05. Aki Basho 2010

Aki Day 1

We here at Sumo & Stogies apologize for our sloppy coverage on day 1.  You see we all have jobs, Matagiyama having moved on from his post giving out hand-jobs at the local convenience store for the world of academia (which coincidentally still involves giving out handjobs), therefore it is sometimes difficult to find ourselves in front of a TV right at 4:15.  Usually we have relied on the kind help from the sumotalk message board, but as they’ve been having problems, so have we.

Anyway, I’ll give you a basic rundown of day 1 and a good hard look at day 2 in the next post.

Toyozakura, Juryo 11 last basho, promoted to M17.  This hasn’t happened since Yonekawa in Haru 1951… and he had 14-1 with a yusho…not Toyozakura’s 8-7.  Long story short: Goeido dominated.  Tosanoumi slapdown on Kyokunankai (Nankai being the longest ascent to Makuuchi: 17 years.)  Lady Gaga probably has a bit more confidence now that lower maegashira is pretty much just juryo now.  Win for the Georgian over Shima’s man-cruch Kakizoe.

What happened to Tamawashi?  He was looking good for a while, but now he can’t even win against Tochinonada.  Kasugao actually had some decent belt work and denied Sokokurai his first makuuchi victory.  Takekaze had a nice enough oshidashi over Koryu (and Moriyoshi rejoices.) Seaking of Kaze, the other Oguruma, Yoshikaze posted a win today over Kotokasuga, certainly looking better than his pitiful showing in Nagoya.  Hokutoriki fell to the large talons of Shimotori, and Bushuyama fell, but not because of anything but his own shitty balance (tsukihiza non-loss for Kimurayama.)  First half action ended with a Kokkai sukuinage over Tosayutaka, and a nice solid Kitataiki yorikiri on Drop Red Sexy.

Strangely enough Hakuba went chest to chest with Mokonami and scored a decent enough uwatenage.  Still, it’s not enough for me to like the guy.  Takamisakari scored a win over Ami-schneaky at the bales, Tokusegawa looked solid and quickly dispatched Kyokutenho, and the Geek made short work of shin-sekiwake Tochiozan.  One of my favorite bouts of the day was Tochinosin and Aran, thats 314kg of Eastern European madness, and the Georgians won out on this one, but it is interesting to note that it only took Aran 22 basho to reach Sekiwake (Hakuho took 24, and it took Harumafuji just about as much to break into Juryo.)

Old gray mare got took advantage of Homasho’s distinct tendancy to come in low, with a quick hatakikomi slapdown, and Baruto made very short work of veteran Wakanosato.  Kotooshu had a bit more of a struggle with Tokitenku, but got the uwatenage (I must say Tenku has been looking a lot better as of late.)  Kisenosato came in hard against Harumafuji and managed a nice big push almost knocking the ozkei out, however he failed to capitalize in enough time and Harumafuji’s speed allowed him to get a double maemitsu grip which ended in a very quick shitatedashinage.  Almost good work by the Kid, but as usual, there is a but.

Finally down to the main attraction Kakuryu v. Hakuho.  We all knew that Hakuho was going to win this one, a fellow country-man would never knock off Hakuho’s winning streak when he’s this close.  But they made it look good, going chest to chest and both parties going makikae more than once.  However as inevitable as taxes, death, and Matagidan trying to defend Tamawashi, yorikiri for the Dai-yokozuna.

more of me for day 2

Aki Day 2

I’m expecting a lot of weird sumo this basho, and although there was some on day 2, it was not nearly as much as I expected.  We’ll begin with M16Tosanoumi fighting Toyonoshima up from juryo (that sounds weird).  Tosa is old… older than Kaio, no surprise he went down to the T.shima 2-0.  I’m not sure what word to use for what Gagamaru did to Toyozakura, becuase it was a combination of choking, pushing, and molestation.  In any event Zaukra ended up in the 3rd row, and Gaga is 2-0.  Given Kyokunanikai did take half a step forward before henka-ing the fuck out of Kakizoe and following it up with a delicious burt reynolds, but it got him his first makuuchi win… a win 17 years in the making.  Again decent belt work out of the kimchi-commando for a win over Tama-wash out.  Sokukrai picks up his first Makuuchi win (and awkward NHK interview) with an uwatenage over easy target Tochinonada (both men at 1-1) and Takekaze had a decent tachiai then backpedalled and led Kotokasuga to the dirt. 2-0 for Akita, vice versa for Koto.

Yoshikaze is certainly looking better.  Yesterday he used his pattented “be all over the fucking place” move to neutralize Koryu’s belt grip, and managed a sukuinage.  Standard Kimura, shift to the side at the tachiai, but he was able to catch Shimotori off guard and pick up his 2nd win while the Bird hangs in at 1-1.  Hokutoriki came out of the gates with some decent tsuppari pushing former US president George W. Bush-uyama back and to the left, nice set up for the hikiotoshi we all saw coming.  1-1 for Ricky-ticky and Boobs McGee has none.

Kokkai got Kitataiki up at the tachiai but Kita lunged toward the bales to get out of the way thrusting Kok outward as he did, but it wasn’t strong enough and Kok recovered.  Kok read Taiki’s incoming charge and slapped him down while diving over him.  Both tumbled to the clay, Taiki a split second before Kokkai.  Strange looking stuff.  Tosayutaka and Asa II had an endurance match with similar grips.  They reamined locked up for a bit, but Tosa began to tire, at which time Sexy took the advantage by getting Tosa uright and eventually forcing him out.  Tosa is winless, Asa 1-1.

Takamisakari and Mokonami had a standard tachiai, but I guess Moko wasn’t expecting a backpedal from Robocop because he pretty much just fell over without any further help from the bespectacled one.  Taka 2-0, Moko 0-2.  Aminishiki choked a bitch today.  Oshitaoshi over Hakuba, both at 1-1.

Tochinoshin vs. Tokusegawa, one of my favorite bouts of the day.  Numerous tsuridashi attempts by both parties after a strong tachiai.  However, Noshin’s got the experience here and was able to turn Toku slightly to his side and shuffle him out in impressive fashion.  Great stuff from both guys.  Aran locked horns with the Geek yesterday, and after a not so impressive tachiai by the Russian, he was left trying to keep Geeku from getting morozashi.  But to no avail, the Geeku penetrated and pumped his way to victory.  I will say though, Aran did hang in at the tawara longer than most do.

Tochiozan looked darn good against Kyokutenho.  Right from the get go Ozan had morozashi and dumped the sad man out to pick up his first win, something Kyoku has yet to do.  It looked like Homasho might have had the advantage, and that Harumafuji was too low, but Harry reached out with both hands and steadied himself using Homasho’s left ankle and twirling him to the ground with matador style bravado.  Not really traditional stuff, but it worked. Opposite scores for these two guys 2-0, 0-2.  Kaio needs to send someone a fruit basket for letting him fight Wakanosato on day 2, only 6 more and he’s off kadoban and will be fighting in Kyushu… this is so certain that not even a sumo wrestler would bet against it.

Baruto came in strong and blasted Kisenosato back with a few shoves, but didn’t finish the job.  Kise saw the behemoth backing off and unbalanced, stepped slightly to the side and pounced, getting inside with a swat and two quick pushes got Baruto off the dohyo for an upset win that could start a good trend for the Kid.  Baruto limped back, trying to keep off his left leg.  No injury report yet, but we’ll see.  Kakuryu got an immediate strong grip on Kotooshu’s mawashi, but Oshu kept on the move and used his own belt grip to swing the smaller mongolian out.  Good stuff from both guys.

Hakuho faced Tokitenku (who I claimed yesterday was looking better.)  The Tenku looked really determined going in but a hit with the left shoulder and the right hand on the back of the neck sent Tokidoki to the clay within 1.5 seconds.   Maybe I’ll retract my statement.

That’s 49 consecutive for the Yokozuna, and tomorrow will be 3 consecutive for me as I bring you even more detailed day 3 action.  From Akita, the home of alcohol in Japan.

Aki Day 3

Day 3 saw some damn interesting bouts, in fact the best bout so far by my judgement.  Some rikishi pulled out a few things that surprised the hell out of me, some not so much.  Let’s get down to it.

Since we’re gonna have a bunch more mobility between Juryo and Makuuchi this basho lets take a quick look a juryo and see what the deal is down there.  Toyonoshima and Okinoumi hold steady at 3-0, Tamaasuka and Shotenro hang in at 2-1, while pitiful hype-fest Goeido slips to 1-2, and Hibeekster is a even more pitiful 0-3.  Newcomers to Juryo Tochinowaka and Shironoryu are also looking good at 3-0, while returnee Ryoho is at 2-1, and newbie Takarafuji remains at 1-2.  On to Makuuchi…

First off Kyokunankai vs Miyabiyama.  Miyabiyama may not be ozeki material anymore, but he’s a bit too good for Juryo.  That was very obvious today.  Although Nankai went left at the tachiai, Yama read it, put up a bit of tsuppari, then a push + pull + slap = hatakikomi.  2-1 for the gambler and 1-2 for the shinyuumaku.

Ga Ga Ma Ru.  Showed his shit today in locomotive fashion.  Tosanoumi never made it past the shikirisen.  Three shoves and the oldest little maegashira was in the crowd.  However I can see Gagamaru being weak towards lateral motion, so he’s gotta watch that.

Tamawashi v Toyozakura.  Toyozakura gave a slap and dodged to the left after the tachi-ai.  Looked like an attempted slap down, but Zakura saw opportunity and exchanged kimarite for the more embarrassing okuridashi.  1-3 for Zachary, whilst the Mawashi gently weeps at 0-3.

Tochinonada v Kakizoe.  I would have put this in Zoe’s column, just because Nada is old and sometimes can’t deal with the speedy shit.  However, Zoe came in low, looking for a grip, breaking the almost immediate left hand uwate that Nada had gotten.  Nada noticed that Zoe was being too eager, so he pushed down on the younger guy’s neck to throw him of balance then gave him an okuridashi for his trouble.  only 2 wins between the two of them, and none are Zoe’s.

Takekaze v Sokokurai.  1st meeting in Makuuchi for these two.  The ethnic Mongolian started off with and elbow to Akita-kaze’s face, which didn’t do much.  Kaze went for the hatakikomi, but Sokoku’s withstood.  Soko then used the lower position provided by said hataki attempt to push Kaze up and out.  Both rikishi at 2-1.

