, a favorite amongst the S&S crowd, looks to have the makings of a makuuchi comeback in July with a 7-3 record so far.

Onto the big(ger) boys.

Yesterday Hakuho’s stablemaster made his long suspected injury official: the man broke his left index finger during his bout with aminishiki on day one. Seeing as he is all but out of the Yusho race at this point, it will be interesting to see how he goes forward with this basho. Going into Day 10 our leaderboard is: Kisenosato and Tochiozan with 8 wins and Tamawashi, Takarafuji and Kotoshogiku with 7.

M15 Fujiazuma 2-7 vs M16 Takarafuji 7-2
Your standard pushing match between two chumps in this author’s humble opinion. They both went down nearly simultaneously but the gyoji (correctly) gave Takarafuji the win allowing him to hold onto his second place in this basho, although I doubt there are many among us who seriously believe this guy has got a chance.

M3 Tenkaiho 2-7 vs M13 Kimikaze 4-5
The first of the kazes gets a relatively quick outside left hand grip on Tenkaiho’s belt, but refuses to do anything with it, jumping around and backwards to no avail, which virtually assured that he would get forced out by the much larger rikishi via gabburi. Although I always love seeing new blood in Makuuchi, it’s guys like Kimikaze who are probably not going to hang around long enough to make an impression unless they stick to basics: strong, smart, forward-moving sumo. Needless to say there wasn’t much of that here today

M10 Wakanosato 4-5 M15 Tamawashi 7-2
Tamawashi pulls a half-BUZZ on wakanosato at the tachi-ai to throw him off balance and it works as he escorts senor sato out of the rin via oshidashi to remain on our leaderboard.

M9 Tokitenku 4-5 vs M14 Asasekiryu 3-6
Both of the Mongolians manage to get right-hand inside grips and staightaway procedd to do…… nothing with them. After what seems like an eternity Tokitenku escorts the red dragon out of the ring a la yorikiri.

M8 Tochinoshin 5-4 vs M11 Shotenro 6-3
Good, spirited start to the match and short-tenro does what he does best by pushing the white boy up and then down into the dirt. Noshin gets so frazzled after he gets up that he actually goes to the north side of the ring to bow out. The raucous laughter eventually reminded him of his mistake.

M7 Shohozan 4-5 vs M12 Daido 5-4
Boy, did Shohozan want it today. The boy snapped up out of the tachi-ai into the much larger Daido’s chest before firing a few very ineffective tsuppari into the gigantic chest of the Tokyo native. After a bit of running around Shohozan headbut-tackled Daido out of the ring in what looks more like a pokemon move than a standard kimarite.

Wakakoyu 5-4 vs Yoshikaze 4-5
Wakakoyu pulls some decent sumo out of his sizable ass today as he manages to push and then NOT immediately go after the cheap pull down. All of his legit forward shoves allow the lighter yoshikze to get morozashi which he uses to try to lift the wookie out of the ring. Sadly the lad just doesn’t have the strength and after pinning his arms Wakakoyu drives him to the bales. Yoshikzae goes for a sacrifice move but falls just ever so slightly before his opponent. Kimetaoshi win for Wakakoyu.

Kaisei 6-3 vs Aoiyama 6-3
Nteresting match between this battle of the bulges. Kaisei gets the advantage off the tachi-ai and manages to push mr. flappy tits out to the edge of the ring were he wins, or so he thinks. In reality Aoiyama’s fancy footwork allows him a ballet move I am going to name the revolving door that he uses to usher the Brazilian out of the ring.

M7 Kyokutenho 6-3 vs M4 Tochiozan 8-1
Tochiozan’s hope for the yusho diminish as the Mongolian hands this Japanese hopeful his second loss of the basho via katsukashi.

M8 Kitataiki 3-6 vs M4 Tochinowaka 2-7
I feel like Tochinowaka and Homasho are like spiritual brothers. Both of them know how to perfom good, and in some cases great sumo, but every other basho completely lose their drive to do well. Both of them can be an absolute joy to watch when they are on fire, and absolutely infuriating to watch when they just stand there and get manhandled out of the ring by people they should be steamrolling. Today is no exception as Kitataiki?!?! of all people decides to bring out the BUZZ, allowing the taller tochinowaka to barrel into the clay unopposed.

M3 Takekaze 2-7 vs M2 Gagamaru 3-6
Wow, some really good sumo today from Akita’s favorite son. The muffin from moriyoshi goes straight into the face of the Georgian beast at the tachi-ai and is effortless pushed back by the strength of the heaviest wrestler in the division. Takakaze wisely uses his speed to get out of a full on power contest with the lady before eventually diving straight into his chest and pulling off a magnificent sukuinage scoop throw. Really, a fun match to watch. Well, after 4 glasses of the Glenlivet all of these are pretty fun to watch to be honest.

