(Mike Wesemann reporting)
broadcast that I get here in the states started with the M7 Gagamaru - M15
Chiyotairyu bout, so I may as well start there keeping in mind that today's
comments will be very brief since I have nothing new to say in an intro, and I
like to save any remaining ammo for a post basho report. Chiyotairyu was
officially knocked from the yusho race yesterday, but today's bout was
significant because Gagamaru is a part-time sanyaku rikishi and definitely
worthy of the jo'i. Chiyotairyu struck hard at the tachi-ai with the two hands
to Gagamaru's neck and then immediately went for a pull down. Against almost any
other rikishi, I'd frown against such a quick pull, but the dude understands
that he doesn't necessarily want to get into a belt fight with Gagamaru, and I'm
sure after that first volley he realized he wasn't budging the Georgian back any
further. Gagamaru survived the pull and is so large that it's hard to run from
him, so props to Chiyotairyu for squaring back up and firing a few more shoves.
Gagamaru got his right arm to the inside forcing the bout to yotsu, but
Chiyotairyu kept up the pressure pulling the trigger on a left outer throw that
caused Gagamaru to put his left hand down early giving Chiyotairyu the win in
the end. This bout was important for Chiyotairyu because 1) it's his first time
ever winning double-digits in the division, and 2) Gagamaru's probably a top 15
rikishi, so defeating him should help Chiyotairyu realize that he belongs at the
top third of this division.
Lest anyone get too geeked about M2 Shohozan, let's analyze his performance
today against M1 Tochiohzan. Shohozan definitely had a decent resume coming into
the bout, and with both of these guys at 9-4 coming in, the Sekiwake rank was on
the line for the winner and Komusubi for the loser. Back to Shohozan, his
tsuppari from the tachi-ai moved Tochiohzan back nary a centimeter, so that's
one point to consider. Next, Tochiohzan forced the bout to hidari-yotsu and
enjoyed a whopping right outer grip while Shohozan's right arm wasn't even
close...point being dude's got crocodile arms, which is a disadvantage. Thirdly,
with Tochiohzan extending the bout to over a minute by doing nothing but just
standing there, Shohozan wasn't able to counter. That's three strikes against
him in this one bout, and so it was no surprise that Tochiohzan twisted Special
Dark down in the end pulling at his belt with the right outer and throwing with
the left inner. Tochiohzan moves to 10-4, which is a spectacular record this
high in the ranks. Too bad he's gonna redefine the term Suckiwake in January.
Shohozan falls to 9-5, but I haven't bought several of his bouts, so let's see
how well he can do in Tokyo when tens of fans will even recognize him.
If they had a special prize for team player, Komusubi Aminishiki would win it
hands down this basho. He crushed M3 Takekaze forcing the bout to migi-yotsu
early and then baiting Takekaze into a pulldown as he retreated. That only made
the push-out that much more spectacular as Aminishiki moves to 6-8. Think about
the multiple bouts Aminishiki gave up this basho, so to see him at 6-8 shows you
he sacrificed a sanyaku rank to give others wins they desperately needed. Okay,
okay, he'll technically take a pay cut the next two months as he drops rank, but
he's probably been paid off enough to compensate. Now that I think about it,
since Aminishiki wears his mattress around his leg, where does he hide his
The one rikishi I haven't been able to figure out this basho is Sekiwake
Myogiryu. Is he injured? Is he suffering from a case of nerves? Is he paying
back rikishi who could have aided in his rapid rise to Sekiwake? I really don't
know, but time will tell soon enough just how much game he has. The answer to
that question today was none as he was unable to budge M2 Kaisei from the
tachi-ai, and so as the two hooked up in the migi-yotsu position, Myogiryu's
only answer was to go for two pull moves. Kaisei got him on the second one
picking up his sixth win in the process as Myogiryu falls to 5-9.
It's a good thing that the sumos have their long hair tied up in knots;
otherwise, the Sekiwake Goeido - M7 Aran would have turned into a true girl
fight with both gals quickly grabbing each others hair and creating a virtual
stalemate. As it was, there would be no hair pulling so it was all slaps from
both parties with about 10% of them even connecting. I blame Aran for this style
because you know Goeido didn't want to charge into a henka, but still this was
an ugly bout as both traded pulldowns before Goeido timed a decent shove as Aran
went for another ill-fated pull. Aran (8-6) ended up in the lap of someone on
the first row, but that was due to his literally tripping over the tawara as he
was shoved outta the ring. Nice de-ashi fella. Goeido moves to 10-4 with the
Kotooshu showed his lack of konjou today (look it up) in a contest with
M6 Toyonoshima where Tugboat got moro-zashi from the tachi-ai but was too
upright to really make a decent charge. Kotooshu countered with a solid right
outer belt grip, but he wasn't in a position to charge either, so there the two
stood slow dancing in the middle of he ring as their wives fumed at home. The
end turned out to be a nage-no-uchi-ai in the middle of the ring with Kotooshu
throwing with the right outer and Toyonoshima with the left inner. This one was
close, but Kotooshu put his left hand down early to break his fall...thus
showing his lack of determination to win. Toyonoshima picks up win number 10 if
ya need him while Kotooshu is stuck at 8-6.
As I suspected, M6 Kyokutenho just rolled over for Ozeki Kotoshogiku today
giving the Geeku a dramatic kachi-koshi! Kyokutenho was in neutral from the
start as the Ozeki secured the right inside position and left outer grip before
driving the Chauffeur back and out of the ring in a coupla seconds. While
Kyokutenho refrained from grabbing the left outside belt, which was wide open,
he did perform a nifty hop as he was being forced out causing the Fukuoka
faithful to all bleat out a joyful "Ba-a-a-a-a!!!!" Kyokutenho's still doing
swell at 10-4 while Kotoshogiku can officially present his bride to be with a
kachi-koshi. Whouda thunk?! I think the Mainichi Shimbun nailed it with their
headline "Kyokutenho powerless in defeat." With the Kyokutenho loss, Hakuho
officially clinched his career 23rd yusho.
He'da kicked Kakuryu's ass either way, but you still want to see NHK show the
official yusho graphic after a win, not after the runner up's loss. Anyway,
Hakuho was true to form today swooping in at the tachi-ai getting the right
inside position and left outer grip while Kakuryu tried in desperation to
wriggle free, but it wasn't happening as Hakuho kept his gal within throwing
distance and did just that, ending the bout about five seconds in with a
trademark outer belt throw. At 13-1, there's no reason why Hakuho won't go all
out against Harumafuji tomorrow. Kakuryu's a happy camper with that Ozeki
paycheck at 8-6, and before I get to the final bout, I agree with Clancy that
it's just wrong that Hakuho should have to deliver the chikara-mizu to another
One of the great things about watching the bouts live on NHK is the reverse
angle they give you after the fact. Not only is it in slow motion, but it let's
you see what happened on the other side giving us the whole picture. Since
today's Yokozuna Harumafuji - Ozeki Kisenosato matchup was the last of the day,
and since NHK was running out of time,
never got the replay of that other side, so I don't know definitively what
happened, but this is what it looked like to me: Harumafuji went for
Kisenosato's neck with the left hand at the tachi-ai but was not driving with
his legs. Instead, he turned his right hip in a bit towards the Ozeki allowing
Kisenosato to shove him over to the edge with what looked like a left kote-nage
throw. Harumafuji managed to stay inside the ring after that initial shove/throw
from Kisenosato, but the Ozeki was right on top of him bodying him outta the
ring in what turned out to be a three second bout. This coulda been legit, but I
doubt it. Kisenosato can't even bully an M3 like that, and Harumafuji's footwork
was awful. Still, without that reverse angle, I don't know what was happening on
the other side, but my opinion is that Harumafuji gave this one away. I mean
look at that picture at left...the Yokozuna looks like he's sleepwalking.
A Yokozuna goes down fighting, not scanning the crowd for chicks.
Regardless, Harumafuji falls to 9-5 with the loss while Kisenosato moves to
Clancy is slated to report on senshuraku, but he's running a marathon in the
morning, so it's still up in the air. If Clancy can't make it, I will not report
on senshuraku since the yusho is already determined and since I'd end up using
the rest of my material and would have nothing left for a post-basho report. On
one hand, I hope Clancy feels good enough to give us one last shot, but on the
other hand, he'll have like nothing to work with. Keep your fingers crossed.
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
two bouts ahead of everyone else in the loss column, day 13 would be extremely
telling in terms of whether or not we'd have a yusho race down the stretch. As
I've always maintained, Hakuho has had the ability even before Asashoryu retired
to determine whether or not he would take the yusho every basho. So when he just
stood idly by and let Kotooshu force him out of the ring on day 11, I knew that
he wasn't gunning for a zensho yusho and frankly didn't know what to expect
coming into each day. Today, however, the Yokozuna's intentions were clear, and
so let's get right to the action starting with the marquee matchup, Yokozuna
Hakuho vs. Ozeki Kisenosato.
the last few days, Hakuho has not gone full bore at the tachi-ai. How do I know?
Because he did so today, and you could readily see the result. The Yokozuna
swept one leg forward at the charge getting his favored right arm to the inside,
and his momentum was so good he just sent a forearm chivvy into Kisenosato's
chest knocking him back to the brink where a final tsuki with the right hand
sent the Ozeki across the straw to join the basket of salt in his corner. This
is what Hakuho is capable of day in and day out, and so when I don't see it this
kind of effort, I know he's letting up. The day after he lost to Kotooshu, the
talking point was that Hakuho looked tired. Tired shmired. Hakuho moves to 12-1
and is well on his way to a career 23rd yusho. Kisenosato falls to 9-4.
The straight up tachi-ai continued in the penultimate bout featuring Yokozuna
Harumafuji vs. Ozeki Kakuryu in what was by far the bout of the tournament so
far, and when I say straight up tachi-ai, I'm referring to both brethren who
have each been guilty multiple times in Kyushu of mukiryoku sumo. At the
tachi-ai, each went for the other's throat, and in a split second, the
combatants realized the stalemate and immediately hooked up in the hidari-yotsu
position. As the two Mongolians dug in testing the waters, they simultaneous
swapped insides and outsides leaving them in the gappuri migi yotsu position,
and from here, the fight was on. With their muscles quivering--which tells you
they're going full out, Kakuryu struck first bellying the Yokozuna upright just
a bit to where he got his left shoulder low and digging into Harumafuji's right,
and the Kak instinctively knew he had sufficient position, so he went for the
kill burrowing his head in tight and committing on the force-out charge.
Harumafuji knew he was in trouble and tried a maki-kae in desperation near the
edge, but he was too far gone as Kakuryu blasted him across the straw and down
for the yori-taoshi win. Kakuryu picks up kachi-koshi with the brilliant win at
8-5 while Harumafuji is officially knocked out of the yusho race at 9-4.
I watch these two bouts of sumo that capped off our day, and I can only shake my
head and think what if they fought like this everyday? But then I catch myself.
Of the four rikishi I've just described, one was a complete punching bag and the
other three were total warriors, so it's no wonder that the elite foreign
rikishi must hold back from time to time to at least give the appearance that
the punching bags have a chance.
With Hakuho firmly planting the yusho line at one loss, it was up to our three
remaining 3-loss rikishi heading into the day to win and extend the yusho race
for another day. Fortunately, two were fighting each other and so we were
guaranteed a race at least into day 14 (as if it mattered). M15 Chiyotairyu has
looked great for all but a few days of the
but he wouldn't get the chance to prove his worth today against M2 Shohozan, who
henka'd to his right at the tachi-ai and grabbed the outer grip in the process.
Before Chiyotairyu could recover, Shohozan spun him around and out adding insult
to injury in the end dumping Tairyu to the clay. I mean, I've kind of dug
Shohozan's sumo this basho, but then I see him resort to a henka of an M15 on
this stage, and I lose a ton of respect for the dude. Looks like I'll drown my
sorrows tonight with Mr. Goodbars and Krackles as Chiyotairyu is knocked out of
the hunt at 9-4. Shohozan shares the same mark, but everyone knows the win today
was quick and dirty.
And so..M6 Kyokutenho or M1 Tochiohzan were our last hope in extending the yusho
race one more day. Kyokutenho? Tochiohzan? Yusho race? I can't quite put a
finger on it, but I think I just suffered a bad case of déjà vu and that picture
at right sure ain't helping. M1 Tochiohzan won the tachi-ai securing moro-zashi,
but for some odd reason, he seemed hesitant to commit on a charge. With the
better position, he musta felt obliged to press forward, but he wasn't
committed, and so Kyokutenho breezed to his left and used a left kote-nage hold
to drag Tochiohzan down to dirt moving to 10-3 in the process. Tochiohzan falls
to 9-4, and we can now officially say that Kyokutenho is in his head.
With the leaderboard out of the way, let's cover a few more bouts of interest
starting with Ozeki Kotoshogiku looking for that elusive eight win against
Sekiwake Myogiryu. He wouldn't get it thanks to another lame tachi-ai that
Myogiryu completely exposed using his left arm on the inside and brilliant
de-ashi to drive Kotoshogiku back and across the straw without argument.
Kotoshogiku (7-6) is not strong enough to beat his remaining opponents, but he
will still get that last win...probably against Kyokutenho tomorrow who will
likely lock his keys in the car. Myogiryu moves to 5-8 with the win, and I can't
figure out if some of his awful tachi-ai this basho were for real or if he just
looked good today against a lame duck.
Rounding out the Ozeki, I'm glad Kotooshu is good at sumo because he's a
downright shitty actor. Against Sekiwake Goeido today, the Ozeki stayed low with
his arms committed downward, and as Goeido backed up, Kotooshu just played
elephant keeping his arms hung low like a trunk as he slumped over and chased
Goeido around half the ring before the Sekiwake mercifully dodged to the side
and pulled the Ozeki out of the ring in the process putting us all out of our
misery. Goeido moves to 9-4 with the win while Kotooshu falls to 8-5, but this
was just plain bad sumo all around.
The final bout of the day I'll cover was the M10 Ikioi - M4 Masunoyama contest
that saw Ikioi looking for his first ever kachi-koshi in the division.
Masunoyama ruled the tachi-ai and immediately knocked Ikioi back on his heels
with a series of effective tsuppari. As Ikioi evaded to his right, Masunoyama
went for a premature scoop throw with the left that allowed Ikioi to counter
with a neck throw sending both to the dirt at relatively the same time. A
mono-ii was called for and a redo declared. The problem was...Ikioi knew he was
no match for Masunoyama, and so he delivered a tachi-ai henka picking up his
kachi-koshi by essentially running away. I'm not sure what my opinion of Ikioi
is yet, but I'm pretty sure Salt N Pepa never sang about him, "Whatta Man, Whatta
Man, Whatta Man, Whatty a Mighty Fine Man. Masunoyama falls to a
I'll be back agin tomorrow to celebrate Hakuho's yusho and Kotoshogiku's
kachi-koshi, and if those predictions are wrong, I don't care; I've already lost
enough face admitting that I knew the lyrics to a Salt N Pepa song.
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
After a day
like Wednesday where we had both Yokozuna lose without exerting much effort, I
love to scan the headlines the next morning and read the media's take on what
transpired. In the case of Harumafuji, it's not quite as transparent because we
only had .7 seconds of "action" from which to draw conclusions (yes, the
Japanese media timed the bout), but in the case of Hakuho, it was evident from
the tachi-ai that the Yokozuna was not trying to win his bout. The Sports Hochi
papers came right out in their headline and said that Hakuho "lost with no
resistance." And then I really liked how the Mainichi newspaper put it after
both Yokozuna lost referring to a "collective sigh in the arena."
The Sumo Association as a group is trying to keep things interesting this basho,
but the term "interesting" implies that Japanese rikishi must perform well. The
foreign rikishi--especially the Yokozuna--are doing their part to ensure that
this happens, but you can only cut so many corners before even the blindest of
sheep realize what's happening.
While day 11 was just plain obvious drawing a sigh from everyone, both Yokozuna
let up again on day 12 in an attempt to keep things close. I've used this
analogy before, but I'm going to repeat it because it's so applicable to what
we're seeing from the Yokozuna and others who are compromising bouts in order to
maintain fan interest.
