07. Hatsu Basho 2011

Day 1

“What’s up doc?” Rabbit references aside, S & S would like to welcome you to 2011 or Hesei 23, which ever you prefer. The Hastu Basho is here. Thanks in part to Valentine’s excellent post below no doubt (Top Ten Reasons to Love Sumo), the Kokugikan was sold out today.  If day one was any indicator, this looks to be a great year of sumo ahead.

Let’s start off with Okinoumi facing off against Mokonami. The most noticeable change in this bout was Okinoumi’s speed at the tachi-ai. Pretty Boy looks like a completely different rikishi than say, his first Makuuchi tournament last year. Breaks Moko’s grip and drives him out of the dohyo for a yoritaoshi victory!

People may have forgotten but a while back Shotenro beat Hakuho in a match where the Yokozuna slipped up. Anyways, Shotenro makes Hakuba look insignificant today: strong tsukidashi. The White Horse continues his fall back to reality now that the entire Makuuchi is aware of the little guy’s game. Shotenro moves to 1-0.

Miyabiyama faced “Not so Waka” no Sato

Thought for sure we would see Jaba slapping down the Aomori native but the opposite happened. Good day for the much smaller team Aomori (Bushu and Iwaki: you will be missed).

Takamisakari wins over Tokitenku. That being said, I have to give props to Toki. Guy had what looked like no chance of winning that bout once Robocop got the backside of his mawashi but he “almost” turn things around. Takamisakari adds one more win for team Aomori.

Kitataiki had Tosayutaka today on day one. Kita drives the Kochi native right out of the ring and Asashoryus him off of the dohyo for good measure. Opps, if you prefer the more formal explanation: I mean Kitataiki Chiyonofujis him off of the dohyo for good measure. A subtle but important lesson, in politeness, eh?

Gaga gobbles up Takekaze: Kotoshogiku style. The Georgian looks to be in fine form. Excited to see what he brings this basho.

Tamawashi and Homasho faced off to see who would be deemed the best pusher thruster of the day. After some mighty pushes by both rikishi Tamawashi turns to the tables with a nice slap down victory.

The next bout that was interesting was Harumafuji’s return bout against Tochinoshin. The Ozeki looks to have recovered well enough. He patiently outlasts Tochinoshin for the yorikiri win.

Big-O took on Aminishiki, his arch-nemesis. Clearly a little shaken by this bout the Ozkei looked completely out of control. Likely because he was completely out of control. Good news for the Bulgarian however was that he managed not to fall before the Aomori native and won his bout!

Baruto took on the crafty Toyonoshima. Bart looked to be a little eager to get this bout over with. Sloppily pushing and leaning to far forward against the smaller Toyonoshima. The M1 rikishi was able to grab the Estonian’s arm for a nice hikiotoshi victory. Great start for Toyonoshima. It will be interesting to see how Baruto responds tomorrow against always agile Kakuryu.

Kaio vs. Tochiozan

Not much to report here (that will be a surprise that is). Another “slip” by a younger rikishi to give the Ozeki a win on day one.

Hakuho made quick work of Kakuryu with an oshidashi win for the Yokozuna. Mark it 14 in a row for the Yokozuna from Mongolia! Who will break this win streak?!

Don’t ask me!

Bertrum might have an opinion however: he’s got your back for Day 2.

Day 2

Sorry for those of our readers who are “in her majesty’s service” but Bertrum ran into some technical issues, so I will be filling in.  I hope my uncouth Yankee prose doesn’t upset your stomach.

Day 2 fell on coming of age day here in old Japan.  Which means I took my daughter out dressed in a kimono to celebrate her becoming an adult, and by that I mean I got drunk with DeGama, smoked, and watched sumo.

NHK: I have a great idea, let’s bring Demon Kaka back and have him do a round table discussion with former Dejima and have him tell us what his “Dream Banzuke” is.

Onaruto(元 Dejima): Fucking hell…

Demon Kaka might have some knowledge when it comes to kimarite, and older rikishi, but he made himself look like a complete ass today.  After he claimed that Kaio should be awarded the rank of Yokozuna for his efforts I stopped listening.  Although they kept popping these picture in picture boxes of the guy (whose face looks like a marshmallow that 80′s David Bowie shat out) on the screen during bout warmups.  Anyway, down to makuuchui.

Sokokurai vs Toyozakura – This was a bit of a dancing match, with Kokurai absorbing Zachary’s thrusting whilst looking for a belt grip.  When that didn’t pan out… he choked the bitch. 2-0 for Kokurai.

Kokkai vs Tochinonada – Tochi looked like he had the uwatenage locked up from the get go, but Kokkai broke it and got an armlock, Tochi slipped out, Kokkai manuvered out of 2 possible holds, then fell over unceremoniously.  Hoorah. 2-0 for Nada.

Kimurayama vs Toyohibiki – Glad to see Beeker back in the big game, I can finally resume my muppet/chemistry related jokes.  This one went to Beeker hands down.  Kimura had virtually no forward motion at all, pushing and pulling as he backed up.  Beeker “me me me me me me me me me”-ed all the way to oshidashi.

Okinoumi vs Wakakoyu – Here, even Hiro took the piss out of Demon KaKa, noting that Demon Kaka had claimed that Wakakoyu’s sumo was very similar to Dejima’s, to which Dejima commented “no, it’s not really.”  This bout was mostly thrusting out of the gates, which is not Oki’s game.  Casanova took a few too many to the moneymaker and got slapped down.

Kotokasuga vs Mokonami – Mokonami locked up with a strong lefthand outside grip, Koto with a right hand inside.  However, expereience and consistency won the day as Mokonami set up and pulled the first tsuridashi of the day.

Shotenro vs Koryu – Koryu’s henka/hatakikomi was almost as nasty as the look that Shotenro gave him after the bout was over.

Shimotori vs Hakuba – Henkaba lived up to his name at the tachiai, and Shimotori almost ran past him, but recovered decently.  However, the Boil managed to get morozashi on the bird and won the bout.  Goddamn those Birds.

Kitataiki vs Miyabiyama – Taiki did a decent job holding Flubbers off, but was caught off balance, and Miyabi has too much expereince to let that chance slip by.

Wakanosato vs Tokitenku – Tenku came out with a pulling attack, but quickly switched to a nodowa.  All in vein, for Waka is strong, his beltgrip was good, and momentum was in his favor.

Takamisakari vs Tosayutaka – It really looked like Tosayutaka had this one in the bag.  He came out with a strong pushing/thrusting attack, which had Goofy on the ropes, but when all appeared lost Taka nabbed a left hand outside grip, and won by uwatenage.  Not too bad.  After this Taka was taken to the round table room where Demon Kaka was waiting to interview.  Takamisakari interviews are already priceless enough, but the way he was glancing over at demon Kaka reminded me of the kind of look a 70 year old woman would give to a Gwar concert.

Takekaze vs Kyokutenho – This did not look like typical Koyokutenho.  Takekaze barreled into the Mongol and scored morozashi and a pretty tidy katasukashi.

Gagamaru vs Asasekiryu – Asa looked very eager and focused, and Gaga very confused, possibly in need of a diaper change.

Homasho vs Goeido – Homasho showed some good agressive stuff at the tachiai and found himself with a morozashi.  However Goeido resisted at the bales.  It didn’t matter in the end, as Homey never let Goeido regain full balance, keeping him on his side all the way out.  Nice work by Homey.

Tokusegawa vs Tamawashi – Toku opened up with a harite, which left him exposed, Mawashi capitalized and made a push for the bales, but Tokusegawa pivoted and slapped down just before exiting.

Kisenosato vs Aran Aran had a good tachiai, and both rikishi fought for a good positon.  Kise had Aran back out, but Aran shifted to the side and slapped down just as Kise lost his balance.  Not the kind of sumo either rikishi is capable of.

Kotoshogiku vs Tochinoshin – Geek started out with a left hand outside grip, both rikishi traded the upper hand in momentum for a few seconds.  Geek lost the left hand but slammed in close, grabbed the belt, and gaburi-yori-ed the young Georgian out like a bulldozer.

Kaio vs Aminishiki – Henka>Belt>Win>Sneaky  (side note: like his fellow Aomori native, Sneaky got an interview with Demon Kaka, although he looked more bemused than scared/confused/hungry.)

Yoshikaze vs Harumafuji – Yoshi fought hard despite Ama’s strong tachiai.  The oguruma drove the ozeki to the bales and attempted a throw, which Haruma was able to resist, and used Yoshi’s own momentum to mount a new assualt, this time with morozashi.  Tsuridashi #2 of the day.

Kotooshu vs Tochiozan – Ozan was quick at the tachiai and got a deep morozashi, couple that with good deashi and a mentally weak bulgarian and you get a yoritaoshi for the komosubi.

Kakuryu vs Baruto – Kakuryu had a good start to the bout keeping low and balanced and getting under Bart and keeping him stood up.  Bart answered with some tsuppari to get inside.  I have to give props to Kakuryu for having the balls to go chest to chest with Baruto, but it ended in tsuridashi #3 and a win for team Estonia.

Hakuho vs Toyonoshima – This one was over at the tachiai.  Hakuho’s shoulder blast threw Toyonoshima back and all it took was a very well placed (not to mention powerful) thrust to Toyonoshima’s right shoulder to officially end this one.

Once more appologies for the lateness of this report.  Technical difficulties are what they are.  Me again for day 3.

Day 3

Day 3 and the yusho is already pretty much in the bag.  All Ozeki have 1 loss except for Harumafuji.  Wonderful.  However, Tokusegawa and  Kotoshogiku have looked good so far, which is something.

Apologies if this report is a bit scant, but my area of Akita got hit with like 3 feet of snow in 2 days and getting back and forth takes quite a bit of time, so 20 minute drives turn into 1 hour.  On to the report…

Tochinonada shifted Sokokurai’s shoulder blast and smacked a hand into his pit giving him a decent looking tsukiotoshi and a 3-0 start.

In the case of Toyohibiki vs Toyozakura: Zachary just didn’t look on his game today.  Beeker used his slapping attack to dominate Zachary like Zsa Zsa Gabor does to traffic cops.

More trash talking of Demon Kaka.  This time from Murray Johnson.  Apparently the afore mentioned demon (read:douche-bag) claimed Wakakoyu was headed for sanyaku.  To which Murray retorted “Not, the way I see it.”

Whatever the case of Wakakoyu’s future, his sumo today was not sanyaku material, nor was that of his opponent.  Kokkai looked weak and ill-balanced, and Wakakoyu took advantage using a backwards moving hataki.  Kokkai, has been nursing his elbow the past few days, let’s hope (for my fantasy sumo team’s sake) that he makes it through.

Kotokasuga was not looking particularly good today against Kimurayama, who (like always) was thrusting and pulling while moving backward.  Koto temporarily lost balance and provoked a charge from kimura, but Kimura was a bit eager and only got a thrust down for his initiative.

We’re seeing Okinoumi being a bit more aggressive at the tachiai, which is good.  For example, today he came right in with both hands inside and finished Koryu up yorikiri style.

Mokonami came in with a right hand inside against Shimotori, who had a left hand outside.  Shimotori was trying to get that right hand inside, but Nami’s position was too good and he forced the Bird up and out.

Shotenro’s initial thrusting attack against Wakanosato was about as useful as Demon Kaka’s commentary/predictions.  The only thing that this slip up caused (besides laughter) was hidariyotsu and a yorikiri for the veteran.