K Homasho 1-8 vs M1 Aran 0-9
Alan by far has the stupidest looking tachi-ai stance, and so far has had the stupidest looking sumo this basho. Thankfully? Homie sumo is just unfocused and sloppy enough for Aaron to get a belt grip and use his power for a change to pick up his first win of the basho. Ugh, after his performance last basho it physically hurts to write about Aran.

M1 Takayasu 2-7 vs K Aminishiki 5-4
After a hurricane of slaps, shoves, and a few near misses by the referee, the sneakster manages to shove the hairball to the ground. 6-4 for ami and 2-8 for takayasu.

S Toyonoshima 5-4 vs M2 Myogiryu 4-5
Quick, fantastic tachi-ai from two of my favorite rikishi. Toyo more than once comes close to dumping myogi into the dirt, but the 25 year old has the tenacity to hang on to eventually force out shima. Fun, skillful, forward-moving sumo from some guys who deserve their ranks.

O Harumafuji 5-4 vs S Goeido 6-3
Both get a right hand grip from the start and after a brief staling period Haruma pulls a sweet spin-around uwatenage. Yet another match from today you should watch if you get the chance.

O Kisenosato 8-1 vs O Kotooshu 6-3
With the sole leading position on the line going into this match it was bound to be a good one. Oshu showing more spirit than usual today with the two of them crashing into eachother again and again with Kise eventually coming out the winner. Now, I am not going to say that Kise didn’t deserve his win, because he did, but Kotoshu just isn’t really an opponent to write home about beating this days. Although he stands at the top of the leaderboard for today, Kise has shown time and time again that he is nothing if not hot and cold and I sense a cold front coming in. My prediction: Jun-yusho at best for the second newest Ozeki.

O Kotoshogiku 7-2 vs O Baruto 6-3
Bart gets a strong right hand inside grip 2 seconds in and everyone in the stadium knows that it is just a matter of time before he uses his monstrous strength to rip the opposite Ozeki off the ground and outside the bales. Both Bart and the geek sit at at 3rd place with 7-3s.

Y Hahuko 5-4 vs O Kakuryu 7-2
With the admittance of Hakuho’s injury fresho n everyone’s mind, all eyes were on the yokozuna tosee how well he performed. Personally I was just glad to get to the act instead of having to watch 6 minutes of two strips of tape across Hak’s right hand. After an obviously larger amount of Hakuho cheering than usual the match starts and Kakuryu runs straight into the yokozuna’s arms and the match was all over. Chronologically the match lasted for a few seconds until the Ozeki was forced outside the ring, but the real decider happened as soon as the Hak got the kak’s right arm up into a position where he just couldn’t get a grip.
And with that ends day 10 of yet another basho. Your current winners are:
Kisenosato with 9-1
Tochiozan, Tamawashi and Takarafuji at 8-1

With Kise holding the current top spot and three chumps taking second place, it would be fair to speculate that the red belted wrestler with the angriest face around is pretty close to having this one in the bag. You would be wrong. Call me crazy but I think we are going to see a win by someone other than these 4 before this tournament is through.

Although Tamawashi nominally remains on the leaderboard for a shared second place, it would serve everyone to remember that one his wins is from his default over Chiyotairyu who pulled out of the tournament yesterday due to his injury. With Tairyu’s pull out this means that both of Kokonoe-beya’s makuuchi wrestler’s have gone kyujo. The only other injury in the tournament so far is Sadogatake’s boy in Juryo Kotoyuki who went kyujo earlier in the tournament, made a comeback, then decided to puss out and kyujo again today.

That’s it for today, check in tomorrow to see just what new insights and STDs tomorrow’s reporter decides to share with you.

Day11

conollyGrettings sumo lovers, it’s day 11 and things are getting very interesting indeed. Currently we have 1 man standing above the rest, and strangely it isn’t who you’d expect. Some advid conspiracy theorists believe that among others, Aran, Takekaze and Gagamaru all took falls to set Kisenosato up to take the yusho. I, however, think that is a load of shite. The yusho is still up for grabs, but as Murray Johnson put it yesterday, “it’s Kisenosato’s for the losing“. I fully agree.
Today’s highlight bout of the day is without doubt the Kisenosato vs. Kakuryu. As the pressure on the Kid grows, will his balls finally drop, or will he drop his first real chance to yusho? Kissy has a 16-9 career record over the shin-ozeki, but more importantly has also won the last 5 times they met (all oshidashi!). So ignoring the pressure that leading the yusho race inevitably carries, Kisenosato would have to be the favourite to win today. I’m getting excited…

M14E Asasekiryu (3-7) vs. M15E Fujiazuma (2-8)
Fujiazuma has a whole lot to do from here on out if he wishes to remain in makuuchi hasn’t a hope of being in makuuchi in July. Asa won the tachi-ai getting the better position. Fuji tied his mawashi very loosely today, so when Asa grabbed it he had very little to work with. But they settled in the middle of the dohyo for a good minute or so, whispering sweet nothings in each others ears. Finally Asa got himself a better grip and on his third throw attempt sent Fuji down for his 6th loss in a row.