I think every boy's dream growing up is to one day own a billiards table, and
through the grace of the gods, I happen to have a sweet Brunswick in my
basement. Now at first glance, a beginner to the game of billiards would think
that the key to winning is shot making, and while that is important, the actual
key to being good at billiards is to be able to control the cue ball. When all
of us first started to hack our way around a pool table, the only thing we were
interested in his making the shot at hand. It's why 8-ball is so popular. You
have seven different shots on your first turn, and so you take the easiest. Once
you've sunk that first ball, you look for the next easiest ball, and on and on
But when you watch the pros play billiards on television, they always play
9-ball, a much more refined game because in 9-ball, you must sink the balls in
order, and to effectively be good at 9-ball, you have to have decent mastery
over the cue ball. The last decade or so, some of you may have noticed that when
they broadcast 9-ball tournaments on television, the cue ball is covered in a
bunch of random, red dots. The reason they do this is so the viewers at home can
gauge exactly where the pros are striking the cue ball, and that gives the
audience more insight as to how they're setting up the next shot.
I would liken a sumo bout to a game of what I'll call 3-ball where you have
three balls randomly scattered on the table and the objective is to hit all
three balls in on one turn. You are able to place the cue ball anywhere you want
for your first shot and you can hit the balls in any order making this a
seemingly simple exercise. If you look at my table set up at the right, the
novice player would place the cue ball close to the 1 ball and take the easy
shot first because they can't see beyond that first shot. The experienced
player, however, would know that they can sink the 1 ball from anywhere on the
table, and so that's the obvious last shot.
There are multiple ways that an expert billiard player could approach the setup
in my graphic, but none of them would hit the 1 ball in first. But if I set this
same configuration up on my own pool table and asked my kids to try and hit in
all three balls, they will all start with the 1 ball because they can't see past
the shot at hand. And so when I play billiards with my kids, it's really easy
for me to hold back without them knowing in an attempt to let them win but not
make it obvious. To them, it still looks as if I'm trying my hardest because
I'll make the obvious shots, but I'll be careless with the cue ball taking me
out of position of my next shot, leaving the cue ball in a difficult spot that
would justify scratching on my next turn, or if the angles line up just right, I
can sink a ball and knowingly send the cue ball into a pocket scratching on my
turn and giving one of my kids ball in hand on his next turn. Now I usually end
up winning most of the games because I'm not going to make it obvious to my
kids, but I'm constantly trying to set them up to win without them noticing. And
that's exactly what's happening in sumo these days. Hakuho and sometimes
others are mis-managing the cue ball in an attempt to let inferior rikishi win
and keep things interesting.
The fans and part of the media can be likened to my kids. They're fairly
knowledgeable about the sport, but they can only see the first shot or the
obvious shot. They see Hakuho for example grab the inside belt grip as he did
against Kotooshu and accept it as a legitimate move, but they don't understand
that it's the wrong move to hold onto it if he doesn't have an outer belt grip
on the other side. They see Harumafuji charge hard into Kotoshogiku who is
staying high and playing pull all the way, but it somehow doesn't compute with
them that Harumafuji decides for once not to go for the throat at the tachi-ai.
I realize that sumo differs from billiards in that you sometimes have to make
split second decisions in the ring, but there's no split decision to make in
determining your approach to the tachi-ai, and there's no split decision in a 30
second bout where Hakuho doesn't once go for an offensive maneuver and is forced
out completely upright. There was a collective sigh in the Fukuoka Kokusai
Center yesterday because both Yokozuna lost, not because they were beaten. Big
difference and the fans know it.
With that, let's get to the day's action starting with M15 Chiyotairyu of all
rikishi who entered the day just one loss behind the leader, Hakuho. Against M7
Aran, Chiyotairyu did what he needed to do moving forward from the tachi-ai and
bullying Aran back with a tsuppari attack, but about one step in from the edge,
Chiyotairyu rushed things just a bit going for a left forearm shove instead of
extending his arm. Using the forearm is a great tactic at the tachi-ai when both
rikishi are moving into each other, but when one rikishi is retreating, going
for a forearm shove means you have to close that much more distance when you
commit on the shove. Aran is just too sneaky to let that slide and so with
Chiyotairyu over-extended, he moved right and dragged him down at the edge for
the tsuki-otoshi win. Tough loss for Chiyotairyu who falls to 9-3, but I'm okay
with the loss because he was moving forward and hellbent on winning. Avoiding a
huge disaster (more yaocho from the Yokozuna), Chiyotairyu is out of the yusho
hunt, but he can still maintain momentum heading into January. Aran picks up
kachi-koshi at 8-4 with the counter win.
move back up to the top where Yokozuna Hakuho entertained Ozeki Kotoshogiku.
Hakuho hit the 1 ball in first today keeping his right arm to the outside at the
tachi-ai all but giving the Ozeki a chance at moro-zashi, but the Geeku had both
feet aligned after the tachi-ai and wasn't moving forward. In a panic,
Kotoshogiku moved his left arm to the outside of Hakuho's right, and so the
Yokozuna began his offensive after gaining the right inside by default, so he
lifted the Ozeki upright with his right arm in the Geeku's pit, and after
swinging him around 180 degrees and off balance, Hakuho grabbed the Geeku's belt
and just bowled him over never once coming close to an outer grip. Didn't need
it here against an Ozeki who is still ailing as he falls to 7-5. There's no
doubt that Kotoshogiku will find that last win, but Hakuho mismanaged the cue
ball at the tachi-ai giving him an opening today; like my kids, he wasn't able
to capitalize. With the win, Hakuho moved to 11-1 and put the pressure on
Harumafuji to keep pace.
In the final bout of the day, the said Harumafuji was pitted against Sekiwake
Myogiryu, and the Yokozuna decided to come out with a dual kachi-age, something
I've never seen him do before. That didn't get him anywhere, but Myogiryu
necessarily powering his way forward either. After a second and a half, Harumafuji
ducked down inviting the pull from Myogiryu that came sending the Mongolian
stumbling towards the edge, the Yokozuna put on the brakes and recovered getting
his left arm to the inside whereupon he mounted a hurried force-out charge
without really being grounded to the dohyo. The result was that the Sekiwake had
more than enough time to work his right arm to the inside and throw the Yokozuna
to the dohyo with a scoop throw. This was a nage-no-uchi-ai at the edge where it
looked like to me that Harumafuji made no effort to keep himself from hitting
the dirt until the last possible moment. The end result was a sukui-nage victory
for Myogiryu that was really setup by Harumafuji's constant mistakes. Were those
mistakes intentional? I thought so as the Yokozuna falls to 9-3 and out of yusho
contention for the most part. Myogiryu's make-koshi fate is sealed at 4-8, but
this...win over the Yokozuna will help take off some of the sting.
In other bouts of interest, Ozeki Kotooshu henka'd M1 Tochiohzan stepping out
wide to his left in an attempt to grab the outer belt grip. When he didn't get
it, Tochiohzan took command of the bout getting moro-zashi, slapping the Ozeki
forward, and then getting moro-zashi again forcing Kotooshu back across the ring
sending him out in the end with a left scoop throw. The bottom line here is an
Ozeki should NEVER henka an M1. Ridiculous, and Kotooshu deserved to lose this
one as he falls to 8-4. Tochiohzan has been great this basho, and he stands now
at 9-3 which may be good enough to get him mentioned among the leaders for a day
or 2, but the problem I have with this guy is he'll do well here but then
royally suck next basho against the same competition. Dude can't handle the
pressure of the sanyaku.
I'm not sure what Ozeki Kakuryu's intentions were by standing straight up at the
tachi-ai and leaving both arms out wide, but the result was Komusubi Aminishiki
lurching into moro-zashi and forcing the Kak back and out in a coupla seconds.
The only explanation I have for Kakuryu's tachi-ai today was that he was letting
Aminishiki win; there's no other way that I can try and justify that tachi-ai.
Regardless, the Ozeki is 7-5 while Aminishiki looks good again moving to 4-8.
Let's break down the Ozeki Kisenosato - M4 Masunoyama bout by discussing the
word "sasu." This terms means to stab, and when the sumos use it, they're
talking about getting one's arm to the inside of his opponent. It's often
conjugated into it's noun form of "sashi", and when it's the second term
in a compound word, the first s changes to a z forming such terms as hari-zashi
(slap-stab at the tachi-ai) or moro-zashi (two arms to the inside). This term
sashi does not have it's opposite because in sumo it just doesn't make sense
to fight from the outside. The outer grip on your opponent's belt is preferred,
but that has to be set up with the inside position on the other side first. The
reason I bring this up now is because Kisenosato always goes for an outer grip
at the tachi-ai instead of setting up the inside position first. As a result, he
always leaves himself wide open and loses nearly every tachi-ai. Today against
Masunoyama, the Ozeki made this one a lot closer than it needed to be by keeping
himself open at the initial charge and letting Masunoyama stand him up with a
right choke hold. After a few tsuppari from both parties, the bout ended up in
hidari-yotsu, and fortunately for the Ozeki, he grabbed the right outer grip;
otherwise, he would have found himself on the wrong end of a yori-kiri. As it
stood, Kisenosato was able to use that right outer grip to halt his opponent's
momentum and turn the tables eventually forcing Masunoyama back and across for
the win. Kisenosato moves to 9-3 but HAS to fix that tachi-ai. The problem is
his current stable master is the former Takanotsuru. Who is that you say? Just
imagine a guy like Yoshiazuma retiring and becoming a stable master. Good luck
on getting any coaching. Masunoyama falls to 5-7 but should keep his head high;
he's fought some tough guys.
Goeido dropped his fourth straight today against M2 Shohozan who used a harmless
hari-zashi tachi-ai slapping with the right and getting the left to the inside.
Goeido secured his own left grip, and so there the two stood in the middle of
the ring with left inners and no outers. As the two stood there in the middle of
the ring jockeying for position, I couldn't help but to think that these two are
about the best Japan has to offer. Deduct your own conclusions from that
statement. In the end, Shohozan's hustle won out as he pulled Goeido down with a
pretty good kata-sukashi move after a wild tussle. I think the reason that
Shohozan won this bout is because he hasn't let the losses get to him whereas
Goeido has. You cannot dwell on that botched call and let it ruin the rest of
your basho, so we'll see how Goeido recovers from here. Both fellas are 8-4.
I loved the M11 Asahisho - M5 Toyohibiki bout. I don't believe Asahisho has ever
fought this high and give him credit for attempting to take it to Toyohibiki
from the tachi-ai with his tsuppari attack, but the Hutt simply braced his right
leg, grabbed Asahisho's left arm in kote-nage fashion, and threw Asahisho's ass
down hard in two seconds flat. Asahisho (6-6) is a spunky rikishi and good for
sumo, but it's a great example of how tough it is higher up the banzuke.
Toyohibiki improves to 7-5.
M6 Kyokutenho totally whiffed on a hari-zashi tachi-ai slapping with the right
hand, and the result was easy moro-zashi for Toyonoshima. Still, Toyonoshima
needed the crown of his head under Kyokutenho's chin, not his chin on top of
Kyokutenho's shoulder, and so the Chauffeur used an outer grip to smother
Toyonoshima back and out of the ring in a quite impressive win. Don't look now
but Tenho is 9-3 surpassing Toyonoshima at 8-4.
And finally, let's conclude today's report with the M10 Ikioi - M16 Tamawashi
bout. Remember that 6-1 start from Ikioi? His ability has been put a bit more
into perspective, especially after Tamawashi opened up a can of whoopass on him
using a choke hold and push at the side to immediately send him out of the ring.
I want Ikioi to get his kachi-koshi, but as I warned early in the basho, this
guy doesn't want to shoot up the ranks too fast. Both combatants end the day at
Well, since it's day 12, I guess we can review the leader board.
Hakuho is at the top at 11-1
Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Tochiohzan, Kyokutenho, and Chiyotairyu are all two back
As much as I'd love to see an exciting yusho race, the only way that happens is
with more dirty pool, and it's getting to the point where nobody is fooled
Clancy closes out his basho tomorrow.
(Clancy Kelly reporting)
11 is often a big day during a basho, because it signals the start of the time
when the Yokozuna will get nothing but Ozeki opponents, which on paper is
supposed to provide the most excitement. Problem is, for too long, Hakuho was
wining every bout so there WAS no excitement, at least not the kind that the
fans wanted to see. Then Hakuho started easing up on the throttle, and guys
started catching up. Unlikely candidates for Ozeki promotion suddenly made the
rank, and a few of them even took a yusho, and one became a Yokozuna.
Yokozuna did not fare well today, and it wasnt entirely his fault. Ozeki
Kotoshogiku is, like Musoyama years ago, essentially a one trick pony. But when
youre one trick is as good as Geekus gaburi, that can suffice. Today, however,
he reminded us that hes not a one trick pony by employing his other trick, the
You might watch the bout and say there was no henka as Geeku collided with HowDo,
but the henka comes in several different shapes and sizes. True, this was not a
henka of Takekaze proportion, but it was nonetheless a henka. The Ozeki simply
stood up and turned his body so that the Yokozuna had nothing to hold onto. With
his left leg very far back, he just fell to the clay in a match that took less
than one second.
Id say that since there is no chance that Harumafuji is taking Hakuhos yusho
this time out, there is no harm in him losing a second time this basho, and it
certainly doesnt hurt sumos popularity with the fans in Kyushu to see the
Fukuoka native beating a Yokozuna and moving to within one win of a kachi-koshi.
Kotoshogiku can bring a world of hurt to a tachi-ai, and Harumafuji is small, so
he needs to invest a lot of forward movement into his own charge. Geeku knew
this and took advantage, so it can be said the move was not so much cheap as it
was smart, taking advantage of the Ozekis rep for having a hard piping tachi-ai.
Still, would have preferred a more contested bout.
And what did Hakuho and Kotooshu give us next but that very thing! After a few
pushes at tachi-ai Kotooshu was able to get a deep left outside belt, all
strands. Hakuho countered with an inside right, top strand only. The Ozeki then
his head into the Yokozunas neck and I said right there, standing naked in the
onsen with my homeboys staring up at the telly, "Maketa." Hakuho tried to swing
his foe around, which did nothing but allow him in tighter and also put himself
perpendicular to the Ozeki.
Once in this position, he had no option but to resist long enough to make the
fans feel like theyd gotten their moneys worth (which they most assuredly did
NOT get in the previous bout). It was pitbull on mailman time as Hakuhos single
strand grip gave him no leverage whatsoever (not that he tried at all to GAIN
leverage). Kotooshu finally ran him back and out. Id say that Kublai felt the
icy grip of death very soon into this one, and pretty much resigned himself to a
loss. But NHNF as his only competitor this time out had just bitten the same
After a spirited back and forth by both men at tachi-ai, Ozeki Kakuryu made an
all advised hataki-komi attempt just as a feisty Myogiryu dove in toward his
groin ("Hey-ey-ey, Boo Boo!"), and it turned out the Mongolian had no room
behind him with which to work and was driven out. Kak ought to get his KK today
vs. Patsy the Bedroll. Myogi Bear is NOT liking whats in his picanic basket this
basho. An upset win tomorrow over Harumafuji might alleviate some of his
A bigtime shoving match ensued between Kisenosato and Toyohibiki, with neither
fella getting a belt (though Toyohibiki sniffed at it early on). It ended with
the Mos Eisley man getting turned around in all the frantic slapping and being
run out with the Ozekis paw temporarily on his mug like he was trying to gouge
his eyes out. Winning record for The Kid as we wait with bated breath to see if
he can take down either Yokozuna in the final days (and word is Matt is a master
with bated breath).
of you hoping for Sekiwake Goeido to pull out of his nosedive have another day
to wait as he thoroughly dominated fellow Kansai rikishi Tochiohzan. Expertly
driving him back from tachi-ai to the ropes, he could not keep his right arm
down and in tightly enough, allowing Oh Snap to lift up on it and twist as they
both crashed out. Sadly for the Father (his Son, and his Holy Ghost) he hit
bottom before the W1. Two more wins and Id say Tochiohzan is a lock for
Myogiryus Sekiwake spot in January.
Preceding the Goeido-Tochiohzan bout, the ten men who fought in the previous
five bouts that began the second half of the days action ended the day with a
total of thirty-five wins. That is correct, a 3.5 wins average after eleven
If anyone is interested in researching this, Id like to know if there was ever
another time when a man met a Yokozuna one day and someone ranked as low as W15
the very next. Thats what happened today as Toyonoshima took on red hot
Chiyotairyu and for lack of a better got shivved. Like a rogue wave Tugboat came
crashing in, and Chiyotairyu, like a man trying to wade out to deeper waters,
took the force of it, then pulled and slapped the true "elevator Rikishi" down
to his third loss. The difference between this win and Kotoshogikus is
Chiyotairyu met his foe with great fury and righteous anger, whereas Geeku
tiptoed through the tulips.