This next bout was sloppy and not worth anyone’s time.  Takamisakari and Hakuba flailed around in what looked like some kind of capoeira display, it ended with a kubinage win for the boil on the assblister of the hemorrhoid of makuuchi.

Tokitenku tried the old push-pull move on Miyabiyama, but unfortunately for Tenku that is more of Miyabiyama’s game.  Win for the former-ozeki.

Akita’s boy Takekaze got a hold of Kitataiki’s right arm at the tachiai then switched sides favoring the left arm of the Tokyo native for the kotenage.  That’s two good-looking bouts in a row for our hometown hero.

Tosayutaka took the brunt of Gagamaru’s thrusting attack longer than most would have.  Gaga ended it with a serious of vicious thrusts to the throat.  (not sure if that’s a double entendre or not)

Goeido got immediately inside on Kyokutenho, and Kyoku answered with an outside grip.  Goeido twisted under and around for a nice little uwatedashinage.  I refuse to praise Goeido for doing what he should.  When he’s picking up 10 wins constantly and challenging ozeki and yokozuna, then I’ll start singing his praises.  Until then, f*** that guy.

Asasekiryu got the right hand inside on fellow Mongolian  Tokusegawa at the tachiai.  Toku had a close call with a shitatenage attempt, and turned the tables to yorikiri Asa’s little buddy.  Tokusegawa is looking pretty good this go round at 3-0.

Aran pulled a henka at the tachiai against Homasho.  Homey recovered well, and looked in control, but Aran slipped to the side again and pushed down the cigar store indian.  Aran needs to start doing more straight up sumo.

Kotoshogiku v. Tamawashi: left hand inside, burt reynolds, win for the Geek.  3-0.

Tochiozan did a good job of using hip movement to keep Kisenosato off the belt.  However, as Murray Johnson pointed out, the Kid used to be a straight pusher/thruster, so he’s got no problem finishing things that way, which he did for a 2-1 record.

Yoshikaze just did not have the right stuff today.  Baruto snuffed him out with some resistance, but not much.

Kaio and Tochinoshin….ugh… I don’t even want to talk about this.  Noshin has no business losing to Kaio.  END OF STORY.

Harumafuji came in lower and faster than Kakuryu at the tachiai.  The ozeki had a strong left hand inside grip, set up, and finished off the Kak in textbook style.  Definitely looking stronger this time out. Harumafuji is still in it at 3-0.

Today’s bout against Toyonoshima is a good example of how Kotooshu should be using his height and strength against shorter rikishi.  The finish was a bit sloppy, the gumbai went to Oshu, there was a monoi, and it was decided that Toyo’s foot went out first.  Oshu regains some dignity at 2-1

Hakuho got around Aminishiki like lightning after the tachiai, grabbed his left hand outside and swung Aminishiki into the 5th row.  DEFINITIVE win.

The morrow will bring Day 4 and the reconciliation of Berturm.

Day 4

Well a good day to you my friends! I’m afraid I must start this report with a square apology from myself for letting the readership down with my delays and problems with reporting. Thanks must go to Mister Creswell for picking up the slack here.

Without further adieu, let’s get down to the Sumo. The earlier bouts of the day were pretty disappointing to be honest. It just seemed that weaker opponents were placed against their peers, who were clearly at a much stronger advantage. That said there were two bouts which stood out: :

Tochinonada Vs. Toyohibiki: Well I thought this bought was going to be nada for nada! Toyoihibiki went straight for the (no not the nads) but the throat! For a while there, nada was struggling to hold onto the rope, but manages to swing it round, flummoxing the hibi-jibis out of hibiki, grabbing the mawashi and swinging him out of the ring. Well played Sumo by Tochinonada, who now plays undefeated on 4-0.

Shotenro Vs. Shimotori: I felt this bout is worth commenting on, not because it was a particularly spectacular bout, but because it was a bout with spirit. Shotenro clearly wanted this, as was seen by his aggressive premature start. He tries for the Oshidashi but fails, managing to regain his strength for “one last push” he quickly chugs some diesel and manages to finally do it. A deserved bout I feel and a good example of what constant determination can do.

Well what a day this is turning out to be, especially compared with the earlier starting bouts, it seems to be turning out to be a battle of the minds, on who has the strongest will power,  in a rolling commentary on determination here. Takamisakari Vs. Miyabiyama is another clear example. I’m pleased with this, as old Taka ain’t being too great and seems to be more of a middle ranking rikishi. Good on him!

Wakanosato Vs. Tosayutaka: Again, another victory by tenacity as as Wakanosato keeps up the momentum and gets Tosayutaka to the edge, interestingly he must of realised he was on his last burst of steam, so pneumatically “prods” (in a worms world party fashion) Tosayutaka out – giving him a current 4-0 victory.

Rooting for the right honourable fellow from Akita, Takekaze puts on a good show. Largely I think because, he always seems to me like “Sméagol” – a comparatively small, feisty and gutsy wrestler, who always manages to lay on a few surprises! Just when you think Asasekiryu was looking to push with his shoulder, Takekaze switches to win by Tsukiotoshi. Marvellous.

Homasho again, puts on a strong, consistent and solid press against Tokusegawa that gives him the victory at the end.

Kisenosato Vs. Kakuryu: Which way was this bout going to go? The advantage shifted between the two left and right, at first apparently. But not so – Kakryu does manages to push Kisenosato to the edge FOUR times no less, Kisenosato knew what he was doing and just kept swinging it around, he kept his cool and chose his moment to strike. This is one of the things I love in Sumo, the understanding and cool headed ability of the fighters to pick their moments and keep up the pressure.

Baruto Vs. Aminishiki: Now, I don’t think this was one of baruto’s better performances, but it has to be said, he knew what he was doing and kept skipping backwards to win by hatakikomi. Foreigners in Sumo received a lot of flak generally, (the last year aside) but as for the jolly giant. What a gent, after sending that guy out the ring, he picks up his fallen tassels and hands them back.

The last bouts of the day were not really worth commenting on, save this: kaio keeps to his dirty tricks of keeping the coin purse loose and Harumafuji keeps to his dirty style of fighting by going for the throat. The only one who had true warrant to win was Hakuo, who had an easy win against Tochinoshin (who aint looking too hot this basho might I add) and maintains his current undefeated record on 4-0

That’s it for me today folks! Apart from the start it’s been one of the more interesting day’ I’ve reported upon, and a great example of what willpower and mastery of technique can achieve when you put your mind to it!

Follow by their Lead and Example

L. Bertrum

Day 5

Winter this year in Akita is trying hard to balance things out from the excessively hot summer we had last year. It’s snowed every day since Heisei incremented to the year 23. After shovelling snow for the first few days I gave up as I was missing 30 minutes of sumo every day. My apt building now resembles something like a large Kamakura!

Kokkai v Toyozakura
These are two guy taking the express way back to juryo. I’ll be happy to see Kokkai gone, he’s been unimpressive since 2008. At the tachi-ai Toyo henka’d to his left and got a touch of a mawashi, Kok tried to adjust but was met with two hands to the back of his head, before being sent to the dirt. Fight time 1.5 seconds. Henka count #1.

Sokokurai v Kimurayama
I’ve said this before, but I really like Sokokurai. I think he has a lot of potential, and he is strong. I look forward to seeing him develop during 2011. Kimurayama had moving to his left well planned out, as soon as contact was made, he was heading left, but he didn’t get a grip on the mawashi. After some slight tsuppari Soko grabbed his opponents arm and pulled him off balance long enough to get a solid grip on the mawashi. From here he used the strength I was speaking of and easily forced this Yama across the whole width of the dohyo and out. Good stuff from the China man. Fight time 13 sec.

Wakakoyu v Tochinonada
Tochi came into this fight without a loss. And was hungry for another win. But Waka had other plans and came out of the tachi-ai with a whack standing Tochi up straight and having him moving backwards. But Tochi managed to brush Wak’s to the side and he found time to dig in. And after Waka tried a few failed pull downs, and almost fell over after overextending himself with a push to the throat both wrestlers separated. Waka recharged and went in for another high tackle, again Tochi brushed him to the side and watched Waka fall to the clay. Fight time 11 sec.

Koryu v Kotokasuga
Koryu reminded me a lot of Chiyotaikai on a day when he was having a good day. He came out with a great tsuppari attack and always moved forward, overpowering Kotokasuga back and out in 3 sec.

Shotenro v Mokonami
Not much skill exhibited in this fight, but both fighters used all power and they pushed straight into each other. Shotenro had more power! 4 sec.

Miyabiyama v Shimotori
Miyabi tried to set up his usual winning technique of pushing his opponent up and then pulling him down. It kindof worked that way, but Shimotori stumbled making it easier for the big man than expected. 5 sec.

At this point in sumo a very attractive girl in a blue top sat down behind the East side of the ring. I’m not sure those of you who watched sumo noticed or not but this girl was absolutely beautiful! And I found myself supporting all rikishi on the east side from this point forward. The beautiful girl from the East.

Hakuba v Wakanosato
Well maybe I didn’t support ALL rikishi in the east side. Henkaba started the next bout in real Henkaba style. Luckily Wakanosato had wikipedia’d Henkaba beforehand and read up about this snake. The new AmiSneaky tried to pull on Satos arm but said arm was retracted quickly and the snake found himself backpeddling until his legs folded and he found himself on his back with Waka looking straight into his scaly eyes. I always love seeing a guy lose after attempting a henka. 5 sec. Henka count #2

Kitataiki v Takamisakari
Kitataiki quickly found himself with an inside right and outer left hand grip while Taka had a strong left grip. Taka tried a great throw with almost toppled Kita, but just in time wrapped his right leg around Takas left to avoid the throw. Excellent move and immediately after Kita launched his yorikiri attack that put my lady and blue back on for us all to ogle. 12 sec.

Takekaze v Tokitenku
Tokitenku bitch-slapped our local dwarf at the tachai today. It gained him a good right hand frontal grip on Take’s belt which he never relinquished. Take had his hand on Toki knee for a while but didn’t seem to do anything except maybe cause Toki to question what the hell was going on; it had the same effect on me. A slight stalemate pursued until Toki got a better grip with his left and yorikiri’d Take back and out. 20 sec.

Kyokutenho v Tosayutaka
Tosayutaka had a great fight against a sleeping Kyokutenho today. He got a double handed inside body grip, and without putting a hand on Kyoku’s belt bellied him over the straw. 6 sec.

Goeido v Gagamaru
Goeido burned little calories defeating the overgrown Turkey today. The clashed once, twice and then Goeido slapped on Gaga outstretched wings which sent him down to scratch at the soil. 2.5 sec .
And speaking of birds, my bluebird appeared again!

Homasho v Asasekiryu
A great fight between two fairly equally matched guys. Both men locked up after the tachi-ai and remained locked for quite a while before separating. A few pushes to the face were exchanged before Homasho tried to get in and straight up headbutted Asasekiryu! The clash of heads was easily heard, sent a cheer throughout the kokugikan, and definitely didn’t go unnoticed by Asasekiryu! More face pushing and clashing of heads went on as Homasho intensified his efforts, until his victory came via oshidashi. I loved during the replay when Ross Mihara counted out the 5 headbutts that took place. Great fight! 20 sec. Another east victory, Yosssshi!
She has a really beautiful smile.