M13W Kimikaze (4-6) vs. M12W Daido (5-5)
Daido came in hard, winning a great tachi-ai and drove forward. He didn’t get a grip on the belt however, and the flexible Kimikaze was able to push Doido off balance, circle around and manage to stay in a fraction of a second longer that the big Dai.

M12E Kaisei (6-4) vs. M13E Tenkaiho (3-7)
These two appeared to fight in slow-motion. Kaisei got the better position, slightly into the right side of Tenkaiho. After withstanding a descent throw attempt the Brazilian drove forward, before changing and downing Ten with an overarm throw.

M9E Tokitenku (5-5) vs. M11W Sadanofuji (4-6)
The leg sweeper tried to get a quick win by well, leg sweep at the tachi-ai. But Sada was wise to it, and kept his balance well, and then found himself in a great position to win as Toki was completely upright. So Sada tried went to finish the Mongolian off, but he wasn’t going down so easy. Tokitenku slipped on his ballerina shoes and danced and spun beautifully along and around the straw bales. Eventually his big toe disrupted the sand on the otter side, and the win went to Sada.

M11E Shotenro (7-3) vs. M8W Kitataiki (4-6)
Shotenro came off his lines with great speed, quickly raising Kitataiki upright, while also managing to keep his paw on his chest to keep him upright so when he attacked again he only needed one simple push to seal his kachi-koshi. Nicely done.

M8E Tochinoshin (5-5) vs. M16E Takarafuji (8-2)
First time meeting between these two. Tochinoshin forces himself to a double inside grip, leaving Taka with a double outside grip. Tochi took his time, adjusting into a deeper grip before driving forward. Taka put up plently of resistance, but with a lesser grip, never really showed any real potential for winning.

M15W Tamawashi (8-2) vs. M7W Kyokutenho (7-3)
A messy start, a push, a slip, a stumble, another slip and another stumble and both wrestlers fall in a disgraceful manner. Tamawashi slipped and fell first. The leader-board is now cleared of the names that were never contenders.

M10E Wakanosato (4-6) vs. M6W Aoiyama (7-3)
Wakanosato tied to get a double inside grip, but Aoi kept his arms in tight and forced the croc backwards and to the straw easily. Waka tried to get the hell out of there but a one handed thrust and the out, off the ring and on top of one of the ringside judges. That was career victory #100 for Aoiyama.

M5E Okinoumi (7-3) vs. M7E Shohozan (5-5)
I looked like Okinoumi was tring a slap down at the tachi-ai, but Shoho was in so fast that that completely didn’t work out. Oki recovered really well and drove Shoho back to the bales. Sho was wiggling and resisting as much as possible, and that was preventing Oki from getting a grip on the mawashi. Oki pushed forward and the second ballerina performance of the day saw Shoho tippy-toe around in a circle and tap the sickened Oki out a fraction of a second earlier. Beautiful stuff from Shohozan.

M9W Yoshikaze (4-6) vs. M4W Tochinowaka (2-8)
Yoshikaze shifted to his left and followed with a solid push into Tochi’s right armpit which send him off balance. Yoshi followed really quickly with some nice slapping. Tochi was completely lost, he didn’t even get an arm near Yoshikaze before he had lost the fight. Hopefully Tochi will show up tomorrow.

M5W Miyabiyama (2-8) vs. M3W Takekaze (3-7)
Takekaze lightly hit Miyabi when he found his hands on top of both his opponents arms. So he quickly reversed and pushed down on those arms. Miyabi went straight down. Easy win for the Akitian.

M3E Toyohibiki (4-6) vs. M6E Wakakoyu (6-4)
A nice start by both men with pushing attempts. Toyohibiki was more in charge though, and was on the attack the entire bout. Wakakoyu on the other hand was all defensive, trying to defect all Hibi had to offer. But Hibi had solid balance today, and was eventually able to push Waka out. No belts used in this fight at all.

M1E Aran (1-9) vs. M2W Gagamaru (3-7)
Aran slipped to the side helped his avoid the full force of the steam roller, while also gaining a grip on the back of Gaga’s mawashi. Unfortunately Gaga’s foot slipped not once, but twice and he hit the clay. 2nd win of the tournament for Aran.

M2E Myogiryu (5-5) vs. WK Aminishiki (6-4)
A nice paw to the throat of Aminishiki set him upright, then when Aminishiki recovered and came forward, Myogiryu slipped to the side. Ami fell slightly forward and set Myogiru up nicely to easily attack and finish of the Giant Killer… Interesting that was also career win #100 for Myogiryu!

M1W Takayasu (2-8) vs. WS Goeido (6-4)
Goeido hit Takayasu with a solid slap to the face, and almost gained a grip on the back of Taka’s mawashi. But not quite! Goeido then tried a pull down which didn’t work. Taka recovered and very forcefully pushed Goeido back to the straw, he reloaded and pushed again literally pushing Goeido off his feel and over backwards! Great stuff from Takayasu. And Goeido needs to go off and have a long hard think about things. He came in to today looking for an easy pull down. He should be coming in to FIGHT!