Koryu v Kasugao.  Koryu opened this thing up with buckets of tsuppari, effectively denying Kasugao the grip he was looking for.  After 3 or 4 failed hatakikomi attempts Kimchi managed to get a hand or two inside and work the Mongol out for the W.  I was really surprised to see Kasugao give a clean tachiai, I’m so used to him pulling henkas in this type of situation.

Kotokasuga v Shimotori.  Bird got an immediate right hand in, and spent a few second searching for his left hand uwate.  Koto eventually gave it away and that spelled the end, the Bird marched Koto right out without a moments hesitation.  2-1 for Shimotori, Kotokasuga is winless.

Hokutoriki v Yoshikaze.  Both rikishi we excited and we ended up with 2 mata’s before we got started.  I guess the mata’s must have thrown Hokutoriki off, because Yoshi was able to get an inside left, with a matching outside (both beltless grips) and it was over for the Joker. Kaze 3-0, Ricky 1-2.

Kokkai v Bushuyama.  We here at Sumo & Stogies appreciate all asects of sumo, so (due to this bout being kind of lame) I’m gonna give a shout out to the yobidashi for this one. Goro, よく頑張ったよ.  Kokkai jumped up at the tachi-ai, and having no momentum at all made the bonehead mistake of pulling a charging Bushuyama toward him.  Easy win for Dubbya.  Kok – 2-1, G.W. 1-2.  Bonus:Hiro Morita quote for this bout:  when referring to the fact that since his neck injury Kokkai has been using the belt more adding “a repitor his game.”

Kimurayama v Tosayutaka.  Hiro was full of ‘em yesterday.  Tosayukakka expected even the small henka to the left out of Kimura and ended this one quickly with a slap down.  Kimura 2-1, Tosa 1-2.

Kitataiki v Mokonami.  We end the first half with Mokonami looking like trash for the 3rd day in a row.  Taiki got a deep inside position right form the get go.  The Tokyo-ite’s hidari-yotsu plus his low position spelled a quick end for the tanned tiger.  Kitataiki 2-1, Mokonami is winless.

Asasekiryu v Hakuba.  Of course, when facing a larger guy Hakuba let out a nasty henka to the left and kept sideways pressure on Sexy.  It took about 4 uwatenage attempts before the Henka-queen finally gave up on the throws and turned it into a yorikiri.  Props to Asa II for  resisting the throw attempts.  Notice how Hiro called this a “good strategy”, but not “good sumo.”

Tokusegawa v Aminishiki.  Tokusegawa’s rhythm must have been thrown off by Ami’s false start, because he let the injured M4 dictate the pace of the bout.  While going for the right hand inside the Mongol fell victim to Sneaky’s katasukashi.  2-1 Sneak, vice versa for Toku.

Takamisakari v Kyokutenho.  This one was over before it started.  Kyokutenho is still good enough to stick around in the top half of Maegashira, but Robocop is much more suited for the lower half.  Sad man got a nice left uwate and things were sealed.  Goofy couldn’t even hang on at the tawara.  2-1 Goof, 1-2 Kyoku.

Kisenosato v Kotoshogiku.  Both rikishi locked up at the tachi-ai.  Kise getting a right hand inside left hand out and Geeku with a left hand inside.  Going chest to chest like this with Geeku is dangerous, if he gets morozashi it takes a miracle to save you from that gabburiyori.  In situations like this Kise needs to look into diversifying his kimarite portfolio.  A throw would be nice to see from this position, lateral motion is a big weakness for the Geeku.  However, this time the Kid prevailed by preventing the right hand grip and keeping Geeku on the move.  Yorikiri. 2-1  for each.

Aran v Kakuryu.  Right off the bat Kakuryu nabbed a maemitsu grip, and Aran answered with a double armlock whihc broke Kak’s grip.  Kak was able to break the arm lock, regain maemitsu and use that low position to push the RUssian up and out.  Kakuryu picks up his first win, while Aran is still searching for his.

Homasho v Kotooshu.  Little bit of harite at the tachi-ai from the Ozeki.  The two seperated and Oshu used Homasho’s tendancy to come in low with 2 or the massive (and audible) slaps to Hatakikomi our Cigar Store Indian to the clay.  3-0, 0-3.

Harumafuji v Tochinoshin.  Without a doubt the best bout of the day.  Probably the tournament.  Nice chikarazumo bout.  Enormous tachi-ai by both rikishi.  After locking up Harumafuji went for 2 big right hand shitate attempts, but Noshin used his massive lower body and good balance to prevent them, at the second attempt Noshin tried to counter with a left hand uwate throw, but it was Harry’s turn to resist.  After the throwing attempts Noshin finally got the migiyotsu he was searching for and used a big tsuridashi attempt to throw Harumafuji’s balance off, then segued perfectly into a yorikiri.  At 1:15, Hiro Morita called this one a “War of Attrition.”  Tomorrow’s bout between Noshin and Kotooshu looks like it’ll be a good one.  Great sumo by both rikishi. 3-0 Georgia, 2-1 Mongolia.

Kaio v Tochiozan.  Big henka from Ozan to the right followed by the immediate oshidashi.  When asked in the interview room about his tactics, Ozan commented that he was tired of getting slapped down right at the start by Kaio.  Not sure if this was sekiwake sumo, but he got the win.  Both are at 2-1.

Baruto v Tokitenku.  Pretty much the same as Gagamaru’s bout.  3 shoves and this one was over.  Baruto 2-1 Tenku 0-3.

Hakuho v Wakanosato.  As has been said before Wakanosato has the best record against Hakuho of any rikishi out there.  at 9 losses 6 wins.  Those wins however were back from when Hakuho was a sekiwake.  The last 9 were all Hakuho… make that 10.  Hakuho got inside with the right, pivoted slightly nailed the left hand uwate and it was over in a few seconds.

That’s 50 consecutive wins for Hakuho.  4 more to pass Chiyonofuji and 20 to pass Futabayama.  69 is the all time best (that’s what she said) and Hakuho is the 69th Yokozuna, coincidence?

My consecutive streak ends here though you can look forward to mañana with de Gama.

click here to watch the NHK update video of Hakuho’s 50th win, and the Tochinoshin v Harumafuji bout.

Aki Day 3

So the feed for the 3rd and the 4th day are up, and its time for some mediocre coverage of some sumo!
First up is not Lady GaGa’s bout but Wakatenro and Kakizoe’s. A very eager Kakizoe lunge at his opponent prematurely a few times.  When he finally did do it right, they danced around the ring until Waka tangoed a bit too hard making himself loose balance (teachnically pushed out by Kaks).  Thus, falling out of the ring. Kakizoe…1 win…GET
The next one is Tosanoumi vs. Tamawashi.  So basically, they get into a pushing contest that leads them around the ring.  Eventually, Washi gets the upperhand and pushes him toward the ground.
Toyozakura vs. Sokokurai: From the get go, I thought Toyozaks had it.  It seemed like he made Sokokurai go into a higher position and eventually got him down.  Probably the must interesting bit was the second Soko was down Toyo turns toward his corner and quickly wobbles off camera as though he just shit his pants.
Tochinowada vs. Takekaze: GOO TAKEKA……oh.  The Akitan gets thrown down few seconds into the tachiai.
Kotokasuga vs. Koryu: This round was actually pretty interesting to watch.  Kotokasuga stood his ground while Koryu bombarded him with his fists.  Kotosuga slowly makes Koryu move back until he steps out of the ring.
Kasugao vs. Yoshikaze:  Come on, Yoshi….I’m a bit disappointed in this guy.  When I saw his record I was as eager as Kakizoe to see this bout.  What started off as a decent showing of sumo ended with a fast side step from Yoshi for the eventual dethroning of the King. Win goes to Yoshi.
Kimurayama vs. Hokutoriki: Same deal as the previous fight.  Not too interesting.  Kimurayama picks up his third win.
Kokkai vs. Shimotori:  Wow. Kokkai definitely placed some moves on poor ol’Shimo.  Kokkai gets a good grip onto the mawashi and throws him to the floor.  Probably one of the better displays of sumo in my opinion today.
Bushuyama vs. Tosayukata: I feel bad for Tosayukata.  In the beginning they play a bit of grab ass and decided to screw it after a while.  Bushuyama tries to lift Tosa out of the ring but Tosa tries to pull a fast one.  This makes Bushu’s and all his fat fall upon Tosa.   A win for Bushu.
Takamisakari vs. Kitataiki: In the lower half of the Makeuchi, this is one of the fights I was looking forward to.  Takamisakari’s pre-sumo performance always fun to watch.  However, the actually sumo was pretty bland.  Kitataiki just pushes the guy out of the ring.
Tokusegawa vs. Asasekiryu: A pretty long battle between the two fighters.  Both had a grip on the mawashi. But, Asasekiryu was eventually pushed back to the ring and lifted out.  Decent sumo.
Mokonami vs. Aminishiki: Another decent fight which I thought looked like the fallen Sekiwake was going to win but Mokonami pulled some maneuvers and down goes Aminishiki.
Hakuba vs. Kyokutenho:  This bout was a display of Hakuba’s speed?  I mean he hopped around in circle while entangled with Kyoku.  It did little in the scheme of things because he was taken down by Kyoku at the edge of the ring.
Aran vs. Kisenosato: First match with the makeuchi elites.  It begins with a fury from Aran. When Kisenosato begins his retaliation, Aran does a small shift and sends Kise to the floor.
Kakryu vs. Tochiozan: Kakyru really tried hard to pull Tochiozan to the floor.  Probably a little too hard which perhaps opened him up.  Tochiozan just simply pushed him out of the ring during a pull down attempt.
Baruto vs. Kotoshogiku:  Not much to say about this bout I think.  Baruto got the grip and lifted Geeks up and out of the ring.
Tochioshin vs. Kotooshu: Exactly the same as the last fight.  Oshu gets the grip at the tachiai and lifts the poor guy out of the ring.
Harumafuji vs. Wakanosato: Pretty exciting round of sumo.  At first it seemed that Haruma had a simple win.  But, Wakanosato held off the advance at the ring and was able to knock Fuji back to the center.  After a little bit of grip positioning Haruma got the momentum and pushed Waka out.
Tokitenku vs. Kaio: This fight was definitely the most riled up the crowd has been yet.  Puts pressure on Old man Kaio to perform a bit.  So basically the two rikishi meet in the middle to exchange their grips, then each try to push the other one way.  Kaio had a slight advantage and slowly worked Tokitenku to the edge of the ring.  Kaio used his body to force Toki down.  A win for the Old man.
Hakuho vs. Homasho:   A win for Hakuho.  However,  there was a time that Hakuho looked like he was in trouble.  Homasho tried to do one of those jumping lift outs and this actually got Hakuho to the edge of the ring.  But, Hakuho recovered, turned it around, and flattened his opponent.
4-0: Hakuho, Kotooshu, Yoshikaze
0-4: Homasho, Tokitenku, Koryu
Hope you enjoyed the first report of the Aki basho.  Time to pass the baton to the next guy.
de Gama
Any grammar/spelling errors please forgive…I’m Spanish…or was it Bolivian?