Well, I know youre probably looking for more out of me today, and I hate to
"pull a Kenji," but all this writing about sumo is starting to make my nipples
chaff. And thats not a good thing as Im running the Kobe International Marathon
this Sunday in record time (Im going to record my time on my watch). Ill be back
for Day 13 and then Mixmaster Mikenstein gets behind the turntables and spins
you into the final two days, which ought to be (insert adjective that makes you
Day 10 Comments (Matt Walsh reporting)
So there's no point in trying to spice up my intro. Clancy has more than
satisfied the interesting reports angle. Instead, I'll talk up my
awesome Fantasy Sumo game. Among my picks: Baruto (injured), Homasho
(now 2-8), Kaisei (now 2-8). On the plus side, I managed to avoid
Myogiryu (had a feeling he might slip), picked Goeido (to hold up the
Sekiwake fort) and Toyonoshima (due for a solid fortnight). In sum, I'm
on pace to beat the random selection monkey. And Mike (^_^). But not
many others. Oh well, let's think less about our fantasies (Brokeback?
not gonna go there...) and more about what the sumo gods have laid
before us. Not quite an egg, nor a turd, if we're willing to dig a bit.
I'll begin with what was supposedly the featured bout. Goeido versus
Hakuho. Well, Hak just kicked his ass. Nothing dominating or visually
impressive. He just took the fight to this latest Japanese hope, knocked
him around while maintaining perfect footwork and form, and then bopped
him on the top of his head at the right moment for the hataki-komi slap
down win. The senpai Yokozuna remains the sole undefeated rikishi
at 10-0, while Goeido still needs a few wins to gin up some premature
talk of an Ozeki run.
At the top, the kohai Yokozuna stayed very much in the hunt
(though it's wishful thinking that we'll have fair competition for the
cup). He dominated Toyonoshima with a quick, powerful tachi-ai -- you
could see the look of
surprise "kuso!" (that's "Oh Shit" to
you and me) in Tugboat's face. Not much else to say, as the littlest man
in the division bullied another relatively little man out of the ring.
I'm going to pretend for a second that Kotooshu wasn't
fighting a fellow member of the back-scratcher's club. Kisenosato did as
he usually does and left himself wide open at the tachi-ai. I guess
Oshu's been reading Mike's reports because he drove into his fellow
Ozeki with his arms on the inside and got himself a moro-zashi. He then
secured a right hand inside belt grip and motored his way to
victory. Both men at 7-3. Now, did Kise let the Bulgarian inside a bit
too easy even given his tendencies? You can see this one either way you
The next match down the list was my personal favorite of the day. Good
on Masunoyama, ye of little lung capacity! We got another "Oh Shit!"
moment at the tachi-ai when the M4 blasted into Kotoshogiku full
force. I'm not sure what
the Ozeki was expecting, but that sure wasn't
it. Of course, dominating at the tachi-ai hardly guarantees the
youngster a win over the skilled veteran and having moved into Geeku's
body, it looked like we might see a belt fight that would naturally
favor Mr. Humpety-Hump. But Mass-o-yo-mamma continued to drive up and
into Kotoshogiku and then adroitly shifted gears, backpedaled and got
himself a slap down win to move to 0.500. Impressive sumo. As for the
Sadogatake-beya man (6-4), look for some more shenanigans over the next
five days, as he needs to win two out of five against superior
(considering his leg) competition.
I should comment on Kakuryu since he's a Champion (tm). The story here
is that Takekaze didn't henka. Kak kept his balance, Takekaze
didn't. Interesting use of a face-push for the hataki-komi win.
The other really good match today was Myogiryu and Shohozan. Yogi bear
is looking pretty average this time around, while Shohozan is lighting
it up. I wonder if seeing the guy even smaller than him become Yokozuna
didn't give him a little motivation to pick up his game? Today, these
two young guns locked up in a hidari-yotsu battle that had Shohozan in a
little better position after the tachi-ai. They had opposing belt grips
on one side, Shohozan right outer and Myogiryu left inner, with no grips
on the opposite side. But Shohozan was a bit lower and his left was
wrapped around the not-so-hairy Bear's underarm, while said Yogi Bear's
short arm was just dangling in space.
After 15 seconds of sniffing Shohozan's shoulder, Myogiryu decided he
didn't like this position and went for a maki-kae with right. While it
was blocked, he did get a more favorable position, maintaining his
inside left belt grip and getting a sort of forearm-to-forearm neutral
position on the right. During the same tussle, however, Shohozan got to
try out an arm bar with his right (giving up his right outer
grip). Surprisingly, this proved to be the winning advantage. Myogiryu
made his move, blasting up with his free right arm and driving his
opponent back. Shohozan deftly shifted to his right, locked in the arm
bar, which cost Myogiryu the left inside grip, and dropped the Sekiwake
for the kote-nage win. That seems to be how it's going for the Myogster
this basho, now 2-8, while Shohozan (6-4) earns another merit badge
towards his special prize.
So now just a few other observations I had from the day's events, before
I turn it back to the Mike and Clancy Show.
- Loved the Shohozan fan-pirate in the audience. I feel like I'm
missing a reference, but it's Japan, so I don't worry about it.
- Aminishiki knocked Homasho's butt back and out in record time. Ami
knows his opponent -- Homie doesn't have a strong tachi-ai, so you can
seal the deal quickly with an all-out blitz. Homie was thinking about
his left hand missing a chance for an outside grip, but that wouldn't
have saved him today from making his MK.
- I was surprised to see Takayasu kick Kaisei's ass like that. Both
- Chiyotairyu is now 8-2 and will start being fed to the lions.
- Aran-Yoshikaze is not on my list of matches to see live before I
die. And it lived up to that billing.
- This has been said before in this space, but Miyabiyama is looking
ooooooold. He tried a henka today, which only got him a neutral
position, and then was dominated in a pushing/thrusting matchup -- his
bread and butter -- with M13 Fujiazuma.
- Jokoryu definitely looks like a rookie out there. Poor de-ashi.
- Good to hear that Tochinowaka is 10-0 in Juryo. Would like to seem
him back in good form.
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
Now that we've
officially entered the second week, I'll focus the bulk of my reports more on
the leade rboard and less on the general field, and there's nothing like
starting the second week with a bit of controversy. Well, controversy if you
were to read the headlines from the various media outlets in Japan. I didn't
think there was anything controversial about "the bout;" rather, a judge made a
rare mistake that actually forced the combatants to restart their bout from the
shikiri-sen in a twist that I can never remember seeing in my twenty odd years
of watching sumo.
The featured bout of the day was actually the penultimate bout where Yokozuna
Harumafuji welcomed the red-hot Sekiwake Goeido. As Goeido has done all basho,
he stayed low at the tachi-ai and struck hard knocking the Yokozuna upright
grabbing the deep right inside position in the process. Riding the momentum,
Goeido drove Harumafuji back to the edge where the Yokozuna hung on with a left
outer grip as he dangerously and literally danced atop the tawara. Just after
Harumafuji survived the initial onslaught, Minatogawa-oyakata raised his hand
and stopped the fight assuming that the Yokozuna had stepped out of the ring.
At first, the referee nor the gyoji understood what had just happened, but
Minatogawa-oyakata had his hand raised, and so the bout had to be stopped. The
oyakata pointed in the direction of the tawara where Harumafuji dangerously
tip-toed his way through the tulips, but the problem was...it wasn't his call to
make. If you're watching from the normal camera angle, there are two judges on
the opposite side of the dohyo. The reason for this is to compensate for the
gyoji standing in the middle of the dohyo, a position that would clearly block
the vision of the judge if there was just one on that side. As a result, they
place two judges on that side to cover their bases. The problem with today's
call, however, was that the action occurred on the other side of the dohyo from
the judge who raised his hand.
no doubt that everyone in the crowd wanted Goeido to win today's bout, and
there's no doubt that the Sumo Association itself hoped to see the Sekiwake pull
off the upset, and so Minatogawa-oyakata couldn't pull the trigger fast enough
when he thought there was a chance that Harumafuji had stepped out. It was oh so
close, and a couple of the judges and referee stooped low to get a glimpse after
they stopped the action, but as the gyoji calls out frequently during the bout,
Harumafuji was indeed "nokotta."
I kind of liken this to officiating in the NBA. I know that most of you outside
of the United States don't really care about this league, but the officials will
frequently anticipate calls, they makes calls when they are out of position to
do so, and then they can also easily be swayed by the home crowd. It's called
emotion, and it's normal for NBA refs to be affected by it. And it was clear
today that Minatogawa-oyakata was also swayed by emotion, the home crowd did
affect his judgment, and he was out of position to make the call. He wanted it
to be so, and so he overstepped his bounds and made the call riding the emotion
of the bout. Still, I'm okay with it. Officials make mistakes all the time
regardless of the sport, and so it goes without saying that there will be blown
calls in sumo as well. It happened today and it hurt Goeido, who definitely had
the upper hand against the Yokozuna.
It still doesn't mean he was going to win, however, Harumafuji had just survived
the Father's best shot, and the Yokozuna had a firm outer grip, so Goeido wasn't
robbed...of the win; he was robbed of the momentum. Still, it was up to him to
try and regain that momentum when a redo was called for, but he failed miserably
executing a tachi-ai that was all-hands and then backing up a step hoping to
bait the Yokozuna into a pull. The smallest guy on the banzuke does not reach
Yokozuna by being a dumbass and so Harumafuji seized moro-zashi and had Goeido
forced back and out before you could say, "there goes my portrait."
I felt bad for Goeido, but he can't follow up that first go-around with such a
lame tachi-ai. It's unbelievable to me how little confidence these guys have in
themselves. I've probably sounded a bit critical in regards to Harumafuji's
promotion to Yokozuna, but he exemplifies just how important the shin is
in shin-gi-tai. Goeido doesn't have it; Kotooshu doesn't have it;
Chiyotairyu doesn't have it; and a host of other rikishi don't have it. It
doesn't mean they can't become mentally strong, but it's the aspect that keeps
guys with perfect sumo bodies from truly rising to the top, and it's the reason
that along with de-ashi I will continue to point out the mental toughness of
these rikishi. It matters. Goeido was not robbed today. He was the victim of a
really bad call, but he took himself out of the do-over with such a lousy
tachi-ai. I truly hope the kid realizes and then learns from his mistake.
move on to the day's final bout featuring Yokozuna Hakuho vs. Sekiwake Myogiryu
that saw the Yokozuna resort to an effective hari-zashi connecting with the left
face slap while securing the firm inside position on the right. Myogiryu knew he
was in trouble and quickly tried to evade back and to his right, but the
Yokozuna was on his every move and easily caught up with him after a few steps
sending Myogiryu clear off the dohyo with a swipe of his right arm that was
ruled yori-taoshi. This also reeked of a sukui-nage throw, but regardless,
Hakuho just kicked Myogi Bear's ass. It's funny because when Hakuho throws bouts
to lesser rikishi, he gives the appearance that he can't keep up with their
evasive maneuvers, but this bout should be a good baseline to show just how fast
and just how good Hakuho is. I can't remember the last time he was legitimately
beaten. Anyway, he moves to 9-0 with the win and as always, he will dictate
whether or not he takes the yusho. Myogiryu falls to 2-7 with the loss and will
surely suffer a make-koshi fate.
With the two Yokozuna out of the way, let's first focus on the other rikishi
coming into the day with just one loss. M12 Wakanosato was too lazy at the
tachi-ai turning what should have been a migi-yotsu battle into the moro-zashi
position for M6 Toyonoshima. Toyonoshima pressed forward quickly, but near the
straw, Wakanosato quickly moved to the side and nearly slapped Tugboat down in
the process, but Toyonoshima recovered quickly and regained moro-zashi. This
time he made a beautiful adjustment, which was to push Toyonoshima near the edge
and before going for the kill, he rammed his gut into Wakanosato (5-4) knocking
him high and then executed the swift kill with his opponent upright and off
balance. It's these little moves and adjustments in sumo that really give me a
stiffie. Toyonoshima moves to 8-1 with the win and gets Yokozuna Harumafuji
tomorrow as a reward.
Our other one-loss rikishi from lower in the ranks was M15 Chiyotairyu, who shot
out to a 7-1 start this basho. But as we've seen in every basho of his in this
division, there comes a day when everything turns. It happened today against M13
Fujiazuma of all rikishi, and the difference today was that Chiyotairyu hit at
the tachi-ai and stood his ground. Fujiazuma hit at the tachi-ai and put his
left foot forward and attacked. Chiyotairyu fought off his opponent for three
seconds or so but then finally went for a quick swipe downward. That was
fruitless and Fujiazuma pounced forcing Chiyotairyu back another half step
before pulling him down for good. Chiyotairyu has got to move forward with his
legs or he's a useless rikishi. I'm okay if he loses moving forward, but he lost
today a full step back from where he started. There's no excuse letting
Fujiazuma (4-5) do you like that, and I expect Chiyotairyu (7-2) to finish about
3-3 wasting that terrific start.
With the contenders out of the way, let's head back to the top and comment on
the remaining bouts of interest in descending order starting with two Fukuoka
natives, Kotoshogiku and Shohozan. Before I get to the bout, allow me to make a
few more comments as to just how hard the Association is marketing this basho to
the Fukuoka people. The day 8 lineup in the booth for the Japanese broadcast
included former Ozeki Kaio (from Fukuoka) providing color and then the recently
retired baseball player, Hideki Kokubo, who was a star for the hometown Softbank
Hawks. Now, I've lived six years of my life in Fukuoka, and the place is like a
second home to me, so I have every right to declare Fukuoka a one-horse town
with that horse being the city's baseball team, the Softbank Hawks. The only
other team in Japanese baseball that comes close to matching the attendance in
Fukuoka is the Yomiuri Giants (also called Kyojin) who can be compared to the
New York Yankees. And like the Yankees, the Giants have one of the largest metro
areas in the world from which to draw fans to the games in Tokyo. Fukuoka,
however, is probably 15 to 20 times smaller than Tokyo when you factor in the
surrounding suburbs; yet, the Hawks are the number one draw in Japanese
And so the Sumo Association knew exactly what it was doing when they invited
Hideki Kokubo to join Kaio in the booth for the ever important Sunday broadcast.
After the first half bouts they asked Kokubo to declare the most spirited bout
of the day so far, and surprise, surprise, he chose the Yoshikaze - Wakakoyu
bout as Yoshikaze is from nearby Oita, so the Kyushu basho is his "home" turf.
Oh, and Yoshikaze also finished day 8 at a coincidental 6-2. Isn't it just dandy
how all of this works itself out? The point of all this is to describe why it
was a given that M2 Shohozan would just roll over for Ozeki Kotoshogiku.
Special Dark simply stood straight up at the tachi-ai and played along with the
hidari yotsu contest, but he made no effort to employ an offensive move or even
stand his ground. To his credit, he did pretend to grab the right outer grip
which was wide open for him, but as Clancy has so aptly described it in the
past, he just tinkled the ivories with his fingers never quite latching onto the
belt. Oh, the drama! In the end, it took about two seconds for Kotoshogiku to
score the yori-kiri win moving to 6-3 while Shohozan is still gettin' his at
5-4. And while I'm on the subject, anyone who doesn't believe that yaocho exists
in sumo must answer these two questions that I've posed before:
1. Why is there a rule in place that says stable mates cannot fight each other
2. Why is there a rule in place that says brothers cannot fight each other at
Now, Kotoshogiku and Shohozan are not stable mates or brothers, but both rules
were technically in play here. I've talked all basho how the Sumo Association
has been pimping this tournament hard to the Fukuoka'ns, and with both of these
guys from the city and doing well, the younger rikishi deferred to the older,
higher-ranked rikishi. Absolutely no surprise at today's yaocho.
Despite the yaocho, the guys in the booth still have to come up with an
explanation, and Kitanofuji said, "This is just an example of the difference
between these two on the banzuke." While that analysis does help explain why
Shohozan deferred, it was much better applied to the straight-up match that
proceeded it between Ozeki Kakuryu and M3 Tochinoshin, another yotsu bout that
was fought with both rikishi starting with right inside positions (migi-yotsu).
When two yotsu guys hook up like this with established inside positions, the
difference is usually the one who grabs the outer grip first (see the Kisenosato
- Kotoshogiku matchup from day 8). Today it was Kakuryu who burrowed in lower
from the tachi-ai to keep Tochinoshin upright and away from the belt. The Kak's
tachi-ai was so good it gave him the left front grip that was extremely potent
because it was on the outside and effectively pinned Shin's right arm in too
tight. There was nothing the Private could do here as Kakuryu methodically
forced him back and out for the textbook win. Now this was a clear
difference between the two guys and their ranks on the banzuke. Kakuryu moves to
6-3 while Tochinoshin's make-koshi becomes official at 1-8.