ES Toyonoshima (5-5) vs. M4E Tochiozan (8-2)
Tochiozan came into today looking to keep the pressure on Kisenosato. Toyonoshima had other ideas though and absorbed a solid initial charge. Toyonoshima dug in and went to drive forward, and as Tochiozan prepared to withstand the pressure, Toyo changed plans and with a beautiful under shoulder swing down spun Tochi down to the dirt. Oh well…

EK Homasho (1-9) vs. WO Baruto (7-3)
Homasho actually jumped to the side of Baruto at the tachi-ai! I’ve never seen Homasho not taking someone straight on before. Wow. WOW! Anyway, Homasho got a descent right hand grip of the ozeki’s belt and tried to dig into the side of Baruto. The ozeki was in a little bit of a problem here and the only answer he had was to try swing Homey around by a hand on his head. Luckily for Bart hecorrected things enough so that he could get a left hand grip on Homasho, and then a right. Once he had the double grip it was game over for the komusubi. That’s kachi-koshi for Baruto.

EO Harumafuji (6-4) vs. WO Kotoshogiku (7-3)
Kotoshogiku came in quick and hard and humped Harumafuji back and out without even getting a sniff of a mawashi. Harumafuji brought nothing today, which was a bit of a let down.

EO Kisenosato (9-1) vs. WO Kakuryu (7-3)
Here we are! The tension for this fight has been building since these two walked down the hanamichi. The replays from previous bouts between these two have been shown, and the last time Kakuryu beat Kissy was exactly this time last year. Kisenosato currently has a 2 lead win over everyone else. And he was looking confident. Kakuryu opened with a nice slap to Kisenosato’s face and then scrappled to get a grip of a mawashi. Kisenosatokindof just weather that storm and then both men found themselves with right hand inside grips. Kissy was searching for a left hand grip, so Kak kept his arse back as much as possible. Then the Kak went makikae to get a double inside grip. He pulled the move so quickly that Kisenosato didn’t even react to it, when he should have drove forward to gain at least a slight advantage. Kakuryu then dug in and started driving Kissy back towards the bales. Kissy was twisting left and right at the bales, struggling for dear life. He managed to push Kakuryu off balance between a lift out attempt and sent the Kak falling down. But Kissy was also falling back and out, while still pushing the Kak down. Both men hit the dirt at about the same time. The gyoji called it a Kakuryu win. But a momo-ii was called. Slow motion replays clearly showed that Kakuryu actually touched the ground first, but a rematch was called.

TORINAOSHI – REMATCH!!
This time Kisenosato kept a better eye on Kakuryu. And even though it was a similar start to before, Kissy diverted more of the Kaks slaps and pushes. Although neither man got a mawashi grip, Kisenosato was able to force Kak back. Near the bales Kakuryu tried to circle around the ring but the Kissy got a double grip and forced Kakuryu out. Unlucky. Kisenosato is now the sole leader with a 2 win cousion.

So what do the conspiracy theorists make of that?
A close first match. The gyoji called Kakuryu (not Kisenosato) the winner. A mono-ii was called and the judges could have easily decided to simply overrule the gyoji, since the replays clearly showed Kisenosato winning. But instead decided on a reply.
I guess they’ll come up with something though!

EY Hakuho (6-4) vs. EO Kotooshu (6-4)
The yokozuna proved yesterday he doesn’t need all his fingers to win a match, and Kotooshu proved… well he didn’t really prove anything, but perhaps he could use a few extra fingers! Kotooshu tried to prevent the double inside grip from the yokozuna. He successfully prevented one hand from going inside, but not the other. And broken finger or not, Hakuho hasn’t lost any speed. He quickly went makikae, and got his left hand on the back of the Bulgarians mawashi. He was now in the side of the ozeki and the yokozuna’s knee knocked the lanky legs from under Kotooshu and landed him on his back. Easy win for the Yokozuna.

So after todays events the leaderboard looks like this:
1 loss
Kisenosato
3 losses
Kotoshogiku, Baruto, Tochiohzan, Shotenro, Takarafuji, Tamawashi, Kyokutenho, Aoiyama

Check back tomorrow to see what Montana has to delight you with. The main bouts of interest tomorrow will be the Kisenosato vs. Tochiozan match! It should be a good one!

Connolly

 

Day 12

MatagioSo a few days ago I arrived tired after a long trip in England just to get back to basho that is mostly finished and looks relatively wrapped up.  I had a very good trip and saw a lot of different places that I previously thought I would never see in my lifetime.  That living in a place that is so far from where I was originally born is truly a blessing for me.  Coming into the basho more than half way through is a bit of a shame, but I don’t regret doing so at all.  That being said it seems that the beginning or at least every thing that I’ve missed was more interesting or more significant than anything I will report on.  I’m not here to debate whether Hakuho lost what on purpose and the Japanese folk are propping a guy who I know some people were saying that was undeserving of even the title of Ozeki a couple bashos previously to.  What I am here to do is report the day as I perceive it unbiased from what  previously happen in this basho.  Hell… who the hell am I kidding the only one that is remotely deserving of the Yokozuna title fucked up his chances a little bit ago. So maybe now he can wipe that grin off his face and scowl like an rikishi should.