Aran v Tokusegawa
A migiyotsu affair between these two guys that definitely burned a lot of calories, how many I can’t be sure, but I reckon more than I have burned since Monday. I do love this kind of fight though, when both wrestlers are trying to lift the other off the ground, and the advantage sways back and forth between the two. Tokusegawa tried to hook Arans leg at one point and he almost succeeded but Aran recovered and pulled a gem of a move to win via shitatehineri, a move that isn’t so common. Look it up! 34 sec.
Another East victory… Happy Days!!

Kakuryu v Kotoshogiku
Kotoshogiku has been looking well this basho. But Kakuryu won the tachi-ai, neutralizing Kotoshogiku who slipped slightly and if the Kak had reacted faster he could possibly have slapped him to the clay. But he kept with forward moving sumo and got a morozashi grip and got the Geek moving backwards, from which he never recovered. To beat Kotoshogiku at the kaichi-ai and you’re more than likely going to win. Let him into his favourite position and you very unlikely to survive his speciality yorikiri. Great work by the Kak today who got his first win after a very tough 4 days. 5 sec.
Lady time!!

Kisenosato v Aminishiki
This started with a false start. It’s interesting that after a false start the guy who goes early makes some gestures at the other guy. And I can never understand if he’s saying “why the hell didn’t you go when I went?” or “Sorry about dat”! Is it just me? Anyway Sneakyballs decided not to henka today and instead took a grip on the front of the Kids belt. But Ami was pushed back to the bales and then thrown to the dirt in 4 sec. That was Kisenosato’s 300th win,bBut more importantly than that, another East victory.
I wonder is she famous!?

Tochiozan v Harumafuji
On to the Ozeki fights and Harry came out today without a plan. Ozan pushed the Ozeki back to the straw and and then around the ring before pushing Harry out for a yorikiri win. Interestingly during the 10 sec affair neither rikishi got a hand on a belt. Possibly that was Ozan’s intention as he had the opportunity but taking it would have surrendered his own. In the end it seems like it was a good decision. That was Tochiozans 2nd win, but it’s interesting to note that both wins came via Ozeki!
This girl is beautiful!

Kotooshu v Tamawashi
Kotooshu made easy work of Tamawashi today. After securing a left outer grip he spun Tama around and down via shitadashinage in under 4 sec.
Back to Ease Side! Ok so this might be a long shot, but does anyone know who she is?

Tochinoshin v Baruto
After a hard tachi-ai both Europeans settled into a migiyotsu position. Baruto decided he wanted to get his left hand inside and as soon as he tried Tochinoshin pushed hard and looked, for a split second, like he had a chance. That chance faded and Bart went back to the outer grip. Both men then tried to lift each other and the excitement grew. But Bart quickly used his left leg to nudge Shins right leg off balance and then quickly escorted him out. 26 sec. That was the first west victories in 8 fights, so no ogling this time.

Kaio v Toyonoshima
I’ve said before that I don’t like Kaio anymore. And this is still true. But I do think that he is winning legitimately recently. He is using the deadly arm breaker move more often, but I think he is fighting more convincingly recently. Am I alone with this opinion?
Today he was fighting the deady Toyonoshima! The guy who almost stole the emperors cup from Hakuho last basho… haha! At the tachi-ai Kaio arm locked Toyo into a submission that allowed him to be swung around and set up for a relatively easy yorikiri. The crowd erupts, Kaio realises that he will definitely be around until at least May, as he will pick up 4 more wins this basho. 5 seconds and the lady is still smiling!

Hakuho v Yoshikaze
I’m sure Hakuho didn’t lose much sleep today fearing his fight with Yoshikaze. But you gotta love the way the TV commentators try to build up the tension anyway! I guess that is one of the reasons why I will never be a commentator. “Yoshikaze doesn’t have a snowballs chance in Hell. Hey Ross, check out that girl in blue!”
Anyway, I don’t believe there was any reason for Hakuho to sweat it over Yoshikaze, but what I would recommend to the Yokozuna is that he makes sure that his opponent is defeated before he looks away assuming that he has won!! As the overranked M2 charged at the Yokozuna after the initial clash, Hakuho pushed down on his head and Yoshi spun around the back of Hakuho. And as Hakuho kept looking forward with a oh-how-I-wish-someone-was-here-to-challenge- me-once-in-a-while look on his face he felt his right leg being lifted up and only then realised that the fight was still on! Within a flash he pushed Yoshikaze to the ground, but it was a little sloppy from the Yokozuna today! 4 sec.

I’m off to dream about my lady in blue.

Day 6

Chalmers here with your Day 6 action.

Kokkai vs. Toyohibiki.  Kokkai, looking sad this tournament, starts off with his classic backwards moving tachiai.  Easy shove out and Toyo puts Kokkai in the sand.  Toyohibiki, yoriatoshi win.

Wakakoyu vs. Sokokurai.  Wakakoyu using his size advantage, opens with the hundred hand slap.  After that doesn’t work, and they wrap up, Waka with an easy side step and slap down.  Wakakoyu, katasukashi win.

Toyozakura vs. Kotokasuga.  Toyozakura with a less than admirable tachiai is easily pushed out.  Kotokasuga, oshidashi win.

Koryu vs. Tochinonada.  Nada hooks his arm under Koryu’s shoulder at the tachiai and a quick turn seals the deal.  Tochinonada, sukuinage win.

Kimurayama vs. Shimotori.  The Bird, too tall for his own good, gets stood up with a flurry of slaps up in the chin from Kimu all the way to the bails and out.  Kimurayama, oshidashi win.

Miyabiyama vs. Okinoumi.  The Flub too slow for the Heartbreak Kid, can’t get his arms up before Oki is all up in his business.  Oki gets the belt and the rest is in the books.  Okinoumi, yorikiri win.

Mokonami vs. Hakuba.  Henkaba tries, and fails.  Mokonami overpowers Henka to the bails and tosses him to the sand.  Mokonami, uwatenage win.

Takamisakari vs. Shotenro.  Robocop and Shoten exchange false starts until the gyoji gets tired of calling it and lets Shoten start while Robocop is still trying to figure out where he is.  Before Robo knows it, the match is over and he is standing on the wrong side of the bails.  Shotenro, yorikiri win.

Kitataiki vs. Wakanosato. Waka slapping strong at the tachiai, but then unable to finish at the bails as Waka skips to the side.  The two change places on the bails and Waka gets walked out.  Kitataiki, yorikiri win.

Takekaze vs. Tosayukata.  Home Team showing some good footwork the whole match to stay on top of Tosa.  Home Team able to get under Tosa’s arm and turn him over, end over end.  In WWF fashion, Home Team executes the sumo version of the Undertakers Tombstone finisher and puts Tosa’s head into the clay!  Takekaze, sukuinage win.

Tokitenku vs. Gagamaru.  Lady Gaga looking sad to day as the veteran Mongol slips past him and throws him to the clay by his mawashi knot.  Tokitenku, shitatenage win.

Goeido vs. Asasekiryu.  Solid tachia and Asa gets Goeido back peddling.  Goeido hits the bails and turns, hooking the arm and letting Asa show himself the door.  Goeido, sukuinage win.

Kyokutenho vs. Tokusegawa.  Kyoku’s height used against him as Toku, just a belly shorter, inches Kyoku to the edge and out.  Tokusegawa, yorikiri win.

Yoshikaze vs. Aminishiki.  A straight up tachiai and the Sneak starts running backwards.  What looked like a sure win for Yoshi, the Sneak make a desperate slap down as he jumps off the dohyo.  The judges call in favor of the Sneak as Yoshi’s elbow goes down as the Sneak is still flying off the ring.  Aminishiki, hatakikomi win.

Toyonoshima vs. Kakuryu.  The Kak with his signature boxing style, pummels Toyo around the ring and out.  Kakuryu, tsukidashi win.

Kisenosato vs. Kotoshogiku.  The Blink hoping to have a good showing this tournament, hits hard and wraps up with the Geek (the wrong card to play).  The Geek gets his unbeatable hug-n-chug, and that’s all she wrote.  No hope for Kise as he falls to 4-2.  Kotoshogiku, 5-1 yorikiri win.

Kaio vs. Homasho.  No mercy from Cigar shop as he keeps Old Man Kaio at bay with his freakishly long arms.  Kaio gasses out and Cigar shop lays him to rest in the sand.  Homasho, sukuinage win.

Tamawashi vs. Harumafuji.  King Tama brings his game as he school-yard bullys the Ozeki out of the ring and into the lap of ‘ol Bart.  (Some photos for blackmail followed… watch the replay in slow-mo).  Tamawashi, oshitaoshi win.

Kotooshu vs. Tochinoshin.  Noshin looks strong in the beginning, but gets outmuscled as the two wrap up.  Noshin without enough gas, gets walked back, hits the bails, and thrown down Kotooshu, uwatedashinage win.

Tochiozan vs. Baruto.  Elvis taking the giant, head on for a solid tachiai.  Baruto able to get Elvis up high and walking backwards.  Bad ring sense on Elvis’ part as he steps out.  Baruto, kotenage win.

Hakuho vs. Aran.  Aran able to stop the Yokozuna at the tachiai, but that is as far as he goes.  Hakuho waits for his opening and takes a double inside grip.  Pick up and walk out puts the yokozuna at 6-0.  Hakuho, yorikiri win.

Day 7

Leon here to bring you Day 7 of the basho..

Whereas my earlier report on Day 4, I was impressed by the amount of will-power, mind over
body battling that went on, today is a stark contrast. Today is marked by the sheer brute force
and ignorance at the start of the bouts, as the wrestlers go at each other pell-mell.

The first interesting bout of the day would be Toyohibiki vz. Kotokasuga. Both wrestlers tried to shove each other out of the ring with their sheer force and leg strength. I’m starting to warm to Toyhibiki and he may become a wrestler to watch in the future. He currently stands on 4-3 with his Oshidashi. He faces Wakakoyu tomorrow and it should be a bout worth watching. Both stand on 4-3 and both seem quite evenly matched.

Again, Okinoumi Vs Kimurayama. You can clearly see the dominance of skill and pressure placed on by Okinoumi, who currently stands 5-2. He’s also performing well at the moment.

Tochinonada vs. Mokonami. Well, Tochinonada is showing some impressive stuff during this basho, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes out. Currently at 7-0, undefetad, and wins by throwing Mokonami down with an impressive uwatenage. I wouldn’t be surprised if he feels that one in the morning!

Hakuba Vs. Miyabiyama. An fair matched played as both wrestlers (and former Ozeki Miyabiyama) on Makuuchi 10. Interesting turn of events in this bout. Miyabiyama is perhaps the more experienced and larger of the two, and yet Hakuba pushed him out in the way he himself was perhaps meant to go. Good on.

Takamisakari Vs. Wakanosato. A big hit taken by Takamisakari, which he never recovered from. It enabled Wakanosato to get in under him and push him and over. 13th consecutive loss for Takamisikari against that guy…

Tochinoshin Vs Homasho: A first win in this Basho by Tochinoshin. Both men really wanted this win, and were gunning for it to a barrage of grunts. A long bout, which Tochinoshin managed to secure his favourite style of fighting, with the outsde left hand grip. Once he got that, it was in the bag.

Baruto Vs. Tamawashi. Not much of a bout, but worth noting that the jolly giant is on 6-1.

