FightBox on Facebook
English (United Kingdom)Polish (Poland)Czech (Čeština)

July 2015: Nagoya 2015 News and Notes

This year’s Nagoya Basho (July sumo tournament) has come and gone, and inspired by my recent podcast with Mike Wesemann (I’ll pronounce his name correctly one day) and Clancy Kelly of I am inspired to blog this month about sumo.

I was on vacation in Croatia during the second half of the tournament so I had a bit of catching up to do when I got home. While the bathing beauties’ boobies were bouncing by the beach, the man boobs were battling on the dohyo and it turned out to be quite an exciting basho at times. Here are some of my observations after watching the action.

The Slap Heard Round the World

Perhaps the most talked about moment of the tournament was on day 9 between Hakuho and Ichinojo. Hakuho won the bout quite easily, but after it had obviously been won, proceeded to pie face Ichinojo quite sternly. I say “quite sternly”, but basically he made Ichinojo is prison biotch.

At first I thought Hakuho was still upset about being beaten by Ichinojo on day one last tournament, but maybe he was trying to send him another message. Maybe he was trying to fire him up because after raising so many eyebrows with his dominant tournaments last year, it looked like the Mongolian behemoth would be making an ozeki run sometime soon. However, he seems to be content to be just another rank and filer. Perhaps now that Terunofuji has taken that spot as “the next dominant Mongolian”, Hakuho was just trying to send him a message to shape up or ship out.

At any rate, something like that can have one of two effects. It can either do what it was perhaps intended to do, and light a fire under your ass, or it can leave you feeling dejected, rejected and disrespected. For Ichinojo, it was latter and his sumo got even worse as the tournament progressed.

The Excitement Comes … and Then Goes … Then Comes Again

At one point, after day 10, things really started to get interesting with the yusho race when Hakuho lost to Tochiozan. I’ve noticed several times in the past few years that Hakuho always seems to lose at times when a loss would make the basho a lot more interesting. Is he intentionally doing this, or is it just a coincidence or maybe nerves?

Hakuho’s loss left the yusho up for grabs, with four rikishi tied for the lead and with one of them being Japanese nonetheless. Who would have thunk it? But Tochiozan, repeating history once again, choked with the pressure on, and ended up getting spanked in four out of his five remaining matches.

Things heated up again though with the hope of a … how should I put it … “non-Hakuho” tournament victory still looming on senshuraku. The Great One would not be detoured though, as he had a fantastic bout with Kakuryu on day 15, winning his 35th career yusho, even further distancing himself from Tiaho (remember when that was a thing?).

Best Bout of the Tournament

In my opinion, the most exciting bout of the tournament was on day 9 between Kisenosato and Terunofuji. Perhaps overlooked by “the slap” in the very next match, Terunofuji proved that he may have a career as an NFL linebacker if things don’t work out for him in sumo as he cleaned Kisenosato’s clock with an American football tackle that would make even Dick Butkus proud.

The End of an Era (or 2?)

Although we all knew it was coming sooner or later, long time rikishi Kyokutenho finally announced his retirement after a 3 - 12 performance at Nagoya which would inevitably have sent him down to the juryo division. When I first started watching sumo I only thought of him as “the guy wearing the sock”, but over the years I really began to take a liking to him. His numbers could be quite erratic at times, but by hook or by crook he somehow managed to stay in the top division for almost 17 straight years (May ’99 until now) with only one demotion in July of 2007, an incredible feat.

And of course, who can forget his most triumphant moment in May of 2012 when, after Hakuho losing an uncharacteristic five bouts, leaving the door wide open for anyone to win the tournament, the then 37 year old, was able to hoist the Emperor’s Cup for the first and only time in his career? When you think about it, he’s one of only six rikishi to win a tournament in the last nine years since Tochiazuma (the last Japanese rikishi to win a tournament) took the cup.

With Kyokutenho now hanging up the mawashi, to my knowledge, it looks as if Wakanosato is now the oldest active rikishi in the sport. As of this writing he has not officially announced his retirement, but I would expect it imminently seeing as how he finished at 4 - 11 from the juryo 11 rank, which will put him in the unpaid makushita division next tournament. Kyokutenho and Wakanosato both sit at numbers 6 and 7 respectively on the all time list for most career wins. Kyokutenho also holds the record for most top division bouts. It will be a shame to see both of these guys go.

It’s also a shame that FightBox has not been buying any new sumo footage for a while now. I really miss doing the commentary. I’m actually very critical of my commentary on our sumo programming, which still reruns regularly in the mornings and afternoons, since it was some of the very first commentary I ever did and also since I did it at a time when I was really only still learning the basics of the sport, but you can still check it out if you’re interested in seeing some classic bouts with Hakuho, Asashoryu, Ama, Kaio, Chiyotaikai, Kotomitsuki, Takamisakari and the like.

- Daniel Austin (Don Roid) (blog) (podcast)


  • Dodaj na:
    Facebook Google Bookmarks