Fujiazuma vs. Tamaasuka

Just by the scores only at this point someone is going up and someone is going down… and by its disparity it is no surprise that Fuji-san really blew his load on this basho.  Probably see you in Juryo.. wait no I won’t I don’t see that shit.  The bout was clear from the beginning…. They both went in and Tama slowly overtook the guy and moved the mountain up and out.  I know Japan is the land of the rising sun, but it seems to be setting for this guy.

Tenkaiho vs. Ikioi

Again just by the scores alone you would assume that perhaps Tenkaiho would have no chance…. Well not no chance, he could still pull a 7-8 or something.  That’s probably what hes trying to go for, really to have any chance to stay in the Makuuchi.  The bout was amusing to say the least.  Ikioi starts a bit high and at tachiai tries a side take down type maneuver.  Tenkaiho stays low and Iki’s arm flies above Tenkaiho and momentum flips Iki around.  Tenkaiho then pushes against Iki’s back and drives him out.

Asasekiryu  vs. Sadanofuji

Both guys looking for a win to achieve their kachikoshi.  So technically they should be playing their hardest here.  They lock in at tachiai and neither gains much ground. Asasekiryu tries on a takedown and succeeds.  Loss for Sada.

Tokitenku vs. Shotenro

From the get go Tokitenku gets a hold of the belt and Shotenro just locks up Toki’s arms.  Toki tries two times to make a quick victory but Shotenro stop his attempts only losing a little bit of ground. Toki then tries a leg trip which doesn’t do much but just enough to cause Shotenro to move back.  Toki capitalizes and plows him down.

Shohozan vs. Yoshikaze

I am shocked at the result of this bout. Normally I would be very happy to see the Ol’ Yoshi  win.  But,  what the hell just happened?  Shohozan started off strong had Yoshi on the run.  Shoho started to tsuppari and all Yoshi could do was either slap down his arms are run back to retry something.  Then, again  Shoho would continue the tsuppari .  Shoho got Yoshi to the edge … Yoshi narrowly escapes and Shoho goes for another tsuppari fails.. tries to get a grip and TAKES A KNEE?! What?! Lucky win by Yoshi.

Takarafuji vs. Kyokutenho

Pretty boring match… They met and bear hug in the center. Kyoku then swing the other around and takes him to the edge and out.

Okinoumi vs. Tamawashi

Well played by Okinoumi.  Tamawashi shames his family by going to the side straight after the tachiai trying off balance Oki. Oki gains composure and pushes Tama back. Tama tries to swing him to the edge, but doesn’t quite make it.  Oki pushes up and back which eventually causes Tama to go out.

Myogiryu vs. Takekaze

Short bout.  Both go in at tachiai.  Takekaze’s feet slip back and Myogi easily pushes him back to the edge. Myogi eases up and Take falls flat on his stomach.

Toyohibiki vs. Aminishiki

At tachiai I guess they both had the same strategy… both of went for pushing upwards.  Once both were erect, Aminishiki went down low for the grip.  Aminishiki forces Toyo back and once he gets him to the edge starts a side take down move.  At this point Toyo is on one leg and seems out of the count, but Aminishiki losing his steam and Toyo gets his leg back down causing Aminishiki to lose his advantage.  Using this momentum Toyo almost makes Amini buckle.  So at this moment Toyo is under Aminishiki’s armpits trying to swing him behind while Aminishiki is on a belt grip pressing forward. Toyo is more successful, however, it causes both to go one leg up (Aminishiki is more outstretched though).  Both of them land on the floor seemingly at the same time and a monoii is called.  Results in a redo.

Round 2:  Toyohibiki goes in hard and strong but doesn’t get a grip.  Aminishiki gets one and falls back while swinging him around.  With Toyo’s back in front of Aminishiki, all Amini needs to do is push the guy out. Easy Win.

Kisenosato vs. Tochiozan

The current score leader versus a KK’d guy.  It should result in an interesting match.  I may have slammed Kise a bit earlier but he does make interesting sumo.  Lets see if he lives up to it.  Both rush in and only get shoulder grips.  Tochi pushes forward and Kise tries to squirm something in and fails.  Kise applies pressure to Tochi’s back as he falls back himself (probably to see if he can knock Tochi down).  It doesn’t work and Tochi stabilizes himself and pushes Kise to the edge.  Kise kinda slips but Tochi doesn’t really capitalize and both end up in safe positions.  After fidgeting for a bit Tochi almost gains a belt grip and this was enough to make Kise lose ground.  This time Tochi goes in and pushes Kise back and eventually out.

Kotooshu vs. Baruto

Fun little bout from the two Ozeks.  Both get belt grips from the start and Oshu from once in relatively low and Baruto with inner grips is high and almost seems as if his arms are a little more squished between Oshu’s than he really wants. Oshu moves around Baruto and I guess Baruto didn’t like that so he swtiches to an outer underarm grip. While Oshu pushes up and forward, Baruto tries to belt the belt from behind and fails. With a few hip thrusts Oshu pushes Baruto out.

Harumafuji vs. Kakuryu

Both go in at tachiai and Haruma completely pushes Kak up.  Kak then proceeds to back up to the side while giving Haurma pull forward.  Kak immediate grips the back of Haruma’s mawashi. And they spin for a while before Kak gets behind Haruma and sends him out. A Kak win.

Hakuho vs. Kotoshogiku

Classic Hakuho with a twist.  Hakuho goes in, gains momentum by thrusting. At this point he would get a thrust out but he turns and plops the Geek on the floor.

That’s it for Day 12. So get pumped for another riveting report tomorrow by no other than …… me, de Gama!!! I can see the excitement in your eyes!

 

Day 13

MatagioHey! I’m back again.  I must apologize I couldn’t find a stream of the coverage much at all last night.  However, I don’t know whether that was my incompetence at trying to find one or that I was too whiskey’d down to bother actually trying to do so.  Regardless I think you’ll all forgive me because there is never enough whiskey in the world to keep me from getting it up.  Now like I said yesterday it’s a shame that I’m really not in the heat of the basho because I feel like I could have had some great conspiracy theories going on (especially after chatting with Briton-Meyer) but sadly I’ll have to wait till next basho.  You’ll just have to regrettably accept my poorly chosen metaphors (the same as I always do) and allow me to keep cramming it down your mouth.  So, get those bottles and trunks out… the waves are nice and its time to get swimming!
Tenkaiho vs. Asasekiryu

A nice bout to begin with.  Asasekiryu goes in low and grips the belt in the front.  Tenkai doesn’t really have a chance to get anything however from what it seems to me Asa is a bit out stretched. Tenkai frantically tries to grab belt but settles for the underarm.  He tries to force Asa up but Asa keeps the pressure forward and low. This forces Tenkai back and almost out.  I guess Tenkai just had enough strength to keep Asa away from the win at the edge.  After a little bit of fidgeting Tenkai gets an underarm inner belt grip. This is a little too late because Asa is just waiting for Tenkai to make his move.  Tenkai takes the bait and tries to lift him up.  Asa immediately turns and takes Tenkai down. Nice play by Asa.

Fujiazuma vs. Yoshikaze

I thought to myself do I really report on this bout… I mean how relevant is a bout from a guy who is 2-10.  I mean I said it yesterday… I think by default you know who is going to win… but COME ON ITS YOSHIKAZE!  Right? For some reason I’m just not that excited by him anymore.  I’m trying though… can’t fault me for that.  Anyways not too much to report… Henka by Yoshi for the win.  I can smell a KK for the guy… I can also smell a MK.  Maybe I just smell his shitty shitty sumo he has been displaying recently.

Kaisei vs. Kitataiki

Pathetic performance by Kaisei.  Kaisei rushing into Kita with his head down. I mean you can’t blame his eagerness.  Kita meets him shoulder to shoulder and seems to bounce off. Kita rapidly backs off pulls Kaisei’s head down and uses Kaisei’s momentum to force him out.

Tochinoshin vs. Tamawashi

Not the most exciting bout but a smart play by Tochi.  Tamawashi rushes in at tachiai and causes Tochi to lose ground.  Tama keeps the momentum going and pushes Tochi to the edge.  Tochi then pushes down on Tamas head and forces Tama out.

Takarafuji vs. Aoiyama

This was completely Aoiyama domination.  Right from the beginning there was some sexy tsuppari.  He had Takara on the run but Aoi is a bit slow he couldn’t seem to capitalize.  This gave Takara enough time to regroup and attack.  This didn’t really matter because Aoi just continued to tsuppari and when that didn’t work he put his hands on Takara’s head and push down.  Finally Takara loses balance and Aoi tsupparis him out.

Okinoumi vs. Shotenro

Probably the bout I was looking forward to the most out of the lower ranks of Makuuchi.  These two are some of my favorites this year of sumo and these time around they are even on score!  Much like most of the bouts today Shotenro comes in hard and forces Oki back.  Shotenro is just a little too eager and outstretches himself.  Oki capitalizes at the edge and pushes down and to the side.  A win for Oki.

Myogiryu vs. Takayasu

And heres my other new favorite guy.  Not like it really matters if I report this bout but I like the guy so I will.  The bout was pretty good and completely won on a technicality.  Myogiryu rushes hard to gain some momentum and for the most part looks good against Taka.  However he doesn’t really have any grip. Taka tries to get a grip can’t allows himself to fall back and Myogi eager for the win takes the bait and gives Taka a belt grip.  Taka automatically repels the attack and forces Myogi back into the center while grabbing himself another belt grip with his other hand.  Taka lifts Myogi up and cradles him to the edge and out.  SHOULD have been a win for Taka however, Taka took one step too far in lifting him out… a monoii is called and results in a redo…?

Round 2: Myogi henkas.. Taka tsupparis, Myogi pulls him to the side and follows him up for a force out. Not impressed.

Tochiozan vs. Aminishiki

Decent bout.  Aminishiki rushes in and Tochi can’t seem to stop him.  Ami pushes Tochi up and out toward the edge. Aminishiki misses a push and Tochi immediately capitalizes and grabs Ami’s sides to push him back.  Tochi takes Ami to the side edge and out.

Kotooshu vs. Kakuryu

Damn battle of strength here.  No too much to report though.  They met at tachiai both got belt grips and continued to bear hug.  They both tried to over power each other but Kotooshu was stronger just by a bit. Much like many Baruto bouts Oshu lifts Kak up  slightly.  Kak loses ground and Oshu forces him to the edge.  Kak tries to escape to the side but it was much too late.  Oshu forces him out.  Nice to see Oshu a little on form.

Goeido vs. Kotoshogiku

Rough for the Geeku.  Have you seen his taped leg? The Geeku tries to rush in but immediately on impact gets side turned and plops down on the ground.  Maybe that leg’ll heal for July buddy.

Harumafuji vs. Baruto

Haha! Did Haruma pull off a Takanoyama and have it work?! Baruto over powers Haruma by pushes him up at tachiai.  Haruma grabs Baruto’s arms and yanks it forward pulling Baruto to the side. Baruto tries to display his top level Kabuki one legged unbalance dance as Haruma rushes in for the kill. Baruto goes out while Takanoyama takes notes.

Hakuho vs. Kisenosato

Lightning fast Hakuho rushes in and immediately starts thrusting Kise.  Kise had no chance and loses ground.  Overpowered Kise plops back and loses.

That’s Day 13 done…. Have fun at the gathering fellas.  Have a toast in my honor!

 

Senshuraku

ChiyomatagiUnless you have been dwelling under a rock for the last day or so, you probably know the results of the 2012 Natsu Basho. However, seeing as a large percent of our readership consists of rock-dwellers, I shall dutifully resist any urge to spoil the dramatic and unexpected (by all but me) conclusion to this basho.

Seeing as how I am already a day late with this report and Creswell is chomping at the bit to get his post-basho wrap up report posted, I will try my best to abstain from any commentary besides the content of the sumo for the day.

Starting where I always do in Juryo, S&S favorite (Read: Chiyomatagi favorite) Takanoyama uses an arm bar (officially tottari) to drive out kyokushuho to get the second place spot in Juryo after Tamaasuka who picked up the Yusho. We will be seeing both of these boys in Makuuchi next basho. Speaking of people who are likely to head up come Nagoya, Tahanohana-beya’s Takanoiwa kachikoshied at Makushita 1 meaning that he is in all likelihood going to become the first sekitori that the former Yokozuna has produced since he started his new stable. Even though it was already mentioned the other day, Egyptian newcomer Oosunaarashi managed to pick up the jonokuchi division title with a perfect 7-0 record. Just looking at his bouts compared to last month’s mae-zumo matches, it’s clear that he has greatly improved his technique, especially keeping his center of gravity lower, and although it may be a year or two until we see him in the highest ranks, he will surely be around for a long time.

Onto Makuuchi bouts of note:

Shotenro vs Asasekiryu
The Mongolian went straight for a cheap slap down at the tachi-ai, but shawty recovers magnificently and manages to use his muscles to push the red dragon from the ring. I think I am finally seeing why so many people have a half-chub for this guy.

Wakakoyu vs Tenkaiho
I really don’t feel sorry tenkaiho. Honestly. Not one bit. Directly after the match even Mainoumi said straight away, “It’s amazing how rikishi after rikishi can keep falling for the same dumb push-pull move from the same dumb rikishi basho after basho” (translation may be imperfect, although unlikely)

Sadanofuji vs Tochinowaka
This was more of Sadanofuji vs a lump pillow matchup than anything. I guess I should say I respect Tochinowaka for staying in the basho instead of going kyujo after his injury, but considering he has won a whopping two bouts the entire basho, it’s hard to say that he wouldn’t have been better served getting some R&R during natsu. I finally understand how Briton-meyer feels when he is cheering on Homasho; you know that the guy is capable of so much, which makes it all the more frustrating when you see him just stand up a foot from the edge of the ring and admit he has already lost.

Gagamaru vs Miyabiyama
I gotta say I am falling for Gagamaru, Mainly because he has been doing less embarrassing falling. You can tell that he has improved much of his balanace issues during this basho and today was no exception as he won the battle of the fattest with an oshidashi shove out.

Myogiryu vs Tochonoshin
Over more than a few glasses of whisky the other day, the S&S crew were reminiscing upon the days where some of us once thought that noshin was bound to be the next Ozeki. Seems hard to believe now. Myogiryu won his 9th match of the basho over a surpisingly spirited noshin, but it was clear who was the more skilled. After getting a headlock on the myogi, noshin decided to back up, whilst the dragon decided to keep going with his particular brand of forward moving ass kicking. A fantastic end to the basho for Myogiryu.

Aran vs Takekaze
You could seriously show this match to a beginner of sumo as an example of what not to do. First Aran jumps to the left in an ineffective henka attempt, then goes repeatedly (and obviously) after the pull down whilst backing up all over the ring until he steps out just as much due to his own careless footwork as it was due to takekaze’s pushing. Aran’s Oyakata needs to start whipping alan’s ass a bit more if you ask me.

Aoiyama vs Aminishiki
Straight away from the tachi-ai the much heavier aoiyama gtes a few go0d tsuppari into sneaky’s chest, and that was all it took. With today’s loss the snake goes 7-8 and is denied his outstanding performance prize that he would have picked up for his day 1 victory over the yokozuna.

Kyokutenho vs Goeido
With all the marbles at stake on this match Kyokutenho charges straight into the Osaka native before quickly getting wrapped up into a belt fight. Goeido drives the mogolian extremely close to the edge of the ring before Kyoku recovers and swings Goeido to his right to give him some of his own medicine. AT the edge here Goeido’s foot obviously slips out and brushes the sand but neither of the rikishi notice it and Goeido swings the 37 year old down to the ground. Kyokutenho gets up thinking that he lost the match, but in reality he was on his way to the championship.

Honestly after this match the pressure was gone until the final match. Never have I cared less about how the Ozeki and Yokozuna matches were going to turn out.

Kotooshu vs Tochiozan
Kotooshu pulls out of the tournament on the morning of due to injury, allowing Tochiozan a free pass to the championship match. For real. I can think of only 3 reasons why the ozeki would do this. 1. He was under orders from the JSA to withdraw to ensure that a Japanese rikishi would have a chance at the yusho for the first time in 6 years (unlikely as he is doing so bad lately that he wouldn’t have to do that much acting to lose to tochiozan.) 2. He is prepping for a future bad-guy role in professional wrestling by doing exactly the things that he knows all of the fans will hate him for. 3. He is an absolute dickhole. I can not reiterate how disrespectful it was of the Bulgarian to pull out of a match the morning of. If it had been the night before, the banzuke could have been adjusted, but as it is, the fans were robbed of a legitmate match, and if tochizan wins, then the crowd will hate him for it as he had one less actual “win” than the other guy, at no fault of his own.

Kisenosato vs Baruto
Barutp pulls out the win over Kisenosato meaning that the playoff wil be decided between Kyokutenho and Tochiozan. It also means that the conspiracy theorists who said the ENTIRE basho that the JSA was scripting it so Kise could take home the yusho are fucking idiots and shouldn’t be listened to.

Other Ozekis fight, some win some lose.

Hakuho vs Harumafuji
Although I firmly don’t believe that there was any prior collusion between these two about the outcome of the match, you would have to be lookin at the wall to not see how obviously Hakuho gave this match away. It is seriously not even worth describing how little effort the yokozuna put into this match to spare his Mongolian counterpart from going 7-8. Blegh. Onto the real last match of the day.

Kyokutenho vs Tochiozan
Boy, you could not ask for a better ending to this basho. Either way the JSA and the fans get exactly what they want. The JSA either way gets a Japanese winning storyline, or an anybody can win it storyline. The fans get legitimate passionate sumo with a compelling story behind it. The last time a makuuchi Maegashira wrestler won the yusho was when kotomitsuki won it back in 2001. This is the first time that a playoff match has been between two makuuchi Maegashira wrestlers by the way.

Both of the rikishi prepped for the match in silence, not watching the result of the kise match. When the two meet in the dohyo, it is a relatively short affair. After a brief initial charge, Kyokutenho takes a few steps back and drops ozan to the dirt. In all honesty it was more of tochi’s loss than Kyoku’s win, but who gives a shit A 37 YEAR OLD JUST WON!

Yes plenty of tears were shed by both the fans and the 37 year old kyokutenho after his win, and for good reason. As you may have read on our site before this basho began, his stable master has recently hit the retirement age and was forced to retire. Faced with taking over his master’s table or letting it collapse and continue wrestling, kyokutenho made the tough decision to stay in the ring against all odds. Although I know the former oshima-oyakata is happy for his protégé of 20 years, you know he has to be thinking to himself, “really, you couldn’t have done this one fucking basho ago?”

I really don’t see how anyone can say that this ending was scripted and that’s why I think it appealed to so many sumo fans this time around. Stay tuned for Creswell’s in depth natsu basho wrap up.

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