Old man Kaio Vs. Kakuryu: In the blink of an eye, Kakuryu whips round, getting to the side of Kaio and assisting him in going out of the ring. Obviously the purse was closed this day for him!

Kotooshu Vs. Yoshikaze. Yoshikaze not looking so hot this basho, somhow manages to get his head stuck in the armpit of kotooshu who manages to throw him down with an uwatenage. Kotooshu on 6-1, Yoshikaze still failing to secure a win…

Hakuho Vs. Tochizan: Almost looked in shock when hakuho slipped with his foot on the dohyo. However, you can see the skill being used as he manages to not only keep on the pressure, but also recover from his mistake. Hakuho still on a clean slate 7-0.

A very interesting day this has been, summed up in one word: aggressive. Been a fair number of oshidashi’s for the big push and a real excitement as not one bout was really a stalemate or a bore to watch. Great stuff

L. Bertrum

Day 8

As yesterday was Sunday, from 1 pm the Creswell household was dominated by 2 things: sumo and whisky.  The whisky, as always, was wonderful.  Some of the sumo left a little bit to be desired, but there were some exciting bouts.  I watched from sandanme up through makuuchi and, except for bouts i missed due to bathroom breaks, food preparation, and refilling my whiskey, there wasn’t anything overly ground breaking up until makuuchi.

We did have 3 possible injuries though.  Kanbayashi took quite a while to get up after an oshidashi on Kaonishiki, and was escorted out via wheelchair.  After that I believe it was Masunoyama who fell pretty hard after a Daido sukuinage, slamming his knee on the dohyo in the process, he exited by wheelchair as well.  Lastly was Sakaizawa who looked to have possibly dislocated a finger whilst securing his win against Bushuyama.  We’ll keep you updated as we hear about their conditions.

Now onto the big show.  I always like hearing Murray Johnson and Doreen Simmons commentate.  When Takamisakari stepped up for the Dohyo-iri all Doreen said was “Robocop”.  We also had Sanoyama and Tamanoi oyakatas (former ozekis Chiyotaikai and Tochiazuma) in the booth talking about who out of Tochiozan, Kotoshogiku, Kakuryu, and Kisenosato will be the next Ozeki.  Tamanoi said Kisenoato, but Sanoyama said “no one, at least not yet”  I think I agree with Sanoyama, these guys are still a bit hot and cold (as we are seeing now.)

Wakakoyu v Toyohibiki – There was quite the staring match here, followed by a great tachiai by both rikishi.  Waka controlled the bout though, and as Beeker made his advance, Waka used Beeker’s momentum for a pull down. (W 5-3, T 4-4)

Sokokurai v Kotokasuga –  Kokurai was high at the tachiai against Koto, but managed to rally into a half stance with a left hand inside.  Koto was able to pull the smaller man in and lift him up to break his balance and got the yorikiri. (S 5-3, K 4-4)

Koryu v Mokonami – I don’t know what Koryu was thinking here.  He started the tachiai with a slight push then…went for the belt.  A stauch pusher thruster going for the belt of a guy who makes the belt his bread and butter.  Easy day at the uwatenage factory for Moko. (K 3-5, M 5-3)

Doreen simmons quote of the day: “It was a little short, and he couldn’t get it up…” ~on Shotenro(‘s mage) during his younger days.

Shotenro v Tochinonada – Nada must have psyched himself out because Tenro’s shoulder took him out post haste.  Still, best Makuuchi start for Nada. (S 5-3, T 7-1)

Toyozakura v Shimotori – Zakary started in with some tsuppari, then immediately shifted to the side, and gave a quick pull, sending the bird to the clay. Neither rikishi looking good this year.(T 2-6, S 1-7)

Kokkai v Hakuba – Slimy-ass henka by the reigning henka queen, into maemitsu.  Kokkai was just to compromised by injuries to prevent Hakuba from pushing him up and out. (K 2-6, H 4-4)

Kimurayama v Wakanosato – Kimura also henka-ed and came in with a nodowa.  Both were struggling for position, Kimura alternating pushing and pulling, whilst Waka was sniffing around for the belt.  Once Waka finds the belt on guys like this, its over, such was the case today.  (K 3-5, W 7-1)

Another memorable Doreen quote:  “The JSA is trying to attract new fans, but they end up treating the old fans like dirt.” ~on the new enforcement policy of the Kokugikan seating rule.  Right on Doreen.

Takekaze v Okinoumi – Our hometown boy squirted out the next henka, but Casanova wasn’t phased.  Take’s short arms allowed the Hearthrob to get inside for a neck hold, which he traded up for the kotenage and the win. (T 4-4, O 6-2)

Miyabiyama v Tosayutaka – Miyabiyama looked pretty limp today.  He was bested at his own pushing game buy TosaU.  People up here would recommend turtle blood for a problem like that.  (both rikishi 3-5)

Kyokutenho v Tokitenku – After the tachiai both rikishi locked up with belt grips.  Tokitenku pulled an nice uchigake to throw the older man off balance and win the bout. It’s getting rarer and rarer that Toki connects with his leg waza these days. (K 2-6, T 4-4)

Takamisakari v Gagamaru – Remeber that episdoe of Seinfeld where Geroge knocked all those people over trying to get out of the kids birthday party because he thought there was a fire?  Today Gaga was Costanza and Taka was the old woman in the walker. (both at 3-5)

Kitataiki v Asasekiryu   – this bout was long and varied.  Asa II henka-ed, but it had little to no effect.  Kita picked up a belt grip, Asa shortly followed.  Asa set up for a throw, but Kita resisted, in doing so Kita’s belt grip was broken.  The two grappled for position trying pretty much every kihonwaza in the book, before Kita ran out of real estate.  Oshidashi for team Mongolia. (K 5-3, A 2-6)

Goeido v Yoshikaze – A decent tachiai from Goeido was answered by a slap-happy Yoshi.  Goeido patiently resisted the slaps and moved pretty decently.  This is the kind of stuff we should see from Goeido all the time. Makekoshi for Yoshi. (G 5-3, Y 0-8)

Tochinoshin v Aminishiki – Sneaky snuck to the side at the tachiai and caught noshin with a Nodowa, otsuke/hazuoshi triple combo, and pushed him up and out.  Both of these guys are struggling this basho (T 1-7, A 3-5)

Tochiozan v Kakuryu – Even rivalry between these guys and they tend to come in sets.  Kakuryu went in with some tsuppari and pushing, slipped to the side, and slapped down Ozan. Kakuryu looking only slightly better that Ozan.  (T 2-6, K 4-4)

Toyonoshima v Kotoshogiku – This rivalry heavily favors Kotoshogiku.  As usual Toyonoshima went in from the tachiai looking for morozashi, but the Geek was able to lock him up and escorted him out with dignity intact, no need for the old burt reynolds. (mirror records T 1-07, K 7-1)

Kotooshu v Kisenosato – These guys used to have a rivalry back in the lower ranks.  But since they’ve gotten to Makuuchi Kotooshu has had the edge.  Kotooshu got the yorikiri today, but the Kid made him work for it.  Kise lost his lefthand inside grip the he got from the start, but maintained his righthand outside.  He tried twice for the throw, but on the second (desperation) attempt, he put his foot outside the ring.  He needs to find a way to get around Kotooshu’s height advantage. (Ko 7-1, Ki 5-3)

Murray Johnson quote of the day: “I think he looks more like a cigar store indian” ~in response to Doreen Simmons saying Homasho looks Egyptian.  Glad you agree with us Murray.

Homasho v Baruto – Homasho set up really far back and charged in more agressively than usual for him, but Baruto’s abnormally long arms were enough to keep Homey at bay and eventually force him out. (CSI 4-4, B 7-1).

p.s. Murray if you’re reading our stuff, Do you even have cigar store indians in Australia?  Anyway, thanks for the little bump, this next glass of Bowmore is for you, cheers.

Kaio v Aran – Aran had a decent tachiai and the hidariyotsu, but didn’t keep Kaio away from the belt.  I’m done talking about this one. (K 5-3, A 3-5)

Tokusegawa v Harumafuji – I don’t know what Harumafuji ate Sunday morning, but he needs to eat it again today, and he needs to give some to Miyabiyama.  the Ozeki looked more like Ama than he has been recently.  Haruma blasted in with a classic nodowa, grabbed the belt, and with 3 motions had the bigger Tokusegawa out via tsuridashi.  Great bout.  (T 5-3, H 6-2)

Hakuho v Tamawashi – No surprises.  Slap,push, slap down.  Hakuho’s tachiai is a thing of beauty, and I’m glad to see him using a bit more agression in the ring this basho.  He has had a few sloppy moments, but it’s more exciting to watch.

You have the gentle giant Sterling Brown to bring you the down and dirty from day 9 tomorrow.

Day 9

This is Brown bringing in Day 9 first Basho of the New Year. I personally found today’s basho to be filled with surprises and very little disappointment.

Takekaze vs Shotenro

Looking to get his fifth win today, Takekaze looks like he was all ready to win but even with a direct head-butt to Shotenro, Takekaze fell with the wind as Shotenro pushed him down with a Hikiotoshi.

Kyokutenho vs Takamisakari

No matter how often this man is defeated, Takamisakari is the only man I know what can do it in style!  Today’s match is no different.  With a weak tachi-ai, Kyukutenho had Takamisakari on the rope in no time flat, but that did not stop Takamisakari from turning the tables and nearly pushing his opponent out. Unfortunately Kyokutenho was able to simply take him out with a Yorikiri.

Aran vs Yoshikaze

The winless Yoshikaze and the man having difficulty moving forward had a bout I felt worth talking about. After hitting the trigger a little too early, Aran quickly made up for that with great thrusts to the smaller Yoshikaze kept his distance and waited for the right moment and when it came, Yoshikaze with the agility equal to that of a matador gingerly flipped the 4-4 Aran with a hatakikomi

Kotooshu vs Tokusegawa

Tension was running high with Kotooshu and Tokusegawa with the first match against the 2 left Koto flying out of the ring. They slam into each other trying get the best grip. Kotooshu obtains the grip needed to take his revenge on Tokusegawa and win with a Yorikiri and maintains the second place ranking for this basho.

Harumafuji vs Baruto

These 2 ozeki are polar opposites of each other when it comes to size but that did not stop Harumafuji in their previous 17 matches. While being no strangers to each other, the two square up and give us a great tachi-ai. With Baruto’s strength pushing Harumafuji towards the rope and Harumafuji’s agility bringing him back to the middle, Harumafuji was close to winning when he successfully brings Baruto to the ropes and breaks his balance, with the large man barely standing up, Baruto regains his balance to a great surprise to the audience and more so his opponent, Baruto gives Harumafuji a few more thrust to throw him out of the ring with a oshitaoshi and maintaining second place as well.

Hakuho vs Homasho

With Homasho’s current standing in the Basho one can only imagine the outcome of this bout. To the surprise of everyone watching this bout can tell you this was a very close win for the under-dog Homasho. Starting with a strong tachi-ai Hakuho could not get a strong grip on Homasho. Homasho was able to push away and make the Yokozuna break his balance for a brief second one would have thought Homasho would have been the winner but the Yokozuna regain his balance and beat Homasho with a tsukiotoshi.

Best bout of the day:

Though I enjoyed the final bout, my favorite today had to be the Harumafuji vs Baruto bout. I personally wanted the smaller man to win but even with his loss, this bout clearly shows that size is not always the most important thing when it comes to sumo.

Disappointing bout of the day:

Though I love Akita’s best, whenever I see him lose in such a way it makes me consider moving to Mongolia and cheer on the real guys. Takekaze really needs to step up his game, if this guy wants to play with the big boys then he needs to start showing that he can.

Day 10

“Some days this guy looks like gold, and other days he looks like…dust.  Not gold dust.”  —Murray Johnson quote of the day, referring to Tochiozan.

Who’s in charge of music at NHK Sports?  Fire that man!  It’s more than obvious NHK is coming up with little features in attempt to round up more audience.  It’s certainly true the bouts of yesteryear are a joy to watch.  Good idea, but cut the Oscars Lifetime Achievement Award music.

Today featured Kotonishiki.  Might not have heard of him, but he was a hell of a rikishi back in the day.  Small in stature, he might have won only two yusho in his carrer, but least we forget that his Kyushu 1998 yusho came from Maegashira 12!  Oh, and he finished 14-1.  In this feature, nothing spelled out awkwardness more than Kotonishiki’s reenactment of his trademark tachiai with the NHK announcer.  I’m glad to see NHK attempting to spice things up a bit with their broadcasts, but kill the soundtrack.

M11E Shotenro (6-3) vs. M13E Okinoumi (7-2): Shotenro started his tachiai with his arms outside of Don Juan’s, then wrapped in on the handsome devil. Oki slipped out of it with a back-step, and with Sho somewhat off balance Don Juan moved in close for a belt grip and pressed forward for a force-out win.  Great start for Don Juan, who earns kachikoshi on Day 10.

M16E Sokokurai (5-4) vs. M11W Shimotori (1-8): Everybody’s heard about the bird?  B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s hurt.  Bird, bird, bird, the bird is hurt.  B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s hurt.  Bird, bird, bird, the bird is hurt.  B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s hurt.  Bird, bird, bird, the bird is hurt.  Well, don’t you know about the bird?  Well, everybody knows that the bird is hurt!  The bird still won, but he’s hurt!

M13W Kotokasuga (4-5) vs. M10W Hakuba (5-4): the 33 year old Kotokasuga is having a decent basho for a juryo mainstay like himself. Henkaba shifted to the left at the tachiai, and Koto read it like an erotic-art photo book found at your local Japanese book store (makes for great gifts), and stood steady swinging at Henkaba who was on the run from the point the henka failed.  Easy push-out win for Kotokasuga.

M9E Takamisakari (3-6) vs. M15W Toyohibiki (5-4): head-to-head has been even 4-4 between these two.  Beeker hit hard from the tachiai, but Ringo took it like a brickwall at first.  Upon closer contact between the two, Beeker pushed Ringo’s chest upwards and pressed forward, meeting the rice bales.  Force-out win, and Ringo’s got a long way from kachikoshi this basho.  JSA can add Sekitori-kun in all kinds of colors, but don’t let the Banzuke Committee drop Takamisakari out of Makuuchi or you’ll be in a financial hole which would make the eikaiwa industry look stable!

M16W Tochinonada (7-2) vs. M9W Wakanosato (7-2): head-to-head goes way back, like September 1998.  The two are 18-14 in Waka’s favor.  Waka was very fast at the tachiai, essentially winning the opening battle.  Waka scored additional points by gaining his grip, but Tochi slipped to the left just a bit which was enough to pull off an arm-lock throw on Waka who had lost his balance from the speedy tachiai which hit his opponent slightly off target.  Tochi gains his kachikoshi on Day 10.

M12W Mokonami (5-4) vs. M6W Gagamaru (4-5): shoves all around at the tachiai, but they separate and recoup for a while, then after a few more jabs Mokonami got a hand on Gaga’s belt, which he used attempting a throw, but Gaga wasn’t ready to go down just yet.  From the bales Gaga rallied with some thrusts to ward off his opponent, but Moko slipped through a few misses and got a belt grip once again.  Gaga reached to even things in a belt battle, but couldn’t, so he resorted to some hug-n-chug action.  With the tight belt grip, Mokonami swung Gaga left and right trying to get the giant off balance.  Meanwhile, Gaga pressed forward on Moko.  Once Gaga got a left inside, the both paused for a breather.  After a while, Moko shifted to the left and swung Gaga around towards the bales.  Gaga stayed on his feet and kept the grip, but was in a more dangerous position near the edge.  Another breather ensued.  Withholding Gaga’s attempts at gaining the right hand grip, Moko took an opportunity to raise Gaga up and lead him back over the bales and out.  Well earned force-out win by the Mongol.  Good endurance from both men, and nice work from Moko in keeping his hips low and away from Gaga’s reach.

M7E Takekaze (4-5) vs. M4W Tokusegawa (5-4): false start by the Akitan.  Apologies said, and re-do.  Both came in hard at the tachiai, but Tokusegawa turned his head away on impact, and Take capitalized on this with a thrust-down win.  The Akitan evens things out with a pair of 5s.

KE Tochiozan (2-7) vs. M1W Aminishiki (4-5): head-to-head is 7-4 in Tochi’s favor, though Amy got the last win in November.  Amy was a bit too high at an otherwise even tachiai.  Tochi pressed on Amy’s throat and chest and stayed balanced and square on his opponent as he thrust Amy out of the ring.  Push-out win for O, who still doesn’t look that pretty at 3-7, despite the sideburns.

M2E Tochinoshin (1-8) vs. KW Kakuryu (4-5): Noshin thought he’d do a pull down right from the tachiai on the Kak, but the Kak shoved right through it.  Once he gave up that attempt, Noshin worked in some long-arm shoves to get some elbow room between him and his opponent.  The Kak backtracked while Noshin clumsily followed to the rice bales.  Once they reloaded, Tochi tried chin thrusts and belt reaches while the Kak was looking for a pull down.  Tochi’s work moved the Kak to the edge again, but with a left foot pivot on the rice bale and a right hand pull-down on Noshin’s head, the Kak’s excellent foot work and well-timed pull down got him the win.  Pair of 5s for the Kak who’s got a respectable record at Komusubi.

OE Kaio (6-3) vs. SE Kisenosato (6-3): Kissy leads 14-11 in head-to-head, but Kaio has 4 of the last 5.  Kissy dug in low and moved forward with a hazuoshi, but “supplies-supplies,” Methuselah pulled down Kissy for the win.  Honest win?  It’s really hard to see where Kissy went wrong.  He wasn’t leaning forward too far, he has perfect position and momentum, but why analyze it?  Why waste our time on Kaio.

M5E Goeido (6-3) vs. OW Harumafuji (6-3): both low at the tachiai, but Ama…I mean Haruma simply out powered Goeido, lifting his chest up and straight out for a frontal push-down win.  Haruma is one win away from shaking off the kadoban monkey.

OE Kotooshu (8-1) vs. M4E Homasho (4-5): Kotooshu leads 8-3 in the head-to-head.  Koto was too high from the start, letting Homie start his tachiai head-to-chest.  Homie locked up hazuoshi and drove the ozeki straight back.  Poor showing by Oshu, and precisely the kind of bout which proves why Oshu will never be Yokozuna, and hardly deserves the title “Ozeki.”  Pitiful, but Oshu is still 8-2 while the Cigar Store Indian evens things out with a pair of 5s.

M3E Aran (3-6) vs. OW Baruto (8-1): as close as Aran and I are, I don’t mean to offend but he really should have been sent further south on the banzuke after that horrible 4-11 at Komusubi last basho.  A 4-11, and he only falls three spots?  The guy need some space to regroup, and this basho isn’t a regrouping basho for the Russian.  Head-to-head is 3-1 in Bart’s favor.  One false start by Aran, then tachiai: Bart was very quick and high.  They wrap up with Aran on Bart’s belt, and Bart fooling around with Aran’s neck.  Aran tightens his grip on Bart’s belt, lowers his hips, moves forward, and then…oh shit!  Aran tsuridashi (lift-out) on Baruto.  That’s right, on 188kg Baruto!  Hell of a power sumo bout there and nice work by the Russia to not only win, but embarrass the Estonian.  If only Aran could put that strength to use in every bout.

YE Hakuho (9-0) vs. SW Kotoshogiku (7-2): read this headline to get a gist for the bout.  Now watch the bout here!

Sayonara Suckers!

Day 11

I had a terrible dream. It was me, Hakuho, and senshuraku.  I had a rendezvous with on the dohyo with the big guy in the final bout of the tournament.  I was relaxing pre-bout, thinking of a sneaky strategy.  I didn’t care if it would be in poor taste, I just wanted to win the easy way.  I look over, and he’s ignoring me—ignoring everyone really, but focused on shiko—he’s doing shiko for a bout with me!?  I’m honored, but I’m starting to panic.  What the hell was I going to do?  I’d die out there.  Amidst my panic Kimura Shonosuke roars “jikan des.”  He’s waiting for me to put my paws on the line.  I can’t.  I never do.  The head judge orders me to do so.  I slowly do, and as I do, I awake from the dream.  Disappointing finish indeed, but once I woke I realized the terror which goes through each rikishi’s mind when he has to face the Yokozuna.  It takes a real focused man to fight through…real focused.

EM16 Sokokurai (5-5) vs. WM12 Mokonami (6-4): first timers.  Mokoloko came in lower and harder gaining ground on the tachiai, but after thrusts they briefly separate, then Sokoloko came in low with a grip and Mokoloko reciprocated.  A mawashi battle ensued, with Mokoloko working mostly defensively.  Mo’s wiggles led him back and So put in the extra oomph to push Mo over the line, force-out win for the Inner-Mongolia Chinaman.

EM13 Okinoumi (8-2) vs. WM9 Wakanosato (7-3): another pair of first timers.  Wakanosato was quick off the tachiai but Don Juan stayed with it.  Waka had a great hidariyotsu, so Oki got one as well.  A lot of belt work between the two with periodical breathers in the center of the ring.  Steering near the edge, the two attempted a couple of throws on the other and just in milliseconds Waka’s foot hit the clay before Oki went flying out and laid down a hand.  Under-arm throw win for the Okinoshima devil who improves to makuuchi career best nine wins, and remains in the jun-yusho race.

EM7 Takekaze (5-5) vs. WM10 Hakuba (5-5): is Takekaze one to fall for Henka’s shenanigans?  He’s never lost the fungus yet.  Henkaba goes right at the tachiai, but it doesn’t phase Takekaze who is steady at the tachai with a slap straight to Henkaba’s face.  The two grapple for an opening in what Ross Mihara called a “paddy cake tsuppari.”  Henkaba moved in between the shoves and easily worked Takekaze out once he got on the belt.  Fungus moves to 6-5.

EM9 Takamisakari (3-7) vs. WM5 Asasekiryu (4-6): Ringo leads the head-to-head 9-6.  After plenty of barking, tachiai: Sexy was quicker at the tachiai, but walked right into Ringo’s morozashi.  Ringo walked Sexy straight out of the ring and not noticing so, continued going in Forrest Gump fashion, until the two fell off the dohyo and nestled in a compromising position below.  Ringo holds off makekoshi for another day with a 4-7.  Sexy shares the same record.

EM5 Goeido (6-4) vs. EM8 Kitataiki (6-4): even tachiai but Goeido reached for a left-hand inside immediately which gave him the position he needed to drive forward and force out Kitataiki.