Aki Day 5

Just 5 days in and we already have a leader board of only 3 at 5-0, with a few stragglers hanging in at 4-1 (well actually 6, but I only see 2 of them as being actual contenders.)  I must say I missed the first few bouts, but they probably weren’t all that great to begin with, so I’ll just give you the quick run down with an upper Juryo chaser.

Goeido picks up his 3rd win over Wakatenro, whilst Toyonoshima and Okinoumi remain perfect at 5-0.  Miyabiyama hangs in at 4-1, but poor Toyohibiki… still winless in Juryo.  Other records of note are Shinjuryo Mongolian Shironoryu who is also perfect at 5-0 with a win over Nakanokuni.

Now up to Makuuchi.  Hochiyama paid Toyo-Zachary a visit and treated him to an oshidashi.  Kakizoe picked up his 2nd win over Tosanoumi via hatakikomi, and Tamawashi was a dirty copycat and pulled the same hatakikomi for the same second win over Kyokunankai.  Now lets get to the nitty gritty.

The Gentlemen Gaga from Gurujia showed his lateral weakness today.  The momentum from his steamroller charge was used against him by Tochinonada two times before the veteran gave in and was yoritaoshied by the Georgian giant.  Gaga needs to figure out how to protect his weaknesses if he’s ever going to get past lower maegashira. Gaga is one of our 4-1 rikishi, Nada at 3-2.

Takekaze started with his hands right up Kasugao’s pits and it looked like a quick oshi.  Kimchi slipped out but sacrificed his balance and Kaze got behind and traded an oshi for and okuridashi. Both at 3-2.

Koryu came in with arms straight to the face of Sokourai trying to keep him as far away from the belt a possible.  Kokurai slipped left and got a cheap shitate grip which was quickly broken, as Koryu resumed his pushing attack.  Kokurai once again pivoted left and tried for what looked like an utchari or some kind of desperation armbar, but to no avail. Koryu picks up his first win and Sokokurai sinks to 2-3.

Yoshikaze continued his undefeated streak with a quick pivot right and hatakikomi over Shimotori who now rests at 2-3.  My bet is we’ll see Yoshi clean up till he has his KK, then he’ll cool off.

Kotokasuga v Hokotoriki.   Kotokasuga henka-ed left and hatakikomi-ed his opponent and sent him Riku-rolling straight into the tawara.

Kokkai read Kimurayama’s right henka and so neutralized the attempt at a belt grip.  Kok took advantage and quickly oshidashi-ed Kimura.  It looked as if Kok gave an unintentional dameoshi, so to make up for it he then offered what looked like a paizzano embrace. Kokkai also rests at 4-1.  3-2 for Kimura.

Kitataiki got the better of the tachiai against Bushuyama and scored a nice left hand inside.  Taiki resisted all of G.W.’s attempts to stand him up, swung left, and used some good footwork and a final shove in the chest to send Bushu over the bales.  Taiki s lookin good at 4-1 while Bushu needs to reevaluate his strategery at 2-3.

Mokonami walked up today with his shoulder taped up pretty heavily.  At the tachiai Tosayutaka really wanted to get the hidariyotsu, but settled for a left hand outside grip.  Nami attempted a fairly stong shitatenage, but Tosa recovered and picked up a migiyotsu for his troubles.  Tosa tried to gabburi his way to the win, but Mokonami tried some kind of rear lifting bodyslam.  It would have worked but a mono-i revealed that Moko passed the plane of the dohyo a split second before Tosa.  I must say, Tosa’s matches are either split second defeats, or long drawn out yotsu matches with photo finishes.  I haven’t decided whether or not I like this guy.  But he certainly can surprise (especially when he beats Hakuho.)

The bout between Aminishiki and Asasekiryu started straight up (and that was not fully expected of 2 guys with such sneaky reps), but ended quickly as Ami spun to the left and pushed down on Asa’s neck.  Ami is at a nearly respectable 3-2.

Takamisakari nabbed an early lefthand outside on the belt, but it was shallow and Tokusegawa’s pushing from below shattered the grip and spelled the end as Twitchy was pushed up and out with almost no effort.  Misakari sulked his way off the dohyo, but not before scratching his ass in disappointment a few times.  Toku is looking good at 3-2. Taka at 2-3.

Hakuba made the mistake of engaging Kotoshogiku straight on.  the Geeku got inside and burt reynolds-ed Henkaba to the bales, but thought “nah, that was too easy” and decided a surprise uwatenage was a nice way to diversify. Geek 3-2, Henkaba is the opposite of that.

Kisenosato did against Tochiozan what he always does, he gave away the inside left hand position right at the tachiai.  The kid struggled to break ozan’s gip by going makikae and trying to get that right arm inside.  But Ohzan is wrestling too good right now to let that slip and took advantage of the makikae to dispatch his would be dispatcher.  Ozan looks good this basho at Sekiwake 4-1.  Kise has a rough week ahead at 2-3.

Aran jumped the gun once on Kyokutenho, then right at the tachiai Aran went under the chin and left his entire lower body open.  Of course this allowed Tenho into the Russian’s pits, then into a nice hidariyotsu.  When Aran tried for the right outside grip, Tenho made a gabburi push for the bales.  Somehow Aran managed to spin the Sad man around and pulled out his own gabburi to get the Mongol gone.  Both parties now at 2-3.

Kaio actually henka-ed  a bit to the left against Kakuryu, gave up the outside right position, and completely whiffed at a lefthand outside.  He tried to go makikae but Fishface retorted by escorted the elder statesmen to the other side of the tawara.

Baruto smelled Homey’s leftways henka a mile away and opened with a quick harite and a decent belt grip.  The rest was so text book that it was almost boring.  Baruto 4-1.

Wakanosato dodged left after the tachiai against Kotooshu and tried to play bull fighter, trying to leet Oshu’s momentum carry him out.  Which it did, but not before Waka stepped out. The Bulgarian behemoth is undefeated.

Harumafuji came out of the gates against fellow mongolian Tokitenku with his usual vicious nodowa.  Toki stepped back and made an all or nothing hataki attempt, but Harry bounced back and used Tenku’s compromised balance to charge forward into Tenky knocking him out.

Hakuho vs Tochinoshin was a good match to watch.  Noshin moved slightly left at the tachi ai and scored his favorite left hand outside, but failed to capitalize on it immediately.  Hakuho slammed his own hand in for a right hand inside and broke Noshin’s grip.  Noshin managed to get the grip back, but by that time Hakuho had his matching left hand outside.  Each attempted a tsuridashi to weaken the other’s balance.  Hakuho surrendered the inside right hand and moved him arm slightly up and pulled a nice little sukuinage to finish things off.  Not to say that Noshin hasn’t been looking good.  It’s just that Kublai is just on another plane.

That’s 52 wins for the distinguished gentleman from Mongolia (which happens to tie Hakuho’s father’s personal record.)  Day 6 he ties Chiyonofuji if he wins over Kotoshogiku.

5-0 Hakuho, Kotooshu, Yoshikaze  (let’s be realistic Hakuho Yushos again, but will it be zensho?)

You’ll be without me until day 9.   But fear not our Hawaiian heya member has got your back for day 6 action.  Chalmers, make it so.

Aki Day 6

Aloha to all you sumo fans, especially those with a cravin’ for good smokes.  This is Chalmers reporting from sunny Hawaii to watch and report on my first basho since leaving snowy Akita.  I was reading Mike Wesemann’s comment on Ichiro, Japan’s chosen one, as he approaches a milestone.  I agree that Sumo is hurting for a Japanese hero to emerge, to bring new life to the sport and lead their people back to their roots. 

But I don’t see that happening any time soon with Team Mongol creeping up to take yet another record away from Team Japan.  Yes, the match to watch today, at least by Kokonoe Oyakata, formerly known as Chiyonofuji.  Chiyonofuji, aka “the Wolf” and one of the Yokozuna greats of the 20th Century, has his record of 53 consecutive wins at steak as Hakuho, the great Mongol in the ring, stood at 52 wins at the start of the day.  This record, set 22 years ago, is second only to Futabiyama’s 69 wins, set 73 years ago.  Hakuho, now 25 years old and still well in his prime, will be eligible to take the top spot in the record books mid-basho in Fukuoka.  Go Hakuho!!!

The day starts of with our Juryo rep Toyohibiki, surfacing from Juryo after getting the boot from Maegashira after Nagoya.  Biki gets a break today fighting old-timer Tosanoumi, who is only in Makuuchi by Biki’s stupidity (among others).  Biki tires out the old man, then slaps down to finish, picking up his first win of the tournament.

Lady Gaga, in the 3rd, does his darndest to sway the judges in his favor after a monoii with Tamawashi.  Good looks and bedroom eyes fail as he is sent back to the line, out of breath from his efforts with the judges, Gaga gives it up to King Tama, oshidashi.

Kakizoe, showing he still has it against Team Korea, picks up his 3rd win, tsukiotoshi.

Team Akita ate extra kiritampo nabe to pick up a slap down win over rookie, Kyokunankai.  4-2 for Team Akita, Keppare!!!

Team China, making waves in his (and the countries) first appearance in Makuuchi, gets the right-inside grip and muscles out Shimotori for a 3rd win.

Whenever Yoshikaze gets low enough in Maegashira, he makes a run at jyuyusho as he appears to be doing this basho, picking up a hard-fought win against G.W. for a 6-0, hikiotoshi.