Ozeki Kotooshu used a quick hari-zashi tachi-ai slapping his right hand into
Komusubi Homasho's face before getting the left arm to the inside, but Homasho
stayed low and kept his hips back denying the Ozeki the right outer grip. No
matter as the Bulgarian latched on around the back of Homasho's left arm and
mercilessly threw him down to the dirt with a powerful kote-nage throw.
Homasho's left shoulder has been heavily taped all basho, so for the Ozeki to
wrench the wounded limb like that added a bit of insult to injury. Kotooshu is
skating along at 6-3 while Homasho falls to 2-7.
I usually wouldn't cover a bout where the combatants had a combined four wins,
but Komusubi Aminishiki and M1 Okinoumi fought a great fight starting from the
tachi-ai where Aminishiki came out with a quick spear into Okinoumi's neck with
the right hand only to be rebuffed by a side swipe from Okinoumi where he used
the left hand to push sideways into the Komusubi's extended arm. The two quickly
hooked up into the migi-yotsu position from there where the younger, fresher
Okinoumi took charge muscling Aminishiki back to the straw, but Shneaky dug in
tight and executed a flawless utchari at the straw that just did cause
Okinoumi's left leg to step out before the Komusubi's heels touched outside the
straw. Both gentleman are 2-7, but this was one of the better fought bouts this
basho start to finish. Unfortunately, Okinoumi injured his left foot
falling out of the ring and will withdraw from the tournament.
In the Maegashira ranks, M1 Tochiohzan quickly secured moro-zashi against M5
Toyohibiki and drove him straight towards the head judge and then dumped the
Hutt spectacularly across the straw and down for the yori-taoshi win. Tochiohzan
has lost just enough to stay out of the spotlight, but to be 6-3 from the M1
rank at this point is really saying something. He's looked good so far, but I
doubt we'll get this same effort from him in the sanyaku next basho. Toyohibiki
falls to 5-4.
I loved the M6 Kyokutenho - M10 Ikioi contest, and not because I'm particularly
fond of either rikishi, but because of the way Tenho baited his younger opponent
into a trap. I'm really enjoying Ikioi of late because dude's brimming with
confidence, and that was the case today as he charged hard into the Chauffeur
and drove him back quickly leading with the right inside. Ikioi even got
moro-zashi near the edge, but Kyokutenho knew exactly what he was doing, and
just when Ikioi thought he had Tenho dead to rights, Kyokutenho quickly moved to
his right and pushed in at Ikioi's left side spilling the youngster to the clay
before he could conclude his force out attempt. This was a vintage counter move
at the edge, and I never tire of seeing veteran rikishi do this to the younger
guys. Kyokutenho moves to 7-2 with the win, and let's hope he's not a serious
contender. Ikioi is still a respectable 6-3.
M14 Chiyonokuni timed his tachi-ai perfectly jumping a split second early into
M7 Gagamaru using a moro-te-zuki tachi-ai, but the pace of the bout turned on a
dime when Chiyonokuni wasted that start by going for a quick pull. Didn't even
phase Gagamaru (5-4) who used two tsuppari volleys with both hands to paste
Chiyonokuni (4-5) back across the straw for the tsuki-dashi win!
And finally, M14 Jokoryu has lost the aggression he showed the first two days of
the basho. Against M16 Tamawashi, he meant well but had zero forward momentum,
and so Tamawashi just destroyed him from the starting lines with two or three
shoves sending Jokoryu (3-6) clear off the dohyo. When you get your ass handed
to you by Tamawashi (5-4), you really need to rethink your approach.
Matt breaks our spell tomorrow.
(Clancy Kelly reporting)
was Day 8 in Kyushu
When I picked up the phone
Like young Macauly Caulkin
I was sitting home alo...
Ah, screw this nonsense. I was supposed to be off today but Mike called, raving
about some huge gut or something, damned if I know what dude was on about.
Upshot? I have to watch Hakuho once again pass the water of power, brought to
you by Nintendo, formerly Marafuku Corp.
First bout has Chiyotairyu trying to continue his sizzling start vs. Kitataiki,
and wouldnt you know it right after Mike talks about how to eradicate henka the
gyoji calls a matta after Kitataiki henkad. Obviously everyone is reading
Mikes reports. Urp. At any rate, when they reset, Chiyo made his oyakata
(watching from the MIB position, looking about as excited as Matt does when his
wife makes him take her to a Chippendales show) proud by using hard piping and
well centered oshi to slam out the veteran. One more and he can mail the rest
bout with yusho implications (ouch, think I pulled a throat muscle, ramming it
so hard into my cheek--okay, that sounded vaguely pornographic) had two kittens
going apeshit on each other at tachi-ai. Wakakoyu had the beaters set to "high"
as he whirled at Yoshikaze, but Starbuck had downed a (insert the name of some
incredibly jacked up coffee drink here, cause I dont drink the shit and know
nothing at all about it beyond the obvious and tired "double shot of espresso")
and was up to the battle. Café actually was driven (or escaped) back to the
edge, but slipped aside and once free was able to square up and move in, getting
the belt buckle after one of his swipes batted aside one of Wakas swipes enough
that the W13 was turned sideways and left open. 6-2 Yoshikaze obviously likes
the pickings down at M10.
battle of two vets whose sumo years add up to 137 or so, Kyokutenho locked into
a classic yotsu belt contest with Wakanosato, both men with their chin on the
others shoulder. The Chauffer was able to work the former Sekiwake mainstay back
and out, leaving both men with good shots at KK. (When I look at the sanyaku
nowadays, I remember how vibrant and alive it was in the late Nineties and early
Aughties, and how Wakanosato was never quite able to get over that Ozeki
promotion hump. Beginning in Nagoya 2002 and through to Hatsu 2005, dude was
Sekiwake for 14 out of 16 basho. In that 2005 Hatsu he was gunning for Ozeki
promo for what turned out to be the final time, sitting on 21 wins from the
previous two basho, 10-5 and 11-4, but failed miserably with a 6-9 and never
threatened again. If he was in his prime now? Shit, hed eat Kotoshogiku for
Enough reminisce! Let us move on.
Fujiazuma looked like a giant version of Toyonoshima today as they set at the
shikiri-sen, and thems just the kind of guys Toyonoshima likes to kick around.
The E13 tried mightily to keep Tugboat at arms length, but the W6 (really??—joke
never gets old) was unrelenting, managing to entice the larger man into leaning
too far forward to avoid expulsion and got slapped down in the process.
Toyonoshima stays in the yusho race at 7-1. This one I can type with a bit more
sincerity, since we DID see a Maegashira veteran take the yusho this year. If he
defeats Wakanosato on Day 9, Toyonoshima can expect a rather more illustrious
foe starting on Day 10. And honestly, Tugboat has BTDT so things could get
Close to 400kg was on display as Gagamaru survived a henka by Masunoyama and ran
the lil fella out. Only against the Lord can 178kg seem "lil." Hell, thats two
Clancys and a big preschooler!
of bouts with yusho implications, a huge one was up next as Tochinoshin and
Kaisei watched on TVs from their dressing rooms as undefeated Goeido went toe to
toe with Okinoumi (each has only one toe--childhood accidents both men--very
sad). After locking up in a yotsu belt battle, Okinoumi played right into
Goeidos hands by not doing anything with his outside left belt, then letting go
of it and trying for the maki-kae (almost code for "kill me"). He was successful
and even able to lift and twist the Father under the pits but wisely stopped out
of nowhere and for no visible reason (maybe it was the hysterical woman in the
rafters screaming about all the terribly exciting sumo she was seeing--damn,
there goes my throat muscle again) before he actually won the fight. He then got
the belt again, but Goeido turned him and pushed him back, where Okinoumi
smartly let go of the belt at the edge in order to have a better chance of not
causing both men to crash out and possibly pulling out the last ditch win. Huh?
Two also-ran Japanese Ozeki (isnt that phrase copyrighted by now as a
trademark?) fought with nothing on the line and so we got what? Thats correct,
an honest-to-goodness, straight up, hard fought sumo bout with no horseshit
going on. No one passing up on obvious chances at the belt or letting go of ones
well had, no man remaining committed to maki-kae if it isnt there, legs torquing
under great pressure as they resist a charge, counters to offensives and clear
exertion the entire time. Ill not bother to detail this one, but these bouts are
the reason I still watch.
Go see for
Kakuryu shot the pooch at the get-go by giving Tochiohzan a forearm to the chin,
which did naught but allow Oh Snap inside and under Kaks armpits, which resulted
in an easy run out win. As the ineffable late Johnny Cochran used to say,
"Tachi-ai high, you prolly die. Tachi-ai low, good to go."
There arent too many things more pleasing in sumo than seeing Takekaze get
murdered, but that’s what happened today as Hakuho hit him ten times in rapid
succession, hammering the tiny W3 into the clay outside the ring with precision
and aplomb. One thing to note if you watch this bout: 8-0 Hakuho is so good that
as he is shoving and slapping the shit out of Takekaze, he has the skill to
check for the front belt, determine its either not there or not the best course
of action, all while continuing with the beating and all in a heartbeat.
In the musubi no ichiban, Yokozuna Harumafuji must have knocked the sense and
balance out of Kotooshu after a hard charging tachi-ai, because the Ozeki
hunkered down and leaned forward and after a few middlin slaps from HowDo
essentially dove down to his hands and then back up again. Unexciting stuff as
the likely runner-up moved to 7-1.
Damn, this reporting every other day thing is tiring. Mike shoulders the rocket
launcher tomorrow, and then on Day 10 we have a blast of fresh air as Matt lays
down some sick licks! See ya at least once more before the basho be finis.
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
a musician or an elite sports team, when you're hot, you're hot and you need
little advertising. There was a day two decades ago when sumo was so hot you
couldn't get a ticket to the venue unless you had connections or were willing to
sleep in a tent overnight in order to get your grubby hands on a few hundred
seats sumo always reserved for the day of the show. Over the years, however, as
the foreigners got stronger and the Japanese rikishi weaker, the Sumo
Association has been frantically coming up with marketing schemes in an effort
to bring some of the fans back.
We've talked about some of these long term schemes like sekitori-kun and the
oyakata workout CD over the years, so I won't rehash them here, but there are
also short term plans as well aimed to put fannies in the seats for this basho.
And so it's no coincidence that locals Kotoshogiku and Shohozan are off to good
starts. I've lived in Fukuoka for several years, and after each day of the
Kyushu basho bouts, the local NHK station highlights all of the sekitori from
Fukuoka, and there results from the day. It appears to me that more fans are in
attendance at this year's basho than the 2011 Kyushu basho, and the reason is
the locals have more of an incentive to come out and support the sumos,
especially when Kotoshogiku and Shohozan are doing well.
going to start off today's report with our Ozeki matchup for the day featuring
Kakuryu vs. Kotoshogiku. The bout itself was over in a split second thanks to a
classless Kakuryu tachi-ai henka to his right and instant pulldown, and the move
was so vicious in light of all that sumo is trying to accomplish that I'm
frankly stunned Kakuryu did it. Kotoshogiku was equally baffled because the
instant he hit the dirt, he turned his head in Kakuryu's direction and gave him
such an incredulous look that read, "what the f**k are you doing?!" I've also
never heard a crowd jeer so long as the Fukuoka faithful did today, and they had
every right to voice their displeasure. We know that henka exists in sumo, and
Kotoshogiku has probably even henka'd a time or two himself, but if you're
Kakuryu, you just can't pull that move against the hometown Ozeki when sumo is
struggling so mightily to win back fans.
It goes without saying the that guys in the booth were also upset. First, an
Ozeki never henkas another Ozeki, and they made this point clear. Second, they
know as well as I do how important it is that Kotoshogiku do well this basho,
and so they were very critical of Kakuryu afterwards as they should have been.
Nobody wins after a bout like this. Kakuryu further tarnished the image of
foreign rikishi, and the Fukuoka'ns are upset that this was even allowed to
happen. I can't voice enough how uncouth that move was by Kakuryu considering
all of the circumstances, and Izutsu-oyakata better have given him the business
when he returned to the stable. It's times like this when that bamboo sword
needs to be revisited because Kakuryu deserves to get his ass kicked after
today's henka. It's unbelievable to me how anyone could be that stupid. I
haven't gone on a henka rant for a long time because yaocho has been prominent
enough to overshadow it, but I can't stress how costly the move was today.
I can't believe the Sumo Association still allows it to happen. There's a simple
solution to fix it that I've been talking about for years and that is call the
move a false start if a rikishi moves outside of the shikiri-sen (starting
lines) before he makes contact with his opponent. Sometimes before the
broadcasts they will show bouts from like 25 or 30 years ago, and many of you
may have noticed that way back then, the rikishi didn't even come close to
hitting the dirt with their fists at the tachi-ai. If they can reform that and
make the rikishi start touching the dirt with both hands again, they can also
make a simple change like declaring a tachi-ai henka a false start. As mad as I
am about today's bout, the blame lies squarely with the Sumo Association because
they have the means to stop it; yet, they feel it's more important to dress Ross
Mihara up in a yellow bird suit and matching tights than to make changes atop
the dohyo that well help improve the sport.
Wait a minute...Ross was in the booth today, so he can't be the sekitori-kun
mascot. Hmm...no wonder I feel so betrayed.
Okay, enough of my little rant. Let's get to the bouts covering them in reverse
order today starting at the top where Hakuho welcomed M3 Tochinoshin. Hakuho's
curious decision-making this basho continued as he executed the text
tachi-ai getting the right arm to the inside and the quick left outer grip. The
Yokozuna actually had his right hand on Tochinoshin's belt as well, but he chose
to let it go and stay in the center of the ring. I really thought this bout
shoulda lasted two seconds after the tachi-ai from the Yokozuna, but maybe the
dude has a thing for Georgians and wanted to dance a little longer. So there the
two stood in the middle of the ring with Hakuho easily fighting off
Tochinoshin's attempts to grab a left outer grip of his own, and then after
about 30 seconds, Hakuho said enough of the funny bidness and threw Shin down
hard with a spectacular outer belt throw. Tochinoshin did not have the proper
position to make the Yokozuna work for this one, so it was very curious to me
that Hakuho let him hang around so long. Perhaps it's the same mentality of a
cat who has caught his mouse only to let it live so he can continue to badger it
and keep it at bay until he administers an ignominious death. Who knows? Hakuho
is 7-0 and hasn't looked sharp (of his
volition). Tochinoshin falls to 1-6 with the loss.
Yokozuna Harumafuji led with a left outer grip against M3 Takekaze and pressed
forward with his lower body driving Takekaze back to the straw in two seconds.
Takekaze just isn't good enough to counter with anything, but he did attempt to
stand his ground with his heels on the straw, and so Harumafuji knocked him off
the clay mound for good with a legal dame-oshi to the face with the left arm. I
say legal because Takekaze was still in the ring, but his was as fierce a jab as
you'd care to see in sumo. The end result is a 6-1 Harumafuji while Takekaze
falls to 2-5.
Ozeki Kotooshu always struggles against taller rikishi, and so the Bulgarian
just couldn't get into any rhythm against M1 Okinoumi. I guess it didn't help
his cause that Okinoumi took it too him from the start with an effective right
kachi-age followed by the left inside position that set up a right kote-nage
throw all in a matter of two seconds putting Okinoumi in control. With Kotooshu
denied the outer grip that he wanted, Okinoumi kept the pressure on leading with
the left inside and a right outer grip. The key here is that Okinoumi never
stopped applying the pressure, and so instead of Kotooshu getting a solid grip
on the M1's belt, he spent his energy fighting off his advances. In the end,
Okinoumi used his tall frame to crush Kotooshu to the dohyo at the straw for the
textbook yori-taoshi win. Okinoumi ekes forward to 2-5 with two solid wins while
Kotooshu will still get his eight at 5-2.
Ozeki Kisenosato briefly got his left arm to the inside of Sekiwake Myogiryu's
right side from the tachi-ai and immediately charged forward, but he was too
high in his attack allowing Myogiryu to maki-kae as he retreated and gain
moro-zashi. The Ozeki continued to press forward gripping the outside of the
Sekiwake's arms, but he failed to create sufficient momentum from the tachi-ai.
Still, that was better than Myogiryu who totally forgot his lower half, and so
he let Kisenosato dictate the pace of this bout throughout. The Kid finally
regained the left inside position that he used to set up the yori-kiri win, but
this was a mistake-riddled bout from both rikishi. I guess the crowd got into it
because it was back and forth and featured two high profile dudes, but this was
not exemplary sumo as Kisenosato moves to 5-2. I don't know why this didn't
occur to me earlier, but Myogiryu's body is probably telling him to hibernate
for his 2-5 start.
Sekiwake Goeido stayed perfect in a gappuri migi-yotsu contest with Komusubi
Homasho. There's really nothing to break down here. Goeido didn't exactly blast
his way into Homasho at the tachi-ai, and so it took some wrangling to get Homie
back across the straw, but as long as Goeido continues to fight straight forward
and think inside position first, he'll be just fine. For now, he's 7-0 and
Japan's biggest hope this basho to finally have a domestic rikishi's portrait
hanging from the Kokugikan. Homasho falls to 1-6.
Komusubi Aminishiki's woes continued as he attacked too high at the tachi-ai
against M1 Tochiohzan who used some nifty tsuppari to drive the Komusubi back
before getting the left arm on the inside and using his momentum to force
Aminishiki (1-6) clear off the dohyo. Tochiohzan moves to 4-3 with the win, and
I think Aminishiki has been taking one for the team the entire basho. Is this
Isegahama-oyakata's way of saying thanks (on-gaeshi) to he promotion of
Harumafuji to Yokozuna?
M2 Kaisei was completely listless against counterpart M2 Shohozan, and I wonder
if that was by design. If you haven't noticed, Shohozan is from Fukuoka, and so
quite a bit of attention is being directed at Special Dark probably in an effort
to sell more tickets at the gate. Shohozan used tsuppari from the tachi-ai to
keep Kaisei away from the belt, but I still thought he had some openings to get
to Shohozan's belt, especially with the right hand. He gave it little effort,
and so Shohozan improved to 4-3 with an easy push out win. Kaisei falls to 0-7
after a brutal week one schedule.
M6 Toyonoshima moved to 6-1 with an easy win over M12 Kitataiki who only had
defense on his mind. Toyonoshima secured the early left inside position from the
tachi-ai, and Kitataiki spent all of his effort in trying to just neutralize
that limb...not neutralize and set something up for himself on the other side.
The end result was an easy yori-kiri for Tugboat as Kitataiki is sleep walking
M7 Aran moved to 5-2 after grabbing the eventual left outer on M13 Fujiazuma's
belt and executing the methodical force out win, but I bring up this bout so I
can go back to Kitanofuji's comment about Aran a few days ago where he stated
that his sumo is all hands (tesaki is the word he used). It's so true.
Yes, he did win today and was never in trouble, but the didn't use his legs at
the tachi-ai, and once he got the outer grip, he couldn't go for a charge until
he bodied in close and braced himself with his feet. Aran can survive down in
these parts with arm sumo, but he gets his hairy ass handed too him among the
jo'i because you have to have a lower body to survive up there.
You've got to hand it to M10 Ikioi who moved to 6-1 today in a wild affair
against M14 Chiyonokuni (4-3). To Ikioi's credit, he tried to force the bout to
migi-yotsu, but Chiyonokuni was as all over the place moving side to side and
taking this to cat and mouse sumo. Ikioi managed to pull down Kuni in the end,
and while Ikioi is 6-1, I don't exactly have an image of him just blowing guys
off of the starting lines and winning with forward moving sumo. That he's
winning nearly every bout this basho is a positive, but this kind of sumo will
not suffice among the jo'i, so Ikioi needs to be careful about rising up too
fast...if that makes sense.
M15 Chiyotairyu continued to make a statement today blasting M10 Yoshikaze back
from the tachi-ai and shoving him back with such force, Yoshikaze didn't have
any room to evade to the side. Took about a second and a half and the NSK must
have read my day 5 report because they finally awarded Chiyotairyu with the
tsuki-dashi win! He's 6-1 if ya need him, and if he can keep up this straight
forward sumo, he will shoot up the ranks and start bullying the sanyaku and
Ozeki. Yoshikaze falls to a respectable 5-2.
And finally, NHK prefaced today's broadcast with a spotlight of M11 Asahisho.
This guy has as much personality as any rikishi I've seen since Kitakachidoki
(if you remember him you're OLD SCHOOL). For those who don't have access to the
NHK broadcasts, Asahisho grabs a huge handful of salt the final time he enters
the dohyo before his bout and slings it as high as he can into the yagura
above. The crowd of course loves shenanigans like this (just think
Takamisakari), and it helps the youngster to create a signature for himself.
This guy is very bubbly and articulate, and he'd be a great ambassador for sumo
if he could rise to the sanyaku or above. After a slow start this basho, the M11
finally broke above .500 by bulldozing a listless M12 Wakanosato back and out in
about two seconds. If there was a suspicious bout today, it was this one.
Wakanosato entered the day at 5-1; yet, he exhibited the worst tachi-ai possible
raising both arms to the outside and then putting them towards the back of
Asahisho's head. That kind of nonsense is going to get your ass kicked, and
Asahisho (4-3) complied straightway as Wakanosato played the role of punching
bag today. It would not surprise me if this was intentional on Wakanosato's
part. You have NHK spend about 10 minutes profiling this guy, and so how would
it have looked if he had gone out and promptly lost just a few minutes after his
documentary aired? I'm not saying that was unequivocally the case today, but
Wakanosato (5-2) set himself up to lose from the get-go.
If you don't believe me, the guy
reporting tomorrow will tell you so. Nja.
(Clancy Kelly reporting)
Day 6 in Kyushu
And welcome to yall
Clancy I am
80kilos, 6 feet tall
Im here to discuss
The fighting so vapid
That Im certain my typing
Will be very rapid
But now as I sit
Perched at my PC
I suspect that this task
Will not be quite easy
It seems my computer
Is off, on the fritz
So forgive as I write
Of the slaps and the hits
By the men with large bellies and voluminous tits
Ill begin with a veteran
Wa ka na sa to
And his opponent
Called Tairyu (but first say Chiyo)
Was a perfect five and oh
But not from Hawaii
(I miss Akebono)
He rushed in at tachi-ai
Twas victory he smelt
But something went wrong
As he held to Crocs belt
The former Sekiwake
Simply planted his feet
And swung the Kokonoe man
Down hard, nice and sweet
And for the first time in Kyushu Chiyo tasted defeat
The next bout Id like
To cover, dear friends
Involves a furrener
Whose girth never ends
To see how The Butterball
Is difficult to fathom
This close to Thanksgiving!
Hes round in the tummy
(Kinda like Lady Gaga)
And his foe was Sticky Icky
Hailing from great Osaka
Coming off a loss to Aran
That lovable Rus
He was hoping Lord Gaga
Would not make a fuss
But Gagamarus plan
Was to go for the choke
And Ikioi just let em
For SIX seconds, no joke!
But in the meantime Tricky Icky
The mawashi he snags
Right below his foes gut
(Very close to his nads)
And disposed of the E7 like a pile of rags
(Speaking of thanks)
From the unbeaten ranks
He pushed and he slapped
At Tugboats still form
But the W6
Why, he weathered the storm!
For a full 13 seconds
The battering went on
And it seemed that all Toyo
Could do was just yawn
But as he advanced
Looking for yori-kiri
Starbuck slipped in
And then things, well, got scary
The Caffeinated One
Laid his head on Toyos rack
And grabbed his mawashi
Just above the ass crack
He then started waltzing
And, oh what a sight
As Tugboat he put up
A terrible fight
But with no leg to stand on
(Nor pot in which to piss)
The former Sekiwake
To three boos and one hiss
Out on a six and oh start he did miss
Now some may be grumbling
"This report, shes a quickie
Wheres Shotenro? Wheres Daido?
Trust me when I say
I love every guy
But this report must be short
And Ill now tell you why
See the truth is quite painful
And Im here to tell
That mimicking the style
Of the late Ted Geisel
Makes me wonder if Im not booking my ticket straight to hell!
Now on to the big guys
We will start with the Bulgar
Whose sumo has been for four years
Naught but vulgar
But it seems that this basho
Hes turned a new leaf
And not standing dumbfounded
Like a seven foot quiff
Today vs. Kak
He used his long arm
To keep dude at bay
And himself from sure harm
But the Mongol got in
As he is wont to do
And our valiant Eurapean
Well he got in too!
Now commences a battle
Kotooshu must lose
As his fellow Ozeki
Unbalances him like booze
But wait? What it this?
Elbows in tight?
Is it true? Am I dreaming?
Hes doing it right?
And sure as the sun
Rises on the new day
The larger man put
The smaller away
Using textbook de-ashi, Im quite happy to say
On Day 5 he did sing
"Oh, joy, what sweet gifts
Will my Day 6 bout bring?"
In the form of Aminishiki
The NSKs patsy
Geeku did prosper
(While sumos wallet gets fat, see?)
Driving quickly back
To the edge with no prob
Shneaky once again
Could not finish the job
An inside right was there
But outside he chose (WTF?)
And the thankful Ozeki
From the ashes he rose (What good luck!)
He stiffened at the ropes
And forced it back to the middle
Where it was all the Komusubi
Could do not to piddle
And the good MIB
Around the ring they did nod
And said silent prayers
To their fat sumo god
As this lame assed basho along it does plod
(And Aminishiki? The loser
Just what did he gain?
A place for his bedroll
Somewhere out of the rain)
With Biomass Baruto
Set to retire
How fortunate that Goeido
Has suddenly caught fire
He was in for a battle
But on pre-bout excitement
No more will I prattle
With a sidestep not noble
The Kid got the edge
But the West Sekiwake
His bet did not hedge
He escaped at the ringside
With a whirl and a wail
And it surely didnt hurt
That Kids slow as a snail
Once back to the center
Fierce slapping ensued
The Ozeki denying entry
Which the Father found rude
But in charged Goeido
And snatched the front right
And we all saw Kid true
A slowly dimming light
As did Yoshi before him
Now too did the Father
Drive the Ozeki backward
With nary a bother
As both men crashed out
The gyoji was certain
The Kids knee down first
The Ozeki pride hurtin
And Goeido undefeated, the crowd was heard blurtin
As Thing One does days odd
And I do days even
Ive yet to see Hakuho
Fightin then leavin
But today I would bet
He felt like gettin out quickly
For the great Yokozunas
Sumo was sickly
He began with a HENKA!
Of lil Special Dark
A man whose bite is proving
Worse than his bark
"But he grabbed at dudes arm"
Protestors they clamored
Pathetic to see supporters
Of such tactics enamored
To his credit and cause
Shohozan did rally
Thinking, "Wise guy eh?
Well here ya go, Sally!"
He came with some frantic
Slapping and shoving
That Kublai, in his pleasure dome
Was clearly not loving
But being a damned sight taller
Bestows such an edge
That Hak chopped him down
Like he was trimming the hedge
(Tho it looks like this basho hes walking the ledge)
The days final tussle
Had the shin-Yokozuna
Against Private Tochinoshin
Not exactly a kahuna
Was a thing of pure beauty
And looked like it might put
His foe on his booty
But the much larger No Shine
Forced his way back to even
Was there a chance that this upstart
Might get the crowd heavin?
No, for the Yoko
Had the double inside
And it was all the big Georgian
Could do just to slide
As he was taken back, and out, for a ride
Well that about does er
Im off for a run
Its raining in Kansai
We cant see the sun
I know that I told ya
Id be here for Day 8
But somethings come up
And I cant make that date
So it looks like Day 9
Is when we next meet
Day 7 brings Mike
The man on the beat
Reporting the sumos from his up on high seat
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
As I read
Clancy's report yesterday, I got through the first few paragraphs and thought
he's trying to read too much into the bouts. I must admit, through, on days when
I don't report, I get up in the morning and sorta speed read the bouts working
my fingers faster on the remote control than Takanoyama can execute a tachi-ai
henka. But today as I analyzed the bouts, I couldn't help but to feel Clancy's
pain because there were yet again some dubious yaocho on day 5. I can understand
kadoban Ozeki paying guys off in order to secure their eight wins. I mean, we
watched the last three years of Kaio's career, so we're all used to it, but when
Sekiwake and Yokozuna are also
in questionable bouts, it's hard to take the final results of a basho seriously.
I know a lot of the readers dislike this style of reporting and the constant
declarations of yaocho, but tell the rikishi to stop doing it and then we'll
stop talking about it. Of course it could be that Clancy and I in our heart of
hearts wanted to join the others at the Brokeback convention, but somebody's
gotta stay home and hold the fort, so it may as well be us two yayhoos.
Leading off the day, the genki M14 Chiyonokuni led with a left kachi-age against
M13 Fujiazuma, but it was nigh unto running into a brick wall. The reason?
Fujiazuma's got some girth to him and his legs were driving forward from the
tachi-ai. I'm amazed at how often dudes forget to do sumo from the ground up,
but Fujiazuma had no problem today and kicked Chiyonokuni's ass as a result.
Both fellas are 3-2.
M15 Yoshiazuma is one of the larger guys in the division, but his sumo is just
plain bad. M12 Wakanosato went Kisenosato at the tachi-ai with both arms to the
outside leaving him nothing, and so he was forced to retreat with a half-assed
pull attempt. Yes, in spite of these two critical mistakes, Yoshiazuma was as
clueless as ever allowing Wakanosato (4-1) to get to the inside and eventually
execute a scoop throw sending the hapless Yoshiazuma to a 1-4 record.
Okay, maybe there is one guy in the division whose sumo is worse than
Yoshiazuma's in M11 Miyabiyama, but M13 Wakakoyu still couldn't take advantage.
The reason? Zero de-ashi. Had the Wookie just barreled into the Sheriff from the
tachi-ai, it would have been over in two seconds, but his tsuppari attack with
no legs was utterly useless. Normally, in a bout that lasted about 20 seconds,
Miyabiyama would be totally gassed, but he hung in there because he wasn't
forced to play any defense. In the end, he got a right choke hold on Wakakoyu,
and as the Wookie leaned forward in an attempt to stave it off, Miyabiyama
side-stepped at the edge causing Wakakoyu (2-3) and his girth to belly flop to
the dirt. Pressed for time, I have no idea why I'm even covering this bout. Oh
yeah...the de-ashi. Miyabiyama picks up his first win.
M15 Chiyotairyu continues to be a man among boys this basho today playing the
part of a brick wall as M11 Asahisho attempted to budge his opponent with a
decent tsuppari attack. Wouldn't happen as Chiyotairyu kept his eyes square on
his opponent and stood his ground proving Asahisho's shoves futile. I think
Asahisho was driven backwards today more on accord of his bouncing off of
Chiyotairyu rather than Chiyotairyu actually pressing forward hard. In the end,
Chiyotairyu's mere presence muscled Asahisho to the edge and then he sent him
outta the ring with one fell swoop. Award this guy a tsuki-dashi win already as
he improves to a perfect 5-0. The key for Chiyotairyu is to constantly move
forward. The instant this basho he has pull on his mind, his momentum is done
and he's just another average rank and filer. Asahisho gave it his everything
but still falls to 2-3.
Okay, let's stick to the subject of de-ashi because M14 Jokoryu had zero de-ashi
today against M9 Shotenro. Jokoryu came out of his stance and tentatively put a
hand towards Shotenro, but his legs weren't moving, and so the dude was a
sitting duck leaning forward with no balance. A guy that's been around the dohyo
a few times in Shotenro is going to easily parlay that into the simple
hataki-komi win. Jokoryu was so unprepared for the move his feet flew up in the
air a meter at least as he crumbled to the clay. Ever since Jokoryu (1-4) had
his ass handed to him by Chiyotairyu on day 3, he's been as tentative as a
mouse. If he can't pile up wins against this competition, he doesn't belong in
the division. Shotenro limps to 2-3 with the win.
M8 Tokitenku tried that magical tachi-ai of hitting high and putting your right
arm at the back of your opponent. And the bad thing is he wasn't even trying to
throw the bout! M12 Kitataiki easily got an arm on the inside and then forced
his gal back and across without argument. Kitataiki's looked awful himself this
basho at 2-3, but Tokitenku (0-5) made him look so good I hear the
Kitanoumi-beya has already put in an order for rope, rice chaff, and a bunch'a
There is no reason for M7 Aran to ever lose to M10 Ikioi, but lose he did
despite a decent tachi-ai where he completely halted Ikioi's momentum. The
problem was the Russian abandoned his footwork after the initial charge opting
to keep his opponent at bay with his long arms. Ikioi hunkered down and complied
in what was shaping up to be sorry sumo from both parties, but then Aran got
crafty and sprung his trap. Well, sort of. He jumped to his left and attempted
to grab the back of Ikioi's belt, but he was all arms and never could get into a
set position to set up a throw or a force-out. And so Ikioi got his right arm to
the inside of Aran's left armpit and threw him down to the dohyo with a shweet
scoop throw. Kitanofuji said it best afterwards saying, "Aran's sumo is all
arms." Ikioi is 4-1 if ya need him while Aran is 3-2.
