thursday sumo: Hakuho’s 10

NHK did a nice little clip recap after Yokozuna Hakuho (白鵬) won his tenth championship last month.  It’s a great collection, some of these matches are really astounding:

(Ring commentators: Hiro Morita and David Shapiro)

Matches 1, 3, 6, and 9 are especially impressive, and 2, while a disappointing bout, is priceless just for the expressions of Yokozuna Asashoryu (朝青龍)–you can see an initial spark of rage, quickly giving way to a bemused respect, with just a hint of vengeful malice (Asashoryu is always good for some classic facial expressions).

I don’t know if Hakuho will ever match Asashoryu’s twenty-some-odd championships (this may depend largely on the performance of Asashoryu himself), but he’s definitely good for at least sixteen or so.  At this point, there doesn’t seem to be much standing between these two men and complete dominance of the sport.

thursday sumo: Yamamotoyama vs. Toyonoshima

From the Haru Basho 2009, Day 13 (27 March, 2009):  Yamamotoyama(山本山), the biggest man in sumo, against Toyonoshima (豊ノ島), the shortest (though not the lightest).

Toyonoshima is one of my favorites–even though he loses this bout, it really showcases his agility and his outstanding capacity to recover from a bad situation.  Yamamotoyama is still a relative rookie in the top division, but his size gets him a lot of attention, and he seems to have the skills to back it up.

(Ring commentator Ross Mihara is extra snarky in this one, head’s up.)