Kokkai putting up a poor attempt at an arm throw falls victim to the same arm throw himself.  Sukuinage win for Kotokasuga and Kokkai’s second loss.

Robocop put up a good fight bulling over Henkaba, but Henka pulls a last second desperation grab at the mawashi as he falls out.  Takamisakari steps out for his 4th loss this tournament, never seeing it.

The Sneak sneaks by Kitataiki for a 4th win, with what looked like an unfinished Kakenage leg hook, but was judged as a yorikiri??.  Sneaky.

The Cigar Chief dominates the today’s powwow, looking like the true bear-fighter against Tokusegawa.  Staying away from a belt contest, Chief muscles his way to his first win, yorikiri.

Wakanosato maintains his perfect record this tournament as he forgets everything he learned at Sumo school and stands up at the Tachiai: fail.  Kakuryu picks up an easy 3rd win.

The King looking strong as he graciously extends Tokitenku’s perfect no-win record, and continues to show that he belongs in his new Sekiwake seat, hard earned after 3 kachikoshi of the last 4 tournaments this year.  Toki get’s oshidashi-ed like a noob as Elvis cruises to 5-1.

Harumafuji, yet to have a real opponent, gives his favorite throat-shove to Kyokutenho, who decides to make things interesting by holding on to Haruma on the way down.  Haruma headbutts a fan on his way to 5-1, oshidashi.

Tochinoshin, hoping to make the meat grinder by November, gives no handouts this tournament.  Kaio doesn’t get the senior citizen discount today as Noshin tires him out before walking the old man back to his seat, yorikiri.  Tochinoshin now at 4-2.

Bart looking a bit clumsy on the tachiai as he almost falls backwards to Alan.  But Bart makes up for it with a tsuppari barrage and a dameoshi for shits and giggles.  Bart picks up number 5.

The Blink continues to struggle at his 12th (non-consecutive) Komusubi appearance.  Kotooshu bulls Blinky over and give’s him the ‘ol hug-n-chug, done better only by the Geek.  Oshu in a good position at 6-0.  Juyusho, anybody?

And last but not least, how ‘bout that Hakuho?  Hakuho making a run at history, ties 53 bout winning streak set by Chiyonofuji twenty-two years ago, and second only to Futabiyama’s 69.  The Geek puts up his best effort, but the Hak capitalizes on the Geek’s reckless excitement, and not able to catch the Geek as he runs past and out.  Hatakikomi win puts Hakuho at 6-0, and 53 straight wins.  Tomorrow we will see if Hakuho gains the second best consecutive-win record!

Aki Day 7

If there was ever a doubt that winning, records, and weekends matter in Sumo, day seven at the Kokugikan in Tokyo would definitely make that point clear, with its first sold out show of this Aki Basho. Dai-Yokozuna, Sho Hakuho was set to surpass Chiyonofuji Yokozuna to become second all-time in consecutive wins at 54! Would he do it? Read on to find out!

Juryo #1 Goiedo made a trip up to his old stomping grounds to face off against Makuuchi newcomer, Kyokunankai. The soon to be Prodigal Son made quick work of Kyokunankai with a slapping attack that ended in a hatakikomi. Goeido moves to 5-2 while the new comer moves one step closer to one way ticket back to Juryo at 2-5.

Goodness gracious did Sokukorai give Kakizoe a send off today. Kakizoe started out with a missed a tachi-ai harite. This opened the Flash up as the Inner Mongolian from China stood him up. With an outside right-hand grip Sokokurai literally lifted up Kakizoe for a body slam like throw known as a tsuriotoshi. Impressive win for an impressive new comer in Sokokurai. Looking forward to seeing what else this guy is able to pull off this basho.

Akita’s only Makuuchi Son was saved by his footwork today. Toyozakura was in charge from the word go. Takekaze was able to deny the M17 a solid grip however, and while Takekaze was being pushed around the dohyo he managed to pull off a tsukiotoshi thanks to his quick moving feet. The Kaze moves to 5-2.

Tamawashi is getting back to what he does best. Running guys over with his pushing attack. Today he easily defeated his fellow Mongolian, Koryu with a tsukitaoshi. Imagine a monster truck running into a ford focus and you’ll get the general idea of what this match looked like.

Gagamaru was up against soon to be former Aki Basho Co-Leader, Yoshikaze. Surprisingly Yoshi lives to see another day on the leader board.  After a heated tachi-ai Cappuccino was able to quickly get out of the way to watch Lady Gaga fall to the ground.

The People’s Champion, Bushuyama faced off against Niigata’s Favorite, Shimotori. Yet again, this match looked as though Bushy was in control but unfortunately for the Aomori native Shimotori was able to turn the table with a shitatenage.

Kitataiki faced off against Kimurayama. Things started off with Kimurayama getting a tachi-ai nodowa. Kitataiki looked to have taken over after removing the neck hold but Kimurayama held him off enough to keep Kitataiki off his belt. Kimurayama moves quickly to his left for a pull down win. Kitataiki was clearly upset about this loss and I don’t blame him. He shouldn’t be losing matches like this one.

Robocop and the Secretary faced off in an exciting bout. A year ago, I would say Takamiskari would have finished this bout off with a win but today is a different story. Asasekiryu withstands multiple throw attempts by the Aomori native  and turns Robo around at the rice bales to get the win. Nice bout.

Wakanosato was out of the tachi-ai like lightening. I mean that was surprising. He follows up with a tsupari attack but Sekiwake Tochiozan was able to withstand both unharmed. From there Tochiozan simply moved the older Wakanosato out of the dohyo, despite Wakanosato’s pull down attempts. Sekiwake doing what he’s meant to do moving to 6-1.

Kotooshu faced off against Kyokutenho. The Bulgarian Ozeki was at 6-0, which made me think he might lose his focus today against the veteran Mongolian. Both rikishi got nice outside grips but Big-O was able to force Kyokutenho out. Awkward win for the Ozeki but he’ll take it I am sure.

Harumafuji was up against fellow Mongolian Kakuryu. Great tachi-ai by both rikishi, followed by a spirited tsupari exchange. The Komusubi and Ozeki locked up and to my surprise Kakuryu pulled off an amazing uwateheneri throw. If you are like me and curious what that kind of throw looks like click here. Kakuryu moves to 4-3, with his first win against Ama in the last eight bouts.

Ozeki Kaio is hurting here in Tokyo. At 3-3 after six days I do wonder if we’ll see him again in Kyushu. Well today Kotoshogiku took Kaio out with ease. At 3-4 during his easy week, I will be shocked if he even makes it through this basho. Props to him as this may be my last report before he retires.

Baruto made Tochinoshin look like a light-weight today. Great nodowa attack from Baruto and finishes the Georgian off with a hearty push to send him out of the dohyo. Baruto is 6-1 and appears to have recovered from his early loss to Kisenosato.

Now the match we have all been waiting for! The Kid vs. The Great Yokozuna! When I signed up for this day, I had forgotten that it was the day Hakuho may potentially pass Chiyonofuji. When I was reminded of this fact earlier in the week, I began thinking hard about how I could honor this moment for Yokozuna. I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure the Great Yokozuna was facing. Not only was he up for his fifty four win in a row but he had to get it from a guy he’d beaten ten times straight. Now for anyone who’s been a competitive athlete, you know the pressure that comes along once you start consistently beating an opponent. It is all too easy to let up and lose focus. I guess that’s why Sho Hakuho is who he is though, eh. The man is focused and tough. It was an epic match and one deserving of this day. Kisenosato fought hard and had at least one pull down chance to take this one away from the Yokozuna. In the end however the Yokozuna was able to pull off the oshidashi win over the Ibaraki native. Congrats to Hakuho, his family, and to Sumo in general. Today was a ray of light amongst the dark storms that have been 2010 for sumo. Here’s to a competitive basho to the final day and for at least a few more bright spots along the way.

Insert your favorite Lost reference here: Chalmers is taking you into uncharted day 8 waters tomorrow.

Aki Day 8

Chalmers back with your Day 8 results and we already see that some people’s fate has been sealed halfway through this tournament.  As you already know, Hakuho made history yesterday with his victory over Kisenosato to become the lone achiever of the second-most consecutive wins of any rikishi.  This is a record that I hope he adds to until he reaches and surpasses sumo’s all-time best consecutive-win record of 69, set by Futabayama 73 years ago.  Go Hakuho!

To start the day off, Toyonoshima, our lucky winner from Juryo, made his kachikoshi at the expense of Kakizoe, oshidashi,  and may just crawl back up to Makuuchi after being banished in shame.  Someone give him a cookie, but make sure he doesn’t gamble it away!

Team China falling victim to Tamawashi, as the two of them try to hand fake each other at the tachiai, a technique patented by our own Virgil Valentine.  This form of find-mucking is intended to anger your opponent into going home without a fight.  Tamawashi helps Sokokurai back to China with complimentary oshidashi, and picks up his 5 wins.

Lady Gaga faces the home team, Takekaze for a David and Goliath match in size.  Tinykaze floats like a butterfly and stings like a butterfly as he gets tricky and jukes out Lady Gaga.  Helps her to the floor, tsukiotoshi, and comes within 2 of his Kachi.

Team Korea falls for Shimotori after a lousy tachiai, eyes closed and chin tucked, easy way to find the floor.  Shimo gets the freebie, tsukiotoshi to 4 wins.

Yoshikaze, dominating the bottom feeders, quickly finds good position as he gets to the side of Kimurayama.  Kimurayama gets hold of Yoshi’s arm and uses his weight to get ontop and for a crushing tsukiotoshi, Yoshi’s first loss of the tournament.

G.W. Bushuyama gives it up to Asasekiryu, standing up at the tachiai and it’s downhill from there.  Asa takes the left hand in and and walks G.W. out, yorikiri, to 4-4.

Robocop didn’t drink enough “Water Power”, as Ross Mihara so eloquently puts it, gets put into the dirt by Tosayutaka like it was recess in the playground.  Uwatenage puts Robocop at 2-6, and Tosa at an even 4.

Henkaba, regretting that his henka didn’t work, has to get it done the hard way and yoritaoshi’s a surprised Kitataiki, stubbing his toe on the way out (comeuppance).  Henka at 5-3.

Kokkai and the Sneak, exchanging sweat as Kokkai slips by for a hikiotoshi upset over his senior, 6-2 and looking good.

