We are almost halfway through the Nastu Basho 2019! In the makuuchi division, the top competitors have certainly been Kakuryu and Tochinoshin, but the biggest story has probably been Enho. Can the mighty mini-rikishi continue his hot streak to complete his first basho in the top division? Or has it only been beginner’s luck?
In the makushita division, everyone has had eyes on Kizakiumi and Hoshoryu. They both have a chance of getting promoted to juryo after this basho, but many similar-ranked rikishi are also having stellar performances. Takanofuji, who is one rank ahead of Kizakiumi, has a 4-0 record for example, and only needs one more win the (likely) be a lock for promotion.
In sandanme, Roga and Terunofuji have been the most exciting to watch. Roga is starting to have some difficulties against the larger competitors of sandanme, whereas Terunofuji is continuing his march back towards his ozeki status.
As for the North American competitors, Musashikuni and Wakaichiro had disappointing starts to the basho, but they have started to turn things around. They both started by going 0-2, but they also haven’t lost a match since then. Can they both turn it around to get the kachi-koshi?
Below I include write-ups of their matches, and I include gifs for most of Wakaichiro’s matches. As always, contact me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com if you have any questions or comments!
Musashikuni Match 1 – Opponent: Higoarashi Yuta
Musashikuni got a good start to this match, and it looked like he was going to grab the victory. However, he quickly had his momentum used against himself, and he was turned around at the edge. He had a chance to muscle out, but he instead went for a pulldown and lost by being shoved out. Record: 0-1.
Musashikuni Match 2 – Opponent: Higonojo Masakazu
Again, Musashikuni got a good start but allowed himself to get turned around. This time, though, he decided to muscle himself out of trouble and started pushing his opponent around with ease. Unfortunately, once he got close to pushing for the victory, his opponent got a tight grip on Musashikuni’s mawashi and threw him out for the loss. Record: 0-2.
Musashikuni Match 3 – Opponent: Goryu Kazunori
Musashikuni got a strong start and didn’t look back. His opponent tried to get away a little, but Musashikuni pushed him out almost literally with one arm. Easy looking victory for Musashikuni. Record: 1-2.
Wakaichiro Match 1 – Opponent: Miyakogawa Hiromitsu
Wakaichiro tried to test out his strength in a heads-on match, but his opponent had more strength – or, at least, a better grip. Wakaichiro hit the ground while his opponent stayed on his feet. Record 0-1.
Wakaichiro Match 2 – Opponent: Taketsukasa Shunsuke
Wakaichiro got a great start and went for his typical thrusting strategy. Unfortunately, his opponent did a sly sidestep. Wakaichiro tried to recover, but he was already too off balanced. Record: 0-2.
Wakaichiro Match 3 – Opponent: Amamidake Hikaru
In maybe the easiest match of his career, Wakaichiro got the victory. He simply pushed straight against and avoided one of the most halfhearted sidesteps ever. Record: 1-2.
Wakaichiro Match 4 – Opponent: Harimanada Hayato
Wakaichiro had a great start, to which his opponent tried to sidestep. Wakaichiro fortunately was able to easily regain his composure and use his power to push his opponent out for the victory. Record: 2-2.
Overall, it seems that Musashikuni and Wakaichiro are learning from their mistakes. . .and their losses are driving their passion for victory. I will keep cheering them on as they shoot for the kachi-koshi!