EM4 Homasho (5-5) vs. WM6 Gagamaru (4-6): Gaga gained some ground with a low and steady tachiai.  Homie may not be the greatest on offensive, but he’s very good on defense.  He hung with Gaga’s thrusts and stayed straight ahead of his opponent.  Homie eventually steps back and pulls on Gaga’s arm, easily forcing the Georgian peach to fall from the tree.

EM2 Tochinoshin (1-9) vs. WM4 Tokusegawa (5-5): okay tachiai, but Noshin had his head up high, not looking at his opponent.  They lock up and once Toku gets his makikae into a hidariyotsu, they start a cherry-picking game: Toku picks up Tochi, then Tochi picks up Toku, Toku picks up Tochi then as the Georgian is coming down Toku advances forward and with hands firm on the belt bring his opponent down to the ground force-down win for the Mongol.  Noshin has double-digit losses.

It was at this point that my order of whiskey arrived at the door, and you never seen a happier fella.  Mrs. Valentine has been out of town the last few days, and nothing beats enjoying sumo in my underbritches and having a glass of Irish whiskey to keep me company.  I got one of my go-to weapons in a bourbon, one splurge for the Man, and one bottle to take to the upcoming Sumo & Stogies gathering.

With a bottle uncorked and my glass filled with the splurge for the Man, I’m ready for EM3 Aran (4-6) vs. WK Kakuryu (5-5).  Head-to-head is 1-4 in the Kak’s favor.  Soft tachiai, but Aran pressed forward on Kak.  From the edge, Kak curled to the side and Aran continued to press forward.  Both men wrap up migiyotsu and Aran tried another tsuridashi like yesterday’s win over Baruto.  Kak knew what was coming and enforced a Kak-block, via his right leg wrapped around Aran’s left knee.  To get out of this and keep his balance, Aran was forced to take steps backwards.  Eventually, those backward steps led over the line.  Outside leg trip by the Kak who impoves to a respectable 6-5 from komusubi.

WS Kotoshogiku (7-3) vs. WO Baruto (8-2): Bart leads the head-to-head 10-7.  Tachiai – right on first impact they lock up in a migiyotsu, but Bart started to take control with his grip, though Geek kept aggressive.  Geek got both hands inside, and Bart complied with both hands around Geek’s neck.  In perfect position, Geek lowered his hips and started an ole fashion hug-n-chug, leading the Estonian out for another poor showing.  Kachikoshi for the Geek who has done very well in sekiwake.

EO Kaio (7-3) vs. WM3 Tamawashi (4-6): tachiai looked a bit more like judo with plenty of space between the two.  Occasional shoves and stops.  You see what’s happening here?  Tamawashi wasn’t going to fall for the old man, and he knew Kaio’s only wins are slap-downs and arm-bar locks.  Very smart playing by Tamawashi, keeping distance from the old man, and pecking away, then finally moving in for the kill.  Very respectable 5-6 for a first time this high in the ranks.

EO Kotooshu (8-2) vs. WO Harumafuji (7-3): head-to-head equals 14s a piece between these two.  Haruma started tachiai with hands to chest, Koto shook it off then gained a left-hand outside to pull Haruma in, then lead him to the edge for a force-out win.  Haruma still lacks one win to shake the kadoban monkey, and it looks as if he ain’t gonna get it tomorrow against Hakuho.

EY Hakuho (10-0) vs. ES Kisenosato (6-4): head-to-head 20-5 in Hak’s favor, with Kissy getting the last one.  A lot of talk about the pressure on Hak for this one, but I’d say Kissy has just as much pressure.  An upset once is something…maybe a fluke, but two consecutive upsets?  That says a lot.  So, tachiai: Hakuho came in strong, which could be his first mistake because Kissy slid to the left.  Hak squared up quickly, but Kissy was already getting some whacks in on the face and chest, and keeping Hak plenty of distance away from his belt.  With a good shove to the face, Hak jumped back in an attempt to get out of the slugging and to regroup.  Kissy came onto him with momentum, maintaining his thrusting.  With the reshuffle, Hak was off-balance and Kissy just came over and finished it off with a push-out win.  With this win, Kissy is bona-fide.  Hak is human, and the nerves got to him.  Nothing else.  Kissy has Hak’s number, and a hell of a bout.  Kissy is the only man who can say he’s “dominating” Hakuho, and praises all around for the Sekiwake.

I shall get back to my new and delicious splurge for the Man?  I’ll tell you all about it another day, another post.  Great day of sumo.

Tomorrow’s got you the little green man in Connolly.

Day 12

After Hakuho’s dohyo-iri today the main topic of conversation was on Hakuho’s shock defeat at the hands of the East Sekiwake Kisenosato. Not only was it Yokozuna’s first loss of 2011 it was also the second time in two basho that he lost to the same rikishi. The last time that happened the rikishi in question went on to become an ozeki and chage his name to Harumafuji. There are many people who have talked about the potential Kisenosato has at becoming an ozeki…. But I don’t agree. I see him continuing to occupy the sekiwake, komusubi and upper maegashira ranks for many years to come. I see him having a similar career to Kotoshogiku.

Tochinonada v Kotogasuga
Sharing second place on leader-board coming into today was Tochinonada. He nerves were obviously getting to him as he was the rikishi to display the first false start of the day. He was also the fist makuuchi rikishi to lose today. He was outclassed from the start. Kotogasuga hit hard at the tachi-ai and stood Tochi up and had him moving backwards. He tried backing around the bales, but it was all to no abail.

Toyohibiki v Mokonami
Chasing his kachikoshi, Toyohibiki stood well back from the starting line, and came charging hard at the tachi-ai. Mokonami was pushed up while moving backwards and was out before the gyoji shouted hakkeyoi. Hibiki, as Aran likes to call him, was called into the interview room to acknowledge his first makuuchi kachi-koshi since May last year.

Shotenro v Sokokurai
The next fight disappointed me. Sokokurai, a relatively new rikishi to makuuchi and a favourite of mine, decided to disappoint the fans with the first henka of the day. Shotenro reacted quickly turning around but then found himself with only a left hand outer grip and right hand around Soko’s neck. Sokokurai with a double inside grip easily worked him back and out for what I believe Murray Johnson referred to as a Frontal crush out!

Kimurayama v Hakuba
I wasn’t the only one wondering if Henkaba would Hakuba or not at the tachi-ai. Both English and Japanese commentators on TV made reference to it too. But he surprised us all and despite being stood straight up with a paw to his throat, the Henka Master recovered dug in, got a both hands on Kimurayama’s mawashi and ran him backwards across the dohyo for a legit win.

Takamisakari v Toyozakura
As Takamisakari stood up on the dohyo today I remembered the famous quote from Hunter S. Thompson: “There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
Toyozakura moved as far to his right as he could but failed to get a useful position from it. He tried pushing the mutant back, but lacked the power. He then somehow managed to get behind and looked set to man-love Taka out of the ring. But Taka isn’t a fan of that position and at the bales spun around and Toyosakuras grip slipped to the mutants ass which in turn spun Toyo around, down and out. He picked up his make-koshi while he was down.

Kitataiki v Okinoumi
This was a great fight! A hard tachi-ai left both men in a hidari-yotsu position. And as both stretched for the right hand grip Kitataiki tried a throw which didn’t knock Okinoumi but gave him great positioning. He pushed Okinoumi back to the bales and looked set to win via yorikiri but was spun over and down to the clay instead. Great stuff from Oki-doki who never gave up. That was his eight consecutive win.

Wakakoryu v Tokitenku
From a great fight to one of the funniest bouts I have seen, well, with regard to the tachi-ai’s anyway. Both men tried entertaining the audience with stare-downs that they don’t really have any right in giving. But it did set things up! At the, first tachi-ai, Tokitenku left way to early and the gyoji called them back, but not before Toki had landed a fierce left handed harite and pushed him all the way out of the ring!! Someone was not happy! The second attempt saw Wakakoryu leave early at the tachi-ai and put hands on Toki’s shoulders before realising that the gyoji had called them back again, but he followed through and pushed Toki backwards and clean off his feet to land his ass on the bales and almost off the dohyo! The crowd was loving it!! On the third attempt at syncing up Waka again went early placing both hands on Toki’s shoulders again, but refraining from pushing this time. At this point the head judge, Takanohana, had a word with them. The fourth attempt was exactly the same as the third. And after an apology to Takanohana they got down for the fifth and final tachi-ai of this bout. This time, when the fight finally got under way, Toki tried to henka, but Waka was coming in too fast and caught Toki when he was upright. And after much less pushes than tachi-ai’s the fight was over. An entertaining tachi-ai exhibition followed but a let-down of a fight.

Koryu v Tosayutaka
After yet another false start Koryu came out with tsuppari attack. Unfortunately he had no power in his thrusts. And after a good 22 seconds where nothing much happened bar Koryu almost accidentally grabbing Tosayutaka’s hair, Koryu found himself out of breath and out of the ring.

Kyokutenho v Kokkai
Did anybody notice what was on Kokkai arse today? After noticing the black growths coming from all over his back too, I wondered if it was something like that black entity from spiderman 3. But losing easily to Kyokutenho I assume it wasn’t the same entity. Zanen.

Shimotori v Gagamaru
Nice strong pushing by Gaga on the birds broken wing today. Shimotori was pushed straight back and his attempts to evade were futile. He turned slightly but avoided nothing. Gagamaru is such a strong guy. Why take him on like that? Get him moving, laterally works best.

Goeido v Wakanosato
Both men came into the ring today looking for their 8th win to secure kachikoshi. After the tachi-ai Goeido tied up Wakanosato’s arms and had him moving backwards. Waka tried to slip to the side and Goeido appeared to fall first. But the gyoji pointed to Goeidos direction and the replay clearly showed Waka stepping out before Goeido hid the deck.

Half time at the makuuchi today, and time for a beer! Not just any kind of beer though, recently when down in Hiroshima I discovered the nicest craft beer I have ever drank, anywhere. Kure beer. I highly recommend you try their weizen beer if you ever have the opportunity.

Miyabiyama v Asasekiryu
Both men trying to put off their unavoidable a make-koshi for another 24 hours. Miyabi was pushing and thrusting all over Asa’s face, but it was no money shot. Asa didn’t retreat and simply waited for the fear of what McDonalds could do to the best of us to wear himself out and basically fall down in a heap.

Homasho v Takekaze
Our kiritampo flavoured rikishi hadn’t the best tachi-ai. Homasho had him moving backwards and all the way around the ring but the substance of our nabe didn’t give up at any time and managed to arm lock Homies and tried for a throw. But as both men fell Homasho got a hand to Take’s chest that sent him out first.

Toyonoshima v Tochinoshin
What has happened to Tochinoshin this basho?? The only person he manages to beat this basho thus far has been Aminishiki! Today Toyonoshima greeted him at the tachi-ai and searched for a grip that he couldn’t get, so he just stepped back and with a hand to the back of Tochi no-heart’s head slapped him down. I loved Murrays comment about him after the fight: “Tochinoshin can’t even buy a win…… I mean that figuratively of course.”

Tokusegawa v Aminishiki
These guys had only met twice in the past, and AmiSneaky won both times. But today Tokusegawa had plans to change things around. He hit hard at the tachi-ai and got the snake back-peddling and out in less than two seconds. Nice! :)

Tochiozan v Aran
I like Aran a lot. I think he has potential, he just need to be more focused. Today he started well against Tochiozan with a nice push to the throat followed by some nice tsuppari. He was unlucky to not end up with a better position, as he surrendered his belt and was left with just a strong brace around Tochi’s arms. The two then moved to migi-yotsu and as Aran tried to get his left arm inside, Tochiozan pushed hard to the edge. But Aran countered very well and somehow managed to pull off a kotenage at the edge. The 2 men went flying out of the ring with 4 legs in the air, a mono-ii was called, but the gyoji’s decision stood. Tochiozan was unlucky.