Tochinoshin handing out the first Makekoshi of the tournament in Makuuchi to Wakanosato, yorikiri.  Noshin gets out to the side and drives Waka to a still perfect record, Noshin at 5 wins.

The Blink may as well keep his eyes closed as all hope passes him by. The Chief executes a perfect “no fakery” pull down and sends Kise out with a handprint on his back.  Maybe he can get it signed.  Both men at a pitiful 2-6.

Team Mongolia, Tokitenku and the Kak, wrap up and the Kak gets his right hand in.  The Kak walks Toki out for 5 wins.

Bart tries to wrap up with the King as he continues to forget how worthless he is on the belt.  Bart comes to his senses in time and oshi’s his way to 7 wins, leaving the King at 6.

Kotooshu and the struggling Alan exchange man-hugs and Oshu gets the right hand in.  Oshu picks up Alan for a walk out, and picks up the first Kachikoshi of  Makuuchi.  

The Geek outsmarts Harumafuji and claims “another Ozeki scalp” with a well-executed kotenage.  The Geek with 5 wins, two of them off Ozeki Kaio and Haruma.

Kaio, in danger of demotion, squeaks by Tokusegawa with a hard fought yorikiri win.  Kaio at 4-4, 1011th career win.

Hakuho faced the Kyokutenho, who gives the Yokozuna more trouble than most. Tenho prevents Hakuho from getting the inside hand.  Turns out the Hak doesn’t need the belt and performs a sukuinage, in place.  Perfect execution and still perfect record, Kachikoshi and 55 wins.

Hakuho continues to please.  Chalmers signing off from starry Hawaii!

Aki Day 9

I don’t know where you are, but we here in Japan we just got off a 3 day weekend.  I just got back from a mountain climbing camping trip in Yamagata.  Feels good to be back, but it doesn’t feel good to be covered by mosquito bites and bruises… in retrospect, perhaps I should have gone to Tokyo to watch some sumo… then again looking at the past 3 days (Hakuho’s record breaking aside) I might have been gravely disappointed.  Anyway, lets get down to day 9 action.

We started the day off with Toyozakura and Tosanoumi.  While Tosanoumi is old (38) Toyozakura is no spring chicken at 36.  Zakary went slightly right at the tachiai and began a strong shoving attack.  He quickly picked up a right hand inside got some gabburi going and increased his record to 4-5.  Noumi stays stagnant at 1-7.

Miyabiyama was a bit jumpy today against Tamawashi with 2 matas.  Once they finally got down to it Mawashi’s pushing looked decent.  Miyabiyama circled, trying to get some kind of grip, but Mawashi was quick enough to evade and kept things moving.  The Mongol then changed things up with a neat hikiotoshi on the back of the veteran’s neck.  Tamawashi really turned things around this basho, he moves to 5-3, while Miyabiyama stays at a decent enough 7-2.

Kasugao couldn’t resist the human continent that is Gagamaru.  A few pushes and this one was over bringing Meat-suit to 4-4 and Kimchi to 3-5.

We got a usual mata out of Kakizoe, and a not uncommon henka-hatakikomi attempt from Takekaze.  However, Kakizoe was in a good position and the attempt fizzled.  It allowed Zoe underneath and the little guy was able to push Kaze up and towards the bales.  It looked over for Akita’s main man, but the Moriyoshi Marvel was able to slip to the left at the last second and and managed a hatakikomi, a successful one this time.  Neither party looked happy after this bout.  Kaze is 7-2 sniffing at KK and Zoe is at 3-6 sniffing something else altogether.

Kotokasuga henka-ed to the left against Kyokunankai.  Both struggled for a grip with Kotokasuga playing the role of the aggressor and backing Kyoku to the bales.  Kyoku was trying to fight back, but was a bit too low.  Kotokasuga spotted it and took advantage with a hatakikomi.  Koto is now at 5-4 and Kyoku at 3-6.

Tochinonada pulled a bit of a left-ward henka and got a deep outside left hand outside grip securing an easy yorikiri over Shimotori. Tochi- 6-3 Tori 4-5.

Hokutoriki v Sokokurai.  I didn’t like this bout.  First off the gyoji called a mata, which shouldn’t have been called.  Both rikishi had both ahands on the dohyo and both rikishi went in for a tachiai.  Sokokurai henka/hatakikomi-ed and won fair and square (well maybe not fair, and defeinitely not square… but it was a win.)  However, in the re-match Ricky henka-ed slightly and pushed at the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region-er with quite a bit of attitude.  Kokurai got both hands on Ricky’s arm but an elbow blast and a push sent Kokurai out of the ring.  Ricky even grabbed at Kokurai’s arm in what looked more like an “I thought we had something special…” than a dame-oshi.  3-6 for the Joker, and 4-5 for the Chinese Mongol.

Tosayutaka showed some good deashi after scoring a good left hand inside grip against Koryu at the tachiai.  This bout was as over as Koryu’s current stint in Makuuchi.  The Gorilla moves to 5-2 and Koryu 2-7.

Another freakin mata…at this one Kitataiki showed Yoshikaze how ready he was by pushing him clear of the dohyo… yeah I know its really weird that the mata came from Taiki and not Yoshi.  Once they were set and ready to go again, Kitataiki brought the exact same intensity and got a nice clean oshidashi.  5-4 Taiki, 7-2 Yoshi.  It’s very Yoshikaze like to go  or 8 straight then cool off and barely make KK.  Well see what happens today against Tochinonada.

Standard stuff from Kimurayama, ie. henka to the left.  But Asasekiryu was taking no guff today.  He quickly locked up Kimura and got the yorikiri.  5-4 Asa 6-3 Kimura.

The rare clean tachi-ai from Hakuba ended with Kokkai spinning behind the guy everyone loves to hate and treating him to a painful trip into the 2nd row.  7-2 and 5-4 respectively.

Bushuyama had a good solid tachiai followed by some strong oshizumo, which drove Takamisakari back to the bales with one arm sticking straight up in the air.  Everyone  knows Robocop knows how to hang on at the tawara, but this was just a bit too much for Taka.  Bushu climbs to 3-6 while Taka flirts with Makekoshi at 2-7.

Here my feed cut out and I missed the bout between Tochinoshin and Kotoshogiku… however since Geeku won by yorikiri, I’m guessing it had something to do with at least one hand inside and some gabburi… just a hunch though.  Geeku at 6-3 Noshin at 5-4.

Kakuryu got the better of the tachiai against Homasho, and was going for the maemitsu that has been so good to him this basho.  However, Homey got his hands inside and broke Kak’s grip.  Kak tried to circle right and go for the okuridashi, but Homey didn’t play that and was quick enough to recover and took Kak to the edge.  This one then turned, quickly, to an oshi battle, and since Homasho had all the momentum he came out on top.  3-6 Homey, 5-4 Fishface.

This was the Kisenosato I want to see everyday.  It looked like Tokitenku just told him he slept with his wife, or maybe it was just the right hand harite from Toki at the tachi-ai.  In any event, Kise went right for the throat and did a great job keeping  Toki away from the belt, while staying far enough away to prevent any stray leg waza.  This bout ended with Kise giving one final assult at Tenku’s throat to send him sprawling.  The Kid moves up to 3-6, but has a long way to go to get his 8.  Meanwhile, across town… Tokitenku gets Makekoshi.

Aran began against Wakanosato with some windmill style tsupari, then got low and tight, locked up Waka’s arms, and kept his head buried in Waka’s chest.  The old man saw Aran’s low position and tried to hatakikomi, no dice.  Aran noticed that Wakanosato had been left open, and Aran got the oshi win.  3-7 for the shin-sekiwake, and 0-9 for the poor vetern.

Baruto had Kaio pushed far back and looked like he had it sewn up.  But Kaio must have tripped over a box of lucky charms when Baruto’s follow through on some tsuppari missed slightly at the tawara.  Kaio slipped to the side and was able to sink one of his paws deep into the back of Baruto’s mawashi.  Bart tried to turn things around, but his motion was too slow and he got okuri-ed.  Kaio stands at 5-4 and Bart at 7-2.  3 more and Kaio gets to return home to Fukoka still an Ozeki.

Another 2 matas on Aminishiki this time… that’s a lot of matas in one day…

Anyway, Kotooshu immediately took command with a strong left hand inside and Aminishiki secured a right hand outside.  Oshu pushed for the edge and it looked all good for the Bulgarian, but a left hand on Oshu’s neck and a quick twist gave Aminishiki a nice uwatenage.  Once again Sneaky (now 5-3) foils Oshu (now 8-1).

There was some spirited oshizumo between Harumafuji and Tochiozan.  As the ozeki pushed for the bales Ozan tried to get inside and went for a quick throw with what looked like a weak maemitsu.  While the throw didn’t quite work it did throw Harumafuji off balance enough for Ozan to go for the throat and push Harry down to the clay for an oshitaoshi.  Ama 5-3, Ozan looking good at Sekiwake with 6-2.

This was looking to be a good bout.  Tokusegawa has been looking better and better, but it was his first time meeting the Yokozuna when it counts.  At the tachi-ai Tokusegawa managed to secure a left hand outside grip on the belt, but Hakuho had what looked like morozashi.  With some great movement and constant pressure the dai-yokozuna managed to keep Toku off the belt.  Hakuho tried the same sukinage he used on Kyokutenho on day 8 (which NHK replayed like 3 times, and it looked completely effortless by the way) but it was a no go.  However, it did give Hak the opportunity to nab his favorite migiyotsu with a hidari uwate kicker.  This beautiful uwatenage extends Hakuho’s record to 56, and his yusho count to 16.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen.  Hakuho day 9 yusho… count on it.

count your lucky pesos, DeGama’s back tomorrow. 

Aki Day 10

I was surprised with some things I had to do and then got back mi casa pretty late in the noche.  Regardless, I hope you counted your lucky pesos because here’s some riveting coverage of DAY 10 SUMO!!!
I also decided to display el ganador’s record for every bout to see if its helpful.
I think we can see that the scores are a bit on the weak side.
Kyokunankai vs. Toyozakura:  This was a bit of an awkward sumo fight.  There was a lot of belly hitting and arm grabbing.  Finally Toyozakura seems to try for the mawashi and Kyoku takes advantage.  This makes Toyo hop outside of the ring like a wobbling chicken.
Kyoukunankai receives a score of 4-6
Gagamaru vs. Wakatenro:  I don’t even think you can call this a fight.  Gaga just gets low pushes up a few times on his opponent, which ultimately knocks him out.  Gaga was in complete control.
Gagamaru receives a score of 6-4
Kakizoe vs. Tamawashi: For some reason Kakizoe is insanely eager.  He desperately tries to catch Tama off-balance by pushing his arms away or down but in the end Tama moves away pushes Kaki down after an attempted lunge.
Tamawashi receives a score of 7-3
Kotokasuga vs. Sokokurai:  The beginning of the fight they were just lunging for eachother’s mawashi.  After a while they both get it.  However Sokoku eventually gets the strength the lift Koto off the ground and out of the ring.
Sokokurai receives a score of 5-5
Tochinada vs. Yoshikaze: I’m pretty happy for my boy Yoshi.  Its nice to finally see him doing pretty well in the tournament.   That being said he almost lost this one.  Yoshi lunged low toward Nada.  Nada moved back to the side a bit and pushed Yoshi down.  At this point it was up to whether or not Yoshi would go down before Nada stepped out of the ring.  Nada went first.
Yoshikaze receives a score of 8-2
Hokutoriki vs. Kasugao: I couldn’t really tell but I think Kasugo pulled a bit of a henka while trying to push Hokuto down.  However, it didn’t work which led to hugging in the middle.  Eventually the King throws Hokuto down by the mawashi.
Kasugao receives a score of 4-6
Tosanoumi vs. Shimotori:  They start out smacking into each other trying to get some kind under the shoulder type grip.  While hugging, Shimotori pulls a 180 turn to throw Tosa to the ground.
Shimotori receives a score of 5-5
Koryu vs. Bushuyama: This fight consisted of Bushyama slapping and pushing Koryu around the ring.  As Koryu was evading there were chances that Bushuyama seemed to lose balance, but it was never taken advantage of.  Eventually, they got into a hugging match which ended by Bush pulling away and Koryu falls down.
Bushuyama receives a score of 4-6
Kitataiki vs. Takekaze: Kitataiki rushes at Takekaze which allows Takekaze to get a shoulder grip.  Takekaze then twirls him around to the edge of the ring and tosses him out.
Takekaze receives a score of 8-2
Mokonami vs. Kimurayama:  Rough.. They rush at each other (noting that Mokonami slaps Kimura). They then go around in a circle and Kimura attempts what seems to be a double titty-twister to make Moko step out of the ring.
Kimurayama receives a score of 7-3
Kokkai vs. Asasekiryu: Asasekiryu, I believe, henka’s and pushes Kokkai down.  Don’t think the NHK gave it a reply…
Asasekiryu receives a score of 6-4
Tosayutaka vs. Hakuba:  It looks like Hakuba performs a henka and procedes to push franticly.  They get to the edge of the ring and it looks like Tosa is about to toss him on the floor having a shoulder grip.  But, he doesn’t have enough strength. Thus allowing Hakuba to step back and push Tosa out of the ring.
Hakuba receives a score of 6-4
Kotoshogiku vs. Takamisakari:   Kotoshogiku goes in and gets the mawashi grip.  Having this he tries to perform a yorikiri, but Taka stop it.  This only delays the inevitable because Koto tries it again and succeeds.
Kotoshogiku receives a score of 7-3
Aminishiki vs. Tochinoshin: Both lunge at each other trying to grab at something and getting a grip, but the other usually pushes away.  That happens a couple times until they both get into the mawashi hugging stance. With one hand on mawashi and the other on the shoulder, Tochinoshin moves Nishiki out of the ring.
Tochinoshin receives a score of 6-4
Tokitenku vs. Wakanosato: Classic Sumo on this one.  Waka gets the advantage on the tachiai and pumps him out of the ring. Nice first win, buddy.
Wakanosato receives a score of 1-9
Kisenosato vs. Kakuryu: This was actually a pretty sweet battle.  At tachiai there was a lot of pushing around and Kise had the advantage.  At one point he had Kakuryu almost on the floor.  But Kakuryu slides around him, grabs that mawashi, and yorikiris for the finish.
Kakuryu receives a score of 6-4
Aran vs. Homasho:  This showing was awesome in slow motion.  Bodies smacking together. Then, Aran’s simply overpowering arms pushing Homasho back.  Eventually Homasho slips (perhaps a mislunge) and Aran completely takes advantage pushing Homasho straight out of the ring. Classic.
Aran receives a score of 4-6
Harumafuji vs. Tokusegawa: Pure power.  Haruma rushes in, locks Toku’s arm, and his other hand pushes against Toku’s neck.  Using his strength overtakes Toku and pushes him out. Short and sweet.
Harumafuji receives a score of 6-4
Baruto vs. Kyokutenho: Starts with some ill-attempted pushes to the face by Baruto.  He quickly changed his strategy and grabbed Kyoku’s mawashi.  Then it was only a matter of time until he lifted him off the ground and out of the ring.
Baruto receives a score of 8-2
Kaio vs. Kotooshu: Both rush in and get a grip on each other.  Oshu tries to lift Kaio off the ground and Kaio goes sideways.  This allows Oshu to throw Kaio to the ground.
Kotooshu receives a score of 9-1
Hakuho vs. Tochiozan: Well, my bad on this one… the feed I got didn’t have the coverage. But, I’m sure it went something like … They had a bit of fun at the tachiai.  Hakuho gains advantage and performs a good ole yorikiri for the win.
Hakuho receives a score of 10-0

Aki Day 11

Ross Mihara quote of the day “Hakuho has had more consecutive victories than Murray Johnson has had birthdays.”  –said twice on Day 11.

             For those of you who’ve been following sumo through the last half decade, you may recall a little brouhaha sandwiched between the JSA cover-up of a boy beat to death in 2007 and the more recent baseball betting among rikishi and four-fingered, tattooed men.  Between these two scandals, you may recall a ruckus in which this man took part.  Any idea who this bastard is?  You purists should know.  Yes, I did a little detective work and came across the spunky up-and-comer of 2008, Wakanoho, who was dismissed from sumo after someone found a joint in his lost wallet.  Redeeming himself, it appears Mr. Gagloev is now a freshman defensive linesman for the Webber International University Warriors, in Asspit, Florida.  He won’t be getting any trouble for marijuana in the US, friend, but do watch out if you choose to smoke Cubans!

              Day 11 of the Aki Basho and two stories are making the headlines; another of Kaio’s possible swansongs and Hakuho’s dominating record.  Regarding the latter (I don’t have shit to say about the former), I was chatting with a Mongolian friend the other day who told me that there was an interview with Asashoryu in the Mongolian newspaper.  He was asked how he felt about Hakuho’s winning streak.  Tactful and classy as he is, Asa indicated he was proud of Hakuho and remarked along the lines of it being a extraordinary achievement, but later in the interview he stated, again with regards to Hakuho’s winning streak, “it’s a good thing for him I’m not around anymore.”  Maybe it is, but it certainly ain’t a good thing for the JSA who do a mighty fine job of emptying the seats at the Kokugikan.  But that’s neither here nor there, and this is how I saw it on Day 11.

              My name is Virgil Valentine, and I start where I want, and today I’ll start waaaay down low…in makushita. The rikishi who’s been on my bubble, Aoiyama is 4-1 at Makushita W9.  Today he took on Makushita E3 Masunoyama, also at 4-1.  With this win and possibly just one more, I’d say Aoiyama is on the elevator heading into sekitori bliss.  Aoi charged right into Masunoyama at the tachai, with Masu not even moving, but once contact was made, Masu charged straight with a monozashi.  Right on the bales Aoi turned an uwatenage and both rikishi slammed the clay.  The uwatenage was enough to save Aoi from hitting the clay just a split second before Masunoyama, and the Bulgarian sits at 5-1.  Finishing off the basho with one more win is a sure-fire way to get that sekitori salary in Fukuoka, then just maybe he’ll have the funds to enjoy it’s Nakasu district for a night.

              As Murray Johnson would say, “Now, there’s an interesting situation down in Juryo.”  Yeah, the interesting situation is that half of them are in makuuchi.  It already appears the yusho is in Toyonoshima’s hands.  In a noshima battle today was Toyonoshima (10-0) vs. Tamanoshima (6-4).  Easy tachiai between the two, taking Prince Toyo a few steps before he could even get his hands on King Tama (huh, huh).  Toyo went for an inside position and stepping back, opened up his left-side and pulled Tama’s left shoulder down with both hands, via katasukashi.  With that Toyonoshima is 11-0, and only Goeido at 9-2, the Juryo yusho for this basho is in the hands of the baseball gamblers association.

Gagamaru (6-4) and Sokokurai (5-5) started things with a soft tachiai as Sokokurai moved a bit to the right.  In fact, I think nerves were a factor as Sokokurai was halfway into a henka and halfway waling out of the ring.  Gaga just wrapped up on the belt and marched the chinaman out, yorikiri style.  Gaga on way to a kachikoshi, at 7-4, while SokokuRay, who’s never makekoshi-ed since becoming a sekitori, is now at 5-6.

Tamawashi (7-3) has seven straight wins and wanting to add to that a kachikoshi for today.  In the dance with Kimurayama (7-3), they starting things off with some mild tsuppari at the tachiai which was weak and both rikishi should have enhanced, but pressing through the weak tsuppari they lock up briefly with monozashi and separated.  A few more shoves and Kimura was near the edge and Tamawashi finished him off oshidashi. And with a kachikoshi, Tamawashi went to the NHK interview room to talk about the growth of his beard and other relevant information.  Gotta love NHK.

Kokkai (7-3) vs. Takekaze (8-2):  Nice tachiai with Take withstanding Kokkai’s shoulder to the face and quickly gaining a right-hand outside grip and wasting no time to use that for an uwatedashinage.  9-2 for Takekaze, while the gentleman from Georgia will have to wait for his kachikoshi, sitting at 7-4.

Yoshikaze (8-2) and Asasekiryu (6-4) bonk heads at the tachiai, followed by Yoshikaze working in a monozashi as Sexy just came up into his chest and from there Yoshi threw a belt-less arm throw without having to move his feet.  Yoshikaze is “still in the yusho race,” according to our friends at NHK, with a 9-2.  More like he and stablemate Takekaze in the running for special prizes.