M5 Toyohibiki showed some surprising speed against M7 Gagamaru in a bout that
was shaping up to be a hidari-yotsu Hutt-fest, but just as Gagamaru began to
press forward, Toyohibiki suddenly moved to his right and felled the giant with
a beautiful right tsuki-otoshi to the back of Gagamaru's left shoulder. Aran
should take note. You go for a move like that after you're firmly grounded to
the dohyo. Both lads are 2-3.
M5 Aoiyama is a superior rikishi these days compared to M6 Toyonoshima, but once
Toyonoshima secured moro-zashi a few seconds after the tachi-ai, there was
simply nothing Aoiyama could do as Tugboat kept him upright and drove him back
and across the straw dumping Aoiyama clear off the dohyo. This bout was a good
example of why Clancy was getting so worked up yesterday talking about guys
blowing the moro-zashi position. You watch this bout and then come away
scratching your head when someone doesn't win or at least bull their way forward
after getting moro-zashi if their intention is to win. Great stuff today as
Toyonoshima walks away undefeated at 5-0 leaving Aoiyama in the dust at 4-1.
The two M4's did battle today in Takayasu and Masunoyama in a bout that saw both
rikishi quickly agree to a hidari-yotsu dance from the tachi-ai. Masunoyama
knows he has to take care of bidness in short order, and so he mounted a
force-out charge leading with the left arm inside, but if you watch his feet, he
was more like stepping his way forward instead of dragging his feet across the
dirt as one would do when executing the suri-ashi exercise. As a result,
Takayasu was able to pull Masunoyama down by the neck a split second before
Takayasu's body crashed down to the dirt. This was so close that a mono-ii was
called, and I thought a redo should have been declared, but they gave it to
Takayasu (1-4). Tough luck for Masunoyama (2-3), but that attack was too hurried
and ignored sound sumo fundamentals regarding the lower body.
Let's move to our first obviously thrown bout of the day involving Sekiwake
Goeido and M3 Takekaze. Takekaze decided to duck his head at the tachi-ai and
keep both arms outward as Goeido simply moved left and dragged his ass down to
the dirt. Takekaze knew in what manner he would fall and hit the dohyo doing a
harmless flip exactly the way they practice it at the end of butsukari-geiko
with the hands or arms hitting first and the feet cart wheeling over the top.
I didn't find any pictures of Takekaze's fall on the wires, and so I snapped a
still shot of the TV with my cell phone. Somebody
Goeido's pull effort and tell my how there was enough momentum there to cause
Takekaze to do a cart wheel. And as long as you're watching the bout again, notice the applause
afterwards for Goeido's win is akin to something you'd hear during keiko...which is
exactly what this was. Even the crowd knew that Takekaze wasn't trying in this
one. Now, I don't profess to know why Takekaze would give this bout to Goeido,
but he unmistakably did. It's funny, a few hours before the bouts began Clancy
and I were talking about the sumos, and we both felt that Goeido could be set up
as a dark horse this basho (no offense to Shohozan), and just like that on day
5...wham, bam, thank you ma'am. I'm not saying that Goeido's gonna yusho; I'm
just saying that Takekaze (2-3) lost on purpose today and the acting and effort
were as bad as his sumo in general. Goeido's 5-0.
Speaking of bad sumo, I've thought on more than one occasion this basho that
Sekiwake Myogiryu could be paying back his opponents for previous favors. His
sumo is just so...unorthodox. Today, he just wasn't committed at the tachi-ai,
he wasn't committed in his tsuppari attack, he didn't want to get inside, and
when he had M1 Tochiohzan turned 90 degrees and dead to rights, he totally
whiffed on his forward charge allowing Tochiohzan to recover and throw the
Sekiwake to the dirt with a sloppy hataki-komi. Like the previous bout,
Myogiryu's feet flew up in the air in an unnatural fashion. I won't call this
one a definitive yaocho, but it was a strange bout all the way around as
Myogiryu falls to 1-4 with Tochiohzan treading water at 2-3.
I don't know how Komusubi Aminishiki didn't win today after driving Ozeki
Kotooshu back a step and upright with a perfect moro-te tachi-ai and then
getting a right arm inside so deep, he drove the Ozeki back to the edge. And
then just like that...he stopped the charge with his legs, made no effort to
counter with the right inside as Kotooshu grabbed the left outer belt, and then
Aminishiki actually turned himself so his back was facing the edge of the ring
allowing Kotooshu to body him back and down at the end. I mean, I'm watching
this bout and the replays looking for an explanation as to how the Ozeki won
this with his sumo, but I can't see any evidence. If you put a gun to my head,
I'd tell you that this matchup was bought and paid for prior to the basho...but
I've been wrong before. Kotooshu is 4-1 while Aminishiki falls to 1-4. At least
he'll eat well this basho and have a warm room where he can spread out his
bedroll at night.
Moving right along, even the most novice sumo fan could see that M3 Tochinoshin
handed Ozeki Kotoshogiku today's bout. In a scene that I can only describe as
embarrassing, Tochinoshin held his ground at the tachi-ai as both rikishi got
right inners, and then the Georgian just stood there with his left arm in no
man's land when the left uwate was W-I-D-E open. And he stood like that for a
few seconds just waiting for Kotoshogiku to make a move. The Ozeki eventually
did grab the left outer grip and force Tochinoshin back across the straw with
showing zero resistance. As NHK showed the slow motion replay, this scene I
snapped with my cell phone was on the screen for like 10 seconds just amplifying
how obvious today's yaocho was and how wide open the Geeku's belt was. I felt
bad for the guys in the booth, but what could they say? They didn't say anything
about Tochinoshin; only about what Kotoshogiku was attempting to do. This is
embarrassing for sumo in my opinion, but at least we know that the two
Sadogatake boys are going to get their eight.
wild and crazy affair, M2 Shohozan easily won the tachi-ai against Ozeki
Kisenosato gaining moro-zashi and crushing the Ozeki upright. Kisenosato
actually forced his way to the inside with the left using a maki-kae upon which
he immediately lifted Special Dark's right arm skyward in what looked to be the
decisive move of the bout, but Shohozan dug in and countered with a beautiful
kote-nage throw. As the dust settled, Shohozan resumed his lower position with
the left arm inside so deep that Kisenosato never could gain the right
was the key to the bout...denying Kisenosato the outside grip. Without it the
Kid never looked comfortable as Shohozan bullied his way into moro-zashi again,
and while Kisenosato did shake out of it and go for a desperate pull, he lost
his balance and fell to the dirt while Shohozan stayed upright. A couple of
things here...Shohozan showed just how vital the tachi-ai is. He also showed why
a rikishi must fight inside out and not fret over an outside grip from the
initial charge. You'll notice that Hakuho always gets an arm to the inside
before going for an outer, and Kisenosato needs to learn this method. He never
wasn't comfortable or settled in this bout without that right outer grip, and it
burned him in the end as he falls to 4-1. Shohozan is gunning for a Kantosho for
sure at 3-2.
Ozeki Kakuryu schooled M1 Okinoumi today in every facet staying low and driving
hard at the tachi-ai getting the left arm in deep and then flirting with
moro-zashi with the right. Okinoumi eventually fought the right inner off, but
with Okinoumi close to the edge, Kakuryu had more than enough room to go for a
maki-kae. As he did, Okinoumi drove him back because you always give up momentum
when going for the move, but the Ozeki knew he had the entire length of the
dohyo to work with, and so he steadied himself near the edge with moro-zashi now
secure. Okinoumi actually maki-kae'd back with the left but Kakuryu was already
mounting up the force out charge, and his now right outer grip was still on the
same position of the belt, and so Okinoumi could do nothing with the left on the
inside to counter as Kakuryu scored a beautiful force-out win in my opinion
moving to 4-1 while Okinoumi falls to 1-4.
Yokozuna Harumafuji is just too quick for M2 Kaisei, and it showed as he grabbed
the left frontal belt and just twisted Kaisei (0-5) to the dirt a few seconds
in. Speed wins as Harumafuji moves to 4-1.
day's final bout, Yokozuna Hakuho got the right arm to the inside, and as
Komusubi Homasho tried to weasel out of it, the Yokozuna used his left arm to
grab Homasho in the kote-nage position and flail him around once before sending
him to the dirt.
Pretty straightforward bouts from both Yokozuna today, but as Clancy alluded to
yesterday, there are just too many spicious bouts going on among the upper
echelons to really take the sumo this basho seriously.
Thing 2 is due
to report to you
about sniggles and frazzles
and dollyplop gaggles.
(Clancy Kelly reporting)
of you who read Mikes Day 3 were probably as disappointed as we to hear that
there would be no reports from Andreas, Martin, Oscar, or Kenji this time out,
but thats what happens when theres a Brokeback Mountain Appreciation Convention
going on and theyre offering discounted tour packages exclusively for citizens
of Spain, Switzerland, Romania, and the USA. Mike gave them the time off with
his blessing, and even used some Sumotalk funds to chip in a 24-pack of condoms,
So while we ought to be back to full strength in January, for the nonce we have
but the three of us, and Matt is up for one day only. Now I feel that as
second-in-command here on the USS ST, it is my duty to get my Capns back (broke
or not) and write more reports than I normally care to. Ill be treating it like
a bowl of nuts, however, so be warned. Make it so!
The kimari-te or winning move in the final match of the day was given as "shitenage"
by Harumafuji, but the first four letters tell us what it
was. After an even tachi-ai and some slapdashery, Shohozan lifted up his left
arm and snuggled up to the Yokozuna. As soon as Ogodei placed his left hand
lightly on the E2s belt, he simply fell down. Harumafuji rushed to then try and
place both hands on the belt as his foe was going down, but didnt have the time
to make it look like he had anything to do with Special Darks flop. Decide for
yourself how straight up it was, but for me, this was utter crap. Guy kills two
big, tough Ozeki on Days 1 and 2, then just falls down under no pressure? Sad.
was also a beneficiary, whether of intentionally shitty sumo or just poor
decision making skills I cant say. Okay, I can say. When one a guy has this much
time to screw up, its more often than not intentional. Please keep in mind that
Kaisei is younger, taller and much heavier than Hakuho, and certainly looks to
have the strength to follow up quickly on a great belt grip snagged at tachi-ai.
At the start he and Kaisei collided with a satisfyingly loud crash, with the
Brasilian immediately snagging the left front mawashi, leaving Hakuho with
squat. As he passed on working that belt to move Hakuho back, Kaisei also turned
down a right outside belt that looked to be there for the taking, instead
drawing that right arm back and waiting a second or two for Hakuho to grab a
deep (at the knot) inside left belt.
Now when your foe has your belt like this with his left, the last thing youd
want to try is a maki-kae with your right, cause its going to lift your center
of gravity toward your left leg and in the direction that your opponent can
So what did Kaisei do? A bag of caramel corn and tickets to the circus for the
man in the brown bowler! At least this uwate-nage kimari-te was undeniable,
because Kublai laid that beaner (coffee beaner) out like a two-dollar whore.
Course, Im sure he was paid more than THAT to throw this bout, but you get my
Takekaze is a lot of things in sumo, and most of them unpleasant, but one thing
he ISNT is weak and stupid. After a short shoving battle at tachi-ai, the W3 got
a perfect moro-zashi two arms inside position and easily drove Ozeki Kotooshu
back. And then instead of doing what 999 out of a 1000 sumo wrestlers would do,
namely press on their foe with all their might to win by yori-kiri, he relented
and allowed Kotooshu back to the center where he was able to grab an
over-the-shoulder back belt that he had been unable to grab as he was being
driven back and out.
After that, do you even care? Kotooshu used that grip to hold on, and when
Takekaze tried to throw Kotooshu with one hand and no position, he got flung off
the dohyo. Weak and stupid sumo from the Maegashira man.
I told Mike that I didnt mention that Homashos dive on Day 2 was obvious because
I didn’t want to get yall bummed out so early in the basho, but Ill be damned if
he once again did not wrestle like he normally can and does. Foreswearing his
typical sumo of staying back and using his powerful arms to keep his foe at bay
until he spots an opening, he rushed into Kakuryus arms and chested up, which is
totally NOT his game. Kakuryu easily pushed him back a bit, setting him up for
the slap down. Its possible that his injured and taped shoulder had something to
do with his change of strategy, but the strategy he switched to was not even
close to a good one. Get in tight with an expert thrower like a Mongolian Ozeki?
But at least all the favorites were winning, the names sumo likes to keep in the
There was more insanely lame sumo in the bout before as Tochiohzan turned
certain victory into embarrassing defeat against Kisenosato. With a moro-zashi
that had the Ozeki retreating to the edge and with nowhere whatsoever to go,
Tochiohzan forgot that hes supposed to bring his legs up under him as he charges
forward. You know, the MOST BASIC sumo point taught to all wrestlers from the
day they strap on their first mawashi? I mean, its one thing if he brings his
legs up, starts trying to crush his foe out, but meets resistance and The Kid
pulls of a sweet last ditch throw. But this wasnt the case. Oh Snap simply dove.
You want to say that there was nothing untoward about the Kotoshogiku-Okinoumi
match because both men struggled mightily and with great pizzazz. Perhaps
Okinoumi prefers to wrestle with no belt grip, which he looked able to at least
to attempt to grab on either side during this tussle. Maybe hes afraid of what
the Ozeki would do if he got closer in, which is what a belt grip by Okinoumi
would do. Either way, with no belt to grab and wobble the Ozeki weeble right and
left to unbalance him, it was tackle dummy time as Geeku waited until Okinoumi
finally did try to half-heartedly snag a belt to drive the E1 back and out via
At this point I of course had not seen the final five bouts, so my radar was not
humming, and there was nothing as egregious as there was in the last five to say
for sure, but it was not strong sumo by Yokozuna slayer Okinoumi.
Goeido simply won the tachi-ai from Aminishiki, whose leg might be truly hurting
this time out and not just there to give the guy an instant place to crash if
hes out drinking at night and cant find a taxi to get home. After that it was
move forward like they show you how in practice for the easy pushout win.
Takayasus arms came off the shikirisen line and spread wide at tachi-ai,
allowing Myogiryu to get an instant moro-zashi and easy first win of the
tourney. Very odd strategy for the E4. Normally a rikishi will keep one or both
arms in tightly to the body to have a chance of getting the more advantageous
Masunoyama did to Tochinoshin exactly what Tochiohzan did not do to Kisenosato,
namely finish on a drive to the edge that had his foe in desperate straights.
This was the last well and earnestly fought bout of the day. What a comment, I
know, but things are piss poor in sumo right now. I mean, just look at the
attendance. Even if every one of Arbos ex-gfs showed up to the venue, itd STILL
not be a full house. Thats saying something. The Japanese feel, and rightly so,
that sumo is no longer their sport. While it is partly due to the larger
phenomenon of the Japanese forgetting and disowning much of their traditional
culture, its also due to the fact that gaijin have ruled the sport for too long
After holding Toyohibkis face for so long that I thought he was going to give
him the kiss of death like some godfather, Aran got a two handed front belt grip
that surely made The Nikibi wary. Rightly so as Aran used it to unleash a
lightning swift shitate-hineri, underhand twisting yank down. Excellent move
After trading false starts, Daido henkad and tried to grab the oft lamented
"cheap outer belt," but the big Bulgarian was having none of it and a slapfest
ensued for a few seconds. Then they went close and there was some good pulling
and attempted swing downs by both men, but in the end Aoiyama kept his balance
and forced Daido back and out to remain undefeated.
as well stayed a perfect 4-0 by employing a little bit of everything in
defeating Ikioi. Tugboat won the tachi-ai bigtime, sending Icky back to what
looked to be a quick first loss. But he resisted enough to stop Toyonoshimas
advances (Fresh!) The W6 (really??) then tried to slap the E10 down, but it
didnt work. Finally he engaged Ikiois arms while backing up, dragging him along
and down to a loss by hiki-otoshi.
So, it seems that there is plenty of maneuvering at the top this tourney, most
of which is taking place behind closed doors. Its a shame, but as Mike and I
have said repeatedly, there are going to be some bumps along the road as sumo
tries to save itself from the death spiral it is in (and trust me, living here
in economically-depressed-for-a-lo-o-o-ong-time-Nippon, sumo is in serious
trouble). We are hopeful that one day in the not too distant future, it will be
a healthy, going concern once again, one that need not resort to the kind of
monkeyshines so obviously being employed nowadays.
Ill be back on Day 6 perhaps. Mike takes his lumps tomorrow.