Kisenosato v Tamawashi
Kissy was looking to seal his kachi-koshi today coming from his win yesterday against Hakuho. But you gotta question anyone who can beat a yokozuna and lose to someone like Kaio! Consistency is no strength of his, and that’s another reason to back up my original point of him never becoming an ozeki.
The fight started with a nice head-butt, followed by a separation between the two. The handbags came out and slapping proceeded, but then Kise easily thrust Tamawashi down via tsukiotoshi.

Yoshikaze v Kotoshogiku
I don’t believe that Yoshikaze ever had any form of a chance against Kotoshogiku today. Once Koto got a grip of the lively young fella he used his virtually unstoppable gaburi-yori to add another win via yorikiri.

Kotooshu v Kakuryu
Though Kotooshu is a fellow European, and Europeans are far and two between I struggle with an inner conflict when he fights. I want to support him, I enjoy when I see him win, but the guy sucks! He stands at a towering 6 ft 8 in and today he faced up with Kakuryu 6 ft 1 in tall. So he has an impressive reach advantage. But he let Kakuryu dominate him today, he only managed to get one hand on Kak’s belt and even though he did start pushing the Kak back, he allowed himself to be flipped over by a shitatenage move. But I guess he has his kachi-koshi so he doesn’t care too much any more.

Kaio v Baruto
Bart lost when he shouldn’t have. I’m not wasting my time writing about this.

Hakuho v Harumafaji
I was very interested to see how Hakuho would be today. After losing yesterday he had to be vulnerable. I’m not sure of Harumafuji’s condition at the moment, but he doesn’t have many bandages at the moment. Surly he had a good chance, as obviously Hakuho hasn’t been the best recently. And apparently he has a cold to top things off too!
Hakuho was back a fair amount from the lines again today at the tachi-ai. Harry hit hard and through a combination of quick moved stood the yokozuna upright. But Hakuho also has a lot of speed and regained his balance quickly. As the two separated, and exchanging slaps, Hakuho threw a harite with his right and Ama hit that hand with his left to knock the yokozuna slightly off balance, and when Hakuho came back in to meet the ozeki he was gone in the other direction with a grip on the yokozunas arm. Unfortunately for Harumafuji he didn’t have a strong grip and managed to slip at the same time. He wouldn’t have beaten Hakuho with that move had he not fallen, but the fight was definitely not being controlled by the yokozuna! He was lucky to see Harumafuji fall.

I’ve been the little green man (with the little green bag).

Daly will deal the deck tomorrow.

Day 13

Chalmers here with your Hatsu Basho day 13 wrap up.

Koryu vs. Wakakoyu.  Knockin noggins at the tachiai, the two proceed to slap the hell out of each other before Koryu gets around behind Waka and gives it to him hard.  Koryu with an okuridashi win to 7-6.

Okinoumi vs. Hakuba.  Henkaba gives a stand-up tachiai, gets shoved to the bails in a hurry.  A last-ditch pirouette not enough to escape the dashing Okinoumi and Henka pirouettes his way out.  Okunoumi wins, oshidashi, to put him at 11-2.

Miyabiyama vs. Mokonami.  Flubby puts up a good tsupari fight until Moko catches his belt.  After a lot of standing around, a hard push and a quick side step puts Flubby down.  Mokonami uwatenage win to 7-6.

Toyohibiki vs. Wakanosato.  The Beak, never taking a step back, bulls Waka over and out.  The Beak, oshitaoshi to 9-4.

Takamisakari vs. Kimurayama.  Robocop, gets pummeled at the start, and then all the way to the bails before a perfectly executed slippery salmon.  The new Slippery Salmon of Makuuchi wiggles and shimmys his way around Kimurayama for an easy push out.  Robo-Slippery Salmon-Cop, okuridashi, lives to see… squint at another day.

Toyozakura vs. Tokitenku.  Toyozakura hits hard at the tachiai and simply trucks the Mongol back to the bails and out.  Toyozakura, gaining nothing but satisfaction, hands out a free makekoshi to team Mongol, oshidashi.

Kitataiki vs. Tochinonada.   Super solid hit at the tachiai from Kita sends Nada standing straight up.  A couple more pushes and Nada finds himself out of the ring and out of Makuuchi.  Kitataiki catches some charity and ekes out a tsukidashi win to 7-6.

Sokokurai vs. Tosayutaka.  Tosayutaka looking on fire today, hits hard and goes immediately for the belt.  Team China able to shake off one morozashi, but not two.  Tosa gets both hands around and on the back of the mawashi, lifts up China and walks him out.  Tosa holds on another day, tsuridashi.

Takekaze vs. Kokkai.  Home Team with an eerie patience about him today, takes his time putting his hands down and blasts off the line to catch Kokkai’s arms down.  Home team deliberately takes a right hand out grip and text book overhand belt throw to put Georgia in the sand.  Home Team keeps on truckin, uwatenage to 6-7.

Shotenro vs. Gagamaru.  Lady Gaga never looks up as he meets Shoten at the line and is easily and shamefully slapped down.  Shoten hands the Lady a makekoshi, hikiotoshi.

Kyokutenho vs. Kotokasuga. Team Mongol with a high tachiai gives up the morozashi grip and the match by easy walk out.  Kotokasuga sends the Mongol down in the ranks, yorikiri.

Shimotori vs. Asasekiryu.  The Bird, too tall for his own good, hits high and pays for it.  Asa getting low and holding on, left hand in, easy and inevitable walk out.  Asasekiryu, yorikiri win, gets one step closer to his kachikoshi.

Tochinoshin vs. Yoshikaze.  Somebody had to win. Noshin by yoritaoshi.

Goeido vs. Aminishiki.  Goeido sports baby blue, and the Sneak sporting bad judgment.  A poorly executed back-peddling technique costs the Sneak the match and will push him further down the banzuke.  Goeido knocks out the Sneak, oshidashi.

Toyonoshima vs. Aran.  Aran puts up the worst tachiai of the day, stands straight up and and lets Toyo get two hands in.  Toyo avoids kotenage attempt and holds on long enough for Alan to walk himself out.  Toyo hands Alan his 3rd straight makekoshi via yorikiri.

Tokusegawa vs. Kakuryu.  A great tachiai pushes the Kak back and they lock up, left hand in.  The Kak makes the first mistake and loses his inside grip.  Toku muscles the rest of the way to his Kachikoshi.  The first kachikoshi of the day goes to Tokusegawa as he betrays his fellow Mongol, yorikiri.

Tochiozan vs. Tamawashi.  Elvis with a quick tachiai, deflects King Tama off to the side and gets behind.  With a little more help, Elvis takes the win and King Tama’s dignity.  Tochiozan spreading the misery, oshidashi.

Homasho vs. Kotoshogiku.  The Geek hits hard and never looks back.  A great tachiai and cigar shop slides back and is quickly pushed out.The Geek smoking Cigar Shop for his 10th win of the tournament.

Kisenosato vs. Baruto.  Bart brings back the double-hand chin-up hit at the tachiai and it pays of.  Bart gets the Blink back to the bails, a right hand out grip, and puts the Blink in the sand.  Bart pulls out of his slump, yoritaoshi.

Kaio vs. Harumafuji.  Like downing the ball for a touchback, Old Man Kaio touches at the tachiai and put his hands down on the clay, leaving the commentators suspicious.  The old man spreading the kachikoshi’s after recieveing his yesterday, uwatedashinage.

Hakuho vs. Kotooshu.  Hakuho with an unusual sidestep a the tachiai, gets a scare when Kotooshu pushes him back and gets a good grip.  Kotooshu makes the mistake of trying to wait the Yokozuna out and Hakuho just does what he does: gets his right hand in, does the shimmy and walks Kotooshu out.  Classic Hakuho, yorikiri, to wrap up a day’s work.

That’s all for day 13!  Daly with Day 14, coming soon!

Day 14

Before I get into the report, I have a few notes to mention about Juryo men. Also at the end of the report I  have a quick question about these two birds.

Kakizoe currently in Juryo, is struggling in a big way. Spark Plug looks to be heading down to Makushita. He’s currently 4-10. Young Brazilian Kaisei get’s his eighth win on day 13, but unfortunately loses today. Look for him next basho in the Makuuchi.

Alright enough with the updates, let’s get to the Day 14. Technically we still had a yusho race going with Okinoumi trailing by one, and Kotoshogiku needing the Yokozuna to drop his last two bouts to still have a shot. A shot in the dark you say?

Trust me. I don’t disagree.  What I am pleased about however is that a prediction of mine has come to fruition. You may recall how I after seeing Okinoumi’s tachi-ai after Day 1 that I thought this was a different rikishi from the one who had been demoted after the gambling scandal. regardless of the outcome today against Kisenosato, I foresee this guy making some waves this year.

Georgian, Kokkai faced off against Mokonami today. Mokonami wins the tachi-ai, gets a solid position and easily overpowers Kokkai. Unfortunately for the Georgian his fate has likely been sealed in an envelope. The contents? A nonstop ticket back to Juryo. I hope he can recover, but I am not all that confident he will.

Shotenro gets slapped down by Wakakoyu today. In a common theme for a lot of today’s bouts, Wakakoyu simply stands the Mongol up with a barrage of tsupari before slapping him down. Waka get’s his 8 today.

Juryo’s very own Takayasu took on Shimotori from Niigata. The youth wins out here. Takayasu is a pusher thruster by the looks of it. Yasu flies out of the tachi-ai and lets loose a E. Honda super tsupari attack. He follows this up with a well placed pull down for the victory. Takayasu moves to 8-6. Niigata moves to a dismal 2-12.

Miyabiyama gets a win today over Toyozakura, but man Jaba doesn’t look to hot this basho. Slow tachi-ai but Yama is still able to pull off the push up and pull down move that has been his bread and butter for a while now. He moves to 5-9.

Takamisakari took on Kotokasuga. Robocop was sitting at 6-7 while Kotokasuga was inversely 7-6. Simply put: Takamisakari was man handled today after his usual pump up routine. Kotokasuga did a great job of standing Misakari up and following through by getting his arms in the Aomori natives arm pits, for the yorikiri win.

I thought we might have a repeat of Day 12′s Wakakoyu vs Tokitenku shenanigans when Sokokurai and Kitataiki stepped up to the dohyo. These two stared each other down for what seemed to me like an eternity.  Neither appeared to be in any rush to start the bout and finally Kitataiki stood up to restart the process. This happened again and then finally the two men clashed with a pretty even tachi-ai. Kitataiki had a much strong grip however. When the two rikishi reached the side of the dohyo Sokokurai tried desperately to pull a throw. Kitataiki was not to be denied though and easily forces Sokokurai out of the ring. He moves to 8-6

Tochinonada was pulled and then forced out of the ring by Akita’s finest. Takekaze stays alive at 7-7.

Hakuba uses a nice harite to gain a decent position over Tosayutaka. The Mongol seals the deal with a maki-kai to complete an athletic sukuinage. Hakuba get’s his eight today.