Takamisakari (2-8) is having a terrible basho with only two wins thus far, yet that’s double the victories Wakanosato (1-9) has.  After a round of barking and doing the frog stomp, the Aomori battle began.  Wakanosato charged a lot harder at the tachiai like a bullet into Taka’s chest.  They wrapped up but Takami was all counter attack, which has been shit this basho.  Waka by tsukiotoshi.  It was Waka’s 11th victory over Johnny Appleseed, and after opening this basho with nine straight losses, he’s on a two match winning streak!

             Sylvester Stallone was reportedly in the Kokugikan today, evidently visiting Japan to pick up a few Cuban smokes and enjoy the sumo.  Stallone, you’re welcome to join us at our Sumo & Stogies gathering on Saturday…just show up as Rambo and we’ll all be happy.

Kisenosato (3-7) vs. Tochinoshin (6-4): Mr. Tochinoshin went slightly to the side at the tachiai in order to get a left hand outside but Kise worked it off with good defensive tsuppari.  From here Mr. Tochinoshin was pressing Kise to the edge where Kise put on a spinning countermove which left the two rikishi dangling on the edge like they were on a high wire.  Kise did the hopscotch around the tawara while Mr. Tochinoshin towered down first.  The gumbai went Kissy, but after a confirmation chat among the judges, it was validated.  Kise’s victory, and thus avoids his makekoshi for now.

Aminishiki (6-4) vs. Tochiozan (7-3): Aminishiki gained ground on the tachiai but from here Ozan outpowered Sneaky’s low pushing attack.  With a bad knee, Aminishiki couldn’t change the backwards momentum and Tochi wins oshidashi.  Tochiozan stays sekiwake with a kachikoshi while Sneaky’s promotion/demotion is still up in the air.

Today, he faced Ozeki Kotooshu (9-1) – God I hope Hakuba (6-4) doesn’t…aaah, shit!  He did!  Hakuba henkas to the right throwing off the slow witted Ozeki.  Hakube went for an armbar on Oshu and kept it until he had his opponent to the edge, then moved inside, head on chest and with a little gabburi worked Oshu out.  And this is precisely the reason why Oshu will never be a yokozuna.  He falls for shit like this.  And Hakuba in the NHK Interview Room!  “Was that planned bout?”  Hakuba: “Huh, huh [with a cheesy grin].  That’s a secret.”  It’s not a secret!  Everyone knew it except Kotooshu.  Hakuba is 7-4, and thus one henka away from kachikoshi while Kotooshu is plain out of that yusho race that some talk about.

Harumafuji (6-4) vs. Kaio (5-5): Haruma wanted a right hand outside but failed, they separate briefly, then Kaio shoved Haruma to the edge and unleashed what they called a sakatottari, but really it was just a bump from the ass and the little man was down on the clay.  Kaio is still alive at 6-5, though he has the Dai-Yokozuna tomorrow.  Seems it’s any easy win for Hakuho, but remember Kaio was the last man who defeated Hakuho way back in January.  Harumafuji falls to 6-5 and better take his Ama tablets with Gatorade.

Baruto (8-2) started things off with a friendly harite for Kakuryu (6-4).  Both lock up with Kakuryu’s two hands inside on the belt, and Bart’s hands both outside.  When Bart goes for the predictable tsuridashi, Kakuryu sneaked in a beautiful leg trip, sotogake.  Nice win by the Kak, who has defeated three of the four ozeki this basho.

Hakuho (10-0) vs. Aran (4-6): slow start from Hakuho at tachiai.  For a second Hak just held off Aran’s reach, then Hak went in himself for the right hand inside, left hand outside, and a smooth and easy uwatenage.  Hak’s at an astonishing 58 consecutive wins.

              Here’s our Aki leader board: Hakuho.  The leader board is so certain it could be chiseled in stone and put in a museum.  Hakuho is doing his job, and he’s an amazing athlete.  That’s how I see it.

A Pink Floyd lyric says “hanging in on quiet desperation is the English way.”  Bertrum will clarify how much truth there is to these words tomorrow on Day 12.

Aki Day 12

Bertrum here bringing you the day 12 Aki basho reports! We’re certainly feeling the Aki part of Akita as the temperatures have dropped and our nips are feeling hard and chilly! But in the world of Sumo, it is definitely still HOT! And that heat was definitely rolling in from the East to claim the days overall victories. Let’s now see what I’m rambling on about…

Wakatenro vs. Tosanoumi: Waka up from the Juryo division, tries his hand at playing chicken with the tosa. Now, though there was an initial clash, it just seems that the makuuchi had the bigger balls and puches waka out back into juryo with an oshidashi.

Kasugao vs. Toyozakura: This bout was built up to be pretty interesting as the two ox’s are standing on an even keel. However, from the get go Toyozakura seems to leap frog over kasugao, pushing him to the ground in the process – otherwise known as a hikiotoshi.

Koryu vs. Tochinonada: A really exciting bout! Koryu’s sixth time in makuuchi, tochinonada, a veteran’s, 70th or so. Worth noting that Koryu has yet to defeat Tochi. blubber went on blubber, and the veteran tried to thwack Koryu out of the ring (by the throat i believe), but, with a surge of blood koryu comes back and forces Tochi out with a yorikiri, beating the guy for the first time. If he didn’t polish off that bout with a stogie, he damn well should have done!

Kotokasuga vs. kakizoe: This bout can be summed up as all powder and no shot. the two pushed slapped and wrangled with not much effect at all. Koto manages to finally get a drip of kakizoe’s mawashi and manages to simply push kakizoe out of the ring.. and most likely back into juryo…

sokokurai vs, yoshikaze: a false start by Yoshikaze merely gave everyone a snippet of how pumped he was for this bout! the soko was hit by the full force of the Kaze and was lifted and pushed straight outta the ring in a blink! Changing his name in the process from sokokurai, to soto kurai. A nice attack from yoshikaze giving him a 10-2 victory.

Takekaze vs. shimotori: Takekaze, the man from Akita, keeping the Aki real with this basho! A very quick bout won with a tsukiotoshi, also leaving Takekaze on a 10-2 victory on day 12.

kokkai vs. tamawashi: An interestng turn of events, a good grip of the miwashi and a wedged foot into the rope of the ring allows kokkai to fling tamawashi out of the ring with a sukuinage.

kitataiki vs. kyokunankai: A pretty straight up bout with an oshidashi win for kitataiki.

Gagamaru vs tosayutaka: it seems that Lady gaga had put on a few pounds here, and turned from singing to steam rolling his way over the tosa to claim a yoritaoshi win for himself.

Mokonami vs. bushuyama: You put ya left had in, and your right hand out (on the miwashi) and shake it all about – is how mokonami got his win for this bout.

Takamisakari vs. hokutoriki: Personally, I feel that this was a dirty bout. Taka starts off with a shoulder barge to the face, dropping hokutoriki with a oshitaoshi. A re-match should have been in order, despite it perhaps being an accident.

Kimurayama vs. hakuba: In a blood lust kimurayama goes straight for the throught and takes a firm hold, but unawares hakuba “E-honda style” pnumatically power slaps kimurayama out of the ring. another dirty match, won by an oshidashi.

Kotoshogiku vs. Asasekiryu: A quick side jump to the left (like the time warp) sends kotoshogiku flying out of the ring by awatenage.

tokitenku vs homasho: I think we all knew who was gunna lose this bout with tokitenku on 1-10. A flying lung forces tokitenku out of the ring by oshidashi.

tokusegawa vs. wakanosato: The bout started with an almost mirror image display of grabs, grunts and punts! But with a toss, turn a trip tokusegawa manages to kirikaeshi waka.

kisenosato vs. kyokutenho: A pretty run of the mill bout by kisenosato. a grip, belly push and a yorikiri sent kyokutenho out.

tochinoshin vs. kakuryu:  A beautiful bout, sso much power strength of muscle and a low charge to push out by yorikiri. Kakuryu. Good Sumo.

Baruto vs. Aminishiki: As always I was ooting for Baruto here, particularly as he on 3 losses and looking a little sloppy at the moment. Some good manouvering by Aminishiki puts Baruto in a position where he simply knew,  he was done. You could see the pain on Baruto’s faces, and almost felt like giving the jolly giant an ice cream.

Tochiozan vs. kotooshyu: Wow! It seems that the Europeans just haven’t got it for the team at the moment. Kotoshyu pulls a similar maneuver to that of Baruto. By the time he realised that the bout had started, Kotooshyu finds himself out of the ring. Another disappointed face… Looks like koto and baruto will be hugging those two losses out!

Haramafuji vs. Aran: Another dirty looking match by Haramafuji. I’m not a big fan of this guy as he always seems so cock sure of himself, so a disappointment to see Aran falling out the ring by oshitaoshi.

And so we have the last bout of today, Hakuho vs kaio: Great display of sumo by hakuho here. he was not up for paying homage to the grandaddy kaio (as others like to). Took him a pulled muscle or to to achieve it, but yorikiri nonetheless. 59 consecutive wins

Can’t wait to see the day 13 events.. Time for a curry with Valentine

Bertrum out-

Aki Day 14

Dear readers:

The day 14 Aki Basho action has arrived. By its arrival, I mean in written form by yours truly. And by yours truly, I mean some average guy willing to put himself out there and write about a sport that he has grown to love over the last three years. The half foreign, half Japanese and half Juryo basho has been a fun one to watch, but it has been clear that the competition has been down. With guys like Takekaze and Yoshikaze being the only guys left with a chance to hold off the great Hakuho, you know the things are a bit watered down this fall. One Ozeki is still working for their eighth win today. Yep, Kaio. I wonder if he’ll get his win? Actually, I don’t wonder because I think we all can guess what will happen. This guy is Mr. 8-6, eh.

Shimotori had a joke of a match against Tamawashi. The Mongol leaning far too forward at the tachi-ai was easy pickins for the Frozen Bird from Niigata. Shimotori, not surprisingly picks up his eight wins.

Kimurayama reminds me of the red head in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society. He’s in the club but no one really seems to like him. In the movie, the red head kid blames the cool English teacher and cool English teacher gets fired. I guess a sumo equivalent might be a consistent regiment of henka. Today Kimi (how’s that for a nickname?) faced off against Kakizoe. Regardless of the fact that Kakizoe “Oh no you didn’t” slapped Kimuraryama in the face multiple times (with authority), the bigger Kimi took him on straight from the tachi-ai and walked Mr. Spark Plug right out of the ring with relative ease.