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
report yesterday he correctly stated that it's never been this website's
intention to simply report on the bouts similar to the way a beat reporter would
cover the bouts citing statistics, describing who did what when, and then
reporting the end result. This website was established to give English speakers
insight into what's happening in the world of sumo that isn't getting reported
anywhere else. A good example would be the day 2 bout between Kotoshogiku and
Homasho. The mainstream media would report the simple outcome: Kotoshogiku
knocked Homasho to the side in about one second. Sumotalk would go beyond that
and spell it out definitively that Homasho absolutely stood there on purpose and
waited for Kotoshogiku to knock him over. It's obvious that the kadoban Ozeki
cannot afford to lose eight more this basho, and after that god-awful start on
day 1, it's clear that he needs all the help he can get.
Another purpose of Sumotalk is to walk the beginner through the sport and point
out the little subtleties that make all of the difference. For example, after a
great start on day 1, rookie Jokoryu lost to the weakest guy in the division by
totally screwing up the tachi-ai on day 2. There's a well known tachi-ai called
hari-zashi, which is derived from slapping at your opponent's face (hari) and
then getting the other arm to the inside of your opponent (sashi). In Jokoryu's
case, he went for the face slap, but he mistakenly went for an outside belt grip
instead of the inside position allowing Yoshiazuma to gain the easy moro-zashi
and eventually win the bout. A normal gaijin fan in Japan--named Jason for
example--would watch that bout and marvel at Yoshikaze's brilliant sumo when in
reality, Jokoryu lost the bout a half-second in with a critical mistake at the
The whole reason I'm even bringing this up is to forewarn the readers that a
total of three contributors are going to comment on the bouts this tournament:
me for 12 days, Clancy for two days, and Matt for one day. Since I won't have
time or patience to break down each bout in beat reporter fashion, I'm only
going to comment on the key points I spot during the broadcast and keep things
With that in mind, let's get to the action starting with my most anticipated
bout of the first half, the M14 Jokoryu - M15 Chiyotairyu contest. These two
rikishi actually know each other well having competed against each other in
their college days. Chiyotairyu proved to be the better rikishi as an amateur
arning Makushita tsuke-dashi debut status when
entered professional sumo; whereas Jokoryu didn't have the hardware and so he
was forced to rise up the ranks from the bottom. That should put a bit more
perspective into his record rise up the charts, and it certainly provided an
exciting backdrop for today's bout. Chiyotairyu looked awesome for like his
first five days in the division, but he has sucked eggs ever since. Until today
that is because you could see the pride brimming from within as he opened up a
can of whoopass on Jokoryu using both hands at the tachi-ai and perfect de-ashi
to knock the rookie back and out in two seconds...if that. Jokoryu had no chance
in this one, and Chiyotairyu displayed his best sumo of his career. Now the big
question is does Chiyotairyu have the mental fortitude to fight like this
everyday? He's clearly shown up to the this point that he doesn't, and so if I
was forming a new stable and had to take my pick between the two, I'd take
Jokoryu (1-2). I desperately hope Chiyotairyu (3-0) proves that prophecy wrong,
but all it's going to take is one pull attempt for him to fall back into his
evil, ineffective ways.
M14 Chiyonokuni gave M11 Asahisho the business today striking hard at the
tachi-ai and pushing his foe back a few steps. As Asahisho tried to dig in, his
foot slipped on the sand (called ashi ga nagareru) enabling Chiyonokuni to
pounce and help Asahisho fall to his demise with the hataki-komi win. I bring up
this bout because Asahisho (1-2) normally gets the best of his opponents at the
tachi-ai, but credit Chiyonokuni (2-1) for his perfect timing and perfect
de-ashi. We've also seen a lot of rikishi slipping and sliding around,
which is likely due to the yellow sand in Fukuoka.
Look at M10 Ikioi off to a 3-0 start! Today he simply outquicked M12 Kitataiki
at the tachi-ai getting his left arm to the inside and using strong footwork to
force Kitataiki back. On the other side, Ikioi flirted with an inside with the
right arm as well, and while Kitataiki tried to fight that off, Ikioi had the...ikioi
from the start, and so as he pressed forward with the superior position,
Kitataiki's only response was a limp kote-nage attempt with the right arm. The
move failed, however, because he was too upright to dig his feet into the dohyo.
Credit Ikioi for maintaining sound sumo basics and jumping out to this
surprising 3-0 start. Kitataiki falls to a lazy 1-2.
M8 Daido's retreating ashi proved to be a bit quicker than M5 Toyohibiki's
de-ashi, so while Toyohibiki was the one moving forward with arm's extended the
entire bout, Daido was just a touch quicker able to evade around the perimeter
of the ring never letting Toyo the Hutt connect with a thrust before Daidough
(2-1) pulled him down at the ring's edge while still on the run. Ugly bout, but
I just wanted to see what it felt like to actually say Daido outhustled his
opponent. Toyohibiki falls to 1-2.
The second most compelling bout of the first half featured M5 Aoiyama vs. M7
Aran, two Eastern Euros heading in different directions. And just like the most
compelling bout that led off the day, Aoiyama blasted Aran back and out of the
dohyo before Aran could even mutter что за херня. Unlike the first bout of the
day, the better rikishi did win here as Aoiyama breezes to 3-0. Aran's surely
content with his 2-1 start.
All I can say is that M8 Tokitenku is a dumbass. He's fighting M4 Masunoyama who
not only has an injured shoulder but has about two seconds worth of stamina
before he starts to break down. So what does Tokitenku do? Goes for that stupid
keta-guri, a move that carries with it a helluva lot of risk. TokiDoki failed to
execute it properly allowing Masunoyama to drive him out of the ring in about
one second. No wonder Tokitenku is 0-3 while Masunoyama picks up his first win.
As much as I love the big lug, the way to beat Masunoyama is to prolong the bout
and make him work.
The second half of the division started off with M4 Takayasu attacking too high
and flirting with an immediate pulldown of M7 Gagamaru, but Lord Gaga just
wasn't buying it coming out of his stance well and using a deft tsuppari attack
that when paired with his surprisingly good de-ashi was way too much for
Takayasu to overcome. Taka knew he was in trouble and tried to get away, but
Gagamaru (1-2) stayed square with his gal the whole way and scored the
oshi-dashi win in about five seconds. Takayasu falls to 0-3 and has got to
hunker down in his attack...literally.
M3 Takekaze suffered his first loss of the tournament despite getting a deep
moro-zashi against M6 Kyokutenho. When you can't beat a 38 year-old dude from
this position, you've got serious issues, but we've known that about Takekaze
for years now. All Tenho did was wait for Takekaze to make a move, and then he
planted his leg, pivoted to the side a half step, and threw Takekaze down near
the edge with a brilliant outer belt throw. Both dudes are still merry though at
Sekiwake Myogiryu was crushed by Komusubi Aminishiki who won the tachi-ai with a
stiff, forward charge and hands to the Sekiwake's throat that were only answered
by an attempted retreat. Did no good, though, as Aminishiki was driving with the
lower body enabling him to stand square in front of his feisty opponent and
thrust him down into a heap at the corner of the dohyo. Myogiryu (0-3) didn't
look injured today, and he lost this bout due to Aminishiki's superior length
and is own dismal footwork. At several points in the bout today, Myogiryu's feet
were aligned, and that's an indication of a lack of confidence. Myogiryu's gotta
realize that the competition surrounding him is still very beatable with a weak
banzuke and dinged up Ozeki. Hell, all he has to do is look across the practice
ring and note that Goeido is 3-0, and that alone should give him some
Speaking of Goeido, he marched to 3-0 after picking up a win by default over
Ozeki Baruto who withdrew with a muscle tear in his left leg. I'm going to
assume that the Estonian doesn't retire even though he'll be a Sekiwake in
January, but I need Dr. Kadastik to pull up the Ozeki on speed dial and then let
me know what's running through his mind.
obvious that Komusubi Homasho rolled over for Kotoshogiku yesterday, but he gave
Ozeki Kisenosato a fair fight today. The problem is, though, that Homasho is a
stick and move guy, tactics that don't work well against a guy like Kisenosato
who doesn't come out with guns blazing from the tachi-ai. The key to beating
Kisenosato is to win the tachi-ai and get him on his heels early, but all
Homasho did was strike quickly and then evade. Kisenosato, whose not a fast
starter, kept his wits about him well and easily forced the bout to
hidari-yotsu, and with Homasho already taking himself back towards the edge,
there was no where to go but back and across aided by a righter outer grip from
the Ozeki. Kisenosato has yet to be tested at the tachi-ai, and so he's a cool
3-0 while Homasho gave an effort today but still fell short to 0-3.
Ozeki Kakuryu finally exhibited a forward-moving tachi-ai against upstart M2
Shohozan using a right kachi-age to knock the M2 upright, and then as Shohozan
attempted to reload with another dash forward, Kakuryu deftly moved to his right
and gave Special Dark a slap on his butt cheek bowling him out of the dohyo and
into the first row. I would have liked to have seen Kakuryu continue his forward
momentum after the tachi-ai, but I think he and Chiyotairyu have been sharing
some pillow talk of late meaning there's probably more frustrating sumo to come.
Both gentlemen finish the day at 2-1.
Ozeki Kotooshu dominated M3 TochiSlowShin by easily gaining the right inside
position from the tachi-ai and bodying Shin back with perfect footwork. As
Tochinoshin looked to dig in, Kotooshu kept driving gaining the left outer grip
on the other side, but it was inconsequential as Tochinoshin put up little fight
as it was. Kotooshu needed a good win like this as he eases to a 2-1 record
while Tochinoshin falls to 1-2.
Rounding out the Ozeki, Kotoshogiku forced his bout against M3 Kaisei to
migi-yotsu where the better tactician, Kotoshogiku, secured the left outer grip.
The Ozeki also knew to place himself a bit to the side keeping the threat of a
Kaisei right outer grip as far away as possible. With Kaisei reaching in vain
for the equalizer, Kotoshogiku lifted him upright with the left outer and
twisted Kaisei to the side forcing him to move laterally and eventually causing
the Brasilian to trip up on the dohyo as Kotoshogiku went for an outright belt
throw. Good stuff from Kotoshogiku (2-1) today who demanded the superior
position from the tachi-ai. Kaisei falls to 0-3.
In the Yokozuna ranks, Harumafuji charged hard into M1 Tochiohzan using a flurry
of thrusts to keep Oh upright before connecting squarely with a right slap to
the face that was easily heard over the tens of fans in attendance. After the
epic bitch slap, Tochiohzan was wide open allowing the Yokozuna to lurch into
the moro-zashi position and force his foe back and across the straw without
argument. Harumafuji breathes a bit easier at 2-1 now while Tochiohzan falls to
And finally, Yokozuna Hakuho and M1 Okinoumi gave the crowd their money's worth
in a lengthy affair that Hakuho controlled throughout. After getting his right
arm to the inside from the tachi-ai as the Yokozuna is wont to do, Okinoumi
countered quickly with a left kote-nage throw, but Okinoumi really couldn't
plant before the throw, and so it
barely threw the Yokozuna off balance. Hakuho
slapped and pulled his way back in forcing the bout to migi-yotsu again where
both rikishi hunkered down with hips back denying the other an outside grip. The
two jockeyed a bit in this position for about 30 seconds with Hakuho fishing for
the outer grip and Okinoumi standing pat. Finally, in a single instant, Hakuho
slapped at Okinoumi's side near the belt on the outside distracting the M3
before quickly going for a maki-kae with the same left arm. The move worked as
the Yokozuna seized moro-zashi whereupon he easily outclassed Okinoumi scoring
the gentle force-out win. That slap/maki-kae is something I've never seen
before, and it kind of reminds me of Mainoumi's neko-damashi move where he'd
clap his hands in front of his opponent's face at the tachi-ai to distract them
just enough to where he could then burrow deep inside for the advantageous
position. Hakuho skates to 3-0 and could have this thing won by day 12
while Okinoumi cools off a bit at 1-2.
See ya tomorrow. Same time, same place.
(Clancy Kelly reporting)
This is Clancy Kelly from Japan and there are reports coming in that Japanese
authorities have dispatched multiple Haz-Mat teams to the southern Japanese city
of Fuk U Oka? to begin immediate cleanup of the enormous and highly toxic
collective shit the Nihon Sumo Kyoukai, primed with gastric distress by the
sight of all seventeen and a half fans on hand to watch, took yesterday after
watching newly crowned Yokozuna Harumafuji lose to an elevator rank and filer
who seems to never KK above the rank of M5. To be fair, Okinoumi is a big lad
and can show up at any time, plus dudes full shikona is "Fukuoka Okinoumi" so of
COURSE hes going to crush the shin-Yokozuna like a flipping chipmunk.
watching Hakuho pass the water of POWer to someone for the first time in years
(and dont you think Nintendo is missing out on an excellent chance at
advertising with that water bucket?), all seventeen fans (the midget was in the
head) went bonkers, raising a raucous roar heard normally at only the most hotly
contested high school chess tourneys, as the Lord of the Ring made his way up
the dohyo. The lightest man in the top division was about to make his debut as
the final bout Yokozuna. Tingles!
But no one gave Okinoumi the script, and if they did, he didnt read it, cause no
way in hell did it read, "Smoosh the pecker!" The difficulty the new Grand
Champion is going to have in his predictably (and sadly, cause I like dude)
career was evident right from the tachi-ai, where Harumafuji tried to stand his
ground and keep his decidedly larger foe at bay. Couldnt do as OkiDoki easily
moved the lil feller back. Fine, said Howdo, grabbing a nice, snug inside left
belt. But Okinoumi was on that, locking down with his right arm, worrying
Harumafujis arm up and down to weaken it like a dog do a bone, yo.
The Yokozuna laid his cards on the table at this point, backing up and bending
down and yanking on the belt as he turned away hoping for a swing down win. But
the E1 saw it coming and nicely kept his legs widely apart to prevent the throw
whilst falling into the Yokozuna, who was executing some silly ass-over-tits
flip to give himself an extra second during which his opponent might touch down
As The Seventeen (new upper case indicating theyve been elevated to legendary
status just by dint of having been present at such an auspicious debut) blew a
gasket (and the dwarf returned asking, "WTF?"), one of the MIB had the good
sense to call for a mono-ii, or "looksee" as we say in Eigolish, to see if there
were some way sumo might wiggle out of it. The replay showed only that sumos
number two man was humiliated. Oh, it also showed Harumafujis face with the
expression that read, Damn, Id better take every sponsorship deal that comes my
way cause this sumo thing aint gonna last as long as Id hoped.
Yeah, yeah, many of you are pshawing right about now, calling me the Chicken
Little of Sumotalk, and Id like nothing more than to be wrong, but as Mike
hinted at in his pre-basho, the shin-Yokozuna has a heap of "worry snails" (slow
but creeping concerns) on his plate. Okinoumi picked one off of it today and
slurped it down nice and greasy like in front of all 1317 & 1/2 of us (counting
the television audience as well now).
Hakuho, a bit removed from the limelight, bitch slapped Tochiohzan with his
left, then drove his right shoulder into the W1s mug. A second for the shock to
sink in, then a huge smack on the back of the head that sent the tachi-ai serial
nodder to the floor like a ferret pelt. I guess Kublai spent countless hours
watching reams of video and learned from his shocking loss last basho to this
same goliath, when the Yokozuna charged forward desperate to dictate that bout
against such a fearsome competitor (excuse me, gotta pull this chicken bone out
of my throat). Agree 100% with Mixmasters call for a Hakuho yusho, but he could
be a bit rusty due to all his deferring in the past year or so, and may lose a
fluke. 14-1, I think.
In the preceding match, Aminishiki had as many answers for Kisenosatos advance
as Mike has for why his homie Mittens got Barack-n-Rolled on Nov. 6. Bedroll
seemed eager to get it over with, barely raising a hand to slap ineffectively at
the Ozeki. Kid pushed the EK around like a broken shopping cart at Walmart, so
it was to no ones surprise that Shneaky ended up jumping off the dohyo,
unredeemed coupons be damned!
Rumor has it that Kotoshogiku fought Homasho, but all I saw was Homasho fall
down as soon as it began. Perhaps it had to something to do with Geekus noggin
ramming Homashos temple like the foot of an angry detective who is going after a
perp who has run from him and locked himself into a room and then the policeman
has to kick the door in, so Im equating the force of that kick with the likely
force of the collision between their heads in this bout. (I figure a lil poor
writin oughtta help yall preciate the finer stuff!)
Myogiryu had the right idea vs. Kotooshu, manning up and trying for that two
handed inside the entire bout instead of panicking and pulling. Problem was the
Ozeki kept his right arm in tightly, denying Myogiryu the inside left to go with
the inside right he had. Without that grip, he was unable to resist the larger
mans pressing him back, and it ended in a rather tame oshi-dashi. Our fiery
little 0-2 Myogi Bear had better right the ship, and "fecking quickly" to quote
ol Simon. Hes got Aminishiki today.
In the days first big upset, Shohozan the Dark blasted through a meager blocking
attempt by Baruto to get a strong inside left belt. While the Ozeki was busy
trying to get his over-the-shoulder grips he likes so much, the human chocolate
baby waltzed him into a spin that The Biomass and his heavily taped right leg
were unable to escape from by any other means than falling to the clay. Not sure
a previous injury had much to do with it, as he looked fine yesterday in
dragging big fat Kaisei all over the ring, but he was looking mighty gimpy as he
shamefacedly arose to limp back to his dressing room.
Speaking of Kaisei, its sad that when given an opening as he was very briefly
today vs. Kakuryu that he cannot take advantage. The Kak came hard, with his
right arm on the outside, giving Kaisei the inside under Kaks armpit. He did
nothing with it (though I suppose his thoughts may have been occupied somewhat
by the left front mawashi grip the Ozeki had) and Kakuryu realigned himself by
slipping that arm inside which gave him the moro-zashi. This was the death knell
for the big W2 as the Mongolian Marauder powered him back and out. A much better
(if less erotic) result than his Day 1 loss to Goeido.
Second paragraph in a row that makes sense for me to start by saying, "Speaking
of. . ." Goeido beat Tochinoshin like a red-headed stepchild by pwning him at
the tachi-ai and running him straight back and out. Was over before it began!
Takekazes reputation precedes him, but evidently Masunoyama did not receive the
scouting reports, and literally fell victim to a classic henka. Masunoyamas left
shoulder and upper arm were heavily taped, and he looked very pained getting up
from a simple fall. I dont really dig guys who come out to rassle having crawled
off a hospital bed. I know its their livelihood and the pressure is intense to
show up, but it puts the foe into a very delicate position vis a vis not wanting
to hurt an already bedraggled opponent. I dont like Takekaze much, but is it
possible he was trying to spare Masunoyama the pain of a collision on that
shoulder? Nah! Takekazes a lil fucker!
Aoiyama kept Takayasu deftly centered and used a pinpoint pushing attack to
hammer him out. W6 (really??) Toyonoshima managed to acquire a moro-zashi while
moving backward vs. Toyohibiki, and used it to fling him down even as he himself
crashed to the clay.
Even in Tokyo and Osaka and Nagoya you can hear on the TV the occasional
singular voice, a shout of support for one rassler or another, but I could hear
people ordering FOOD today. Fukuoka: Emptier than a Nov. 7 "Rally for Romney."
Kyokutenho showed some flat out muscle by flat out out muscling Gagamaru in a
hard to imagine yori-kiri win. When youre nearly forty years old and can still
lift up on and move a man who weighs slightly more than the average department
store, youre in decent shape, strength wise.
Daido must have felt like a guy who buys his prom date a beautiful corsage,
takes her to the dance in a rented stretch limo, fetches her food and drink all
night, and then watches as she goes home in some other guys leisure van with
wall to wall carpeting, waterbed, strobe light and condom dispenser. He had this
thing won, but with his back to the edge, Aran pulled off a twisting throw that
dumped Daiso audibly and, I can only imagine, painfully onto the ropes. Those
bales are HARD! Daido didnt even flinch getting up, just another sign that sumo
wrestlers are tough hombres.
Tokitenku got stood up by countryman Shotenro, causing his foot to slide. He was
forced to lean in and on Shotenro to remain up, and this allowed the E9 to wrap
his long arms around Tokidoki and throw him down without the two men ever having
left the starting area.
The best thing about the funny little slapfest that was the
Wakanosato-Miyabiyama tussle was that due to the sparse (Sparse? Thats an
understatement on par with saying JPese dental hygenists are "nice looking." I
sleep with a lollipop in my mouth, my dentists assistants are so goddamned hot)
crowd there was a woman, youngish if not young, with huge tightly wrapped
boobies who had snuck down to within TV range. She wasnt a looker, thats for
sure, but pillows are pillows, eh.
the advent of YouTube, anyone anywhere can watch all the bouts pretty much as
soon as theyre done, so we here at ST have to understand that our mission is no
longer (if it ever WAS) to describe each and every bout, but rather to elucidate
on the details and the RAMifications of each days action, Jackson. So if you
really must know how that Ikioi bout went down, or how Yoshiazuma got the best
of Jokoryu, doozo.
Anyway, its clear that sumo has got to get smart if they want to draw more
viewers. The NSK ought to arrange to have a bunch of large breasted twenty and
thirty-year olds come to the venue daily, showing as much flesh as possible and
sitting ringside in full view of all. Oh wait, they do that already, and Mike
will be reporting on the bouts between those twenty and thirty-year olds on Day
See ya on Day 8. Its a dayeight!
(Mike Wesemann reporting)
yellow sands of Fukuoka that make up the dohyo. The picturesque views of Bayside
Place and Momochi Beach. The subtle NHK camera angles that only show backgrounds
where the seats are actually occupied by fans. This must be the Kyushu basho! In
all seriousness, more fans showed up for the day 1 bouts than I expected, and
it's probably due to the extra buzz generated by a new Yokozuna on the banzuke.
Still, the novelty of two Yokozuna will last just a few days, and if the content
of the day 1 sumo was any indication of things to come, it's going to be a long
some reason, the first 30 minutes of the broadcast that I get here in the States
was pre-empted by a concert featuring Kana Nishino, and so I missed the first
five bouts of the day. The only one I bothered looking up on the innernet was
the M14 Jokoryu - M13 Wakakoyu matchup. The rookie has obviously watched tape of
his opponent because a second after the tachi-ai, Wakakoyu went for that quick
swipe down of his opponent. Jokoryu was more than ready and pounced on the move
driving Wakakoyu quickly back to the side. Wakakoyu managed to hold serve at the
edge, but the rookie got the deep right inside position and used it to follow a
now evading Wakakoyu across the dohyo where Jokoryu forced him down hard in the
end. Wakakoyu got up a bit gingerly after the bout, but I think all that was
injured here was the Wookie's pride. Jokoryu looked great in his Makuuchi debut,
and he should fit right into the division. I'm really eager to watch this kid
the rest of the way he was that good on day 1. He had a great tachi-ai; he used
good de-ashi; he studied his opponent; and he never let up until Wakakoyu was
rolling in the dirt. Just look at that pic at right the way Jokoryu is
standing over his prey. You rarely see that from a rookie.
M10 Yoshikaze committed a false start trying to gain the advantage against M11
Asahisho, and then when the two reloaded Yoshikaze moved left. Both of these are
signs that Yoshikaze knew he couldn't beat Asahisho with straight up sumo. As
for Asahisho, he used a nifty right kachi-age that was so good he was able to
keep the pressure applied as Yoshikaze moved left. After any henka, the bout
usually gets sloppy and unorthodox, and that was the case today with Yoshikaze
wildly flailing his arms and looking for any sort of opening or the cheap
pulldown. Asahisho showed great patience to fight off the spasmodic attack and
then about five seconds in got both hands at Yoshikaze's neck lifting him
upright a bit before yanking him forward. That did the trick as Yoshikaze
stumbled out of the ring. Great maturity from Asahisho in just his second time
in the division.
M9 Asasekiryu struck low against M10 Ikioi, but he had zero de-ashi, and so
despite the decent left arm on the inside for the Secretary, Ikioi brushed him
off balance and then pushed him down quickly with a right palm to the left butt
cheek of Asasekiryu. Not sure if that have an official kimari-te for slapping
someone down by the ass, but it was pretty cool nonetheless. To see Asasekiryu
get worked like this by Ikioi tells you the end is drawing near for the
I swear I watched the M9 Shotenro - M8 Daido bout three times, and I still
couldn't tell the two apart. What I think happened is Shotenro took the
initiative from the start striking Daido hard, but his feet were sliding all
over the dohyo, and so Daido was able to swat him to the side and push him out
from behind in the end. Poorly fought bout all around, so let's move on.
M7 Aran delivered a sweet right nodowa into M8 Tokitenku's neck from the
tachi-ai, but with sloppy footwork, he wasn't able to parlay that into a quick
win. Still, the tachi-ai was so decisive that Aran had the left outer grip as
the dust settled while the best Tokitenku could do was a light inside position
with the right arm. With Aran burrowing in low, Tokitenku had nowhere to go
except back as the Russian gathered his wits and then forced his foe back and
across with little argument. Good start for Aran, but he's got to sure up the
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you will never see a bout in your lifetime
where M7 Gagamaru tries to do a 360 to spin out of a hold and ends up winning
the bout. He sure as hell tried it today after M6 Toyonoshima won the tachi-ai
with a deep left arm that he was able to use to fend off the Georgian's charge
and move to his left forcing Gagamaru to attempt to keep square with his
opponent. He never could keep up with Toyonoshima as the former Sekiwake moved
around the perimeter of the ring, and so out of desperation he tried a shortcut
which equaled that aforementioned 360. Didn't work as Toyonoshima grabbed a
solid right outer grip and threw the dizzy Gagamaru down before he could counter
sufficiently. As Gagamaru walked back down the hana-michi, Shirasaki Announcer
made the comment that Gagamaru looks as if he's about to cry after a loss
drawing a deserved laugh from Kitanofuji. You rarely see the NHK guys make a
comment like that, but it was definitely worth a laugh.
Which is more than M6 Kyokutenho can say after getting his ass handed to him by
M5 Toyohibiki who used the left inside position from the tachi-ai and swell
de-ashi to drive the Chauffeur back and across the straw in two seconds...if
I talked in my pre-basho report about watching that documentary on M4
Masunoyama, and when he was trying to defeat Myogiryu in keiko, he'd look good
for about two seconds and then just fall apart from there. And that pattern held
today against M5 Aoiyama who let Masunoyama drive him back a step or two from
the tachi-ai, but Masunoyama's feet suddenly started sliding out from under him
allowing Aoiyama to swipe downward on the back of Masunoyama's neck drawing the
rarely seen sokubi-otoshi kimari-te, which can best be described as a forearm to
the back of the neck. It's such a rare kimari-te because the only way you can
win like that is if your opponent is already falling forward on his own...which
is what we saw in this bout.
M4 Takayasu was too high at the tachi-ai resulting in something that's really
hard to do: make M3 Takekaze look good. But that was the case as Takekaze got
the left arm deep to the inside and began driving his legs forcing Takayasu
upright and onto his heels. From this position, Takayasu could barely move
laterally, and when he tried, Takekaze just felled him with a left sukui-nage, a
position he earned at the tachi-ai.
Moving to the sanyaku, Myogiryu exhibited a terrible tachi-ai where he sorta
moved to his left and then promptly aligned his feet. Tochinoshin isn't exactly
known for beautiful tachi-ai himself, and Myogiryu was actually able to maneuver
into moro-zashi, but he completely took himself out of this one from the start,
and so the Private was able to take advantage of his length grabbing a kote-nage
hold with the right hand and then using a long right leg to lift up the Sekiwake
from the inside thigh and dump him Gangnam style. This was definitely more of a
poor tachi-ai from Myogiryu than it was sound sumo from Tochinoshin.
In the Ozeki ranks, Baruto actually stepped out to his left to grab the cheap
outside grip against M2 Kaisei, and this was probably due to not wanting to lose
to the Brasilian two basho in a row. The Estonian did latch onto the left outer,
and when both guys secured right inners, the yotsu bout was on with the Ozeki
maintain the heavy advantage. Still, he wasn't able to put Kaisei away quickly,
and that tells me that Baruto still isn't comfortable with his left knee, which
was heavily taped today. He eventually did work Kaisei towards the straw pushing
him out from behind in the end, but it's a bit of a concern that he wasn't able
to win swiftly today despite a semi-henka giving him an insurmountable position.
Things certainly didn't get prettier for the Ozeki as Kotooshu gave M2 Shohozan
the moro-zashi position after an extremely light tachi-ai from the Bulgarian. I
think it took a split second for Shohozan to realize his advantageous position
because he certainly didn't demand it from the tachi-ai, but once moro-zashi was
secure, Shohozan wasted no time driving the Ozeki back to the straw where he
threw him down with a right scoop throw. Kotooshu fell very gingerly, and that's
not good news for the Ozeki who is already kadoban. We'll have to watch him
closely over the coming days, but losing to Shohozan on day 1 is a horrible
start for an Ozeki.
point, Ozeki Kotoshogiku stepped up onto the dohyo where the locals promptly
began clapping in unison and chanting Kotoshogiku's name. It was as inaka of a
cheer as I've ever heard, and it pains me to say that since I consider Fukuoka
my second home, but still...you'd never see anything like this in Tokyo or
Osaka. Anyway, Kotoshogiku's charge against M1 Tochiohzan was even more timed
than Kotooshu's the bout before, and Tochiohzan made him pay by getting
moro-zashi. The Ozeki stopped Tochiohzan's half-assed forward charge and
actually performed a maki-kae with the left arm, but in the process, Tochiohzan
backed up a step pulling the Ozeki off balance and then dumped him outright with
a left scoop throw. Kotoshogiku had no lower body in this one, and it's going to
plague him the entire basho. You look at the basic exercises the sumos do, and
all but teppo involve strengthening the lower body although I could argue that
even teppo helps to strengthen the legs. The point is the lower body is vital to
successful sumo, and you can tell right away when a rikishi has no strength in
his legs. Remember, Kotoshogiku is coming off of that left knee injury that
caused him to withdraw in Aki.
After taking one look at that badass bruise surrounding Ozeki Kisenosato's right
eye, you knew the wimpy Ozeki sumo was gonna stop right here. As has been the
case lately, Kisenosato left himself open at the tachi-ai, but M1 Okinoumi
failed to take the advantage as Kisenosato got his left arm on the inside and
began driving Okinoumi back. Okinoumi spun and actually went for a maki-kae with
the right arm succeeding in getting it to the inside, but the move was too
costly as the Ozeki was able to nudge him back across the straw before he could
dig back in. Kisenosato's sumo was okay in this one, but if I had to describe it
in one word, it'd be "vulnerable." Just wait.
don't know what it is about Ozeki Kakuryu's sumo of late, but dude is fighting
up too high for his own good. Against a rikishi he should beat nine times out of
ten, Kakuryu left his feet aligned as he monkeyed around with a quick pull
attempt up high. Goeido seized the right inside position and left outer grip
forcing the Kak to adjust into the yotsu-zumo bout...a style he should have been
looking for from the start. He didn't, and so he found himself on his heels as
Goeido marched him towards the edge setting up a force-out kill. Kakuryu pivoted
to the side attempting to set up a right inside counter throw, but Goeido was in
total control using his left leg to trip the Ozeki back and down for the shweet
soto-gake win. What made the win even better was Goeido's falling right on top
of Kakuryu mounting him with as fine a form as I've seen atop the dohyo in
Before we head to the Yokozuna, let me just say that collectively, that was one
sorry performance from the group of Ozeki. Sure, two of 'em managed to win, but
Baruto used a semi-henka, and Kisenosato would have been beaten with that kind
of sumo in week 2.
Yokozuna ranks, Harumafuji led off the day against Komusubi Homasho in a
somewhat wild bout that you don't usually see from Yokozuna. Harumafuji didn't
commit from the tachi-ai opting to hold back and watch his opponent's first
move. As Homasho tried to get in close, the Yokozuna would slap at his face with
the right hand while trying to get a grip on the back of Homasho's neck with the
left. This happened about three times before Harumafuji worked his way into the
deep inside right position that he used to immediately force the Komusubi back
and across. It was a powerful win in the end, but this wasn't Yokozuna sumo.
There wasn't anything cheap about it, but Harumafuji did not try and overpower
Homasho at the tachi-ai. Furthermore, about two seconds in the two rikishi were
actually separated briefly, and it was due to Harumafuji's brand of sumo today.
The win was convincing and Homasho never threatened his foe, but finesse sumo
and Yokozuna should never be uttered in the same sentence.
I was hoping that in the day's final bout, Yokozuna Hakuho would put a stamp on
things and show everyone how it was done, but even Hakuho exhibited a very lame
tachi-ai holding up a bit and actually aligning his feet. My guess is that he
wanted to watch Komusubi Aminishiki closely and not charge straight into a
henka, but this was an ugly tachi-ai from Hakuho. Thankfully for the Yokozuna,
Aminishiki didn't charge straight forward or he could have done some damage.
Instead, Hakuho recovered quickly and used a few slaps towards the Komusubi
before driving him back with two chest bumps that caused Aminishiki to retreat
and step outside of the ring prematurely. Perhaps it was a fitting end to a
really bad day of sumo, but let's hope this wasn't a harbinger of the 2012
Speaking of two Yokozuna, Clancy's up tomorrow.