All I can say about Goeido, is that it will be nice having him back a little closer to his actual rank in Osaka. He faced Tokitenku today and the bout puzzled me. Toki did a great job of keeping Goeido away from him but at the same time, allowed himself to be forced out with very little effort.

Georgian #1 vs Georgian #2

Tochinoshin has looked awful this entire basho and the tachi-ai here didn’t look much better. Gagamaru easily gained a better position. When the two rikishi reached the bales however Tochinoshin was able to easily overpower the rounder Maru for the shitagenagi.

Another one of my favorites, Tokusegawa faced Toyonoshima today. At M4 Tokusegawa is proving he has the stuff of champions. The Mongolian was 8-5 going in and I won’t be surprised if he continues to make moves upward throughout the year. He dominated this match today until the final moments. Toku’s big mistake was to not gain any sort of grip on the smaller Toyonoshima. The Danny DeVito of Sumo simply slips to the side as Tokusegawa fell flat on his face. Toyo moves to 7-7 while Tokusegawa falls to 8-6.

Kisenosato is out of the yusho race, but ironically enough, he would essentially play a big role in its continuation today against Okinoumi. A win for Okinoumi would mean the yusho race would definitely end on Senshuraku while a loss basically meant it was all over. Great tachi-ai by both young rikishi. Kisenosato just over powers the less experienced Pretty Boy with the yorikiri.

Harumafuji did just what most of us would expect against Kotoshogiku. The Mongolian was yet again dominated straight out of the ring by the Sekiwake. My patience has worn thin for this Ozeki.

Kaio faced Oshu in a match that I was curious about, only because I thought Oshu might finally get it together this basho. Kaio grabs the Bulgarians arm and easily wins by Kotonage. Kotooshu has loss four of his last five matches.

Finally Hakuho and Baruto went head to head. A win would seal this basho up and give Hakuho his 18th Yusho of all-time.  Murray Johnson mentioned today that Hakuho is actually faster out of the blocks than Usain Bolt. If true, it gives you an idea of current Yokozuna’s athleticism. Baruto is no chump either. Today’s bout was an exciting one. Hakuho gained the upper hand at the tachi-ai getting his left hand grip. Baruto drove the Yokozuna back to the bales however and the Yokozuna was force to regroup. Hakuho managed to work his way back into the center of the dohyo. Baruto attempted a throw but failed. Then as if Baruto was a light-weight Hakuho quickly adjusted his arm under Baruto’s armpit and threw him to the dirt for his 18th Yusho. The move was so fluid I think it caught everyone off guard.

Congrats to Hakuho, that was something else.

Now de Gama’s got your back for Senshuraku, but before I sign off a quick word about these two birds.

Now one can’t take anything away from that scowl, but seriously, I don’t think these birds really fit our  (sumo fan’s) target demographic.  Even if they are directed at kids (which they are), I just wonder if these birds are going to work. What do you think about them (contributors, viewers, random visitors)? I sure hope they haven’t been to any of the S & S Basho’s.

Senshuraku; Day 15

So the final day of Sumo has finally arrived.  With more than half of the pack in their cars driving home for most of the day, it was good to sit down watch some sumo and enjoy this beverage kindly given to me by a distinguished gentlemen from South Africa.  Now some people may say that the rains are blessed in Africa among other things, but perhaps it was only this fine drink.

I usually like to start my reports with more of an anecdote. However, within the next few days a distinguished gentlemen from the US and I will be co-writing this basho’s wrap up.  There I will proceed to write my mediocre opinions about this basho.  So, with out any more delay I will go fetch myself a coffee and get this thing started.

Shotenro vs. Kotokasuga: Well for a the first bout of the last day, it was a rather mediocre bout.  Shotenro goes in and forces Kotokasuga upright.  From this point he arm thrusts Koto and couple times and Koto is out of the ring.  Shotenro dominated this bout, however the disappointing thing about it was not the actually bout itself.  It was the Shotenro lunged off balance intot he crowd after winning his bout.  Shotenro may have gotten a point…..though I think we know who got the last laugh.

Wakakoyu vs. Hakuba: I love to see Henkaba go down.  And this bout was especially nice to watch.  Wakakoyu from the beginning did not allow Henka to do anything.  Waka kept Henkaba standing up by constantly thrusting up.  Henkaba just couldnt keep with it. Done

Miyabiyama vs. Kimurayama: I think if we added Yamamotoyama into this bout there’d be a bit of a Yama party going on. Think about it: all the pushing, thrusting, grabbing, tossing mixed in with all that meat.  I don’t know what else won’t excite this guy on a snowed in Monday afternoon.  And I haven’t even started talking about the bout.  But I might as well have described it.  Miyabiyama wins this bout with a ton of thrusting….wasn’t such an interesting match.

Koryu vs. Wakanosato: Lets see whether this distinguished gentlemen from Tohoku can represent Northern Japan.  And he does.  At the start they both seemed to go for the neck grab…probably trying to keep one another from getting any lower.  Waka then grabs the mawashi.  Koryu tried to fight back by also grabbing the mawashi (well, technically anything he can get his hands on) and shifts his body lower.  At this point Koryu is a little outstretched by this I mean that his upper body is more or less parallel to the ground while his lower half is still perpendicular.  Waka notices and pushes him to the floor.  Nice win for Waka (and Kachikoshi)

Takamisakari vs. Sokokurai: I enjoy watching Takamisakari’s bouts.  Really, though this bout was not anything special at all.  All theatrics aside. Sokokurai lunges fast and Taka couldn’t stop the Soko-train. Kachikoshi for the Chinese.

Kokkai vs. Tokitenku: I feel bad for Kokkai.  He has had a pretty bad year and from the looks of it he’ll be in Juryo next time perhaps.  Kokkai starts by leading into the tachiai with his shoulder.  The guy is trying at least… afterwards he leads with a few arm thrusts to phase what he can of Toki.  But, Toki doesn’t have any of it.  He tries several ways to taken Kokkai down but has a hard time trying to find that sweet spot.  Hopefully, he has a better time finding it with his women.  Finally, he gets both arms under Kokkai’s shoulders and while lifting takes Kokkai out of the ring.

Kitataiki vs. Mokonami: I don’t think there was any doubt to who was going to win this bout from the start.  Kita thrusts head first and stays low.  Continuing to push forward, Kitataiki almost pushes Moko out with a two handed thrust, but Moko recovers.  They resume to bearhug for a bit in the center and Kita then proceeds to leg trip Moko for the win.

Tochinonada vs. Tosayukata: To be honest this bout was looking more like Tochinonada’s than Tosa’s.  Tochi was very aggressive in the beginning.  But, Tosa got his grip and fended off the attacks.  When he saw an opening, Tosa acted and pushed him down.

Takekaze vs. Toyohibiki: This was a pretty straight forward bout.  I got to give Take some props for reading this one well.  Toyo at the start lunges toward Take relatively fast and low.  Take sees these and kind of jumps back and pushes Toyo down. Kachikoshi for Take….. at least one Kaze is doing well.

Kyokutenho vs. Toyozakura:  Pretty weak performance from Toyozakura.  Toyo pulls out arm thrusts to stop and distance himself from Kyoku.  This only phased Kyoku for a second if that and continues with his momentum forward.  After this Toyo doesn’t really even fight back and gets pushed out.

Okinoumi vs. Tokusegawa: I was actually looking forward to this bout.  Both guys have been pretty solid in this basho, and have been gaining respect from this guy.  Anyways, I was hoping that Okinoumi would get this one however, that was not the case.   Oki was definitely the more agressive out of the two of them though.  At the tachiai Oki was a little bit higher than Toku.  Toku quickly got a grip and quickly lost it trying to fend Oki off.  Toku then shifts to a lower stance and forces Oki to go down as well. At this point Oki tries to pull and in that split second Toku takes advantage to push Oki down.

Shimotori vs. Yoshikaze: Even though the ranks are vastly different both of these guys have terrible scores.  What can I say I’d like to see Yoshikaze have a score comparable to his last basho, but thats not the case, eh?  I guess he couldn’t handle the bigger boys.  Well that being said he at least won this bout.  Yoshi rushed in at the tachiai and just rolled with the momentum pushing Shimo back constantly. If Shimo tried to get away, Yoshi moved appropiately and kept the pressure on.  Eventyually Shimo gets pushed down near the ring by Yoshi.

Tochinoshin vs. Aran: At the start of this bout, the tow foreigners quickly interlock into bearhugs.  This basically to me translates into find your grip and wait for the opening.  And that is what happens. Tochinoshin takes the intiative and tries a few times to lift Aran by the mawashi. But fails.  He then tries a sideways takedown, but again to no avail. So it seems like its back to the waiting game.  Now its Aran’s turn to try the lift out.  Amazingly on one of the attempts Aran did, Tochinoshin counter-lifts Aran out of the ring.  Great timing and strength for Tochi.

Asasekiryu vs. Aminishiki: They charge at each other, and Aminishiki keeps the pressure on while Asa falls back a bit.  Trying to recover, Asa gets to a point where they interlock and Aminishiki swings Asa around by the shoulders.  This allows Asa to lose his balance and Aminishiki forces him tot he edge of the ring.  In desperation Asa tries to throw Aminishiki down and forces both fighters to do a cartwheel type move.  Asa’s head hits the floor a split second too late whihc gives the match to Aminishiki.

Toyonoshima vs. Tamawashi: Even though by the end of the match the crowd was going wild….i wasn’t too impressed.  I mean good job to Toyonoshima for getting his kachikoshi. But, at one point in the match they were literally not touching in a ready position.  Tamawashi basically just kept pushing Toyo away from the beginning.  After the stalemate, Toyo gets quickly inside and forces Tama back.  Tama seems to slip and fall down.

Hamasho vs. Kakuryu:  Nice round by Hamasho.  He charges into the tachiai and is constantly aggressive.  Hamasho keeps trying to stay low and lift upwards.  He gets Kakuryu to the edge and lifts him out using the mawashi with the classic pelvic thrust.

Tochiozan vs. Gagamaru: Nothing too special about this bout.  Tochiozan keeps it low and arm thrusts up toward Gaga.  Gaga is always at a higher stance and only switches when its a little too late.   Tochi eventually pushes him out.

Goeido vs. Kotoshogiku: A little bit anti-climatic.  Kotoshogiku rushes in. Goeido takes it in the chest and leads to the side.  As he does this Goeido pushes Koto’s head down and Koto is done.

Kisenosato vs. Harumafuji: Kisenosato had Haruma and a half.  Kise took Haruma’s charge square in the chest.  It seemed that Haruma was a little slow to recover from the charge.  Seeing this Kisenosato pushes him off balance and capitalizes to force Haruma out.  A good display of Kise looking like a champ.

Kotooshu vs. Baruto: It was pretty exciting to watch, however they both seemed either out-stretched or a little high.  Maybe a little bit of both.  Kotooshu looked as if he was trying to force Baruto off balance by pulling up on the mawashi.  And Baruto was trying to stay alive.  Anyways, Baruto falls over and gives the win to Kotooshu.

Hakuho vs. Kaio: I think we all know that Kaio is going to lose against Hakuho.  But, it looked like Kaio gave Hakuho a little “trouble.” Most of the match was arm thrusting.  Hakuho tried to just simply push him out.  During the middle of the bout Hakuho changed his strategy and gets a inside grip and its over.

All thats left is the wrap up!
de Gama out..


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