Gaga toed the line against fellow Georgian (as in Republic of Georgia, not the state), Kokkai. Twas The Round One who easily wins this bout by yorikiri. Gaga moves to 9-5 with a chance at ten wins tomorrow against the ever sneaky, Hakuba.

Kitataiki man handles Toyozukura today for an oshidashi win. Kitataiki moves to 9-5.

Asasekiryu gets a nice left hand grip at the tachi-ai against Tochinonada. The match ended with my new favorite Mongolian rikishi throwing Tochi for a belt-less arm throw (that was oddly judged to be an utwatenage). Tochi, no nada eight wins today (get it? Think about it for a second!) and instead will have to wait until tomorrow to try to get his.

Mathematically still possible Yusho hopeful Yoshikaze faced the bigger Kotoshogiku. The Geku got in fast at the tachi-ai and got under Kaze’s armpits quickly to pull off the oshidashi.

Wow, Sokokurai showed his strength today against Kyokutenho. It looked as though the Chaufer was going to lift him out, simple as that. Not so! Sokokurai comes back and lifts the bigger Mongol right out of the dohyo! Good stuff, Sokokurai lives to see another day at seven in seven! Good luck tomorrow, eh!

Takekaze was then the final guy left to potentially challenge Hakuho (haha). Today he fought well against Tochinoshin. The 22 year old had a terrible tachi-ai and it looked like the veteran Kaze was going to take it with a deep mawashi grip. There was a pause in the action however, and the other Georgian (from the Republic, remember?) got his left-hand grip and threw the Akita native to the ground. With that loss, Hakuho has won his forth Yusho in a row, and has potentially won his four zensho Yusho (undefeated Yusho).

Aminishiki henkaed his way to his eighth win over Kakuryu. Not impressive, of course, but Kakuryu needs to be ready for that sneaky crap.

Tochiozan continues to roll with his tenth win over Henkuba. Yorikiri style. Impressive basho for the best Japanese hope (right now) for Japan’s next Ozeki. Ten wins at sekiwake gives him a starting point at least. It will be fun to see if the same guys shows up at Kyushu. I for one, hopes the same guy does show up.

Kisenosato loses in what appeared to me to be a legitimate bout against Kaio. We’ll see you in Kyushu old friend.

Final bout Kotooshu vs. The Dai Yokozuna!

Hakuho has won something like the last seven bouts against the Bulgarian. With no Yusho pressure, you knew that the Yokozuna would be putting the pressure on anyways (that’s how he rolls!). Hakuho seriously crushes Kotooshu at the tachi-ai but Big-O held on at the bails, his foot hanging off just above the sand. The Bulgarian fought back to the center of the dohyo and looked to have thrown the Yokozuna but Hakuho tenaciously held on and forced the Oshu out of the ring. With this yorikiri win, the Yokozuna has one last match against Harumafuji. If he wins tomorrow he’ll have 62 straight wins. Only seven wins from tying the all-time wins record in Kyushu. History is now. I will be shocked if I ever see another touch what Hakuho is doing right now in sumo.

What will you remember about this Yokozuna? What do(did) you think of Chalmers and Crestwell’s debate this week? Check it out here if you haven’t read it yet!

Saddle up dear reader! Valentine taking you through to Senshuraku!

A Day 15 Senshuraku

Shaking off hangovers is never fun, but why not just drink and get it over with?  The yusho was determined ages ago, Old Man Kaio bought his way out of another katoban, and there’s not a single 7-7 rikishi facing another 7-7 rikishi.  The 2010 Aki Basho will go down in history as one with lower attendance records than the WBA, despite appearances by Rocky and other circus clowns…oh, just wait until Kyushu.

In search of good bouts on Senshuraku, the tv is on from 1pm at the Valentine home to catch the very competitive Makushita division.  A rikishi I’ve been following, Makushita W9 Aoiyama (5-1) took on W14 Ikioi (5-1).  Both have a slight possibility of advancing into Juryo, but the winner will have the edge if that opportunity is indeed there.  First tachiai—false start by Ikioi.  Second, tachiai—false start by Aoiyama.  Damn, maybe they’re ready for Makuuchi?  Finally, on the third try, Aoiyama reached inside for a belt grip but Ikioi had a quick tsuppari going which first fended off Aoiyama’s reach, then escorted the Bulgarian backwards and out of the ring.  Ikioi is 6-1 and has a slight edge of Aoiyama, 5-2, for that special promotion.

Makushita musubi-no-ichiban turned out to be an interesting bout.  E2 Fukao (4-2) took on E3 Masunoyama (4-2).  With a kachikoshi and at their ranks, these two are first in long line for Juryo…again, if the opportunity presents itself.  Anyone ever seen Fukao’s tachiai?  Certainly the strangest one out there.  A top-heavy bastard to begin with, it takes him like five minutes just to hunker down, point one leg straight at his opponent, and the other towards the shōmen judge, in a 90 degree angle.  He’s also in the running for the boobie prize with Bushuyama.  Upon tachiai, Fukao got a right-hand inside briefly, but Masunoyama fought it off with his arms extended.  Masunoyama transformed his shoves into a monozashi which disarmed Fukao and easily led the heavyweight opponent out of the ring.  Masunoyama finishes 5-2 while Fukao falls to 4-3, but both have high hopes for Juryo.  If Masunoyama is promoted, he will be the first rikishi born in the Heisei Era to draw a sekitori paycheck.

Skipping Juryo, enter the English commentators “Hro Morita,” (yes, that’s how the NHK graphic listed his name), alongside “Having said that…” David Shapiro

Kokkai (8-6) vs. Sokokurai (7-7); the two men meet right in the middle from the tachiai and Sokokurai went straight for a left-hand inside, right-hand outside.  With the grip, the Honorable Gentleman from China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Sokokurai lowered his hips to where Kokkai couldn’t reach, and drove the Georgian out, yorikiri equals kachikoshi.  Senshuraku, and the 7-7 rikishi defeats the rikishi who already has his kachikoshi (Steven Levitt, author of Freakanomics, can chalk this one up as well).

Gagamaru (9-5) vs. Hakuba (8-6).  Surprise!  Surprise!  Hakuba henka-ed to the left at the tachiai, but Gagamaru didn’t fall for the shenanigans as he was moving too slow to be thrown off balance.  Just a couple of thrusts and the heaviest Makuuchi finished off the lightest and most effeminate with oshidashi.

An earnest “Congratulations” to Akita-boy Takekaze as well as his slimmer stableman Yoshikaze for picking up a pair of Fighting Spirit Prizes.  The party will indeed go on all night at the Oguruma-beya.  The two were really never in a yusho race per se, but they had some good bouts, and were among just a few wrestlers who did well and are not named Hakuho.  Today, Takekaze (11-3) took on Kotoshogiku (9-5).  From the tachiai, Take wrapped up his arms in a double inside grip on the Geek, who aimed to do a throw but the Akitan was in too tight for any room for throws.  Take kept up pressure and finished the Geek yorikiri, and a fine 12-3 finish for the basho.

Stablemate Yoshikaze (11-3) took on a wildly Kakuryu (8-6).  The tachiai featured a harite slap by the Kak, followed by both men thrusting and slapping.  Once Kak was leading Yoshi to move back, Yoshi had his upper body leaning too far down and Kak used this opportunity for a slap down victory.

Asasekiryu (9-5) vs. Tochiozan (10-4), who earned a technique prize this basho.  Sexy went a bit wild from the tachiai, attacking very hard and out of control.  Ozan used Sexy’s lack of balance to begin forward motion and with that Sexy more or less just slipped down on his own.  No technique needed here for Ozan, who will stick around in sekiwake another basho.

YES WE KAN!!  Mixing sumo with politics, Prime Minister Kan showed up in the lower deck just in time for the last three bouts.  It’s certainly a good thing they got the yakuza out of there, or his seat might have been taken!

In the first bout post-koreyori Sanyaku, Sekiwake Aran (6-8) took on Ozeki Kaio (8-6).  I don’t care for Kaio any more.  I don’t care for his records, and I don’t care for him as a person.  I’ve seen sumo enough to know what’s phony, and Mr. Morita and Mr. Shapiro know it too, they’re just not allowed to say.  Kaio is a fraud and cannot win a bout without yaocho-ing it up.  Tachiai featured Kaio waaaaaaaaay too slow to start.  Aran jumped to the right at the tachiai, which Kaio didn’t at all see coming.  Aran locked up a right-hand inside, left-hand out and Kaio’s balance was off the whole time and Aran easily escorted the Old Man out.  With 7-8, Aran seems he’s granted himself another basho in sanyaku.  Kaio is suddenly easy to defeat when he’s got his magic eight (and no money is passed under the table).  I’m all for breaking records when they’re legit.  Kaio is not.  Retire and make a career in pro wrestling.

Ozeki Baruto (9-5) vs. Ozeki Kotooshu (9-5).  With these two giants in the ring, it looked more like two toddlers in a hula-hoop.  Things started with slow shoves from Baruto while Oshu was searching for a grip.  When Bart went in once with both hands on a thrust, Oshu slipped to the side and off-centered Bart just enough to take the belt and escort him out yorikiri.  Oshu goes 10-5, bare expectations of an Ozeki.  Bart finished one shy of that.

“People are already talking about the Kyushu Basho.  Everyone is really excited”—Hiro Morita.  Really?  Who?  Kokugikan only sold out three of fifteen days this basho.  You think Kyushu Basho is already a-buzzin’?

Yokozuna Hakuho (14-0) vs. Ozeki Harumafuji (8-6).  Tachiai started with a friendly harite from Hakuho, but for the most part he let Haruma charge full strength into his chest, and once Haruma was in close Hakuho got “the grip,” dropped the hips and a bit of hug & chug as he worked Haruma across two-thirds of the ring and out, yorikiri.  With that, Hakuho continue his record winning streak, currently at 62 wins straight.  Kyushu Day 7 is the date he can tie half legand, half god Futabayama, who evidently had a great sense of humor by leaving the consecutive win record at 69 in the ring.

And so goes the Aki Basho this year.  Hakuho has been performing marvelously, and it takes time but he is continuing to prove his greatness.  We’ll have the retirement ceremonies for a number of rikishi next month, including Asashoryu.  Times are a changing, but we’ll keep you posted!

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