By no means is this intended to be a comprehensive round-up of Sumo (in general or for this basho - that is, tournament).
Rather, a few highlights from a fan of a few particular wrestlers.
First up: Kotooshu, the East Ozeki from Bulgaria who has been making quite a name for himself over the past few years seems to be off to a good start in this basho, by slamming Toyonoshima through the ring! I suppose neither the Bulgarian nor the up and coming maegashira (Toyonoshima) expected to be pleasing the crowds by actually ending up in the crowd!
Then, Asashoryu, the West Yokozuna lived up to expectations by powering out the young East Komusubi Kotogoshiku, while the East Yokozuna Hakuho made short work of fellow Mongolian, the West Komusubi, Kakuryu.
A certain aging West Sekiwake, Chiyotaikai, may already be facing a tough uphill battle since his demotion from Ozeki in last year’s Kyushu-Basho - with being forced out of the ring in under three seconds by the young Maegashira (M3) Kisenosato. Chiyotaikai has indicated that if he is unable to pull off the 10-15 record (10 wins for this tournament) needed to re-gain his Ozeki rank, he will retire after just over 17 years in the sport, and after nearly10 year tenure as an Ozeki.
Then there was the exciting display of power shown by Sekiwake Baruto (Kaido Hoovelson of Estonia), who may be on track this year to become Ozeki, following somewhat in the footsteps of fellow European Kotooshu, as he toppled East Maegashira (M3) Hokutoriki. The kanji in Hokutoriki’s name (北勝力) literally mean “Northern Victory Power”, but when faced against the power of a “Warrior from the Baltic Sea”, he was not so lucky: Baruto’s sumo name, or shikona, is a homophone of “Balto-”, a reference to the Baltic Sea.
But other bouts spoke of upsets, as in the case of West Maegashira (M2) Miyabiyama pushing out (oshidashi) the veteran west Ozeki Kaio, who will be celebrating his 22nd year in Sumo in the upcoming Haru-Basho (March 2010)…
…or the equally upsetting under-arm throw-down (shitatenage) executed by East Maegashira (M2) Goeido against East Ozeki Kotomitsuki.
I’ll be looking forward to tonight’s expected match-ups for Kotooshu v. Miyabiyama and Baruto v. Kisenosato, as well as seeing how the two reigning Yokozuna perform.
For more thorough coverage, please see www.sumotalk.com - or refer to the homepage of the Japan Sumo Association: